Oranges & Lemons, Say the Bells of St. Clemens, and Tenderfoot Mom!

Winter’s over.  Stop hibernating. Wake up with citrus!! (It may be a bit before your time, but there was an old nursery rhyme, “Oranges and Lemons, Say the Bells of St. Clemens,” that is totally stuck in my head.  I put a link to a kids’ animation of the song below.)

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One of my little artworks 🙂 … A Vicki Noble original on an old book page.

Winding down to the end of these winter doldrums, one might feel depressed, light-deprived,  and generally used up.  My remedy for this “down” feeling is using uplifting scents like the bright citrus notes of orange and lemon.  I put sweet orange and lemon oils in my homemade cleaners, and they help make the job less tedious.

I also love to make citrus-flavored desserts, combining sweetness with the pop of acidity definitely perks me up.  Recently, I have been following a blog that proves itself valuable whenever I peek over at Tenderfoot Mom‘s corner of the internet. She first got my attention with the Ultimate Chocolate Orange Cookies, and now she’s really done it with Luscious Lemon Curd Yogurt Mini Muffins !

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Luscious Lemon Curd Yogurt Mini Muffins from Tenderfootmom.com
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Ultimate Chocolate Orange Cookies from Tenderfootmom.com

Hayley is a creative dynamo and full time mom of two who shares original, helpful information. She shares her interviews (including a great one with Emmy Award winning artist Mark Kistler!), home school ideas and help, giveaways and more.  I encourage you to check out her blog

Here’s that old nursery rhyme I was talking about…

Livening Up Lessons -from Boring to Booyah!

Keeping students’ attention is essential and one of the biggest challenges in teaching.  In our modern time, kids are used to the “ADD-style” media that hits them constantly in short, quick bites of info punctuated with loud noise, fast action, and bright colors.  How to compete? Most times, I just think back to what had caught my attention in the lessons I learned.  The time our science teacher made a giant black carbon snake grow across the lab counter while demonstrating chemical reaction, the model rockets we used to study propulsion and aerodynamics, the string/salt/ice cube trick, blowing up a balloon with a bottle full of warm water, and on and on.  THESE are what teach a great lesson, things that are experiential, memorable, and sometimes (almost ALWAYS) a little messy, and the implied element of danger can also make it fun!

Last week, Lady O was playing with her tablet and reading an eBook about insects.  She was very interested in the Bombardier beetle.

We did a little research and found out that this amazing creature has chambers in its rear that when the contents combine produce a small explosion! Being that Lady O is only 3 and her fellow student V is 5, I had to creatively and safely demonstrate the concept of chemical reaction. I took a 5 gallon bucket and placed it on the floor in front of us.  I took a large zip-lock bag and held it in the center in the bottom, forming two small chambers, one on either side of my hand.  I put some baking soda in one side, vinegar in the other.  Once the kids were “READY!?!?,” I zipped the bag and shook it and tossed it into the bucket.  The bagged inflated and then POPPED as the soda and vinegar bubbled inside. It was loud and seemed  dangerous, so it was super-fun.  Needless to say, the kids now know what a chemical reaction is!!

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I was inspired to post this quickly after reading “10 Ways to Spice Up Boring Homeschool Curriculum” this morning. I see one of the items is to open the day with a read-aloud.  Being mine are little, we sometimes need to shake the ants out of our pants so we start the day with “The Music Shaker.” Our “Shaker” is a big cylinder (you could use anything, even oats container or shoe box) filled with index cards with the names of energizing songs we like on them.  We start each day with our “Music Shaker” with one shaking it, and the other picking, and them ALL of us getting our wiggles out before class begins.  Welcome to Noble Academy of FUNschooling!!

 

My Wonder Coffee (chicory blend)

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A cup of chicory and the flower whose roots are harvested and roasted to brew it.  Photo credit: Kamparin/iStock/Getty Images

I drink a blend of coffee and chicory in the morning.  I add organic unrefined cane sugar, and 1/2 tablespoon cold-pressed coconut oil and whatever milk I’m in the mood for. The chicory is actually good for you, so it helps combat the damages of the coffee, or at least cut it in half!

Here’s my morning “Wonder Coffee”

“Chicory coffee, a coffee substitute cultivated from the Cichorium intybus plant, has historically been used as a medicine for wounds and several health conditions, including diabetes. While not all of its purported benefits are substantiated with scientific evidence, chicory coffee does offer many short-term and long-term potential health benefits. It may protect the body from damage and lower the risk of certain chronic diseases.

Soluble Fiber

Sufficient intake of soluble dietary fiber, an essential nutrient, is associated with reduction of cholesterol and blood pressure, the improvement of healthy gastrointestinal function, and several other digestive and health benefits. According to a February 2010 review by “Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety,” chicory root contains a soluble fiber known as inulin. This fiber protects against the accumulation of free cholesterol and provides other metabolic benefits, such as the promotion of iron absorption. In addition to its use in coffee substitutes, inulin is extracted from chicory for use as a sugar substitute because of its low caloric value.

