tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-123651232016-12-23T04:21:59.728-05:00the lone home rangerhi-yo, silver dollar pancakes! Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.comBlogger774125TheLoneHomeRangerhttps://feedburner.google.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-19498414749449548912015-02-06T20:57:00.000-05:002015-02-06T20:57:32.194-05:00home moviesI am not sure what my long-term solution for video storage and play will be, but for now I've noted I come here to show videos to the kids, so I'm adding a new one. Hope you enjoy!<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><object width="320" height="266" class="BLOG_video_class" id="BLOG_video-8fdc5fa1d7788714" classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="movie" value="https://www.youtube.com/get_player"><param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true"><param name="flashvars" value="flvurl=https://redirector.googlevideo.com/videoplayback?id%3D8fdc5fa1d7788714%26itag%3D5%26source%3Dblogger%26requiressl%3Dyes%26app%3Dblogger%26cmo%3Dsecure_transport%3Dyes%26cmo%3Dsensitive_content%3Dyes%26ip%3D0.0.0.0%26ipbits%3D0%26expire%3D1484633892%26sparams%3Dip,ipbits,expire,id,itag,source,requiressl%26signature%3D4FBEDA1DA42A9EC2D0186D2D0D6F199538BEC126.698F319986D5D75325668C6E3E2693359ECB1915%26key%3Dck2&amp;iurl=http://video.google.com/ThumbnailServer2?app%3Dblogger%26contentid%3D8fdc5fa1d7788714%26offsetms%3D5000%26itag%3Dw160%26sigh%3DkvKV60bYIeGWJ-hLvGIeT9PTa_4&amp;autoplay=0&amp;ps=blogger"><embed src="https://www.youtube.com/get_player" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="320" height="266" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashvars="flvurl=https://redirector.googlevideo.com/videoplayback?id%3D8fdc5fa1d7788714%26itag%3D5%26source%3Dblogger%26requiressl%3Dyes%26app%3Dblogger%26cmo%3Dsecure_transport%3Dyes%26cmo%3Dsensitive_content%3Dyes%26ip%3D0.0.0.0%26ipbits%3D0%26expire%3D1484633892%26sparams%3Dip,ipbits,expire,id,itag,source,requiressl%26signature%3D4FBEDA1DA42A9EC2D0186D2D0D6F199538BEC126.698F319986D5D75325668C6E3E2693359ECB1915%26key%3Dck2&iurl=http://video.google.com/ThumbnailServer2?app%3Dblogger%26contentid%3D8fdc5fa1d7788714%26offsetms%3D5000%26itag%3Dw160%26sigh%3DkvKV60bYIeGWJ-hLvGIeT9PTa_4&autoplay=0&ps=blogger" allowFullScreen="true" /></object></div><br /><div><br /></div><div><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/G77U3tsq2Ms" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com59/2015/02/home-movies.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-50206216542082756202015-01-07T16:35:00.004-05:002015-01-07T16:35:55.964-05:00holiday goodnessI started to publish this post at <a href="https://heirloommothering.wordpress.com/">my new site</a>, but then I decided it had more of the trappings of a family update, so I'm moving it here. We had grandparents visiting for almost the entire two weeks of vacation, and we took trips to North Conway (snow! and the Polar Express) and Rockport. The girls are at a lovely age where they play together for hours, and our Christmas loot was a perfect manageable amount of stuff, which was the result of a team effort. Go team!<br /><br />In other news, here are some random questions to which my family thinks I know the answers no matter how many times I do not know the answers:<br /><br />1. What is that smell?<br /><br />2. Where are my ______? (socks, books, keys, or Charlie's favorite since seeing The Lego Movie, pants)<br /><br />3. Why am I getting this "Everyday with Rachel Ray" magazine and are we paying for it?<br /><br />I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that you're feeling good about the start of a new year.<div><br /></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-9hk2szP7YIM/VK2lIT3QjSI/AAAAAAAAQac/0QtpK8sC9Ao/s1600/DSC_0004.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-9hk2szP7YIM/VK2lIT3QjSI/AAAAAAAAQac/0QtpK8sC9Ao/s1600/DSC_0004.JPG" height="424" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">It snowed when we visited North Conway. Gorgeous!</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-xmbiCHlo7I0/VK2lHgCgooI/AAAAAAAAQaY/GjvveTjP9uU/s1600/DSC_0010.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-xmbiCHlo7I0/VK2lHgCgooI/AAAAAAAAQaY/GjvveTjP9uU/s1600/DSC_0010.JPG" height="424" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Snuggling with her new loot.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-vl57V0rsY6U/VK2lHhSGA9I/AAAAAAAAQaU/YSK24xMDeFI/s1600/DSC_0016.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-vl57V0rsY6U/VK2lHhSGA9I/AAAAAAAAQaU/YSK24xMDeFI/s1600/DSC_0016.JPG" height="424" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Coloring is Vivi's favorite activity.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-AXlP5Dqm9bI/VK2lI0uF64I/AAAAAAAAQak/JbmC4pdLQQg/s1600/DSC_0023.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-AXlP5Dqm9bI/VK2lI0uF64I/AAAAAAAAQak/JbmC4pdLQQg/s1600/DSC_0023.JPG" height="424" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Rockport in winter.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-frSzmDf1BeQ/VK2lJDqzC1I/AAAAAAAAQa4/E6IRTAL8Zf0/s1600/DSC_0025.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-frSzmDf1BeQ/VK2lJDqzC1I/AAAAAAAAQa4/E6IRTAL8Zf0/s1600/DSC_0025.JPG" height="424" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Not quite beach weather.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-WJdL3mA8S-0/VK2lJQwHGdI/AAAAAAAAQaw/E41xEKjzKCg/s1600/DSC_0031.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-WJdL3mA8S-0/VK2lJQwHGdI/AAAAAAAAQaw/E41xEKjzKCg/s1600/DSC_0031.JPG" height="424" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-xNH5t-tcDkk/VK2lJhe5ECI/AAAAAAAAQa0/Ksfzr0XOveE/s1600/DSC_0033.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-xNH5t-tcDkk/VK2lJhe5ECI/AAAAAAAAQa0/Ksfzr0XOveE/s1600/DSC_0033.JPG" height="424" width="640" /></a></div><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-jSKqqtHmryk/VK2lLWphY0I/AAAAAAAAQbc/tGLvhrL5Wog/s1600/DSC_0038.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-jSKqqtHmryk/VK2lLWphY0I/AAAAAAAAQbc/tGLvhrL5Wog/s1600/DSC_0038.JPG" height="424" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">They enjoyed having a bed in the living room.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-reZGmob3EnE/VK2lK3tQcrI/AAAAAAAAQbM/g3fAQ3-IvU4/s1600/DSC_0043.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-reZGmob3EnE/VK2lK3tQcrI/AAAAAAAAQbM/g3fAQ3-IvU4/s1600/DSC_0043.JPG" height="424" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-D24RhwbbPe8/VK2lLIk7dFI/AAAAAAAAQbQ/1_VI8qK-OS8/s1600/DSC_0044.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-D24RhwbbPe8/VK2lLIk7dFI/AAAAAAAAQbQ/1_VI8qK-OS8/s1600/DSC_0044.JPG" height="424" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7wPRpwxmDkE/VK2lL_8tXwI/AAAAAAAAQbg/AA9vVcUwvZM/s1600/DSC_0053.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7wPRpwxmDkE/VK2lL_8tXwI/AAAAAAAAQbg/AA9vVcUwvZM/s1600/DSC_0053.JPG" height="424" width="640" /></a></div><div><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/tFuwwmHZ_1s" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com8/2015/01/holiday-goodness.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-41121311255913271852014-09-02T21:55:00.001-04:002014-10-06T21:59:04.420-04:00{four}<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><object class="BLOG_video_class" classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0" height="266" id="BLOG_video-66f317456bb3b090" width="320"><param name="movie" value="//www.youtube.com/get_player"><param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true"><param name="flashvars" value="flvurl=http://redirector.googlevideo.com/videoplayback?id%3D66f317456bb3b090%26itag%3D5%26source%3Dblogger%26app%3Dblogger%26cmo%3Dsensitive_content%253Dyes%26ip%3D0.0.0.0%26ipbits%3D0%26expire%3D1411855880%26sparams%3Did,itag,source,ip,ipbits,expire%26signature%3DA61A13CB467EF4F3BF5EB1F796831BF677167C74.2C2BBA4BB399459B40698CD1A719DF28B34A2E13%26key%3Dck2&amp;iurl=http://video.google.com/ThumbnailServer2?app%3Dblogger%26contentid%3D66f317456bb3b090%26offsetms%3D5000%26itag%3Dw160%26sigh%3Dsh01Tf_s-VJkQPK81SN4ZOYUBEQ&amp;autoplay=0&amp;ps=blogger"><embed src="//www.youtube.com/get_player" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="320" height="266" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashvars="flvurl=http://redirector.googlevideo.com/videoplayback?id%3D66f317456bb3b090%26itag%3D5%26source%3Dblogger%26app%3Dblogger%26cmo%3Dsensitive_content%253Dyes%26ip%3D0.0.0.0%26ipbits%3D0%26expire%3D1411855880%26sparams%3Did,itag,source,ip,ipbits,expire%26signature%3DA61A13CB467EF4F3BF5EB1F796831BF677167C74.2C2BBA4BB399459B40698CD1A719DF28B34A2E13%26key%3Dck2&amp;iurl=http://video.google.com/ThumbnailServer2?app%3Dblogger%26contentid%3D66f317456bb3b090%26offsetms%3D5000%26itag%3Dw160%26sigh%3Dsh01Tf_s-VJkQPK81SN4ZOYUBEQ&amp;autoplay=0&amp;ps=blogger" allowfullscreen="true"></object></div><br />Charlotte is four years old! She can carry on a real conversation and even adds lively inflection to her voice. But at the same time, she still seems like our baby. We think back to when Vivi was four, and she seemed like such a big kid. We've always treated her that way. I guess that's why people always say the first child ends up with a different personality than the last. I just never thought we'd view our own children that way.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><br /><br />Next week Charlie starts pre-k, and I am going on the same emotional roller coaster that <a href="/2012/08/the-end-of-era.html">I did when Vivi started pre-k</a>. Only this time I won't have another munchkin at home with me in the mornings! Just what am I going to do with myself?<br /><br />At this point you might be wondering...am I going to blog here again? No, I am standing by my decision not to post here regularly. I'm writing today because I want to give Charlie the same attention Vivi got in all her birthday posts in years past. Charlie's posts from previous birthdays are here: <a href="/2013/09/three.html">{three}</a>, <a href="/2012/08/two.html">{two}</a>, and <a href="/2011/09/charlie-is-one-year-old.html">{one}</a>. Here goes...<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><center><a href="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-t2l3e9pWN_4/VAZxoV9aYvI/AAAAAAAAQUs/oTQ2pkovOFg/s640/blogger-image-1667118168.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-t2l3e9pWN_4/VAZxoV9aYvI/AAAAAAAAQUs/oTQ2pkovOFg/s640/blogger-image-1667118168.jpg" /></a></center><br />Dear Charlotte,<br /><br />When I look back at what I've said to you in your previous birthday letters, I laugh when I come to the word "opinionated." Yes, that still fits you to a tee! On your birthday, you crawled into bed with me to snuggle. I began to sing <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWlHFhJaq18">Laurie Berkner's birthday song</a>, and mid-way through it you said, "Don't sing, Mommy!" It's funny to me that, so unlike Vivi, you have never wanted me to sing impromptu songs to you. On the other hand, you do love for me to sing bedtime songs, but only on command. Lately you've been requesting I recite "The Goops" at bedtime, and you always laugh when I get to the last line, "Are you?"<br /><br />We gave you a Betty Bunny story for one of your presents, and you've been wanting me to read it every day. You take it up and down stairs with you when you go so that it can be near you. Vivi has struggled with some gifts being just for you, particularly the Elsa and Anna dolls and the My Little Pony. Even though we explained to her at her birthday that if she didn't share with you, you might not share with her, she has been taking it rough and cried quite a bit on your birthday. Luckily, you are a sweet little sister and have been more compassionate toward her than even I have. You offer to share your toys with her, at least part of the time. Your generosity and genuine love of your big sister is so sweet to see. Today we dropped Vivi off at school, and you whispered as she walked away, "But I wanted to play with her all day."<br /><br />I am not the greatest replacement for a playmate, but we have fun playing card and board games together. Right now you'd rather play crazy eights than do almost anything else. In fact, when I asked you what your favorite thing was that you did today, you said playing crazy eights. I will miss how open you are still with your jokes, shouting words like "Poopie!" and then busting out laughing. We all love to make you laugh because it is such an unreserved, gleeful sound.<br /><br />We love you to pieces, sweet girl.<br />Love,<br />Mommy<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/1L4qFlg1-VM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com4/2014/09/four.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-91999249017369779662014-05-29T16:51:00.000-04:002014-05-29T16:51:16.560-04:00a new place to play<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Jr7fiePcSw8/U4ecHlJweNI/AAAAAAAAQQg/j-NmwAcEGzI/s1600/heirloomprofile.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Jr7fiePcSw8/U4ecHlJweNI/AAAAAAAAQQg/j-NmwAcEGzI/s1600/heirloomprofile.JPG" height="454" width="640" /></a></div><br />Hey y'all,<br /><br />I have some fun news. I am starting <a href="http://heirloommothering.wordpress.com/">a new website</a> where I can share notes about motherhood and my writing process. I don't plan to include specifics about my kids because, as I mentioned in my last post, I am trying to give them their privacy back. But I do want to let you in on what I'm working on now, and I hope it becomes a place to do that. I am also hoping it does <i>not</i> become a place that will, as Stephen King puts in his memoir,"leave me feeling like either a literary gasbag or a transcendental asshole." But you can be the judge of that. So go <a href="http://heirloommothering.wordpress.com/">take a look</a> and tell me what you think! And if you like it, you can sign up to <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/HeirloomMothering">follow along here</a>. I'm also still at the same <a href="https://twitter.com/lonehomeranger">Twitter</a> and <a href="http://instagram.com/lonehomeranger">Instagram</a> accounts if you wanna hang out there.<br /><br />Cheers &amp; xoxo,<br />~J<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/C-x2OYUEUjc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com6/2014/05/a-new-place-to-play.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-3818356939902404192014-05-02T22:31:00.005-04:002014-05-02T22:31:38.652-04:00some things I wanted to tell you before I go<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OmFuG8x8UOI/U2RUWKfRKBI/AAAAAAAAQP0/lIVUEQ4hdhk/s1600/IMG_1128.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-OmFuG8x8UOI/U2RUWKfRKBI/AAAAAAAAQP0/lIVUEQ4hdhk/s1600/IMG_1128.JPG" height="640" width="476" /></a></div><br />Every time I try to type the word "blog" today it comes out "glob," which makes me giggle. That I suddenly keep mistyping the word is somehow fitting for what I want to tell you today, which is that I am no longer going to write posts here. <br /><br />Now that I'm writing this post, I realize you probably already saw this day coming. I could do a whole cutesy "It's not you, it's me" bit, but you know that already. My mom and I have this joke when I want to transition to say something about myself. Instead of beating around the bush, I jump in saying, "Well, that's enough about you, let's get back to me." I suppose that's what a blog is all about, right? Back to ME.<br /><br />Writing a post announcing the end of the blog does seem overly dramatic in part, but on the other hand I don't like the idea of people coming here expecting more posts when that's not my plan right now. I guess I don't feel sad because I know that whenever I want to, I can start something new. That's the beauty of the Interwebs!<br /><div><br /></div>I began blogging in 2005 when I had only just learned what a blog was. I called it <i>Aimless Digressions</i>, and that title truly represented the topics I wrote about, which spanned from <a href="/2005/12/why-i-dont-live-in-capitol.html">what it was like to live in DC</a> to <a href="/2005/12/wish-list.html">the new camera I wanted to buy</a>. I really enjoyed playing with that new toy for that year or two that only my friend Caroline read the blog.<br /><br />Then I got pregnant, graduated school, moved to England, had my baby, and moved back to DC all within one year. I didn't write very often then, but in those years that my dad, my mom, and my uncle Joe started reading the blog, I began to find my writing voice and enjoyed keeping my family updated on what was happening overseas and back again. I enjoyed having a digital baby book too.<br /><br />Then we moved to Boston. I felt lonely in my new role as a stay at home mom to a newborn and toddler--and judged for my choice to stay home--in a new (and freezing cold) town. I wanted a place to talk about motherhood and how it was different from my expectations. My good friend and first reader Caroline suggested I use my free time to write more. So I dusted off the blog and gave it a new name. I am grateful to her for encouraging me find my writing voice.<br /><br />In the years following that change, I have welcomed old friends here and even met some lovely strangers who have become friends. I've had some great opportunities come my way because of it, like <a href="http://vimeo.com/83920682">our commercial</a>, and I'm grateful for the writing connections it has granted me.<br /><br />Though I'm saying goodbye to this space, I do see myself finding another home for my essays on motherhood. Maybe some day I will even work toward that book that is clawing its way out of my hazy memories. So much of creativity is ephemeral, and I am trying to take my time in creating a new space that will define me as well as "the lone home ranger" did for the past 3+ years.<br /><br />Whatever I write, I know those posts will contain fewer personal details of our lives. Our little girls are growing up, and though I've enjoyed cataloging their beginning days here, I want to give them back their privacy. I decided to stop posting here when Vivi turned six because it seemed like a big milestone.<br /><br />Thank you so much for listening to my rants, both coherent and incoherent, and for sharing your stories with me. I would love to keep in touch so we can keep chatting about what we're reading, and eating, and whatnot.