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Monday, March 31, 2014

Homemade Poultry Feed

I found a recipe for chicken feed on The Elliot Homestead. We have both chickens and turkeys, though, and they need a higher protein content to provide proper health for the turkeys and good egg production for our chickens. So, I modified her recipe, and came up with this, which our poultry are doing extremely well on and love. I, too, order from Azure Standard to get the best prices. I've tried to write this recipe with terms that will help you search Azure Standard, too. I buy these ingredients in bulk, and keep them in sealed containers to mix up in 100 pound batches (our feed bin holds that much). The kelp granules are available in bulk, organic, at Azure Standard for less than I've found it anywhere else. Including other packaging available at Azure. So, search for the best price per ounce or per pound, even when you are able to get them through a co-op or bulk retailer like Azure Standard.

Our poultry are able to range on our property year round, so they are able to find something to eat, whether it's seeds, greens, bugs, or what not, all year, though in the winter the pickings are pretty slim. We also give them all kitchen scraps that we cannot use in stock and that isn't harmful to them (or will flavor their eggs in a way we don't want, such as onions). The things that can't be used in stock and the things that can't be given to the poultry go into our compost, so we have miniscule waste here. This is one of the things we love about our chickens, too, they turn what would be garbage into eggs. I also like that we are feeding them with things that would be okay for us to eat, too. If our younger children got into their feed and ate it, it would do them no harm.

Anyway, I don't have the exact pricing in front of me, but we worked it out, and this was just slightly less expensive (by a dollar or so, total) than the layer feed (which is less expensive than the higher protein feed we need for the turkeys) at the feed store with all the agricultural byproducts, soy, GMOs, and possibly arsenic. But it's organic and non-GMO. The protein level is sufficient for our turkeys, while not being too much for our chickens. We feed poults in confinement with their mothers with a higher protein feed so they are protected, but also so the chickens don't get into their feed. We also offer calcium in various forms as a free choice when we bring out table and kitchen scraps to them, and they get calcium from the insects and small reptiles they eat.

28 pounds whole oats with hulls, animal grade
24 pounds whole barley, animal grade
19 pounds split peas (green or yellow)
11 pounds corn (I may leave this out in the late spring and through the summer, as they forage enough to get the sugars on their own - we were using blue corn until we ran out, because it's higher in protein, but haven't found an organic, bulk source since before January)
11 pounds lentils
4 pounds flax seeds
2 pounds raw, brown sesame seeds with hulls
1 pound kelp granules
3.2 ounces olive oil

Mix it all up in a large tub. That's it. Our older boys make a batch of this every two to three weeks. Our poultry eat more in the winter, both because there isn't as much to forage, and because they need more fuel to heat themselves. This is normal.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Menu Plan: Laetare Sunday

We come again to Laetare, or Mothering, Sunday. It is the Mother's Day for the Church who is our mother, for the Blessed Virgin, who is the Mother of God and all believers, for all mothers. It is a bright spot in our Lenten journey. The roots of the Latin Laetare are in the word for milk. Milk joy, like a baby at his mother's breast. I spent my Mother's Day with a friend of mine, knitting and talking, which was a great thing for me. Rich made dinner, and the kids helped rearrange furniture.

We had a ton of lettuce and salad greens and goodies for salads in our produce co-op boxes, so we're eating a lot of salad this week. Meals are pretty simple, though, because our schedule is pretty packed. We are only two weeks from Holy Week, and we have much to prepare for both in our home and in our hearts.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a recipe round up on Saturday.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Recipe: Sticky Coconut Rice

This isn't hard to make, but it is a nice break from regular rice. We make double this recipe.

2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cups jasmine rice
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add rice and stir until translucent and fragrant. Pour in coconut milk and water, stir in salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook, without lifting the lid, for 15 minutes. Allow to sit for 5 - 10 minutes with the heat off and lid still on before serving.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Yarn Along: Finally Finished!

