Monday, December 26, 2016

THE ONE Resolution That is The BEST

Every year, as soon as Christmas is over, people start thinking about what their New Year's Resolution should be. They usually follow a few patterns.

Many are self-centered:
"I'll get into a size 6 jeans again!"
"I'll lose 20 pounds!"
"I'll get my cholesterol below 150!"
"I'll pay off one of my credit cards!"
"I'll quit smoking!"

Or, they're impossible to quantify:
"I'll be nicer to people!"
"I'll quit yelling at my family!"
"I'll be a better person!"

It's unlikely or impossible to obtain:
"I'll quit sinning!"
"I'll loose 75 pounds!"
"I'll get rid of $100k of debt in 6 months!"
"I'll win the lottery!"
"I'll max out the college entrance exams!"

All of the above are admirable goals in their own ways. Nearly all of them would serve to make your lives, or the lives of those around you better.

And, lets be honest. Many of them will disappear even before the Christmas leftovers are all gone from the freezer and the Christmas decorations are all down.

But those that DO last for a year? What do we gain from them? All too often, we receive flattery or approval from others to feed our pride. Or, maybe our health is better and we could even gain a brief extension on our longevity.

But, sooner or later, most of these lofty goals will be in the dust. Useless to ourselves. Useless to others. As my Mother used to often ask me about things I thought of as oh-so-important as a child, "How much will this thing matter in 100 years?"

For most of our resolutions - the unfortunate answer is "Not at all!"


I'd like to challenge you to make a New Year's Resolution THIS YEAR that you will still be happy that you made 100 years from now.

This is an amazing 3 minute video that EVERYONE should watch, especially when making plans for their next year:



I challenge you to read your entire Bible through this year. Or listen to your entire Bible in an audio format. Or, if that seems insurmountable to you, to read the New Testament all the way through this year, and gradually build up over a few years' time to reading the entire Bible. (I leave the One Year Bible icon and link in my sidebar all year for your convenience). If you prefer a plan that includes the Deuterocanonical books (or Apocryphal books) - which is to say the entire Bible for Orthodox or Catholic Christians, there's a plan here. 
For a distinctly Orthodox Plan, Here ya go!

It's a resolution you'll never regret.

I know what you might be thinking, "Shouldn't I be feeding the poor instead?" "Shouldn't I go as a missionary instead?" "What good will it do me to read some book that was written a couple of Millennia ago? What does that have to do with life?"

Well, the Bible is God's written instruction to us. It tells us how to lead our lives to please Him. It tells us how best to love & serve others. How can we go DO that, if we haven't found out how? It teaches us how to live our lives in the way that is the most beneficial to US, too!  It tells us how to prepare to stand before His Throne on Judgment Day. What could be more important than that? What could apply to our lives MORE than this time-tested, proven Book that so many have been willing to die rather than lose? If you read it, and hide it in your heart, God will give you the absolute BEST guidance on how to serve Him in this life.

Remember, Adam and Eve were held responsible for the academic sloppiness of deciding to believe the Serpent instead of God. Yet, we modern Christians with every advantage and every resource, readily believe so many lies the World tells us, without even bothering to brush the dust off of our Bibles and see if we are believing correctly.

Very little makes me more sad than discovering that a literate Christian who is Blessed to own a Bible doesn't value his or her Christian Faith enough to read the Bible on a regular basis. What a GREAT, TRAGIC loss!

Remember, that ALL of the Saints of the Church speak of the reading of the Scriptures in the highest terms.

And, the Bible itself proclaims, "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right." (2 Tim 3:16, NLT)


No matter where you are in life, or in your relationship with God, the Prayerful reading of the Bible will help you. 


Please let me know in the comments if you plan to try, with God's help, to read your Bible this year.

