Archive for the ‘food’ Category


10 things I love about Britain

   Posted by: liz

a writer on a blog that i read (a working sheep farm!) made this same list in honor of elizabeth II’s 60th, and since i have a laundry list of things i love about ol’ blighty, i thought i’d join in the fun.

10 things i love about britain

  1. oxford. the magical spires, the bells ringing on sunday mornings, the cobblestone streets. the shaldonian, magdelen college deer park, st. cross road and the covered market. temple cowley school (where i attended 3rd form), st. aldate’s church, Brown’s restaurant, and blackwell’s bookshop.
  2. london. the underground, paddington train station, and the black london cab. the theatre district, the fringe theatre district, and the national theatre. westminster abbey, st. paul’s cathedral, the tower of london and its ravens. gorgeous old pubs and haunting walking tours (like the jack the ripper walking tour after dark). the british museum, tate gallery, national portrait gallery.
  3. castles. CASTLES! real, medieval CASTLES!
  4. cathedrals. gorgeous and awe-inspiring.
  5. the accent. the different spellings and pronunciations of “schedule” and “aluminium.” and different words like, “chips” for fries, “the lift” for elevator, and “tea” for dinner.
  6. the landscapes of ancient, old, magical, and country-lush.
  7. the british B&B. broiled tomato and egg breakfast, shared loo, ceiling-chain-for-toilet-flushing. british youth hostels.
  8. the food: bangers and mash, meat pies, and custards. the best “sweets”: cadbury chocolate, maltesers, aero bars, flake-bar-in-vanilla-ice cream, wine gums! tea with milk and sugar, scones and clotted cream and jam. a pint at the local. restaurants like Browns, Wagamama, and Harrods for afternoon tea, but also the small cafes that serve curries and fish and chips.
  9. the big issue. i bought it as often as i could on my walks to and from the tube on work days. usually from the same location.
  10. royalty. yep, i’m a sucker for the Royals. as patriotic as i am for America, i have a bit of a crush on British Royal history.

a lamb before the slaughter…

   Posted by: liz

a year ago, two lambs were born to our two suffolk ewes. two female lambs, and we made a promise to the boys that females would be kept for more breeding.

a month ago, kenny and i started talking about butchering one of them any way. if we continue to keep the female sheep born to the meat sheep (suffolks are bred for their meat), we will have more animals than we can handle. then we’ll just become “that stinky farm that has more poop than animals,” we’ll end up on the local news as animal hoarders and we won’t be keeping to our original farming plans…our “Constitution” as it were: to grow our own meat.

we ran our idea past the boys and it was unanimous: Poppy would be be the sacrificial lamb this year (normally we wouldn’t name the animals that are planned for future butchering…or normally they’re names are “chops” or “dinner” or “shank”, etc).

a butcher (meat processor?) who lives a mere 1.5 miles from us picked up Poppy this morning. i felt a mixture of sadness (because we were there when she was born) and relief (we are fulfilling her purpose). the boys wanted to be awake to see her go. they watched from their bedroom window.

it’s traditional to have a leg of lamb for Passover supper. we’ll have our roasted leg of lamb on Easter Sunday. because the ultimate sacrifical Lamb conquered death forever. for all of us.

so now…i will have a freezer full of chops, ground lamb, and another leg. i don’t like lamb meat. i like spinning their wool.


raspberry oatmeal ~ my breakfast of choice

   Posted by: liz

you don’t need to whisk an eggwhite for my best recipe. all you need is milk, preferably whole milk, but if you drink pretend skim milk you can probably use it, but i wouldn’t recommend it because the consistencey will definitely change.

2/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup whole (rolled) oats (not quick)
1 tsp. sugar, or 1 T maple syrup or honey (or a packet of stevia if you’ve given up sugar for Lent)
a heap of frozen raspberries

Mix the milk, water and oats together in small saucepan and put over medium heat. Stirring every few minutes (so the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom), the oatmeal should be cooked in about 7-9 minutes.

