July 10 & 11: Tricksters and snacks

July 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Yesterday we went to the Belgrade zoo. I am not going to talk about what we did or what we saw as that is not the purpose of this blog, but I do want to share an awesome thing that I saw: a raven and a coyote, in two adjacent cages. It is sad of course that the two tricksters ended up in small wire enclosures in an urban zoo; but it is also lovely to see those two mythical creatures in the same place, even though it is not their natural setting. We can pretend a little:

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Today my mom was making Serbian crackers they call galete around here, and J. and I helped her roll the dough into balls and bake (and eat) it:

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These are the dough balls

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This is the ancient toaster oven we baked them in

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And this is the end result. The recipe is simple but I don’t have it.

As a bonus, here is a photo of the ceiling in my dad’s house:

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and a snapshot of my favorite thing in the world:

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I lasted eight days without a latte and then I broke down. I took the kids to the neighborhood cafe, where we sat in the shade, I got caffeinated and took some photos, and we all had a great time.

 

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June 14: Mozzarela and June 15: planning to be creative

June 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

But first, here are the cards we made for J’s teachers. We will miss them greatly. Next year,  he will be in a different class (he is in a Montessori school, where kids stay with teachers for at least two years), and I don’t know if anyone will be so patient with him as his teacher and her aide were. They touched him and me both deeply.

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Yesterday was my second attempt at making mozzarella, and though it doesn’t quite look or taste like it’s supposed to, it’s not bad. It’s complicated to make, though. You have to knead the curds in hot whey until they are stretchy. Let’s just say that I never reached that stage.

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here are curds before kneading

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and after.

The cheese tastes great in a salad from our homegrown greens. We almost have this urban farming thing down…

Today I was recovering from a migraine which meant no looking at screens. Instead, I packed for our upcoming trip to the Motherland, which will take place in two weeks. It was especially important to pack art supplies. That was my creative act for today. It had to be small, light, and fun for both J. and me. So we got

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lots of goodies: glue, scissors, a journal, sewing, knitting, felt, sticky notes, sharpies… We are prepared!

 

 

June 4-9: Birthday book, muffins, and a beach trip

June 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

I have been gone for a whole week this time, but again I assure you, we have been busy. Or at least I have. First of all, our scientific experiment has taken on Gargantuan proportions. The ear grew and grew until we finally pulled it out of water. It is shrinking ever so slowly. I managed to put together the Rubik’s cube. It turned out that one of the little cubes was turned the wrong way, so it wasn’t really my fault that I couldn’t do it. Here it is:

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Now I just need to learn to do it without the book.

Speaking of books, O’s birthday book is coming along nicely. I have four more pages to go, but here is what it looks like so far:

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(Ok, not the best pictures, but it’s late and I have to work in the morning. By the way,  my favorite part of the book is the flamingo.)

Her birthday came and went, we spent it at the beach. I made her rhubarb muffins because our kids don’t eat sugar during the first few years of their lives (but J. has made up for it tenfold), so this is what the birthday celebration looked like:

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Rhubarb muffins: healthy, delicious. They would have been even better had I had buttermilk in the house as the recipe suggests. But I managed, as I always do. Somehow it always works out, usually not perfectly. Okay, never perfectly.

I took some pictures at the beach. Note that I don’t do nature photography well, and instead look for quirky human-made things. Like these:

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And finally, we picked up the ceramic pieces we painted a few weeks ago. Everyone was pleased:

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I will try to post more often, considering that I am still keeping up with the projects.

 

May 28: Cream cheese

May 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s the real deal, this homemade cream cheese. One more thing I will no longer buy (I haven’t bought yogurt in years).  It was frustrating to figure out how to hang it so that the whey can drip into a bowl, and I used a whole lot of cheese cloth, but the results are great, especially with D’s homemade bagels.

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May 26 and 27: Cheeses and messages

May 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

The long weekend and too much milk in the refrigerator prompted me to make some cheese. I made paneer yesterday (no pictures, sorry, but I posted about it once before), and am making cream cheese today. It will be done tomorrow night.  The book I use is called Homemade Living: Home Dairy with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Make Cheese, Yogurt, Butter & More. I just make the easy cheeses that require only milk, liquid rennet, calcium chloride, lemon juice,  and mesophilic cultures. I get my cheesemaking supplies online, most of them from Lehman’s (except from calcium chloride, which they don’t sell). I make cheeses that require very little work and are ready to eat right away. We ran out of tofu yesterday and ate our stir fry with paneer instead, and were quite pleased.

