Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Together Tuesday: I'm a Perky Turkey

“I’m A Perky Turkey” (sung to “I’m a Little Tea Pot”)
I’m a perky turkey, yes in deed
Eating corn and grains and seed
I waddle when I walk
And I gobble when I talk
But when Thanksgiving comes, I run away!

from Earth*School, We're Thankful for Thanksgiving
Copyright 2004 - 2010, Earth*School

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Munchies: Rustic Herbed Cheese Bread

It's no secret that I love bread. Love it. There are a lot of bread recipes on here if you go through the archives. And most of them start with the same recipe/method, the no-knead method. This bread is no exception, but the taste is absolutely exceptional! This is a great dinner bread, but I recently served it hollowed out with an herbed sour cream dip as an appetizer and it was phenomenal!


Rustic Herbed Cheese Bread

3 cups flour
1 5/8 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
Garlic powder
Sesame seeds
Onion powder
4 ounces sharpest provolone, shredded
Corn meal and additional flour for dusting/shaping

Mix all ingredients but cheese in a large bowl, just until combined. I didn't add the measurements for the spices because I don't measure. I like my breads strongly spiced, so I used approximately half of a small container of sesame seeds, and generous amounts (1 1/2 - 2 1/2 T) of garlic and onion powder.

There is no need to knead or over mix this dough. Simply combine the ingredients and that's it. Cover the bowl (this dough will double in size so make sure your bowl is big enough) and let sit overnight. I let mine sit for at least 12 hours, but have let it sit for 48 hours and the bread still comes out amazing.

After it has sat, place a dishtowel or paper towels in a warm place (I put mine on the stovetop with the oven on) and sprinkle generously with cornmeal. Using only enough flour so that the dough doesn't stick to your hands, ball the dough and place it on the prepared towels. Dust with more cornmeal or flour and cover with another cloth/paper towel. Let rise 1 - 3 more hours, until doubled again in size.

For the last half an hour, place a baking dish (it needs to have a cover) in the oven at 450 degrees to heat up. Turn dough out into the preheated baking dish, cover and bake for approximately 25 - 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 15 - 20 minutes until the bread is browned and sounds hollowed when you thump it.

Herbed Sour Cream Dip

Into 16 ounces of sour cream, mix 2T Healing Pixie's bread and cheese herb mix, 1T garlic powder, 1T onion powder and 1T garlic salt. Chill for at least an hour to allow hers to soften and flavors to meld.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Funny: How to Cook a Turkey

1. Go buy a turkey
2. Take a drink of whisky
3. Put turkey in the oven
4. Take another 2 drinks of whisky
5. Set the degree at 375 ovens
6. Take 3 more whiskys of drink
7. Turk the bastey
8. Whisky another bottle of get
9. Ponder the meat thermometer
10. Glass yourself a pour of whisky
11. Bake the whisky for 4 hours
12. Take the oven out of the turkey
13. Floor the turkey up off of the pick
14. Turk the carvey
15. Get yourself another scottle of botch
16. Tet the sable and pour yourself a glass of turkey
17. Bless the dinner and pass out


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Together Tuesday: Turkeys!

Foot and hand print turkey
Here’s another twist on that traditional handprint turkey, one that will elicit lots more giggles! You will need a large sturdy paper, paints, a brush and your child’s hand and foot.
Paint the bottom of your child’s foot brown and his/her toes orange (this will take a while … be prepared for tons of giggling!) and stamp onto a paper (hold the paper lengthwise and stamp at the bottom) with the toes facing down. This is the turkey body (brown) and feet (orange). Now paint your child’s hand and stamp all around the body in a fan shape to create the feathers. Add as many feathers/colors as desired. We always make one turkey per family member each year. They make a cute gaggle of turkeys to display!

from Earth*School, We're Thankful for Thanksgiving
Copyright 2004 - 2010, Earth*School

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Munchies: Apple Spice Cupcakes

There is nothing I like better in the kitchen than baking with fresh ingredients. When A's parents brought over a ton of fresh apples from a local farm, I knew I had to whip up something sweet with them, but didn't want to go with the same old recipes, so I came up with this recipe for apple cupcakes with spiced brown cugar buttercream frosting. We had these at our Halloween party this year (along with vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolate and peanut buttercream frostings) and they were the most talked about item that day!


Apple Spice Cupcakes
(makes 2 dozen)

2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 whole eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 fresh apples (I used Spencer apples), peeled and chopped into chunks
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional, but they really make these cupcakes!)
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (to taste)
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Disolve baking soda in buttermilk.

Alternately add flour and buttermilk, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and spices. I use my kitchen aid for this and let the batter whip for a minute or two to make it light and fluffy. Add apples and walnuts and mix to incorporate.

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven until toothpick comes out clean.

