Wild Yeast and Starters

I have been watching a great channel on YouTube called Kirsten Dirskin of Fair Companies. The channel features mini documentary on tiny homes, simple living and eco-friendly products. So cool. Anyway I saw a great upload the other day about a couple who live in California and engage in  what they call radical home-ec, which is basically self reliance in a urban area.

Watch it here: Self-reliance in LA

Anyway there was part on the video where the couple were talking about bread starters and it got me intrigued. If you don’t know what a “starter” is, it is a natrual yeast for bread making made from flour and water. You mix flour with water for a few days and let it ferment and in a few days you have yeast for baking.

Now i have heard of starters before but he made it look so simple on the video that I thought, ‘okay, I can do this’. I love baking bread and if I can make it from scratch start to finish, including the yeast, why not.

I found more information on raising a starter here, but I am horrible at following directions and much too impatient to be measuring anything. So I have a little dish of yeasty smelling flour and water in the kitchen now, from my own measurements. This only day 2 of my little culture, t’ll take a few days to come “alive” but I’m going to take some pictures and hopefully bake with it.

Oh and the couple in the video have a fantastic site, rootsimple.com, you will love it. I know I do.

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What the Jicama!

In an effort to eat healthier and cleaner I have made a new rule for myself that I will attempt to eat new fruits and vegetables because I normally just  get the same same old produce: broccoli, spinach, carrots, collards. You know, the usual.

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is important to overall health because many essential nutrients are plant based, however every produce has it’s own particular nutrients and health benefits . To be able to fully incorporate as many nutrients in your diet as possible, one must eat a variety of natural sources.

Since my new pledge I have tried a few different produce that I never had: bok choy, savoy cabbage, persimmon, guava. Well that brings me to my newest food adventure: the Jicama. When I got it I was like “oh yeah, its like a Mexican radish.”

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Well I was wrong, and  just for your information it’s not pronounced Jah-ka-ma like I was calling it, rather Hic-ka-ma. I guess if I ever took Spanish I would know that the /J/ makes an /H/ sound.

The Jicama is actually in the bean family, and is also know as Mexican Yam or Mexican Turnip. It is high in carbohydrates from dietary fiber, and has prebiotic properties from high amount of  fructo-oligosaccharides (this is what makes them sweet.) That means it’s good for your gut by encouraging the beneficial growth of bacteria. Jicama is often eaten raw, which is not what I was thinking at all. I had to WikiHow to eat a Jicama to even begin to understand what I was going to do with this modest little vegetable (or should I say bean?)

I was in luck though because what did I happen to buy today. Six wonderfully ripe and tart limes. So whats the verdict? 

I like it! Its sweet, sort of starchy, very crisp and reminds me of an apple. I tried it with fresh lime juice and chili powder. The only thing that threw me off is that it has an after taste that I can’t pin down. I think it could taste good in a fruit salad with some yogurt and vanilla, play up the sweetness.

Try one and tell me what you think.

On The Road Again

My husband does a lot of out of town work. His jobs send him all over the state and Texas is so big that going somewhere in state is just the same as going out of state. Anyway sometimes we go with him. Its fun; we get to stay in nice hotels, free wifi, visit local attractions, shop (I love thrift stores), eat out, swim in the pool and watch cable TV! The kids love it and as long as I can map out a park close to the hotel we are all good to go.

The downside, and this is a major one for me, is that maintaining proper nutrition is very difficult. Without an in-room kitchenette meals consists of starch and carb heavy breakfasts, microwaved lunches and take out dinner. There is a grocery store nearby and I purchased some fruit but after two weeks here, I just feel very sluggish from my dietary deviations.

I am considering next time bringing my blender and juicer with me so that I can enjoy a green smoothie and morning glory juice instead of refined carbs. I don’t have it with me but I did come up with a little shake that could work if you are in a hotl and have a blender.

The items listed below are what was available at the continental breakfast bar.  As a side note, why is it called a Continental breakfast. I mean the continent of North America is pretty big and diverse and I doubt everyone on the Continent eats cereal, juice and toast for breakfast. Anyway I digress.

Continental Breakfast Smoothie

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tbps peanut butter
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp instant oatmeal

Combine apple and orange juice in blender until all large peices are blended. Add banana, peanut butter, and oatmeal. Continue to process until smooth and creamy. Add ice if you like and enjoy.

 

Duas for Children

I was on my favorite website (amazon.com) a few months ago looking for a dua book for children, I found a few but wasn’t able to order at the time. (dumb overdrafts!) Anyway I found a very nice and exciting pdf book. Essential Duas in the life of  a Muslim is a wonderful, free dua book that is for 1st-7th grade, with advanced duas after 7th. It is exactly what I was looking for and is way better then what I was going to get on the other website. 

The Arabic is given first in medium easy to read print (with harakah), followed by English translation and then supporting hadith and or originating sources. It doesn’t’ get any better than that!
Oh wait, yes it does. The grade one duas are short and start with the kalimahs so I printed out the first chapter and have been doing these little duas daily with my girls and they have both memorized two each. It’s really uplifting to hear my 2 and 3 year old say the dua before going to bed or before leaving the house or entering the restroom. The added benefit is that I am learning new ones along with them, and duas I have forgotten to say in the past, I find myself saying now for small actions. Subhanallah. 
This can easily be incorporated into daily learning or home-school curriculum. Go download it and get started on some duas!

Spring break

Spring break is finally here, I’m so happy. I plan on having a staycation, I’m staying in my bed and my pajamas for as long as I can stand. I also plan on sewing all of the pretty, lovely fabrics I have been dreaming about all semester long but have not had the time to attend to.
The things I want to sew are a lined dress from a sari, two skirts, a wrap front silky dress and a jersey maxi dress (I loooooove jersey!). I found a very nice black and grey stripe fabric at wal-mart for 1.50 and it just screamed maxi dress.
I only have a week to sew all of this but I’m using very clean, simple cuts that I’ve made a bazillion times. The only thing that will be different is the fabrics. I’m about to get started, pictures when I finish.