Tag Archives: science

Homeschool Curriculum – What I Use & Why I Use It

I am often asked what curriculum we use in our homeschool.  Since the homeschool conference season is upon us I thought it was high time to  get this post posted!  It is easiest to continue answering this question here where it can be accessed easily and whenever it is convenient for you to read, re-read and ask questions.  So go grab yourself a cup of tea, lemonade, water or beverage of choice, sit back and relax.  This is by nature a  l-o-n-g  post.  :-)

When you ask anyone what curriculum they use in their homeschool, they should first tell you what teaching method they follow!  I am first and foremost a Teaching the Trivium proponent.  I then lean towards a classical methodology with unit studies and Charlotte Mason thrown in the mix!!  So whatever teaching methodology you favor will determine in large part the curriculum you will use.  I will elaborate on the Trivium and my mix in a different blog post.

- this book will help you get started on understanding why to homeschool, I consider this essential reading for parents and required reading for our children when they are about 14 or older and preparing for marriage

- this book will help you understand what the trivium is, why it is important and biblical

Before we get started I wanted you to give you hint at what you will find in this post… I hope this helps you find what you are looking for.  There are two sections;

section #1 is curriculum resources with the following categories in this order: bible studies, history/geography/literature/government/bible history/philosophy, reading instruction, handwriting, writing instruction, grammar, math, science, spelling, occupational education, Greek/Hebrew/Latin, art appreciation and music appreciation;

and section #2 is home/school/child management skills and resources.

1. What do I use and why do I like it?

A) Bible Studies:

- Balancing the Sword – I did a thorough review here

- Quite Times for Kids – solid, biblical, meaty studies; children work on their own as soon as they can read; free samples, various studies, can be used for any reading aged child, one study uses Lego blocks to reinforce lesson!, easy to use

-Proverbs by Kevin Swanson – essential character training for all children, good with all children, easy to use

  - Plants Grown Up (boys) & Polished Cornerstones (girls) from Doorposts are full of bibles studies, and various gender specific tasks/lessons to be learned in preparation for marriage.  I love the Doorpost materials!!  These are pretty thorough, varies enough that any child would benefit, CD with all memory verses and printable sheets available, is used from childhood until marriage

B) History/Bible History/Geography/Government/Literature/Philosophy & more:

              -Tapestry of Grace - helps ME teach a Christian, classical education (we emphasize the Reformed viewpoint) using a guided unit study approach with the history of the world as the core organizational theme, students cycle through the material 3 times at different learning levels, detailed lesson plans and discussion outlines make ME the primary teacher and mentor and I shape their biblical worldview, comes in digital, print or you can get both, flexible for different learning levels and is designed for stages NOT ages, assignments for a full 36-week school year which are also broken down into 4 9-week units, every unit starts with a full introduction and end-of-unit celebration activities, each unit is broken down into week plans with the actual reading, thinking and writing assignments as well as tools and teacher helps, online collection of useful and helpful documents that are not specific to any week plan, optional supplements covering a wide range of subjects to make your experience more streamlined and enjoyable, resource book list and book update chart.  Tapestry is a plan of study, recommended books are available for sale, at the library or might already be on your own shelves!  Any books can easily be substituted for those you would prefer to use.  This does take some learning to use, but there are many resources to help you in your learning curve!  Anything worth doing isn’t always easy, but THIS is well worth doing!  There are also free units available for you to try before you buy.

C) Reading Instruction:

- Phonics Pathways100% phonics, uncluttered pages, large type, easy to use, NO prep time for me, a reading readiness evaluation so you are not pushing instruction too early for your child’s development

- McGuffey Readers – no ungodly elements!, endearing line drawings, character lessons in well written stories

D) Handwriting:

- A Reason for Writing – lessons built around bible verses, easy to use, potential outreach by sending out the completed border sheets at the end of the week (we have done this in the past and have had wonderful responses), simple ‘test’ to check handwriting improvement through the years.

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- Startwrite – a computer program that allows you to use any material for handwriting and has both printing and cursive alphabets.  I love using this for bible memory verses, psalms for singing we are working on, quotes from leaders we are studying, poems Arrow is memorizing and much more!

E) Writing:

- Understanding Writing by Susan Bradrick, this is the ONLY curriculum that truly teaches HOW to write!!  The others tell you to write to learn, but that isn’t effective and doesn’t teach you how to write!  There are also examples of simple word games to improve sentence structure and descriptions.  Amongst all the excellent teaching is a mini child training curriculum!  Double bonus to be sure!!  Tapestry of Grace does have a writing component and each assignment is tied to that weeks lesson, but they are just more meaningless writing exercises.  This curriculum has your child writing notes and letters to friends and relatives all while learning the HOW to write and write well.  It is writing with a real purpose.  Most of our students will not be writers, journalists or editors.  But they will need to write notes, letters, and possibly even blog posts!

F) Grammar:

- Easy Grammar – easy to use, you memorize prepositions and it is SO much easier to find subject and verb after that!!  I struggled with grammar all through my school years, with this method I would have had a MUCH easier time!!  Even “I” do not have to use the answer key for many of the answers when correcting work!!  WOW… I have learned so much!!

G) Math:

- Math-U-See – easy to use, very thorough (build problem with manipulatives, write the problem, say the problem, practice, teach it back (really demonstrates whether they understand the concept or not!), ability to make additional worksheets for those times when a concept just does not seem to be grasped and you have used all the ones in the workbook, concepts taught to the teacher first via DVD, addition (& subtraction) taught as general concepts and then the facts are taught in groups (+2, doubles, etc), addition taught then subtraction (not both at the same time), same for multiplication & division, and I love, love, love the manipulatives!

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- 100 Sheep – a skip counting CD to bible stories, this is wonderful!  Arrow puts this in to listen to on his own while doing dishes or cleaning his room.  :-)

H) Science:

- Christian Kids Explore – good early level science, easy to use, specific science per categories (biology, chemistry, etc)

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- Wonders of Creation series – biblical reference, more in-depth look at some favorite science topics, study guides available

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- God’s Design for Science series – from Answers in Genesis, all sets reflect a Biblical worldview, including a young-earth view of creation, four-part series, experiments & activities in every lesson, great photos, easy to use with multiple children at different levels, flexible to use, comprehensive material, makes The Patriarch very happy as he decries the lack of hard sciences taught to homeschooled children

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rock collections for geology from Northwest Treasures – wonderfully full of rocks, books, and all in a great storage case, reasonably priced, very interesting kits (dinosaurs, fossils, Lewis & Clark, glow in the dark (VERY popular!!), and much more, all from a young earth/creation perspective

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- Christian Liberty Nature Readers – from Christian Liberty Press

I) Spelling:

- Phonics Pathways – thorough phonics rules, no need to purchase an additional curriculum (makes DH very happy)!!

J) Occupational Education:

 Plants Grown Up (boys) & Polished Cornerstones (girls) from Doorposts are full of bibles studies, and various gender specific tasks/lessons to be learned in preparation for marriage.  I love the Doorpost materials!!

- Managers of Their Chores – helps you teach your children how you want each chore done, when to do it and then is an accountability system as well

K) Greek, Hebrew & Latin:

  - Little Bitty Baby Learns Greek, Alphabet for Classical Latin (no longer available), Little Bitty Baby Learns Hebrew  – we are just at the stage for a formal Latin but not ready for Greek or Hebrew curriculum yet…, but we know the alphabets of all three!


- Latin for Children series – easy to use, reasonably priced, lots of additions like a history book, CDs, and puzzles

L) Art Appreciation:

- Adventures in Art – NO NUDES!!, larger reproductions of paintings, easy to use, easy to organize the paintings into one large ‘timeline’ of art history to trace how art changed with political ideas through history… OK so when I bought this about 18 years ago I got a portfolio with reproduction paintings this is now an internet curriculum, and will still be WONDERFUL!  Art is the expression of an idea/thought and tracing its history is eye-opening.