The little artist was busy with different projects, but my favorite was writing a message he wants to put in a bottle and throw into the Puget Sound (no photos, sorry, it’s kind of private). He wrote “We are not the only living things on Earth,” and he swears he came up with it by himself. Sometime, that kid is such a mystery. The message launch will happen when it stops raining here (or when we get flooded, so we can just drop it into the water from our window).

 

 

May 2 and 3: dogs and cinnamon rolls

May 4, 2013 § 1 Comment

I missed a day of blogging. That’s just because my life is not my own. But I have in fact done a creative thing yesterday and today. I decided that hand sewing is neat and relaxing and so started a possible birthday project for O. It’s just in the beginning stages, so instead featured here are the (handmade in Serbia) marionette (that I bought J. four years ago in Belgrade and that has been sitting all tangled up since then) I spent about 30 minutes yesterday untangling, to J’s great joy”

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(Yes, he is wearing the bow we made on Wednesday. He actually wore it to school, which I thought was really neat, as he is not afraid to bend the gender roles and is not afraid to be laughed at.)

and the cinnamon rolls I made tonight at midnight after writing a final exam and screaming about the second mouse in the house in the past week. And did I mention that O. now wakes up at 5?

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(Note: we make the dough in the bread maker, and it always turns out splendidly; another note: if the recipe says cut into nine cinnamon rolls, do not cut up into 10!)

 

April 19: Simple cooking

April 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

As J’s birthday party approaches, preparations are afoot. Tonight, in addition to cleaning the house, I made two simple dishes for the party. Because I don’t do complicated any more. Because I don’t have time for complications (though I seem to complicate my thinking quite a bit). One is a dip my mom makes (this would be called a salad in Serbia) from 1 cup each og rice, corn, and mushrooms; mayo (we use Vegannaise) and sour cream; with salt, pepper, and some paprika. Preparation time: 15 minutes. The other is a pasta salad Serbian style, with carrots and peas, and oil and vinegar but no mayo (go figure). Preparation time: 15 minutes. I love it! Now I just have to get myself to make that birthday poster.

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March 31: Scones?

April 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

If there is no picture, then did it happen at all? Our Easter eggs are all gone, oiled early this morning, and all cracked before noon. I took no pictures.

I did, however, also make some really nice scones (flour, baking powder, baking soda, not much sugar, little bit of salt, butter, yogurt, oats, and raisins). They too are mostly gone, but I took pictures. They were part of a meal shared with friends who were going back to the East Coast, and thus surely creative enough for this blog.

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You still may have no good reason to read this post, which serves more for me to affirm that, yes, I did something creative today, something that used my hands and not just my brain or typing fingers.

Tomorrow I go back to work. The spring break was in noway glamorous and part of me is looking forward to being away from whining and chaos. I am sure I will change my mind once I actually get there.  I am tired regardless of whether I go to work or not, and I never get around to doing things I cherish or/and need  (journal in the morning, do yoga, meditate…), and sometimes this blog seems like yet another thing to do, especially when I start worrying about life and the world. But I had so much whining by a certain child today, that I should really refrain from complaining.

March 25: Paneer

March 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

Cheesemaking, here I come!

I made my first batch of paneer today. It was quick, easy, and tasty.  Here is the cheese in different stages:

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I wish I could tell  you more, but I can’t keep my eyes open. I am excited about making cheese, even though I don’t really like to eat it. It just feels like an accomplishment.

March 10: pancakes

March 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

It was a hard day, and my most shining moment was probably right after waking, when I made my pancake mix and then made pancakes for the family. The recipe is the healthiest pancake mix possible, while tasting excellent. In my opinion better than any pancake mix you can buy. What goes in it?

2 cups of whole wheat flour

2 cups of spelt flour

1 cup of buckwheat flour

1 cup of cornmeal

3 teaspoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/3 teaspoon of sea salt.

It’s modified from the Feeding for the whole family cookbook. To make sure this pickiest child in the world got some nutrients, I mixed 1 1/2 cup of the mix with 2 eggs, some ground flax seeds, olive oil, and milk (don’t know how much, really). It was a good breakfast, and though it went downhill from there, at least we had a healthy start — I ate mine with homemade yogurt cheese, and not-homemade jam. We are planning on trying to make jam this summer.

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