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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Menu Plan: April 30 - May 6

Last week's schedule, though empty of most sick kids, was full of rearranged events. So, we have some repeats this week. Also, we have an interesting week ahead of us this week so, with a couple exceptions, I'm trying to make meals that are either quick to make, or can be made ahead of time. Our fruit connection came through this weekend, so we have loads of nice fruit to be eaten with all our meals and as snacks. Our gleaning group was able to get an asparagus delivery, too, so we picked up 30 pounds of asparagus for only $18, and we're enjoying that in just about everything. There should be at least one more delivery before the season is out, too.

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 weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Recipe Round Up: Fatayir bi Sabanich and Sambousak

I had help from the kids making these, so they aren't as neat as normal, but you will make them more neatly, I am sure.
Fatayir bi Sabanich

This yeasted pastry with spinach in it is rich and delicious. This recipe makes about 80 - 85 triangle pastries. I sometimes double it.

6 cups bread flour
3 tablespoons yeast
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk yogurt
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup honey

2/3 cup olive oil
2 pounds chopped spinach, fresh or frozen
16 scallions, finely chopped
2 bunches fresh dill, finely minced
12 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons ground sumac
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups toasted pine nuts

semolina or corn meal for pans

To make the dough, you can use your bread machine on the dough cycle, or mix it in a stand mixer with the dough hook, or by hand.

If mixing by hand or with a mixer, combine all the dough ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly, and knead until you have a soft, slightly sticky, and pliable dough. Cover and allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

While the dough is rising, you can prepare the filling. Heat a large frying pan or skillet over medium high and add the oil. Immediately add the spinach and scallions, and cook until the greens are wilted and soft. Add the dill, garlic, sumac, and salt, and cook, stirring, a minute or two more. Remove from heat and add toasted pine nuts, mixing thoroughly. Allow to cool slightly while preparing the pans and dough for shaping.

Preheat oven to 425 F and prepare several baking sheets by sprinkling with semolina or corn meal.

Segment the dough into roughly 85 pieces. You may be able to get more rolls by making the pieces smaller, but you don't want them too small. Roll out into flat, circular discs, and place a spoonful of the spinach filling in the middle. Bring up the sides, one by one, to make the circle into a triangle, and pinch the seams tightly closed. You will want to almost enclose the spinach, because the dough will open up as it rises and bakes. You may wish to keep a bowl of cold water nearby to help "glue" the dough together. Place each roll about an inch and a half apart on the prepared pans, and bake for 15 minutes, until fully baked and slightly browned. Cool in the pan about 5 minutes, brush off the excess semolina and serve. These are equally good room temperature and cold.


This is a meat filled, deep fried pastry that is sort of like a deep fried empanada. The dough is a butter and egg rich pastry, and the filling is seasoned ground lamb or beef. This is a large recipe. In some ways, if you are going to go to the trouble of making it, you might as well make a lot. The unfried pastries can be frozen in a single sheet, and put in a freezer bag for cooking at a later time. Both the dough and the filling can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for a few days. You can also prepare these up to shaping and hold in the refrigerator up to 24 hours before frying, so if it is more convenient to make them in the morning and fry for dinner, that is possible. I honestly don't know exactly how many this makes, I think it is close to 100, because someone is always eating them as I place them on the platter.

10 cups pastry flour
1 pound salted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 - 2 cups milk

Muffroom (filling):
3 pounds ground lamb or beef
3 onions, peeled and finely chopped
18 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
2 bunches parsley, finely minced
2 bunches fresh dill, finely minced

oil for frying

In a large bowl, mix the flour, butter, and egg. Mix in 1 1/2 cups milk, until a soft, pliable dough is formed. Add more milk, a little at a time, if necessary. Set aside in a cool place, or in a bag in the refrigerator while making the muffroom.

Place the meat, onions, garlic, salt and pepper in a large skillet and fry together, breaking up the meat, until a medium fine crumble of browned meat and softened vegetables is formed. Take off the heat and taste for seasoning, adjusting as necessary. Stir in the parsley and dill.

Cut and shape the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll these out to circles, and fill with a teaspoon or so of the filling. Fold the circle in half, and crimp the edges to seal.

When you are ready to fry, heat the oil over medium high heat, and when a piece of bread sizzles immediately when placed in the oil, start carefully placing the sambousak in the oil. You want to fill the pan, but still have room to turn them over. Fry until golden on one side, and turn over until the other side is as well. This usually takes me a little more than a minute on the first side, and a little less than a minute on the second. Transfer to a rack over a pan to drain, and serve. These are also great cold from the fridge the next day.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Yarn Along: Amira is Almost Here!

Amira is at my technical editor's for the final edit, and should be published by May 15! She's still unblocked and needs the armbands picked up and knit before I can do the final photography, but is otherwise complete. Now, I am trying to finish Nejat's hunicorn slippers before the end of next week, and I have a design proposal to finish up for a winter magazine by then, also. After that, I can get started on a couple MadMay projects, two designs that I'd like to have out in August and November this year.