&nbsp;I have more to say to you! Let's keep in touch on <a href="http://instagram.com/lonehomeranger">Instagram</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/lonehomeranger">Twitter</a>. I will leave the blog up so you (and I!) can come back to use some of the recipes from time to time.<br /><br />Thanks for the laughs! I will miss y'all.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YRW0DbznvT4/U2RUzhI-y1I/AAAAAAAAQP8/oa84L26vztk/s1600/IMG_1303.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-YRW0DbznvT4/U2RUzhI-y1I/AAAAAAAAQP8/oa84L26vztk/s1600/IMG_1303.JPG" height="640" width="478" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">One more tip:<br />This stuff smells fantastic. I think it comes from Bath &amp; Body Works. Gitcha some.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><br /><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/jdMTmYQozDw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com6/2014/05/some-things-i-wanted-to-tell-you-before.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-22339805717327418142014-05-01T22:00:00.001-04:002014-05-01T22:00:26.600-04:00{six}<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-btkxSWRUUfk/U2GwlupUGII/AAAAAAAAQPE/0kBf0aIt6Co/s1600/IMG_1295.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-btkxSWRUUfk/U2GwlupUGII/AAAAAAAAQPE/0kBf0aIt6Co/s1600/IMG_1295.JPG" height="320" width="320" /></a></div><br />Vivi is six! My mom came up to celebrate her birthday with us. Vivi is particularly fun to celebrate a birthday with because of how much she loves the event. She talks about and plans her birthday for weeks and even months leading up to it. She is just so excited! It's nice that her birthday is in spring because, for me, it marks the beginning of a change in the weather and even the demeanor of the people around here. Everyone heaves a collective sigh of relief that new life has sprung once again.<br /><br />As in years past, we incorporated a local farm in the birthday activities. Because her birthday nearly coincided with April vacation week, we were able to sign Vivi, Charlie, and a few friends up for a gardening class. Afterward mom and I took them to eat dessert at one of those frozen yogurt places where you pick your own toppings. When I returned one of the girls to her house, her mom came out and said, "Now you can go home and have a glass of wine." That wasn't her first rodeo, but it <i>was</i> mine. Phew! The sugar shock was so great, it almost seemed like the ice cream intoxicated the girls for a full hour afterward. Much fun ensued, as I'm sure you can imagine.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-m2UbaxLmAfY/U2L0TIBM5ZI/AAAAAAAAQPk/bfJpY9KiqlQ/s1600/IMG_1309.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-m2UbaxLmAfY/U2L0TIBM5ZI/AAAAAAAAQPk/bfJpY9KiqlQ/s1600/IMG_1309.JPG" height="298" width="400" /></a></div><br />This year I'm seeing how Vivi's growing sense of self is changing how she experiences her birthday. I was surprised to discover, come birthday morning, that she was disappointed to learn that even planning ahead couldn't make her birthday as perfect as she might have wanted. She hadn't considered that perhaps the weather wouldn't cooperate (ha, what's new?) or that she'd still have to participate in regular life activities--school, swim class, bath time--even though it was her birthday. But being the resilient, happy girl we know and love, she recovered quickly and by the end of the day, she said she had a great time despite those minor setbacks. I came to her kindergarten class and read one of her favorite stories, <i><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1596430699/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1596430699&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=thlohora-20&amp;linkId=C3ORGABD5XJQ5IPY">Bad Kitty</a></i>, much to the giggly delight of the kindergartners, and then I watched as each and every one of them hugged her on their way out the door. She seems to have made quite the impression on them too.<br /><br />I'm planning to write a personal letter to Vivi that isn't on the blog this time around. You can check out my previous birthday posts, a few with letters, here: <a href="/2009/04/vivi-turns-1.html">one</a>,&nbsp;<a href="/2010/05/update-on-kid.html">two</a>, <a href="/2011/05/vivi-turns-three.html">three</a>, <a href="/2012/04/four.html">four</a>, and <a href="/2013/05/five.html">five</a>.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/d6wPj6QA408" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com4/2014/05/six.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-24101504080468342452014-04-15T22:45:00.002-04:002014-04-15T22:47:29.331-04:00{14/52 & 15/52}: mulligatawny<div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-0vyZH15m2ek/U03pImYzZpI/AAAAAAAAQOo/6eWrlf0xrNg/s640/blogger-image--1172535939.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-0vyZH15m2ek/U03pImYzZpI/AAAAAAAAQOo/6eWrlf0xrNg/s640/blogger-image--1172535939.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">{14/52}: bike trailer season!</td></tr></tbody></table><br /></div><div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-jo08oxgPJzA/U03pG4so7gI/AAAAAAAAQOg/5iusDn7SmA8/s640/blogger-image-637067265.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-jo08oxgPJzA/U03pG4so7gI/AAAAAAAAQOg/5iusDn7SmA8/s640/blogger-image-637067265.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">{15/52}: sisterly love</td></tr></tbody></table><br /></div>The weather lately is wicked crazy. It can't decide whether it wants to be warm, cold, windy (correction: it is always windy), or raining. I feel for the poor weather experts who have to try to predict these doozies. Luckily we have had a few days of sunshine--enough for us to burn even while wearing sunscreen--so my need for vitamin D has finally be satiated.<br /><br />It rained and was hella-windy today, so it seemed like a good day for soup. I like to tinker in the kitchen, and recently I discovered I love curry in soup. First I tried this <a href="http://joythebaker.com/2010/10/curried-sweet-potato-soup-with-goat-cheese-biscuits/">curried sweet potato soup</a>, which was completely delicious, even to the person in our household who lists sweet potatoes as the only food he won't eat. Next I decided to try mulligatawny, which was equally delicious.<br /><br />It would be impossible for me to talk about mulligatawny and not mention Seinfeld. It's a great word and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVqBzP0xdKk">a great episode</a> and a great soup. All great! My first introduction to mulligatawny was in a little middle eastern restaurant called Lulu's in Madison, Wisconsin (it's closed now, sadly). That restaurant offered not just my first introduction to the soup but also my first introduction to Middle Eastern food of any kind.<br /><br />I learned when deciding to write about mulligatawny that it's actually a product of Anglo-Indian cuisine rather than authentically Indian. Also I learned that most recipes (including the one in my <a href="/2012/10/ministering-to-my-dear-ones-betty.html">1950's Betty Crocker cookbook</a>) call for chicken and apples, which is such a strange combination to me. Because, you know, there aren't apples in India.<br /><br />But perhaps the best part about mulligatawny is that you can make it whatever way you like, with whatever ingredients you have on hand. And it's so much more fun to say mulligatawny than "curried pea soup."<br /><br />The reason I tried mulligatawny now is that I happened to discover&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bobsredmill.com/vegetable-soup-mix.html">"vegi soup mix"</a> by Bob's Red Mill, and somehow the split peas, barley, lentils, and veggie pasta seemed to cry out for curry flavoring. I happened also to have a coconut curry chicken broth on hand, so I used it, but regular chicken stock or veggie broth would be fine too.<br /><div><br /></div><div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-UV4Ack5BuHE/U03pFL3IHkI/AAAAAAAAQOY/ICJ_TBU3FyI/s640/blogger-image--2146617178.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-UV4Ack5BuHE/U03pFL3IHkI/AAAAAAAAQOY/ICJ_TBU3FyI/s640/blogger-image--2146617178.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Pic quality isn't great, but yk, does lentil soup ever look good?</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><br /><blockquote style="background-color: white; border: 2px dashed #888d8d; padding: 10px;"><b>mulligatawny</b><br /><i>serves 8</i><br /><br />Ingredients:<br />few Tbs. of butter &amp; oil<br />1 large yellow onion, diced<br />2 large carrots, diced<br />2 good-sized potatoes, diced (or whatever other veggies you like)<br />2 c. Bob's Red Mill vegi soup mix (or a combo of the beans above)<br />8 c. chicken stock or veggie broth<br />1 Tbs. curry powder (a mix of coriander, fenugreek, turmeric, red pepper, and onion)<br />1/4 tsp. ground ginger<br />1/4 tsp. ground cumin<br />1/4 tsp. ground coriander<br />salt and pepper (if you have citrus salt on hand, this is a good time to use it)<br />parsley<br />lemon<br /><br />Directions:<br />1. Saute onion and carrots in butter &amp; oil in Dutch oven over medium heat for 10 minutes, until onions are translucent.<br />2. Add potatoes, soup mix, broth, and spices (everything except parsley and lemon), and cook covered over medium-low heat for approximately an hour or until the peas have all but disappeared and the lentils are soft. Remove from heat and stir in parsley and lemon juice to brighten it up.<br /><br /></blockquote></div><br /><br /><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/fawt0zdhBaU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com3/2014/04/1452-1552-mulligatawny.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-12070885111910173572014-04-08T14:58:00.000-04:002014-12-03T17:52:45.478-05:00Uncle Ronnie's chicken bog {& a list of freezable meals!}I sat down here to write an update on the Ranger household. But rather than jot those deets, I veered off the path to share <i>another</i> recipe for comforting chicken stew (that makes <a href="/2014/03/1252-1352-chicken-dumplings.html">two in a row</a>).<br /><br />Because sometimes your pal Jenny--a wonderful friend and beautiful person inside and out--asks you for easy, freezable meal ideas in anticipation of her first bundle of joy, and you must answer the call. Once a boat mate, always a boat mate. So I hope you'll forgive me for sharing this recipe instead of an update today, and I believe you will once you've learned how easy and delicious it is.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-wahqOX4lZhM/U0RH3JXcc1I/AAAAAAAAQLk/XqSuf_AR9lg/s1600/DadVail1.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-wahqOX4lZhM/U0RH3JXcc1I/AAAAAAAAQLk/XqSuf_AR9lg/s1600/DadVail1.jpg" height="506" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Only picture of me (2nd from left) and Jenny that I can find right now. She's the badass on the right.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><br />My uncle that I was telling you about the other day--<a href="/2014/03/sorghum-syrup-history-health-benefits.html">Uncle Ronnie of the sorghum syrup</a>--is a wealth of information about recipes from the old south. He usually gets the tips from his Dad, who is an even greater wealth of information on the topic. So you can see, I've tapped into a great wellspring of recipes for you folks.<br /><br />My latest discovery via Uncle Ronnie is <b>chicken bog</b>, a stew from the eastern Carolinas. Perhaps it would sound more tasty if I called it <b>chicken and rice stew</b>, but I prefer to let the title lie as is in all its odd, humble glory. Although the name is quirky and less than delicious-sounding, chicken bog is neither of those things.<br /><br />A recipe as simple as this one deserves to be left without the decoration of superfluous adjectives, so I'll just tell you it is GOOD. And if you're a soon-to-be mom, you should also know that it is easy and definitely freezable. All you need is time, but if you're anything like I was during the nesting phase, you're spending lots of time rewashing the layette anyhow and can spare a few minutes for waiting and stirring.<br /><br />Uncle Ronnie's dad dictated few instructions. Mainly he said to cover the chicken with water, simmer until it is falling apart, strain the stock into a container, top the chicken with 2 c. white Carolina rice, pour in 2-3 c. of the saved liquid, and simmer 15 more minutes. You can certainly do it as simply as that, but I added a few fussier ingredients thanks to <a href="http://www.achefslifeseries.com/recipes/21">this recipe by Vivian Howard of A Chef's Life</a>.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><center><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-VZnny9dOakU/U0RGpueuBKI/AAAAAAAAQLc/BnC2fuwU5Y4/s640/blogger-image--1083986552.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-VZnny9dOakU/U0RGpueuBKI/AAAAAAAAQLc/BnC2fuwU5Y4/s640/blogger-image--1083986552.jpg" /></a></center><br /><blockquote style="background-color: white; border: 2px dashed #888d8d; padding: 10px;"><b>Uncle Ronnie's chicken bog</b><br /><i>serves 8</i><br /><br />Ingredients:<br />1 whole chicken, skin-on and cut into parts<br />1 onion, quartered<br />bay leaf<br />fresh thyme<br />salt &amp; pepper<br />2 c. white rice (I can get Carolina brand at the regular grocery)<br />butter<br /><br />Directions:<br /><br /><ol><li>Place chicken pieces in a Dutch oven. Cover with water and throw in the onion, bay leaf, a few sprigs of thyme, and 1 Tbs. salt and a few teaspoons of fresh cracked pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer the chicken over low heat for about an hour and a half or until chicken is falling apart. You will have rendered the fat off the skin, and even the breast meat should come right apart if poked with a fork.</li><li>Turn the heat off and let it sit covered in its liquid for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces to a cutting board to cool. Strain the stock into a container. Shred the chicken, leaving some big pieces of breast meat, and discard the skin bones. [Note: If you are freezing the recipe, stop here. Put the shredded chicken into the stock, label it with the name and date, and put it in the chest freezer. When you're ready to use it, defrost it overnight in the refrigerator, and move on to step #3.]</li><li>Return chicken to the Dutch oven. Top with 2 c. white rice if you're serving 8 people (if you're serving 4, save half for later in the week at step #2, then cook fresh rice at that time). Don't rinse your rice before putting it in, since the extra starch is helpful for thickening. Follow rice directions for how much liquid to add (usually 2:1 ratio of liquid to rice). Simmer for approximately 15 minutes until rice is tender. Careful not to simmer too long, for though you want the chicken soft, you want the rice to maintain a bite. Drop in a pat of butter and maybe some lemon juice or parsley if you like it fussy. Just do me a favor and don't tell Uncle Ronnie's dad.</li></ol></blockquote><div><br /></div><div>For Jenny &amp; the other moms-to-be out there, here's a list of freezable recipes from the blog:</div><div><ul><li><a href="/2011/07/grandma-bonnies-meatballs.html">Grandma Bonnie's Meatballs</a> (my absolute, hands-down, weekly favorite!)&nbsp;</li><li><a href="/2012/11/birthday-soup-and-mixed-tape.html#more">Grandma Louise's Beef Vegetable Soup</a></li><li><a href="/2014/01/resolution-salad-crockpot-cassoulet.html">Crockpot Cassoulet with Kielbasa</a></li><li><a href="/2012/03/dublin-coddle-st-paddys-day-classic.html">Dublin Coddle</a></li><li><a href="/2011/12/we-are-so-merry-and-brightand-little.html">Emeril's Turkey Sausage Chili</a></li><li><a href="/2014/01/5-ingredient-stupid-chicken.html">Stupid Chicken</a></li><li><a href="/2013/11/holidaycamp-day-10-kids-mealtime.html">Chicken Chowdah</a></li><li><a href="/2013/01/chicken-soup-for-your-soul-and-health.html">Grandma Louise's Chicken Soup with Rice</a></li><li><a href="/2013/10/world-food-day-vegetarian-quinoa-chili.html">Black Bean Quiona Chili</a></li><li><a href="/2012/01/beekman-cooking-challenge.html">Mac &amp; Cheese w/Mushrooms &amp; Kale</a></li><li><a href="http://aimlessdigressions.blogspot.com/2011/09/its-fall-yall.html">Regular Ol' Mac &amp; Cheese</a></li><li><a href="/2012/01/spinach-manicotti-warms-my-soul.html">Spinach Manicotti</a></li><li><a href="/2012/03/crock-pot-play-more-cook-less.html">Crock Pot Stews</a></li><li><a href="http://aimlessdigressions.blogspot.com/2011/07/garbanzos-and-chickpeas-and-channa-oh.html">Minestrone with Chickpeas</a></li><li><a href="/2012/06/off-to-prove-thomas-wolfe-wrongor-at.html">Beans, Barley, &amp; Bacon Soup</a></li></ul><div><br />And since you might as well start early on dishes that are good for kids, here are a few from that category that freeze well:</div></div><div><ul><li><a href="http://aimlessdigressions.blogspot.com/2011/08/baby-dhal.html">Dhal</a></li><li><a href="/2012/01/busy-and-tired.html">Lentils with Carrots &amp; Celery</a></li><li><a href="http://aimlessdigressions.blogspot.com/2011/07/charlottes-favorite-baby-food-orange.html">Orange Mix Baby Food</a></li><li><a href="/2012/08/auntie-ms-toddler-chili.html">Toddler Chili</a></li><li><a href="/2013/10/kids-cook-monday-beanie-weinies.html">Beanie Weenies</a></li></ul><div><br />My one and only piece of advice when it comes to post-baby food is this: <b>invest in a chest freezer!</b> I promise you won't regret the investment even if you don't cook that often. Last I checked, they sell a reasonably large model for around $100 at Home Depot.<br /><br />Good luck, Jenny! And snuggle that baby. They grow all too fast.<br />xoxo,<br />~J</div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/CxKn2m8wVq4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com5/2014/04/chicken-bog-list-of-freezable-meals.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-62382292233101426872014-03-31T21:30:00.000-04:002014-04-01T13:34:30.873-04:00{12/52 & 13/52}: chicken 'n' dumplings<div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"><br /></div></div>One thing you should know about me is that I love chicken 'n' dumplings.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Ycy7U4fg3cc/UzoI5wOKFCI/AAAAAAAAQK0/5uXdJr4OvGg/s640/blogger-image-342486312.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Ycy7U4fg3cc/UzoI5wOKFCI/AAAAAAAAQK0/5uXdJr4OvGg/s640/blogger-image-342486312.