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- Child Sized Masterpieces – NO NUDES, postcard sized paintings (get to touch, sort, etc), many levels with lots of beautiful paintings, easy to play matching games, guess the artist and much more

M) Music Appreciation:

- Music & Moments with the Masters – traces music history and how music changed with political ideas through history, music is the expression of an idea/thought/emotion and tracing its history is eye-opening.

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- [Composer] Greatest Hits – we use this along with the story of that particular composer for more of his music than what is given in the previous CD

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- The Story of… – CD series of composers life stories, informative and we use them in the van while driving somewhere… redeeming the time!

2. What home/school/child management skills have you learned to make things easier and more enjoyable?

A) Home Management:

1) Have meal plans.  This helps with KNOWING what will be for lunch and dinner, making sure you have the necessary ingredients, eliminating unnecessary trips to the store (saving money on gas and wear & tear on the vehicle).  This is NOT restrictive but freeing!

2) Have some kind of cleaning schedule.  Don’t wait for it to get dirty, clean it BEFORE it gets dirty!  I clean the shower when I am IN there.  I’m already wet!  I wipe something down every time I am in the bathroom.  This helps KEEP the bathroom clean.  Teach your children to do the same thing!  You are NOT a maid.

3) Eliminate clutter!  This is a biggie and I am still struggling with this one… but each trip to the donation center helps!  Funny thing, I can not usually even remember what was in those bags and boxes after I donated them.  So that is PROOF I didn’t need it!

B) School Management:

– Homeschool Tracker Plus – a planning and organizing software, adaptable to any homeschooling style simply and yet sophisticated, lesson planning, record keeping, flexible and customizable to my (or your) planning and organization style, lesson plans can be reused for multiple students or in different years and can be shared with other Tracker users, affordable and either online or downloadable versions, EXCELLENT customer service & support, online discussion forum with great users who are helpful and kind, oh so kind!!  One of my favorite features is the rescheduling!!  This has helped save my sanity more than once!!!

OK, I heard that snickering out there!  Who did that!!!??!!!

C) Child Training:

  - Raising Godly Children by the Bradricks (DVD series)

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- What the Bible Says About Child Training by Fugate – with certain caveats

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- Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp

D) Skills/Lessons/Tips I Have Learned:

1) START THE DAY WITH HE LORD!!!  Even just a few moments with really little ones afoot.  Aren’t we homeschooling for the Lord in the first place?  We cannot do this without Him!

2) Be truly submitted to your husband.  Ladies, do not deceive yourself into thinking you are in submission when you are not.  Ask you husband, he’ll tell you.

3) Patience, but this came after #2, #1 AND #5 makes it easier!  :-D  Despite what the world thinks (that we must have lots of patience in order to homeschool) it is the process of teaching our children at home that develops that patience!  Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.  A lesson I am still learning… sigh.

4) To study the various educational methodologies and determine which one best fits with God’s word first and our child’s leaning second.  See resources listed at the top of this post.  This helps you eliminate some curriculum which helps in the decision-making process!

5) GO TO BED EARLY, NO LATE NIGHTS (unless you are nursing, then… TAKE NAPS)!  There really is no benefit in burning the candle at both ends… and lots of detriments.  Draining your adrenals is a big one.  You do NOT want to go there.  Trust me on this one.

6) LIMIT computer time, crafts, talking on the phone, and any other activity that takes your focus off your home and family.  There will be a season for more of that when the children are grown.  You will only have them for a short time, don’t waste it with your fave in the box!!

7) Start with obedience training when your children are very young.  You are striving for first time obedience, without excuse, without delay, without complaint.  Doorposts has great help with this area.  Your consistency is a key factor.

I hope you find this helpful.  Some of these resources I liked so well I became an affiliate for them!  I do receive a monetary compensation if you purchase through one of my links.  All these materials I have purchased on my own and I was not paid for this post.

I would be happy to answer any questions you may still have!

Blessings, ~Aunt Mae (aka ~Mrs. R)

Other Aunt Mae Musings that may interest you:

Why We Homeschool

IndoctriNation the Movie

Why We Attend the Christian Heritage Conference

This post is also linked here:

  , Visionary Womanhood,

A Common Sense Look at Soaking Grains

Long, worth the read and re-printed with permission.  ;-)

Phytic Acid Friend or Foe?

The Soaking of Grains Investigated

By Sue Becker

 Since 1992 I have been teaching others the health benefits of freshly milled whole grains.  I have heard literally hundreds of testimonies of improved health, from minor issues to life threatening ones.  What a confirmation these testimonies have been to the truths that have been taught.

Over the years, though, conflicting messages have arisen from time to time.  When questioned concerning these teachings, I would research each one as to their validity.  Most of the time I found some truth mixed with error.  I chose to answer these questions on a personal level as they arose.  I did not wish to get in a public arena of debate, choosing instead to just let truth prevail, and it always has.  I have watched books, diets and teachers come and go.

However, there is a teaching I feel I must address formally. It is causing quite a stir among those of us who have embraced the lifestyle of milling our own grains.  I have searched, studied and agonized over the subject for the past 4 or 5 years.  My desire was not to prove any one wrong, but I had to know that what I was teaching was correct.  If I was teaching error I had to change.  It is my desire to present to you my findings and let you make an educated decision as to what is correct.

The subject is phytic acid and the sprouting or soaking of grains.  Phytic acid is considered by some as an anti- nutrient component found in the bran portion of all grains and beans.  It is being taught that “untreated” phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption.  It is being said that a diet high in unfermented whole grains supposedly can lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss.  It is also suggested that long term consumption of these untreated phytates may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and other serious adverse affects.

Statements are also being made that imply that grains have always been eaten in their sprouted form and that “our ancestors and virtually all pre-industrialized people only ate grains that were soaked or fermented”.  Nourishing Tradition by  Sally Fallon pg.452

My first thought is, that I see no reference of sprouting grains in the scripture.  Many people refer to Ezekiel 4:9 as the first mention of sprouted bread.  Careful examination of the verse however, gives no indication that the grains are sprouted.  God’s instruction to Ezekiel is to take “wheat, spelt, barley, millet, lentils and beans” and to put them into “one vessel”.  A word study done on “one vessel” showed that it means exactly that – one container.  I do not see any indication of sprouting.  One must remember that each of these grains or beans was used separately for food, for example barley loaves or spelt bread.  The instruction to Ezekiel appears clear to me.  God did not want Ezekiel to make a variety of breads out of the individual grains, but one bread out of the grains combined.  Individually, grains and beans lack certain necessary amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.  However, when grains and bean are combined, they perfectly complement each other, forming a complete protein.  In a long term fast, much body mass is lost due to a lack of nourishment, particularly protein.   When grains or beans are sprouted some protein is lost.  I believe this bread was not sprouted, and the incredible supply of complete protein and other nutrients perfectly nourished Ezekiel for over 400 days!

It is taught by some that grains were harvested differently in Biblical days than now.  This is Jordon Rubin’s best argument as to why there is no evidence of the sprouting of grains in the Bible. The teachings of Dr. Edward Howell are quoted and embraced as truth by both Sally Fallon and Jordon Rubin.   “Dr. Howell noticed that the old harvesting techniques helped preserve and enhance the nutrition value of the grain.  After cutting the mature grains in the field, farmers would gather the stalks and loosely bind them upright in sheaves and let them stand overnight in the field before threshing them (or removing the grain from the grass stalks) the next day.  This allowed the grains to germinate or sprout”The Maker’s Diet by Jordon Rubin pg.139 (emphasis mine).  The premise is that this “germination” or sprouting of the seed in the field broke down the “harmful” phytic acid naturally so that no further soaking of the grain was necessary.

