Monday, October 15

In Which I Answer Questions

Deliciousness via my stepmom for our Sept. Oct. Birthdays - Addie and Annaliese
On a Weekly Menu post, Sarah asked: "Is there a specific oat cakes recipe you like?  I've never made/had them, but they look simple and hearty."

Yes!  There is a simple recipe I love from an old cookbook titled American Wholefoods Cuisine and here is my rendition of it:
2 cups oats ground to flour (you can do this in a blender, processor or coffee grinder)
1/2 tsp baking pwdr
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup oats
2 tbsp oil
approx. 8 tbsp hot water

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and add in oil and water until the dough sticks together in a ball. Divide dough ball into two balls.  Sprinkle some oats on your workspace and flatten each ball of dough into about a nine inch round. Transfer to a greased baking sheet and slice into each round, dividing it into four triangular sections.  Bake in a 400 degree oven until firm and lightly colored, about 10 minutes.  Best eaten hot with butter, honey or jam.

"Cookin" asked if I used a specific kind of paint on my Dresser Makeover and whether it was Olympic inspired.
I used bits of this and that paint that I had around the house.  Whenever I see a color I like, or I know would work in our home, on those clearanced, "oops" paint shelves in the home improvement stores, I buy them.  The red paint was left from our exterior doors, the dark, dark (almost black) blue was a quart of oops paint for $2 that I added a bit of white to in a cleaned out sour cream container until I had the color I wanted.  The cream paint was .50 sample bins on the clearanced shelves as well.  It wasn't really an Olympic inspired project as much as I kept seeing old furniture painted and distressed with the Union Jack and liked the vintage appeal of its looks. 

About my canning soups for meal prep after baby comes, Bonnie asked details about what pressure I use, and whether the ingredients get funky, particularly the potatoes:
My go-to canning book is called Putting Food By and I've learned that even if it doesn't have a specific recipe for soup or stew, I can just make my own favorite recipe and then refer to it for how long/what pressure to can it at by what meats I use in my recipe as it gives a thorough explanation of the why and how of canning with meats.  Potatoes canned come out like store canned ones do in canned store soups.  When I've made beef stew with potato chunks in it, I don't precook them (or any of the veggies for that matter) because I know they will get completely cooked in the pressure canning process.  I just pile in the ingredients into each jar and then can away.  If it is a stew that calls for thickening, I thicken it after I've opened the jars to serve them.
Oh so very proud of her self grown pie pumpkin.
On the same post Making Meals Ahead, I was asked if I purchase or make my own gluten free flour mix:
In the two years I've been cooking gf for Sean, I've found that one cup of traditional white flour can be substituted with a tad less than a third cup each of buckwheat (yes, buckwheat is gf - it is actually a flower), tapioca flour and brown rice flour.  This flies in the face of the equivalency charts you'll find online which say less of each of those flours equals one cup white flour but I've been baking this way and we love the results.  I also leave out gums in almost every recipe, especially if it has egg in it.  I just don't find them necessary.  The only thing I do use guar gum in is chocolate chip cookies because I find they crumble too much without it.
I've been buying organic buckwheat groats and brown rice in bulk and grinding them in my mill for flour.  The mill is a big investment (ask for donations for Christmas? :) but completely worth it as it saves so much money in the long run.  It grinds a huge variety of things but I find it does a much better job than our Vitamix at producing a consistent grind of flour.

On the post which gets the most hits, on Chicken Butchering, I was recently asked if you can butcher a chicken with a name:
:)  We have a rule not to name chickens.  The only exception to this rule was two bantam feather footed beauties that Sean named after his grandparents.  Sadly, Chris the rooster died out of stubborness one winter a few years back because he refused to go into the coop at night and his wife, Nan, made it to age six as the sweetest and gentlest pet on our little homestead.  Nan was mourned most deeply by Ella and we had a graveside ceremony with lots of Ella crocodile tears.  This was late one night after we had found Nan's body.  By morning, Nan had a complete graveside with wooden cross, bouquets of flowers and trinkets.  So no, we don't generally name animals we plan on eating. :)

Another question asked: "We will be butchering three roosters in a few weeks. This will be our first time. Someone mentioned they should be separated from the hens for about a month otherwise they will have a bad taste. Please, need more info...separate or not?!"

We've never separated our chickens by gender and I don't know anyone who raises the birds for meat who does.  Roosters taste the same as hens and hens the same as roosters, in my opinion. Usually, the only way we can tell which bird was a hen or rooster when I pull them from the freezer is by size, since our roosters get bigger than the hens by butchering time. 
If your birds are any older than six-eight months, you'll want to reserve them for slow cooker recipes, as the meat from birds running around this long will be tougher.
You can improve upon the meat of either gender by not freezing it immediately after butchering.  Make room in your fridge and let the butchered birds sit in a covered bowl or plastic bags for at least a day.  We usually keep ours in the fridge for three days.  This allows the adrenaline in their muscles to break down, which results in more tender meat.  As a whole, you'll find home grown chicken to be much more flavorful than its store counterpart.

