Friday, April 30, 2010

Sue Gregg Cookbooks: A review

Ahh . . . Sue Gregg is the Julia Child of my world. 

I started my blog to teach people about whole foods cooking and sustainable living.  People used to ask me how I did the things that I did . . . so instead of writing a bunch of emails, I just started blogging about our weird cooking, eating, and household habits.

But I could give up blogging. 

Sue Gregg has already done the things I set out to do.  And it is in several concise and specific books.  Now I just tell people to get a Sue Gregg cookbook. 

I would recommend two books if you are starting out on your whole foods journey or you are looking for a gift to answer  a friend’s questions about eating healthy. 




Both books provide you with an excellent foundation in whole foods cooking that isn’t overwhelming.  If you never learned about various types of grains, sugars, portion sizes, freezing, and nutrition . . . these two books are for you!  Included is a basic list of items you should have in your pantry! 

Once again, what I savor about Sue Gregg is that her philosophy lines up with ours as she avoids the foods outlined in Leviticus, which I have blogged about previously.  Though we are no longer under the law because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, there really is scientific evidence why eating pork and shellfish “don’t do a body good!” Additionally, She provides a fabulous Bible Study to keep the proper perspective on food.  Jesus truly is the source and the bread of life! 

Thumbs up for Sue Gregg.  I have 100% enjoyed reviewing her books and they have left me craving more of her work, specifically these cookbooks:

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The cookbooks are affordable and help you to cook healthy meals for your family on a reasonable budget!!!

Visit Sue Gregg’s website . . . she even has some free tutorials and recipes on there

Nope . . . I am not being paid for this post, though it may sound like it.  I just think this is a really good product! 

For more reviews, visit The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew Review Blog.

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Whole Grain Baking: A Review

Well, the day has finally arrived.  My Sue Gregg review is due.  And I had to come face to face with grinding that sprouted grain and using it to bake bread. 

image (Click the book to download a pdf of PART of the book.)

Through this experience I learned that some whole foods cooking, particularly baking nutritious breads, takes more patience and time than others.  And by far, this process in particular took me a very long time to procure results. 

Sadly, my results weren’t that great.  But don’t think that is Sue Gregg’s fault.  (She even gives some tips and tricks in the book.)  I am used to my simplified method of baking bread, having given up how I used to make bread each week. 

Not having spoken with Sue Gregg, I am not going to give you the recipe that I used, but I will show you the steps in order.

Step One:  Proofing

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Step Two:  Grinding of Sprouted Grain

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sprouted bread 006(I decided that I like grinding sprouted grain better.) 

Step 3:  Blend liquid ingredients in mixing bowl

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Step 4:  Mix flour with yeast mixture

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Step 5:  Knead for 20 minutes

  sprouted bread 010(I cheated and used my stationery mixer.)

Step 6:  1st Rise – about 1-1 1/2 hours

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After the prescribed length of time . . . my dough had hardly risen, though I had kept it in a warm location.

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Step 7:  2nd rise – about 45 minutes.  So I left the dough to sit in the microwave the rest of the day.

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Step 8:  Punch the dough and let it rest.  I skipped this because we needed to eat dinner. 

Step 9:  Shape dough and bake.  We opted to split the dough in half.  I made one loaf of bread and dinner rolls.

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The rolls tasted much better than the bread . . . which was dry and somewhat hard.  I’m not going to give up on this bread making from scratch, but I definitely need to devote another  day at home the next time I attempt to grow some bread again!   

We did make something super, duper yummy . . .  and I have made these Cinnamon Scones multiple times.   

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What I love about Sue Gregg’s cookbooks are the bountiful amounts of information contained in each book, both spiritually and nutritionally.  Reading her cookbook is education, Julia Child, and a Bible Study all in one. 

For more Sue Gregg reviews, visit The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew Review blog.   And stay tuned . . . I’m going to be showing you a bunch of things that we made from Sue Gregg’s Meals In Minutes cookbook. 

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Giveaway #8: Hazelwood Necklace

I like unusual necklaces.  And if jewelry can have some medicinal properties to it . . . even better.

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If you all will remember, the beginning of my pregnancy felt like God had placed me in a dingy in the middle of a turbulent ocean.  Unlike the disciples, I didn’t have Jesus sleeping peacefully at my feet to wake Him up and calm the seas of my stomach.  (Yes, trust me – I prayed.  But being sick just happens when you are pregnant.  I attribute it to that little predicate that happened in the garden . . . stupid snake.  Adam and Eve, I would have appreciated a little bit of obedience.)


Thankfully, I am out of that stage . . . or my necklace is covering up the nausea.  Either way, I am glad.

So, to show all you pregnant woman that I’m there for you . . . here is your chance to try out a natural way of alleviating your pregnancy nausea. 