This is being shared on:
The Art of Homemaking Mondays
Mix it Up Monday
Soul Survival
Modest Monday
Monday Mish Mash 
Tuesdays with a Twist 
Teaching What is Good 
Coffee & Conversation
Hearts for Home 
Our Simple Homestead
This is How We Roll
Think Tank Thursday
Grace & Truth 
Booknificent Thursday






Monday, December 19, 2016

Another Weekly Advent Menu (Vegan)

Advent is a "Lenten" Season for Orthodox Christians - a time during which we are encouraged to abstain from meat, poultry, dairy and eggs.

Here is a menu for the last week of the Pre-Christmas season.













This is being shared on
The Art of Homemaking Mondays
Merry Mondays
What'd You Do This Weekend?
Mix It Up Monday
Menu Plan Monday 
Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural
Tuesdays with a Twist
Coffee & Conversation 
Think Tank Thursday



Sunday: Simple Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Toast




Monday: Gigantes (Greek Giant Beans) Salad, Bread






Tuesday: Spinach & Mushroom Calzones, Salad



Wednesday: Claire's Southern Delight over Rice, Better than Coleslaw
(We also love this meal as a Wrap the next day for lunch - fill Flour Tortillas with the Rice, Bean mixture, a spoonful of Slaw for crunch, and a few Green Olives for zip. It's really tasty!)




Thursday: Bamies Yachni (Greek Okra & Tomato Stew), Crudites, Salad



Friday: Pad Thai with Cucumbers




Saturday: Red Lentil & Artichoke Stew (oil may be omitted for the Christmas Eve Fast) Salad, Easy Yeast Bread in the Slow Cooker



Monday, December 12, 2016

Easy, No Knead, Vegan Brioche

Brioche is traditionally an Eggy, Tender, Moist, Mildly Sweet Bread. Oh, and it's a little labor-
intensive. It is amazing that this Easy, No Knead, Vegan dough can produce such great results that friends who KNOW I bake Vegan look at me and say, "You mean THIS doesn't have any eggs in it?"

It is SOOO easy to make - and produces such spectacular results! This Recipe Produces One 2-Pound Brioche.


For this recipe, I took inspiration from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and adapted it to my Vegan ingredients.

The use of Tapioca Starch, Potato, and Sugar tenderizes & moisturizes the dough, and make a moist, tender, fluffy loaf without the use of oil or eggs.     

Easy, No Knead, Vegan Brioche
 (Makes 2 pounds of dough)

I prepare a batch this size in an 8 Cup Container - the one in the pictures.
Be sure to add in this order:

1 1/2 Cups Warm Water
2 1/2 Cups + 2 Tablespoons Unbleached, All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Tapioca Starch (you can substitute Cornstarch, if you like)
1/2 Cup Potato Flakes
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Tablespoon Yeast
1/2 Tablespoon Salt


The dough should look like this right after you stir it.

Cover loosely with lid (don't fasten so securely that it cannot "breathe")
Leave it on the counter for 2 to 5 hours.
Now, put it in the fridge till you're ready to use it **

The dough should look like this after it has sat out on the counter for 2 to 5 hours.


Note - do not "Punch Down" this kind of dough.

This dough CAN be kept in the fridge for a week or more and still be quite good to use, but with this particular dough, you'll find the fluffiest, sweetest results if you bake it within a day or two of mixing. 

When you're ready to bake the bread, remove it from the refrigerator and dust it VERY WELL with Flour. This is a moist, sticky dough, so don't be afraid to use lots of Flour!

Oil your Brioche Pan.

Pull off a small Ball for the "tete" then shape the remaining dough into a large ball. Place it in the prepared Brioche Pan, and place the "tete" on top : )


Leave to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 1 hour.
(I use a  shiny Brioche Pan - if you use a dark one, you may have to adjust the shelf a little higher to prevent the bottom over-browning)

If you like a very tender crust, when it comes out of the oven, have ready a Tapioca Wash:
Tapioca Wash for Soft Bread Crusts

First, make Tapioca Wash:
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon Tapioca Starch
1/2 teaspoon Salt Bring to a boil in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds
OR bring to a boil on stovetop, stirring constantly.