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">{12/52}: sickies</td></tr></tbody></table><br />And I knew it was time to make a batch when the girls spent a day looking like they do in the picture above. They had a nasty cold all week.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;">****</div><br />Before I get more into my love of dumplings, I'll share a brief story from a recent tot class. [Aside within an aside: when they call a class "jiggle and jive" and then make the moms jump around a lot, are they trying to inspire us to go to the gym more?] We were singing a song, and I had that experience that happens to me so frequently up here where I get lyrics to simple children's songs wrong. Apparently there are often regional differences in the words, which I never knew until having my own littles. It's an interesting experience to slip and slide through conversations with locals, knowing you might mess up even the most basic of childhood rhymes. Playing eenie meanie with Vivi the other day, she says, "That's now how it ends, Mommy! You're supposed to say 'Out goes Y-O-U.'" Or else I might stop singing "Ring Around the Rosie" after one verse, and everyone else continues a second verse that includes words like "buttahcups" and "thundah."<br /><br />This time it happened, though, I walked away thinking the adapted New England lyrics to, "She'll be coming around the mountain" are really missing out. They replaced "We'll have some <u>cake and ice cream</u>," instead of "We'll have some <u>chicken 'n dumplings</u>," and I simply will not stand for such a variation without attempting to rectify the situation.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;">****</div><br />I love Cracker Barrel. Because I can't untangle their food from my happy childhood memories--of stopping there to eat with my grandparents on our way to Birmingham to visit my cousins, of selecting paper strips of candy to buy, of playing checkers and that weird golf-tee ig-nor-a-moose game, whatever it was called--I know my love is potentially blind. But I don't care; I will go on with my positive view of Cracker Barrel, no matter any <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/12/22/cracker-barrel-screwed-up-big-time/">evidence to the contrary</a> that comes my way.<br /><br />Whatever you say about Cracker Barrel's food, you'll probably appreciate their chicken 'n dumplings if you give 'em a try. Some people prefer dumplings to be giant matzo-like puffy orbs, but I come from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/140278709X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=140278709X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=thlohora-20">the school of thought</a> in which dumplings are flat rectangles of dense dough. That's why I call this recipe "Cracker Barrel chicken 'n dumplings," although it's only authentic in that it mostly tastes like their version to me. {Note: I added an alternative way of making puffy-orb dumplings at the bottom of the recipe because I know some people like eating them the <strike>wrong</strike> other way}.<br /><br />There are faster ways to cook chicken 'n dumplings than this recipe.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><center><a href="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-sirJDaNKMYE/UzoGN8AQS3I/AAAAAAAAQKg/gmZz96Dxlmw/s640/blogger-image--1554106234.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-sirJDaNKMYE/UzoGN8AQS3I/AAAAAAAAQKg/gmZz96Dxlmw/s640/blogger-image--1554106234.jpg" /></a></center><br />If you want a real shortcut, you can do the <b>10-minute car-camping version</b>: Put a drained can of chicken, a 15 oz. can of chicken stock, and a little water/flour slurry in a pot; let it come to a boil, drop in cut-up biscuit dough from a can, wait 5 minutes; et voila, dinner is served.<br /><br />Or you could do the middle-of-the road <b>30-min approa</b><b>ch</b>: Dredge 6-8 chicken thighs and drumsticks in flour. Saute in oil in a Dutch oven until brown. Submerge with chicken stock (2-3 cups), cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare 1 c. of Bisquick according to package directions, drop tablespoons of dough into stew (on top of the meat), adding more stock as desired, and cook 10 minutes uncovered, then cover and cook 10 more minutes.<br /><br />But I find that even going all-the-way from scratch isn't time-consuming or difficult prep. The part that takes up the most time is cooking the chicken to make chicken stock. Whether you want to roast your chicken first to add a depth of flavor to the finished dish is up to you. If you're pressed for time or simply feeling lazy like I often am, you can just start with raw chicken in the pot. The only thing that changes is your cooking time.<br /><br />I usually divide the task into two days. On the first day, I cook, cool, and shred the chicken (using the same method described in my <a href="/2013/01/chicken-soup-for-your-soul-and-health.html">chicken &amp; rice soup post</a>), then put it back in the stock and into the fridge overnight to marry flavors. &nbsp;On the second day, I heat up the soup, add a slurry, season to taste, and cook the dumplings. If you want your kids to get some extra veggies, drop in frozen peas at the very end.<br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><center><a href="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-QUU4cVV7e1M/UzoGPj65FoI/AAAAAAAAQKo/w2bsS2D0-y0/s640/blogger-image--285767276.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-QUU4cVV7e1M/UzoGPj65FoI/AAAAAAAAQKo/w2bsS2D0-y0/s640/blogger-image--285767276.jpg" /></a></center><br /><br /><blockquote style="background-color: white; border: 2px dashed #888d8d; padding: 10px;"><b>chicken 'n dumplings, the {sorta} Cracker Barrel way</b><br /><i>serves 6</i><br /><br />Stew Ingredients:<br />1 whole chicken, skin-on, cut into parts<br />1 carrot, broken in half<br />1 stalk celery, cut in half<br />1 onion, quartered<br />3 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed<br />handful of black peppercorns<br />salt &amp; pepper<br />few stems of flat-leaf parsley<br />2 Tbs. all-purpose flour<br />1/4 c. whole milk (half &amp; half or heavy cream work too)<br /><br />Flat Dumpling Ingredients: {see below for fluffy dumplings}<br />1c. all-purpose flour, sifted<br />2/3 c. water<br />large pinch of salt<br /><br />Directions:<br /><br /><ol><li>Add chicken, veggies, garlic, peppercorns, a large pinch of salt, and parsley into a large Dutch oven or stock pot. Cover with water (approximately 8-10 cups, depending on the size of your pot) and bring it to a boil. Quickly turn the heat down to simmer and let it cook until the chicken reaches 175ºF with a meat thermometer, approximately 45 minutes. {Note: Alternatively, you can let it come to a boil, turn the heat off, and leave it for an hour to an hour and a half if you need to go somewhere during this time.}</li><li>Put the meat on a cutting board to let it cool. Meanwhile, strain the stock into a bowl and discard the veggies. Shred the chicken, discarding the fat and bones {Note: This is where I stop for the day if I'm dividing the recipe in two; you can save the bones for another round of stock-making}.&nbsp;</li><li>Make a slurry by whisking together 2 Tbs. flour and milk; set aside.&nbsp;Return the shredded chicken to the pot. If you want a soup, add all the broth back; if you prefer the dumplings to be in a thick sauce instead of soup, add half the broth back (~2 c.) and more as needed. Add the slurry and bring the mixture to a boil.</li><li>Combine water, a large pinch of salt, and 1 c. flour in a small bowl. It will make a sticky dough. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into 2"x1" rectangles, add to the boiling liquid, and cook for five minutes or until the dumplings rise to the top. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add frozen peas if desired.</li></ol><div><b>alternative fluffy dumplings</b> (via Betty Crocker)</div><div><br /></div><div>Ingredients:&nbsp;</div><div>1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, sifted</div><div>2 tsp. baking soda</div><div>3/4 tsp. salt</div><div>3 Tbs. lard, shortening, or unsalted butter</div><div>3/4 c. milk, preferably whole</div><div><br /></div><div>Directions: <br />Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Drop by spoonfuls into the boiling liquid. Cook 10 minutes uncovered, then cover pot, turn down heat to simmer, and cook 10 more minutes.</div></blockquote><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-emxUPQQXWeA/UzoXf7f9uII/AAAAAAAAQLE/gVH5gBp74nk/s640/blogger-image-1429085851.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-emxUPQQXWeA/UzoXf7f9uII/AAAAAAAAQLE/gVH5gBp74nk/s640/blogger-image-1429085851.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">{13/52}: on the mend!</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/sXo_h5bFsZ8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com6/2014/03/1252-1352-chicken-dumplings.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-16113981991497022632014-03-27T21:21:00.000-04:002014-03-27T21:41:08.509-04:00the salad and the cone<table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.uproxx.com/webculture/2013/05/adam-patch-animated-joke/" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" target="_blank"><img alt="the corn chip joke" src="http://cdn.uproxx.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Screen-shot-2013-05-01-at-1.11.25-PM-650x363.png" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">This picture alone is kinda funny, but if you click it, it takes you to an even funnier cartoon of a drunk wife's joke.</td></tr></tbody></table><center></center><br />Because everyone's experience of <a href="/search/label/Marriage">marriage</a> is different, I usually find it unnecessary to compare marriage notes. Except of course when it comes to purchases of socks and underwear. On that subject, I'm chatty beyond reason. I'll even go so far as to poll the woman who avoids eye contact with me at carpool.<br /><br />So let's chat, Reader. Here's what I would like to know: When did I become the primary sock and underwear purchaser for my entire household? At some point we must have made the switch, but I have no recollection of taking on the duty. And yet, I'm pretty certain it happened pre-kids, back when we both had jobs and social lives. Is this something you're in charge of in your house?<br /><br />I mean, what gives? Why the magnanimous gesture that now requires me to stand in TJ Maxx and try to remember whether it's the ones without the mesh or the ones with the mesh? I'm not even going to tell you whether I'm talking about socks or underwear. I should leave <i>something</i> to your imagination.*<br /><br />Okay, there was originally going to be more to this post than bemoaning the level of detail I've acquired about my husband's personal garment preferences. I'll try to bring it back around. I guess what I'm saying is that my marriage isn't&nbsp;perfect, but it is full of both surprises and predictability. Nothing against surprises, but I'll take predictability any day.<br /><br />Did you read the Goop article about "<a href="http://www.goop.com/journal/be/conscious-uncoupling">conscious uncoupling</a>"? It left <a href="http://www.peopleiwanttopunchinthethroat.com/2014/03/conscious-uncoupling.html">the entire gossipy internet</a> wondering why she included a polemic on marriage after the jump. Many have said much already, so I'll spare you a dissection of the nonsensical gibberish on bugs and Russian esotericists. I mention it because part of me is interested in learning about other people's divorces, especially of a couple who seemed so perfect from the outside like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. I'll admit it, I'm curious.<br /><br />Maybe I wonder about what pushed them over the edge because it seems like it'd be so impossible for us to divorce and still be friends, like <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laurie-david/my-family-dinner-after-di_b_779277.html">Larry &amp; Laurie David</a>. I suppose we might if either of us were as witty and disarming as Larry David. Speaking of, he did a hilarious episode of <a href="http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com/larry-david-larry-eats-a-pancake">Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee</a> with Jerry Seinfeld. I loved Jerry's take on why Larry got divorced, and I happen to agree with his notion of setting the mood. If I'm getting an ice cream cone, you'd better not order a salad. We're in this together, socks and all.<br /><br /><i>*I should probably note that I don't actually mind buying socks and underwear for my husband. But feigning incredulity at my lot in life is one of the ways I martyr myself to get appreciation. I know, I know. I might be the actual worst.</i><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/Zr47II1zWVs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com5/2014/03/the-salad-and-cone.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-3611417691269010502014-03-25T14:51:00.000-04:002014-03-25T16:20:07.233-04:00an olive branch: {brown bread with sorghum butter}This winter weather and all its polar vortexes (vorti?) have been the great equalizer among inhabitants of New England. I'll explain how and share a recipe for brown bread with you, but first I need to tell you about a recent eureka moment.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;">****</div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div>In discovering more about the writing craft, I've been learning types of stock characters. One day recently, I had an epiphany about why I didn't fit with Bostonians. I let myself become&nbsp;a stock character...<br /><br />A variation on the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.avclub.com/article/the-bataan-death-march-of-whimsy-case-file-1-emeli-15577">"Manic Pixie Dream Girl" trope</a>, I'm the <b>manic <u>dixie</u> dream girl </b>{pun gloriously intended}.<b>&nbsp;</b>I'm the southern girl whose only role in the narrative is to cheer up Bostonians. The bubbly, available pal who says cute things like "Y'all" and "Bless her heart." But most importantly, I have no complex issues of my own, and I never <i>ever</i> complain.<br /><br />This personality description is of course oversimplified; that's the point of a stock character, right? But it does at least partly fit me and my southern roots. Where I come from, the first rule of depression club is we don't talk about depression club. Complaining about the weather, reporting the symptoms of your cold, or whining about your stress level represent a type of self-indulgence that is strictly forbidden in polite southern conversation.<br /><br />I kept my mouth shut about the weather both due to my upbringing and out of fear that locals would laugh off any dissatisfaction as typical of a wimpy southerner. <i>Oh, how adorable. You just can't hack the New England winter! </i>By&nbsp;attempting to prevent them from labeling me, I ended up pigeonholing <b>myself</b> into one (boring) interminably cheerful side.<br /><br />But I lucked out this time. This winter has been different. <b>Cold</b>, different. It's one of the coldest seasons we've had in something like fifty years. <a href="/2014/03/852-952-screw-gentility.html">Like I said before</a>,&nbsp;<b>everyone</b> is complaining. It's great! I'm finally able to come out of my shell, to feel like one of the gang. Because, you know what? Sometimes that damn bear eats you, and pretending otherwise doesn't stop it from being so.<br /><br /><a name='more'></a><br /><div style="text-align: center;">****</div><br />Feeling like one of the gang is such a rare blessing in these past three years. I'd love to continue the trend. The way I connect emotionally is through food, so my olive branch to my new people is to become familiar with their local dishes. <a href="/2013/10/kids-cook-monday-beanie-weinies.html">Baked beans</a> were a no-brainer to start with; they're as southern today as they are northern.<br /><br />No Boston cream pie yet. Did you know it's a cake, not a pie? I had no idea. I can't say for sure since I've never tasted one, but it would be tough for that cake to beat a Boston cream doughnut, which I have tried and is basically a round eclair. What was I saying?<br /><br />Oh right. I'm happy to report we did make corned beef and <a href="/2012/01/colcannon.html">colcannon</a> on St. Paddy's, though I'll be looking for a new corned beef recipe next year. The next logical choice--particularly since I'm testing lots of new <a href="/search/label/Breakfast">breakfast recipes</a>--was brown bread.<br /><br />When I was a little girl, my mom would tell me stories from her childhood in upstate New York in which her mother served slices of raisin-studded brown bread from a can with a smear of cream cheese as a snack. I was fascinated with this particular story because of the word&nbsp;<i>can. </i>A&nbsp;<b>can</b> of bread? New York might as well have been another planet.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-a83ALxiCgRk/UzHKrS2Vt7I/AAAAAAAAQKE/ggeX8L5xrfw/s1600/Mom&amp;Grandma.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-a83ALxiCgRk/UzHKrS2Vt7I/AAAAAAAAQKE/ggeX8L5xrfw/s1600/Mom&amp;Grandma.jpg" height="632" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">My mom with her mom.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><br />The bread is steamed&nbsp;<i>in</i>&nbsp;the can, traditionally speaking a coffee can. You can even buy it canned at the grocery stores up here, which still seems so foreign to me it makes me LOL when I see it. <i>Well I be done seen about everything, when I see a<strike>n elephant fly</strike> can of bread!&nbsp;</i><br /><br />{Anyone? That's a line from Dumbo, one of my absolute favorites as a kid.}<br /><br />I have to admit that I didn't use a can when I tried out this recipe; I used a loaf pan instead. You can do that too if, like us, your coffee doesn't come in a oven-safe metal can. Apparently you can also buy a <a href="http://www.fantes.com/loaf-pans.html#bostonbrownbread">brown bread mold</a>&nbsp;if you like it enough to make it regularly.<br /><br />Because my grandmother was Irish, I always assumed brown bread started across the pond. Actually, brown bread is <a href="http://www.americanfoodroots.com/features/american-made/found-recipes-boston-brown-bread/">one of the oldest American breads</a>. Around the time of the Revolution, a shortage of wheat flour made people get creative with their bread construction, relying on the cheaper and more plentiful cornmeal and rye flour. Brown bread is what's called a <i>thirded</i> bread, called such because it is made of equal parts of three kinds of grain.