|From Savannah - June 09|
So it's kind of the cooking Olympics this week. My menu this week is going to be whatever I can fling at them after a long day of cooking for Thursday. Pizza on Wenesday is almost guaranteed.
To prepare I spent yesterday following some of Aunty Leila's advice about getting ready. I prepped desserts, I paid my bills, I cleaned my room and I cleaned out the fridge. I will have lots of people in and out of that fridge over the next few days and it was in sad shape. Now it's beautiful.
It's a small thing but I feel better. Today will be focused on thawing turkeys (I have three, tow for roasting, one for frying) and finishing desserts, breads and some sides.
That's four bags of cranberries, that's all done and in the fridge.
I love cooking for Thanksgiving and I am truly thankful for the opportunity to host again after a few years hiatus. I'll be cooking for twenty, not my biggest crowd but a crowd nonetheless.
What are you doing for Thanksgiving? Share you posts in the link below and let's encourage each other in the upcoming cooking marathon.
"Have you ever had the experience of giving a gift and knowing the recipient hated it? Either by the look on the person’s face when he or she opened it or its disregard later? I have, and it’s not a good feeling. I have also been on the other end of the problem."
My article at Catholic Digest
It has been a while since I updated on our homeschool life here. I spend so much time writing about it at the Seton blog and speaking at conferences that I forget to do a nitty gritty kind of post here.
So here's some nitty gritty.
As you may remember our Katie has graduated and is happily attending college in New Hampshire. We miss her like crazy and she will be home for Thanksgiving next week (YEA!) and the kids have a list of things to do with her. She's going to be making lemon squares and playing lots of games according to Bridget.
For right now let's talk high school.
Dave and I are firm believers that high school should be the time the young people explore their interests and talents and try to discern what God has planned for them. College is not where this should happen and, in fact, people should not go to college until they have a clear idea of how college will benefit them in their career path. The world is too full of well educated baristas who can't get jobs in their field of study. We are very open to our children taking a gap year to work if that is needed or to train for a trade rather than waste time and money floundering in college.
We also believe that field of study should actually be something you can make a living doing, no women's studies majors here, thankyouverymuch.
Erin has been kind of easy in this regard since she is a very talented musician. She plays the flute, piccolo, and piano as well as being a vocalist. You should know she did not get any of this talent from me.
So the focus of Erin's high school is music. She is working with her private instructor, with whom she just celebrated a ten year anniversary, toward taking the Music Theory AP exam this spring. She is the first chair flutist at her orchestra as well as being in their majors program asnd the wind ensemble. She plays at church in both the band (piano and flute) as well as cantoring. I have also asked her to teach a twice a week chorus class to her brothers and sisters. She's enjoying doing that and I hope giving paid lessons is shortly in her future. She spends a few hours a day on her craft, it's where her gifts lie and what she is passionate about. We are happy to provide as many opportunities as we can to help her acheive her goal of a music program and someday playing in an orchestra.
Erin is in tenth grade by the school calendar. She is also taking two challenging courses at Homeschool Connections including King Lear taught by Joseph Pearce and The Rending of Christendom taught by Phillip Campbell. She's working hard on both courses and doing well. She recently completed a writing course there as well. Erin finished up her language requirement last year and scored honors on the National Latin Exam (which made us very proud). She's taking a bio class taught at a nearby library with a bunch of other homeschool students. Again, it's a lot of work but she is handling it, not loving it but handling it. She's taking geometry here at home with Teaching Textbooks and doing very well with that as well. All of this coupled with a hefty reading list assigned by me and she's pretty busy.
So that is how high school looks here right now. Erin is our only high school student at this time and her high school is very different than Katie's was, and that is they way it should be as far as we are concerned. Each experienced tailored to help each child acheive their post homeschool goals.
How do you do high school?
Over the last year my dad has been on a mission to declutter his house, see my mom passed away about two years ago and she was a collector of many things. Many, many things. To be honest she was a packrat. A very nice pack rat but a pack rat nonetheless. Whenever I visit him or he visits here he tries of foist off a bunch of stuff I don't want. I did not inherit the pack rat gene you see, but I did, for a long time share my mother's desire to own every cookbook she came across. Dad has been trying to bequeath me the, over a hundred books for a while now and since I have culled my own collection to the bare minimum, I'm not taking them.
For a long time, when I was first married, I loved buying cookbooks and trying new recipes. I would pick one or two in the book try them, maybe make them again, tweaking to suit our taste and on the shelf it would go never to be used again. As the internet opened up and message boards became popular I would find out what other people where reading and cooking and I would have to try it.
See where this is going.
I had some kind of ephipany when faced with several garage shelves filled with cookbooks collected by my mom over a lifetime, some never used. I came home (with her Betty Crocker that she received at her bridal shower, containing many notes in her hand) and tossed, donated or gave away just about all of my own collection. I stuck with what I deemed useful and I have to say I don't miss the ones that are gone at all. Of course, now just about everything you would need is available online, I am a big fan of the Food Network, Paula Deen, and Allrecipes when I need some quick inspiration but I still go to my favorite cookbooks fairly regularly as well. Oddly enough the ones that have proven most useful are two that I received at my own bridal shower given by an aunt who knew what it takes to make a good family cook.
Here is what survived.
Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook which is in its sixteenth edition!
Everything from how to fry an egg to making beef wellington is included in this book and you can't go wrong with the clear directions.
Better Homes and Gardens Old-Fashioned Home Baking. This is now out of print but available for cheap on Amazon.