As SOON as the bread comes out of the oven, Brush it lightly with the wash, using a Pastry Brush. Of course, if you prefer, you can spread it with a Buttery Spread like Earth Balance.



For best results, cool before serving.


* For my 6 Quart Container, I use a new plastic shoe box from the Dollar Store.
** This dough CAN be used the day it is made - but it is a tad easier to shape after it is refrigerated.
*** If you bake two loaves at the same time, put one loaf on the middle rack, and one on the bottom rack. Then, set a timer to switch their positions half-way through baking, so that they brown evenly both on the top and on the bottom.

This is being shared on 
Merry Monday
The Art of Homemaking Monday
Mix it Up Monday
Monday Mish Mash
Modest Monday
Tuesdays with a Twist
Creative Spark
Coffee & Conversation
Wise Woman
Healthy Living
This is How We Roll
Think Tank Thursday
Hearts for Home
Plant Based Potluck

Monday, December 5, 2016

Vegan Christmas Treat Assortment

Vegan Christmas Goodies Assortment
Need some Vegan ideas for Christmas Treats - whether for gift giving, to take to a party or to
celebrate at home?

Here is an entire list of different ideas - nearly all of them simple enough that a school aged child can do them with a tiny bit of help.

They're all Advent-Friendly. 

Enjoy!

Have a Wonderful Christmas!




Easy Vegan Cut-Out Cookies for the Kids' Party


Make One Mix - Make 10 Different Cookies!

Make One Mix, Make 5 Kinds of Fudge!

For your Friend Who is Gluten Free or a Raw Foodist, Here's a Nice Rawish Goodie Assortment

Need the perfect Brownies to go with Ice Cream? 



A wonderful Greek Samali for the Potluck


And, for St. Basil's Day (New Year's Day) Easy, No Knead Vegan Vasilopita!

This is being shared on
What'd You Do this Weekend?
The Art of Homemaking Mondays
Mix it Up Monday
Making Your Home Sing Monday
Proverbs 31
Tuesdays with a Twist 
Coffee & Conversation
Wise Woman
Creative Spark
Penny Pinching Party
Plant Based Potluck 
This is How We Roll
Hearts for Home
Think Tank Thursday
Healthy Living

Monday, November 28, 2016

Weekly Vegan Advent Menu

Weekly Advent Menu

Advent is a Lenten Season, when Orthodox Christians are encouraged to abstain from Meat, Poultry, Dairy & Eggs. Fish is sometimes permitted during this Fasting period.

Here's a menu for your family to try during this preparatory season. 









This is being shared on
Mix it Up Monday
Menu Plan Monday
The Art of Homemaking Mondays
Tuesdays with a Twist 
Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural
Coffee & Conversation
Homesteader Hop
Healthy Living
Plant Based Potluck
This is How We Roll
Faith Filled Fridays 
Hearts for Home


Sunday: Oregano Seasoned Red Potatoes in the Slow Cooker, Black-Eyed Pea Salad, Green Salad, Bread (Baked Lemon-Pepper Salmon for the Omnivores)








Monday: Greek Okra & Tomato Stew (Bamies Yachni), Bread, Salad





Tuesday: Stuffed Manicotti, Salad, Garlic Bread


Wednesday: Homemade Copycat Skyline Black Beans & Rice



Thursday:  Dinner out OR Alphabet Soup, Salad, Easy Homemade Bread








Friday: Fill your own Tortilla, using Easy, Healthy Refried Beans








Saturday: Eggplant Stew over Rice, Salad

Monday, November 21, 2016

Kids' Cookie Decorating Party - Vegan Cut Out Cookies

These Cut-Out Sugar Cookies are patted out by the kids : )
Cutting out & decorating Sugar Cookies at Christmas is a great memory-making activity for kids. My little girl and one of her BFFs had a blast making these.

