Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kaya/ Native American unit study

In December we read the first of the Kaya series, "Meet Kaya". We really enjoyed it. My daughter read most of Meet Kaya herself. She actually read it to me, since I hadn't preread it and I didn't know what she might come across in the book. It was very fun for us. We used a few different resources.
I found a lap book from Highlights of Homeschooling on Currclick. While I still haven't jumped on the lapboard band wagon, I find that they contain lots of good information that we use in our lessons. If you love lap booking tell me why. It feels like busy work to me, but I know lots of homeschoolers use and love it.
We used the vocabulary list and went through the comprehension questions. ODD Loves to do "tests". This includes worksheets and anything else that looks like a test format, whether it is aloud or writing work. This also includes much to our chock and surprise, enjoying and asking for Standardized tests!! And incredibly she LOVES it.
Anyway so we use comprehension questions as an oral quiz for her. It helps me see what she is understanding in the reading and it gives us a chance to have interaction that is just for her. This is sometimes hard to come by with 3 kids under 6 and under.
The lap book I bought from Currclick has lessons for the whole series we can go back and use this later on when they are a little older.

I got some ideas for a few activities at Ourbusyhomeschool as well as well as from Schoolathome

We also do a weekly coop with another homeschooling family and they brought a fabulous dance stick craft project. As soon as I get those pictures, I will upload them.

For now, this is the only Kaya book we will read, because the rest of the series has kidnapping and other stuff in it that my girls aren't ready for yet. It was our first intro to the American Girl Series and then we will continue with Felicity. For our first jump into the American Girls Series it was great fun and we'll definitely do some more.

Beginnings of our George washington/Colonial times unit


mob cap tutorial:

Book lists:
George Washington by Josephine Pollard
Martha Washington

Tea Party
make a horn book:
horn book pattern and resources
cross stich pattern:

Monday, December 27, 2010

Favorite Christmas Recipes 2010

A good friend of mine gave me this recipe. All my friends were raving so I just had to try it!
"Crustless" Cranberry Pie
1 cup flour (I use BRM GF all-purpose)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 to 3 cups fresh cranberries
2/3 cup coarsely chopped or broken walnuts*
1/2 cup butter, melted (I put it in a small glass measuring cup and melt it in the preheating oven.)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 to 1 teaspoon GF vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F, and grease a 9in. pie plate with butter or coconut oil. Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add cranberries and walnuts, and toss to coat. In a small bowl, mix butter, eggs, and extracts. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture until batter is completely moistened. The mixture will be quite thick. Spread batter in greased pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes (if GF), or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. If you're using wheat flour, the baking time is likely shorter, so start checking at 35 minutes. Serve warm. Not that it isn't good cold, but it's better warm, trust me!:-) *If you can't have nuts, try adding additional cranberries instead.:-)

Artichoke dip
I made this one up trying to get close to the artichoke dip I loved growing up. So here it is: Dairy free gluten free nut free Artichoke dip! My youngest brother gives it a 2 thumbs up!

Artichoke dip
2 cans of artichokes roughly chopped
1 cup mayo
1/2 container of tofutti cream cheese
kosher salt to taste
Mix up and put in a baking dish (I used a glass pie pan) and heated for 1/2 an hour on 400-425. Serve with tortilla chips, gluten free toasted bread or gf crackers. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Favorite Homeschooling blogs and sites

These are the Tried and True places I go for inspiration and support:
Milestone academy

Our Busy Homeschool

School of Abraham

My education resources:

True light academy

Book lists
1000 best books

Passages to memorize:

Mathematics Enhancement Programme (MEP)


personal scripture study:
first language or milestone
unit study


character lessona:


Learning for me:
Mother's Educational Course

Goal Setting:

Home Organization:

Thanksgiving mostly gluten free recipes

This are our favorite recipes for Holidays. Mostly Thanksgiving and sometimes Christmas.

Artichoke dip
2 cans of artichokes roughly chopped
1 cup mayo
1/2 container of tofutti cream cheese
kosher salt to taste
mix up and put in a baking dish and heated for 1/2 an hour.
The recipe had cheese on it, but I didn't have any that would work for us.

Cream cheese salsa dip
Then I took salsa and mixed it in with a tofutii container of sour cream.

