Back to the Grind

Originally, we only planned to take 2 weeks off for the holidays. That was until my Dad called and asked me to spend 2 days painting his master bedroom in December.

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This took two days away from our studies……. kind of. I had him work on lapbooks and watch Magic School Bus and watch some BrainPop videos.  But we are behind as we start the new year off. But that is ok, we are not going to let it affect us. We are just picking up where we left off.

This week will look like this for us……

Math: Fractions, mixed Numbers, and decimals. We are going to do some hands on work with recipes and we are making a bread starter.

Language Arts: MineCraft Story Starters, main ideas, writing paragraphs, & writing a research paper. If you have a boy who is crazy about MineCraft, the story starters are amazing and you should check them out.  You have to subscribe to get them but it is very much worth it!

Science: Animal Kingdom, Cells, Ernest Just, Different Kinds of Cells, and Plant vs. Animal Cells. We are doing two lapbooks for this.

History: Civil War, North & South, Missouri Compromise, Missouri State Facts, Arkansas State Facts, Mason-Dixon Line, Abolitionist, Slaves Resisted, Dred Scott, and Lincoln-Douglas Debates. We are starting a lapbook for the civil war.

Reading: Celia, A Slave by Melton A McLauren. This is a true story of a 14-year-old slave girl in 1850.

Basic Spanish: Introduce Yourself

I guess it is time to get to work! See you back here tomorrow!

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Peace, Love, and Pies!

Shannon

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Strawberry Angel Food Cake

I have many requests for this cake. I am not sure what it is about it that people love.

This was supposed to be Fridays post but I like my cakes fresh and she is not picking up until Saturday afternoon.

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As I am making this cake today I am reminded of how much I truly love this cake.

Ingredients
Angel Food Cake
  • 1¼ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1½ cups egg whites (roughly 10-12 egg whites), at room temperature
  • 1½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup sugar
Whipped Cream Frosting
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp strawberry flavoring
Instructions
Angel Food Cake
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  1. Stir the powdered sugar and cake flour together in a bowl and set it aside.
  2. Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla, salt and almond extract at high-speed until well mixed.
  3. Continue beating the mixture and add the sugar, 2 Tbsp at a time, just until the sugar dissolves and the egg whites form stiff peaks.
  4. Do not scrape the bowl while you beat the batter.
  5. Fold in the cake flour mixture, ¼ a time, using a rubber spatula, just until the flour disappears. I do this step with my hand as I like to make sure the flour is incorporated into the batter. This step needs to be done delicately.
  6. Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan.
  7. Bake the cake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees or until the top of the cake springs back to the touch. Any cracks on the surface should look dry.
  8. Invert the cake pan onto a funnel and let it cool completely.
  9. Loosen the cake from the pan with a spatula and place it on a plate.
Whipped Cream Frosting
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  1. Beat the cream, sugar and salt at medium speed until stiff peaks form.
  2. Fold in the vanilla extract and strawberry flavoring. I add in a small amount of pink food dye.
  3. Spread a thin layer of whipped cream frosting on the cake and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. This helps to forma thin crust and lets the next layer adhere to the cake. I do mean a thin layer.
  4. Then frost the outside of the angel food cake and using the spatula pull the frosting into attractive peaks. You can also make ruffles with a tip start at the bottom and work your way up. I thin slice strawberries and place on top.
  5. Keep the frosting and the frosted desserts in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve them.
  6. Slice the cake with a serrated knife so that the cake doesn’t compress while being cut.

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Crockpot Oatmeal

I like oatmeal! I love this recipe! If you have a picky eater that won’t try it, they might this one.

I cook every summer for a youth residential summer camp. I cook this every year and every year I have kids how have never tried oatmeal eat this and come back for more.

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I cut the recipe in half as it is for 50 people. I cook it in my large crock-pot and when it is done, I freezer it in Ziploc bags for an easy breakfast later in the month.

  • 1 cup of Oil
  • 1 1/2 cup of Applesauce
  • 3 cups Sugar (can use half brown sugar and half white)
  • 8 Eggs beaten
  • 10 cups Oats
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 4 tsp Salt
  • 4 1/2 cups Milk (I use soy or almond milk)
  • 2-3 tsp Cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 cup Wheat Germ (optional)

Lightly spray crock-pot with cooking spray.

Whisk eggs, sugar, and oil/applesauce together. Stir in milk and dry ingredients.

Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours.

Bake in crock-pot for at least 4-6 hours. Check after 2 hours, stir, adding in extra milk if needed for texture.

Now when I eat it through out the month I can add honey, raisins, fruit, brown sugar, or granola to it before I reheat in the microwave.

I have also  started to add 1/2 tsp of vanilla, microwave it and once it heated for 2-3 minutes I add 4 TBSP of yellow cake mix.