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Or0ZJgzQ7bc/UzHJDa8bsOI/AAAAAAAAQJ8/wr1VLPsr_hs/s1600/GreatGrandmaDanker_Ted.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Or0ZJgzQ7bc/UzHJDa8bsOI/AAAAAAAAQJ8/wr1VLPsr_hs/s1600/GreatGrandmaDanker_Ted.jpg" height="400" width="396" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">My great grandmother. Did she eat brown bread? I'm going to ask my Grandma.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><br />Rich blackstrap molasses is the sweetener; as I mentioned in my <a href="/2014/03/sorghum-syrup-history-health-benefits.html">sorghum syrup</a> article,&nbsp;<a href="http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/sweets/5573/2">blackstrap molasses</a> is a nutritious, vitamin and mineral-rich ingredient, packed with vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. With wholesome whole grain flour and textured cornmeal, this bread is healthy enough for breakfast.<br /><br />When I first saw the ingredients for this bread, the cornmeal component jumped out at me as a natural connection to southern cooking, so I grabbed a pat of my&nbsp;<a href="/2014/03/sorghum-syrup-history-health-benefits.html">whipped sorghum butter</a>. If you like gilding the lily as much as me, you could even top it with an extra drizzle of sorghum or honey and some whiskey cream, and eat it for dessert. Up here they're known to eat their discs of bread with baked beans for lunch or an afternoon snack; it's also pretty good with cream cheese the way mom used to eat it. I don't know why it didn't catch on in the heart of Dixie, but I plan to remedy that omission by sharing <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/boston_brown_bread/">this recipe</a> with you, Reader (N.B.: no need to reinvent the wheel by posting it here; I made it exactly as it is written in <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/boston_brown_bread/">that link</a>). Pass it on!<br /><br /><a data-pin-config="none" data-pin-do="buttonPin" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lonehomeranger.com%2F2014%2F03%2Fan-olive-branch-brown-bread-with.html&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.simplyrecipes.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2011%2F03%2Fboston-brown-bread-a.jpg&amp;description=Brown%20bread%2C%20via%20Lone%20Home%20Ranger%20%26%20Simply%20Recipes"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_gray_20.png" /></a><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script async="" src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js" type="text/javascript"></script><br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/boston_brown_bread/" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img alt="Boston Brown Bread (photo)" src="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/boston-brown-bread-a.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Image Credit: <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/boston_brown_bread/">Simply Recipes</a></td></tr></tbody></table><b><br /></b>If you try it, let me know. I'd love to hear how yours turned out. Ours was hearty and chewy, and it was well liked among my littles too, so it will surely make another appearance in our <a href="/search/label/Breakfast">breakfast rotation</a>. Later this week, I'll be continuing my attempt to connect my southern roots to my northern locale by making johnnycakes.<br /><br />Later gators, xoxo,<br />~J<br /><br /><i>Author's note: This post is part of <a href="http://extraordinary-ordinary.net/2014/03/25/just-write-128/">Just Write</a>.</i><br /><ol></ol><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/uc0UN56xKes" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com5/2014/03/an-olive-branch-brown-bread-with.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-25488926672095651302014-03-24T17:22:00.000-04:002014-03-25T16:23:55.265-04:00the family breakfast project<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Qr0DRSJV2QE/UzByVAIUFTI/AAAAAAAAQJU/DkzDiOKQQYg/s1600/DSC_0004.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Qr0DRSJV2QE/UzByVAIUFTI/AAAAAAAAQJU/DkzDiOKQQYg/s1600/DSC_0004.JPG" height="424" width="640" /></a></div><br />When the folks at <a href="http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/">the Family Dinner Project</a> approached me to try out their new breakfast partnership with Cheerios, <a href="http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/the-family-breakfast-project/">the Family <b>Breakfast</b> Project</a>, my first thought was: <i>I don't have enough time to add <u>anything</u> to our breakfast routine.</i><br /><br />At that time, we had recently made a big transition. We gave up our relaxed, cartoon-watching non-routine of summer for a fast-paced, challenging, drill-sergeant school routine. It was our first time sending a child to kindergarten, and the start-time switch from 9am to 8am was painful for all of us.<br /><br />I felt pressed to get everything done in the morning. It seemed like every precious minute was spent accomplishing necessary goals: dressing, eating, packing a lunch, brushing teeth and washing up, and getting shoes and winter attire on. Oh and the kindergarten backpack with folder and any homework tucked in, too. I envisioned reading about <a href="http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/the-family-breakfast-project/">the program</a>, then feeling guilty for not being able to enact all the wonderful things it offered.<br /><br />Although I resisted making any changes to our already packed schedule, I figured it couldn't hurt to promote the program for other families who sought to broaden their breakfast horizons. So we agreed to participate in <a href="http://vimeo.com/83920682">their commercial</a>&nbsp;(we're that first family in the clip). That was a blast! After shooting the commercial, I completely forgot about the whole thing and went about my business.<br /><a name='more'></a><br /><br /><a data-pin-config="none" data-pin-do="buttonPin" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lonehomeranger.com%2F2014%2F03%2Fthe-family-breakfast-project.html&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2F3.bp.blogspot.com%2F-5IdYLIuPEyA%2FUzCZkMhWu2I%2FAAAAAAAAQJk%2F5mYGnvIthH0%2Fs1600%2FScreen%2BShot%2B2014-03-24%2Bat%2B2.00.27%2BPM.png&amp;description=The%20Family%20Breakfast%20Project%2C%20via%20Lone%20Home%20Ranger"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_gray_20.png" /></a><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script async="" src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js" type="text/javascript"></script><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-5IdYLIuPEyA/UzCZkMhWu2I/AAAAAAAAQJk/5mYGnvIthH0/s1600/Screen+Shot+2014-03-24+at+2.00.27+PM.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-5IdYLIuPEyA/UzCZkMhWu2I/AAAAAAAAQJk/5mYGnvIthH0/s1600/Screen+Shot+2014-03-24+at+2.00.27+PM.png" height="210" width="400" /></a></div><br />Then on a weekend in February, I began receiving calls out of the blue from friends and family who had seen the commercial and wanted to know what it was all about. Right then and there, I unwittingly became <a href="http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/the-family-breakfast-project/">the program's</a> lay-spokesperson. For the next weeks, the questions continued rolling in at school drop-off, swim class, church, and the library. I realized it was time to beef up my knowledge about <a href="http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/the-family-breakfast-project/">the program</a>.<br /><br />So I started reading the ideas. I bet you can guess what happened after that. Despite my internal protests, I found myself jotting great ideas in my red notebook. I even slowly made some changes. Now I (sometimes) pack lunch the night before, even including little notes of encouragement. I get up half an hour earlier and wake the kids up 15 minutes earlier. I printed <a href="http://www.cheerios.com/en/~/media/C5569404967049C481E394AACE218724.ashx">the clothing checklist</a> and encourage the kids to pick out their clothes while I pack lunch.<br /><br />All of these time-savers have resulted in a few extra minutes for me to sit down with the girls and eat breakfast. I cherish these minutes that life actually feels slow enough to appreciate each other and the quiet morning.<br /><br />I could spend all my time talking just about&nbsp;the Family Breakfast Project's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cheerios.com/SevenDays-six.aspx">printables</a> and <a href="http://www.cheerios.com/recipes/cheerios-jumbo-breakfast-cookies/50bfef91-e2c8-4c3c-8fa9-4f387311d72a">recipes</a>; those freebies alone are worth downloading the PDF. But what I found to be most positive about the new program is the same perk I loved about the Family Dinner Project, the ideas for conversation. Here are my favorites:<br /><br /><b><span style="font-size: large;">wish &amp; worry + forecast your day&nbsp;</span></b><br /><br />Allowing the kids the chance to tell us how they are feeling about their day using the weather (e.g. rainbow for happiness, thunderstorms for worries) is a great way to let them communicate without having to use big words they may not understand, like embarrassed, jealous, or frustrated. Luckily at this age most of their days are filled with rainbows and sunshine (oh how I wish our actual March forecasts in Boston were this cheery). I'm happy that we've established this routine early, so that when they do start having less-than-perfect days, they'll know we are available to talk to about their feelings.<br /><br /><b><span style="font-size: large;">"talk about it when you were a kid"</span></b><br /><br />I put that in quotes because it's how our kindergartner expresses that she wants to hear stories from our childhoods. This game used to be part of our bedtime routine; now that the girls share a room, we are less inclined to tell long stories because our preschooler is still into reading the same book over and over (this week it's <i><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0803731957/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0803731957&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=thlohora-20">Ladybug Girl</a></i> again). It's been great to incorporate the story routine into our morning instead. If Vivi has music class one day, I can tell her an amusing story about the time my teacher made me sing "Little Drummer Boy" a cappella in front of the entire third grade group because I had been misbehaving.<br /><br />Here are some more ideas that we haven't put into action yet but that seem like they would be fun for us to try during our 15 relaxing morning minutes:<br /><br /><ol><li>Name three family rituals and traditions</li><li>Teach the kids how to make something for you at breakfast</li><li>Introduce a new fruit</li><li>"If you could be an animal, what animal would you be?"</li><li>One-sentence story about what all our days will be like</li><li><a href="http://www.cheerios.com/~/media/B06DBEE20AAF4B7FB8C3BE9B3BE0A1F6.ashx">Simple acts of kindness</a></li><li>Game of telephone</li></ol><div><br />To celebrate and promote <a href="http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/the-family-breakfast-project/">the Family Breakfast Project</a>, I shared five breakfast recipes last week (and am still planning to share recipes for johnnycakes and brown bread). I hope these ideas will inspire you to try a new breakfast that's fast and easy:</div><div><br /></div><div><ul><li><a href="/2014/03/buttermilk-biscones.html">Buttermilk Biscones</a></li><li><a href="/2014/03/kitchen-sink-breakfast-cookies.html">Kitchen Sink Breakfast Cookies</a></li><li><a href="/2014/03/how-to-make-yogurt-at-home-with-only.html">Homemade Yogurt</a></li><li><a href="/2014/03/overnight-oatmeal.html">Overnight Oatmeal</a></li><li><a href="/2014/03/oatcakes.html">Oatcakes</a></li><li><a href="/2012/08/top-10-favorite-breakfasts.html">More of my favorite breakfasts</a></li></ul><div><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/x-Ii6ZSowSw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com3/2014/03/the-family-breakfast-project.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-54145328658049336262014-03-23T08:57:00.001-04:002014-03-26T07:45:09.839-04:00sorghum syrup: history, health benefits, & use<div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-1knKzNk_DbQ/Uy2XCqlpm8I/AAAAAAAAQIM/iDpJgjt1wlQ/s640/blogger-image-947343450.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-1knKzNk_DbQ/Uy2XCqlpm8I/AAAAAAAAQIM/iDpJgjt1wlQ/s640/blogger-image-947343450.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Sorghum syrup from <a href="http://muddypondsorghum.com/">Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill</a></td></tr></tbody></table><a data-pin-config="none" data-pin-do="buttonPin" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lonehomeranger.com%2F2014%2F03%2Fsorghum-syrup-history-health-benefits.html&amp;media=https%3A%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2F-1knKzNk_DbQ%2FUy2XCqlpm8I%2FAAAAAAAAQIM%2FiDpJgjt1wlQ%2Fs640%2Fblogger-image-947343450.jpg&amp;description=Sorghum%20syrup%3A%20History%2C%20health%20benefits%2C%20%26%20uses%2C%20via%20Lone%20Home%20Ranger"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_gray_20.png" /></a><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script async="" src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js" type="text/javascript"></script><br /><center></center><br /></div><span style="font-size: large;">The History, Health Benefits, &amp; Uses of Sorghum Syrup</span><br /><br />Have you ever heard of <b>sorghum syrup</b>, also known as <b>sweet&nbsp;sorghum</b>&nbsp;or <b>sorghum molasses*</b>? I learned about it recently through my Uncle Ronnie, who was telling me his fond memories of eating it drizzled over <a href="/2013/03/saturday-morning-southern-biscuits.html">biscuits</a> as a child in North Carolina. I happened to mention I'd never eaten it, so he sent me <a href="http://muddypondsorghum.com/">a batch</a>! Gotta love uncles.<br /><br />{*Note: Although some people call it sorghum molasses, sorghum syrup is not actually molasses, which is a byproduct of the sugar refining process and is made of sugar cane, not sorghum cane}.<br /><a name='more'></a><br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://doctorschar.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/sweet-sorghum07.jpg" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img src="http://doctorschar.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/sweet-sorghum07.jpg" height="425" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">You can learn all you ever wanted to know about sorghum via <a href="http://doctorschar.com/features/sweet-sorghum-sorghum-bicolor/">this article by Doctor Schar</a>&nbsp;(image credit).</td></tr></tbody></table><div style="text-align: center;"></div><br /><span style="font-size: large;">What is sorghum syrup?</span><br /><br /><a href="http://www.herculesengines.com/sorghum/default.html">Sorghum syrup</a> is made from Sorghum bicolor, a large annual cane grass that originally came from Africa. The history of its growth as a crop is political; it began in the north during slavery when the Union was looking for an independent sweetener to the Confederacy's sugar cane. Read more of its interesting history <a href="http://doctorschar.com/features/sweet-sorghum-sorghum-bicolor/">here</a>.<br /><br /><br /><span style="font-size: large;">How does sorghum syrup compare to other sweeteners?</span><br /><br />Sorghum is even more delicious than I imagined; it has explosive taste, with fruity and earthy notes (yes, I just said "earthy notes," I apologize). I am like Goldilocks; now that I've gotten a taste for it, I don't want to go without! Here's how it stacks up to the liquid sweeteners in my cabinet:<br /><br /><ul><li><b>Honey</b>: I love local honey and use it almost daily, but it is so unbelievably sticky--plus, if you've been keeping up with the news, apparently <a href="http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/#.Uyz4o-ddWpc">it's not even always really honey</a>.&nbsp;</li><li><b>Maple syrup</b> is wonderful, and I've been getting my fill up in Boston. But it is too thin to pour over yogurt or biscuits.&nbsp;</li><li><b>Blackstrap Molasses</b> is great in baked goods but is way too intense to eat straight out of the jar.&nbsp;</li></ul><br /><br /><span style="font-size: large;">Is it as good for health as molasses and local honey?&nbsp;</span><br /><br />There's no denying <a href="http://www.brerrabbit.com/products/brer-rabbit-blackstrap-molasses/">blackstrap molasses</a> is a healthy ingredient; it's full of essential minerals like magnesium, calcium, and iron. I researched sorghum&nbsp;to see how it compares, and it turns out&nbsp;<a href="http://nssppa.org/Cooking_with_Sorghum.html">sorghum is full of the same minerals</a>&nbsp;and has been used for years in traditional medicine. Like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1878736981/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1878736981&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=thlohora-20">wheat grass juice</a>, sorghum juice contains <a href="http://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajb/article/download/56024/44477">antimicrobial saponins</a>. Although toxic to some animals,&nbsp;saponins are <a href="http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/toxicagents/saponin.html">not toxic to humans</a>; in fact, saponin is thought to drain the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1878736981/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1878736981&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=thlohora-20">lymphatic system of toxins</a>.<br /><br />Like <a href="http://www.mari.su/bee/encyclopaedia.html">honey</a>, sorghum syrup&nbsp;serves as a mild <a href="http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/toxicagents/saponin.html">diuretic and expectorant</a>, and it is potentially <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3598435/">anti-inflammatory</a>. Interestingly, there is also <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17306481">evidence</a> to back up sorghum syrup's folkloric use to treat anemia, which is good for me because I've battled with low iron off and on in my life.