Antimicrobial Benefits

According to a 2013 review by “Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,” the chicoric acid found in chicory coffee protects the body against bacteria found around the teeth, indicating antimicrobial properties. The same review found that extracts of chicory root have antifungal properties. Additionally, certain compounds extracted from chicory root have antimalarial properties, justifying the historical uses of chicory as a treatment for malarial fever.

Protects the Liver

Chicory consumption may offer protection for the liver, according to a September 2010 study published in “Food and Chemical Toxicology.” At the end of the study, male rats that were supplemented with daily chicory showed modulated levels of total lipids and total cholesterol in the liver. The liver-protective benefits of chicory are partially attributed to its inhibition of free radical damage, an effect of its antioxidant properties.

Antioxidant Properties

Chicory coffee’s antioxidant effects may prevent against thrombosis and inflammation, according to a May 2011 study from “Phytotherapy Research.” Participants who drank 300 milliliters of chicory coffee daily had reduced blood and plasma viscosity after only one week, which researchers attributed to the phenolic content of the beverage. These phenolic antioxidants also fight against free radical damage in the body, protecting major organs and systems from oxidative stress.”

 source: Livestrong.com
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source: Chicory Flower, Petalmist.com

 

Chicory flower is basically a blue flowered perennial. Chicory leaves and roots are used as a vegetable. Its roasted roots are ground and brewed. It possesses the quality of being sedative and has cardio active properties. Chicory’s oligosaccharides are pro biotic and they are very beneficial in maintaining healthy GI flora. Its roasted and ground roots are used as a flavouring agent or a substitute of coffee. This is native to Europe. It is cultivated extensively in Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and in north America as well. Chicory has a long fleshy taproot, a rigid branching and hairy stem that grows to a height of about 3 to 5 feet.

source: Chicory Flower, www.Petalmist.com

When I looked up Coffee vs. Chicory on Google, I was extremely surprised to get this table:

 

Coffee

 

Chicory

Coffee

CoffeeCoffee, decaffeinatedCoffee, espressoCoffee, instantCoffee, instant, chicoryCoffee, instant, frenchCoffee, instant, mocha

Chicory greens

Chicory greensChicory roots

Amount per

100 grams

1 fl oz (30 g)100 grams6 fl oz (178 g)1 cup (8 fl oz) (237 g)

100 grams

1 cup, chopped (29 g)100 grams

Calories

0 23
% Daily Value % Daily Value

Vitamin A

0 IU

0%

5717 IU

114%

Monounsaturated fat

0 g 0 g

Calories

0 23
% Daily Value % Daily Value

Total Fat

0 g

0%

0.3 g

0%

Saturated fat

0 g

0%

0.1 g

0%

Polyunsaturated fat

0 g 0.1 g

Monounsaturated fat

0 g 0 g

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

0 mg

0%

Sodium

2 mg

0%

45 mg

1%

Potassium

49 mg

1%

420 mg

12%

Total Carbohydrate

0 g

0%

4.7 g

1%

Dietary fiber

0 g

0%

4 g

16%

Sugar

0 g 0.7 g

Protein

0.1 g

0%

1.7 g

3%

Caffeine

40 mg 0 mg

Vitamin A

0 IU

0%

5717 IU

114%

Vitamin C

0 mg

0%

24 mg

40%

Calcium

2 mg

0%

100 mg

10%

Iron

0 mg

0%

0.9 mg

4%

Vitamin B-6

0 mg

0%

0.1 mg

5%

Vitamin B-12

0 µg

0%

0 µg

0%

Magnesium

3 mg

0%

30 mg

7%History

History

The chicory plant is one of the earliest cited in recorded literature. Horace mentions it in reference to his own diet, which he describes as very simple: “Me pascunt olivae, me cichorea, me malvae” (“As for me, olives, endives, and mallows provide sustenance”).[54] In 1766, Frederick the Great banned the importation of coffee into Prussia leading to the development of a coffee-substitute by Brunswick innkeeper Christian Gottlieb Förster (died 1801), who gained a concession in 1769/70 to manufacture it in Brunswick and Berlin. By 1795 there were 22 to 24 factories of this type in Brunswick.[55][56]Lord Monboddo describes the plant in 1779[57] as the “chicoree”, which the French cultivated as a pot herb. In Napoleonic Era France, chicory frequently appeared as either an adulterant in coffee, or as a coffee substitute.[58] Chicory was also adopted as a coffee substitute by Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War, and has become common in the United States. It was also used in the United Kingdom during theSecond World War, where Camp Coffee, a coffee and chicory essence, has been on sale since 1885.

The cultivated chicory plant has a history reaching back to ancient Egyptian time. Medieval monks raised the plants and when coffee was introduced to Europe, the Dutch thought that chicory made a lively addition to the bean drink.

In the United States chicory root has long been used as a substitute for coffee in prisons.[59] By the 1840s, the port of New Orleans was the second largest importer of coffee (after New York).[58] Louisianans began to add chicory root to their coffee when Union naval blockades during the American Civil War cut off the port of New Orleans, thereby creating a long-standing tradition.[58]

source: Chicory, Wikipedia.com

In the summer, I harvest chicory roots and process them myself.  Here’s how.

