Food

DSC_0210Here’s one of my recently purchased books. I love buying books and cookbooks on healthy eating. Ellix Katz is the King of Fermentation as Sally Fallon puts it. This book is an exhaustive book on fermentation. It is so full of information, recipes and methods, I don’t think I’ll ever get through this book. It’s one of those books you pick up to find a recipe or method but end up reading until you have to put it down to try something else to culture or ferment. I have found that the best foods are fermented… they not only develop healthy enzymes, they develop the most beautiful and complex flavors too. I’ll share some of my little fermenting projects along the way soon…

DSC_0206Speaking of healthy… Actually, I’ve been trying to substitute our Ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips for something without sugar. Homemade peanut butter cups here. For the chocolate I use an unsweetened Ghirardelli 100% chocolate bar and at least the same amount of coconut oil (expeller pressed so it has no flavor or aroma). I melted down and added enough Stevia (Now brand liquid form) to sweeten to my liking. Then I poured half in the pie plate and set in the freezer for 10 minutes and prepared the filling.

I just used a natural peanut butter that has no hydrogenated oils or sugar. I don’t measure so I’m sorry I don’t have the exact measurements. Anyways, just guess at an amount that you  would add to the top of your chocolate when it’s set without being too thick or thin. Add a little butter or coconut oil, some stevia to sweeten… now you’ll know how much to add because when you try the peanut butter you won’t be able to stay away from it. : )  Mix well and spread on set chocolate. You can either let it set in the freezer for 10 more minutes to let the fats solidify or add the rest of your chocolate syrup on top. Let the chocolate set another 10 minutes and you won’t believe how delicious this is.

DSC_0188Pretty big peanut butter cup, huh? By the way… coconut oil has medium chain fatty acids which means that they will  burn fairly quickly in your body. Your body will just convert it to fuel for your body to burn. Butter has even shorter fatty acids which means you will get good energy without the bog down of sugar and your body will burn these shorter fatty acids really quick.

DSC_0040My new version of guacamole. We love guacamole around here. We don’t eat it much due to the price but I have found a way to make it healthier. I used to use a little mayonnaise a few years ago but decided one day to try mixing with olive oil and sea salt. I found it to be the best guacamole I had ever tasted. It is divine. You have to try it. But only use an olive oil that smells and tastes delicious on itself. I buy mine from Azure Standard… Napa Valley Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. We buy a gallon for only $40.00. They usually sell a smaller bottle of it in the health food stores for around $12 or $15. Anyways, it truly makes for a delightful tasting guacamole.

DSC_0035The garlic my neighbor gave me a couple of weeks ago is long gone. It was so good, I had to try it myself. I put it in some apple cider vinegar with a little honey and pickling spice from the health store but it didn’t turn out half as good as what she gave me. I think she bought it from the Farmers Market so I don’t think she has the recipe herself. If anyone finds a good recipe let me know. I haven’t given up though. I may have to do a little culturing.

DSC_0033Kids peeling garlic. They love to peel garlic. Miriam on the right is just eating a pear. You’re too little Miriam!

Mommy

A friend of mine from Iowa (Hi Mary), asked to see some pictures of me.  I guess since I am the one always taking the pictures, there just aren’t too many of me.  I don’t think there’s been one since we lived in Iowa.  Anyways, here are some pictures that I had my husband take of me just a couple of days ago.

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I have just switched to wearing eyeglasses. Well, I am trying to. I bought them from Zenni Optical for $21.00 total and have 2 pairs. I have a strong prescription so it was recommended that I order high index glasses, if you know what that means. I declined as I wasn’t too concerned about them looking thick on the edges. But come to find out,  my vision on the sides is severely limited. So, I am back to wearing my contacts until my new glasses with the thin lenses arrives. Still, a good pair for under $50.00 isn’t bad. This is my granny pair of glasses. I actually think I like the way they look better than the ones down below (that I just ordered). But, they are a bit too wide.  : (  So, it may take a while before I find the right frames… I can always order non prescription to try to find the right frames for under $7.00 in the future from Zenni Optical.

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Second pair….

 What has been going on with me? Well, not the best news… I try to keep these things out of the blog until necessary. Remember Matthew’s gallbladder troubles a year and a half ago? Well, he came home from his surgery then and my gallbladder started acting up. Yes, it’s been going on for a long time. Right now we’re guessing that it’s just sludge as they call it. I haven’t had stones pass yet or I’d be in the pain my husband has been in. I just get bad stomach aches and horrible nausea… Usually it only lasts off and on for a couple of weeks at the most. But, lately it’s been pretty bad and reoccurring more frequently . I’ve been to the doctor about it (last November), but then it went away, then came back over and over again. He shared that the next step they would do is something to do with dye… it is a pretty accurate test and will catch what the ultrasound doesn’t and didn’t. So, Monday I will be calling the doctors to get things moving in the direction of removal of my gallbladder.