The Baby Shower Knit-a-Long is almost at the half way point, and if you haven't joined up yet, there is plenty of time to do it. I won't close up sign ups until the last day. It's been exciting for me to see how different people interpret my designs, and watch them having fun, learning new skills, and accomplishing some thing they haven't before. This is my first time running my own KAL by myself and it has been gratifying. If you join today, you still have time to finish the hat (or the sweater if you are really quick) and post in the FO thread for a chance at the midpoint drawing after tomorrow!

I have still not read a single word outside of my Bible and Prayer Book this past week, between trying to get Amira ready for final edits, and THREE kids down with vomiting, there hasn't been time or energy for even a light read.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Menu Plan: April 23 - 29

We had three kids down with a stomach bug by the end of last week, so I did not get recipes posted. I will get them up by this weekend instead. There was so much left over from our feast, too, that we ended up eating that most of the week, so there are a lot of repeats this week, too. Also, I had a ton of filling left from the gatayif that I plan on making more this week. We had one more leg of lamb in the freezer, so I made up another roast lamb for our church supper on Sunday.

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 weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Yarn Along: Baby Shower KAL!

The Baby Shower Knit-a-Long for both the Shower's This Weekend baby sweater and the Shower's in an Hour baby hat began today and there is still time to join! It runs from April 19 - May 3, and if you haven't joined up yet, there is plenty of time to do it. I won't close up sign ups until the last day. I decided to embellish my sweater and hat to give people an idea of one of the things that can be done with such a simple set of designs.

Now that we are in Bright Week, I'm doing more work with Amira and Nejat's hunicorn slippers. I'm fairly certain that Nejat's present will be complete well before her birthday, which should give me a chance to work on two more small designs, and a sweater for Jerome that will be too warm for him to wear by the time it is finished. I will try to make it big enough that he can wear it in the fall and winter this year.

There was no time for me to do any real reading last week, so I'm taking this week to read, knit, do some pattern editing and writing, and just relax in general.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Menu Plan: Bright Week

Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

There is no fasting during the eight days of the Paschal Octave, which is both exciting and tough after fasting and abstinence during Lent! Enjoy!

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 weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Weekly Recipes: Spring Herb Soup & Tabbouleh

Spring Herb Soup
Those of you who know me will be amazed that I have listed mushroom broth at all, let alone prefer it here. I do think that mushroom broth is better than the vegetable broth. This is a simple, tasty soup that is perfect for the spring. I serve it with salad and fruit, or rolls.

3 tablespoons light oil, such as sunflower seed or safflower oil
6 medium to large leeks, washed well and thinly sliced (white and light green parts, save the tougher section for stock)
6 spring onions (or 12 scallions), cleaned and thinly sliced
2 bunches of parsley, trimmed and finely chopped, reserving about 2 tablespoons to garnish
2 bunches thyme, leaves stripped from stems
1 bunch tarragon, leaves stripped and finely chopped, reserving about 2 tablespoons to garnish
6 quarts mushroom broth or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon kosher salt, less if your broth is salty
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 pound campanelle or other medium sized, pretty pasta

Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat while you prepare your ingredients. Add oil to pot and immediately add the leeks, spring onions, parsley, thyme, and tarragon to the pot and stir to soften. When the vegetables and herbs are soft, add broth, salt, pepper, and pasta, and bring to a boil. Turn to low and simmer until pasta is cooked al dente and taste for seasoning, adjusting salt and pepper as necessary.

This salad really improves with a day to blend the flavors. The traditional Lebanese style of tabbouleh has a higher ratio of parsley and mint to the bulgur, so you may wish to increase their amounts. If you wish to make it ahead, add everything except the tomatoes, and do not garnish with the lettuce until just before you serve.

3 cups medium bulgur
hot water to cover by an inch
3 bunches Italian parsley, trimmed and chopped finely
3 bunches mint, leaves removed from stems, and chopped finely
3 bunch scallions, chopped finely
4 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and finely diced
6 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1 cup good olive oil
juice of 6 lemons
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Romaine lettuce to garnish (optional)

Soak bulgur in hot water in a large bowl, for at least an hour. It should have absorbed all the water.

Mix parsley, mint, scallions, cucumbers and tomatoes into bulgur.

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper into a vinaigrette. Pour over salad and toss together to mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Garnish salad bowl with individual lettuce leaves stood on end, tucked around the edge of the bowl, and serve, using the lettuce as a bowl for the salad.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Yarn Along: Whatever I Knit This Week is a Bonus

Amira is still almost there, but with Holy Week, I'm not sure I'll get her finished. I made a mistake that requires me to go back two and a half rows to fix, which I am not looking forward to, either. However, I have a picture of my Sunday knitting up there. I don't work on my designs on Sundays, and I pull out other designers' work or personal designs that aren't for sale. Nejat's birthday is the next in line in the birthday season, so I'm making her these hunicorn slippers as her birthday gift. The plan is to use gold, sparkly, puffy paint to write Hunicorn on the soles of them. I had forgotten how quickly slippers for a four year old in worsted weight yarn knit up - I made the first one in a day, and if our big van wasn't at the shop, I would have had the second one finished in a day, too. Instead, I had to drive to church and back, because we had to take two vehicles, and it turns out that you are not supposed to knit and drive.