We just used my Slice-and-Bake Dough recipe, and instead of rolling it into a log to slice it, they patted it out into circles and cut it out with cookie cutters.

After they were baked, the kids decorated them with frosting and candies.

If you're looking for a Great Christmas Party idea for kids, try having a Decorate-Your-Own-Cookie party - just set out the baked cookies with the frostings and candies. They'll have a blast!




These are authentic family-made cookies - not those fake-looking things you buy at upscale bakeries for  $5. each!

The BFF's

My little girl's





Vegan Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
2 Cups Stuffedveggies Cookie Mix (see below)
1/3 Cup Oil
1/4 Cup Applesauce
Mix well, then pat balls of dough out evenly into circles big enough for your cookie cutter. Cut out & place on pan. Bake. These don't spread, so no need for much room between cookies.




Baking Directions
These Cookies are mixed with a spoon, then mixed together by hand (I'm sure if you have a fancy machine - like a Kitchen Aid - that would work too!). They're Baked on a Cookie Sheet,  at 350 Degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes - till tops are lightly browned, and bottoms are golden Brown. I bake mine on a non-stick surface, and I don't oil or grease the pan. This year, I'm actually baking these on my non-stick Perforated Pizza Pans - and it's working great!

For a Children's Version of this recipe, check out this post!   (the children's version makes 1 cookie for an Easy-Bake or other brand of toy oven)

Stuffedveggies Cookie & Cake Mix
Shake together in large Canister or Zippered Gallon Bag:
9 Cups All Purpose Flour*
4 Cups Sugar*
2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt


This is being shared on
What'd You Do This Weekend?
The Art of Homemaking Mondays
Tuesdays with a Twist
Teaching What is Good
Inspiration Galore 
Penny Pinching Party
Wise Woman
Coffee & Conversation
This is How We Roll
From House to Home 
Think Tank Thursday






Monday, November 14, 2016

Science: Fun Home School Video Day

I'm not what most people would call a "Fun Mom" - certainly not when it comes to homeschooling! I
believe in hitting the books hard, being self-disciplined, and all that good, old-fashioned stuff.

BUT - there are times for for a fun day - or a fun hour. When I'm sick. When she's sick. When we're looking forward to some exciting event and have trouble focusing. When Mom has to meet with a professional like a plumber or a realtor. When we just need a break.

Now, many a parent-educator would say, "Just take the day off!"

And, certainly that is an option - an option that we sometimes take!

Unfortunately, that has some drawbacks: 1) We don't make as much academic progress as we'd like, 2) we can end up always focusing on favorite, easy subjects while neglecting to master those that require a little more effort, or 3) Boredom can set in (especially on those days when playing outside isn't an option) and we can end up with idle hands - and we all know what they say about idle hands.

So, I researched a set of go-to videos and activities that are ready to go whenever we need them.

In the process, we discovered that these videos also make a nice way to add a little EXTRA productivity to those busy, rigorous days. They provide relaxation and down time  between the morning's drill and the afternoon's academic endeavors and can educate and entertain all at the same time. A "working lunch" if you will ; )

So, these videos have become an everyday thing for us. I schedule one or two subjects for each school day - and it's a portion of the day that is enjoyed and anticipated while still being productive.

A wonderful added plus to these videos? Sometimes we easily and enjoyably master memory work before we ever are introduced to the material it relates to. Then, mid-text, my daughter will tie in the memory work she's done to the material she's reading - usually by singing the appropriate line or two from a song. Can't beat that for delight in learning, huh? 

Unfortunately, on Youtube the commercials aren't targeted to the audience, and sometimes very inappropriate things are shown. Which means that there are times that I've had a h0rr0r film ad (or other junk I'd rather not see) pop up right before a preschool video with puppets. For this reason, and because I like to be sure that junk in general isn't coming into our school day while I'm folding laundry, I save the videos to a desk top folder for convenience.  And, if a favorite video is "taken down," we still have it. It's also nice if the internet crashes while we're doing school : )

I like this site for saving my videos - it's free and I've never had any trouble from it. 

