Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A pancake ten days in the making

I recently decided that I would like to try making sourdough bread. This idea stemmed partly from remembering some yummy sourdough that I made with my mom in grade school as part of a class project, and partly from reading that sourdough baked goods are easier to digest than non-soured versions. Not that E, Hubbo, or I have any problems that we know of with wheat, but if I'm going to make bread at home, might as well try to make sourdough! I learned that even some gluten intolerant people can eat sourdough bread made with wheat flour.

The catch though, is that the health benefits only come from recipes that sour all of the flour, and most recipes I found online don't fit that bill.   "Traditional foods" enthusiasts (a.k.a. people who follow the ideas in that Nourishing Traditions book I mentioned awhile back) do sour all of the flour.  I signed up for a self-paced traditional food-style sourdough eCourse to get me started.  So far, it's been just what I was looking for.

About a week and a half ago, I started my very own sourdough starter with some whole wheat flour and water.  Here it is after a few days (bubbles = good).

My course advised letting the starter develop for a week before using it for anything and waiting several weeks before using it for anything that needs to rise, like bread.  Now that my starter is old enough, I used it for the first time today to make a "skillet pancake."

The scale isn't so obvious here, but this pancake is 12" in diameter!  You just pour all of the batter in the skillet at once to make a giant pancake.  Much easier on the cook that way.  The recipe called for a 10" cast iron skillet, but the closest thing I had was a 12" stainless steel frying pan, and that seemed to work out well.  It tasted pretty good to me, although not noticeably sour, especially for a whole wheat pancake.

E in the tower*
Here's Mr. E checking out the pancake from his learning tower - normally the tower would be right up against the counter, but I had just moved it to take the pancake out of the oven.  I just got the tower for him last week on craigslist (these towers show up pretty frequently on craigslist around here), and it's been a big help when I'm cooking.  He loves to see what I'm doing, and now he can see from the tower.  The first time he stood in it, he realized that he could see the entire counter on his own and his face absolutely lit up!

* "E in the tower" is a reference to the book Powerborn which contains a painting called "Tais in the tower" that I think of every time I talk about E's tower.  The book has really amazing artwork, and the story is pretty good too.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fine motor skills, the Ikea edition

Now that we've gotten our new carpeting - thank you previous owners who could not housetrain your pets - I've been starting to set up the loft area. While I was putting the Ikea bookshelf back together, Mr. Muffin wanted to help put some of the pegs in.

He put in a few extra too!  This was a great unplanned every-day-life-as-learning activity, à la Waldorf style.  After putting in all of these pegs, and a few more, E had really improved his technique, realizing how to hold the pegs in order to put them in.

I also recently finished this book sling for the playroom (a.k.a. dining room) from this tutorial.  With the books displayed this way, the cover art is visible to E, so he can see which book he's picking up.  Hopefully the book sling decreases the pull-every-book-off-the-shelf-to-find-one mess and frustration. 

The plan is to only keep about four books in it at once and to rotate them periodically.  It's a bit too tall for the small boardbooks we have, so those are kept somewhere else (not as neatly...).

Close up

Side view
E helped me make cookies this morning too.  He's keen to watch the stand mixer mix, and lately he's been in to other noise-making kitchen gadgets like the coffee grinder and food processor.  When he sees them, he says "RrrRrrRrr!"

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cubbie cap

It seems to me that baseball cap + small child = cute overload.

You can see E's teething necklace very clearly here.  It's made of amber and I got it from Inspired by Finn back when he was about six months old or so at the recommendation of mamas I met at my local LLL and babywearing groups. I'm not sure if it really helps with teething, but it definitely doesn't hurt.

We had our biggest snowfall of the year so far overnight, all of 3 or 4 inches, I'd say, and E was out helping me shovel again this morning.  With snow boots!

I started knitting a pair of these socks for myself last weekend. I'm making them in to knee socks and don't expect them to be finished before the fall. I've wanted to make them forever - or at least since the pattern came out in 2006 - and I'm glad they're underway, size 0 needles and all.

One more picture of a cutie in a cap!

This picture was totally back-lit when I took it, but through an editing menu in my camera itself that I don't fully understand, I was able to improve it quite a bit.