Raising Jane Journal

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thrifty Thursday and Soup's On

One of my favorite things to search for at thrift stores is books, and so this week I would like to share two of my current favorite book finds.
I picked up Alaska Sourdough over the summer for a few dollars. It was to good to pass up. The down to earth format of this book makes you feel right at home in the tradition of sourdough. It is easily available through Amazon. I did have to laugh the other day when an older version of this book was pictured in an article on old cookbooks in the new issue of Grit magazine. An absolute read. The Bakery Lane Soup Bowl I picked up for 89 cents at our local Goodwill. It is full of recipes for soups, salads and breads from the Bakery Lane Soup Bowl. With the weather turning cold outside these two books make a perfect combination of comfort suppers. Simple, frugal and heartwarming meals of soup and bread are just what's in store for winter.
With that in mind this soup has been on the menu this week. I am great at throw together soup, and the children just love to dig in. This week's soup was a combination of:
1 can tomato juice
1 bottle carrot juice
2 bags of frozen peas
1 bag good quality pasta
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
I find making homemade soups with things I have on hand the easiest and healthiest way to feed my family. On those nights when I'm not feeling well, I can through together a whole food meal in minutes. I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy a pot of homemade soup in the near future. Use what you have on hand and I assure you, your family will love you. You can also view this post over on Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS.


I use to be an avid crafter. In the last few years I had set it aside for other things. I missed that part of my life. For those of you who are crafters you know that when your not working on a project it feels like something is missing. Well it is time to integrate that part of me back in, and so I have a new project. This is a prayer shawl in the making. An opportunity for me to sit and think of others while a practice a skill that is such a part of me. If you have set aside your crafts, I encourage you to pick them back up in the new year. Even if only for a few minutes a day. The benefits of that time of relaxation is worth it in itself, but you will also have something beautiful to pass on to others. An early start on next years Christmas presents.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In the Kitchen

Well it's been a few days and so much has been going on. This is all that is left of the chocolate sourdough cake. It was a huge sucess. I adapted the recipe from the King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook to use 2 1/2 cups white spelt flour and buttermilk instead of milk. It actually made 2 9" cakes. One is unfrosted in the freezer for New Years. The icing is grandma's standby. Powdered sugar mixed with leftover coffee. Yum!!
This is a picture of the cinnamon rolls a made for breakfast with the friendship starter. The recipe was from Friendship Breads by Jackie Gannaway. The icing for this was pure luck. I did not have powdered sugar in the house when I made these. I decided to take 1 cup of turbinado sugar and 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder to the blender until it was a fine powder and then mixed just enough milk to make a icing. Success!!
In other news, I was very excited to find my great grandmother's buttons. They were not in a jar but in a box. My daughter will get to add her great-great grandmother's buttons to her new button jar. For Christmas she also recieved a box of Whitman's chocolates so that she will be able to have a sewing box just like grandma. Things are quieting down here from the holidays and I hope to start a few home projects soon, but for now, it's time to relax.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Morning

The presents have been opened and everyone is happy. While everyone is playing with all the new items, I have been playing in the kitchen. My first batch of water kefir was ready this morning, so I made water kefir lemonade and moved the grains over to a new batch of sugar water. I also whipped up a quick batch of peanut butter cookies that I found over at Heather's Prairie. I did use an all natural peanut butter and organic pure cane sugar. I also added 1 cup of allergen free chocolate chips to the mix. The family is loving them and they were so easy to make. In the oven sits the starter for a chocolate sourdough cake, which I will make later this evening. The starter has been fed and a new batch of buttermilk is up and going. Now off to get ready for the day. Wishing you all a very happy holiday.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Sourdough Update

For those of you following my adventure back to sourdough I thought I'd bring you up to date on what's been going on this week. On Wednesday both the buttermilk and traditional sourdough were ready to go. The buttermilk sourdough was perfect, the traditional needed a little work. I had forgotten that when using spelt flour a cup is not really a cup, it's 1 1/4 cups, do to it's ability to absorb water. So my traditional sourdough looked a little thin. I decided to add 1 cup extra cup of flour, 1/2 cup of water and 2 teaspoon of sugar, to thicken it up and get it active again. After another day of sitting it was looking up. I give each of these a good stir everyday and have left them out to make some holiday treats with. After that they will head to the fridge. The friendship sourdough got a stirring on Thursday (Day 6) and this morning I fed it with an additional 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 cup milk and 1 cup sugar (all organic of course). Now that batch will get a stirring everyday with the others until Monday when I will feed it one more time and it will be ready to use. Hmm, I'm thinking of an after holiday batch of Friendship Cinnamon Rolls. Today I also started a batch of water kefir. You can read more on that over at Marquardt Health Coaching.
On another note, thanks to the wonderful man in my life, all the presents are officially wrapped and under the tree. Well, all but the box of chocolates that my dog decided to unwrap and attempted to snack on. It's is wonderful that he loves to take the kids out and spend time with them. I wish you all a wonderful holiday filled with joy and happiness, and maybe a little sourdough.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thrifty Thursday and a Surprise for Dinner

