Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Joyous Home Community

Hello all!

Summer seems to finally be here in Colorado, which means that we are busy with not only business, but also getting our garden moving for the season. Our seeds are just sprouting, which is hard to think of when some of you have had gardens going for three months now!

If you've been by our website, you've seen that we have completely redone it. We have tried to make it a little more interactive than the old site, and we are really happy with our specific new feature- our Joyous Home Community!

It's only been up for a couple of weeks, and we are slowly filling it up. It's been a lot of fun so far =) We are planning on spending more time over there than on Facebook or even here on the blog, so if you would like to be in on what we're doing, come on over, we'd love to have you join us!

We have quite a few groups started already, ranging from embroidery, sewing and smocking to whole grain baking, homeschooling and homesteading. We are adding videos as we do them too! You can start discussions to ask and answer questions, load photos of what you're doing in your daily homemaking and more.

Another new feature we are trying out (Mom and I like this one!) is the chat box on the side of the website. You can view our chats without being a member of the community, but to chat with us you have to sign up. We are seeing a lot of people viewing this, but we are encouraging everyone not to be shy and say hi!

Come on over, join us and see what we're doing! ~Joyous Home Community~

Happy June! ~*~Jessica~*~

Monday, April 26, 2010

Homemade Ranch Dressing

If there is one thing our family eats a lot of, it's salad. We eat salad up to four times a week with dinner, not counting what Mom and I consume for lunches. That adds up to a lot of salad dressing consumed as well! There are only a few different dressings we like, ranch is on top. We usually buy the bulk size mix at the store, but that's proving a little pricey with how much we use of it.

The other night we were completely out of mix, so I opened the cabinet and made my own. The result was so yummy (the kids were licking their plates), I don't think we are going to be buying the mix again.

The recipe I originally concocted in my head included fresh parsley and chives. The refrigerator was not stocking those ingredients at the moment, but I've added them to this recipe anyways. If you don't have either of those two ingredients either, don't worry, the dressing was delicious without them!

Ranch Dressing

In a large glass measuring cup add:

1 cup mayonnaise
2/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. dill weed
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. apple cider vineger
3/4 cup milk

Happy Monday! ~Jessica

Monday, April 12, 2010

Popcorn Balls

I made these yummy treats a week or so ago, and we loved them! They taste like rice crispy treats, except with fluffy popcorn. We love rice crispy treats, but rarely buy the rice crispies part, so we seldom make them. These are a delicious substitute! (especially since we buy popcorn kernels in 50 lb. bags!)

For this recipe we popped a little over 20 cups of popcorn. I have especially been loving making popcorn since I got a Cuisinart popcorn maker ;) You only need 1 tsp. of oil per 1/2 cup of kernels.

In a pan, melt 1 stick of butter.

Add 2 10oz. bags of marshmallows (large or mini, doesn't matter)

Cook and stir over low heat until the mixture is smooth and creamy (don't boil, you'll have rubbery popcorn balls!)

Pour over popcorn

Butter your hands lightly and mix together until every piece of popcorn is coated =)

Have the children butter their hands, and pull off small apple-sized pieces of popcorn and gently squeeze into balls.

Place on parchment paper to dry for 1 hour. Yummy!

They certainly didn't stick around long...

Many blessings on your Spring! ~Jessica

Monday, March 29, 2010

Making Wheat Bread in the Bosch Universal

I thought I would post a tutorial on making wheat bread in the Bosch using the Nutrimill for freshly milled grain. As a note, you can make this with Spelt, just follow the kneading times at the end. Spelt develops very quickly!

Let's put the Nutrimill together. The Nutrimill is a high impact mill. It has adjustable speeds and the hopper opening is adjustable from finer to coarse, so you can mill large grain, such as field corn or beans. The bucket can hold 20 cups of flour. The extentsion goes on top of the hopper and put the filter on top of the lid.

The separator cup snaps under the lid. Don't forget it or the mill will blow flour!
Snap the bucket in.

Fill the hopper with grain.

Leave about 1/2" headspace at the top of hopper. If you mound the grain up it will blow flour because you'll be overfilling it.

We set the mill to the 'r' on finer and leave the speed between high and low. Here is where you can really adjust this mill. If you were milling large beans or field corn, you would turn it to low and the hopper dial to coarser. This would slow it down and open the hopper all the way.

This mill can be turned on and off during milling if necessary. After the hopper clears the pitch will change to a higher pitch. I let this run about 20 seconds to clear the milling heads. Pull the bucket out and tap the lid to get the flour off from underneath. Set aside for a minute. *Storage* You can store milled flour in the freezer for 4 weeks. Whole grain flour starts to go bad fairly quick. It must be kept in the freezer to maintain it's nutrients. Remember you are getting the whole grain, germ oil and all!

Get your Bosch together! The column in the Plus is removable which is great. The bowl is so easy to clean this way. Put it all together, column in from underneath and snap in place.

Put the dough hook on and you're ready! As a note, if the blender cover is not on, the mixer will not run. This is a safety precaution. I also leave my mixer unplugged until I'm ready to stand there and make my bread. The hook would surely break a little hand!

The recipe:

Add 6 cups of warm water to the bowl. To this add 3 Tbsp. of dough enhancer. Dough enhancer helps to keep the bread soft and keep it from being crumbly. In addition, some like to add powered gluten. I have not found this necessary unless I'm mixing low or no gluten grains with my wheat such as rye or millet. Hard wheat, Kamut and Spelt are all high gluten grains.

We use SAF instant yeast. Add 2 1/2 Tbsp. to the bowl. We used to add this directly on top of the warm flour, but we noticed it doesn't make a difference, so right to the warm water is fine with SAF. Just be sure the water isn't too warm, because the flour is warm also. Some brands of yeast don't have temperature tolerance and too warm of water could kill the yeast.