I was also recently diagnosed with a hiatal hernia. Most likely from having all these lovely babies. So, my insides just aren’t feeling well these days at all.  : (  Hopefully by Summer, I will be feeling well again as the Summers here are just gorgeous.

So, that’s my personal news. Nothing too exciting….  : )   Things are a bit hard lately with the kids and it’s getting to Matthew and me. The babies want to be held all the time and if they aren’t being held (all 3 of them), they scream!!! The older kids are sweet and great in some areas, but don’t ask them to do a thing or else…. grrrr…… I miss spending quality time with the olders. I was just talking to Matthew tonight about taking the two girls aside once a week to do something “special” together. Make a cake, do some sewing or something else fun. The babies take up a lot of our time and I know that they will be babies for a while yet. The girls are just starting to get older that they could use more personal time with Mommy and Matthew and Leah can be with Daddy during that time while he works up at the barn.

Quiet times… I often contemplate how things have changed since my grandparents walked on this earth. Grandfather born in 1910 and grandmother born in 1914. They passed in 1996 and 2001. I think of where we’re at today compared to where they were and what they saw (though they saw a lot – Depression, grandfather a Sergeant in WWII in the South Pacific). But people were different then. People were different when I was a child. Maybe this is all a common part of aging too. We can’t help but see the differences and either be in joy, peace and comfort about the future for our children and grandchildren or be deeply concerned and somewhat sad. It’s such a age we live in with such change, unstability, detachments and in some cases, turmoil. But, it only draws the Christian to seek the Lord all the more in his despondency about things. And we are able to be united with a few believers here and there in deeper relationships than we could if all was so well. There’s a lot to talk about and pray about amongst each other now, isn’t there?  : )  …. and yet, we go on and plant gardens, raise kids, see kids off and get married and so forth. The human spirit is fragile but yet finds it’s own place and comforts in just living life while things around him continue to change at a disheartening pace.

So, I think I’m getting older. I’ll be 44 on the 10th of this month. I cant’ wait until I’m 60. Though I don’t like where the world is going, I like where I am going and like who I’m becoming (this is a lot to say from someone who hasn’t like herself much of her life). I’m so grateful for my husband and our like mindedness. When the closest and most beloved people to me have come against me, he has given me comfort by guiding me back to how we both see God, the Scriptures and how we are to live life pertaining to them. He is my dearest friend and companion. Our children and their love for me at times, overwhelms me in a good way. They are so dear to me and again, it goes back to my husband. I am so grateful that we are like minded that we can raise our children in unity on the big things. It does wonders for my heart that’s been hurting for years for my older children ages 20 and 25 whom I couldn’t raise the way I wanted to because I didn’t marry unto the Lord.

So while life is still broken from those years before, I have hope in the Lord. I have hope in my future and hope for our children’s future and that no matter how bad things get, the Lord will always gather His people to others who are His for strength and encouragement, true brotherly love and helps.

Thanks for listening…

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Turkeys and Spring Part II

There’s no turkeys here on this post, but since I took the pictures all on the same day I thought I may as well do this one as a part II.  : )  While we are here for whatever time God allows, I may as well share some of the joys of living here.

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You are too cute Elisabeth. No, she isn’t wearing prescription glasses yet. She is wearing my non-prescription glasses I bought from Zenni Optical for $6.95 last month to see if I really wanted to make the switch over. They really do offer prescription glasses for $6.95 on their site. I have 2 pairs on their way for $21.00 total. Anyways, I’ll be taking her in for her first eye exam this year as she’s coming up on 8 years old. I was 8 when I had to wear my first pair. They look so good on you Pup!

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Everyone wearing mommy’s glasses… you all sure look cute!

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This was the lake yesterday… very calm and the pretty green look is starting to reveal itself. It’s just beautiful water to swim in. It has a high amount of epsom salts in it so there are very few mosquitoes here. The light green you see is just clean sand. It’s nice to walk through. I swam and walked a lot last Summer to the point that I lost 30 pounds just having fun.

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Enjoying the pretty view from the deck. I swam across the cove last year, it took a half hour to make it to the other side and back. There were turtles sitting on the rocks on the other side. We’ve had a few out front here as well. We caught one and kept him for the day before releasing him. I’ll make sure we catch another just to take a picture.

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Oodles of kids…. we just thought we would end up with eight, but my body is telling me much different each month. We’re alright with that though. We’re looking forward to getting the last 3 out of diapers. Hmmm, what a nice dream! : )  I’ve been changing diapers since 1988.