Corn pudding:
2 cans of cream style corn
2 eggs
2TB + of sugar
1/2 cup rice milk
1/2 c Pamelas
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup corn meal

Banana Pound Cake Recipe

This is a Taste of Home recipe I've been making for about 5 years now. I only recently tried making it gluten-free, because it takes a long time to mix up, forever to bake, and so many GF cakes just aren't anywhere as good as their wheat counterparts.
But this is worth it!
Banana Pound Cake
unsalted butter & 3 teaspoons sugar
3 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
6 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (8oz.) sour cream
Grease a 10in. tube pan with the unsalted butter, and sprinkle with the 3 teaspoons sugar (if using a 9in. Bundt pan, you will have enough extra batter for a small mini loaf pan or one large muffin.). Set aside.
In *large* mixing bowl, cream butter and 3 cups sugar until light and fluffy. (take your time - it's worth it!). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in mashed bananas and extracts.
Combine flour and baking soda, and add to batter alternately with the sour cream, beating just until combined.
Carefully pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake at 325F for 75-85 minutes, or until cake feels firm and slightly springy to the touch. (mine have always taken 85 minutes, and I let the GF one go 90) Cool for exactly ten minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely. It ought to fall out of the pan perfectly - mine do!:-)
It has a glaze recipe that goes with it, but this cake doesn't need it - trust me!:-)
Now, to make it gluten-free, I used 1 1/2 cups BRM GF pizza crust mix, and 1 1/2 cups BRM brown rice flour, all slightly rounded up, figuring that it wouldn't absorb as much liquid as the wheat flour. I also used 1/2 teaspoon baking soda instead of 1/4 teaspoon, but I'm not sure that was necessary.
It turned out so fabulous! I got raves at church today, and no one could believe it was GF.
I've also made it with sqash puree in place of the bananas. Pumpkin would work, too, although it wouldn't be as sweet.
If it means anything, my hubby who normally doesn't care for cake ate several large pieces, and asked for me to bake another one tonight so he could take it to work! (I sent the squash cake to work with him last week, and he came home with a clean plate and several recipe requests.) This is the only true cake he ever asks for (he likes cheesecake). He claims it's better with wheat, but I think he has a wheat addiction.LOL I actually preferred the taste of the GF version.

Ok well here is the recipe without substitutions... has butter too, so we'll see if you think it can work for you! :)

Melt 1 stick of butter in mixing bowl.
Add 1 package of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix.
Add 1 can of corn, drained.
Add 1 can of creamed corn, not drained.
Mix together and then fold in 8 oz of sour cream.

Bake at 350 in lightly greased shallow baking dish for about 50 minutes or until starts to brown on top.

Doesn't look great for a dairy allergic family, but maybe you can make it work!


Easy pie crust
1 bag (3-1/2 cups) Pamela's Gluten-Free Bread Mix (do not use the yeast packet)
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled
8 Tbsp shortening, chilled
7 to 8 Tbsp ice cold water
Yield: two, 9-inch pie crusts; or one double crust (such as for apple pie)
In a bowl, cut chilled butter and shortening into Pamela's Gluten-Free Bread Mix with two knives or a pastry knife until small pea sized pieces form. Slowly add water until dough comes together, not sticky. Add 1 tsp additional water if dough is too dry. Do not over handle dough. Roll out half the dough between two sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Peel off top paper and invert into a lightly greased pie dish. Peel off second sheet and fix crust edge. Bake on lower rack in oven. Bake unfilled crust in a 350° oven on bottom rack for 35 to 40 minutes. Or, bake filled with your favorite filling by following pie recipe directions. Dough can be frozen for later use, wrap in plastic and freeze. Thaw completely to use.
Chef’s note: This crust is pefect pre-baked and then filled with pudding, fresh fruit or your favorite filling. Or, for pies that bake with their crust, do not pre-bake, fill with quiche, pumpkin pie, or apple pie filling and bake the crust with the pie as directed.
Non-dairy: use 8 TBSP margarine and 8 TBSP shortening
Pamela's Apple Pie
7 medium Granny Smith apples (other tasty varieties: Pippin, Fuji & Gravenstein)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1-1/2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup cider or hard cider
1 or 2 Tbsp cornstarch-depending on juiciness of apples
1 full recipe Pamela’s Easy Pie Crust
Peel, core and slice apples into 1/2-inch sections. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning. In a pan, melt butter, add brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and apples. Mix cider with cornstarch until smooth and add to pan. Stir to coat, cook over medium heat until apples start to reduce in size, about 10 minutes. Cover and let rest to cool.
Preheat the oven to 450°.
Lay bottom crust into pan. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples into the pie crust. Lay top crust over and pinch the two crusts together and scallop edges with your fingers or using the back of a spoon. Bake for 10 minutes and reduce the oven temperature to 350° and continue baking for another 35 to 40 minutes until your crust is just golden brown. If necessary, use foil to cover the edges to prevent them from getting too brown.
Chef's note: I like to precook the apples when I am making a double crust pie, so that the crust doesn't hang in the space the fruit has abandoned, and I know the apples will be succulent and not crunchy.
Normally, I emphasize the foods that are naturally gluten-free. Why always long for bread when gluten-free bread will never taste as good as an artisan loaf made at the best bakery? There are three thousand meals out there that need never involve gluten.