Dr. Howell’s statement is so simplistically wrong I truly thought I was missing something!  No seed can begin to germinate or sprout and then be stored.  The sprouting process can not be put on hold.  It is like being pregnant – you are or you aren’t.  If you are, you can not put it on hold and save the baby until you are ready for it.  That baby will continue to grow until it is full term.  It is the same with seeds.  Once the sprout is formed, a full grown plant is going to develop.  If seeds were allowed to sprout, they could not be stored, resulting in no seeds for next year’s crop and no food for the winter. 

Germination of the seed does indeed stimulate phytase activity.  Phytase is an enzyme that breaks down phytic acid and that allows the release of stored mineral which the new plant needs for growth.  Normally these nutrients are stored securely inside the seed until it germinates.  The fermentation process of yeast triggers this same activity and causes phytase to transform non-usable minerals into digestible ones.  These minerals include phosphorous, zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron and copper.  Without proper fermentation, these minerals remain inaccessible to your body.  Allowing bread to rise for several hours before baking insures maximum nutritional value and the release of these stored nutrients.

I checked with the owner of one of our grain elevators on grain harvesting procedures.  The owner had just returned from Ethiopia.  It was harvest season there.  He assured me that the primitive methods used for harvesting grain in Ethiopia today were the same primitive methods for harvesting grain used for thousands of years.  The cut wheat was tied up in bundles, because it is easier to pick up a bundle than an individual stalk.    The seeds must be fully dry at harvest time or they will not store!  It is not desirable for the grain to get damp; therefore, it is harvested as quickly as possible.  The only difference in modern methods of harvesting is that machinery is used to perform the tasks.  The last thing any farmer wants is for the grain to get damp!

 “Like snow in summer and rain in harvest so honor is not fitting for a fool.” Proverbs 26:1  Amp. version

 “Is it not wheat harvest today?  I will call to the Lord and He will send thunder and rain; then you shall know and see that your wickedness is great which you have done in the sight of the Lord in asking for a king for yourselves.” I Samuel 12:17 Amp. version

Moist grain at harvest is a curse from God, not a benefit!

The History of Bread Making and Natural Leavens

Since I first began this journey of making my own bread, from freshly milled grains, the history of bread making has fascinated me.  I have read many books and articles on the subject.  I have never read anything to document the statement about our ancestors and “virtually all pre-industrialized people” soaking their grains.  In preparation for writing this article I have spent even more time searching out and reading articles on the internet on the history of bread making.  Again I found nothing on soaking or fermenting grains historically.

I think perhaps there is some confusion with the yeast “starters” that required an over night soak.

Prior to the availability of commercial yeast, bakers, as well as, homemakers had to “make” their own starter.  I found two recipes for starters in a cookbook that was printed in 1901.  The cookbook belonged to my husband’s great grandmother and was a “Careful Collection of Tried and Approved Recipes” compiled by The Ladies Aid Society.  I figure that would date these recipes in the 1800s.

Organisms needed to leaven bread dough could be “caught” from the air.  Equal parts flour and milk were mixed together to form a smooth batter.  The raw milk, unlike today’s pasteurized milk, would supply the lactic acid bacteria.  The mixture was allowed to set uncovered for several days to catch various organisms from the air.  Once the growth of the yeast and bacteria made a nice bubbly mixture the “starter” was ready and could be used for making bread.  The day before making bread, this starter was mixed with equal parts flour and water or milk and allowed to soak or “sponge” for 24 hours or overnight.  The next morning a portion of the starter was saved and stored in a “yeast pot” (mentioned in the book of Exodus) for future use.  Flour, sweeteners, oil and salt were then added to the rest of the sponge to make the bread dough.  The dough was kneaded then shaped into loaves and allowed to rise for several hours.  The entire amount of flour used was not soaked or allowed to ferment, only what was necessary to make their yeast.  These starters are a mixture of yeast and lactic acid bacteria.  The yeast does the leavening and the lactic acid bacteria gives the bread a sour flavor, hence the name sour dough bread.  These “starters” are often referred to as natural leaven since the yeast is considered wild and caught from the air.  To say that natural leaven is not yeast is incorrect.

The strains of commercial yeast used today were isolated, as microorganisms were discovered, and grown for commercial use because of their hardiness and viability.  It was more practical for bakers to have yeast readily available.  I enjoy the flavor of sour dough and first learned to make bread using a sour dough starter.  But I enjoy the convenience of bakers yeast and see no difference in the method of bread making through out history and the way I make bread today, except that I do not have to grow my yeast.  I incorporate the yeast into my dough, just as has always been done, except that my yeast is in a dry form and not from a starter.  I do, of course, lose the sour flavor contributed by the lactic acid bacteria.

Through out history many civilizations have indeed had numerous fermented foods as part of their diet.  The fact that many ancient cultures ate a fermented bread of some sort, however, does not mean that all bread has to be fermented.   Just because one culture eats a fermented cabbage food, known as sauerkraut, does not mean that all cabbage has to be fermented.  Yogurt is a fermented dairy food; does that mean all milk has to be fermented?  Certainly not!

One must remember that the fermentation of foods was chiefly a preservation method.   Fermenting grains also offered a variety of texture, flavor, and aroma.   Years ago, sweeteners and flavoring were not as readily available to the common people; therefore, grains or flour and water were often allowed to ferment overnight to give the bland “bread” some flavor.  The dough was then fried or baked.  Fermenting grains does indeed break down some of the protein, which is not necessarily advantageous.  In fact, a nutritional study done on Ogi, a fermented African corn bread, showed that there were considerable losses in protein and calcium during the fermenting of Ogi.  Researchers found that “the biological quality of Ogi was so poor it did not support the growth of rats”! (History of Fermented Soy Foods, Special Report by William Shurtleff)

Common breakfast cereals, such as oats were often soaked overnight.  Before the process of rolling oats came along to shorten the cooking time, oat groats could take several hours to cook to obtain a nice creamy texture.  Soaking the groats overnight shortened the early morning cooking time.   Our ancestors were logical people.  To imply that they soaked or fermented grains because of some innate sense that it was more nutritious is sheer speculation.

Phytic Acid – Friend or Foe?

Phytic acid’s “chelating” ability is considered by some to be a detriment to one’s health.  On the other hand, many researches embrace this ability to bind with minerals as its most powerful asset.  In her book, Diet for the Atomic Age, Sara Shannon, lists 11 nutrients in particular that protect against heavy metal toxicity and radiation damage.  Phytates bind with radioactive and toxic substances and carry them out of the body.  Aware of phytic acid’s mineral binding properties, Shannon states that an adequate diet will more than compensate.  One must also remember that whole grains themselves are an abundant source of iron, calcium, and zinc.  After extensive research, Shannon found that the more toxic our environment becomes, grains are our best source of protection, particularly due to the phytate content.  She believes that “for optimal health, at least half of every meal should be grains”. Why would one want to denature something that is so beneficial?   In fact, a supplement company is actually isolating this “powerful antioxidant” because of its anti-tumor, anti-carcinogenic, and blood sugar regulating properties!

Studies show that phytic acid, particularly from wheat bran, actually stimulates the productions of phytase in the small intestine.  The fact that phytase can be produced in the small intestine eliminates the necessity of fermenting all grains before consuming them, as in the case of unleavened breads, quick breads (that do not use yeast as a leavening), and parched or boiled grains.  Phytase activity in the small intestine actually increased, not decreased, the absorption of minerals, especially, calcium.  (Journal of Nutrition 2000:130: 2020-2025).  Over the years we have seen numerous people healed of life long anemia issues after they began grinding their own grains to make their bread.  How could this be if phytic acid in the bran kept iron from being absorbed?