Another good, basic cookbook for cakes, cookies and breads, it's clearly written and allows for some creativity on the part of the user.
Martha Stewart Cookbook. This too, is out of print but widely available. Martha has a plethora of cookbooks on the market but I have aways liked this one. People are snarky about her (and Paula Deen as well, but we aren't getting into any of that here, thankyouverymuch) but this is another good basic cookbook and she even has a cocktail section!
Readers Digest One Dish Meals. This is out of print (I seem to have been at this a while, all my cookbooks are antiques:)). This book has an entire section dedicated to using up leftovers, including a chart with easy to follow directions. I have used it consistently for over twenty (yikes!) years and it's taped up and falling apart.
Lastly, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. This book is worth the price just to read the chapter on bone broths. Tons of information about nutrition as well as cooking. I love this book,
I also like a few others but I'll leave that for another time. I'd love to hear what your favorite cookbooks are but in the meantime let's get started on the menu plan for the week. Please share your links in the linky thing below and remember to link to that blog post and not the whole blog. Thanks for sharing.
Here's my plan:
Monday: Chicken pot pie (using leftover chicken I've been storing in the freezer)
Tuesday: Meatloaf, potatoes and broccoli
Wednesday: Pancakes, sausage and fried apples
Thursday: Chili (it's going to be a busy evening, they can just serve themselves as they arrive home) and cornbread.
Friday: Pizza night
Saturday: Ravioli and meatballs. The meatballs are already made and in the freezer.
"Here in New York I will, on occasion, look out the window and see a few children out and about on a regular school day. While it would be nice to think there were suddenly a lot more homeschoolers in my area, the explanation is usually a teacher service day.
The public schools give teachers one day a semester to “catch up” on their paperwork, work on their lesson plans, and straighten up their rooms. Now this is an institutional school idea which I can get behind."
It's that time of the year when we start worrying about preventing illness. The flu, enterovirus, rotovirus, and now ebola (although that's incredibly unlikely). Food can play a great part in how our bodies respond to illness and it can also comfort us when we are ill. Eating a good a varied diet can boost your immune system and keep you healthier through the season of germs.
Some immune boosting foods:
Good quality yogurt; make sure it has active live cultures (I use Stonyfield)
Oats and barley: remember the song? Oats, peas beans and barley grow... These grains contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities more potent than echinacea. People whose diet is rich in these fibers are less likely to contract flu viruses.
Bone broths: I have stock pots going all the time in the winter. Beef bones, chicken bones, random bits of veggies are boiled and simmered until all that is left is the nutrition and flavor. The soups made from these bits and pieces are powerful in their nutrition and immune building properties. I find the information in Nourishing Tradtions to be invaluable in making bone broths. The book is a must have in any cooks arsenal.
Garlic: this stinky little veggie contains allicin, which fights infection and bacteria. It has also been linked to cancer prevention, people who have garlic rich diets are less likely to get colon cancer.
Sweet potatoes: Orange, orange and more orange. Orange veggies are rich in beta-carotene which the body turns into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential in producing connective tissue which puts up the "wall" between your cells and bacteria. Sweet potatoes are low in carbs and high in fiber which makes them a great weapon in your food arsenal.
There are many more...
Yesterday I spent some time making medicinal ice pops. No one here is sick (thank you Lord) but it's nice to be prepared. I made some medicial tea, combining ginger, lemon, echinachea and licorice root. I steeped it for about twenty minutes then poured it into two pitchers, into one I added apple cider and the other straight cranberry juice (not cocktail). Then I poured into ice pops. When there are fevers, sore throats, and general achiness these will be cooling and soothing. No need to mention the medicinal value. :)
Let's try to take into account our immune systems when making up our menus this week in an effort to keep healthy.
Here's the plan:
Moday: Roast beef, roasted root veggies, broccoli and foccacia bread
Tuesday: Sandwiches with leftover beef, garlic bread and salad.
Wednesday: Chicken enchiladas.
Thursday: Soup made with the roasted veggies (I'm cooking extra on Monday) and foccacia bread
Saturday: Fend for yourself dad and I are outta here :)
Sunday: Chili and corn bread.
I would love to have you link your plan of the week! Link just that post, not your blog URL and any food related post is welcome. Thanks for joining the fun.
It is absolutely essential that every busy mom (and dad) have a few 15 minute meals in their repertoire. There are days in each week that require some quick thinking and lightening fast meal prep. This is where having the well stocked pantry pays off as well. If you always have on hand the ingredients for a 15 minute meal (which means that every time you shop you buy them) you will always be prepared to get some kind of a meal on the table on busy nights.
My go-to 15 minute meals are the following
Spaghetti and marinara (which is always in my freezer)
Keilbasa and potatoes (sauteed in butter with onions)
Hot dogs and beans (not the most nutritious option but popular)
American chop suey
Grilled chicken breast sandwiches
Pancakes and sausage
None of it is fancy but it is all filling and quick. It can be enhanced by some quickly steamed vegetable or a quickly tossed salad. Even a relish tray.
What are your favorite quick meals?
The plan for the week:
Monday: Salmon cakes and cole slaw
Tuesday: Chicken cutlet parm with pasta and salad
Wednesday: French toast and sausage (unless a better idea presents itself)
Thursday: Taco Thursday (it will be a busy evening)
Friday: Pizza night
Saturday: Pork roast, potatoes, squash and a veggie
Sunday: Chicken soup and homemade bread
Please leave your link to your Monday Menu post below! It doesn't have to be written on a Monday, just share your favorite menu/kitchen post.