Finally I am making time to update here again. It seems to always be on the list of things to do, but I never make it that far! We have lots to share with you about the last month, including some fun pictures, and some not-so-fun pictures.
Levi and I have been working with pattern blocks during his math time. He likes to have free-play time with the blocks much more than he enjoys the lessons I am trying to teach him with them. Once we complete the required work, I let him go to town with the blocks, creating all sorts of fun 'artwork'. Here are a few of his masterpieces:
As we continue the journey towards eating fewer and fewer carbs, I have been able to get creative in the kitchen. The first picture is my no-carb version of broccoli-rice casserole. Instead of using rice, I 'riced' a head of cauliflower instead. Then used grilled chicken and fresh broccoli, topping it all off with some cheese while it was baking. It was a winner for sure...the kids even enjoyed it. Truly, it tastes so close to the real thing, only this meal is guilt free!
This next picture shows my new substitute for pasta...broccoli slaw! I just buy the bags of broccoli slaw, found in the salad section of the grocery store, and sautee it in a skillet with 1/4 cup of water. We put spaghetti sauce with meat over it and it is delicious! I cannot say that it tastes just like the real thing, but it was definitely delicious.
Let me know if you try either of these recipes...I'd love to know what you think!
Also in the kitchen, we decided to welcome fall by making some homemade applesauce. I bought apples and we washed, peeled, and chopped them. The kids helped with all of the prep work, and we had a great time together in the kitchen. Then we just tossed it into the crockpot with lots of cinnamon and a tiny bit of Splenda, and let it cook on low all day. The house smelled wonderful, and the tasty treat at the end of the day was divine! We liked it so much in fact, that the next week I bought 20 more pounds of apples and we have made 2 more pots full of applesauce. They cook down LOTS so don't worry if your crockpot looks full, you won't have much left over. I was hoping with 20 pounds of apples that I would have enough to can some away for the winter, but sadly (or not) it has all been enjoyed. Such a simple treat, and we know for sure what is in the food we are eating! It's a win!
Sorry, no pictures of the finished product, but trust me when I say that it was delicious. To top it off, the chickens enjoyed the leftover peel as a treat! We sprinkle the top of the applesauce with my homemade grain-free 'granola' (only nuts, unsweetened coconut, ground flax, and a bit of maple syrup) and it is a wonderful dessert. Tastes like apple-crisp...yes, it does!
In other news, we had a fire here on the homestead. One afternoon as the kids and I were finishing school and chores, we noticed firetrucks coming through the gate into the pasture...OUR pasture. I dashed outside in time to see the pasture covered in flames. Talk about scary! We had no idea there was a problem, and are so thankful that someone driving by called in the fire. The volunteer fire department here is wonderful, and they were able to get the fire out quickly, but the pasture was charred. From what we can tell, someone flicked out a cigarette while driving by, and it blew into our fence-line where it ignited the fire that quickly spread over the pasture. Thankfully, the chickens all survived the ordeal and were only stressed out for a couple of days. Stress causes the hens to stop laying eggs, so we were glad to see them laying again within a few days. Needless to say, that was a frightening ordeal. I am already a bit paranoid of fire, so this certainly didn't help that, but I was able to sleep that night, which is big for me. I guess it was a stark realization that I am not in control, so I simply turned it over to God and slept well. Here are some pictures of our pasture...
The Lord controlled the fire that day. As you can see, the fire went up to the tree line, but not into the trees and underbrush that we have. That would have been disastrous. We also look for the blessing of the fire, and as the grass regrows there, it will be thicker and greener and more healthy than what burned. A blessing for our chickens as they range and forage out there this winter.
This year Levi's literature centers around the Little House books...specifically the Little House in the Big Woods. We love these books, and have all read them through, but we are enjoying reading through this one again with Levi. Today we made homemade butter, just like Laura and Mary would have made. We had a great time, it didn't take very long, and boy was it delicious! I may never buy store-bought butter again! Knowing now that I can make my own so easily, and know exactly what ingredients are in it (creme and a little salt), why would I ever buy the store butter again?
Levi reading Little House in the Big Woods
When we made the butter I had to get creative. You typically ise a marble inside to help beat the creme, but I didn't have any marbles. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and that is so true around here. I just washed up a couple of Levi's legos and tossed them in. They did the trick!
Thumbs up! It was tasty!
That's all I have time for today...Levi is wondering what we are having for lunch, so I need to get off the computer. I'll update more soon as we continue to enjoy life here on the homestead!