If you like this, check out others in this series:
Video Day: History & Geography
Video Day: English
Video Day: Math


So - here are our favorite SCIENCE fun videos:


The Minerals Song




The Periodic Table Song, with helpful visuals

The Same Periodic Table Song, done by a cute 6-year old




The Cell Song


Classical Conversations - some Songs from Cycle 2




Classical Conversations - Some Science Songs from Cycle 3


Classical Conversations - More Science Songs from Cycle 3



Scientific Method Song




Phases of the Moon


Solar System Song



Planets Song (to Memorize the List)



Hope you & your kids enjoy them! 

 

If you like this, you might also like some of my other homeschooling posts:

Concord Cunningham, the Scripture Sleuth
Design Your Own Mini Unit Study 
Home School for Cheap or Free: Why Greek is Better than Latin!
Home School for Cheap or Free: Greek Reading
Home School for Cheap or Free: Greek Conversation
Teaching Math: Home School for Cheap or Free
Teaching Music: Homeschool for Cheap or Free
Teach Reading with Confidence: Homeschool for Chea...
My Amazing Mother's Kid Tips
Raising Kids Who Aren't Picky  
2 1/2 Minute Homeschool Lesson Planning
10 Homeschool Lessons from ACE Curriculum 
The Perfect Homeschool Organizer  

 

This is being shared on:

The Art of Homemaking Mondays 

What'd You Do This Weekend? 

Merry Monday 

Modest Monday 

Monday Mish Mash 

Literacy Musing Mondays 

Tuesdays With a Twist 

Teaching What is Good 

Coffee & Conversation 

Wise Woman 

Penny Pinching Party 

From House to Home 

Think Tank Thursday 

This is How We Roll

Booknificent Thursdays 

Simple Homestead 

Home Matters Linky  

Grace & Truth 

Faith Filled Friday 

 

 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

Easy, No Knead Vegan Cinnamon Roll Crescents

Easy, No Knead Vegan Cinnamon Roll Crescents
Who doesn't love Cinnamon Rolls? And, who doesn't love easy?

These Cinnamon Crescents are quick and easy. I keep the No Knead Vegan Brioche type dough in my refrigerator - it takes less than 10 minutes to make the dough - and I can have a batch of these in the oven in a matter of minutes. They're tender, moist, and pull apart in layers.

The use of Tapioca Starch, Potato, and Sugar tenderizes & moisturizes the dough, and make a moist, tender, fluffy roll without the use of oil or eggs.  


It is SOOO easy to make - and produces such spectacular results! This recipe produces about 3 dozen Crescent Rolls (if you'd like a smaller batch, scroll down)

This is the same dough I use for several other breads on this site, so you can make a big batch and keep it on hand to use for lots of different breads.

Easy, No Knead, Vegan Cinnamon Roll Crescents


Easy, No Knead, Vegan Crescent Roll Dough **** (Scroll Down for Smaller Batch)
This recipe makes about 3 dozen rolls, or 18 rolls & 1 large Challah.
Measure into a 6 quart container*, in this order
3 Cups Warm Water (baby bath water temperature. If in doubt, make it too cool rather than too warm)
5 1/4 Cups Unbleached, All Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Tapioca Starch (you can substitute Cornstarch, if you like)
1 Cup Potato Flakes (yes, that's right, the stuff people use to make Instant Mashed Potatoes)
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Yeast
1 Tablespoon Salt
Stir well with a spoon till no patches of dry Flour remain.

The dough should look like this right after you stir it.

Cover loosely with lid (don't fasten so securely that it cannot "breathe")
Leave it on the counter for 2 to 5 hours.
Now, put it in the fridge till you're ready to use it **

The dough should look like this after it has sat out on the counter for 2 to 5 hours.