However, on Thanksgiving day, I do like stuffing. Growing up, those morsels were always my favorite bites of the meal. Roasted turkey? Oh, of course. And, I always stole long strips of crispy skin off the golden-brown turkey as it was resting in the pan. Cranberries? I love their tangy tartness, all the goodness of the autumn earth. Pumpkin pie? Sure. My brother loves to cut the pie in quarters and take one-quarter of it for himself. Mashed potatoes? Oh yes. That was about my favorite part, almost, particularly when I would mound them up, add another dab of butter on the top, let it melt down to make a little volcano of molten butter, then run my fork down the sides and let it spill it out. Ever since I saw Close Encounters of the Third Kind, when I was eleven, I have always made my mashed potatoes look like Devil's Tower, then looked up and said to my brother, "This means something." We still laugh.

But stuffing? Oh, the crusty bread, softened by the stock and covered in pepper. Some families love walnuts and sausage, cranberries and apricots, pistachios and red pepper. Whatever. I don't mean that flippantly — whatever you usually make, this recipe will probably adapt to it. But in our house — and now, the Chef is part of our house, and will be forever — this is how we will be making stuffing this year.

Gluten-free. Gorgeous. Oh, the stuffing.


2 loaves gluten-free bread, diced into one-inch cubes, toasted and cooled
2 large ribs celery, medium diced
1 large yellow onion, medium diced
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Sautee the onion and celery in olive oil on medium-low heat until they are translucent. You will be able to smell the onions cooking at this point. (Take a deep whiff. That's a beautiful smell.) Add the garlic, as well as the rosemary, sage, and thyme. Stir these in and cook until you can smell the herbs, about one to two minutes. Remove from heat.

Bring the chicken stock to boil on high heat. Place the egg yolk in a medium-sized bowl and carefully ladle two to three ounces of the chicken stock to the egg yolk, slowly, while whisking the mixture. Add the rest of the chicken stock to the egg mixture at this point. (Ladling a small portion of the stock into the egg first, and blending it, will prevent you from having scrambled eggs.)

Add the cooled celery, onion, and herbs mixture into the stock and egg mixture. Toss the bread cubes into this mixture and stir it all around with your hands (or a spoon), to coat the bread. Add the salt and pepper and toss the bread again. Place all of this into a greased casserole dish (big enough to hold three quarts) and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake for twenty minutes at 425°, then remove the foil and bake for another ten minutes. Take a toothpick and stick it into the stuffing. If it comes out clean, the stuffing is done. If not, bake until the toothpick comes out clean.

Serves six to eight people, depending on their appetite for stuffing.

Tofu Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

1 (16-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar or sucanat OR 1/2 cup maple syrup
1 (10- to 12-ounce) package silken soft tofu
2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch (to firm up the pie filling)
1 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (9-inch) unbaked vegan pie shell


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Blend the pumpkin and sugar. Thoroughly mix in tofu, cornstarch, and spices (allspice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and cloves).

3. Pour mixture into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes.

4. Lower heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 60 minutes. Chill and serve.

Don't use the low fat tofu, then the pie tastes like it was made with tofu. This pie is soooo yummy, it will fool almost anyone. I made it last Thanksgiving for my whole family, I am the only one, and everyone asked for seconds. They begged me to make another one for Christmas dinner. Top with nondairy topping and it will fool any pumpkin pie lover.