On Body Image and Our Daughters, an anonymous commenter left this comment, which I knew I had to address:
"This was a sweet post, but I have to say it is easy for you to say these things if you are an attractive person.  In our society if you aren't pretty, you're going to have a hard time no matter how you were raised or how you feel about yourself. Not being mean, just truthful. :("

I'm answering from the standpoint of someone who has been an oh so ugly pimple faced, crooked toothed, only-redhead teenager with huge glasses: Had I tried out for a beauty contest or looked for a career based on my looks I would have no doubt been laughed out of town and so, at the time,  I obsessed about comments on my weight and dieted, trying to control the one thing I thought I could about my appearance.  In fact, when I came across some teen photos of myself a few years back and wanted to toss them all into the trash, I forced myself to keep them to show our children because I thought it might be a good lesson for them in judging others by appearance only.  I tell Sean now that his love, or rather God's love through him, made me beautiful.  More than likely, it was the safety of being in a secure relationship and realizing that beauty as the world defines it isn't worth much.  And this is very lightly said, as I don't hold much esteem after eight pregnancies, veins in my legs, wrinkles in my brow, and once fixed teeth crowding again - to my worth being in outward appearance.  My appearance has been not beautiful before and no doubt it will end up that way again, as fleeting beauty...

In no way am I trying to downplay the horrible effects of bullying, which seems so prevelant among young people in our society.  No one deserves to be bullied for their appearance or for any other reason.  If someone you know is being bullied, adult intervention is needed and necessary and if an adult is doing the bullying, I'd contact the police.

So, my friend, what will you have a hard time with in our society if you aren't beautiful?  With measuring up to Hollywood's photoshop and plastic surgery fakeness?  Yes.  I worked for a plastic surgeon and would you believe, the majority of women that came in for a cosmetic procedures were already nice looking women?  They were obsessed with small details like the curve of their nose, or making their breasts bigger to spite a husband who left them, or removing a fold of skin on their belly from carrying a child. Will you have a hard time launching a modeling career?  Yes.  With doing things like public speaking, teaching, blogging, or whatever else God calls you to?  Probably not.  I can think of a dozen women off the top of my head with very public lives with very public "beauty" flaws who do their thing anyway.  They have spaces between their teeth or are the imperfect size or too this or too that by the world's standards. 

Will you be hindered in being kind to others,  having known the harshness and unkindnesses yourself?  I think not.  I think you might find yourself a bit ahead of others in extending grace, having been called pimple-face, fat, ugly, carrot top, or having had your body compared to readily available pornographic images and found lacking in comparision.
Will you have trouble with self-esteem?  Oh, yes.  But then you might realize that self-esteem is a load of quack and the only esteeming you need worry about is remembering who He (God) says you are as His child (perfect, beloved, forgiven, wanted, predestined...)



Rebecca Ann said...

Hannah I loved your honesty with answering the last question from anonymous. Your story sounds like a friend of mine, I won't mention names. Its amazing how God makes one beautiful in His definition of beauty and not the worlds when we are His and belong to the Lord of he Universe. So praise God for His grace!


Theresa said...

Awesome answer to the body image question. I have a 14 year old daughter who is beautiful and tiny. By the worlds standards she "measures" up and yet....she hates everything about herself. Some of the most self loathing people I have known have also been some of the prettiest. God and God alone can make us satisfied with who we are.

Your answer was spot on.

Mrs. Mike and kids said...

Very well put about our body image and also was a comforting message.

anya* said...

I have another question for you:) I very much enjoy your weekly meal-plan posts. It is always fun to get ideas of simple, nutritious meals from other people. When I look at your meals and then the grocery list that follows it I wonder just how you do your grocery shopping for your family? I gather that you get eggs, raw milk and meat from your home- but do you do a big shopping trip bi-monthly to a Costco or warehouse? I find that my weekly lists are much longer than yours. I would love a detailed post about just how you do your grocery shopping as a large family. I hope this isn't too nosy:)But shopping/food prices/budgeting groceries is a topic I regularly discuss with my real-life girlfriends over coffee at the kitchen table.

Cookin said...

Thanks for answering that paint question!! I thought it might have been something more like Annie Sloan chalk paint - but it is so nice to learn that you got such a great effect from this-and-that paints!

jackie said...

as soon as i read that body image comment on the previous post, i knew you would have a good response :)

i also, like anya, would LOVE to hear your answer!!! i've always wondered the same thing. my list is always much longer each week. and do your kids eat snacks? or can you recommend some cheap/healthy/homemade ones/