Note - do not "Punch Down" this kind of dough. 

When you're ready to bake the bread, remove it from the refrigerator and dust it VERY WELL with Flour. This is a moist, sticky dough, so don't be afraid to use lots of Flour!

Oil your pan (I use a Perforated, Non-stick Pizza Pan, like this one for baking)

Take one pound of dough (1/4 of the large batch or 1/2 of the small batch) and roll out in a rectangle that is approximately 8"x12".

Roll Dough out into Rectangle.

Spread the Dough with your choice of either Apple Sauce (for oil free) or Buttery Spread, and sprinkle VERY generously with a mixture of Cinnamon & Sugar (I use 1 Part Cinnamon to 4 Parts Sugar). I have tried both Apple Sauce (about 1/4 cup for a batch) & Buttery Spread variations - and they taste the same to me - so don't hesitate to use the Apple Sauce if you're avoiding oil : )



Cut in long, thin triangles. A pizza cutter works great for this job, or just a large Chef's knife that you can press down and cut the dough without pulling.




Roll each triangle up and place it on the pan.



Leave to rise for 30 to 60 minutes (the last time I made these, I only let them rise about 15 minutes - they were still great : )

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake in the middle of the oven, without steam for 35-40 minutes.

Upon removing from the oven, you may brush with a buttery spread (or Tapioca Wash for oil free variation) , if you desire.

Then, Drizzle with a Simple Glaze:
Use about a cup of Powdered Sugar and an optional spoonful of Buttery Spread. Add several drops of Vanilla & a dash of Salt - add just enough Non-Dairy Milk to make spreadable. Microwave about 10 seconds to and stir again for optimal smoothness. Then Drizzle over the rolls. If you want to make it pretty, put it in a Zippered Bag and cut a tiny hole in the corner to squeeze the Drizzle onto the Rolls. If you're more casual, just use a fork dripped in drizzle to make little decorations on the rolls.The glaze will melt if applied to hot rolls - if you want to make them pretty, wait for them to cool. But they're tasty either way!





Small Batch Easy, No Knead Vegan Crescent Rolls
 (Makes about 18 rolls)
Follow above directions, but use these amounts
I prepare a batch this size in an 8 Cup Container - the one in the above pictures.
Be sure to add in this order:

1 1/2 Cups Warm Water
2 1/2 Cups + 2 Tablespoons Unbleached, All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Tapioca Starch (you can substitute Cornstarch, if you like)
1/2 Cup Potato Flakes
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Tablespoon Yeast
1/2 Tablespoon Salt

Stir well, then follow above directions - the same as for a large batch.

* For my 6 Quart Container, I use a new plastic shoe box from the Dollar Store.
** This dough CAN be used the day it is made - but it is a tad easier to shape after it is refrigerated. It is lightest and fluffiest when used within a day or two of when you make it, but I have used it several days later  - a week or more - and still had very good results.
*** If you bake two large pans of rolls at the same time, put one loaf on the middle rack, and one on the bottom rack. Then, set a timer to switch their positions half-way through baking, so that they brown evenly both on the top and on the bottom.

I always make bread by the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day method  (and, I think EVERYONE should own their book!). But, they didn't have a Vegan Brioche-type dough, so I created my own recipe using their method : )

This is being shared on
The Art of Homemaking Mondays
What'd You Do This Weekend?
Merry Monday
Mix It Up Monday
Monday Mish Mash
Modest Monday
Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural
Tuesdays with a Twist
Together on Tuesdays
Teaching What is Good 
Wake Up Wednesday
Penny Pinching Party
Coffee and Converation
Creative Spark
Think Tank Thursday
This is How We Roll
From House to Home
Our Simple Homestead
Plant Based Potluck Party
Hearts for Home 
Home Matters




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...