Other studies have also shown that this increase of phytase activity, stimulated by phytic acid, offered significant reduction in the formation of cancer cells in the colon.  This anti-carcinogenic protection was also attributed to phytic acid’s mineral chelating properties.   If phytic acid strengthen and protects the colon, how could it cause colitis and irritable bowel syndrome?   Again we have heard numerous testimonies of healing of both colitis and IBS from eating “real bread”.

Phytic acid can be digested by humans and actually releases inositol during the process.  Inositol is a key B vitamin necessary for the metabolism of fat and cholesterol.  Whole grains are a valuable source of inositol, as well as choline and lecithin, which are also important in the break down of cholesterol.  This may explain why so many people have reported a significant reduction in cholesterol levels once they began making their own bread from freshly milled grains.  Inositol is also an essential nutrient in reducing depression.  Again I ask – why would we want to denature this valuable nutrient?

One should really wonder why whole grains and phytic acid were “picked on” at all.  Why not oxalic acid?  It is a mineral chelator found in spinach, chard, cranberries, almonds, rhubarb and other vegetables.  Should we quit eating these healthy foods as well?  Sally Fallon encourages the use of flaxseed for its rich source of fatty acids, stating that it is low in phytic acid.  Yet sources that herald phytic acid as a nutrient, give wheat bran and flaxseed as the richest sources.   Does soaking the grain over night actually denature the phytic acid?  Not from what I have read.  Only about 10% of the phytic acid is broken down in an overnight soak and that is not enough to make a significant difference.

Is There a Place for the Sprouting of Grains?

Absolutely!!  In fact I got very excited as I began to study this.  Of the many essential nutrients needed by your body to promote health and life, there are only four nutrients deficient in wheat, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D and the amino acid lysine.  When grains and beans are sprouted, there is some loss in protein, but vitamin A content increases by 300% and vitamin C by 500%.  In fact sprouted grains were used on long ocean voyages to prevent scurvy.  Limes, and lemons would eventually rot, but the storable grains would last the duration of the voyage and could be sprouted at any time. Sprouted grains can also be more easily tolerated by those who can not digest gluten.

As our food supply gets more and more contaminated and manipulated – our fruits and vegetables are radiated and picked long before ripening, animals are fed antibiotics and hormones that then show up in our meat and dairy products, genetic modification is being done to much of our food supply – we can become very discouraged and left with very few safe food options.

Grains, however, do not have to be radiated to be made storable, they are not fed antibiotics or hormones, and organic grains are not genetically modified.  From all of this, I see the hand of a wonderful Creator that made a perfectly storable food, which can be ground into flour to make delicious breads of all sorts and to obtain two of the missing nutrients one can then sprout the grains.   Grains, as I see it are our most reliable food!

The Attack on Bread – God’s Perfect Provision

For a long time I have been very concerned as I have watched bread be attacked from every direction.  The “low carb” diet propagated the myth that bread will make you fat.  Gluten is treated like some evil substance, found in bread, when in fact it is just the protein portion of the grain, with specific health benefits.  This is not to negate the fact that some people have serious physical issues with gluten.  But the problem is not with gluten.  If so, why is corn such a common allergen?   It has no gluten.  What about milk?   These are all wonderful foods that God has given us that are now thought of as unhealthy when in fact we are the ones who are unhealthy.  We lack the ability to digest these foods properly.   Now presently grain is bad because of some mold on the wheat and phytic acid in the bran.  What next?

I believe that the day has come where God is going to use sickness and disease as a powerful evangelistic tool.  As God’s people we must prepare.  As we turn to His ways of eating, always letting His word be the final authority, we will see our health return.  As those around us become sicker they will look to us for answers.  As we share truth for physical health, we will be sharing truth for spiritual health.  But if deceptive teaching can prevail and convince the world that bread is bad, then why would any one want the Real Bread of Life.  Deceptive teaching is a powerful tool of the enemy. We must pray continually for wisdom. None of us is above being deceived.  In fact as I have struggled with the validity of this teaching, the Lord spoke this scripture to my heart:

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? … Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to obtain your goal by human effort: Galatians 3:1 NIV version

I do not wish to be either foolish or bewitched.  James 1:5 tells us that if we lack wisdom we are to ask God who will give it.

Throughout the Bible, bread is considered a symbol of healing or the presence of God.  Jesus compared Himself to bread because bread, made from freshly milled whole grains is life giving and life sustaining. As the days become more and more evil, Jesus will be attacked in any and every way.  If the life giving bread to which Jesus compares Himself, can be brought into question, then the very name of Jesus and His saving power can be more easily discredited as well.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this article should be construed as medical advice.  Consult you health care provider for your individual nutritional and medical needs.  The opinions are strictly those of the author and are not necessarily those of any professional group or other individual.

This article is re-printed here with permission.

I am so thankful for Sue Becker’s research and careful analysis of this “grain soaking necessity”.  Though gluten and my body do not happily co-exist together, I believe many who read my blog are able to consume gluten and I would like to free them from an unnecessary burden – soaking grains.

There is another reason I believe this article is important.

Preparedness.

In a TEOTWAWKI situation, you might find it expedient to soak your grains overnight to save cooking time, water, and fuel.  These three (among others) will be precious commodities when the grid goes downMany other times you will NEED to prepare a meal quickly, and may not have had the time to start soaking something for the next day’s meals.  Or the dog, or mice or other vermin might have gotten into your grains soaking on the counter – or tent floor – or vehicle dash – or….

Then there will be the times of necessity when you are out gathering fuel, water or whatever it is you need and have to take some kind of food with you.  You will NOT be soaking your grains on the go!

Please, don’t saddle healthy homemakers and preppers with a false sense of guilt if they don’t (unnecessarily) soak their grains!

Blessings, ~Mrs. R (aka Aunt Mae)

Vision Forum Gift Certificate Give-A-Way!!

I just got this in my inbox and HAD to share with you all…

Vision Forum has offered Generation Cedar three incredible gift certificates to give away to Generation Cedar readers!  There are three gift certificates in this drawing: $300, $200 & $100!

You already know I love Vision Forum products.    As a homeschooling mom it is difficult to find good Christian books to challenge Arrow’s mind & faith.  That is one reason I am a Vision Forum affiliate.  No revisionist history here!  Sound science materials… oh I could go on and on.  what could be better…?  Getting them for free with a gift certificate AND in time for Christmas gift giving!!

Hurry… contest ends December 3rd!

Did you see this years catalog??  I LOVE Vision Forum Catalogs… well and not “just” for the spectacular covers either!  LOL

Some of my favorite Christian books and materials from Vision Forum:

Jonathan Park Series - excellent creation materials!

Poems for Patriarchs & Verses of Virtue – but you already know how I love poetry!  :-)

Commemorative Calvin Commentary Set – ON SALE!  23 volumes in all, includes Calvin’s Institutes at a price that CAN NOT BE BEAT!

To Have & To Hold – the Patriarch is reading this aloud to us in the evenings right now and we LOVE it!  We keep begging for “just one more chapter”!!

Complete R. M. Ballantyne collection – Arrow got this for Christmas last year and he loves them!

There are many other resources that I also love… but I can save some of those for a different blog post!  :-)

Blessings,  ~Mrs. R

Almond Fig Scones – Gluten & Dairy Free

This month’s Gluten-Free Ratio Rally – Scones – is being hosted by Lauren over at Celiac Teen, go there to see all the other great recipes created for this rally!

I had so much fun playing with scone ratios!  After I had a ‘plain classic “cream” style’ scone I started thinking of a myriad of ways to flavor them. There were so many choices floating in my head that I was starting to have trouble sorting them all out!  My very first thought was a Matcha Green Tea & Apricot Scone.  But after the Japan nuclear disaster I didn’t think a ‘green’ scone was going to be wildly popular.  The green color just might make one think of radioactive nuclear waste… which seemed off-putting to me.  So off to the drawing board I went.  I do think my original flavor combination will be quite good, but maybe at another time.  :-/  Say next March perhaps??