Pour into your favorite bowl. Add as many frozen raspberries as you’d like and sprinkle with a hint of sweetener of your choice.

The creaminess of the milk-cooked oats adds so much flavor and thickness to this dish. The fibrous oats will keep you satisfied for hours (especially if you down a glass of water after you’re done eating!) and the sweetness of the berries will completely take you into breakfast heaven.

Alternate recipes add-ons:
Cinnamon and sucanat
Crushed almonds and cinnamon
1 T. molasses and a pinch of ginger


*photo courtesy of

sorry about the late posting of yesterday’s “rest” post. it was meant to go up yesterday, to prepare your heart and mind for today’s day of rest!

it is just about peak leaf season in our part of the world. the trees are bursting with their autumn colors, and the sun is making them shine even brighter.

for today, i hope you are able to really enjoy the season. to help your taste buds enjoy, here is a new pumpkin bread recipe that i love (i have two, one is always a winner, and this one a bit more healthy,  tastes great and you can feel good about eating it!)

Nutty Pumpkin Bread (from Simply in Season)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup sugar (or sucanat)
1 cup brown sugar (or demerara)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp each ginger, nutmeg, cloves
2 1/2 cups pumpkin
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup dried fruit (i skipped this!)

Mix together the flours, wheat germ, sugars, soda, salt and spices. Make a large well in the center.
Add pumpkin, eggs, oil, nuts, and fruit and mix just until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into 2 greased 9×5 loaf pans. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven about 45 minutes (depending on your oven).


Seven Quick Takes

   Posted by: liz

Join Jennifer at Conversion Diary every Friday for 7 Quick Takes!

I admit, this is only 6 quick takes. This serves more of a “catch-up” post as I’ve lots to talk about, but never the OOMPH to sit and post. Tonight, my husband is partying with some bachelors (um…all married men, except this weekend’s groom), so I have time to sit and type while the boys play. And eat pizza and drink rootbeer: their own little bachelor party!

  • Kenny and I are training for a 5K in August. I’ve always been an avid power-walker, and I always hit the elliptical hard at the gym. But running? Oh, my lungs!  It’s a completely different workout than I’m used to, but I’m ready for it!  Kenny and I have been out a few times running. It’s good for me to run with a partner, or else I’d justify walking most of the time!  Friends of ours at church told us about the 5K, and it sounds like a great run, for a worthy cause (a local Meals on Wheels fundraiser).  It just might make a runner out of me, yet!
  • It’s that time of yearwhen we switch our black shoes for whites, and our red wines for white!  I’ve come to love red wine this winter. The “comforting” red zinfandel (Rex Goliath and Cardinal Zin are two of our favorites) and “familiar” shiraz (Yellow Tail) have kept us company this winter, but we’re ready for our favorite chardonnays (Hob Nob, Yellow Tail, Sabeka, Cupcake) and Pino Grigio (I haven’t found a favorite brand of Pino Grigio yet, but we had Rex Goliath at our dinner group last week and I really liked it. A bottle of Rex Goliath (red or white) ALWAYS shows up at our dinner group dinners).I’m looking for a good chardonnay-in-a-box. Anyone have a recommendation (I love oakey, spicy chardonnays, rather than the sweeter, buttery ones).Kenny thinks I need to start some kind of business around wine. I love talking about the different textures of wine, and the pairing of wines with foods, the differences between each type of wine. Of course, getting together with friends and drinking it around good food is always a highlight. To quote one of my theatre professors, “It’s a beautiful thing.”
  • I was recently invited to join a new book club and I’ve only been to one of our gatherings, but it’s so much fun!  I inhaled the book that was “on deck” – Anna Quindlan’s Every Last One. I’d recommend it because it was such a fast, intriguing read, but the subject matter is really hard. I loved the slow, steady introduction of the main character’s life. I can’t wait to discuss it as it was a hard theme and I’ve been processing it around in my head for at least a week now.I have always wanted to be in a book club. What is more fun than hanging out with girlfriends, talking, laughing, eating, and discussing books? I can’t wait for more books to come!As I wait for our next book, I’ve read Peter Enns’ Inspiration and Incarnation (non-fiction, theology…absolutely loved it…i’m considering forcing kenny to read it so we can hash it out together), and am currently reading Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City which is also non-fiction, but reads like a novel. It takes place in Chicago, just before the turn of the century around the building of the first World Fair. It is a fascinating read so far!
  • I have only one thing to say about the current crazy weather we are experiencing in the United States, especially that of the deadly tornadoes that the South experienced this week: God is not trying to get our attention by sending bad weather! I’m so sad to hear Christians explaining the deadly twisters as vindication on a sinful country. Geez. I’d invite you to tell that to a mother who lost all her children in the Joplin tornado. Please stop trying to explain, and just help those who need it.
  • Our family is attending a wedding on Sunday. Kenny is in it. It’s his SIXTH wedding that’s he’s been in since we’ve been married. I have been in ZERO weddings since our own wedding. Is this weird?I was telling Adam today that we’re going to a wedding on Sunday and he asked if there was going to be kissing. I told him yes and he grimaced. I changed the subject quickly and told him that his friends Owen, Luke, Isaac and Danny will be there to which he replied, “Which I LOOOOVE!” His pronouns need some work.
  • The boys are loving their summer school schedule…and so am I!  We go really light in the summer with reading practice from books they’ve chosen from the library, “treats” from us if they can read (and comprehend!) a full book or chapter or two in a chapter book.  I also found a great spelling game that we’ve used a few times this week called Word Pirates. It’s actually a game that I can sit through and enjoy playing. You roll dice, spell words, block your brothers’ bridges….the boys actually ask to play it rather than me say, “hey, let’s play that game where you spell words!”