<br /><br /><br /><span style="font-size: large;">How is sorghum syrup produced?</span><br /><br />A difference between molasses and sorghum is that molasses is an industrial byproduct of making refined sugar; if that whole process bothers you, you might prefer this uniquely American substitute that is purely boiled-down cane juice. To me, it's a shame that the complex, healthy sorghum syrup has been replaced by considerably less healthy, simple <a href="/2010/03/high-fructose-corn-syrup.html">corn syrup</a>;&nbsp;that's reason enough for me to support sorghum.<br /><br />Today Sorghum bicolor it is grown in the cooler corn belt and warmer southern United States, both by farmers who own mills and by homesteaders seeking an independent lifestyle. Here's&nbsp;<a href="http://nssppa.org/Purchase_Sorghum.html">a list of certified makers</a>&nbsp;of sorghum syrup. 10 gallons of cane juice make 1 gallon of syrup, but the process is certainly worth the effort. There's a great video about how sorghum syrup is made&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/whole-story/muddy-pond-sorghum%C2%A0mill">on the Whole Foods website</a>.<br /><br />What are you waiting for? Ask around; you might be able to find it in a farmer's market near you. If you're not local to it, you can even buy it at Whole Foods or on <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=sorghum%20syrup&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;sprefix=sorg%2Caps%2C254&amp;tag=thlohora-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps">Amazon</a>. Personally, I would love to attend the&nbsp;<a href="http://blairsvillesorghumfestival.com/">sorghum festival</a> in Blairsville, GA in October. I can't get enough of this stuff.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-XfZ2EKDXnIE/Uy2XEJeshyI/AAAAAAAAQIU/xD2psM6DZlw/s640/blogger-image--207573233.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-XfZ2EKDXnIE/Uy2XEJeshyI/AAAAAAAAQIU/xD2psM6DZlw/s640/blogger-image--207573233.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Sorghum syrup drizzled over pumpkin muffins. Mmmmm.</td></tr></tbody></table><center></center><br /><span style="font-size: x-large;">What can you do with sorghum syrup?</span><br /><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><u>Baking Substitute</u></span><br /><br />If you've been worried like me about the future of honey, then sorghum is a great substitute. The viscous consistency of sorghum is best compared with molasses, but the lighter color and taste are more like honey but earthier. You can substitute sorghum for any baking recipe that calls for honey, molasses, or especially corn syrup; keep in mind that sorghum is sweeter than molasses, so you may want to back off other sugars in the recipe a bit.<br /><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><u>Sweet &amp; Savory Dishes</u></span><br /><br />Try&nbsp;whipping sorghum with butter, using about a 1:4 ratio of sorghum to butter. I made a compound sorghum butter with <a href="/2014/03/3-uses-for-citrus-peel-that-you-can.html">citrus salt</a> yesterday, and it was delicious on <a href="/2013/03/saturday-morning-southern-biscuits.html">biscuits</a> this morning. Drizzle it into Brunswick stew or spaghetti sauce (that's my mom's trick with molasses). Bake your <a href="http://deepsouthmag.com/2013/09/sorghum-cornbread/">cornbread</a> with it. Make candy! Here's a 160-year-old&nbsp;<a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=egJPWmUrKFsC&amp;pg=PA154&amp;lpg=PA154&amp;dq=sorghum+nicknames&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=GnyQ34FbCd&amp;sig=AwuzoMJyfKdZ8gwlr3NmM-lM5Fk&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=0ckuU9SjG4GMygHhkIGoBQ&amp;ved=0CG8Q6AEwCA#v=onepage&amp;q=sorghum%20nicknames&amp;f=false">recipe for sorghum syrup candy</a> in a book about renewing America's traditions.<br /><br />Sorghum syrup is also delectable poured on any of these breakfasts I posted last week:<br /><ul><li><a href="/2014/03/buttermilk-biscones.html">Buttermilk Biscones</a></li><li><a href="/2014/03/how-to-make-yogurt-at-home-with-only.html">Homemade Yogurt</a></li><li><a href="/2014/03/overnight-oatmeal.html">Overnight Oatmeal</a></li><li><a href="/2014/03/oatcakes.html">Oatcakes</a></li></ul><div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-u5SFC64DeYw/Uy7ZyA8KGxI/AAAAAAAAQJE/99EPZ3VQyeY/s640/blogger-image--2111104927.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-u5SFC64DeYw/Uy7ZyA8KGxI/AAAAAAAAQJE/99EPZ3VQyeY/s640/blogger-image--2111104927.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Sorghum syrup &amp; whipped butter over a biscuit</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><u>Cocktails</u></span><br /><br />I looked into using sorghum in a cocktail, as I'm wont to do. Well, it turns out <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=KB27UYg0hLoC&amp;pg=PA93&amp;lpg=PA93&amp;dq=monkey+rum+sorghum&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=MstJY2gQc3&amp;sig=9zaIsGinO6m_49-sROTiz68Tqeg&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=39MuU-PUHcfIyAGeyoDYCQ&amp;ved=0CD8Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&amp;q=monkey%20rum%20sorghum&amp;f=false">there's a rare spirit</a> made from sorghum in the Carolinas. In the absence of this elusive moonshine, you could also seek out <a href="http://sorgrhum.com/">Sorghrum</a>, a rum made in Indiana from sorghum (not legally allowed be called rum, but whatevs), and <a href="http://www.madisondistillery.com/Queen_Jennie.html">Sorghum Whiskey</a> made in Madison, Wisconsin. Or try the delectable-sounding&nbsp;<b>honey drip</b>, which is 1:1:3 sorghum syrup, amaretto, and bourbon. You could also substitute sorghum syrup for simple syrup in any drink.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;">****</div><div style="text-align: center;">~POSTSCRIPT~</div><br />Y'all, are you still reading? There's one last thing I want to share, and that's a new favorite TV documentary series. It's <a href="http://www.pbs.org/food/shows/a-chefs-life/">A Chef's Life</a> on PBS; you can watch past <a href="http://video.pbs.org/program/chefs-life/">episodes online</a>. Creator Vivian Howard is documenting her experience as a <a href="http://chefandthefarmer.com/">chef</a> in Eastern North Carolina. She puts modern twists on southern classics--always with local, seasonal ingredients--and highlights the work of local farmers. Best of all, she is attempting to preserve the local food culture, and I give that goal a big AMEN. I'm mentioning her show today because last night I watched <a href="http://video.pbs.org/video/2365125300/">an episode</a>&nbsp;in which she used sorghum syrup in her <a href="http://www.pbs.org/food/recipes/candied-yams-with-bacon-pecan-syrup/">candied yams</a>&nbsp;(note: the recipe calls for molasses, but she used sorghum on the show). It was a total coincidence that I saw it when I did. I love when that happens.<br /><br />Let me know if you try any recipes with sorghum. I'd love to know what you think!<br /><br /><i>Author's note: This post is part of <a href="http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2014/03/homestead-barn-hop-152.html">The Homestead Barn Hop</a>&nbsp;and <a href="http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2014/03/real-food-wednesday-3262014.html">Real Food Wednesday</a>.</i><br /><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/NxGi1t1I8TQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com4/2014/03/sorghum-syrup-history-health-benefits.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-82263191594844242592014-03-22T14:19:00.002-04:002014-03-26T07:45:23.808-04:003 uses for citrus peel {that you can start doing now}<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-o3kYAX5kDhA/Uy2Wr35M0oI/AAAAAAAAQIE/PR6vZESX6Kc/s640/blogger-image-1641340599.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-o3kYAX5kDhA/Uy2Wr35M0oI/AAAAAAAAQIE/PR6vZESX6Kc/s640/blogger-image-1641340599.jpg" /></a></div><br /><a data-pin-config="none" data-pin-do="buttonPin" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lonehomeranger.com%2F2014%2F03%2F3-uses-for-citrus-peel-that-you-can.html&amp;media=https%3A%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2F-o3kYAX5kDhA%2FUy2Wr35M0oI%2FAAAAAAAAQIE%2FPR6vZESX6Kc%2Fs640%2Fblogger-image-1641340599.jpg&amp;description=3%20(Easy)%20Uses%20for%20Citrus%20Peels%2C%20via%20Lone%20Home%20Ranger"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_gray_20.png" /></a><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script async="" src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js" type="text/javascript"></script><br /><br />Long lists intimidate me. I'm skeptical of their fancy promises. 101 places you can hide your elf on the shelf! 500 uses for dryer lint! 28 ways you can improve your routines!<br /><br />More like 28 ways you didn't know you were doing it wrong all along.<br /><br />A few years back, I heard I wasn't supposed to put many citrus peels in the compost. I've since learned <a href="http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/ingredients/citrus-peels-compost.htm">that old rule isn't true</a>, but it sparked my interest in finding other ways to use the peels. I looked for how-tos on the interwebs. One suggested I should keep my peels in a giant bag in the chest freezer. Good idea! But wait, she wasn't finished. Then, when the bag was full, I should put all the peels on a baking sheet and dehydrate them in a warm oven for many hours. THEN, I should grind those dehydrated peels into powder, and only after all those steps could I turn them into a scouring scrub. Ain't <b>nobody</b> got time for all that.<br /><br /><div>I'm not making any promises or offering long lists today. I'll just tell you the three ways I store my leftover citrus peels right when I'm cutting up the fruit. It will take you thirty seconds longer than tossing them in the garbage, and I promise (okay, one promise) you'll be glad you have them on hand.<br /><a name='more'></a><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-large;">3 uses for citrus peel&nbsp;</span></div><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-large;">{that you can start doing now}:</span></div><div><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><center><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-EtNQceoGH7k/Uy2WqBFKfaI/AAAAAAAAQH8/-lEZZZy1Gxs/s640/blogger-image--508786240.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-EtNQceoGH7k/Uy2WqBFKfaI/AAAAAAAAQH8/-lEZZZy1Gxs/s640/blogger-image--508786240.jpg" /></a></center><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><u>1. Citrus salt</u></span><br /><i>method acquired via <a href="http://localkitchenblog.com/2014/02/20/lazy-citrus-salt/">local kitchen</a></i><br /><br />This method could not be easier.<br /><ul><li>Using a microplane or the small holes of your box grater, grate zest (lemon, orange, grapefruit, and lime all work well) over a bowl.&nbsp;</li><li>Add the same amount of salt as zest and rub it through your fingers until it is combined.&nbsp;</li><li>Set it on the counter (no lid yet) for a few days until it looks dry enough.&nbsp;</li><li>Store it for up to a year in an airtight container. I put some of it in an old glass spice container that's been washed and dried, and I store the rest in the freezer.&nbsp;</li></ul><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><center></center><center><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-thZOJ3WeLUo/Uy3Rek88kWI/AAAAAAAAQIs/_NbAPBdfrbc/s640/blogger-image--1549247553.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-thZOJ3WeLUo/Uy3Rek88kWI/AAAAAAAAQIs/_NbAPBdfrbc/s640/blogger-image--1549247553.jpg" /></a></center><br /><br /><b>Uses:</b> Citrus salt is great on fish or stirred into a soup near the end of cooking. You can also bake with it in recipes that call for similar amounts of zest and salt (e.g. for recipes that call for 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. zest, use 2 tsp. of citrus salt. Not rocket science).<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><center></center><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><u>2. Frozen peels</u></span><br /><br />I discovered this method when I stuck some peels in a bag in the freezer, not sure what I wanted to do with them but not wanting to throw them away. Then that week I needed zest for a baked good and peel for a cocktail but had no fresh fruit around. Et voila, a strategy is born!<br /><ul><li>Either peel zest off the orange the way you would an apple (what I do when I'm juicing the orange), or else go down the sides with your knife removing both the zest and pith (what I do when I'm cutting orange segments for the girls).&nbsp;</li><li>Flash freeze the peels on a baking sheet so they don't stick together.</li><li>Store the frozen peels in a ziptop freezer bag (vacuum sealed if you have one) for up to one year.</li></ul><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-f2AdgqI3VR0/Uy3Rc6xIv1I/AAAAAAAAQIk/08Xi6lZl_gs/s640/blogger-image-779585265.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-f2AdgqI3VR0/Uy3Rc6xIv1I/AAAAAAAAQIk/08Xi6lZl_gs/s640/blogger-image-779585265.jpg" /></a></div><br /><b>Uses:</b> I use the peeled zest in cocktails when I have no fresh fruit on hand (no need to defrost, it's great as is), and I zest the frozen pith slices when a recipe calls for zest but not salt (such as an already salted butter that I want to add zest to).<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><center></center><br /><span style="font-size: large;"><u>3. Citrus vinegar</u></span><br /><i>method acquired via <a href="http://www.crunchybetty.com/homemade-all-purpose-cleaning-spray-with-infused-vinegar">Crunchy Betty</a></i><br /><br />This method is also simple but involves the longest wait time. Once you've juiced your fruit and the halves are sitting there, or if you have some of the pith slices from #2 above,<br /><ul><li>Add peels to a QT Ball jar (or leftover spaghetti jar).&nbsp;</li><li>Optional: Add any other disinfecting herbs (rosemary, mint, and lemon balm are my favorites).</li><li>Fill the jar with white vinegar.&nbsp;</li><li>Put it in a cool dark place like in the cabinet under your kitchen sink.&nbsp;</li><li>Leave it there for two weeks.&nbsp;</li></ul><div>Then...</div><ul><li>Strain out the peels and store vinegar in that same QT jar or another airtight glass jar.</li><li>For window cleaner:&nbsp;Dilute to a 1:1 ratio with water and pour it into a spray bottle.</li><li>For cleaner for countertops, bathrooms,&nbsp;and floors: Add a few drops of essential oils (lemon, eucalyptus, or tea tree oil, which is antibacterial and antifungal) or Dr. Bronner's soap (my favorite scents are rose and the original peppermint) to make it a more powerful cleaner.&nbsp;</li></ul><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-V0wvdFGF4ho/Uy3Rg8P7W6I/AAAAAAAAQI0/5adx8-t0rhY/s640/blogger-image--1043790145.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-V0wvdFGF4ho/Uy3Rg8P7W6I/AAAAAAAAQI0/5adx8-t0rhY/s640/blogger-image--1043790145.jpg" /></a></div><br /><br /><b>Uses</b>: As I said above, use it to clean windows, countertops, etc. The vinegar smell is still there but it isn't nearly as strong. If you ever use <a href="/2012/01/hair-club-for-mamas.html">a vinegar rinse on your hair</a> (note: I wouldn't pour it over your head, just dip your ends in a mixture of 1 Tbs. vinegar to 1 c. water), you can try this fruity-smelling alternative to apple cider vinegar.<br /><br /><i>Author's note: This post is part of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2014/03/homestead-barn-hop-152.html">The Homestead Barn Hop</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;</i><i><a href="http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2014/03/real-food-wednesday-3262014.html">Real Food Wednesday</a></i><i>.</i></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/UYm9r7ONai4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com5/2014/03/3-uses-for-citrus-peel-that-you-can.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-48219020639213911112014-03-21T07:30:00.000-04:002014-03-25T17:46:27.101-04:00the golden oldiesWhen I was a little girl, my parents and stepmom introduced me to many musical styles, from Blues to Beatles to B-52s. I can barely remember a moment a record player was not seeing action in my parents' homes. Those were happy times.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-usnfrXtzBWg/UyuXi2zyB3I/AAAAAAAAQHM/9bhxkezMG1I/s1600/MeBunnysuit.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-usnfrXtzBWg/UyuXi2zyB3I/AAAAAAAAQHM/9bhxkezMG1I/s1600/MeBunnysuit.jpg" height="400" width="330" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">c. 1984. Ignore the awkward bunny and instead direct your<br />attention to the records in the corner. So much space taken up!</td></tr></tbody></table><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><br /><a name='more'></a>What I did not love back then was what people referred to as&nbsp;<i>Oldies</i>. {Please picture <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_cAS-mvV20">Chris Farley making giant air-quotes</a> around that word.} To me, this music seemed a particular genre of awful. These are the sounds of the dentist, the pop '60's. "Sugar Sugar" and "The Loco-motion" come to mind. Even very young, I can recall feeling offended by this music. Surely no one would listen to it on purpose, so the dentist must be playing it to punish me. Considering my relationship with the dentist back then--I was the girl who wore braces and a nightly headgear for three and a half years--punishment was not that far off the mark.<br /><br />{n.b.: I hope you will not take offense at what I said about this music. Remember that at this point in my life, I was&nbsp;<a href="/2014/02/love-is-open-door.html">obsessed with the entire Kenny Loggins</a>&nbsp;catalog. I also memorized "Rapper's Delight."}<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;">****</div><br />Charlie has deep grooves in her baby teeth, so these days I'm probably at the dentist more than the average parent of a three-year-old. During the latest visit, I absentmindedly noted I was enjoying the music. Or as Charlie likes to say as she bobs her head, "Look at me, Mommy. I'm rockin' out." I'm like,&nbsp;<i>Oh, "Tainted Love," sweet! I haven't heard this one in a while.&nbsp;</i><br /><br />Then it hit me. I <i>appreciate</i>&nbsp;music at the <i>dentist</i>, the very place I loathed music while growing up.