Makes: 8 servings, Preparation time: about 1 hour + chilling time, Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cranberry Sauce Recipe
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• 1 cup (200 g) sugar
• 1 cup (250 mL) water
• 4 cups (1 12-oz package) fresh or frozen cranberries
• Optional Pecans, orange zest, raisins, currants, blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice.
1 Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring to a boil water and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst.
2 At this point you can add all number of optional ingredients. We typically mix in a half a cup of roughly chopped pecans with or without a few strips of orange zest. You can add a cup of raisins or currants. You can add up to a pint of fresh or frozen blueberries for added sweetness. Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or allspice can be added too.
3 Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.
Cranberry sauce base makes 2 1/4 cups

French Bread

2 tsp yeast
4 tsp Kosher salt
8-10 cups bread flour (this is white bread flour; all-purpose flour will work in a pinch but doesn't rise as high)
1 cup warm water (between 105º and 110º)
5-6 cups warm water

Proof the yeast by putting the yeast in the 1 cup of warm water. Check the temperature of the water first by checking it with a thermometer. I use a candy thermometer. Hotter than 110º, you will kill the yeast. Lower than 105º and the yeast doesn’t grow much. You want the yeast to be nice and bubbly, so let it sit for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, measure the salt in a mixing bowl. I like ceramic; the dough doesn’t rise enough for me in a metal mixing bowl (it seems to be too cold).

Add flour. Add yeast mixture and enough water to mix so that all the flour sticks together.

Knead for 10-12 minutes on a floured surface, by hand, turning and folding well. When dough is ready it will be elastic-y and will not stick to the counter much.

Pull all sides of the dough into the center, making a big ball. This stretches the gluten and makes a higher loaf. Put the dough in the bowl with the smooth side on top.

Put back in bowl to rise with damp cloth over the top for 1 hour.

Take dough out of the bowl, and flatten it to about 2 inches tall. Separate dough with dough cutter into 4 equal parts for 4 rounds, or 8 parts for longer loaves (or a combination).

Take each section and pull the edges into the middle all the way around to make a ball. This stretching is important; you will see some bubbles pop. Put the smooth side up as you set each ball on the counter. Cover all the sections with the damp cloth and let sit for 10 minutes.

Wash your bowl.

Spray 2 cookie sheets with Pam; I use airbake sheets.

Shape loaves: Flatten loaves again to about 1 inch thick (just flatten---do not stretch the dough out, just flatten it). Fold one side of the circle of dough to the almost the other side so you have a smile. Then flatten again. Fold both sides in, overlapping, so that the dough is folded in thirds. Flatten again.

For round loaves, pull edges in to the center like before, working all the way around the dough. Grab dough together at center to make a "foot" so that the loaf is sticking together. Turn dough over and gently "round" so that the middle is not sunken.

Put loaves on the cookie sheets to rise again.

(For long loaves, instead of pulling the edges to the center (after folding), you will roll and stretch the loaf to be as long as you would like.)

Cover loaves on the cookie sheets with the damp cloth and let rise about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 400º so that it is ready to go at the end of the second rising.

Put a pan (I use the broiler pan) of water on the bottom shelf. This will steam the bread and give it a nice crust.

When second rising is done, take a serrated knife and quickly and lightly slash the loaves.
This helps the loaves rise more in the oven.

If the loaves deflate when you slash them, they rose too long on the second rising. They will still cook, but watch next time so that you will get a higher loaf.

If you have an egg, you can mix an egg with a little water and lightly brush the loaves all over using a pastry brush with the egg wash. If you do not have an egg, the crust will be less crunchy, but will still be tasty.

Put loaves in the oven and cook until a nice browned top is there. Better to have them a little darker than you think they should be, or they will be doughy.

Take loaves out of the oven. After a couple minutes, turn loaves over on the cookie sheets so the bottoms can dry (or else they stay wet on bottom, even after an hour).

Goals Dec 2010

My goals for the new year:
Find three names of a PT to call. Need to find a good one for my 2nd DD.
Plan 1 month of homeschooling
plan 2-4 weeks of gluten free meals and shopping list
plan extras for food storage needs
Plan one thing per day to clean out

To do over holiday:
Clean bedroom
finish school room
clean off poor
clear out carport
tidy/org laundry room
put stuff in attic

Types of goals to set:
homeschooling H and S
play/toddler school E
scripture study
family scripture study
new routines
family history
personal scripture/kids scripture
couple scriptures
booklist:wants to read
theme for unit studies
weekly/monthly menu
food storage plans




First Post

Welcome to my blog. This is an attempt to organize our lives and to be accountable to myself and others so my goals become reality I'm hoping to put up favorite links to homeschooling and cooking. We cook gluten free (mostly) , nut free, peanut free and milk free. So it can be a bit hard to find fun things on a budget to cook. Who knows I may through some of my favorite coupon hints in here too! It will be a ride that's for sure! Feel free to join us for the ride!