Wednesday, January 30

Wordless Wednesday - sulking at Shul

This is what happens on a snowy afternoon at Shul when little girls are told they can't play outside.

Tuesday, January 29

Pumpkin Apple Struesel Muffins

These muffins are an old favorite that I recently revamped.  They are a real favorite here .  I make them as full size muffins rather than mini-muffins so they make a full meal.

2.5 c Flour
2 c white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 can pumpkin puree
1/2 c apple sauce
2 c finely chopped apple. 

Preheat the oven to 350.  Lightly grease a muffin tin
Sift together dry ingredients including sugar and spices.
In a mxing bowl, whisk together egg, apple sauce, and pumpkin.
Add flour mixture.  Stir just until combined.
Stir in apples.
Fill muffin tins.
Bake 35-40 min.

Monday, January 28

Menu Planning Monday - 17 Sh'vat

I have the winter blues and am struggling just to make the bare minimums this week.  No sense of adventure or desire to experiment. This week I promise to try baking something new.  

Sunday - pulled chicken, tatortots and peas
Monday - Tofu Stirfry, rice and keem
Tuesday - sandwiches on the road, carrots sticks and granola bars
Wednesday - Chili, chips, and salad
Thursday - Leftover buffet
Friday - Challah, mandu, miso soup, asian slaw, sweet salmon, rice, bok choy, molasses cookies, chocolate cookies. and apple breakfast bread

Thursday, January 24

Uncle Moishy!!

Awhile back, I asked Ms. G if she had any of the music from her youth she would be willing to share with Froggy.  She said it is all Uncle Moishy.  Today we listened to one of his new albums.  Froggy is thrilled. Even if it is not the same songs Ms. G sings when she visits, Froggy likes that it is new fun music and that the concepts are ones she knows.  Her favorites are The Food Song and When Moshiach Comes.

Froggy does not remember but I tried to introduce her to Uncle Moishy a couple of years ago and she hated it.  I don't know if it is an increased understanding of the topics and Hebrew or the recommendation from Ms. G that help her enjoy it now.  And I don't care.  I am just glad she likes it.

Wednesday, January 23

Recipe Redux - Snowball Cookies

I originally posted this recipe over 4 years ago.  I dug it out of the archives and realized it needed a major overhaul.  The recipe is super simple and is fun to make with kids.  Froggy and I made a batch of the revised recipe today.  She unwrapped all the kisses and shaped the cookies.  These cookies are good cold but even better warm.

Snowball Surprise
Great recipe to make with children

1 cup butter softened - the butter is a key ingredient to this recipe. You can taste the difference in quality so don't skimp.  We tried it with Coconut Oil, Crisco Sticks and Earth Balance.  It is by far better with the Earth Balance. 
1/2 cup powdered sugar plus extra for dipping
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup flour
Chocolate Kisses

Preheat oven to 350. 
  1. In a large bowl beat butter for 30seconds.  
  2. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat in Flour.
  3. Shape 1 teaspoon of dough into a ball.  
  4. Press a kiss into the ball and enclose the chocolate in dough. Repeat with remaining dough. 
  5. Place balls on ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 12-14 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer to wire rack and let cool.
  7. Roll slightly cooled cookies in powdered sugar. 

Monday, January 21

Menu Planning Monday - 10 Sh'vat

See and until I actually thought that I would get to cook tons this week.  It is more but still less than usual.  

Monday - Arrive home late
Tuesday - Beef Barley Soup
Wednesday - Taco, rice and beans
Thursday -Sheppards Pie
Shabbos - Challah, Gefilte fish loaf, Minnestone Soup, orange chicken, roasted red potatoes, green beans, chocolate mousse pie, snowball surprise cookies
Shabbos morning - apple cinnamon donut holes

Thursday, January 10

New Classes

This semester Froggy is participating in some new homeschool classes on a school campus.  Several friends have strongly recommended this program.  But it is expensive and did not fit our schedule in the past so we have been reluctant. But we finally bit the bullet and registered.  Yesterday was the first day.

Her first class is Beginning Chess.  These are drop off classes so I don't get to see what goes on inside and only get Froggy's recap as my information source.  She was so eager going in.

Her second class is "Space Adventures"  According to the syllabus, much of the information covered will be review for Froggy but I think the experiments will be fun for her and a good learning experience.

I did not hear anything about either class during the afternoon, only about the kids  in class with her.  But when Abba came home she could not stop bouncing with excitement.  Apparently she wanted to tell us together.  She gave the most amazing spontaneous narration about the history of chess and how each piece can move and what their points are.  I have played chess but did not know half the stuff she told us.  They did not get to touch any pieces during the class and Froggy did not seem bothered by that in the least. 

Tuesday, January 8

Meet The Artist - Van Gogh

Around Thanksgiving, we purchased several tracks of Meet The Artists.  There was a special through the Homeschool Buyers Coop. 