I finished Elijah's pencil case exactly on time for his birthday. Which is good because his other present isn't slated to arrive until Saturday. This was a pretty quick project, and even with my lamentable crochet skills, I think I managed it well enough. If you want to read a little bit of how I changed it, check it out here. I've also been working a bit on a variation on my submitted design, Saint Catherine, to use a different yarn and slightly different edgings. This one is sized to fit Nejat.

As for the books, I'm still reading the wonderful Christ in His Saints. I'm also reading an interesting mystery, Mozart's Last Aria: A Novel (P.S.). I like it, but I'm not sure I will continue to like it. The writing is good. The storyline is good. But, as with so much modern fiction, there is a little too much of a message in it, and it's not that subtle. Though, I guess I'd rather it was easy to discern. I wish fiction authors would be more interested in their story than in their message. That goes for books whose messages I agree with, too.

However, I am still loving Fr. Reardon's book. Just his introduction is enlightening, and the rest of the chapters are marvelous. I cannot recommend this book enough. I've owned it for several years, along with his Christ in the Psalms, which I have spent some time in, but this is my first time delving into the treasures inside of this book. From the introduction:

The Epistle to the Hebrews, which repeatedly speaks of Christian worship in terms of “approach” (4:16; 7:25; 10:1, 22; 11:6), “entrance” (10:19), and “drawing near” (7:19) to God, describes this worship as a complex liturgical gathering: “But you have come [literally ‘approached’] to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel” (12:22-24). That is to say, when the Christian comes to God, he doesn’t come “one on one,” so to speak; he approaches also the company of angels and saints.

This text is particularly striking because of its explicit reference to Christ our Lord as the Mediator of the covenant that gives us access to God. The unique mediation of Christ, an important theme in Hebrews (Cf. also 8:6; 9:15), has rather often been cited in recent centuries to negate the role of the saints in heaven with respect to the Christian worship on earth. Yet, here in this description of Christian worship, along with the mediation of Christ and His redemptive blood, the author of Hebrews speaks also of “the spirits of just men made perfect.” The author obviously saw nothing incompatible between the unique mediation of Christ and the communion of the glorified saints in the Church’s worship.

Although the bodies of the departed saints are elsewhere described as “sleeping” (1 Thessalonians 4:13; 1 Corinthians 15:6-20), their spirits are very much alive and alert; indeed, they are already “made perfect,” even though they still await the glorification of their bodies. The departed saints are certainly not “dead,” because those who believe in Christ will never die (John 11:26). The departed saints did not simply live a long time ago and now they are gone. Oh no, they are still very much alive, standing in worship with the angels before God’s throne, and that is why, in the mediation of Christ and through His blood, we may join them in worship.

His examples of the saints in Scripture and their stories for us to identify with and meditate on are quite inspiring.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Menu Plan: Third Sunday of Lent

We're pretty much back to normal here - thank you for your prayers. We have a slightly less busy week coming up, in some ways, though we have other things that are out of the ordinary going on, so it will be occupied with things that are not part of our normal routine, and that will shake things up a bit.

We're now half way through Lent. This has been a challenging time for us. My Lent seems more imposed on me than chosen this year. Sometimes, I think God does this to help us grow in places we wish we could ignore.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a recipe round up on Saturday.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Yarn Along: The Sick Edition

Since we last met, we had a horrifying stomach illness come into our household. Glory to God that Nejat did not get it, as she would have ended up in the hospital. I have gotten very little accomplished either in reading or with yarn.

Since Elijah's birthday is coming up, and we weren't sure if his present would arrive in time, I hustled to make sure this would be finished in time. I figure I can get it finished this weekend and have it wrapped up in time. It's a pretty simple pattern, I found here, but I think I'm still messing it up - my crochet skills aren't nearly what my knitting skills are. Elijah likes how it looks, though. I'm using bits and bobs of yarn from my partial skein basket that he chose.

