Friday, July 29, 2011

My Favorite Lunch

Oh how I love pizza!

We don't eat it very often since we took wheat out of our everyday diet.

But every once in a while I'll make homemade spelt pizza.

Today was one of those days.

I topped mine with onions, garlic, thinly sliced local tomatoes, sharp cheddar, & fresh local spinach.

The Lunch Lady

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Box Day #...

I lost track but it's FULL of Science kits.

From Wind Power to Kitchen Chemistry Kits, it's gonna be fun!

I've decided to do Science every Wednesday this school year.

It seriously was like Christmas when I opened the box, complete with paper being whipped about.

I put almost everything back in the box, MUCH to the boy's chagrin.

I think Science is going to be a favorite subject this year.

Gotta keep learning fun,
The Lunch Lady


I recently watched "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" on Netflix. What an eye opener! I'm not obese and it still spoke volumes to me. I highly suggest you watch it if you can.

A year or so ago, my mom gave me her juicer that she wasn't using anymore.  I never used it. It was still sitting in the bag under the uh....oil tank in my pantry/utility room.  I pulled heavy contraption out and schlept it up the stairs to the kitchen.  It took me a while to figure out how to set it up.

I washed the veggies (Organic Kale, carrots, lemon, green apple, and swiss chard seem to be the winning combination) and juiced them up.

Wow!  It definitely tasted green but lemony and green apple-ly.  The crazy thing is that after I drank it, I felt like my cells were singing the Hallelujah chorus. They were seriously playing ping pong with each other.  They were happy.

It's better than a coffee rush.
The Lunch Lady

The Salsa

Yesterday we had "The Cousins" over to play while the mamas made salsa.
And boy did we make salsa!
18 pints of fresh salsa made with organic & local ingredients.
We decided to forego traditional canning methods & try our hand at "lacto-fermentation."

The Cousins

Monday, July 25, 2011

Keeping Cool, Boy Style

We've been down to one vehicle for part of the summer and it's kept us at home. Without a pool.  The past four summers have been filled with almost daily trips to the town pool (and some serious tans.)

So, this year we had to get creative. We, meaning, the boys.

Logan figured out that he could put a rubber band around the hose spigot to get a nice sprinkler type of spray.

I love the double rainbow in this shot.

These photos were all taken with my IPhone 4 and I used Instagram filters.

My favorite Bear face!

The Lunch Lady

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Raw Cauliflower Salad - Patriotic Style

I made this salad on a whim for a 4th of July Picnic our family was attending.

I had gone to my local farmers market on Saturday and picked up some beautiful heads of cauliflower in purple and white. They were just sitting on my counter begging to be turned into something yummy.

I found a recipe on that I adapted to my tastes and ingredients.

Start by finely cutting up the cauliflower into bite size "fit in your mouth" pieces.  There's nothing worse than eating food that doesn't fit in your mouth.  Okay. I can think of a lot of worse things. Nevermind.

If you have a glass bowl. Use it.

We're all about pretty here. Let's display it, shall we?

I added a bag of frozen organic peas.

It reminds me of my mom's 7 layer salad that she used to make. My favorite part was the peas. And the bacon.  This would be great topped with bacon. I just didn't have any.

So we are making layers here.

A layer of cauliflower, grape tomatoes, peas, and then Romaine.


It looks so pretty from the side, no?

Next we make the dressing.

Mayo, paprika, pepper, grated cheese, garlic powder, and a bit of raw red onion.

Mix it up.

It's kind of lumpy but you're going to have to trust me on this.

It's worth it.

Pour the dressing over the top of the salad.

Don't mix it in.

Just leave it alone.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator.

In about an hour, the dressing will have settled all the way to the bottom.  You can mix it up a little if you really can't hold back.

  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, torn

  • 1 large head cauliflower, broken into florets

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

  • 1/8 cup sweetener (I used Agave Nectar)

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used Pecorino Romano)

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • a couple of shakes of garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper

  • frozen peas

  • 1/2 pint of grape tomatoes, sliced in half

  • Layer the vegetable ingredients.
    Mix the dressing. Pour over the top, cover, and refrigerate.