Our first artist is Vincent Van Gogh.  The introductory lesson portion is entirely online.  Froggy and I went through it together today.  I learned as much about how to teach the lessons as she did about Van Gogh and his painting styles.  We closely examined several of his paintings including Self-Portrait, Sunflowers, Starry Night, Peach Trees in Bloom.  The theme of the lesson was texture and each painting was chosen to highlight some mechanism of showing texture.  Froggy had some issue with the Peach Trees in Bloom.  She vehemently disagreed with the description of the texture provided in the lesson.

Part two of the lesson was two worksheets which help the student investigate how to create different textures.  We had some technical difficulties with the printer which delayed this segment.  When I finally got them printed Froggy just about burst with excitement at the opportunity to do them. 
 The final part of the assignment was to create your own "Starry Night".  Froggy did not want to follow the process laid out in the text but she still wanted ot make her own version.

Monday, January 7

Menu Planning Monday - 25 Tevet

Review - We tried so many new things this week. The good thing about that is that it means we have tons of success.  The Asian Slaw was super easy and super yummy.  The Butternut Squash soup needs some help still.  The cinnamon apple cake was a ton of work and turned out yucky.

The Lasagna was a tremendous success due to our newest discovery, dairy free Ricotta.   I made a huge 13x9 pan full and our little family of 3 managed to eat the whole thing in about 2 days.  Previously we had foregone lasagna because the grownups being used to the dairy version were not willing to eat the Froggy-safe stuff. This time we did and enjoyed it.

The chocolate moouse cups that formed the basis for our Shabbos dessert were a phenomenal hit.  Froggy and I had as much fun making them as we did eating them.  I used a pudding/whipped cream mixture as the filling and painted parve chocolate on the molds.  Froggy got to fill the cups using my new decorator tool which was easy for her to handle.

Sunday - Fish ala Jenn, Rice, peas
Monday -Pasta with garlic bread and salad
Tuesday - Dinner out
Wednesday - Crockpot Beef Stew with egg noodles and salad
Thursday -Leftover buffet
Friday - Challah, Guacamole,Hummus,Gefilte Fish Loaf, Soup??,Orange Chicken, Smashed potatoes, Broccoli, Blueberry crisp with parve icecream per Abba's request.

Sunday, January 6

Recipe Redux - Butternut Squash Soup

For Shabbat, I am debuting a new soup.  I love squash soup but have yet to make a really good version myself.  This week I took a few different butternut squash soup recipes and created something personal.
First thing I did was roasted the squash in some spple cider and brown sugar.  The smell coming out of the oven was amazing.  I think if I had served the squash straight out of the oven it would have been devoured.

Next I sauteed 1 large onion with some olive oil and ~ 2 Tablespoon curry powder In a large stock pot until the onions were translucent.  Add 2 cups vegetable stock.  Bring to a low boil.  With a slotted spoon, transfer squash to stock pot.  I used my immersion blender to puree the squash in the stock pot.  Combine pan drippings and apple cider up to 2 cups.  Add to stock pot along with nutmeg and ginger.  Bring everything to a low boil.  At this point I needed to adjust the seasonings to my family's particular tastes. The recipe called for hot sauce and I left that out.  I did add some salt.  It also called for heavy cream which I left out. 

The recipe still needs some tweaking.  It was too sweet by the time it was finally served.  I think I will change the proportions of apple cider to stock to 1:2 instead of 1:1 and try it again.

New Orders

Many of Froggy's friends have rejected the Burgess Animal Book as being too boring and "teachy".  Given that the premise of the book is Old Mother Nature is teaching the little creatures about their relatives and friends.

Froggy, on the other hand, loves this book. She cannot get enough of it.  We finished all of Order Rodentia and started meeting some new friends.  Last week, we met the Order Insectivore which consists of shrews and moles. 

This week, we met Flitter, the Red Bat and his cousins.  Froggy found them fascinating.  Here is her narration of the chapter.  "Flitter the Bat has three really long fingers, as long, as his forearm.  He is super fast and a reddish brown color.  he has three to four babies at a time.  He can't even find where is wife and babies are.  But the babies are find because they are with the mommy who takes good care of them.  He is also called the tree bat because he lives in the tree rather than a cave like most bats."

Bats are part of the order Chiroptera which means "hand winged."  With this new order, I took the opportunity to explain the classification chart to Froggy again.  I think now she realizes that all the orders we are learning about are part of the Class Mammalia which even she is. 

Wednesday, January 2

Happy New Years!

To welcome in the Gregorian New Year, Aunt Petal let us borrow E. for the day.  We went to First Night, which is a family-friendly New Years Eve celebration.  The whole downtown area joins forces to create a special evening.  We started the night with a festive dinner out and then hit the town hard.  First stop was one of the kid play areas.  There was a bounce house but both kids turned it down. 
 Instead they chose to play carnival games.
 And get their faces painted.  E. chose a sedate mustache and stopped there.  Froggy got a palm on a deserted island and then kept going back for new designs until she ran out of space.
 Next up was a fun magic show that was the absolute highlight of the evening for E.
 There were lots of venues playing music and we hit a couple of them But the kids only chose to dance at this outdoor stage where the music was only in their heads.
 We actually stayed up until midnight and were able to enjoy the finale fireworks.  2012 was such a sad year.  It felt good to welcome 2013 with my two favorite children.