I took some more time with Christ in His Saints, which is an excellent book. Even the first chapter has given me so much to think and meditate on in my faith. It is thought provoking and enriching for the spirit. This isn't the only book I've delved into since last time, but it is the one that I am enjoying the most. There is another book I'm reading, and while I enjoy the story, I do not like the political and social message it's blasting, especially as it is aimed at young people. Fr. Reardon, however, has a message that is direct and not underhanded, it is uplifting and challenging, I really look forward to finishing this.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Recipe: Root Cellar Casserole

I picked this recipe up on a Lenten recipe group on Facebook last year. As always, I tweaked it a bit and made it more to our tastes. It is highly adaptable, you can use whatever hardy vegetables you have, and is an excellent main dish, which is often hard to do during fasting seasons. Our family still eats dairy for much of the fast, so we simply use milk, but vegetable broth or an almond milk or coconut milk would work just fine in this. If you are going to use other vegetables, prepare and cut to similar sized pieces, and maintain the total quantities in the recipe. My husband, who is a devoted meat eater, was satisfied by this and enjoyed it without feeling like he was missing meat. This is a nice dish for potlucks, too. I'm so sorry, I left a doubled amount in here, the milk quantity has been edited to reflect the amount for this size dish.

1/2 cup safflower oil
2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
4 stalks of celery, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
12 small potatoes, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup flour
3 cups milk or vegetable broth
1 pound fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup finely minced parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a large baking pan, or two smaller ones.

In a large pan, heat oil over medium high heat, add onion, celery, and garlic. Cook until onions soften and begin to brown. Add the carrots and potatoes, and cook a little longer, to start to soften them. Mix in salt and white pepper. Cook for another few minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the potato mixture, coating the vegetables well. Add the milk or broth, a little at a time, stirring constantly, until there is a nice sauce. Pour entire mixture into prepared pan, then stir in the peas and parsley to combine.

Bake for 25 - 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and lightly browned on top.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Menu Plan: Second Sunday in Lent

My dad leaves tonight, which has left us all a bit sad. Three of our children are pretty sick right now, so we can use your prayers. We're also praying that my father doesn't catch this, as he has long travels, and a homecoming to deal with, and doesn't need to be violently ill. So, we covet your prayers.

Because of our sickness, it doesn't look like we'll have a nice corned beef and colcannon dinner tomorrow night. We are eating whatever can be kept down, tastes good, and clears out our fridge of all the numerous leftovers. My father has been spoiling us with lots of extra goodies, treats, and dinners out while he has been here, but it has filled every fridge and freezer and counter in our home. We will have at least one repeat this week, but I think that's it.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a recipe round up on Saturday.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Yarn Along: One Sock Down

And now I need to be able to finish another man sized sock in four days. Not likely to happen. I think I'm going to end up mailing the socks to my dad in Saudi Arabia. I had planned to have this sock finished before he arrived, and have the second one started. Well, that plan didn't work out, and I've had less knitting time, because we're running around a lot more. We don't have that much more time with him, so I'm sad that these won't be useful for him while he's here.

This is the only knitting or crocheting I've been working on at all, too. I have a few things on needles/hook, and so much planned. It's kind of disappointing how little I have finished in the past two and a half months.

I have to admit that, though I've peeked at my Lenten book basket, I haven't had the time to really read anything deeply. So, instead, I finished a happy little murder one night while I was unable to sleep. Blackberry Pie Murder was light enough that I could handle it, but still allowed me to read. I will admit a weakness to this kind of book.

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Menu Plan: First Sunday of Lent

I'm not entirely sure why I'm even planning menus as my father keeps trying to make something else or take us out to dinner (which is a challenge when you aren't eating meat). We've already switched several meals around since I started trying to put this together. However, here is my rough plan for the week. We'll see how it actually goes. My dad is spoiling us by cooking and taking us out so frequently.