I hope you give chicory a shot and enjoy it as much as I do.  If you drink chicory, please let me know how you enjoy it.

The Bread Recipe I Use Every Week

Above is my latest batch with this recipe.  I also use 2 cups wheat and 3 cups white unbleached organic flour, organic cane sugar, milk (sometimes almond), and butter in this recipe. I also a;ways butter the tops when they are still hot, just like my Mom taught me ❤.

~ taken from The Kitchn ~

Basic White Sandwich Bread
Makes 2 loaves

2 teaspoons active-dry yeast
1 cup (8 oz) warm water
2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter
1 cup (8 oz) milk – whole, 2%, or skim
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon salt
5 1/2 – 6 1/2 cups (24 3/4 ounces – 29 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

Make sure the water is warm to the touch. If you can’t comfortably hold your finger in the water for several seconds, wait for it to cool. Pour the water into the bowl of a standing mixer or large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over top. Let this stand for 5 minutes until the yeast is dissolved.

Melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in the milk, sugar, and salt. Pour 1 cup of flour and the milk mixture over the yeast. Stir until this comes together into a loose, lumpy batter.

Add another 4 1/2 cups of flour, reserving the remaining cup if the dough is sticky during kneading. Stir until a floury, shaggy dough is formed.

Using the dough hook attachment on a standing mixer, knead the dough for 8-10 minutes. Alternatively, knead the dough by hand against the counter. If the dough is bubble-gum sticky against the sides of the bowl or the counter, add extra flour a tablespoon at a time until it is no longer sticky. The dough is kneaded when it is smooth, feels slightly tacky, forms a ball without sagging, and springs back when poked.

Clean out the mixing bowl and film it with a little oil. Form the dough into a ball and turn it in the bowl to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about one hour.

Sprinkle a little flour on the counter and turn the dough out on top. Divide the dough in two and shape each half into a loose ball. Let the balls rest for 10 minutes.

Grease two loaf pans or film them with non-stick cooking spray. Shape each ball of dough into a loaf (see this tutorial for step-by-step instructions) and transfer to the loaf pans. It’s important that the surface of the loaves be stretched taut; this helps them rise and prevents an overly-dense interior. Let the loaves rise a second time until they start to dome over the edge of the pan, 30-40 minutes.

Heat the oven to 425° F about halfway through the second rise.

Slash the tops of the loaves with a serrated knife and put them in the oven. Immediately turn down the heat to 375°F and bake for 30-35 minutes. Finished loaves will be dark golden-brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove the loaves from the pans and let them cool completely before slicing.

Loaves will keep at room temperature for several days. Loaves can also be wrapped in foil and plastic, and frozen for up to three months.

Our little V lost a tooth :}

V was eating a sandwich tonight and his tooth fell out.  It’s funny, he had just had his first Dentist visit last week!  The dentist had told me he had three loose, but we didn’t expect that it would happen so SOON. Happy and sad; our little boy is growing up!

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So proud and excited about losing his tooth!

In honor of this event, we let him watch these:

 

If There Are No New Farmers, Who Will Grow Our Food?

“Programs across the country are trying to make it easier for new farmers to get started and put down roots. Here’s why: There’s only one farmer under 35 for every six over 65. By 2030, one-quarter of America’s current farmers will retire.”

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source: http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/good-health/if-there-are-no-new-farmers-who-will-grow-our-food-20160201

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s Pie is a dish made with leftover meat, mashed potatoes and some vegetables. Traditionally, it is made with lamb but in America I see it made mostly with hamburger.  Here I used organic, grass fed lamb and organic vegetables.  The wine I used was a cheap Merlot.

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Chop leftover meat and saute with onions and carrot coins in olive oil with a tablespoon of diced garlic. Brown for 5 minutes without stirring. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup red wine or water. I also added leftover gravy, but too much.

 

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Grease (or nonstick spray) a deep baking pan that will fit your meat mixture and leftover mashed potatoes.
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Pour in meat mixtures and then top with 1-2 cans of corn.
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Spread corn in an even layer.
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Add 1/4 cup Greek yogurt to the potatoes.
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Add an egg to your potato mixture.
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Drop mashed potatoes in dollops across the corn layer.
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Don’t try to spread the potatoes yet.
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Spray a spatula with nonstick or rub with oil and spread the potatoes in a nice, smooth layer to the edges. Garnish with green onions and paprika, cheese, or whatever you prefer. Make sure you put this baking dish on a parchment-covered cookie sheet. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.
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The reason we put this on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet 🙂
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Layers of amazing and yum.
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Red country check ❤
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I cut with a scraper.
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Add cranberry sauce and some green veggies (the spacey looking veggie is Malabar spinach, one of my favorite decorative edibles).
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Warms you from the inside out!

Hi from me and these guys!

We are on the journey to our dream and are learning to be more patient and long-suffering while repairing finances, gathering knowledge, having fun and living life while propelling ourselves forward towards a happy, productive homestead of our own.

See my About page for a few pics of my projects and some more of the family.

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