Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Women's Preparedness and Grinding Wheat


                        Hayden grinds wheat berries using our friend Janda's hand mill.

     Are you a "prepper"?  This term has been used pretty loosely lately as our nation wrestles with natural disasters, a more dangerous society, and questionable ethics in food production among many other things.  About eight years ago, the Lord directed me to specific verses in Matthew, chapter 24 about the end times.  As I continued my research through the Scriptures, it became very clear to me that times were going to become increasingly difficult worldwide as we drew closer to the Second Coming of Christ. I came to the conclusion that although the Lord expected us to trust in Him and to not be afraid, He also expected us to be responsible with the heads-up He has clearly given us in His Word.  It turned out that I wasn't the only one who was feeling led to start gearing up my household and training my children to be more self (God)-sufficient and less dependent on the world to provide for them.  The Lord began to bring like-minded women into my life who would mentor and encourage me as I began to learn to be less of a worldly woman, and more of a godly one.  As the daughter of a career woman and a formerly feminist-minded one myself, I had never been taught these types of skills.
    One friend in particular agreed to partner with me to keep me accountable and to begin a Christian women's preparedness group where we could share, encourage and teach each other everything from first aid to water storage.  Linda and I began our meetings last year and recently started back up after a long holiday break.  The meetings have been successful and our groups can be large or small depending on the topics and the schedules of the ladies.
   Our friend, Janda had purchased a bucket of hard wheat over sixteen years ago before her move from Wyoming and had been keeping it in her hot garage pretty much forgotten.  As an experiment, she decided to open her bucket, grind the wheat, and bake it into bread!  To her amazement, the bread tasted great.  Wheat stores MUCH longer than flour and the flour you'll produce is much healthier than what you'd purchase in the grocery store.  Although the girls and I bake bread often, we had never ground wheat in a mill and were interested in some new bread ideas.  Janda opened her home to a meeting last week where she explained the benefits of wheat grinding, the types of mills, and presented an informative video.  She also gave us a handout of helpful websites. Her wonderful mother, Betty, also instructed us in some new and exciting bread recipes and techniques.

     Miss Betty explains the differences between using a bread machine and working by hand.  She also explained the technique differences between making loaf bread and special breads like dinner rolls and hamburger buns.

          Here we practice "pinching" off dough and "ever so gently" rolling it for dinner rolls.

By placing our dough pieces into a loaf pan with the sides touching, we'll get softer "pull apart" bread roll results.

Here are the loaves we kneaded and panned.  Some are Miss Betty's "Yogurt bread with Grains (and sunflower seeds!)" recipe.

Here we enjoy some baked yummies (including bread baked with sixteen-year-old wheat!) while our bread bakes in Janda's oven.

In the back of this picture, you can see the fluffy sides of a couple of rolls when they are pulled apart.  They were so soft!

                                                         More wheat grinding!

My husband devoured the dinner rolls I brought home.  They were AMAZING.  Janda's daughter, Liz, also copied their "Creamy Chive Rings" bread recipe down for us that we cannot wait to try.  We'll keep you posted!

Two women will be grinding at the mill:  one will be taken and the other left.  Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
Matthew 24:41


We Ain't Proud; We'll Take Dem Pumpkins!

Preppin' Pumpkins
What to do when you come into a big 'ol pile of pumpkins

Okay, these pics were taken around early November when some great friends generously gave us a box of sugar pumpkins.  They had been working at a pumpkin patch and rescued these guys before being thrown away.  I had wanted to post this months ago, but somehow lost the pictures from the second half of the process!  Since I am posting a recipe for pumpkin bread, however, I decided to post what I do have and try to explain the rest!

See my husband, Scott, halve the already washed pumpkins.

                                                          See Scott, uh, being Scott.

I get the fun part.  After Scott slices them in two, I gut them and place them face down on a cookie sheet.

After roasting them in the oven for about an hour at 350 degrees, they are a nice, deep, golden orange - and a little sunken.  Let cool.  Peel off the skin and slice into manageable pieces.  Puree' in a food processor, measure 2-3 cup amounts into assorted plastic containers and freeze overnight.  The next morning,  remove frozen pumpkin from containers and place each frozen mass into its own food saver bag, seal, date, and place back into freezer.  Thaw and use as needed!

.......A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted.....
Ecclesiastes 3:2


Bridal Showers and Pumpkin Bread

Last February, we had the privilege of attending Aunt Patty's annual tea party. This year it was extra special because Patty had decided to combine it with a surprise bridal shower for cousin Christina. Here, Christina poses with the cake that Hayden baked especially for the event.

                   Christina's sister, Meghan hands her presents while the rest of us look on.

          Much to our surprise, Christina's other sister, Alicia, presented us with gifts of cookware!
                                          Here we are very seriously making our choices.

