Sunday, March 15, 2009

catch the sheep.......

I haven't been knitting much lately (read: not at all!) so I decided to finish up a little UFO pair of mittens in my project bag. Sadly, they only took me 20 minutes to finish and E was thrilled to have soft new mittens! (Why have I waited almost 6 months to finish them?) So anyways, the moment came that I've been waiting for for nearly 7 years! I hear this little, "Mom, I want to knit."

Woohoo! We jumped up and ran down to my sewing room to pick out her very own yarn and needles. Then got our kids knitting book off the shelf. (See, I really have been waiting for years, I think I bought this book when she was about 6 months old!) The author of this book has a great little poem to help the beginner, and we were reciting it happily all day.

Under the Fence
Catch the Sheep
Back we Come
Off we Leap!

I thought it would be tricky at first, but she jumped right in like a little pro. She just takes her time and recites the poem as she goes through each stitch, and then we take turns knitting rows so she can see the progress in her little swatch. And I was amazed at how she naturally figured things out on her own, like how to hold both needles in one hand while she wraps the yarn. I can see why handwork is such an important part of so many traditional children's curriculums. She focuses so much and is so proud as she goes along. And of course, here's the finished product. A cozy wool horse blanket for "Sarah" the fairy. She looks comfy!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Delicious Buckwheat Hot Cereal (Kasha)!

This is part of the Nourishing Gourmet's carnival of frugal recipes, and I'm so excited to share because it's one of my favorite hot cereals ever! When I went gluten free a year ago I found a similar recipe in one of Bette Hagman's books, and I was intrigued because she said it will smell like chocolate while it's cooking. I don't know that it's exactly like chocolate, but seriously, I can't get enough of how this yummy cereal smells! (I've been known to walk by the empty pot in the kitchen after breakfast and stick my face down in and take a deep breath! It's that yummy!)

Buckwheat groats can be purchased raw, which have a lighter shade and more of a raw, slightly bitter taste. I buy these and grind them for buckwheat flour, which is great in muffins, pancakes, and waffles. You can also find the groats toasted, or a darker red colour, which is called Kasha in Eastern Europe. The reason this cereal is so frugal for me now is that I just started toasting my own raw groats and it's so easy! I used to buy them already toasted at the health food store, and they were kind of pricey, but raw buckwheat is cheap and easy to find at most grocery stores in with the dry grains and beans. To toast them, just put in a dry pan over medium high heat and stir occasionally until they start to turn reddish brown and become fragrant. The picture above is how they looked after I toasted them.

Delicious Buckwheat Hot Cereal (Kasha)
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup toasted buckwheat groats
1 t cinnamon
dash of salt

Bring the above ingredients to a boil and then simmer uncovered at a low heat for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from browning and sticking. This will thicken considerably and the buckwheat will soften and split open. The cooking time will vary depending on how thick you like your hot cereal. When it's almost reached the consistency I like, I add.......

2 T honey (or sweetener of choice)
1/4 cup butter (yes, I know it sounds like a lot, trust me!)
handful of dried cranberries

and then cook a bit more, stirring.
In my bowl I add a bit of milk and some sliced banana. Yum!

This recipe makes enough for my family of 4.

I've experimented with soaking this cereal the night before, as it would cut down the cooking time quite a bit and neutralize the phytic acid, but I haven't figured out the exact liquid to buckwheat ratio. I was hoping to do so before I posted this recipe, but we finished off the last of our toasted groats last week! :) They're just that delicious! If anyone tries soaking, let me know. Enjoy!