meals in our home…

   Posted by: liz

friday night is always pizza night here. i make two separate doughs – one with half whole wheat flour and one with all whole wheat flour. the boys gobble up their specially-made pizza (rowan’s section has no cheese on it, the other two boys eat just about anything on theirs), and kenny and i share the gourmet, olive-oil, herb, whole wheat crust, tomato and specialty cheese pizza with a good strong red wine, and green leafy salad. i love pizza nights. we haven’t had a real pizza night in a few weeks, but we’re back at it this weekend, i hope!

the past few saturdays  i’ve been trying out new recipes. this past saturday i was totally uninspired, so  i resorted myself to making breakfast for dinner. as i was getting out the eggs and bread to make scrambled eggs and toast, i remembered that i had a few very ripe bananas on hand, so i whipped up a batch of banana bread, sprinkled in a few mini chocolate chips and popped it in the oven. i abandoned the scrambled eggs and toast (knowing full well that my super-taster wouldn’t eat a bite of it) and decided on “Banana Bread French Toast” for dinner – a truly decadent dinner, and one that does not invite dessert at its table.

all three boys inhaled it. how could they not? it was the sweetest dinner they ever had!  they had been “suffering” through grilled meat and salad dinners all week (my ideal dinner!), so i felt like spoiling them a bit with a fun dinner.

my changes to the recipe: sucanat or demerara and white whole wheat flour in the banana bread recipe, and i added just a few tablespoons of mini chocolate chips). a bit of real maple syrup and whipped cream on top, and they were in dinner heaven! serve it with a fruit salad or just a sliced banana on top. also, make sure you let the banana bread cool fully (make it well ahead of time and not right before you want to make the french toast) or else you’ll have soggier, falling apart piecees of french toast (it still tastes great, though!).


more thoughts on crockpot cooking

   Posted by: liz

i just finished putting together a chicken and rice meal in the crockpot (using NO cream-of-soup from a can), and i have to run some errands this morning.

when i was putting the meal together, and it was too late to change my dinner plans, i suddenly realized that there will be a time this morning that i will not be in the house as my crockpot is PLUGGED IN and COOKING away.


so i sent an email to my mom (who lives across the street from me):

“mom, i’m headed out to the shops. i have dinner in the crockpot so will you, from time to time, look out your window to make sure the house isn’t on fire? thanks!  ~liz”

and yes, i’m serious.


