Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Roasted Cauliflower

So I had a whole head of cauliflower that I needed to use. The hubs and I adore it in all its forms but I was looking for a different use. We have done the mashed cauliflower, steamed, sauteed with all sorts of Indian spices (my husbands favorite he adores Indian Food); but I wasn't in the mood for those. Last night we tried roasted. What I did was cut the cauliflower up into florets and line a baking sheet, then I juiced a lemon on top, drizzled olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and put it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. When it was tender to the touch I topped it with mozzarella and parmesan. If I were to do it again I would probably omit the mozzarella and increse the parmesan to about 1/4 cup. I would also only use about a half of lemon as the dish had a very strong lemony flavor.
It probably would be an easy thing to spice up however you like.

Monday, November 10, 2008

How to make Kombucha

I first heard about Kombucha when my good friend Mama K had me try a sip of hers at a health food store. At first sip "I was like GROSS that stuff is like pure vinegar!!!", I quickly got over it and turned into a Kombucha drinker. At $3 or more at a grocery store I knew it was a luxury that I couldn't afford to keep on so I started researching methods to make my own. What seemed the easiest (and also turned out to be the easiest for me) was to take a clean mason jar and pour a bottle of Kombucha in, cover with a cloth, secure with a rubber band and let sit for a week. Sure enough a Kombucha Culture or mother formed in about a week. Some people get them off of the internet or from people they know, I felt best about growing my own. It is a live culture so you do have to be careful. I would definitely recommend researching it if you choose to make your own.
Once I had the culture I made some strong black tea probably about 2-4 quarts of it (I also added some ginger tea). To that I added about a cup of sugar, this is what the culture "eats". I waited till this cooled and put it in a glass jar with the "mother" on top of it. Once this is done and covered with a cloth and rubber band I put it in a dark place for about a week or two.  When you do this a "daughter" is born which is basically another culture that you can give away or throw away.  You will get a new culture growing for every batch you make.

Some things to be careful about:
-Always use glass, wood or stainless steel with your Kombucha stay away from plastic.
-Make sure everything you use is sterilized.
-I had a problem with this attracting fruit flys but I scared them away with this
-I would recommend researching more on this as with any type of fermentation it can be dangerous if done incorrectly.

Learning my surroundings

When we got married I moved to the area my husband grew up. It is only about 45 minutes from where I grew up but I don't know the area, AT ALL! I have been trying to learn the area but I work near where I grew up so generally I'll just do what I need to do at lunch. This weekend the hubs and I were going on a grocery trip (Aldi's, Whole Foods and Shoprite) two of the three stores were about 45 minutes away from us. On the way I had the hubs check on his Blackberry to see if there was an Aldi closer to us and there was! We ended up going there then to a smaller local health food store, then to my Shoprite (yes its mine); the three stores were right in a line and it only took about 15 minutes of driving to get there. Its a small thing but it made me so happy to find places so close to my house.

The next step would be to condense my shopping trips so I only need to hit one of those stores each week or to make it an every other week trip. Although I might want to get out of the house once a week. We'll see how it goes once the twins arrive.

I do think that learning the area will be something that I will really focus on when I'm home full time. Just knowing the resources around me will help me to make the most of them.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Small Town

I grew up in a very Small Town in New Jersey where there really was only one industry, cranberries. Every year my town throws a cranberry festival around harvest time that EVERYONE goes to. It usually coincides with my birthday so I have a special fondness for it. Walking around there is no lack of cranberry items from cranberry ice cream, bread, wine, apparel, pies, etc. While there this year I picked up 7lbs of cranberries for my freezer and have been itching to use them ever since. Well I was reading A Hippie with a Minivan this morning and to my delite there was a yummie sounding recipe for Cranberrie-Lemon Cake. I have it all whipped up and ready to go into the oven once dinner comes out.

As far as recipes go I've found that one of my biggest tools has been the internet and having so many choices. If I have something I want to build my meal around its so easy to find many different recipes with a quick search. These types of recipes are my favorites though, from people that I read that share their own recipes that their families enjoy.

Here is the recipe exactly as it is on A Hippie with a Minivan's site
2 eggs (beaten)
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups cranberries (or less if you don’t like them as tart as I do)

1. Beat together eggs, butter, sugar and vanilla.
2. Mix in Lemon zest and juice
3. Add flour and baking powder and mix well.
4. Fold in cranberries.
5. Pour into 9 x 9 cake pan.
6. Bake@ 350 degrees 40-45 minutes .

The Prudent Lady of the House

I'm starting on a new journey. I've quit my job and very shortly I will be the Lady of the House, some would argue that I am now but honestly I think that job takes more time than I can currently give it. Right now I try to do this job in my limited time. It feels like there is never enough time to live that we're either working, cleaning or cooking non stop and we don't have time to enjoy each other. I have felt a stirring to make more of our life together, to create a home for our family that is based in love and a household that is filled with peace. Its funny to me that generally when people want more out of life they generally start filling it up, I think in order to do this we need to simplify it. I want to make with my hands the things that we use day to day, to give away the things we don't need, to make time to do things for others and, as cheesy as it sounds, to have a hot dinner on the table when my husband gets home.

In order to accomplish these goals we need to go down to one income. As you know in this day in age is not a small feat. It requires a great amount of faith and determination on our parts. Luke 12 has been a great inspiration and encouragement to us in this:
22Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 26Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

This blog will be a catalog of my journey to be the Prudent Lady of the House. Prudence is defined as wise, sensible in action and thought. I will be writing about recipes, ideas, simple living and just my general thoughts as we go through this major life change and realize some of our dreams.