      Fast forward to April for another shower for Christina!  This one was thrown by her sisters in Mount Pleasant at a lovely clubhouse.  I can't say enough about the fantastic food that was prepared for the guests and I shall try to get some of those recipes for posting!  For this shower, guests were asked to bring a special recipe written on a card included with our invitation.  These recipes were to be presented to Christina at the shower.
     The girls and I decided that for Christina's gift, we would actually make the recipes we selected and place them in a gift basket so she could sample them and decide for herself if she wanted to make what we had written on her cards!  Hayden make her almond shortcake (on this blog), Emmie filled a canning jar with homemade taco seasoning, and I made pumpkin bread.  Now pumpkin bread may seem out of season, but I had frozen several bags of pumpkin puree last November.  You can also use canned from the store.  The recipe I always use is from a "Momys" (Mothers of Many Young Siblings) cookbook.  Every time I bake this pumpkin bread, I get so many compliments!  It may seem pretty unassuming, but this recipe is just so moist and yummy, I had to share it.  I have also actually substituted bananas for the pumpkin, and vanilla for some of the spices.  That was yummy too!

                                      Here, I am writing the recipe on a card for Christina.

Ingredients (Makes 5 loaves):
4 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 tspn. baking powder
2 tspns. salt
3 tspns. baking soda
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups cooking oil
1 large can of pumpkin (I used 4 cups of what I had frozen - this is more than a can's worth!)
5 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons each of cinnamon, ground cloves, and ground nutmeg
* optional 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
Spray Pam

             Spray 5 bread pans with Pam (or twelve mini-loaves).  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

                              Use a mixer to combine sugar, oil, eggs, water, and pumpkin.

     Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices into wet, pumpkin mixture.  Mix.

                                        Blend well and pour into five well-greased bread pans.

Since I can't fit all five loaf pans on one rack, I place one on the top rack keeping it from covering the tops of the others.  Bake at 325 degrees for an hour or 40-45 minutes for mini-loaves.

                                                                      Cool and enjoy.

Therefore a man shall leave his mother and father and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24


Mystery Parties and Spinach Dip

   It has truly been a busy few weeks for the Wand family.  In March, we celebrated a Messianic Passover Seder with some dear friends and the Sunday of the resurrection of our Lord with extended family.  In early April, the girls and I hosted a Mary Kay party for another dear friend, prepared and participated in our homeschooling group's annual mystery party fundraiser, and attended a bridal shower.  The very next week, my son took the Stanford (standardized test), the girls and I attended a women's preparedness meeting (more on that later) and our family had a game night with some friends.  Finally, my husband and I attended an anniversary party for a dear couple celebrating 60 years of marriage!  Things have quieted down and we've settled back into our routine. I now have the opportunity to catch up and share some of the details!

     Here, Emily paints the background for Cinderella's carriage for this year's party theme "Fairy tales".  Each year our local home school National Honor Society hosts a mystery party to raise funds for a selected ministry.  The mysteries are carefully selected and "edited" to make more appropriate for our group.
    Participants dress up as assigned characters and attempt to solve a mystery at the party.  This year was our largest turnout with about sixty homeschooled kids.   Emily was sleeping beauty, Hayden was the evil queen from Snow White, and Harrison was one of the three little pigs (who also happened to be a realtor)!  I'm sure one of the girls will be posting more pictures on their personal blogs soon.  My house looked like an art studio for about a week!

     This was the path Emily painted for the "garden" area.  She cut these out, we covered them with clear contact paper, and then we taped them to the floor as stepping stones.

      Mystery party participants are asked to bring refreshments for the fundraiser.  We decided to bring sandwiches on dinner rolls (like we've shown on previous posts) and spinach dip with crackers.
     There are so many varieties of spinach dips and you can dip anything from crackers to fresh veggies. My personal favorite thing to dip is dark, pumpernickel bread.  This spinach dip version is so easy and everyone seems to really like it.

Ingredients:  a large bag of chopped frozen (or a bunch of fresh) spinach.
                   2 cups of mayo
                   2 cups of sour cream
                   2 packets of Ranch dressing mix
                   a fresh lemon
                   things to dip!

*You'll want to make this at least an hour ahead of time so the flavors have time to develop.

Combine 1 1/2 packets of Ranch dressing mix, mayo, and sour cream.  Squeeze the lemon juice from half a lemon being careful not to get seeds in your dip.  If you want to go ahead and use the other half of the Ranch dressing mix, just add a half cup more of sour cream and mayo so it won't be too strong.  If you are not a lemon fan, you can also squeeze less lemon juice.

                                                                  Mix thoroughly.

If you are using frozen spinach, heat it in the microwave, let it cool, and then squeeze out as much liquid as possible before adding it to the sour cream mixture.

                                   Mix into dip.

                                                         Stir, chill, and serve!  Yummy!

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, Than a fatted calf with hatred.
Proverbs 15:17