Lenten Cooking

   Posted by: liz

i swear i haven’t given up blogging for lent! i’ve been busy reading and studying and reading some more, that when i sit down to put my thoughts on paper, i’m at a loss for words. i once learned that the more you read, the better your writing becomes. well, i’ve proven that wrong! i’ve been reading blogs, books, and articles by the dozens these past few weeks, and my writing has become non-existent! i have many thoughts running through my head, and i’m so glad for the time i have put aside to wade through these thoughts, read great minds who have thought these thoughts before.

so today, our third Lenten Feast Day, i will share with you three recipes i’ve made during Lent (when we weren’t cycling through the stomach virus in our house this week!) based around a whole-food diet (real foods, not processed, boxed or packaged ingredients) during Lent. two of them are from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, and the others are from cooking blogs where i find a lot of my current favorite whole-wheat recipes.

Corn Chowder with tossed salad, and Whole Wheat Bread (dinner!)

Banana-Chocolate Chip (protein) Bread (snacking!) with homemade chocolate chips!

Whole Wheat Pasta with vegetable marinara, salad.

in the “keeping it real” department, the whole wheat bread didn’t turn out this time, and it was completely my fault. i’ve been successful scores of times in the past with this recipe, so don’t let that keep you from trying it (you CAN bake with yeast!). i pulled the bread out of the oven too soon (i didn’t set a timer) and it was practically raw in the middle. once toasted, it was slightly palatable to hungry boys, but not enough for me to enjoy it. but i will do it again this week, as i continue to bake our daily bread.

these pictures are from a walk we took three weeks ago, on a warm sunday afternoon. it didn’t look warm because of the snow on the ground, but it was a lot warmer than it is today (sunny, no snow!) at 38 degrees for a high! i will not look at the forecast again until we are assured no more freezing temperatures, and now more snow or freezing rain.


a cooking challenge

   Posted by: liz

a long time ago, in a galaxy….nevermind.

a long time ago, i stole or borrowed (not sure which) my mom’s Betty Crocker Cookbook. it’s straight out of the Cold War. no, the 60′s free love revolution. i’m actually not sure how old it is because i can’t find any copyright information in it. i looked it up and found out it’s at least worth $63 and i guarantee you it’s not because of the quality of the recipes inside!

i’ve made a few things from this cookbook before. but only in the dessert section. my brother Andrew and I made the Bonnie Butter Cake found in the cakes and frostings section of the book. It’s a mammoth of a cake and melt-in-your mouth delicious, as long as you eat it the same day it’s made. it’s hard as a rock the second day, so make sure you make it for company.

this book refers to guests as “company” not as “entertaining” or “hospitality.” I remember when we used to call guests “company” and we’d “visit” with them in the dining room after the meal (translation: sit and talk after the meal).

this book is chock-full of fabulous meal ideas for your company! begin the meal with clever small plates and appetizers like “Petals ‘N Pickles.” other mouth-watering recipes included are, “Frosted Liverwurst Pate,” “Ambrosia” and “Sunburst Salad.”  You know you’ve been searching your mom’s and grandmom’s recipe lists for that jello salad that has the shredded carrots….it’s Sunburst Salad!

The writers for the Betty Crocker cookbook are sure to bring a smile to your face and a tickle to you heart. They truly believe that food is the means to all happiness:

Watch early-morning moodiness dissolve into a sunny smile. All of these sweet breads can turn the trick – and they can do it even faster when served piping hot with plenty of BUTTER.”

“No perfume can compare with the heady aroma of homemade white bread!”

“Mary’s sleeping over! Jim’s bringing a GIRL home from college! You’ve asked friends to come for brunch after church. Or you just woke up this morning so full of goodwill that you wanted to make the day special. That’s the day for any one of  the good things in this section. Our testers tell us they’re delicious!”

“Meat: your meals and your budget revolve around it.”

“Simple, classic salads! Slimming, health-brimming salads! Crisp, cool salads! Bright, sparkling salads! Taste-tempting salads! You’ll find your skill with a salad makes its own contribution to the quality of life in your house.”