&nbsp;It is difficult to describe my first feelings upon realizing the hits of my childhood are becoming oldies. It's like seeing an old biddy at the grocery store and thinking, <i>You know what? That headscarf that covers her curlers isn't such a bad idea, I should figure out where to buy one of those.</i><br /><br />I&nbsp;must have been a special sight for the hygienist, as I squirmed and grimaced over in the corner. I am not one of <b>them</b>! Perhaps dental tunes have just&nbsp;improved over the years. But no, I know better. I was like Wilbur, just after he figured out why Fern was crying so much in <i>Charlotte's Web</i>. {Not that I'm being overly dramatic or anything.}<br /><div><br /></div><div>But then I looked down at Charlie, who smiled cheerfully up at me. She was so proud to be sitting in the chair she had coveted while watching her sister get her teeth cleaned. The mechanical throne of stickers and new toothbrushes was finally hers! Like me, she is growing older. Unlike me, she is enthusiastic about it.<br /><br />I joke about my lack of enthusiasm, but honestly, I share her appreciation of aging. In fact, only in my thirties have I discovered a simple truth that guides me. To know where I'm going, I need to understand where I began. To look ahead sensibly, first I must look back. And so, I've been delving into family history. As a result, a whole new world is opening up to me. I revel in the warmth of community I feel with all the people who have come before me.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-1cO7mLPr36I/UyueDvcTe-I/AAAAAAAAQHc/Ls5AVhIj874/s1600/GrandmaJackie_Ted.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-1cO7mLPr36I/UyueDvcTe-I/AAAAAAAAQHc/Ls5AVhIj874/s1600/GrandmaJackie_Ted.jpg" height="454" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">I love this picture of my grandmother and her oldest of eight children. I like to imagine that's a beer she's drinking.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><br />You should really get in on this, y'all. Connect with your older relatives if you haven't lately. Ask if there are any journals or written words from your great grandparents. Ask your parents or grandparents what life was like when they were growing up--their earliest memories, or what their own grandparents were like. I bet you'll be amazed what you find out (then come tell me!).<br /><br />I've gained entrance in a secret, unspoken club. I wouldn't give up my membership card even if it meant I could relive my past. I don't think this means I'll start jamming to the Bay City Rollers any time soon, but if my grandma wants me to listen, I might just be convinced to give them a try.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;">****</div><br />P.S. For good measure, here are more pictures of me in the 1980's, in case you desire evidence of why I eventually wore braces for three and a half years:<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-cVE2vGl9mD0/UyueqPMzNsI/AAAAAAAAQHs/jk-Al_A6ShY/s1600/IMG_0146.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-cVE2vGl9mD0/UyueqPMzNsI/AAAAAAAAQHs/jk-Al_A6ShY/s1600/IMG_0146.jpg" height="476" width="640" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Me (left), my dad, &amp; cousin Jeannie. This is the only picture I have of my dad's 1985 perm. A classic!&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-B2Y4asOSbWw/UyuepCVgK6I/AAAAAAAAQHk/cRaayXk4OyU/s1600/Me_1985.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-B2Y4asOSbWw/UyuepCVgK6I/AAAAAAAAQHk/cRaayXk4OyU/s1600/Me_1985.jpg" height="640" width="446" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">My school picture, 1986.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />Peace out, homeslice.<br />~J</div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/eooVrGDEYtA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com3/2014/03/the-golden-oldies.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-76065784239488225812014-03-18T21:33:00.002-04:002014-03-25T17:46:58.391-04:00{10/52 & 11/52}: a bloom before spring<i>Updated 3/19: I forgot to tell you about my article that was published last week on Natural Parents Network, <a href="http://naturalparentsnetwork.com/5-lessons-my-kids-taught-me/">5 Lessons My Kids Taught Me</a>.</i><br /><br />If there's one positive that comes out of being plunged in cold weather for so long, it's that I'm motivated to try new indoor activities to clear out the doldrums. For the kids, this means new art projects like shamrock potato stamps. For us, this means new food and drinks to brighten our dreary days.<br /><br />This week I spotted a big bunch of Meyer lemons--my first ever!--at the seconds table of our local farm stand, so I made <a href="http://localkitchenblog.com/2012/02/19/bubbly-meyer-marmalade/">bubbly marmalade</a> and <a href="http://foodinjars.com/2014/03/meyer-lemon-syrup/">lemon syrup</a>. I've been stirring the marmalade into my oatmeal and yogurt, and we tried out a new cocktail (recipe below) that received our highest rating: restaurant-worthy. On my first sip I decided it's the perfect balance between a feminine and masculine drink, a little sweet but with a punch.<br /><a name='more'></a><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-SIN2oeBOeFE/UyjygNA7z_I/AAAAAAAAQGs/2J3NuSScIB8/s640/blogger-image--1766754871.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-SIN2oeBOeFE/UyjygNA7z_I/AAAAAAAAQGs/2J3NuSScIB8/s640/blogger-image--1766754871.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">{10/52}: Three lost teeth in one week!</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-tgh3nlmD80A/Uyjyh7WfnZI/AAAAAAAAQG0/kdJkNQRzHxE/s640/blogger-image-1562421997.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-tgh3nlmD80A/Uyjyh7WfnZI/AAAAAAAAQG0/kdJkNQRzHxE/s640/blogger-image-1562421997.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">{11/52}: Potato stamp art for St. Patrick's Day</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><br /><b>bourbon bloom</b><br /><i>serves 2 (or a double for one)</i><br /><br />2.5 oz (75ml) bourbon<br />1 oz. (30ml) St-Germain elderflower liqueur<br />3/4 oz. (22ml) <a href="http://foodinjars.com/2014/03/meyer-lemon-syrup/">Meyer lemon syrup</a> (or half lemon juice, half simple syrup)<br />4 dashes Angostura orange bitters<br /><br />Shake all ingredients with ice and pour into a glass. Top with lemon or orange peel. (Note: Sorry no pic. I drank it too quickly!)<br /><br /><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/NuD73JVG_Yo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com0/2014/03/1052-1152-bloom-before-spring.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-38378373491477187382014-03-15T09:17:00.001-04:002014-03-26T07:48:47.488-04:00oatcakes<div><i>Author's Note: In honor of&nbsp;<a href="http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/the-family-breakfast-project/">the Family Breakfast Project</a>, I am sharing seven days of easy family breakfast recipes. At the end of the week, I'll write about how the project went for our family. You can try it out too! Sign up for emails, click through on the web, or download the whole guide&nbsp;<a href="http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/the-family-breakfast-project/">here</a>.&nbsp;</i><br /><i>{Disclaimer:&nbsp;</i><i>I am&nbsp;<u>not</u>&nbsp;being paid for sharing the program; I just think it's a great way to help you share breakfast with your family.}</i><br /><br />Our favorite local <a href="http://thehavenjp.com/">Scottish restaurant</a>--and to be honest, the only Scottish restaurant I know about in Boston--serves oatcakes upon arrival. We go for brunch, and I love their Prosecco cocktails and gigantic egg sandwich. What was I talking about?</div><br />Oh right, oatcakes. I'd had these a few times in England too, enough to know that I love any device that allows me to get more butter and jam in my mouth. Oatcakes fit that bill nicely, indeed. I've enjoyed noshing on them any time of day with homemade jam (mostly from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0762441437/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0762441437&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=thlohora-20">this book</a>; the winners in my opinion are <a href="http://foodinjars.com/2009/11/gift-in-a-jar-apple-cranberry-jam/">apple cranberry jam</a>, <a href="http://foodinjars.com/2009/03/vanilla-rhubarb-jam/">vanilla rhubarb jam</a>, and <a href="http://foodinjars.com/2010/06/june-can-jam-slow-cooker-blueberry-butter/">slow cooker blueberry butter</a>) and Kerrygold butter.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><center><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-ulcOMMIS_EM/UyRRTlZ2OmI/AAAAAAAAQGc/DtanWBS3wsc/s640/blogger-image--1297161644.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-ulcOMMIS_EM/UyRRTlZ2OmI/AAAAAAAAQGc/DtanWBS3wsc/s640/blogger-image--1297161644.jpg" /></a></center><br /><a name='more'></a><br /><br /><blockquote style="background-color: white; border: 2px dashed #888d8d; padding: 10px;"><b>oatcakes</b> (adapted from <a href="http://orangette.blogspot.com/2013/01/a-small-revolution.html">Orangette</a>)<br /><i>yield: ~15-20, depending on cut size</i><br /><br />Ingredients:<br />1 ½ c. oats<br />½ c. white whole wheat flour<br />½ c. all-purpose flour<br />2 Tbs. light brown sugar<br />½ tsp. baking soda<br />½ tsp. salt<br />½ c. (1 stick, 8 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter*, diced<br />3-4 Tbs. buttermilk (substitute: plain yogurt or even water)<br /><br /><i>*I like to substitute 1-2 Tbs. lard for some of the butter in any baked good recipe because it adds great texture.</i><br /><br />Directions:<br /><ol><li>Preheat oven to 350°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. In a large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Blend in the butter with a pastry blender or fork until butter is pea-sized. Stir in the buttermilk until a soft dough forms. The dough should be a little crumbly but come together well when pressed with your fingers.&nbsp;</li><li>Lightly flour a work surface, and turn the dough out onto it, patting it to a ¼-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch round cookie/biscuit cutter or juice glass, stamp out oatcakes. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. Press together any scraps of dough for an extra lumpy cake or two.</li><li>&nbsp;Bake the oatcakes for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, and then store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. </li></ol></blockquote><br /><i>Author's note: This post is part of <a href="http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2014/03/real-food-wednesday-3262014.html">Real Food Wednesday</a>.</i><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/XCNO6amR7iU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com3/2014/03/oatcakes.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-86576227832478749332014-03-13T07:45:00.001-04:002014-03-25T17:47:34.583-04:00overnight oatmeal<i>Author's Note: In honor of&nbsp;<a href="http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/the-family-breakfast-project/">the Family Breakfast Project</a>, I am sharing seven days of easy family&nbsp;<a href="/search/label/Breakfast">breakfast recipes</a>. At the end of the week, I'll write about how the project went for our family. You can try it out too! Sign up for emails, click through on the web, or download the whole guide&nbsp;<a href="http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/the-family-breakfast-project/">here</a>. {Disclaimer: I am not being paid for sharing the program; I am mentioning it because I think it's a great way to help you share breakfast with your family.}</i><br /><i><br /></i>Yesterday I told you that roughly half our breakfasts are <a href="/2014/03/how-to-make-yogurt-at-home-with-only.html">yogurt</a>. Well, I'd wager another good 40% of our breakfasts are oatmeal. Sometimes I just make rolled oats in the microwave, and other times I'll make <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004VLV7NS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004VLV7NS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=thlohora-20">Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal</a>&nbsp;(also a favorite for bran muffins: <a href="/2012/07/more-breakfast-to-go-maple-raisin-bran.html">carrot raisin</a> and <a href="/2012/10/cranberry-orange-bran-muffins.html">cranberry orange</a>).<br /><br />Hot cereal is a favorite of our whole family, and we call it "porridge" to distinguish from grits and microwave oatmeal. I love steel cut oatmeal, but I used to lament that 30 minutes is just too long to spend on a breakfast that's so similar to one that can be accomplished in less than 10. Then my Uncle Ronnie told me about how you can get around that lengthy cooking time, which brought steel cut oats back into our weekly repertoire. You just boil oats and water for a minute, cover the pot, and let it sit overnight on the stove. In the morning, a quick zap in the microwave or a few minutes on the cooktop gives you a meal in the same amount of time as the quick stuff but with fantastic texture.<br /><br /><a name='more'></a>This is not so much a recipe as a trick, is it? But it's a great trick, and if you've been making steel cut oats the long route, I guarantee you'll gain 28 minutes to your day if you try oatmeal this way. You can mix it up and add dried fruit (chopped apricots and cherries are delicious), diced apple, or mashed bananas. You can swap some of the oats for quinoa, flax seeds, or chia seeds. And you can also trade some of the water for almond, rice, or coconut milk. There are many variations to keep it interesting.<br /><br />As I said, this meal hardly seems worthy of "recipe" status, but I'll give you the amounts that I use.<br /><br /><center><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="598" scrolling="no" src="//instagram.com/p/le0f8UnwqB/embed/" width="500"></iframe></center><br /><br /><blockquote style="background-color: white; border: 2px dashed #888d8d; padding: 10px;"><b>overnight steel cut oatmeal</b><br /><i>serves 3-4</i><br /><br />Ingredients:<br />4 c. water<br />1 c. steel cut oats<br />pinch of salt<br /><br />Directions:<br /><br /><ol><li>Bring water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan with a lid.&nbsp;</li><li>Add oats, reduce the temperature a bit, and boil for one minute while stirring (note: if you don't watch and stir it, it will boil over).</li><li>Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir in any additional ingredients desired, and cover. Let it sit overnight for at least 8 hours.</li></ol></blockquote><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/lXaUCtYk24A" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com3/2014/03/overnight-oatmeal.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-31576850884576761012014-03-12T12:45:00.002-04:002014-03-26T07:49:04.804-04:00how to make yogurt at home {with no fancy gadget}<i>Author's Note: In honor of <a href="http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/the-family-breakfast-project/">the Family Breakfast Project</a>, I am sharing seven days of easy family <a href="/search/label/Breakfast">breakfast recipes</a>. At the end of the week, I'll write about how the project went for our family. You can try it out too! Sign up for emails, click through on the web, or download the whole guide <a href="http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/the-family-breakfast-project/">here</a>. {Disclaimer: I am not being paid for sharing the program; I am mentioning it because I think it's a great way to help you share breakfast with your family.}</i><br /><br />After the first two days of breakfast recipes (read: <a href="/2014/03/buttermilk-biscones.html">buttermilk biscones</a> and <a href="/2014/03/kitchen-sink-breakfast-cookies.html">breakfast cookies</a>), you might believe I start every morning with a fresh, sugary pastry. But actually, our breakfast breakdown looks more like this:<br /><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://imgflip.com/i/7hgi5" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img src="//i.imgflip.com/7hgi5.png" title="made at imgflip.com" /></a></div><br /><br /><a name='more'></a>For a good six months out of the year--all of the warm months, basically--my kids request yogurt almost every day for breakfast (with dry cereal on the side...weirdos). I'm happy to oblige because of the probiotics, calcium, etc., blah blah. I probably don't need to tell you why yogurt is good for you. But did you know that you can make it yourself at home without fancy gear?<br /><br />I started making my own yogurt two years ago because I wanted to:<br /><br /><ul><li>reduce the amount of packaging waste in our home,</li><li>save money,</li><li>and control the ingredients for a healthier food.&nbsp;</li></ul><br /><br /><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="598" scrolling="no" src="//instagram.com/p/lcxe-_nwhK/embed/" width="500"></iframe> <br />I <i>kept</i> making yogurt after that first time because once I got the hang of it, I realized the process is quite simple. If you want a more detailed discussion of making yogurt than I can provide, grab a copy of <i><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0083JQCF2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0083JQCF2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=thlohora-20">The Art of Fermentation</a></i> (or see its&nbsp;<a href="http://www.splendidtable.org/story/yogurt-an-excerpt-from-the-art-of-fermentation">excerpt about yogurt on the Splendid Table website</a>); a simple step-by-step guide is also <a href="http://www.makeyourownyogurt.com/">offered here</a>. I recommend making your first batch on a weekend day or another time that you're home for a solid hour. That's about how long it takes from firing up the stove to incubating it.<br /><br />So what tools <i>do</i> you need? When <a href="/2012/04/canning-round-up-squared-my-first-of.html">I first started making yogurt</a>, the timing coincided with first making jam. Because I had those fancy tools on hand, I used them. But over the past two years, I've learned you don't need special canning jars or a jar lifter. You won't ever submerge the jars completely with water (hence no jar-lifter thingy), and you aren't storing the jars in a cabinet once they are full of yogurt (hence no Ball jars). <br /><br />The only true "gadget" I recommend is a <b><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0019R4HQQ/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0019R4HQQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=thlohora-20">fancy meat thermometer</a>;&nbsp;</b>if you EVER cook a chicken, you probably should have one of these babies anyway. They aren't expensive, and the alarm function allows you to leave the kitchen while your milk is heating. In my experience, what's most likely to go wrong is overheating the milk or letting it cool too much. But if you don't have one, a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer is fine too.