We have Ember days this week, so there is extra praying and fasting for the Church, vocations, and the clergy. I've been so pleased with how well and solidly our children have handled the fast this year. Also, if I am permitted to be proud of this, Amira told me she didn't have any money left, but it turned out that it was because she had given all of her money as offering to church and to charities. Rest assured, my father has replenished her coffers.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a recipe round up on Saturday.

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Saturday, March 08, 2014

Two Week Recipe Round Up: Creamy Feta Salad Dressing, Chili, Yeasted Potato Doughnuts, Tunisian Ftira

Creamy Feta Salad Dressing

This is so simple to make and delicious.

1 cup yogurt
1 cup feta crumbles
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried dill weed (if you can get fresh, use about 1/4 cup, finely chopped)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
salt to taste

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl or jar. Serve on salad or as a dip.

Not Texas Chili

I make no claims to this being authentic Texas chili. It is not. I am not from Texas, and neither is this. It is tasty, filling, and relatively quick to make. I have my own thoughts on the one true chili, seeing as how a stew is usually made from what someone has, so I don't think originally it was such a rigid recipe. Nevertheless, mine not only has beans, but also tomatoes, sweet peppers, and corn. We like it this way.

2 pounds ground beef
2 large onions, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound sweet peppers, thinly sliced
5 cups cooked black beans
5 cups cooked small red beans (I use pinquitos)
2 pounds canned diced tomatoes with juices
1 pound corn kernels
1/4 cup ancho chile powder
2 tablespoons oregano
1 tablespoons cumin
2 1/2 teaspoon salt (if you're using commercially canned beans and tomatoes, you may want less)
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (more or less, depending on your taste)
water to thin chili if necessary

serve with:
sour cream
diced onions
chopped cilantro

In a heavy pot, over medium high heat, brown ground beef. If you have a lower fat beef, you may need to add oil to it. Add the onions, garlic and peppers, and cook until the onions are translucent and the peppers are soft. Add in the beans, tomatoes with their juice, corn, chile powder, oregano, cumin, salt, and chipotle powder. Bring to a simmer and cook until the flavors are melded and everything is heated. Thin with water if necessary. Taste to adjust seasonings.

We serve it with the things I listed above, and usually cornbread, too. If there is any left over, and I make double this recipe, I use it to make tamale pie, or serve over baked potatoes, depending on how much we have left. If it's only a small amount, it can be put into quesadillas, if you like. It freezes well, and is even better the next day, but still tastes darned good the first night.

Yeasted Potato Doughuts

Here is our version of yeast risen potato doughnuts. These are wonderful.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup plain mashed potatoes
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
5 teaspoons yeast
7 - 8 cups unbleached flour (either bread flour or all purpose)
oil to fry
lemon glaze (recipe following)

Either in your stand mixer, or by hand, beat the butter with the potatoes, eggs, sugar and salt until blended and smooth. Slowly mix in the milk and yeast. Add the flour, one cup at a time, until a smooth dough is made. It might be stickier than you are used to having.

Mix well, and knead well, either by machine or hand. Cover and let rise for an hour and a half. Punch down and let rise again for an hour.

After the second rising, roll out the dough, using one quarter of the dough at a time, on a well floured surface to 1/2" thickness. Using a doughnut cutter or biscuit cutter, or just a knife, cut out your doughnuts.

Heat oil at a depth of at least 2" to approximately 375 F. Fry doughnuts about a minute on each side. Drain on a rack and coat with the lemon glaze.

Lemon Glaze

6 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup strained lemon juice
1/4 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk all ingredients together.

Tunisian Ftira
modified from: Taste of Beirut's recipe.

3 1/2 unbleached flour (either bread flour or all purpose)
3 cups semolina flour
2 tablespoons yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
oil to fry
cinnamon sugar (I use a ratio of 1 tablespoon of cinnamon to 1 cup of sugar)

Mix first seven ingredients to combine well. Knead well, either by machine or by hand. Cover and let rise for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Roll dough to 1/2" thickness and cut with a round cutter.