The Baby Shower Knit-a-Long for both the Shower's This Weekend baby sweater and the Shower's in an Hour baby hat begins next week! It runs from April 19 - May 3, and if you haven't joined up yet, there is plenty of time to do it. I won't close up sign ups until the last day. Please consider joining, as these are both quick, cute knits, and you could win some awesome prizes.

I do want to give you notice that during Holy Week, I will only be doing minimal business work, so please have patience with me if it takes a little while for me to reply.

My reading this week has been minimal. I have read story books from our Lenten book bin to our children, and I may have read a paragraph or two in Messenger of Truth.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Menu Plan: Palm Sunday and Holy Week

I was down for the count with strep a couple weeks ago, so my normal grocery shopping, cooking, and planning was not done at all. Meals last week were interesting.

Fortunately, there was a teen skating night scheduled for Elijah's birthday, which meant that he could have a good time, even though I was not up to cooking and baking up a storm. Also, a sweet lady from church made five different types of cake for the coffee hour, partly because of his birthday, and since we weren't there, even delivered them to our house after liturgy.

This week, we walk the Via Dolorosa with the Lord. It is such a tough week for us, spiritually and emotionally, but one of growth. It is a week of preparation, both spiritually and physically, which is fitting, given our created nature.

I did the huge Paschal shopping trip on Friday, to try to avoid doing most of it this week. 10 hours, four counties, eight stops, and most of it is finished. That's the down side of living in a small, rural area in the middle of the state. However, I was able to find a localish chocolatier who had lambs, since the convent where we normally get ours didn't have them available this year. There is still one shopping trip necessary, but it's for a few things that would go bad if bought too early. We have our yellow onion skins to dye our blood red eggs. The eggs from the Passover meal, covered in the blood of Christ who is our true Passover. Some of the food preparation will begin on Wednesday, and we'll fit it all in between the church services this week.

Our meals are light and simple this week. We also don't restrict the youngest on dairy, though during Holy Week we try to follow the stricter Lenten guidelines more closely. Since our small ones don't do the full fast between the Maundy Thursday service and the Paschal Vigil, I do have meals planned those days for them. I'm sure our oldest kids will be participating, though, so I'm going to have to figure out how to make small enough quantities to feed them, but not fill our fridge when we need the real estate for the Paschal feast. Even though our spring break is this week and next, the schools, and therefore the kids' activities and my choir practice, are in session, so we have to work around them this week, too. We're trying to only skip what we have to, but it's a little frustrating that in an area where probably 90% of the people or more celebrate the Paschal feast (or at least dye eggs and have a big dinner with their families), that they never have spring break on either Holy Week or Bright Week. In fact, they don't even align the government schools with the local college's break. Alexander was on break two weeks ago, and the local schools were on break last week. I grew up in a college town and the schools all have spring break at the same time. We will walk with Christ just the same. We will meet Him anew and come to know and love Him deeper. Then, the joy and miracle of His resurrection, which gives us the hope of overcoming death will rise again in our hearts and lives.

May God grant you all a blessed and holy journey to the Paschal celebration.
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 weekly recipe round up.

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Thursday, April 06, 2017

Yarn Along: So Close I Can Taste It

Amira is so close to finished. I'm really hoping it will be completed by next weekend. As it will also be Holy Week, I am not sure how reasonable that hope is, but I'll keep working at it.

This past week has been rather rough at our house. Aside from getting over strep, my allergies kicked in, and we've just been busy with work and other things in our life, like end of term exams and doing some scholarship applications with Alexander. I kind of went on strike with the kids, so I didn't plan a menu this week and made them figure it out themselves. The meals have been interesting.

I did get my first issue of 1,001 Knits out last week. If you subscribed, I hope you enjoyed my short missive. The next issue is due out in June, though I'm aiming for the first or second week of June this time.

My Baby Shower Knit-a-Long for both the Shower's This Weekend baby sweater and the Shower's in an Hour baby hat begins in the middle of Bright Week. It runs from April 19 - May 3, and if you haven't joined up yet, there is plenty of time to do it. I won't close up sign ups until the last day. There are some really lovely prizes, too. Just yesterday, Lydia from Oh Loops! offered a skein of their beautiful yarn and a pattern as prizes. I really love their literary themed colorways, especially.

Speaking of literature, the only real reading I've done this week has been pretty light, I picked up another Maisie Dobbs book, Messenger of Truth, and I'm enjoying it so far.

Linking to Crafting On.

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