Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Trial and error.

Made some oatmeal this morning from the oat flour I made last night. Whoever said that much water was sadly mistaken if one is to add any milk or formula.
Plus, a word to the wise, don't add more cereal after the rest has absorbed most of the water. Your oatmeal will have dry flakes in it.
Here's what I suggest. Less water to make a fairly thick cereal and then add the breast milk or formula to thin it out for baby.
On that note: I cooked more cereal this morning that I thought the measurements would make so I ended up with a bowl for myself which I added butter and sugar to (no boob milk!) and it was pretty good. Saved me from having to make two meals which I usually do.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"We're Barley and Barley...Whooooo"

For a while now I have been feeding my little one the boxed cereal from the store since I bought it before I got into making my own food. It seems fruitless to give him 'un-processed' veggies when the cereal he eats just as often and in the same quantity has all the extras. There is something to be said for convenience but what with warming up frozen milk and all, it may take just as much time.
A note about this author: I have read numerous articles and talked to lots of people. If I am able I will nurse my baby and only give him breast milk until he is one year old. The benefits for my baby far out-weigh any and all inconvenieces or discomforts to myself. I don't expect anyone else to feel the same, but for me, that is what my little one gets every time.
Onward... I set about making baby cereal this evening. I always get excited about a project when I should be sinking into bed. Anyone else do this?! So. 10 o'clock rolls around and I pull out my food processor and hand grinder and set about making cereal.
Here's what I learned:
Oatmeal: easy peesy in the processor. Dump a bunch in, turn it on, forget about it and a minute or so later you have oat flour perfect for baby cereal.
Pearled Barley: ACK! Set it in the food processor (can't live without mine!) and minutes and minutes later it had been chipped down slightly but not much to speak of. Barley does WAY better in the hand grinder (however it takes quite a bit longer that way and is hard work, but imagine my sexy arms after all that grinding!) and after 1/2 an hour about I had two sandwich bags full of barley flour.
Short Grain Brown Rice: In the food processor it will break down but very slowly. It does much better than the barley but after a number of minutes and the grains being only halfway broken down I had compassion on my neighbors and set it in the much quieter hand grinder. 20-ish minutes later I had brown rice cereal.

So. If you want te 'recipe' I got it off a web-site and seeing as I only ground my grains tonight I will have to wait until I;ve actually cooked some to let you know if the recipes should be altered. The basic recipe is as follows:
1/4 cup ground barley, short-grain brown rice, or oats
1 C. water
(The website did suggest using 2 cups water to make a really liquid cereal)
Bring to boil (whisk constantly for smoothness) and then simmer for 10 minutes. Add breast milk or formula (this adds taste and nutrients). Serve to your little one!
You could mix in ashed fruits and seasonings.
I read on today that some people are changing their minds about not letting babies have seasonings (i.e. herbs and other things. Probably best to avoid salt and sugar with your little ones) and that it will help your baby adjust to how you cook. They brought up points (I didn't see a source so it could be all conjecture) about how the U.S. is one of the few countries to give babies bland food and that countries who frequently consume spicy foods give it to their babies and they are just fine. After reading this I thought I'd try putting a dash of cinnamon in the baby cereal with dinner. It was nervously received but after a time I think it was well-liked.
If you try this make sure to post a comment about how it worked for you. I will post more info once I have actually cooked some of my hard labor.
P.S. A MIGHTY thanks to my amazing hubby who worked harder than I did to grind the grains and who sat with me every step of the way!!! What a sport.

Somewhat to say of The Bread

So. I was excited to make the wheat bread yesterday. So much so that I neglected to let it rise as much as I should have. The two loaves I made weren't as puffy and bread-looking as they should have been. But can I say they tasted SO good all nice and warm with my homemade peanut butter on top. Yum!
So, lessons I learned:
Homemade bread is delicious
One needs patience when making bread
Everything tastes better when you make it with your own two hands

Monday, January 11, 2010

concerning bows and flowers

I learned how to make these last winter... the possibilities are endless for designs; only I haven't spent the time or effort to really get into it, but I dearly LOVE the idea and thought I'd share. These are cut from felted wool (you could just use felt to save on the cost, but there's something cozy and wonderful about real wool) and arranged in whatever design and color you choose and then sewn together by hand with a little button on top. You can stick a pin (to make it wearable on your clothes) or you can put a hair clip beneath to dress up a pony tail. They don't need to have their edges sewn due to the properties of wool once it's been felted so you can iron some freezer paper onto you piece of wool with a design you've drawn or from a stencil and then cut around it and voila!

Thought I'd re-post this here. Made strictly out of patterned/doubled-sided paper and a brad plus any embellishments you choose these are easy, fun, and SO cute and absolutely perfect for taking a plainly-wrapped present and giving it that extra, personal touch to show you really care!

Homemade art.

Getting back into painting again. It's been a while. I love making art for my family and my home. I look around and feel a sense of fulfilment knowing I can beautify my home and it will reflect me and those I love and my love for them. I just did this on three 8 by 10 artist canvases and it is going up in my baby's room.
The canvases are very inexpensive (from wal-mart, they come in the 3 pack) and I just used my acrylic paints that I buy at a craft store and use on my crafting. No special supplies here!

Bread. A first time for everything.

Cross your fingers. Here's to my first attempt at making homemade wheat bread.

Returning To Simpler Times

I feel as though so many neat (not necessarily important) skills are being lost with the technological advances we are so fortunate to have access to. It has become somewhat of a goal for me to learn some of the arts I think deserve to be on the 'endangered species' list.
I began just wanting to make my own baby food. It was kismet, really. Jax had a really bad night and he was over 6 months old. I started worrying that it was because I hadn't really started feeding him food and he was lacking the nutrients he needed (yes, I am that paranoid). He was napping and I suddenly felt I HAD to give him baby food right away. Obviously I couldn't go to the store while he was napping so I thought I might try my hand at making some. It turned out really well and Jax seemed to like it as much as he could.
Doing this spurred me to do more to really take care of my little family. I felt one of the best ways would be to keep what goes into us as pure as possible. I have to admit I am not as commited to this exact cause as others around me, but I figure if Ijust  replace some of the things we eat frequently that contain tons of preservatives and really unhelathy oils &c. I will be making a huge difference in our lives. I don't know that we'll feel it, but it's reassuring to know that I can do that for us.
Then upon calculating the cost of baby food alone I realized it cost us $.06 a serving for baby veggies as opposed to $.50 and up for the store bought kind. AMAZING. So I realized that among health benefits I would be stretching our dollar and that, my friends, feels good.
 The list is ever-growing but here are few of the
Things I want to learn how to do, both lost and new arts:
1. Embroider by hand (not cross-stich, but real embroidery)
2. Darn socks
3. Sew well
4. Make the majority of our food from scratch
        1. Homemade bread
        2. Homemade baby food
        3. Homemade peanut butter
5. Chocolate Sculpting
6. Reupholstering furniture