Inspired by Finn has once again partnered with me to offer a giveaway.  For this giveaway you may enter to win ONE 16 inch or SMALLER hazelwood necklace that is in stock. 


How to Enter (and yes my friends and family can enter . . . I use to pick the winner . . . and you aren't friends with Mr. Random.  No one is. So enter to win ON MY BLOG NOT through a FACEBOOK COMMENT.)

Mandatory:  Tell me who you would give this to, or how far along you are in your pregnancy.

Optional Entries (meaning write a new and separate comment for each)

  1. Become a fan of my blog (look over on the right sidebar) and tell me that you are or already were.  A little avatar will show up when you follow me through Google Connect.
  2. Subscribe to the Granola Mom 4 God Feedburner – meaning you will get me in your in-box! 
  3. Visit Inspired by Finn and tell me what your favorite hazelwood necklace is. 
  4. Tell me something you learned about the benefits of wearing a hazelwood necklace.
  5. Blog about this giveaway linking to this post.
  6. Like Inspired by Finn on Facebook and let me know.
  7. Place my Granola Mom 4 God button in a visible location on your blog.
  8. Purchase something from Inspired by Finn and receive 20% off using the discount code BLOG68.

Giveaway Ends:  On my birthday!  Thursday, May 13, 2010.

US and Canada residents only!

Making Kefir with Kefir Grains

I talk about kefir a lot, but I realized (due to a comment someone left not that long ago), that I have never done a tutorial on how I make kefir. 

I learned from my friend, Sarah.  So I can’t take the credit for this beverage that is often on my countertop. 

Actually, everything that I know, I learned from someone.

I use Kefir grains as opposed to powder.  When making kefir with a powdered culture, the potency of the kefir eventually deteriorates and you have to buy more culture.  Whereas the kefir grains keep growing and producing, kind of like rabbits.

It is quite a simple process.

I start out with a jar of kefir that has some grains in it.  They have already turned the milk into kefir. If you’ll notice, the lumpy part on top is the current location of my kefir grains.

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I know that my grains are ready to emerge from the kefir beverage and go swimming in a new jar of milk due to the smell and texture of the product in the jar.  A completed kefir smells a little bit like beer and is slightly bubbled on top.  If I shake the jar, the kefir will wiggle like Jell-O, but no liquid emerges like from a hamburger cooked medium to medium-well. 

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If you use raw or at least non-homogenized milk, you will notice a separation of milk and cream.  The top will be slightly yellow and significantly thicker than the bottom of the kefir jar.  Note:  you can make kefir with pasteurized and homogenized milk. 

I can also see that my kefir is finished because of the little bubbles throughout the jar that you can barely see in the above picture. 

Next, I scoop out my grains.  Typically, I use a plastic spoon.  I once heard that you aren’t supposed to use metal when dealing with grains.

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I don’t normally wash my grains off, but I thought you might like to see what you are really dealing with.  Kind of looks like brains if you ask me.  Except, these grow and populate! 

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I drop the grains into a clean mason jar. 

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And fill it with milk.

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I let it sit on the countertop covered loosely with a lid for 12-24 hours.  It just depends on how warm my house is. 

Once the milk has fermented . . . I start the process all over again.

We use kefir for smoothies, making salad dressings, or soaking our grains. 

I have yet to purchase grains, but if you wanted to, I would recommend Cultures for Health.  You can also learn more about kefir at The Kefir Lady.

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Winners Announced

And the Tropical Traditions Baby Silk Moisturizing Cream winner is:

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Rachel over at A Mom’s Rantings.  Thanks for subscribing to my blog!


The winner of the 18 x 24 Photo to Poster giveaway is:

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my good friend, Sarah, (who needed a pick-me-up today) over at Train Up a Child.  You should check out her blog, because she is hosting a Strider Bike Giveaway!  


(P.S. You ladies have 48 hours to respond to me via email!)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Wonder Hanger: A Review

I had a pile of shirts.

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I had two helpers.

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I know for a fact we have to start keeping our house looking nice. 


Wonder Hanger

So, I thought the Wonder Hanger ($9.99 plus shipping) would be a great product to review.  (A special thanks to MamaBuzz for hooking me up.) 

What is the Wonder Hanger?

Wonder Hanger

(By the way, that is not me . . . hah!  Imagine if my closet looked like that! Or I was pregnant without a bump!)

The Wonder Hanger® is an affordable tool that's great for any Spring Cleaning features. This cascading clothes organizer increases closet space by enabling you to stack clothes vertically.  Each Wonder Hanger holds 5 wood, metal or plastic hangers.  There are 8 hangers to a package – enough to hang 40 garments. The open-mouth design allows you to easily add or remove your jackets, skirts, pants and shirts. Supporting up to 20 pounds, it can hold up to 5 heavy winter jackets.

