Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mother's Strawberry Short-Cake

    We had extra whipping cream from our get-together the other evening so I made Mother's Cake. It's a cake recipe that we've played with quite a bit and always have called it Mother's cake. 
    In the above picture (can you find it all???) is baking powder, sucanat, spelt-flour, and salt. We have used honey as a sweetener in this recipe before (I've included the instructions for both honey and sugar below), but tonight I just went with what was easiest.

    My little brother is so helpful. I love him to death! He held the 1 Cup measure for me so I could take the picture. he also cracked the eggs into a glass measuring pitcher and fished the shells out with a spoon.   

   Here's our coconut oil. It was solid so I had to let it sit in the boiling water for a few minutes to let it liquify. We do this with crystallized honey too. NOTE: The glass jar is not sitting directly on the bottom of the pot, there is a wide-mouth canning lid underneath it. I've forgotten the canning lid a time or two and the jar cracked and made a mess.

    And here's our cake batter! When my little brother and I cook together he does the stirring.

    I didn't liquify the coconut oil all the way because I wanted a bit left over to grease my baking dish. We gave up Crisco when I was twelve and gave up cooking spray when I was sixteen. Now we do everything with coconut oil. Who knows what will come next...  

    I used a fork to drag the softened oil-lump around until the sides and bottom are well coated.

Pour in the batter and slip it into the oven ...while it was baking I fixed the whipping cream.

    We bought this heavy whipping cream from Costco and only used half of it for our get-together so I made up the rest tonight. 
    Once, we got a half gallon of milk from our Amish neighbor down the road. he next day the milk had separated into cream and milk so we skimmed the top and it whipped up just perfectly.

    This is what it looks like in the beginning. Pretty liquidy hu? That all changes when the Bosch Mixer is turned on 'high'. We used to mix out whipping cream with a hand-mixer, but once we discovered the bosch could do it in less time with less mess we gave up the hand mixer for good.

    We have to watch the cream really closely, especially near the end. If it mixes too much it will turn to butter really quickly! I'm the designated cream-whipper in the house because everyone gets nervous near the end of the mixing process and they stop the mixer before the cream is stiff enough. I'm the brave soul who pushes it to the very edge so I can get my stiff peaks.

    There! That's the way I like it! Stiff peaks.

    I add the vanilla and sweetner in AFTER the cream is the consistancy that I like, because it it's put in earlier the cream struggles to reach stiff peaks. I don't measure either the vanilla or the sweeter ... it's just a preference thing.  

    This time I used Sorghum which is a really light, sweet, golden molasses. We bought it when we went to on our field trip to the sorghum molasses farm. But you definitely don't have to use sorghum. We've used honey, turbinado, sucanat, maple syrup, etc...

Mix the yummyness together...

    I sliced these strawberries with the bosch mixer just yesterday to have at our get-together. The bosch mixer has a slicer attachment that we use A LOT! When it slices strawberries, it slightly purees them which is the best for strawberry short-cake.

    Our cake is done ... My little brother sliced it while everyone gathered together. They were all partially gathered before the cake cake out because of the great smells we were making.  

Violla! If that picture doesn't make your mouth water, I don't know what will!

    3 Cups Flour
    1 2/3 Cup Sugar (Or 1 Cup Honey)
    1 TB Baking Powder
    1/2 tsp Baking Soda (Only if you're using honey)
    1 tsp salt
    2/3 cup oil
    1 1/4 Cup milk
    3 Eggs
    1/2 Tsp Vanilla
    Heavy Whipping Cream
    Sweetener (sugar, honey, turbinado, sorghum, maple syrup, etc...)

    Mix dry ingredients and moist ingredients separately before combining. Pour batter into a greased 9x11 baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. 
    While the cake is baking whip the heavy whipping cream until you read the desired consistency. Mix in the sweetener and vanilla. Slice the strawberries. When the cake emerges, slice, take one, and pile on he strawberries and whipping cream. ENJOY! 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Let It Rain, Let It Rain

    I woke up and it was raining (not very hard, but it was raining)! I love rain! I don't care what kind of activities or outings that it has ruined, rain will always be my very favorite weather. Why? I think it's because rain is connected to so many great things that make me happy: Warm apple cider, fleece blankets, gripping novels, fuzzy socks pitter-patter on the roof, lightening and thunder (LOVE It!), mud, clean moist air, bare feet, etc...

    I woke my sister up at 7:00. "It's raining. Let's go take pictures."
   And, because she's just a great spontaneous, fun-loving person, she got up, got dressed and joined me on the lawn. What a blast we had. She had work today (she works in the same bakery I used to work at) so our fun was cut short ... but it was great while it lasted


    I wrote a poem a year ago today, called Let it Rain. I really like it, even though it's definitely not Shakespeare. It is really applicable to my situation at the moment, what with College and Home so different and my wanting to remain in the world, but not of the world. 
    Here are the stanzas one by one.

Let it rain, let it rain
Protect me from the worldly bane
Let it splash
Let it soak
Wash from me the carnal stain

Let it rain, let it rain
Remove desires foolish, vain
Let it pelt
Let it pour
Help me forget this life’s inane

Let it rain, let it rain
Keep me from the crushing pain
Let it drip
Let it drench
Hold me forever in the rain

    Thank you for sharing this morning with me Sis (and little brother and sister)! I love you all.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Planting The Broccoli

    I was able to help plant a few things while I was at home for spring break, and broccoli was one of them. Broccoli is one of the vegetables that needs to be planted earlier in the year so we plant it in our spring garden closest to the house. 

    Mom buys the broccoli plants at our local greenhouse just three minutes up the road. They are cheep if you buy them by the flat. I think we bought sixteen plants this go-around and my youngest sister and I planted them all this afternoon.

    Mom had just finished spraying the grass with broad-leaf poison to kill the clover and dandelions so we had to perch uncomfortably on the stone wall around the spring garden in order to plant the broccoli. We used the stone wall to measure how far apart the plants needed to be though. One plant in front of every stone.
    The hog-wire that you see in the picture is not for the broccoli. It's for the sugar snap peas that are planted on the other side.

    We use the spade or our fingers to dig the hole. Then we mix the dirt with what we call black-dirt which is really old cow manure that we get from our neighbor across the way who owns a huge dairy farm. The black dirt is so old that it no longer smells bad, isn't sticky, and is smooth and rich. We're super careful as we place the plants into the holes that we've dug. It's easy to traumatize and kill them.

     After patting the soil around the plants we water them and move onto the next one. Planting is easy when the ground is well worked. We've been working with and strengthening the soil in the spring garden for over five years now so the dirt is very good.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spraying off the Lower Porch

     We're having a big get-together in a few days and are trying to get everything cleaned up. When we gave my brother the job of spraying off the lower porch we should have known that it wouldn't end well ... He looks pretty harmless in the picture above, but don't let him deceive you.

    We moved the stairs so he could spray under them and the lawn has broad-leaf poison on it so the only way to get from the lower porch to the upper porch is to play human spider.  

What are we inviting now? Hmm?

Thirsty? The water in the hose is the same as the water in the kitchen ... (well water)

The little man's boots came off as the spray of water got more wild.

Oh, what now?

    I didn't get any more pictures (I helped my little sister plant the broccoli), but this little man ended up pretty wet. What is it with boys and water? Give them a hose and a couple hours later all you'll have is a pile of muddy laundry and bright smiles. Oh, but what do I care? Life is wonderful!