In looking around in my cupboards I saw a bag of dried figs and thought I would use them.  So I started by chopping them into small bits, a medium to small dice in chef speak!  OK, major flavor chosen, what would go well with figs?  Ah yes, almonds!  So I chopped a few of them with my handy dandy chopper.  Oooo, and maybe some lemon zest too!  There seems to be a lemon zest thing going on here at this blog…

Note to self:  use a new cutting board for photos.   Sorry y’all!

Almond Fig Scones – Gluten & Dairy Free

scone ratio 3 flour: 1 liquid: 1 fat: 2 egg

2 oz each potato starch and quinoa flour

3 oz sourghum flour

2 & 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 TBSP evaporated cane juice

1/2 tsp Pink Himalayan salt

2 oz Earth Balance (soy free) buttery spread

2 oz cashew cream

2 large, pastured organic eggs

zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds

1/4 cup small – medium diced dried figs

2 tsp coarse raw sugar and lemon zest, set aside

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Measure all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.  Whisk them together.  Measure the fats into the same bowl.  With a pastry blender, 2 knives or a kitchen aid mixer, cut the fats into the dry ingredients until they resemble coarse crumbs.

Measure the liquid into another bowl or measuring cup.  Add eggs and mix together.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Beat on medium high for 5 minutes.

Add in lemon zest, chopped almonds and figs.  Stir to incorporate in the batter.

Scrape into a greased pie plate.  For some reason this scone “dough” was very wet and loose.  To to make them not flat as pancakes I baked them in a pie plate.  Worked out GREAT!  Sprinkle coarse raw sugar and lemon zest on top.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Do not ever bake.

These scones were so good.  They were reminiscent of a fig newton.  It has been so long since I have had one of those… I used to love those little cookies.  Eating them as a scone was a real treat!!

I did try one other ratio for scones.  But I didn’t like the texture of those.  They were more like a piece of cake than what I have some to think of as a scone.  There was no way to hold one of those in your hand to eat it.  The taste was good, but when you have come to expect a certain texture in a particular baked good, it is disconcerting to have it seem like something else altogether!  So… when you are looking for a gluten free scone recipe you first need to determine what kind of scone texture you want the end result to come out like.  Then, knowing ratios, you will have to examine the recipe to see if it is more cake-like or biscuit like.  All the scones on this blog will be a rich biscuit like texture.  Just so you know!  :-)

And to think I was afraid of scones… go figure!

Here are links to all the other Ratio Rally Scones!
Amie of The Healthy Apple – http://thehealthyapple.com/2011/05/04/gluten-free-rice-crispy-scones/

Britt of GF in the City – http://www.gfinthecity.com/2011/05/gluten-free-ratio-rally-scones.html

Brooke of B & the Boy – http://bellwookie.blogspot.com/2011/05/coconut-scones.html

Caleigh of Gluten-Free[k] – http://gluten-freek.blogspot.com/2011/05/jam-on-top-or-cream-on-top.html

Caneel of Mama Me Gluten-Free – http://mamameglutenfree.blogspot.com/2011/05/savory-jalapeno-cheese-scones.html

Caroline of The G-Spot – http://thegspotrevolution.com/?p=3228

Charissa of Zest Bakery – http://www.zestbakery.com/ingredient/almond/amaretto-soaked-cherry-and-almond-scones/

Claire of Gluten Freedom – http://www.thisglutenfreelife.org/2011/05/ratio-rally-strawberry-banana-scones.html

Erin of the Sensitive Epicure – http://thesensitiveepicure.blogspot.com/2011/05/millet-scones-gfree-rally.html

Gretchen of Kumquat – http://kumquat-blog.blogspot.com/2011/05/gluten-free-ratio-rally-maple-oat-nut.html

Irvin of Eat the Love – http://www.eatthelove.com/2011/05/spotlight-on-savory-green-garlic-bacon-thyme-scones-with-white-pepper-maple-glaze-gluten-free-ratio-rally

Jeanette of Jeanette’s Healthy Living – http://www.jeanetteshealthyliving.com/2011/05/glutendairyegg-free-coconut-pineapple.html

Jenn of Jenn Cuisine – http://jenncuisine.com/2011/05/banana-apple-and-currant-scones-gluten-free

Karen of Cooking Gluten-Free – http://cookingglutenfree.com/2011/05/gluten-free-ratio-rally-oat-scones-with-currants/

Kate of Katealice Cookbook – http://katealicecookbook.com/2011/05/01/cinnamon-fruit-scones/

Lauren of Celiac Teen – http://www.celiacteen.com/2011/scones-ratio-rally/

Lisa of Gluten-Free Canteen – http://glutenfreecanteen.com/2011/05/01/gf-ratio-rally-bisconies-actually/

Lisa of With Style and Grace – http://withstyle.me/2011/05/04/gf-lavender-earl-grey-lemon-scones

Marla of Family Fresh Cooking – http://www.familyfreshcooking.com/2011/05/02/avocado-scones-vegan-and-gluten-free-recipe/

Meaghan of Wicked Good Vegan – http://www.thewickedgoodvegan.com/2011/05/04/gf-scones/

Melanie of Mindful Food – http://mindfulfood.blogspot.com/2011/05/hazelnut-cream-scones-with-blackberry.html

Meredith of Gluten Free Betty – http://glutenfreebetty.blogspot.com/2011/05/cinnamon-raisin-scones-for-gluten-free.html

Mrs. R of Honey from Flinty Rocks – http://honeyfromflintyrocks.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/classic-cream-scones-gluten-amp-dairy-free/

Mrs. R of Honey from Flinty Rocks – http://honeyfromflintyrocks.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/almond-fig-scones-gluten-amp-dairy-free/

Peter and Kelli of No Gluten No Problem – http://noglutennoproblem.blogspot.com/2011/05/gluten-free-ratio-rally-mesquite-scones.html

Sea of Book of Yum – http://www.bookofyum.com/blog/may-ratio-rally-gluten-free-classic-dairy-free-scone-recipe-6823.html

Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef – http://glutenfreegirl.com/gluten-free-scones/

Silvana of Silvana’s Kitchen – http://silvanaskitchen.com/2011/05/gluten-free-pecan-streusel-scones-with-cinnamon-drizzle

Tara of A Baking Life – http://abakinglife.blogspot.com/2011/05/gluten-free-ratio-rally-ginger-scones.html

TR of No One Likes Crumbley Cookies – http://tcrumbley.blogspot.com/2011/05/gluten-free-cinnamon-pecan-scones.html

Wendy of La Phemme Phoodie – http://laphemmephoodie.com/2011/05/red-velvet-scones-for-the-gluten-free-ratio-rally.html

Winnie of Healthy Green Kitchen – http://www.healthygreenkitchen.com/coconut-raisin-scones-gluten-free-and-vegan.html

Blessings,

~Mrs. R

Classic “Cream” Scones – Gluten & Dairy Free

In working with the Ratio Rally, our baking ratio project for this month is scones.  But Rhulman does not have a ratio for scones.  I tried emailing and facebook messaging him but he directed me back to The Gluten Free Girl.  No one else seemed to know what ratio to use and an internet search turned up… nothing…  so…

I took the standard recipe for biscuits and scones from my trusty 1962 copy of Joy of Cooking and worked out a ratio mathematically!  My engineer father would be so proud.  :-)

An English scone is different than an American scone.  The American version is less tender and more dry.  The “Joy of Cooking” says that scones are a richer biscuit with the addition of cream and eggs.  Mrs. Rombauer is definitely talking about American scones!  This is the kind of scone I have always made.  I have to tell you that scones are the one gluten free baking item I have been the most afraid of making.  In my gluten baking days I was locally famous for my scones.  Would I even be able to duplicate those?

1962 Hardback Copy

Biscuits

2 cups flour, ¼ cup lard, 2/3 – ¾ cup buttermilk, NO egg, salt, baking powder, sugar, soda.