There is even a “recipe” for frozen vegetables in the Vegetable section that basically tells you to read the back of the frozen vegetable package. Brilliance!

I am considering making a whole meal from this cookbook once or twice over the next few weeks. Starting with the appetizer, main course with side salad and vegetable dish, and dessert. You can join me! Photograph your dish, and make it look like the one from your Betty Crocker cookbook. Don’t have one? There’s bound to be a fantastic 1960s cookbook at your local library just waiting for you to check out.

More details to come. But first, I leave you with more Crocker goodness.

Appetizers: A special little something any old night to tell your favorite family, “I’m so glad you came home!”

We used to make Sukiyaki a lot.

Galaxy Cookies!  Otherwise known as sprinkle cookies.

I think it would be fun to document meals made from an entirely different era. Go find yourself a great cookbook and let me know if you’ll be joining me!


seven quick takes ~ mental health friday

   Posted by: liz

for the past few weeks, rowan has been asking for a “day off of school” to which i always responded, “you get TWO full days off every week!” i think it was beginning to dawn on him that “snow day” meant NO SCHOOL for those who go to school, and not just “it’s snowing today! let’s do math!”

so today at 10:30, after i spent two hours cleaning out the boys closet and drawers, i decided that today was a no school day. rowan was overjoyed with the news. he almost started crying he was so happy. it was an easy decision: i needed a mental health day, and they were all playing together so well, i couldn’t possibly interupt.

besides, we are starting our new homeschool co-op on monday (more on that below), so it felt like a good time to take a long three-day weekend (and we haven’t taken a day off since before christmas!).  on monday, we will be “kicking it up a notch” in our homeschool!

for the three years that we’ve been learning together, we have been basing our education around the Classical Model of education. we feel that this way of learning best matches the way God created our minds to learn. there are certainly different degrees of the classical approach, and we’ve strayed from a strict approach, introducing other forms or methods along the way.

next week is our first week together in a classical co-op. Classical Conversations is a national organization with local co-ops. the co-ops meet once a week where students learn on their level (grammar, dialectic, rhetoric) with other students, beginning at the age of 4. i’ve known about Classical Conversations for a few years now, but there hasn’t been one in western PA until now. typically, the co-ops start in the fall and run two 12-week semesters, but the interest in starting this local chapter was so high, that the PA state director pushed the local director into starting at the end of january. and here it is – filled to capacity! i’m so excited to begin this chapter in our learning together!

today, i’m making pizza dough for dinner. adam’s my little helper – every time he sees me pull out the mixer and hears the flour bags opening, he’s pulling up a chair to help pour in all the ingredients. i’ve been in the kitchen a lot this week, and it’s felt so good. i’ve been making pure comfort food dinners (PW’s Chicken Pot Pie is my new favorite) and baking bread, making cookies and smoothies. the kitchen has truly been the heartbeat of our home this week.

i need a new hat. so i pulled out my circular needles and just started a hat. i hope i finish it. at least before next winter!  i’m still working on a scarf that i started for myself back in october for the upcoming winter. i hope to finish it before the next upcoming winter. that’s how my knitting projects usually go. if it’s not something for a very small person (namely, a baby), it never gets done. or it sits for a few years and then either i frog it, or my mom finishes for me.

i’m reading fiction again. i haven’t read fiction since my summer of reading (and blog reviews!), but i’ve gotten my groove in schooling/homemaking again that i have found time to read fiction again. Jodi Picoult’s House Rules was lent to me a few weeks ago. i’m only 50 pages from the end. this one kept me captivated.

i’m also reading nonfiction: Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas and A Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (is there anyone out there NOT reading Ann’s book right now? if not…you need to!).

i am considering a “blog series” for Lent this year, similar to the thankful posts in november i’ve done in the past. would love to know if anyone would be along for the ride. what would you want to blog about during Lent, in preparation for Easter?

for more quick takes, visit Jennifer’s blog, Conversion Diary.