Heat oil at a depth of at least 2" to approximately 375 F. Fry doughnuts about one minute on each side. Drain on a rack and shake in cinnamon sugar.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Feast to Fast

If you are looking for a traditional Ash Wednesday menu, here it is: Water. It is a 24 hour strict fast. The rules have been relaxed in the west (to the point of absurdity), but it is still a strict fast. If you cannot fast, try to fast from one or two meals and eat less. If that is not possible for some reason, this should be a meat abstinence day.

Tonight, we had our traditional fried food extravaganza and doughnut feast. Our last hurrah before the penance and abstinence of Lent begins. The day started with doughnuts (we had some my dad bought and figured it would be a good way to use them up - and I didn't have to make breakfast that way) and ended in fried chicken, onion rings, potato wedges, and doughnuts that we fried ourselves. In some ways, this makes it easier to fast the following day, because who wants to eat after having all of that?

This year, yet again, I will not fully be participating in the fast, as I am nursing a baby. Since my dad is here, as well, we have relaxed our family rule, so menus will include more dairy and egg, perhaps fish, than they normally would have.

Lent is a penitential season. We make sacrifices in our diet, of our time and of our finances. Our dietary changes allow for more money to give to alms, one third of the trinity of the Christian fast. I say this each year: To fast as a Christian is to fast, pray and to give alms. This is the definition of a fast. We do not simply abstain from eating and hope that by doing so we receive grace or earn favor. The fast is a daily reminder of our obligation to pray and care for the poor as well as using physical discipline to lead us to spiritual discipline. I still remember the teaching that all sin is an appetite indulged, so the fast is a way to teach us not to indulge our appetites. Even during the abstinent days of Lent, rather than the full fasts, we are to eat less than we normally would. We are to leave the table a little hungry. I read this somewhere, and I can't remember the source to give credit:

"By abstaining from meat (and dairy), we allow both creation (the animals) to rest from milking or laying and allow nature to rebuild. But more importantly, we embrace the simplicity of eating plainer foods so that we can focus more of our time on Christ. We also allow ourselves to be a little more hungry than normal in order to remember that God is the only one who can truly fill our deepest hunger!"

Although we are not Orthodox, I borrow from their tradition for the eve of Clean Monday: Friends and family, I humbly ask your forgiveness if I have offended you in any way. I bow down to the ground in my heart before each one of you and ask for your forgiveness. I ask forgiveness for having offended, scandalized and sinned against anyone, whether by my words, actions, or thoughts. Forgive me, a sinner. May your journey during this Lenten period lead you to peace, spiritual regeneration, and the joyous Pascha of our Lord.

Blessed Fast.

With Love in Christ.

"If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" Mark 6:14-15

I wish you a holy Lent.

"Yet even now," says the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments." Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil. Who knows whether he will not turn and repent, and leave a blessing behind him, a cereal offering and a drink offering for the LORD, your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber.

Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep and say, "Spare thy people, O LORD, and make not thy heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, `Where is their God?'" Joel 2:12-17

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Sunday, March 02, 2014

Menu Plan Monday: March 2 - 8

As we are entering the Lenten observance, I thought I would include our daily scripture readings from Morning Prayer in case that would be something others might want to read as well. If you are interested in our Evening Prayer readings, I can post those as well. We are having our doughnut night again for Mardi Gras. Then the fast will begin. If I have sinned against you or offended you in any way this year, please forgive me and pray for me, a sinner. I wish you a Holy Lent.

I did not get my recipes posted this Saturday, so I'm working on that next. Here is our menu for the week. With my dad here, we have had so much leftover, that we are moving a lot around, and freezing a ton of extras. We are fasting a little more easily this year, with my father visiting, and with me nursing Nejat. We relaxed the rules a bit more than we normally do, so you will see dairy and egg on some Wednesdays and Fridays.

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a recipe round up on Saturday.

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