Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kids and Kitchen

I'm lacking in pictures, so here is one taken from this fall - no I don't still have lovely huge heads of broccoli sitting around. I made a broccoli soup concentrate and froze several quarts. Now I can just thaw a quart and add milk and cheese - voila! Cream of Broccoli soup.
We've been getting into a winter rhythm around here. The kids have been spending most their time playing indoors, so we've had to start taking them on outings; to the library for weekly story-time, to the pool for open swim and to gym playtime. Art supplies were on the grocery list today as the kids have used up three sets of paints recently - they get up to the table multiple times a day to play with home made play-dough, paint, finger paint and color. I'm hoping to get into a short afternoon school routine with Noah. Currently sitting down with him and working on holding and using his pencil correctly, counting, simple math and letter and sound recognition is a random weekly event. As we are planning on home schooling next year, I'd like to take advantage of this slow time of year to start the school routine.

The day temperatures have been hanging out in the teens and twenties. Everything is covered with a thick beautiful frost - trees, fencing and mesh netting all outlined in crusty frost. The animals all seem to be doing well. The goats have healthy thick coats. I've bred four does (to bucks-ha) as of today. At least one more to go. We are getting about six to eight eggs a day - pathetic for keeping twenty layers under two years old. We just started getting blue green Ameraucana eggs for the first time in a few months, from one and a half year old birds that had been moulting - forever. We also have a couple Ameraucana pullets that haven't started laying yet.

I've been busy in the kitchen. I usually cook at least two meals a day from scratch, but these days I've been fitting all sorts of extras into the middle, more homemade snacks, treats and specialty breads.  Lunch is often leftovers from past dinners. Breakfast is often  previously made muffins or other quick breads. I've been baking our daily sandwich bread for sometime, but lately I've also been finding time for new bread recipes, french baguettes, crusty hearth loaves, light sandwich rolls and today I made cinnamon raisin bread. I also made cheesy wheat crackers today. I would make crackers more often if they kept better, but they lose their crispiness within a day or two. I've been making more elaborate meals. I made lasagne this week and was wishing for a pasta roller - it is not often I feel up for homemade noodles. I've been stocking up on snacks for the kids, fruit nut bars and wholewheat oatmeal cookies.

I have to be sneaky about getting things done in the kitchen without help. It can be rewarding and enjoyable cooking with the kids, but everything takes so much longer and is messier. I have to work on staying calm and patient, especially when I have a kid on each side fighting over who stirs and adds each ingredient. Last week I forgot to add the salt to a couple pumpkin pies. Luckily I remembered in time to stir it in to the un-thickened custard.

While I am enjoying spending my days cooking good food, I feel like I never have anything lasting to show for myself - more dishes to wash. In my spare time I've been reading - more time spent without anything to show for myself. So I brought home a book on knitting hats last week. I'm not very crafty. I've crocheted and knitted a few things here and there, but it takes all my concentration and effort to follow basic patterns and lingo. So I'm trying to find a simple project to start on. I want to make things that are going to last, and be used for a while and not just devoured and gone. It's that time of year, time for me to move on past mopping, organizing and cooking and get down to something more challenging. What projects are you finding time for these days?


Camilla Leila said...

you know what you will have to show for all your hard work in the kitchen? a healthy future for your family.


you're an inspiration!

Michaele said...

I am there with you trying my hand a knitting again. I also have so many things I want to try with needle felting. I love this time of year when there is more time for that. Love your blog also. You write very well

Buttons said...

Hello enjoying your blog.I am going to be quilting. I have patterns in my head I am going to try and make.The challenge is to get them on the material. I use a 1970 Bernina sewing machine I found at a thrift store. I love the way it sews. I love to quilt in the winter. I sit on my kitchen floor in the window with the sun shining looking out at the snow and just randomly place pieces I have cut out.Then I sew and sew. I cannot knit or anything else this is my creative outlet.Good luck with the hats.

Emily said...

Thanks ladies, you are an inspiration as well. I am looking forward to spending time on your blogs this winter. Quilting on the floor in the winter sun sounds so peaceful. I realize part of my challenge is finding things to do that don't take all of my attention - that is the challenge with learning new skills and small children. By the time the kids are in bed I'm whooped.

Plickety Cat said...

I think it would be a really cool project to photograph all the yummy things you cook everyday. Then, when you have time, you could add recipes to the photos, or more photos of the kids helping out or smeared in chocolate icing :) If you took it all down to Kinkos they could print and bind it for you and then you'd a an annual journal of food... at least something to show for all your hard work besides more dirty dishes!

I desperately want to start back basket weaving. I loved it when I was a kid, and we have such wonderful willows and birch bark to work with here. I've seen so many different styles of baskets and I want to try a few of them. I'd also like to try my hand at marquetry -- making patterns on objects with thin pieces of wood veneer -- my fine carpentry skills aren't great, but marquetry is more like paint by numbers so I think I can manage it LOL!

Emily said...

Plickety Cat, that is a great idea. I often entertain the idea of making some form of cookbooks - the main obstacle being that I don't usually take the time to meaasure and write down what I've done so things turn out a little different each time - all more reason to document. I made some birch bark baskets a long time ago. What I'd really like to learn is how to weave grass baskets that are a little tighter and sturdier, the birch bark baskets that I made always seemed kinda fragile.