    It's a beautiful looking salad and tastes wonderful.

    I had seconds thirds,
    The Lunch Lady

    How to Make Kombucha


    Ever heard of it?

    I hadn't till just a few years ago.

    My husband started buying it when he read that it boosts your immune system and has a lot of digestive benefits.  He's like that. He does all this great research and is very pro-active about his health.

    Then a friend mentioned that she made it.

    Then my sister recently mentioned that she makes it.  She has 9 kids.  Yep. I said 9. Beautiful kids.

    She sent me this.

    It looks super gross. I admit it. But it's a very good thing.  It's a SCOBY. (Not to be confused with Scooby, as in Doo)

    My 9 year old son calls it the "Alien Egg Sac."

    He still drinks it.

    SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.  This funky object is alive.

    It's changes sweet tea into Kombucha and becomes a healthy probiotic.  You have to start with a Scoby to make Kombucha. 

    Local peeps...I have plenty to share for free.  I'm also happy to send one if you will pay for shipping.

    You can also grow one from a store-bought Kombucha tea bottle. Google for instructions.

    How To:
    Most importantly, you need to keep everything clean.  I stick my jars in the dishwasher. 

    I make a double batch since we are a family of 6 and drink it frequently.  The process takes 10-14 days depending on how quickly your batch is ready.  I recently started making my batches 3 days apart because  3 1/2 quarts won't last us 9 days.  This way I always have a enough Kombucha.

    Day 1:
    1. Boil one quart of filtered water
    2. Add 4 tea bags and allow to steep for 20 minutes. (use Green, Black, or White Tea only. No Herbal)
    3. Stir in 3/4 cup of sugar and allow to cool. (I use organic sugar.  The sugar gets "eaten" so there isn't any left when you drink it. It doesn't work with Honey or other sweeteners)
    4. Pour the tea into a half-gallon glass canning jar and fill with cool filtered water.
    5. Add the SCOBY and 1/2 cup of Kombucha from the last batch as a starter.
    6. Cover jar with a clean tea towel and rubber band.
    7. Let it sit undisturbed in a dark place for about 5-10 days.  The longer it sits, the less sweet it will be. (Sample with a straw if you like)  9 days is average. (My last batch "smelled" ready at Day smells like cider vinegar)  I put my the jar in a cabinet.

    Day 10 (or sooner)
    1.  Remove the SCOBY from the jar and place it on a plate.
    2. Reserve 1/2 cup of Kombucha to start the next batch.  I store the SCOBY and reserve in a pint canning jar.
    3. Pour the kombucha into glass jars.  I just use quart sized canning jars and recycled Trader Joe's mayo lids. They fit perfectly and give the needed seal to keep the fizz in. I run the Kombucha through a mesh strainer.
    4. Allow the bottles to sit at room temperature for 5 days.  I just stick them back in the cabinet.  This improves flavor and adds carbonation. After 5 days, refrigerate.
    5. Enjoy.  It's like Natural soda. Some folks liken it to dry champagne.

    I double the recipe and use a gallon jar.  (I got these from a Goat Farm that sells their yogurt in them. I now have 3 of them so it works well when I make several batches) I believe you can buy something similar at Walmart.

    Don't use any tea with oils in them.

    Only allow children to drink 1/4 cup per serving.  It's a strong probiotic.  You don't need too much. (Plus it's naturally fermented so they really don't need to giggle. Um...I don't speak from experience)

    When you remove the Scoby from your new batch of tea there will be a new one growing on the bottom of the original one.  This is the baby.  You can use this one for another batch, or give it away, or chop it up and put it in outdoor plants as fertilizer.  I put my extra ones in a glass jar with some tea for other batches.

    I like to use Organic Decaf Green Tea which I buy for a little under $3.  I use less than half of the box at a time.  So I have Organic Kombucha for $1.50 a gallon.  Often one small bottle of store-bought kombucha is $3.50.

    Do the math.
    The Lunch Lady

    Instructions are from

    Friday, July 8, 2011

    Simple Salads and Berry Stands

    I'm a HUGE salad fan. Breakfast, Lunch, and dinner.

