cooking · food · homemaking · nutrition

Pie for Dinner

I curled up on my bed with a blanket on Saturday afternoon and read the new Bon Appetit that came in the mail.  This issue featured some great savory pie recipes…great for winter comfort.  The pretty pictures inspired me to make a homemade chicken pot pie with the chicken breasts I thawed for dinner. Is there anything better than buttery flaky pie crust with creamy gravy and warm vegetables?  
I love working with a vinegar pie crust.  The dough is so forgiving and best when it has been refrigerated overnight.
Vinegar Crust 

2 1/2 cups unsifted flour
2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. vinegar
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup ice water

Combine flour and salt in a food processor and mix for just a second or two.  Add butter and pulse until mixture is crumbly with a few of the butter chunks still visible.  In a small bowl combine water and vinegar.  Pour liquid into the crumbly mixture a little at a time and pulse until all ingredients are moistened.

Form into a large ball and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for two hours.  Overnight is better.  Divide ball and roll two large pie crusts on a floured surface.  Before baking brush the crust with an egg wash.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown.       

*The vinegar makes the crust tender and easy to work with by not allowing the gluten to over develop.

cleaning · cooking · faith · family · homeschooling · kids · learning · marriage · nutrition · organizing · projects

Daily Docket

Special Day– Birthday, Name day, Feast day, Holiday, Saint.
Pace- What speed do I have to go today?  Do I really need to be running like a hare, or can I take it slow like a turtle?  Knowing the pace of the day is good for me.
Priorities- What are the top 5 things I have to get done today?  Did Slade ask me to do something for him?  Do we have appointments?  Do I need to pay a bill or make a phone call?
Parenting- A mommy focus for the day.  A special lunch for Elinor.  A walk with Sophia. Be patient and speak softly today.  Play airplane with Sam.  Talk with Addy late tonight.  Practice piano with Caroline.
Partner- Something sweet, something small, something kind, something for Slade.
The Plan- A skeleton for the day…when I will do what’s on the docket.
Daily Readings- One sentence that captures something inspirational from my readings.
Prayers- Just a reminder, a little circle to remind me to make prayer a priority.
Pantry to Pot- Start dinner at breakfast.  Make meal times intentional and nutritious.
Project- If I have time what is one project I can tackle today?
Professor- What are the school goals for today?
  Water- Remember to stay hydrated.

cooking · family · food · motherhood · nutrition · parenting

Our Family Cookbook

The best recipes are the ones your mother made….the ones found on the family tree.  The other day I was perusing a cookbook that my Granny authored, and I was struck by it’s prose and meditations.  It tells a story, as do all good cookbooks.  No fat grams, or calories, or nutrition facts…no, just good food made by hands and seasoned with the heart.

I love a good cookbook, but what I love more is knowing how to cook…I have a long line of matriarchs to thank for that…I think my husband and children join me in thanksgiving.

A good home cook can transform whatever is in the pantry into a feast, even if the ingredients are not the best money can buy. And resourcefulness and creativity are a home cook’s pleasure…what makes cooking fun.  It is amazing what my mom could do with a whole chicken back when she did not have a whole lot of money to spend at the grocery store.  We used to tease her and say that she could make four meals for five with one bird. Funny story, but when I really think about the wonderful meals my mother cooked when we were poor as church mice…well, I just stand in awe.

 I made a pumpkin and buttermilk pie today.  As I cooked these family recipes, I reflected on my Granny…now in a nursing home.  She is a great cook…the best kind.  Below is the cookbook’s dedication in her words,

…to Mama (Bertie Jayroe) for keeping the tradition of family meals and foods alive.  Mother’s farsightedness and commitment created this multigenerational history of family eats.  It contains a personal family tree from which nurturing and incredible resourcefulness is found in the skill of the kitchen and pantry…few women of today manage to create lunches and dinners from scratch every day, including desserts. 

She (Mama) made the best chicken and dumplings.  Her famous (from scratch) blackberry cobbler was the best there ever was.  Daddy liked her cobbler the best of all.  The berries were hand picked by Daddy from his blackberry patch in the orchard.  Mama and Daddy raised there own chickens then.  One was caught, killed, and plucked for the chicken and dumplings.  All this required time, so my parents always rose early.  As her children, we are very fortunate to have smelled, tasted, and eaten so well.  But more so to have the values of a good home so deeply engraved.  Again, thanks Mama.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone…may we offer true thanks for what the earth has given and human hands have made.   
faith · fall · family · food · · nutrition · seasons · Spring · summer · winter

