Saturday Morning Breakfast

What’s for breakfast at our house on Saturday mornings? Pancakes and waffles! Usually it is my husband who fixes breakfast. He came up with the idea to have two griddles going at once: one for waffles and one for pancakes. We enjoy them fresh on Saturday, then refrigerate the rest for leftovers during the week. Both reheat nicely in the toaster oven.

Here’s the recipe:

The night before, combine 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 2 cups of rolled oats, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and 3 cups of buttermilk or sour milk (To make sour milk, combine, 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and enough milk to make 3 cups). Cover with a cloth and allow to soak at room temperature.

In the morning, add 3 teaspoons. of baking power, 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda, and 3 eggs. Beat by hand until combined.

Our waffle maker requires 1 cup of batter, and waffles are ready in 8 minutes when set on medium. For pancakes, use approximately 1/4 cup per pancake. Flip when bubbles appear in the batter.

Recipe makes approximately two dozen waffles and/ or pancakes.

These pancakes and waffles are hearty and filling, and taste delicious with maple syrup, peanut butter, or jam.

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Canning Applesauce

The gardening and preserving of food has mostly ceased for which I am grateful. I enjoy canning and freezing vegetables and fruit, but I am always ready for the season to end. Life is busy with homeschooling the children, so I do not have as much time to put into other pursuits. That being said, I had put off canning applesauce until the other food was preserved. My husband’s parents were visiting last week, and I thought it might be a good project to do with my mother-in-law. We picked up two bushels of gala pee-wee apples from the local orchard. I have made applesauce with many different varieties of apples, usually whatever is free or inexpensive.  This year the galas were available for $12 a bushel.  They were beautiful, but small apples.

Gala peewee apples
Gala pee-wee apples

In the morning, while I home schooled the children, my mother-in-law graciously offered to get started cutting up the apples.  She ended up slicing the entire two bushels and a bit, for which I was very grateful.

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Here is the process we used.  Quarter and remove the core of the apples.  In two large kettles, put just enough water to cover the bottom and keep the apples from sticking.  Fill up the kettles with apples.  Cover with a lid.  Bring to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, lower the temperature and allow to simmer until apples are soft.  Stir occasionally.  Apples will form their own juice.  Once the apples are soft, I run them through my food mill.  The skins are removed, and the applesauce runs into a pan placed under the slide.  I send the skins through the mill again and get a little extra sauce.  Empty the pan of sauce into a large dishpan.  After several batches, fill quart jars, allowing head space.  Wipe off jar rims, add a flat, and tighten ring.  Place in a boiling water bath canner.  Bring to a boil and can for 20 minutes.  Remove jars, and allow to cool before removing rings.

I love the sweet spicy aroma of cooking apples that permeates the kitchen.
I love the sweet spicy aroma of cooking apples that permeates the kitchen!

Some people add sugar or honey to their applesauce.  A number of years ago, when I heard a friend say she did not add sugar to her sauce, I gave it a try.  We have never looked back.  I find if you wait until later in the season and choose a sweet variety, you do not need any sweetener.  It saves money and is healthier for you.  A few varieties I have tried include golden delicious, honey crisp, Macintosh, and a mixture of apples.

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I have fond childhood memories of applesauce making with my mother.  I would turn the crank of the food mill and watch the sweet sauce pour out of the mill and into a pan.  My own children have followed suit and all take a turn with the crank.  This year, our daughter went a step further and filled the jars, which was a big help.

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For lunch and supper, we enjoyed fresh warm applesauce for dessert.  Delicious!  By the end of the afternoon, we had 27 quarts of applesauce ready to shelve for later use.  Not bad for a days work!

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September Happenings

Here it is October: the month of brilliant blue skies, colorful falling leaves, and crisp cool mornings and evenings.  Where did September go?  Life has been full and my mind divided.  September begins that time of year where a large portion of my days are dedicated to schooling our four children, produce needs to be processed and put away for the winter, and I am asking the Lord to give me inspiration and guidance for planning Christmas programs for the choir and children at our church.

October arrived and I realized I had not recorded any September happenings, so here are some highlights from the past month.  We schooled for three weeks, and then took a family vacation.  The vacation was a simple camping trip to Hungry Mother State Park in Virginia: a much needed time to reconnect as a family away from the distractions of work and responsibilities.  The first bit of joy was watching my husband and our oldest child working together to set up camp.  After the tents were set up, our third child exclaimed with a big grin, “This is going to be the best vacation ever!”  The children enjoyed collecting buckeyes and acorns and riding bikes around the campground.  Our youngest child learned to ride on his own while we were there.  We hiked trails, marveled at the widely varied colors of mushrooms, sat around the campfire, made s’mores, and gazed at the stars.  We went to sleep to the sound of acorns falling and insects sawing.  Several times, we observed deer walking right by our campsite.  One day, we drove into Marion and found a local gallery with unique artwork.  Then we stopped and enjoyed waffle cones at Sonic.  Another day, we explored an early farm and one-room schoolhouse at the Settlers’ Museum of Southwest Virginia.  The vacation was a blessed time of relaxing, talking, and laughing together.

Who can resist a campfire?
Who can resist a campfire?

As for garden happenings, we dug the remaining carrots and pulled the last of the tomatoes at our shared patch.  To store the carrots, I wash them, let them dry for part of a day, then put them in gallon bags with the top left open.  The carrots keep in the refrigerator for months.  We also dug our potatoes here at home.  Unfortunately, we had a slug infestation this year.  Many of the potatoes had parts eaten away, but we were still able to salvage about ten gallons.  We store the potatoes in the cellar for most of the winter.

Amazingly, I am still harvesting cucumbers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, peppers, and pole beans from around the house.  They have been bearing for at least two and a half months!  We are expecting a cold snap, so I am not sure how much longer we will be able to enjoy those fresh vegetables.  I planted some kale, spinach, and lettuce for a fall crop.  The kale is looking lovely, but the spinach and lettuce did not come up.  I have not had very much success with fall crops, but that does not stop me from trying!

We were blessed with being able to glean pears and grapes.  It was a small harvest this year.  I am also picking up black walnuts, but again a smaller harvest.  It seems fruit and nuts have an abundant harvest every other year.

I praise the Lord for a wonderful garden harvest.  The deep freeze is level full, and the shelves are loaded with canned goods.

In closing, I want to share a conversation I had with our third child.  I had just read aloud a children’s biography about Martin Luther King, Jr.  The book used the phrases “white people” and “people of all races.”  Our son said quite emphatically, “We’re not white, we’re tan.”  And “Why do they say ‘races’, why can’t they just say ‘children of all ages’?”  Now we live in a section of town with a vibrant African American community.  Our children have had playmates of various skin tones.  Our youngest refers to the “brown boys” because some of the children have the same or similar names, both light and dark skinned.  When his older (and more jaded) brother informed him that the boys were “black”, he asserted, “No they’re not, they’re brown!”  Oh, for the innocence of a child!  Wouldn’t our world be better, if we as adults realized we are just different shades of tan and brown?  Why do we let skin tone and arbitrary divisions come between us?  Are we not all created in the image of God?  The scriptures say,”You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Let us cast aside our prejudices and embrace the wonderful diversity that is evidence of our Creative Heavenly Father!