    I try to eat as much raw food as possible, especially when local produce is so plentiful and beautiful in the summer. And cheap.

    I love the beautiful colors. 

    So we opened a Berry Stand. It's our short term family business.

    I have SO many berries. The bushes are bursting.  In the past 5 years that we have lived here, I would pick every 2 days.  This year I have to pick every day.

    I thought we might as well capitalize on our over abundance.

    My younger two boys jumped at the chance to "man" the stand.  I just was thinking of putting up some signs and leaving the cooler at the top of the driveway for folks to help themselves.  L3 and L4 were so excited to help that they take one of the signs and hold it up every time someone drives by. 

    Now you need the back story.  There's always a back story.

    We live on a mountain on the edge of the countryside.  That means there's not a lot of traffic on our street.

    But those boys are determined.

    They sold 3 quarts yesterday.  They were outside for hours before dinner in the hot sun and went right back to it after dinner.

    Little Businessmen. 

    It's much more lucrative than a glass of Lemonade.
    The Lunch Lady


    Skillet Cobbler

    Oh this one is GOOD! It was love at first BITE.

    We slurped, scarfed, snarfed the entire thing up for breakfast on Monday.

    It's easy.  Just a few ingredients, Lunch Lady Style.

    And it's substitutable.  Use whatever fruit you have.

    I mixed it up.  I had a few apples, some blueberries, one apricot, one nectarine...

    and some wild raspberries.

    This is a good recipe for sad fruit.  You know, the bruised dried out ones that aren't that great to eat fresh but are great for baking with.  Just cut out the bruises and throw away anything that's moldy.

    This cobbler is made in an iron skillet.  Of course you can use a glass baking dish if you like, but there's just something awesome about sauteeing and baking in the same pan.

    I'm in love with my iron skillet.  I use it almost daily but usually not for breakfast.  It was time to break out the breakfast skillet.

    Add a little butter and dump in the cut up fruit, 4 pints worth which is how many cups class?

    8. Very good. 

    I'm sorry. I'm back in my teacher mode.  As a homeschooling mommy, I am utilizing this non-teaching time during the summer to start planning the next school year.  We JUST decided to homeschool another year.  We had a brief toss up with public and charter school but we feel that another year studying the subjects that the boys choose and need to study will do them more good.  My goal is to keep the older 2 boys very busy. 

    Okay. Back to the skillet.

    8 cups sounds like a lot but if you use a couple of apples or peaches, it fills up that measuring cup fast.

    I also don't cook the raspberries.

    Now it's time to make the topping.  It's kind of biscuit-like. Just a few ingredients.

    Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and butter.

    Mix it up with a pastry blender if you don't want to get your hands dirty.

    Add one cup of buttermilk. Or, if you're like me, just add a cup of milk.  I couldn't even be bothered with the faux buttermilk trick. (Add vinegar to the milk)

    Milk works just great.

    Oops. A little sideways.

    Add the berries and remove from the heat.

    Add the dough in spoonfuls.

    Spread a teensy bit of brown sugar over the top.

    Just a sprinkle.

    I dotted it with butter the first time a made this and skipped this step altogether when I made an Apple Berry one yesterday and didn't notice a difference.

    Two less tablespoons of butter is less calories ya gotta deal with.

    Bake it for about 20 minutes on 425 and 10 minutes on 375,

    The topping spreads out and becomes a golden brown crust.


    Egg-free. Very Low Sugar. Whole grain.


    Skillet Cobbler
    2 Tablespoons butter
    4 pints of fruit
    2 cups spelt flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 Tablespoon brown sugar
    1/2 stick butter, softened
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
    1 Tablespoon brown sugar
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F)
    Wash and cut fruit.
    Heat the skillet on medium heat and melt butter, add fruit and cook for 5 minutes.
    Mix dry ingredients and cut in butter.  Add buttermilk and vanilla.
    Remove pan from heat. Spoon dough on top. Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon brown sugar.
    Bake at 425 for 20 minutes
    Lower the temperature to 375 and bake an additional 8-10 minutes.
    The Lunch Lady