Monday, August 30, 2010

making main lesson books

Yep, I am aware I could buy beautiful lesson books for the same cost and way less time. But this was a fun warm-up for the school year and gave me a little look into how much I could balance with Hazel running in the background. Lyra helped with the first two, then was off ( with Hazel behind her) to help David wash the cars.  I got the rest of them done in less time then it took to do the first two, all in all, not nearly as hard or time consuming as I expected.

                                                                   Materials Needed:
we chose or favorite drawing paper in 18x24"
large poster board
waxed cotton string (any strong string or yarn will work)
nail and hammer
scrap board (your board will end up with holes in it)- 
making the scrap board extra big means little sibs can "help" near by.
clips or braces
pencil, tape measurer, T-square, a blade or knife (for trimming the poster board)
Needle (we used an upholstery needle) 

We used 12 pieces to make a 24 page book
We aligned them and measured the center. Clamped in place. And marked every 1/2 inch up the center line.

                        Then Lyra hammered the nail through on the dots.

And then we wove the string through the holes. I tied a knot and started from the inside bottom, this way the string ends on the inside at the top. Knot and cut strings. 

* after a year of constant use and toting about with us, these books are still in perfect condition. I was very very happy with the results and the huge workspace they created.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

resting song

In the middle of the day,
  we rest our head,
So later we may be at our best,
 to run and sing and dance and play,
We rest our head in the middle of the day.

Maryland Crab Soup, local recipe, local ingredients.

Every year I have trouble finding a recipe for Maryland Crab Soup. After a year or two of research this is the one I've come up with. Everything in the recipe is from our favorite farms at the Takoma Park Farmers Market (except the crab and the old bay).

2 cloves  crushed garlic
2 tbsp butter
4 small carrots, chopped
5 small new potatoes, chopped
handful green beans cut to bite size
1 1/2 cups peas
5 small tomatoes ( I used plum and a few orange cherries), made bite size
24 oz chicken broth
1 cup water
28 oz crushed tomatoes ( also not from the market until my dream of canning tomatoes is realized)
1 lb cooked crab meat
Old Bay seasoning

over medium heat in a large stock pot, melt butter and add crushed garlic and chopped carrots. stir occasionally, cooking about 5 minutes. add potatoes and cook until potatoes begin to soften. Add green beans, peas and tomatoes, cooking another 5 minutes. add chicken broth, water and crushed tomatoes. Stir until smooth and combined. add crab meat. sprinkle with Old Bay to taste ( I thought about six shakes gave a good flavor with over powering the veggies). cover and cook at low heat about an hour or until potatoes and carrots are soft.


3 cups flour
Instant yeast 1 tsp 
Salt- up to 1 tsp
Lukewarm water  1-1/3 c 

2 cloves of garlic
1/4 mayonnaise ( enough to lightly cover all pizzas)
2 cups crushed tomatoes
block of mozzarella (part skim works best usually, but some whole milk mozzarella is dense enough)
italian seasoning and dried hot pepper flakes 

Combine flour, yeast and salt in large bowl. stir. making a whole in the center of the bowl, add water and incorporate flour working from the outside in. When all water is worked in, begin to knead the dough,(I just knead right in the bowl)until dough reaches a consistent texture. Cover with a wet dish towel and let rise in a warm spot ( over the fridge will work)about 3 hrs. I've definitely done less in a pinch but I prefer to make it the day before, let it rise and then refrigerate until I need it. Let it sit out about 5 mins after coming out of the fridge before shaping into pizzas.
Set oven to 500 with bread stone on middle rack.
Pinch off a small handful of dough, pat flat between hands then stretch from the middle out. Prick all over with a fork or docking wheel. Place in oven and cook about 4 minutes ( about half way). I like to roll three, prick three, bake three until they are all baked half way and then add the toppings.
Crush garlic and mix with mayonnaise. Brush over pizza crusts in a thin layer. Top with crushed tomatoes (about 1-3 tablespoons per crust). And fresh grated mozzarella.
Bake until cheese is bubbling and just starting to brown. Eat right away or over the next day or so. To reheat, place on baking stone in cold oven set to 350, about 8 mins.
Top with seasons of your choice.

* Recently I have started replacing 1/2 cup of the white flour with whole wheat bread flour. The result is a slightly crispy exterior with a chewy interior. My family is even more pleased.