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-dGnpLzfaGHc/UyCQ4q_fw-I/AAAAAAAAQGM/iD2CI85xBmU/s640/blogger-image--224779494.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-dGnpLzfaGHc/UyCQ4q_fw-I/AAAAAAAAQGM/iD2CI85xBmU/s640/blogger-image--224779494.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Vivi's lunch: homemade yogurt with <a href="http://foodinjars.com/2009/11/gift-in-a-jar-apple-cranberry-jam/">apple-cranberry jam</a></td></tr></tbody></table><br /><blockquote style="background-color: white; border: 2px dashed #888d8d; padding: 10px;"><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;"><b>homemade yogurt</b></div><div style="text-align: left;"><i>makes 2 quarts</i></div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Ingredients:</div><ol><li>2 QT (1/2 gallon) whole milk (NOT ultra-pasteurized; see notes below directions)</li><li>1/4 c. plain yogurt with active cultures, at room temp. (NOT containing pectin; see notes)</li></ol><div style="text-align: left;">Tools:</div><ol><li>large heavy-bottomed pot</li><li>thermometer (see above)</li><li>quart Ball jars or old spaghetti jars, washed in the dishwasher (original metal lids are fine too)</li><li>whisk</li><li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000L9DNCC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000L9DNCC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=thlohora-20">igloo cooler</a></li><li>bath towel</li><li>a few rags or dishtowels&nbsp;</li><li>oven mitt</li></ol><div>Directions:</div><div><ol><li>Remove the starter yogurt from the fridge and let it come to room temperature during the next steps.&nbsp;</li><li>Starting with clean jars, place them on top of a rag in your pot. The rags keeps the jars from jangling around enough to annoy you and/or crack. Fill the jars with milk, leaving 1-inch headspace at the top (for the yogurt later). Fill the pot three-quarters full with water.&nbsp;</li><li>Put the pot on the stove. Add the thermometer. Heat over medium, stirring occasionally, until the milk is at least 180ºF, preferably 185ºF.&nbsp;It is important not to heat the milk too fast, both for the risk of scalding and because fast heating leads to grainy, odd-textured yogurt.&nbsp;Contrary to common belief, you aren't heating the milk to kill any bad bacteria;&nbsp;the heating process just gives you a thicker yogurt. In fact, the longer you leave it at 185º, the thicker the end product will be, but even if you take it off the heat right away, it should be plenty thick.&nbsp;</li><li>When the milk is 185ºF, remove the jars from the pot to a dry dishtowel on the counter. Cool the milk to 115ºF. Some how-tos tell you to put the yogurt in an ice bath to cool it more quickly; you only want to do this step if you are starting with a pan of milk, not with the milk already in the jars. If you start with jars like me, putting them in an ice bath <a href="/2012/04/canning-round-up-squared-my-first-of.html">could cause a crack</a>.</li><li>When the milk is 115ºF, add 2 Tbs. tablespoons of yogurt to each QT jar (for a spaghetti jar, one Tbs. will do the trick). Another myth to bust is that adding more yogurt yields a thicker end product; it seems the opposite "less is more" axiom holds true instead.</li><li>Screw on lids and place the jars in a bath towel-lined cooler. Tuck the jars under the towel like a baby taking a snug nap, and leave the jars in the cooler for at least 6 hours; I leave mine for 7 hours. The longer you leave it, the tangier it will be. Transfer the jars from the cooler to the fridge to cool completely; it will thicken a bit more as it cools.</li></ol></div></blockquote><br />Notes:<br /><br /><ul><li>Starter yogurt: I have never bought any "yogurt cultures" that are sold specifically for making yogurt at home. I began my batches with commercial plain yogurt (Stonyfield, Oikos, etc.) that has active cultures but no artificial thickeners like pectin. Read the labels. Now I just make sure to save a 1/2 cup of my last yogurt before starting anew. You can also freeze a bit of yogurt as a back-up in case you forget to save it; the freezing process does not kill the active cultures.</li><li>Milk: <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/food-science-whats-the-deal-wi-82428">Ultra-pasteurization</a> is a process that heats the milk to an extremely high temperature very quickly, which results in a more shelf-stable product. The problem is that the heating process also changes the whey proteins so that yogurt will not set up properly. We use milk from a local farm; because it doesn't travel far, it is even cheaper than national brands of organic milk.</li><li>What to do with your yogurt: Although the girls and I do eat plain yogurt on occasion and enjoy its tanginess, I also like to dress it up. If I'm sending it in a lunchbox, I usually swirl in some homemade jam (blueberry is the oft-requested favorite) for a "fruit on the bottom" effect. It is delightful this way and reminds me of the Danon of my childhood. At home, we add any of the following accoutrements: honey, shredded coconut, <a href="/2011/08/rockport-and-granola.html">granola</a>, and/or dried raisins and cranberries. Some days the girls will ask for dessert, and I'll give them more yogurt with some fruit and call it a <a href="/2012/02/satisfy-your-unsweet-tooth.html">parfait</a>!</li></ul><div><i>Author's note: This post is part of&nbsp;<a href="http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2014/03/real-food-wednesday-3262014.html">Real Food Wednesday</a>.</i></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/cu5cRxLN4iw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com3/2014/03/how-to-make-yogurt-at-home-with-only.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-50917285795069177182014-03-11T09:30:00.000-04:002014-03-25T17:48:11.239-04:00kitchen sink breakfast cookies<i>Author's Note: In honor of <a href="http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/the-family-breakfast-project/">the Family Breakfast Project</a>, I am sharing seven days of easy family <a href="/search/label/Breakfast">breakfast recipes</a>. At the end of the week, I'll write about how the project went for our family. You can try it out too! Sign up for emails, click through on the web, or download the whole guide <a href="http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/the-family-breakfast-project/">here</a>. {Disclaimer: I am not being paid for sharing the program; I am mentioning it because I think it's a great way to help you share breakfast with your family.}</i><br /><div><br /></div><div>Have you made cookies for breakfast? I stick them in the freezer and defrost a few at a time. Reheated for a minute or two in the toaster oven, they taste like fresh-baked indulgent treats and make breakfast on the go a snap.<br /><br />I've shared a recipe for <a href="/2011/12/breakfast-cookies.html">breakfast cookies</a> in the past. I still love that one for its low sugar content (applesauce FTW!) and lots of grains; it's more of a Clif bar than a cookie, really. But when I need to use up bits of baking ingredients from my cupboard, or when I feel like my kids could use a big dose of butter, adding "everything but the kitchen sink" is a great way to accomplish those goals.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-NIMBhzv0nk0/Ux3-LLo7VDI/AAAAAAAAQF8/B3fzIumMuUc/s1600/DSC_0009.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-NIMBhzv0nk0/Ux3-LLo7VDI/AAAAAAAAQF8/B3fzIumMuUc/s1600/DSC_0009.JPG" height="424" width="640" /></a></div><br /><br /><a name='more'></a>As with most Good Things that have to do with baking, I do declare Martha Stewart's recipe for <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/318012/kitchen-sink-cookies">kitchen sink cookies</a> to be the very best. But because I make them for the kids to eat for breakfast, I altered the recipe by removing some sugar and chocolate chips. <a href="http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2014/01/pear-and-hazelnut-muffins/">Like Deb</a>, I also substitute white whole wheat flour when it doesn't compromise flavor.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>And as usual, I add a Southern twist by incorporating <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/i-rendered-lard-in-my-slow-cooker-and-it-was-easy-197649">homemade lard</a>&nbsp;in baking recipes when I have it on hand. Why lard? Because I believe in the ingredients our great grandmothers used. Because it adds great texture to cookies. And because it is largely misunderstood; lard has less saturated fat and almost double the monounsaturated fat of butter. But if lard makes you squeamish, or you don't have any homemade*, you can substitute with butter.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-7ZOtAhvWr2A/Ux394-6zIRI/AAAAAAAAQF0/etIfHfnM1ss/s1600/DSC_0031.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-7ZOtAhvWr2A/Ux394-6zIRI/AAAAAAAAQF0/etIfHfnM1ss/s1600/DSC_0031.JPG" height="424" width="640" /></a></div><br /></div><div><br /><blockquote style="background-color: white; border: 2px dashed #888d8d; padding: 10px;"><br /><b>kitchen sink breakfast cookies</b><br /><i>makes about 3 dozen</i><br /><br />Ingredients:<br />1 c. (two sticks, 16 Tbs.) unsalted butter**, softened<br />1/4 c. sugar<br />1/4 c. light brown sugar, packed<br />2 eggs, room temperature<br />1 tsp. vanilla<br />1 c. white whole wheat flour<br />1 c.&nbsp;unbleached&nbsp;all-purpose flour<br />1 tsp. baking soda<br />1/2 tsp. baking powder<br />1/2 tsp. salt<br />2 c. oats<br />3/4 c. bittersweet (~60% cacao) chocolate***, coarsely chopped<br />1 c. raisins<br />1 c. dried cranberries<br />1 c. sweetened flaked coconut<br />1 c. walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped<br /><br />Directions:<br /><br /><ol><li>Preheat oven to 350º. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy (note: see <a href="http://www.designmom.com/2012/10/living-well-8-secrets-to-the-perfect-chocolate-chip-cookie/">Design Mom's post about cookies</a> for baker's tips). Add eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Add vanilla.</li><li>In a medium bowl, sift together flour through salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in stages until well incorporated, then fold in remaining ingredients.</li><li>Drop batter with tablespoons or an ice cream scoop, 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Wet fingers and press cookies down until they measure about 2 inches.</li><li>Bake at 350º for 16 to 18 minutes until golden brown. Leave for 2 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to cool on a wire rack.</li></ol></blockquote></div><div><br /><div style="background-color: white; color: #222222; font-family: arial; font-size: small;"><br /><span style="color: black; font-family: Times; font-size: small;"><i>*I say homemade lard because store-bought lard typically is hydrogenated to make it shelf-stable, meaning it contains the dreaded and decidedly unhealthy trans fats.&nbsp;</i></span><br /><span style="color: black; font-family: Times; font-size: small;"><i>**As I mentioned above, I substitute 2-3 Tbs. lard for some of the butter in most baking recipes.</i></span><br /><span style="color: black; font-family: Times; font-size: small;"><i>***We buy chocolate that's on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.foodispower.org/chocolate-list/">FEP's list</a>; my favorites are&nbsp;</i></span><span style="color: black; font-family: Times; font-size: small;"><i>365, <a href="/2013/09/eat-chocolate-do-it-for-children.html">Kallari,</a> Newman's Own, &amp; Taza</i></span></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/ARozdpBvZ5s" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com5/2014/03/kitchen-sink-breakfast-cookies.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-77617354935852842602014-03-10T09:46:00.000-04:002014-03-26T07:50:02.508-04:00buttermilk {bi}scones<i>Author's Note: In honor of <a href="http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/the-family-breakfast-project/">the Family Breakfast Project</a>, I am sharing seven days of easy family breakfast recipes. At the end of the week, I'll write about how the project went for our family. You can try it out too! Sign up for emails, click through on the web, or download the whole guide <a href="http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/the-family-breakfast-project/">here</a>.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>This post was shared with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2014/03/homestead-barn-hop-150.html">The Homestead Barn Hop</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://momstheword--livingforhim.blogspot.com/2014/03/when-ground-turkey-runs-afowl-of-law.html">MYHSM</a>,&nbsp;</i><i>and&nbsp;<a href="http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2014/03/real-food-wednesday-3262014.html">Real Food Wednesday</a>.</i><i>.&nbsp;</i><i>{Disclaimer:&nbsp;</i><i>I am <u>not</u>&nbsp;being paid for sharing the program; I just think it's a great way to help you share breakfast with your family.}</i><br /><br /><br />I used to be afraid of making scones. Then I happened to mention my fear to a friend who knows I make <a href="/2013/03/saturday-morning-southern-biscuits.html">biscuits</a> on a regular basis, and she put my worries to rest. According to my friend, there was nothing different about the two. In fact, she said, making scones is even easier than biscuits.<br /><br />And you know what? It turns out she was right! I should have known. When people express surprise that I make <a href="/2013/03/saturday-morning-southern-biscuits.html">homemade biscuits</a>, I am always quick to correct them on how simple the process is. Scones are similarly simple, except they don't even require the folding of dough to make layers. You can cut them straight out of the bowl if you want!<br /><br />When were eating my first batch of scones, Nate asked me what was different to make them so much fluffier than scones he'd had in the past. I told him that my scones employ the same tricks as my biscuits, i.e. top rack of the oven, sifting cake flour, and using a tiny bit of lard. He said I should really call them "biscones." Upon hearing the word, I suddenly recalled I'd read the term "buttermilk biscones" once in a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1579654584/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1579654584&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=thlohora-20">great Southern cookbook </a>a while back. It guess the notion burrowed in my brain until I was ready to make scones a year later.<br /><br /><center><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="598" scrolling="no" src="//instagram.com/p/lUuCE7Hwj8/embed/" width="500"></iframe></center><br />I have perfected a base for what I believe is the perfect scone recipe: not too sweet; healthful enough for a wholesome breakfast; and with just the right amount of biscuit-like fluffy, buttery texture. They are pure baked goodness. I am sharing this recipe with you today with the hope I can also pass along the courage to make them. Because they are so easy, it would be almost criminal for you to walk away from this post still believing scones are outside your skill level.<br /><br />Like with my&nbsp;<a href="/2013/01/blank-slate-muffins.html">blank slate muffins</a>, the combinations that can be made using this recipe are only as limited as your creativity. I'm sharing my four favorite flavors, but the sky's the limit!<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><center><a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-wQp_FTSxMuo/Ux3bdyH6SBI/AAAAAAAAQFk/l3F5Vk8JfFw/s640/blogger-image--1959094737.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-wQp_FTSxMuo/Ux3bdyH6SBI/AAAAAAAAQFk/l3F5Vk8JfFw/s640/blogger-image--1959094737.jpg" /></a></center><br /><blockquote style="background-color: white; border: 2px dashed #888d8d; padding: 10px;"><b>buttermilk biscones </b>(adapted from this <a href="http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/cranberry-buttermilk-scones">Taste of Home recipe</a>)<br /><i>yield: 12 scones</i><br /><i>total time: 30 minutes</i><br /><br /><br /><u>Ingredients:</u><br />2 c. white whole wheat flour*<br />1 c. cake flour**<br />2 Tbs. sugar<br />2 1/2 tsp. baking powder<br />3/4 tsp. salt<br />1/2 tsp. baking soda<br />3/4 c. (12 Tbs., a stick and a half) cold unsalted butter***, cut into small cubes<br />1 c. buttermilk (or milk + 1 Tbs. white vinegar or lemon juice)<br />(+ any fixin's, see list of ideas below)<br /><br />*<i>You can substitute all-purpose flour, but you won't detect this healthier alternative.</i><br />**<i>Cake flour=sifted all-purpose flour with 1 Tbs. cornstarch per 1 c. flour.</i><br /><i>***I substitute 2-3 Tbs.&nbsp;<a href="/2013/02/on-making-our-own-lard-aka-yes-we-are.html">lard</a>&nbsp;for some of the butter, which adds a great texture.</i><br /><br /><br /><u>Fixin' Ingredients:</u><br /><b>cranberry orange</b><br />1 c. fresh cranberries, chopped in food processor with 1 tsp. sugar (or 1 c. dried cranberries)<br />1 tsp. orange zest<br /><br /><b>ginger lemon&nbsp;</b><br />3/4 c. crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped<br />1 tsp. lemon zest (approx. 1 lemon)<br />1/4 tsp. ground ginger<br /><div><br /></div><b>chocolate coconut&nbsp;</b><br />3/4 c. flaked coconut (back off sugar in dough if using sweetened coconut)<br />1/2 c. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped<br />1/4 tsp. ground cardamom (optional)<br /><div><br /></div><b>simply spicy</b><br />1 c. dried fruit (for adults, plump fruit with a bit of rum; for kids, boiling water)<br />3/4 tsp. cinnamon<br />1/4 tsp. white pepper<br /><br /><u>Glaze Ingredients (optional):</u><br />1/4 c. whole milk (or you can jazz it up by brewing Earl Grey tea in hot milk)<br />2 1/2 c. powdered sugar, sifted<br />1/2 tsp. vanilla<br /><br /><br /><br /><u>Directions:</u><br /><br /><ol><li>Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda; cut in butter with a pastry cutter or fork until mixture is crumbly and butter is pea-sized. Stir in the buttermilk just until combined. Fold in the fixin's of your choice (Note: If you don't want to add anything else, the recipe is great as is, with maybe a dollop of clotted cream if you can get your hands on it)</li><li>Turn dough onto a floured surface and divide it in half. Pat each half into a 6-in. circle. Cut each circle into six wedges. Separate wedges and place 1 in. apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.&nbsp;</li><li>(If you are glazing the scones, skip this step) Brush scones with milk and sprinkle them with sugar.&nbsp;</li><li>Bake at 400° on the top oven rack for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack.&nbsp;</li></ol><div><u>(Optional) Glaze Directions:</u></div><ol><li>Whisk together milk, vanilla****, and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Dip warm scones in glaze by turning them upside down into the bowl; keep a firm grip on all sides with your hand to avoid dropping or crumbling the scone.&nbsp;</li><li>Return glazed scones to wire rack to drip and cool. Scones can be kept in an air-tight container on the counter for up to a week.</li></ol><i>****If you're like <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/mini-vanilla-scones-with-vanilla-bean-glaze-recipe.html">The Pioneer Woman</a>, you can make a better-looking glaze by using a real vanilla bean; but if you're in my house, ain't nobody got time for that.</i></blockquote><br /><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/kkK7IAbD3FI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com4/2014/03/buttermilk-biscones.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-1767913637574770592014-03-06T11:40:00.000-05:002014-03-06T12:28:48.294-05:00for the birdsA startling thing happened earlier this week when the girls and I were exiting the mudroom.<br /><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;****</div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div>I must pause already to tell you I love the word "mudroom." There has never been a room more aptly titled. A mudroom, in case you ain't from 'round here, is a room to catch all of the snow, ice, and mud that happens from winter to spring. Mudrooms come in all manner of shapes and sizes and can be as simple as an enclosed front porch or as formal as an entire dry-walled room. Coming from the front porch rockers of the south, I was a bit put off at first by all of these glass huts in the front of people's houses up here--they do obstruct the view of the front door, after all.<br /><br />But by the time we were buying a home almost two years later, a mudroom became an obsessively important item on my homeowner's checklist. Luckily, we ended up with a pretty good one. It's not perfect, but it modulates the cold enough to keep shoes out there (and a mattress, as we currently do. Sigh. It's a long story). Our mudroom not only prevents wind, sleet, snow, etc. from hitting our front door, but it also provides a sound barrier. And it is via this topic that I return to my original story.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;">****</div><br />So the girls and I exit the mudroom, bracing ourselves for the cold, which does come as usual. But what causes us to pause in our snowy tracks is not the biting wind on this occasion but the sound coming from the trees.<br /><br /><i>Are those...birds?</i> Vivi asks.<br /><br /><i>You know, I think you're right, I hear birds too!</i> I reply.<br /><br /><i>What are they doing here?</i> Charlie wants to know, puzzled.<br /><br />We go so long throughout the winter without hearing a peep from the cardinals and robins. When they finally return, their miraculous lovely tones are striking enough to cause a three-year-old--who barely remembers their existence--to scratch her head and smile at the strange beauty of life.<br /><br />For the birds, today I am grateful.<br /><br />p.s. Remember the old Pixar short film, <i>For the Bird</i>s? I'm going to play it for the girls when they get home from school. It's a great one!<br /><br /><br /><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/MOiyD26cJ2A" width="560"></iframe><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/2KJNStcouDk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com6/2014/03/for-birds.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-70460616477271068232014-03-05T12:50:00.000-05:002014-03-05T12:52:50.407-05:00{8/52 & 9/52}: screw gentilityThere are two main reasons I try not to complain about the weather, and they both have to do with my southern heritage. First and foremost is that as a southern girl, and I am born and bred to please. Genteel manners are in my blood, and a lady never lets on that she is not in a state of supreme comfort. Secondly, I still really have no concept of what is normal for the weather up here, and I refuse to be that cliche, just another Dixie redneck who can't hack the cold.<br /><br />Luckily, y'all, those reasons have gone out the frosty window now that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is complaining <i>to me</i> about the weather. And thus, I say to Boston, on this bitterly cold Wednesday in a sea of bitterly cold days, DUBYA TEE EFF.<br /><br />I am done. Done with my drippy nose, my numb fingers, my arse that tenses when I walk outside my front door. I am DONE. But unlike other activities I decide I'm finished with, being done does not mean I will be any less forced to deal with this weather. But I don't have to like it any more. You hear that, Boston? I DON'T LIKE YOU MUCH RIGHT NOW.<br /><br />{That's about as harsh as my criticisms get, but I mean it with all my heart.}<br /><br />And yes, I'm sorry I'm using the blog again as my personal punching bag, but what good is it if not a repository for my bitching, moaning, and aimless ranting? Sigh. Okay, I suppose I should end with cute pictures of my kids, which I can only hope make up for all manner of blogging sins. Please say yes?<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-zueYzz6Lm8w/Uxdii1dNN0I/AAAAAAAAQEo/9mVe9Bw20DE/s640/blogger-image-1025179510.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-zueYzz6Lm8w/Uxdii1dNN0I/AAAAAAAAQEo/9mVe9Bw20DE/s640/blogger-image-1025179510.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">{8/52}: Vivi has two less teeth than when I took this pic.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-1eBnyHI3mkQ/Uxdik5bxLwI/AAAAAAAAQEw/ZyBYkUU_XPc/s640/blogger-image-1202218607.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-1eBnyHI3mkQ/Uxdik5bxLwI/AAAAAAAAQEw/ZyBYkUU_XPc/s640/blogger-image-1202218607.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">{9/52}: Writing her name! My big girl.</td></tr></tbody></table><br />I am, XOXO, etc., your cranky pal,<br />~J<br /><br /><br /><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/a8lolrp4JAA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com3/2014/03/852-952-screw-gentility.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-35892147154072373772014-02-21T17:14:00.000-05:002014-02-21T17:33:29.963-05:00love is an open doorMusic from the movie <i>Frozen</i>&nbsp;is always in my head. The girls want to listen 24/7, and I can't blame their passion. I can still clearly recall the gusto with which I belted out the soundtrack to <i>Footloose</i><i>. </i>Exhausted was the needle of my record player when I was five and six-years-old.<br /><br />These songs do make better little girl ballads than Kenny Loggins' catalog. But on the flip side, earworms are a less pleasurable side effect to the album's constant rotation. They randomly and unexpectedly burrow into my thoughts throughout the day. Doing dishes, folding laundry, sitting at my computer, I hum the catchy tunes. Soon enough, I find myself musing about how accurate and poignant the message is behind <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0">"Love is an Open Door."</a><br /><br />[LOL. I'm sorry, I've never rickrolled you before, and I simply couldn't resist. Here's the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXGaPNJZCDk">real link</a>.]<br /><br />True, exhorting the enlightening merits of my children's music is <strike>downright nutty</strike> sentimental of me. But you must already know about my sentimentality. If not, allow me to introduce myself: I am a complete and total sap.<br /><br />But sometimes being sappy gets the job done! I have been a much more productive writer in the past few months, signing up to contribute essays in several places. I am also helping my dad with a project that is teaching me much about the writing craft.<br /><br />In that vein, here's a book I recommend:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Several-Short-Sentences-Writing-Vintage/dp/0307279413/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1393003578&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=several+short+sentences+about+writing">"Several short sentences about writing,"</a>&nbsp;by Verlyn Klinkenborg. True to its title, it is a collection of short, powerful sentences about writing. Not so much advice as little snippets of truth, this book is what might happen if you turned Jack Handey on his head so he actually made sense.<br /><div><br /></div><br /><div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-gdQiZck2Qug/Uwe_lVsxmgI/AAAAAAAAQEI/QCEZeX1JErs/s640/blogger-image-994314818.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-gdQiZck2Qug/Uwe_lVsxmgI/AAAAAAAAQEI/QCEZeX1JErs/s640/blogger-image-994314818.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">My bed: a favorite place to write. Just me, the cat, and the sun.<br />{and sometimes laundry}<br />{ok, always laundry}</td></tr></tbody></table><br /></div>Earlier this month I submitted an essay for a collection of doula stories. Ever the romantic, I contemplated including John Lennon's quote about love and fear in my composition. You know the one. It goes like this...<br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life." </blockquote><br />So here's my sappy conclusion. When we let love drive, it <i>is</i> an open door. We <a href="/2013/01/on-saying-yes.html">say yes</a>, even when we are afraid. New opportunities pop up. Some might seem too good to be true; I probably don't need to tell you how those turn out. But all in, life could be a better ride this way.<br /><br />p.s. Here's Charlie singing Let it Go, another of the Frozen songs:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><object width="320" height="266" class="BLOG_video_class" id="BLOG_video-ce47275dc57b120a" classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="movie" value="https://www.youtube.com/get_player"><param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true"><param name="flashvars" value="flvurl=https://redirector.googlevideo.com/videoplayback?id%3Dce47275dc57b120a%26itag%3D5%26source%3Dblogger%26requiressl%3Dyes%26app%3Dblogger%26cmo%3Dsecure_transport%3Dyes%26cmo%3Dsensitive_content%3Dyes%26ip%3D0.0.0.0%26ipbits%3D0%26expire%3D1484633892%26sparams%3Dip,ipbits,expire,id,itag,source,requiressl%26signature%3D18DBDB83432CAED08510AA6E536E7CD4CF1E4495.24B6B5F26233C75856C48891368DF8F76CAC6682%26key%3Dck2&amp;iurl=http://video.google.com/ThumbnailServer2?app%3Dblogger%26contentid%3Dce47275dc57b120a%26offsetms%3D5000%26itag%3Dw160%26sigh%3DTZ5hGPQBKoC41XTgEOEYTZFO82I&amp;autoplay=0&amp;ps=blogger"><embed src="https://www.youtube.com/get_player" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="320" height="266" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashvars="flvurl=https://redirector.googlevideo.com/videoplayback?id%3Dce47275dc57b120a%26itag%3D5%26source%3Dblogger%26requiressl%3Dyes%26app%3Dblogger%26cmo%3Dsecure_transport%3Dyes%26cmo%3Dsensitive_content%3Dyes%26ip%3D0.0.0.0%26ipbits%3D0%26expire%3D1484633892%26sparams%3Dip,ipbits,expire,id,itag,source,requiressl%26signature%3D18DBDB83432CAED08510AA6E536E7CD4CF1E4495.24B6B5F26233C75856C48891368DF8F76CAC6682%26key%3Dck2&iurl=http://video.google.com/ThumbnailServer2?app%3Dblogger%26contentid%3Dce47275dc57b120a%26offsetms%3D5000%26itag%3Dw160%26sigh%3DTZ5hGPQBKoC41XTgEOEYTZFO82I&autoplay=0&ps=blogger" allowFullScreen="true" /></object></div><br /><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/b9soUem6UNk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com3/2014/02/love-is-open-door.htmltag:blogger.com,1999:blog-12365123.post-70287765240814659252014-02-20T15:11:00.000-05:002014-02-20T15:14:00.807-05:00as usual, I refrained<div><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-xBiHHHWyxi4/UwYSlWNFLmI/AAAAAAAAQDw/1HMAn7JK3Gg/s640/blogger-image-1285191625.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-xBiHHHWyxi4/UwYSlWNFLmI/AAAAAAAAQDw/1HMAn7JK3Gg/s640/blogger-image-1285191625.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Chucks for Chuck.</td></tr></tbody></table><br /></div>I was typing my grocery list into a note in my phone the other day. My old way of grocery listing was the ubiquitous pad and ballpoint pen my dad taught me to carry always; those trusty partners have served me and my lack of short-term memory well over the years. But lately I'm getting into this smart phone thing, and my new method of listing is to scribble needed items on the white board then transfer them into my phone. I have no idea if this process saves or costs me time, but it does keep me from ever losing my list.<br /><br />So anyway, I'm typing the list, and I get to <i>refried beans</i>, which my phone autocorrects to <span style="font-family: Courier New, Courier, monospace;">refrained beans</span>. This accidental correction cracks me up for way longer than it should, perhaps because of the irony of the autocorrect in telling me what I already know. Yes, thank you phone, maybe refried beans aren't such a good idea after all.<br /><br />Somehow this typo got me thinking about restraint. Another contributor was <a href="https://twitter.com/SuburbanMatron/status/436245809022394370">Becky's tweet</a> wondering when we're all going to be rewarded for our ladylike behavior. Yes! I wonder this all the time, and the only answer I can ever come up with is that at least we get to laugh later?<br /><br />Take, for instance, a family I encountered yesterday while the kids and I were sledding (please!). We're at that giant hill in our neighborhood with the view of Boston, <a href="/2014/02/652-752-surreal.html">the same one from last weekend</a>. As you can see in <a href="http://www.youtube.com/feature=player_embedded">that video</a>, there are lots of families all sledding at the same time. We, each of the families, follow some kind of unspoken Yankee sledding protocol.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both;"></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-LDqmNE1kfB8/UwYSm6ASF0I/AAAAAAAAQD4/B_1kyx9Nffs/s640/blogger-image-1143694475.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-LDqmNE1kfB8/UwYSm6ASF0I/AAAAAAAAQD4/B_1kyx9Nffs/s640/blogger-image-1143694475.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Boot-height snow. It's a doozy.&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table><br />I am a quick-study on the social order of things, so I'm pretty good at the rules already: stay to the right if you're faster, yell "look out!" if anyone's about to bite it, make sure your kids aren't getting in everyone's way, keep to yourselves and talk amongst your own--unless of course one of my kids wipes out, then I flash a grin at the family next to me because all grown-ups appreciate a good kid wipe-out. The best yesterday was when I sent the girls down on separate sleds at the same time; at the exact moment Vivi wiped out, Charlie veered off in Vivi's direction and sledded OVER Vivi. It was fantastic.<br /><br />I'm getting to the refraining part, I swear. As I was saying, we encountered the most bizarre family yesterday. The family is made up of a few kids, a few adults, and a grandma figure, and they relentlessly, comically get in everyone's way. The kids will stop midway down the hill and just seem to lay there forever; no one in the family offers assistance. The adults mill about in the walking path, talking amongst themselves and generally ignoring all of us. But they seem to be sledding for the first time, so I let it go. Plus, if you know me, you know I will let a situation get incredibly ridiculous before I say anything. Even then, I might not say anything.<br /><br />I should mention a contributing factor in yesterday's comedy of errors was that surprisingly few locals were present. I know this because I was giving a dad sledding tips, and I am NOT the sled guru by any means. Because it's February vacation week up here (a kind of mid-winter spring break, only with more snow), I figure most of the locals are up north skiing somewhere. The absence of locals is notable because, as I've often <a href="/2013/05/on-not-quite-fitting-in.html">said in the past</a>, Bostonians don't let anyone get away with <i>anything</i>. If you make any errors, you're going to hear about it posthaste.<br /><br />In this case, the lack of locals means that just as it seems like this family couldn't be more annoying, the grandma pulls out a bag of disgusting-smelling snacks (dried fish, maybe?), and the ENTIRE FAMILY sits down right in the middle of the big hill to eat them. If that weren't enough (and it is), the sleds of the two young boys periodically roll downhill by themselves. Following sledding etiquette, the other children present offer assistance by lugging the sleds back up to them, which is no easy feat, only to have it happen again moments later.<br /><br />Finally, a type-A New Englander walks up, grabs the sleds, and hurls them uphill. They do not seem to notice even this act of silent aggression. As I told Nate the story later, I realized it was like watching a silent Charlie Chaplin movie. Fortunately it was the kind of bad that is funny, which allowed me to share plenty of empathetic glances with other families. This feels like a big win for me, as these Yankees are a tough nut to crack, y'all.<br /><br />Have you encountered anyone lately who refuses to follow social rules? What do you do when this happens?<br /><br />Stay warm! xoxo ~J<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TheLoneHomeRanger/~4/Wc2OdHrM2W8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>Justinehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03807946719626251318noreply@blogger.com3/2014/02/as-usual-i-refrained.html