Last Summer, I took the kids out on the lake several times with floaties and inner tubes. Elisabeth came close to being able to swim on her own. Maybe this Summer. Another nice thing about this lake is that it is really shallow for a good 25+ feet. We can go away from the shore a ways and it is still only to a bit above my knees. It makes me feel safe in having the kids out in the water with me. The kids aren’t allowed down at the water without us, period. Or they end up having to come into the house. They have been really good about it. With the lake, I am not concerned about there being a problem with the kids. I am more concerned about rattle snakes, bears (yes, they are up here, so we’ve been told), and cougars. Sometimes I wish the kids were just a bit older, I wouldn’t worry so much. Anyways, enough rambling… : )

Baby Turkeys and Spring…

Well things just keep getting better with Spring upon us. It’s nice to get the kids outside – and me outside too. Here’s a few pictures of the past couple of days. I’ll put up the rest of the pictures soon.

 

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Daddy and Matthew

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 Girls having fun…

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 Close sisters…

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 Daddy enjoying being outdoors

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 Matthew being a boy

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Elisabeth’s sweet letter to me. It says, “Thank you for all that you do I love you very much!” Thank you sweetie!

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 Playing with their ponies…

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 The blue carpet  - all gone!

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Some wonderful pickled garlic that my neighbor Carol gave me.  I believe it has a bit of honey in it, it has just the right amount of sweetness to it. I will have to do this myself now as I cannot stay away from it!

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Another gift our neighbor gave to us. I can’t wait to get it going and try it. It is a hearty green herb that supposedly tastes like spinach. It has good medicinal properties to it. Thanks again Carol!!! Again, I just love my neighbors here.

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Pup with a new doll we picked up at the thrift store a couple of weeks ago.

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Baby turkeys. Matthew took the kids out yesterday to pick up some baby chicks at Princes. They only had a few left and they were only straight run, so they walked over to look at the turkeys. They were nearly ten dollars a piece, just too pricey for our liking. One of the employees there, (he suspects to be the manager) happened to be talking with Matthew and the kids. She shared after a few minutes that she wanted to buy the kids some turkeys. Matthew shared that she didn’t have to do that, but she insisted. She bought them 4 baby white broad breasted turkeys (the ones we use to raise) and a bag of feed. What a dear thing for a stranger to do! We have never been in such a community that is so giving – and they give freely here. It brings me such joy to be able to give and exchange here  with little opportunities that come our way. Thank you Sue for blessing us. The kids are surely enjoying the baby turkeys you bought for them.

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 Matthew is in his glory. We are raising them for a couple of weeks in our basement. Keep them nice and warm.

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… and sugar free chocolate. Keeps me away from the sweets and good for you! Black cocoa, coconut oil, cream, a little butter and stevia. I keep it in the fridge. I just enjoy a little spoonful each day.

Goodbye Blue Carpet

The only thing I had trouble with when we moved in here, was the blue carpet. This house is gorgeous and needs to be stripped of all of its extras in order to show its true beauty. We are in the process of laying bamboo flooring down. So far, Matthew has our bedroom closet and master bathroom down. It was the hardest part that required a lot of cutting so the rest of the flooring should go down a lot quicker. I will share pictures of the flooring soon. But for now, this is what we’re walking on now. The plywood even looks better than the blue flooring. It’s so much lighter looking inside now.  : )  And it should help tremendously with the sale of the home. Apparently, people didn’t want to buy the home because of the “blue carpet.” Well, now they will have no excuse.

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 Half of the living room stripped of the carpet. Very few staples… we were blessed.

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Looking good… prepping for the real thing.

With Spring here, I decided to take a few pictures the other day while walking up the driveway towards the barn.

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One of the pretty views up by the barn

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Majestic hills surround us. I wish I could capture just how high up these hills are.

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Looking out from our field from the barn area…

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Look what we have here, a couple of our chickens pecking around the sage brush. This sage brush has such a beautiful, clean, pepperminty type of smell. I rub it between my fingers sometimes.

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Daddy fixing fencing

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Walking on our freshly plowed field. Our neighbor Rosie came by the other day as she offered to plow our field for free. We have some of the kindest neighbors up here. Very giving people up here…. The community is growing on us.

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Hannah banana. You just lost your other front tooth the other day while eating an apple.

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Chops looking cute as ever…

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Our beautiful field that our neighbor so generously plowed for us.

Chickens and kids…

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Daddy prepping things up for Spring…

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Watching the chickens. We now have turkeys but I’ll save that for the next post.  : )

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The lake still frozen the other day here. Today it’s thawed out and everything is blue outside.

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See the green in the lake here? Just wait until Summer, it looks like exotic waters it’s so clear and pretty.

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… and one good loaf of 100% whole wheat bread. Don’t tell me a whole wheat loaf turns out like a brick.  : )