Archive for March, 2010

Homeschooling Reads

These rainy days have kept us cozy, and we have been reading so many good books.  Homeschooling allows us the freedom to read whenever and whatever we want.  We frequent the library a bunch and even have a homeschooling book group that has chosen the best books…  I highly recommend 21 Ballons by William Pene DuBois, and then we just finished Call it Courage by Armstrong Perry.  These were both Newberry winners, but I had never heard of them.  My kids, ages 6 & 7, both thoroughly enjoyed these books’ adventures, the latter being a little scary in places but still a great read.   We also just finished The Golden Years, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which was such a treat.  This year we have focused on mid to late 19th century pioneer history.  We read the whole Little House Series, supplemented with short stories about Western Ho,  wagon rides, homesteading, and Native Americans.  The kids did a play, “Gold Fever,”  based on another great book, By the Great Horn Spoon, by Sid Fleichman in their homeschool class.   We also just finished another book that played in to our weekend plans, Patty Reed’s Doll, which was an account of the Donner Party.  The visit to the Donner State Park Museum along with the book provided much discussion and interest.  

I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way…


Top Three Winter Recipes in Our House

"My Mean Lentil Bean"

We all have “go to” recipes…. the ones that we don’t need a cook book for, or the ones that people ask for and we can write it down, or sometimes we can’t because we just “do it.”  For me, the winter months are synonymous for hearty soups and meat and of course the chicken broth makes it…   Here are some of mine for these winter months:

Lentil Bean Soup/Split Pea Soup —- key ingredient here is the “good bacon”

Chicken soup/Tortilla soup

Root Mash

All of these recipes are total hearty kid pleasers,  and it is the homemade chicken broth and garlic what makes them.  In a pinch  I use Imagine Brand Chicken Broth, but mostly I make my homemade broth (Nourishing Traditions Recipe) from my roast chicken carcass or a whole chicken.  I saute onions, carrots and celery and  add water, apple cider vinegar and lemon and boil and then simmer for 12-24 hours.

Super Super Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

I absolutely love tortilla soup.  It is what I order most often when we go to a Mexican food restaurant.  Some of them get it right, and others not so much.  I have tried many recipes but get turned off by the preparation work and time.  So I was most excited, when a friend gave me this easy recipe.  I feel like it is cheating a little bit, but it is sooo good that well I really don’t care that I use packaged salsa.  (SHHHHH)  

Prepare your chicken by either boiling or roasting and cut up the chicken pieces. I usually use the whole chicken.  

Super Easy Tortilla Soup

– cut chicken pieces

-corn – either frozen or cut off the cob

– container of  “good” chunky salsa

–  5 cups of  homemade chicken broth

– 1 onion, garlic, cumin and coriander

– cilantro, avocado, jack cheese, and fried tortilla strips (the best part)

Saute onion and garlic.  Add some cumin and coriander, salt and pepper.   Add chicken broth.  Bring to a slow boil.  Add the corn,  salsa and chicken. 

While the soup simmers, fry the  corn tortilla strips in oil ( I usually use coconut  or olive), cube the cheese and avocado.

SOOOOO easy…. Enjoy the soup with all the garnishes…