The Farmer

To all those farmers praying for rain…
Who make a living, or not, depending on forces out of their control…
To my brother, who as a child the farmers would call and say, “Ask Josh to pray for rain.”  And it would.
To all the animals who search for food and shelter in this hard drought…
To men and women who leave clean and come home dirty…
To my grandfather, who died tragically doing what he loved…farming.
To those who fill my tummy from the work of their hands…
To God who established seed time and harvest, and who makes all things grow, and who knows best.
Thank you.  
faith · family · food · nutrition

Home Remedies

When I was growing up on the farm we did not have insurance, and the doctor did not come cheap.  My mom learned how to pray and trust home remedies for the minor ailments that bother, and I have taken up the tradition.  Although I have to say that sometimes when I have a stomach virus the last thing I want to take is Apple Cider Vinegar…yuck!  But, it does work…it’s just torture getting it down.  I once heard a lady say that when she has a stomach virus she sprints until she breaks a sweat and the stomach bug vanishes.  Can you imagine?  I will take the vinegar, please.

As colder temperatures sneak up on us and we begin running our electric heat, the opportunity for pesky winter illnesses increases.  Today Elinor began a runny nose, and Samuel is congested as well.  It’s time to evaluate and begin restocking the medicine cabinet with all my home remedies.  I had the thought run through my head yesterday, “What if we all get sick at once?”  With schoolwork, the holidays, Slade’s CPA tests, nursing, extra-curricular activities, and all the in betweens that thought made me sort of loose my breath. Time to be proactive.

I hate to be sick, but even more I hate for my kiddos to be sick.  Last year during the holidays we had a round of the flu.  Sophia is still upset with me over that one.  How was I to know she could swallow a pill?  Most six year old kids can’t.  After several Tamiflu meltdowns I finally tasted the stuff, Oh My, it made the hairs on my neck stand up.  She has since made me swear that if she ever has to take it again, I must get the pill.  That medicine is legit…all medicine should taste like Tamiflu.  If so kids would think twice about getting sick. 😉  

As I prepare for a season of health I am concentrating on prevention… the foundation first.

  • Lots of water.
  • Nutritious food.  Lots of garlic and meat broths.  Foods high in vitamin C.  Speaking of vitamin C, we tried an Ugli fruit this week.  The kids got a kick out of the name.
  • Plenty of rest.
  • Quiet and prayerful atmosphere in the home.
  • Vitamins: D, C, and Zinc as supplements.  We like Emergen-C, it’s yummy.
  • Acidophilus: since a prominent part of the immune system is in the digestive tract this is good for overall health.
  • Floradix: an iron supplement with herbs and good B vitamins. 
  • Magnesium Oil Spray: helps reduce stress which weakens the immune system.  Here is a great resource for making your own. 
  • Cutting back on mucus producing dairy products.
  • When the sun is out, so are we.
If this defense lets an illness slip by I have an arsenal of home remedies to try:
  • Apple Cider Vinegar good for soar throats and stomach bugs.  In cases of a stomach bug  you should start taking the vinegar at the first sign of nausea/ virus and if you throw it up take some more until the vomiting stops. It causes the body to turn alkali, a condition that is not conducive for the virus to live in. It quits multiplying so even if you don’t completely avoid the illness, it will be less severe. My kiddos and I have grown accustomed to taking vinegar straight up, like a shot.  I used to mix it with honey, but not anymore.  
  • Neti pot–  sinus congestion, dry nasal passages from indoor heat, allergies.
  • Throat Rag- Fold soft rag that is long enough to wrap around your neck into several layers. Drizzle oil over rag, judging how long of a strip will reach from ear to ear , and smear it all around,. It will probably take at least a couple of TBS.  Next smear on a good amount of Vicks Salve. Then drizzle about a TBS of turpentine down the center of the rag. Coat your neck with Vicks Salve making sure to get some on the sides and then pin the rag , messy side toward skin, around your neck. The oil and Vicks help coat the skin to protect it from the Turpentine because it could irritate or “burn” the skin.  This is good for severe soar throat or a cough. (Thanks mom for the detailed instructions, and corrections.)
  • Whiskey tonic- heat up a little whiskey with honey and fresh lemon juice.  Good for a cough before bedtime.
  • Vinegar and honey tonic- heat up a bit of vinegar and honey and sip to ease a cough or soar throat. 
  • Tea Tree Oil- do you ever get dry skin soars on your scalp during the winter?  Rub a little tea tree oil on them.
  • Epsom salt- put in a warm bath to sooth aching…another good source for magnesium.
  • Blow dryer- set it to low heat and blow into an ear ache.
  • Similason Ear Relief– this is great for ear aches.  I am not a fan of giving antibiotics for ear infections.
  • Cool mist humidifier.

And last, but certainly not least:
    Holy Water and prayer.  Tonight at evening prayer we gave Elinor and Samuel holy water for it has received grace to heal illnesses. 
Our bodies are beautifully and wonderfully made.  May we all be good stewards and take good care.
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