You can use it to group complete outfits or similar items, organize by color or season, and hang handbags or belts.   It retails for $9.99 and can be purchased at major retail chains including Walmart, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and CVS and online at

With a little elbow grease the boys and I were able to assemble the Wonder Hanger.  The first time I placed the hangers on the Wonder Hanger . . . umm . . . they all fell off!  However, once I solved the (ahem) operator problem, the clothes hung nicely.

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And when I was ready to make more room in the closet, the Wonder Hanger folded down just like they show you on the video from their website! (Note:  Make sure you have your volume turned down if you view the website!)

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The clever gadget worked.  But would I buy it?  Probably not.  Instead of having cluttered closets, we simply purged and donated to Good Will recently.  I am finding it refreshing to not have so much STUFF around. 

But . . . if you would like to win one of these inventions, that can be quite useful, head on over to MamaBuzz and you will see not only that blog BUT several other ladies hosting giveaways for the Wonder Hanger.

I received the Wonder Hanger for free and I do not have to return the product.

One Word Wednesday: Honey

I have always struggled with whether or not to use my children’s real names.  I’ve opted to err on the side of caution, or maybe paranoia.  But I’m going to let you know ONE of my children’s names.

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He would correct you anyway, if you didn’t call him by his CHOSEN name.

Not his GIVEN name, which is RICH with meaning.

So, say goodbye to Mr. Me-Too, who is no longer a toddler and soon to exit Tot School postings . . . and meet “Honey.”

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Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  Proverbs 16:24

I’m Gonna Tell You Something But . . .

. . . don’t go enter the giveaway. (Did I just write that?)

Is that wrong?  Selfish?

OK . . . I know it is both.  But at least I am honest.

My bloggy friend, Carisa, is hosting a giveaway of something that I have been trying to win for a while now.  You can go to her website to read more about it.  (Insert subliminal message:  Don’t go.  Go get a coffee instead.  Go outside.  Look at the dishes in the sink.  Shouldn’t you wash them?)

I really want this in CD format because it would make my life simpler.  At least it would make Tot School a little simpler for next year—when I have  a new student.


Erica, over at Confessions of a Homeschooler, is graciously allowing Carisa to host a giveaway of this GREAT printable curriculum.  You can get it for free at Erica’s site, or pay $10 and get it as a bundle and reward Erica for her hard work!

So, now that I have blogged about it . . . forget that you ever read this post!

I’m warped.  I know. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

We Still Do Tot School

Tot School

 Mr. Me-Too is currently 45 months old.

It’s been a bit of a rocky start to our week, so I thought I would post pictures from some elements of our Tot School over the past 6 weeks.  I need a little bit of a reminder of some of the fun we have had.

It’s been a long time since I’ve given you a peak into our school day.  But just so you know, we still do Tot School.  And don’t think that I am wonder mom—these pictures are from SEVERAL weeks!

Here we go:

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We have been working through the alphabet, creating animal letters as we go.  I have roughly 6 websites that I rely on to keep me inspired for our “letter learning.”  Whenever I get an email from Totally Tots, Confessions of a Homeschooler, 1+1+1=1, Spell Out Loud, Delightful Learning, or Homeschool Creations and it relates to the alphabet, I save it into a folder.  Then, instead of searching on the internet, it is ready to go when I need it on my computer. 


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N for Nest . . .

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We did O for Ostrich . . . but I don’t have a picture.

And P for Penguin . . .

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More letter activities included, Handwriting Without Tears practice workbook and wood letters. 

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We are still plodding away through All About Spelling.  I gave Mr. Me-Too the sound and he had to put the alphabet magnet on the correct letter.

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This was a tot tray that was alphabet related and inspired by Carisa’s bottle cap alphabet activity.  In this tray, Mr. Me-Too had to match the letter to the correct alphabet bottle cap.

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Mr. Smackdown (5) loved the paintbrush sweeping, but Mr. Me-Too got super duper frustrated with the glitter.  I switched his tray to beans . . . but he still got mad at moving the beans with the paintbrush.  He just wanted to use his fingers!

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Tearing tickets is a favorite at our house. 

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Followed by placing them in a jar. 

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Don’t ask me how I came up with this next tot tray.  It is rather unusual.  I cut a square in a toilet paper roll.  Mr. Me-Too had to drop the beans through the hole down into the mini-pail.  He was frustrated with the fine motor skills required . . . but that can be a good thing – his brain and hands had to work together. 

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Counting Bear Math . . .

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Discovery Toys Alphabet Fishing . . .

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Sorting household items . . .

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Spooning and sifting rice . . .

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Tracing . . .

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Well, the troops are done with rest time.  Which means . . . time for me to get off of the computer.

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