Rhulman’s ratio for biscuits is: 3 flour: 2 liquid: 1 fat: 0 egg

Scones

2 cups flour, ¼ cup butter, 1/3 cup cream, 2 eggs, salt, baking powder, sugar

Ratio I came up with: 3 flour: 1 liquid: 1 fat: 2 egg

This month’s Gluten-Free Ratio Rally – Scones – is being hosted by Lauren over at Celiac Teen, go there to see all the other great recipes created for this rally!

My Basic Scone Ratio Recipe – Gluten Free & Dairy Free

2 oz each brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, sorghum flour

2 ½ tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt, 2 TB sugar

I added 1 TB ground flax seed (my own addition)

1 oz palm shortening, 1 oz earth balance buttery spread, I would have used all earth balance, but in my excitement I forgot…

2 oz cashew cream

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Weigh out the flours into your mixing bowl, then add all the other dry ingredients and whisk them together.  Then weigh the fats into the same bowl.  Cut in the fats with a pastry blender, 2 knives or a kitchen aid mixer until it looks like course crumbs.  I used my kitchen aid mixer.

Weigh the cashew cream into another bowl or measuring cup & add eggs, mix them together.  Add them to the dry mix.  After completely mixing the wet & dry ingredients together, beat it on medium/high for an additional 3 – 5 minutes.

Spread the dough on a baking sheet or stone into a ¾ inch high circle.

Basic Scone Dough - Side

You can skip the divot I made in my “circle”.  :-)  Bake for 15 minutes.

Basic Scones

  Cut and eat!

Arrow ate one then came and asked for seconds saying “these are so good!”.

These scones are good.  They are rich and dry like my gluten scones.  Slathered   with Earth Balance (soy free) buttery spread and strawberry jam… what’s not to love!  I look forward to playing with other flours and even trying to use ghee for that rich buttery flavor.  But that is for another day…

Here are all the links for the Ratio Rally Scones!
Amie of The Healthy Apple – http://thehealthyapple.com/2011/05/04/gluten-free-rice-crispy-scones/

Britt of GF in the City – http://www.gfinthecity.com/2011/05/gluten-free-ratio-rally-scones.html

Brooke of B & the Boy – http://bellwookie.blogspot.com/2011/05/coconut-scones.html

Caleigh of Gluten-Free[k] – http://gluten-freek.blogspot.com/2011/05/jam-on-top-or-cream-on-top.html

Caneel of Mama Me Gluten-Free – http://mamameglutenfree.blogspot.com/2011/05/savory-jalapeno-cheese-scones.html

Caroline of The G-Spot – http://thegspotrevolution.com/?p=3228

Charissa of Zest Bakery – http://www.zestbakery.com/ingredient/almond/amaretto-soaked-cherry-and-almond-scones/

Claire of Gluten Freedom – http://www.thisglutenfreelife.org/2011/05/ratio-rally-strawberry-banana-scones.html

Erin of the Sensitive Epicure – http://thesensitiveepicure.blogspot.com/2011/05/millet-scones-gfree-rally.html

Gretchen of Kumquat – http://kumquat-blog.blogspot.com/2011/05/gluten-free-ratio-rally-maple-oat-nut.html

Irvin of Eat the Love – http://www.eatthelove.com/2011/05/spotlight-on-savory-green-garlic-bacon-thyme-scones-with-white-pepper-maple-glaze-gluten-free-ratio-rally

Jeanette of Jeanette’s Healthy Living – http://www.jeanetteshealthyliving.com/2011/05/glutendairyegg-free-coconut-pineapple.html

Jenn of Jenn Cuisine – http://jenncuisine.com/2011/05/banana-apple-and-currant-scones-gluten-free

Karen of Cooking Gluten-Free – http://cookingglutenfree.com/2011/05/gluten-free-ratio-rally-oat-scones-with-currants/

Kate of Katealice Cookbook – http://katealicecookbook.com/2011/05/01/cinnamon-fruit-scones/

Lauren of Celiac Teen – http://www.celiacteen.com/2011/scones-ratio-rally/

Lisa of Gluten-Free Canteen -http://glutenfreecanteen.com/2011/05/01/gf-ratio-rally-bisconies-actually

Lisa of With Style and Grace – http://withstyle.me/2011/05/04/gf-lavender-earl-grey-lemon-scones

Marla of Family Fresh Cooking – http://www.familyfreshcooking.com/2011/05/02/avocado-scones-vegan-and-gluten-free-recipe/

Meaghan of Wicked Good Vegan – http://www.thewickedgoodvegan.com/2011/05/04/gf-scones/

Melanie of Mindful Food – http://mindfulfood.blogspot.com/2011/05/hazelnut-cream-scones-with-blackberry.html

Meredith of Gluten Free Betty – http://glutenfreebetty.blogspot.com/2011/05/cinnamon-raisin-scones-for-gluten-free.html

Mrs. R of Honey from Flinty Rocks – http://honeyfromflintyrocks.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/classic-cream-scones-gluten-amp-dairy-free/

Mrs. R of Honey from Flinty Rocks – http://honeyfromflintyrocks.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/almond-fig-scones-gluten-amp-dairy-free/

Peter and Kelli of No Gluten No Problem – http://noglutennoproblem.blogspot.com/2011/05/gluten-free-ratio-rally-mesquite-scones.html

Sea of Book of Yum – http://www.bookofyum.com/blog/may-ratio-rally-gluten-free-classic-dairy-free-scone-recipe-6823.html

Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef – http://glutenfreegirl.com/gluten-free-scones/

Silvana of Silvana’s Kitchen – http://silvanaskitchen.com/2011/05/gluten-free-pecan-streusel-scones-with-cinnamon-drizzle

Tara of A Baking Life – http://abakinglife.blogspot.com/2011/05/gluten-free-ratio-rally-ginger-scones.html

TR of No One Likes Crumbley Cookies – http://tcrumbley.blogspot.com/2011/05/gluten-free-cinnamon-pecan-scones.html

Wendy of La Phemme Phoodie – http://laphemmephoodie.com/2011/05/red-velvet-scones-for-the-gluten-free-ratio-rally.html

Winnie of Healthy Green Kitchen – http://www.healthygreenkitchen.com/coconut-raisin-scones-gluten-free-and-vegan.html

Blessings,

~Mrs. R

Gluten-Free Ratio Rally – Muffins – Lemon Lavender

This month’s Gluten-Free Ratio Rally is being hosted by Silvana over at Silvana’s Kitchen, go there to see all the other great recipes created for this rally!

Baking by ratio is using  specific proportions of flour:liquid:egg:fat so we can easily turn out consistent gluten free baked goods that also do not require any of the odd-named gums found so frequently in gluten free baking and elsewhere.  This month’s “ratio rally” is quick breads or muffins and the universal ratio for them is 2 parts flour, 2 parts liquid, 1 part egg and 1 part fat.  2:2:1:1 for the mathematician in me.

I have been reading about baking by weight of ingredients on The Gluten Free Girl & The Chef.  It made a lot of sense to me, but I had not broken down and tried it myself.

Why?  Habit, laziness, fear, intimidation, unfamiliarity with the new, comfort with what I know, or a combination for the above…?  So when this ratio rally was proposed I thought, hey why not join and see what’s with this ‘newfangled’ way of baking… if I was a complete dud no one would know.  I had always associated weighing my ingredients with professional chefs and culinary schools.  But I am not a professional chef and I am not taking classes at a culinary school!

So here I am.  With fear and trembling, mixing spoon in hand and my scale at the ready.  I mean really, there are some “big names” involved with this ratio rally thing.  They have cookbooks in bookstores, on Amazon and everything.  Some of those cookbooks are on my cookbook shelf in my simple kitchen!