Spiced Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting

Cream 1 stick of butter with 1/2 cup brown sugar. Add 2 1/2T cinnamon and 2 cups powdered sugar. Mix until the consistency of frosting (you may need to add 1-2 T milk to reach a good consistency). This frosting will be slightly grainy due to the brown sugar. Pipe onto cupcakes using a large star tip or spread over tops with a knife. This keeps very well in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Just let stand at room temperature and re-whip before frosting.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Together Tuesday: Harvest Time is Here!

It's November, the harvest is in and there is a cornucopia of bounty in your local produce section or farm store!

“Harvest Time Is Here” (sung to “The Farmer in the Dell”)
Harvest time is here!
Harvest time is here!
Harvest time is lots of fun.
Harvest time is here!

(Child’s name) picks the apples.
(Child’s name) picks the apples.
Apples are fun, but the harvest’s not done!
What else do we have here?

(Child’s name) picks the pears.
(Child’s name) picks the pears.
Pears are fun, but the harvest’s not done!
What else do we have here?

Repeat with corn, Indian corn, pumpkins, peaches and anything else you harvest in your area.

* This is a perfect song for a movement activity. Give each child a basket and collect silk in colors to represent the harvest time foods (or if you have the actual foods or toy foods, even better. We use our wool foods for the harvest song. Have your child play at picking the type of fruit/veggie in the song. How does picking a pumpkin look different from picking an apple?)

from Earth*School, Happy Harvest
Copyright 2004 - 2010, Earth*School

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Munchies: Grown Up Apple Cider

The leaves are falling, the air is crisp and cool ... it's the perfect time for hot mulled apple cider. Every October, A and I go to a fall festival in Rhode Island; last year while we were there for the weekend we had dinner at The Black Pearl in Newport and had the most fabulous mulled apple cider. This is my rendition of it to make at home. Make up a couple of mugs, put the kids to bed and snuggle on the couch with a roaring fire ... well, at least that's what we will be doing!


Place mulling spices (either prepurchased or make your own by combining cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger) in tea bag/muslin bag or a tea ball. Add to a large saucepan with 16 ounces of apple cider. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer. The longer you simmer, the more concentrated/strong it will become. You can also do this by the gallon in a crock pot and slow mull it all day. Remove from heat and pour into two mugs. Add 1-2 shots of rum to each glass and stir with a cinnamon stick.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Favorite: Monkey Milk

Peanut butter and chocolate is my favorite flavor combination, so when I saw this new Spipping chocolat from Katherine of Love Abounds I had to try it! it not only has peanut butter and chocolate, but banana as well! How can you go wrong?


It is rich and warm and delicious - all the flavors meld together well, nothing too overpowering. Really a perfect cold winter's night treat for the kids!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Together Tuesday: Indian Corn Art

* Indian Corn
This is a fun activity for little hands. You will need an elongated oval cut out of cardboard (the back of a cereal box works well), glue and all of those tissue paper scraps. We always start this activity by looking at a bunch of ears of Indian corn, talking about the various colors, the texture, etc., so if you have some Indian corn around the house, that’s a great place to start.
Spread glue on the cardboard corn ear shape. Then you use the tissue paper to create your very own ear of Indian corn. This activity can be done in a variety of ways – crumpling up small pieces of tissue paper and sticking them on, laying squares or random shapes of tissue paper on to the ear, and if you have the type of tissue paper that bleeds, you can omit the glue and spread water with a little vinegar on the ear and lay the tissue paper pieces on. Once that dries, brush off the tissue paper and the colors will be left behind (you will want to use white construction paper for this).

From Earth*School, Happy Harvest
Copyright 2004 - 2010, Earth*School

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Munchies: Peanut Butter Cups

Don't raid the kids Halloween candy - make your own! They are far better and you can control the sweetness!

Mommy's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups


Melt dark chocolate (I use 85% dark or above, either Scharffenberger or Lindt) over a double boiler or similar (I use a small sauce pan of water with a pottery bowl placed in it, with the chocolate in the bowl), stirring until smooth. Use whatever chocolate you prefer - semisweet, milk, dark to whatever degree you prefer - semi sweet and milk will melt differently and you can do this directly in a saucepan on the stovetop over low-medium heat.

Mix 1/3 c natural peanut butter with a spoon until smooth. If you have a sweet tooth, add a little powdered sugar to the peanut butter, mixing til smooth and the desired sweetness/taste is achieved.

Spoon a small amount of into a mold. Add a small amount of peanut butter/powered sugar mixture. Top with another drop of chocolate. Tap molds on tabletop/counter top repeatedly to release air bubbles; refrigerate until firm. If you do not have chocolate molds, you can use mini paper cupcake liners, a mini cupcake tin (greased lightly with butter) or you can make large peanut butte cups in standard size cupcake tins/liners.

Dark chocolate versions need to be kept in the refrigerator as the dark chocolate softens quite a bit at room temperature. But these are much better than the sweet ones! Milk and semi-sweet cups are generally shelf stable for a few days (if they last that long!)