Back to school

I am going back to school. I am going back to get my degree in English with a focus on Creative Writing. I am going online through Southern New Hampshire University. A few hiccups have made it a late start for me. Going to try to play catch up tonight after I bake a cake and getting the pork cooking for Friday night at camp.

I walked to work again yesterday and knew I would not get to today due to the rain. So, I am off to do Just Dance on the Xbox!

Have a good day!

Challenge #2 Organizing the Kitchen

New Years Organizing Challenge Banner

 

Ok, So I didn’t win the desk challenge. But I was extremely happy with my progress. Was I disappointed? Yes! Did I think about quitting? Yep! But I am here and while I don’t have a ton of time this week to do things in the kitchen I will tell you what we have done in the last week or so to change our kitchen.

Please remember that I am a pastry chef and my kitchen is my haven. This area has to work for me and no one else.

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Again, I have a Habitat for Humanity home and so they only give you enough space to live with. We have no dishwasher (no place for one), counter space is limited, and I share the kitchen with my dining area. When we moved in I think I put everything on the counter.

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My kitchen went through lots of changes over the last 13 years.

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First, changed the floor three times. And I should tell you it is going to go through another change later this year to tile. The half wall is something I put in all by myself about 10 years ago. It creates a buffer between the eating and the living part of the house.

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The walls have been an array of colors and design. The dining area is currently what we are staying with. The tile is staying as the backslash but I am painting the strip above the cabinets white in a few weeks.

Back a few months ago I built a rustic island for added storage in my kitchen. I  will post how I did that this weekend.

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Now, on to the projects I have done recently. I recently painted my cabinets on the bottom from the boring golden brown to a gray color. I am painting the top cabinets next weekend, I am a camp cook this weekend. I lined the shelves and drawers with a pretty contact paper. And thank goodness Missouri has weird weather and I had a good day to sand down the doors and paint.

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I also took off the outlets last week and added some bling to my covers. I saw this on Pinterest. I added Scothgaurd to these before replacing these to help them last longer.

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Inside my “baking cabinet” I added two strips to hang some of my vital tools of the trade.

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I also had an Amazon credit from selling back some textbooks and I bought these little spice jars with magnets on them. I forgot I had bought these months ago and found them in a closet I recently cleaned out. I had a thin piece of metal I bought for another project and I had the correct screws to attach it under the counter.

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I also redid the dining area wall a few weeks ago. here are the before and after. Sorry my flash wasn’t up. I hate this Nikon camera.

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I added that bookcase to hold all my cookbooks. Yep I have that many, it really is sad. That shelf under the calendar will be getting a makeover soon and it will be stained black and have tiles on them to hold cups so we don’t go through a million cups a day.

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Here is my kitchen today as it stand. Yes, I know there are dishes in the sink. Not my job….. waiting for 14 year to home from school.

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This is the last image I will leave you with. I got this quote last summer and kept it until I found the perfect place for it. It is one of my favorite quotes by Dr. Seuss. It is our family motto and we live by it. The bag is supposed to be there, we put our recyclable there.

I promise to have blog post this weekend on these projects.

 

Back-to-School & PBJ

My kids start back to school next Wednesday, August 15th. Yes I know it is early and coming up fast. You should note that we get out of school around May 24th next year.

So, today I started preparing my kids for the upcoming school year. Today they got up by 8:30am, tomorrow they will get up 30 minutes earlier and the next day 30 minutes earlier. This way by the time we get to next Wednesday it is not a big deal.

I love filling freezer with food and making my life easier and my family’s life better.

Today, I made 24 PB&J sandwiches and put them in the freezer. I have done this before and have learned to do it a certain way. I buy 2 loaves of bread, a jar of natural peanut butter, and a squeezable jelly. I buy one for just this project because I have learned from the past, you go through a bit of jelly and peanut butter doing this.

I buy a box of storage bags and put the date and what is in them on 24 bags.

I pull out one loaf of  bread and stack it, then I start spreading on the peanut butter.

Once I have this done, I squeeze the jelly on and using a separate knife I spread the jelly.

Next I pull out the second loaf of bread and stack it and start spreading peanut butter on the tops and make the sandwiches.

Last I put them in their bags and squeeze out all the air, this helps with the storage and air is bad! I have this nice new Fridge and the freezer is on the bottom. Inside I have these nice little drawers on top. I use one for breakfast items and the other for lunch items. I stack a row of the sandwiches in the drawer. I put the leftovers in gallon ziploc bags and store them in my chest freezer downstairs.

I make PB&J sandwiches every other week to keep up with the demand in my house. Each month I use a different colored sharpie to label and I use the first in first out system. I constantly have a supply of ready made sandwiches for the kids and my husband for lunch or a snack.