Oh my what am I doing here…  [gulp]…

How do I go about ‘creating’ a recipe?  I have never done anything like that in my life!!  OK, to be honest I did.  Once.  It was not pretty… or edible.  Follow a recipe, that I can do.  But make my up own??  So like my writing I let it all bubble in my head and prayed for creativity from the Lord.

I had the skin of two lemons left over from the lemon sorbet I made the previous week.  I needed to use them, ah I could do something with lemon zest!  I really like lemons zest.  It is such a bright, fresh scent and flavor.

I even used to wear a lemon scented perfume as a young woman… um… in the 70’s.  Yes the 1970’s.  Yes, that makes me… old.  I do like it here in my early 50’s.  I wish I could remember the name of that perfume… the memory is the first thing to go, I forget what goes after that…

But lemon muffins?  That seems so ordinary.  I wanted something a little different.  Then I thought of pairing the lemons zest with the lavender buds I have.  I really like lavender.  Hm, I am liking this!! Off to bake my first batch to see what tweaking the recipe might need.  Or would I need to go back to the ‘drawing board’??

What flours would I use?  Well, I have this bag of millet flour that I only have a little bit left of, let’s start with that.  And I have a 25 pound bag of brown rice flour & a 50 pound bag of sweet rice flour so I KNOW I will use them.  Part of the prepping thing, buy in bulk and save money in the long run.  What else, oh, I like sorghum flour and I have been trying to use coconut flour for its high fiber and detoxing qualities.  I knew I didn’t want to use too much coconut flour as it tends to make everything so dry and have that stuck to your throat quality.

Flours – check.

What could I use for the liquid?  Well I could use the kefirs I have been playing with or make a ‘buttermilk’ out of the coconut milk beverage.  I made three different batches.  Mostly to tweak the spicing and moistness of the finished muffin.  One batch I used the coconut milk beverage “buttermilk”.  Another batch I used cashew milk kefir.  The last batch I used almond milk with a splash of orange juice.  They all turned out well.

Liquid – check, check and check.

Baking by ratio and weighing my ingredients is surprisingly easy.  Yes easy!  On top of that I only have to dirty the bowl I mix in and the measuring cup for the liquids.  I could have even dispensed with a separate container for the liquids, but wanted to play it safe.  No wide array of dirty measuring cups.  Clean up was such a breeze!  A major plus for me.

I can also see additional benefits when making muffins.  My stoneware muffin pan holds 12 muffins.  I could easily halve the measurements of all the ingredients and make 2 different flavors in one baking.  If I mixed the eggs together and weighed them each out into four equal portions (very easy with a scale!) I could make 4 different flavors of muffins in one baking.  Or 3 flavors.  Ah the possibilities!!

Lemon Lavender Muffins with Lavender Sugar – the ratio way

from the kitchen of ~Mrs. R at Honey From Flinty Rocks

1 ½ oz brown rice flour

2 oz sorghum flour

2 ½ oz millet flour

½ oz coconut flour

1 ½ oz sweet rice flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ of a ripe banana

6 oz coconut milk beverage

2 oz orange juice

4 oz grapeseed oil

½ cup raw honey

½ teaspoon lemon flavoring

2 large, pastured organic eggs

1 teaspoon organic lavender buds

zest from one organic lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin pan.

Weigh out the coconut milk beverage, orange juice and grapeseed oil into another bowl or 4 cup measuring cup.  Add the honey, lemon flavoring and eggs.   Stir together.  Add the lavender buds and lemon zest and set aside.

Weigh out each of the flours into a mixing bowl, add the baking powder and whisk together. Push the dry ingredients to one side of the bowl. Mash the ½ banana with a fork against the side of the mixing bowl.

Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir to combine completely and so there are no banana lumps remaining.

Fill muffin cups 2/3rds full.  Sprinkle with lavender sugar made with 1/8 cup course sugar and ½ – 1 teaspoon lavender buds.

Bake for 30 minutes. They are done when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let muffins rest in the pan for 5 – 10 minutes. Remove from pan and eat.

Store leftovers in an airtight container on the counter for a couple of days. Or in the freezer.

Makes 12 muffins.

[I didn't have time to go to the store today and pick up the coarse sugar, so I used what I had, but the final presentation would have been better with the course sugar as it doesn't melt when subjected to heat.]

I like muffins.  With the right ingredients they are healthy.  They travel well.  Are tasty.  Freeze well.  Make a great addition to the Patriarch’s lunch.  And a tasty, healthy treat for Arrow and me at tea time.

Shh, don’t tell them that I consider these muffins to be “nutrient-packed, muffin-shaped vitamins”.   It’ll be our secret… ok?

A big thank you to my church family who is my ready-made tester group.  Many of whom are gluten free.  Thank you  to Mrs. L who ate 4; Mrs. N who is not gluten free yet ate 1 and took some home; Mr & Mrs OB gluten free caterers and extraordinary cooks and bakers who’s judgment & candor is so appreciated.  Special thanks to the lovely young ladies Miss P and Miss Y.  Coarse Lavender Sugar Topping, brilliant.  A truly terrific finishing touch.  Your culinary expertise helps raise my simple muffin above the kitchen counter and into the tea room!

Blessings,

~Mrs. R

USDA Certified Organic’s Dirty Little Secret: Neotame

Yet another horrible food additive that people wouldn’t eat if they knew it was in their food!  Read about it here:

USDA Certified Organic’s Dirty Little Secret: Neotame

via USDA Certified Organic’s Dirty Little Secret: Neotame.

Snow and Snowmen

I have always loved the snow.  I grew up in northern “flyover” country where it snowed every year and I could pretty much count on snow being on the ground at Christmas time.  And it would be there for a long time… you know, until spring!  lol

Now I live in the Pacific Northwest region where snow is not even an every year occurrence.  When it does snow here, where the cities don’t have any snow removal equipment, the traffic is a snarly mess.  I have learned that, though I took my driver’s test in the snow… 34 years ago… you don’t drive in the snow here!  The un-removed snow packs down on the roads with all the cars driving on it, making it a sheet of ice.  Then you have all the hills round about.  Put those two things together and driving is treacherous.  And most of those on the roads think they are good drivers, but in actuality they are NOT!  Yikes.

I do still love the snow.  It is so quiet when it has snowed.  The ground is blanketed with a fluffy (or very wet…) intricate quilt of whiteness.  All the sounds are dampened, making everything still and peaceful.  And my yard actually looks great covered in snow.  You can’t see the weeds or the bare patches.  It’s all uniform and smooth.  Ahh.  ‘Twould be SO nice would it were so.

Did you know that a single snowflake is an intricate specimen of exquisite symmetry and stunning beauty?  And that there are no two snowflake duplicates?  So no snowflake twins anywhere.  How amazing that the Lord of Creation would put such beauty in microscopic details!  I like to think of snowflakes as ‘snowmen embryos’.

I love watching the snow fall.  And I used to love how the falling snow looked from inside a moving vehicle.  Even now I get an excited feeling when I watch the snow fall.  Maybe this stems from childhood memories of blizzards, hugely tall piles of snow along the streets, snow forts, ice skating rinks in the backyard and snowmen.

putting on the details…

Arrow’s Snowman

These photos are of Arrow’s Thanksgiving snowman.  Yesterday another snowman was built, but the warmer air caused that poor fellow’s upper two thirds to slide and then fall over sideways!  And he fell over before I could get a photo of the guy.   All the “details” are from a ‘Snowman Kit’ I purchased from Land’s End a number of years ago.

One thing I try to do is decorate our family dinner table in fun ways.  Not every meal, but for a fun change.  I have purchased paper plates with snowmen on them (and other designs) and then use those under clear glass plates.  It makes the table festive, yet frugal since I can re-use the decorative paper plates!  We also have some napkins (I have used only cloth napkins for nearly thirty years) and napkin rings with snowflake designs.  I will try to get photos of these and put them into this post.