I have to admit it, I love thrift stores. I am a fan of all things old. Sometimes I am on the hunt for something specific that I would rather not buy new, and sometimes I just browse for something that "speaks to me" as my daughter would say. Thankfully, I have several stores in my area that fit my need.
I've decided to dedicate Thursdays to all those wonderful finds that make there way to my house.
This first one is my favorite. After years of bedding that did not seem to fit my personality or my room, I cam across this beauty for $10. The right size, the right feel, and it suits the room perfectly. Everyday it brings me joy.
Another great find was this yogurt maker. I already own a 2-quart yogurt maker, but I had always wondered about these. $4 was not to be passed up and I have to say that I prefer this individual yogurt maker to the larger size. The yogurt seems to firm up better, and it's grab and go serving sizes.
And last but not least for today, my glass pyrex dish. I use this for everything. I am a huge fan of glass over plastic for many reasons. These are usually used as seperate pieces in my fridge for holding fresh fruit or hard boiled eggs, but today they hold the surprise. My daughter has been requesting pancakes for months. With fresh sourdough on hand ready to be used and fresh buttermilk she is getting pancakes for dinner. What you see here is the starter for tonight's pancakes. It will sit and bubble all day getting ready for me tonight. If all goes well I will post the recipe later.
This post is also in Simple Lives Thursday over at GNOWFGLINS.

Monday, December 19, 2011


My baby (now 8) takes after her momma. She loves sitting quietly and reading, crafting, being in the kitchen...all those homey things. So I decided it was time for her to start building a sewing kit of her own. Project #1: the button jar. Both of my girls were fortunate enough to have met  their great, great grandmothers. Both traditional depression era grandparents. I was fortunate to receive their crafting supplies. So in a hunt for great great grandma's button jar I pulled out the old Whitman's candy box loaded with goodies. Baby food jars filled with beads. Old medicine bottles filled with pins. Mint tins filled with odds and ends. While I did not find the button jar a was looking for, I loved the reminder it gave me of a simpler time. When we reused everything we had. In the end, my daughter was able to start her button jar from mine, not great great grandma's, but a spark has been ignited. To slow down and take a lesson from these women who have gone before us. To pass on both the memories of these people and what they stood for.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Word of the Day

Actuate: To impel, to set in motion; to cause to act.

My hope for this blog.

Sunday Quote

"Sourdough is a magical food!" - Ruth Allman

Sourdough Here, Sourdough There, Sourdough is Everywhere

I love sourdough more than I love buttermilk. It lends amazing flavor to baked goods. I had gotten away from it for a while but this winter weather as me in the mood to be in the kitchen. So this week I started not one but three sourdough starters. Your basic sourdough, a buttermilk sourdough (something new to try with all that buttermilk I have on hand), and lastly a friendship starter. All are extremely easy to start and will lend lots of opportunity to get in the kitchen with the kids and have some fun.
Basic Sourdough Starter:
2 cups flour (I used white spelt), 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon yeast.
Mix together in a half gallon glass jar and let sit in a warm spot, it will bubble up and then settle back down again. Stir once a day for 5 days until nice and sour and the keep in the fridge.
Buttermilk Sourdough Starter:
2 cups flour (again, white spelt), 2 cups buttermilk, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon yeast.
The same rules apply to this starter as for the basic. You may need to add extra buttermilk to thin this out to pancake batter consistancy.
Frienship Sourdough Starter:
1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, and 1 cup sugar.
Mix together and let sit untouched for five days.
I will keep you posted on how things are going and what we are making over the next few days.
Why not start some of your own sourdough starters and bring back a tradition.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Homemade Buttermilk

I love buttermilk. It goes well in so many things. But I also love organic and buttermilk does not come organic in these parts. So today I made up a fresh batch of my own "organic" buttermilk. Using regular store bought buttermilk and organic milk. Now I will have buttermilk ready for all my baking needs.
It's quite simple. In a one quart jar and 3 1/2 cups of milk and 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Seal and shake to mix. Leave in a warm place for about 24 hours until it thickens up. Keep in the fridge ready and waiting. I usually like to start a fresh batch once a week with a 1/2 cup from the current batch. That way I know it is always fresh. Hmm! I am thinking some homemade buttermilk ice cream might be a nice treat for the kids. Does anyone have a good recipe?