Add 1/2 cup of grapeseed oil. You can also use olive oil or vegetable if you don't have grapeseed. Jog a bit to mix.

Add 1/2-3/4 cups of honey. Jog again.

We are making a sponge. This will sit for 15-30 minutes before we add the entire amount of flour. Add 5 cups of your warm flour and jog a bit more to smooth it out.

Here it is, ready to bubble for a bit. The sponging really does help the softness of the finished bread.

Put the cover on and let sit for up to 30 minutes. Don't go far, it could bubble up and out so keep close and jog down if necessary. Put the salt next to your mixer so you don't forget it!

It only took 10 minutes for it to foam up and bubble this high. Jog down and watch it bubble away!

Time for the salt! We use Real Salt, a natural mineral sea salt. Add 2 Tbsp and jog in.

Now it's time to start adding the remaining flour. The mix is still bubbling! You'll add 1-2 cups at a time, jogging down each time. You are going to need anywhere from 10-13 cups more of flour. There has never been an exact science! The humidity seems to greatly affect the addition of flour, so we watch for signs that it's enough.
Start adding and jog down!

This is my mix (below) after adding 10 more cups of flour! So that makes it 15 total so far. This is what I call the chunky look. It's about now that I usually need 2-3 more cups of flour.

2 1/2 cups of flour on the above picture and it's starting to clean; after a few more jogs:

You can tell it's enough. The dough should be tacky at this point but not totally come off on your fingers, not gooey! I'll start my 5 minute time for kneading; use speed 4 for a full load like this. You can also use spelt for this recipe, but only knead 3 minutes and then check the gluten. Spelt develops fairly quickly!

Checking the gluten. Grab a little and pull upward to see if you can get a nice stretch without tearing the dough. If the dough tears, you'll need to decide if you over kneaded or under kneaded. You must be careful with spelt, so if you timed it exactly at 3 minutes, give another 40-50 seconds. It should come out fine at 5 minutes for wheat. Over kneaded dough cannot be fixed. Let it rest for 5 or 10 minutes if you'd like.

Get your pans ready by spraying them. We use Vegalene. I use 10" bread pans so I get 4 big loaves of bread. If you use 8" pans you may get 6 loaves.

Dump the dough out on an oiled counter, not a floured counter. It should come right out, the bowl totally clean. Cut the dough into portions with a knife depending on your pan size. Don't pull and stretch the dough too much. Take one portion and shape into a loaf.

Pull the ends to the middle and roll under.

Tuck it under nice and smooth.

A nice rolled and tucked loaf.

Place in sprayed pans.

Let rise till double. Set the oven at 350 degrees. It usually only takes 25 minutes for them to double. Cover with a nice bread cloth while rising. I set them close to the oven for more heat. You only rise once! That is the beauty of the Bosch. It's so powerful you cut out the need for a second rise (sponging helps too). Do not overproof. Once you can set your finger in and the dough springs back with no indent, they are done rising. Place in the oven for 26-28 minutes. They are done when they are brown and sound hollow when tapped.

Yummy homemade whole wheat bread! You can store your bread in bread bags in the freezer for 3 weeks. We don't normally store them for more than 1 week with our size family. But if you leave them on the counter for more than 3 days, they will start to go stale.

Hope this tutorial was helpful!
Happy Baking, Theresa

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Outlandish Teachings

This is worth sharing. This is from "A Lamp for My Feet" by Elisabeth Elliot. In light of some "new" things happening in the government, should it replace our peace? NO. The one thing we can be sure of: Jesus is the same, today, tomorrow, forever. Theresa

Outlandish Teachings
There is no end to the new methods offered for success, self-realization, fulfillment, understanding, and happiness. Seminars, conferences, and workshops abound. Go to so-and-so, get counseling, a new exercise program, a new diet, another degree, job, husband, house, color scheme. If it's new, it's good.
Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. "Do not be swept off your course by all sorts of outlandish teachings; it is good that our souls should gain their strength from the grace of God" (Heb 13:8,9 NEB).
Fixity of heart is a rare thing and probably always has been. It is easier to follow after the world in its futile pursuit of happiness, simply because we are like sheep and we go astray. To stay quietly by the Shepherd seems harder, but in the end we find there (and nowhere else) our soul's real strength.
Pascal wrote, "I have discovered that all the unhappiness of man arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber." Try spending a half hour in a room alone, without music, without television, without even reading. Can you find any peace or happiness there? If not, perhaps you have not begun to learn what is truly important.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Where Did We Go?

We're still here!

In my last post, the moving truck was sitting in the driveway in Michigan and we were packing like mad to come home. Home we have been, and happily so. Everything is back in the old places again, and we are so thankful for God's grace in letting us come home to Colorado.

We have not abandoned blogging, but have taken a very long break from most internet activities. We needed a rest, but are slowly getting things back in order. The Holiday issue that has been so severely delayed will be heading to the printer shortly, and we will be so happy to have it out! We have had many trials these past few months and we are so grateful for all of you who have been so gracious and patient with us. All of your loving comments and emails have been a tremendous blessing.

Currently this week, websites are being cleaned up and consolidated for this fresh year! Mom and I are going to be doing new things, hopefully more online classes and of course we have already started our new quilt block membership for 2010.

As soon as the magazine is off to the printer, I will be fixing the blog, so you will see us more often around here! Some changes are up, but we are excited about them, so be on the lookout for what's going on!

A few pictures.. =)

Christmas picture =)

Sanni and Evie's Christmas dresses.. awww. I love Evie's hair up like that, what a peach.

School days..

No picture post would complete without a sweet picture of Evie Loo and all her sweetness. =)

May God's blessings be you, ~*~Jessica~*~
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