We enjoy reading books and poems that pertain to the season, weather event or holiday at hand.  Here is a short list of some we really enjoy reading & looking at when it has snowed:

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

 

The Snowflake by Kenneth Libbrecht

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn and Mark Buehner

‘Snow-Flakes’

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
Even as our cloudy fancies take
Suddenly shape in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart doth make
In the white countenance confession,
The troubled sky reveals
The grief it feels.
This is the poem of the air,
Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
Now whispered and revealed
To wood and field.
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‘The Snow That Never Drifts’

by Emily Dickinson

The Snow that never drifts –
The transient, fragrant snow
That comes a single time a Year
Is softly driving now –

So thorough in the Tree
At night beneath the star
That it was February’s Foot
Experience would swear –

Like Winter as a Face
We stern and former knew
Repaired of all but Loneliness
By Nature’s Alibit –

Were every storm so spice
The Value could not be –
We buy with contrast — Pang is good
As near as memory –

_______________________________________________

‘A Little Snow Was Here and There’ by Emily Dickinson

A little Snow was here and there
Disseminated in her Hair –
Since she and I had met and played
Decade had gathered to Decade –

But Time had added not obtained
Impregnable the Rose
For summer too indelible
Too obdurate for Snows –

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‘Snow Flakes’  by Emily Dickinson

I counted till they danced so
Their slippers leaped the town,
And then I took a pencil
To note the rebels down.
And then they grew so jolly
I did resign the prig,
And ten of my once stately toes
Are marshaled for a jig!

______________________________________________

‘Winter Morning Poem’
Winter is the king of showmen,
Turning tree stumps into snow men
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over the lakes.
Smooth and clean and frost white
The world looks good enough to bite.
That’s the season to be young,
Catching snowflakes on your tongue.

Snow is snowy when it’s snowing
I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going.

by Ogden Nash

What books and poems do you like about snow and snowmen?

Enjoy the snow!

Blessings,  ~Mrs. R (aka Aunt Mae)

This post also linked here:

A Spectacular Fall Day

Having a sunny fall day may not be all that unusual for many areas of the country.  Here is the Pacific Northwest a sunny day after mid September is very unusual!

Most days you can not see that there is any mountain anywhere nearby, but today… WOW!

Mount Rainier

PSALM 148

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his hosts!

Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!

Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!

Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and maidens together,
old men and children!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his saints,
for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the Lord!

We took advantage of the beautiful sunny afternoon to visit a local pumpkin patch.  These visits have become one of our fall traditions that “Arrow” looks forward to all year.  We have visited many of them over the years.

picked over pumpkin patch

This particular one had added some new features since we were there a couple of years ago.  The courtyard area was now covered in beauty bark and they installed two new play structures for the children.  Added to that there was 5 or 6 photo ops set up!  Very nice indeed.  Arrow’s favorite photo ops were the ones with the antique trucks.

one of the photos ops…

We do not participate in Halloween, but go to the pumpkin patch as a celebration of the change in seasons, and the cool weather that allows me to wear… sweaters!  Though today a sweater was not necessary.  Our one rule is that you must be able to lift  whatever pumpkin you choose by yourself.  “Arrow” met his match today!

“Arrow’s” Acquisition

When The Frost Is On The Pumpkin

by James Witcomb Riley

WHEN the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it’s then the time a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.
 
They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
But the air’s so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.
 
The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover overhead!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.
 
Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps;
And your cider-makin’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!…
I don’t know how to tell it—but ef such a thing could be
As the angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me—
I’d want to ‘commodate ‘em—all the whole-indurin’ flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock

A simply lovely day.

Blessings,

~Mrs. R

Broken Arm Blessings – Casting Call

We continue with our mini series on “Broken Arm Blessings” here with this newest installment.  In case you missed them, you can read part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here & part 4 here.

“Breaking” Update… … … … …

This just in from our roving reporter in western Washington…

At my post surgery appointment today, the splint I received in the operating room was removed.  I got to see my “pins”… but they aren’t “pins”, they are half penny nails!  OK, so they aren’t quite that big, but I’m sayin!  Of course I took pictures.  :-)

Rdius Holding Pins or Medieval Torture Device

They also washed my arm!  WooHoo!  I didn’t scratch… it would have only created a desire for more scratching, so I resisted.  Yes, I did touch, OK I tapped one of the ‘nails’ sticking out of my arm. Shhhh, no medical personnel were present in the room, don’t tell!  I did ask about ‘any tips’ to wash away the “ORANGE” disinfectant they liberally covered my arm with for surgery on August 5th.  No such luck, it’s long lasting stuff, it’ll have to ‘wear off’ with time.  From just below the elbow to my fingertips I am ORANGE (as seen above).  I have scrubbed my exposed fingers as much as possible and was ‘successful’ in removing only ‘some’ of the color.  And I keep scrubbing… though there is only so much ‘scrubbing’ one can do on an injured appendage so that there is no pain.  When they removed my splint the pins were already ‘stuck’ in the gauze.  It was removed without incident, but I knew I could feel it ‘getting stuck’ and attempted to ‘unstuck it’ multiple times each day since surgery.  It’s all better now and the doc said it all looked good!  What pain I felt ‘rearranging’ my splint caused NO problems.  Phew.

I now am in a full cast, which is light blue in color.  Um, medical folks listen up… 50 year old, conservative ladies DO NOT wear hot pink, bright lime green, cobalt blue, lemon yellow, bright red, construction orange or black casts!!  I mean puul-eeease!  And those of you know me, you KNOW I don’t look good in white!!  Where’s the classy cream/ecru or tan colored cast material??  What about a sweet, delicate pink??  None, so that left baby blue.

Baby Blue Cast & Casted Thumb

The post-surgery splint made my thumb go to sleep on the underside.  Well, almost asleep it was slightly numb feeling, yet maintained good color & circulation.  Partly this could be from how I was holding my arm/hand.  Whatever it was, this one doesn’t seem to do that quit as much.  There’s still a little, but if I ‘exercise it all’ it helps.  I basically ‘activate’ the muscles in my forearm, tense & release the thumb muscles, and straighten & bend the fingers.  I also try to move the shoulder & elbow as much as possible to encourage lymphatic flow.

On the way home we stopped at a dollar store to buy cheap socks & I tried to pull a sock over my cast.  I finally figured out how to wiggle that sock on over the cast.  The casted thumb makes for a really wide area to get a sock to just ‘slip over’. The cast material is, for obvious reasons, quite hard.  The end of the ‘cast material strip’ is hard with pokey bits.  A cast covered by a sock has the added benefit of making it softer to the touch and no poking areas, plus covered there won’t be any bits sticking out to snag my clothing made out of more delicate fabrics or that have delicate laces and trims.  Another benefit to a ‘covered’ cast… well then I can make sure my purse, shoes & cast match of course!  LOL  [I'd ROFLOL, but rolling on the floor is an unapproved activity right now...]  Or at least have this hardened appendage coordinate with my outfits.  No ‘clashing casts’ for this woman!

Light Lime Green 'Cast Cover'

Pretty spiffy don’t you think?!!  The other ‘cast cover’ was a medium rose pink.  Though I didn’t get any photographs of it.

Blessing List:

1) the dollar store has cheap-o socks to cut up and use for something other than a covering for the feet.

2) that the dollar store had two sock colors that coordinated with the majority of my clothes.

3) for cell phones with cameras!  That is how I got the picture of the “half penny nails”!

4) for modern medical technology – x-rays, pins to hold bones in place, pain medication, homeopathy remedies, casting material even if it isn’t in classy colors!

5) my dear husband who put my waist length, curly hair up for me every night for bed and then differently for the daytime

6) the wonder of our bodies and our ‘healing mechanism’!  That one thing puts the lie to evolution.

More to come!

Blessings,

~Mrs. R