Monday, July 26, 2010

Crystallized Ginger Recipes

Last week I gave you a recipe for making your own crystallized ginger. Today I'm giving you some recipes that call for crystallized ginger.

Gingerbread Scones
(I don't remember where this one came from)
2 cups flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter
1 egg
3 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 - 1 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Cut in butter. Add egg, molasses, milk, vanilla, ginger, and raisins; stir just until combined. Pat into 8" circle on ungreased cookie sheet. Using a floured knife, cut into 8 wedges. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Note: The original recipe didn't call for crystallized ginger, but I think it makes a great addition.

Soft Ginger Cookies
(from King Arthur Flour)
1 stick butter, softened
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
1/2 cup soft diced ginger (crystallized ginger may be substituted, finely chopped)
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup light molasses

Cream the butter, sugar, spices, salt, and baking soda until well blended. Beat in the egg and ginger, then the flour, alternately with the molasses. Refrigerate the dough for several hours or overnight; it needs to be stiff enough to handle easily.

Roll half the dough about 1/4" thick on a floured surface. Cut into whatever shapes you like. Transfer cookies to an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until they're puffy and the edges are firm. Remove them from the oven and cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Run to the kitchen and get started! Don't forget a glass of cold milk. You're gonna need it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Homemade Crystallized Ginger

I love adding little pieces of cyrstallized ginger to my gingerbread man cookies and gingerbread scones, but it's so expensive! At least it is in my town. I can't remember how much it is at Whole Foods, but it really doesn't matter since the nearest one is about 3 hours away. On the rare occasion I'm there, I buy a big bag. I searched the internet and found a recipe that sounded good. It was! I tweaked it just a tad and here it is.

10 oz fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1/4 cup water

Combine ginger, 2 cups sugar, and water in a large, heavy pan. Bring to a very slow simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours. The ginger will become translucent and the sugar will crystallize on the edge of the pan. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar on baking sheet. Lay drained ginger on sugar. Toss the ginger in the sugar when the ginger has cooled enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Store in airtight container. The syrup that's left in the pan can be used on pancakes.

A word of caution: if you're used to the store-bought kind, try a SMALL piece of this. It'll light you up. I don't think I'll dump a cup of this in my gingerbread man cookies. Maybe half a cup. Or maybe a fourth.

And now for some pictures. Because I like pictures :)

Scrape the skin off the ginger with a spoon.

Unpeeled ginger and peeled ginger.

I sliced it as thin as I could.


Just out of the pan and HOT.

All done!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Accidentally Stole a Watermelon

I know what you're thinking. "How can you accidentally steal a watermelon?!" Well, I'll tell you in a minute. My husband asked the same question when I sent him a message last week asking him to go by the grocery store and pay for it. He e-mailed our family the conversation he thought he would have with the manager. Our family thought this was hilarious so, against my better judgement, I've reproduced this hypothetical conversation below. I hope it brings you a chuckle.

Hubby: My wife accidentally stole a watermelon from your store this morning.
Manager: Oh yeah? How did that happen?
Hubby: I have no idea. My wife told me to go pay for it.
Manager: So she can get out of jail?
Hubby: I don't think so.
Manager: We don't have a way to ring that up.
Hubby: Silence.
Manager: How much was it?
Hubby: I have no idea.
Manager: What was the bar code?
Hubby: You've got to be kidding!
Manager: What kind of melon was it?
Hubby: I have no idea.
Manager: Are you sure she "accidentally" stole just one?
Hubby: She only mentioned one.
Manager: I guess she got it from the box outside?
Hubby: I don't think that would be an accident.
Manager: I don’t think so either.
Hubby: So how do you want to do this?
Manager: I have no idea!

So this is what happened...
After an hour at the library and an hour at WalMart (where I had to park half a mile from the store in 98-degree weather) with two kids, I stopped at Krogers. I was pushing one of those buggies with the car on the front. The kids were "driving" and honking at the other customers. I put the watermelon under the buggy to leave room in the buggy for shopping bags (save the planet!), strawberries, cherries, lettuce, bananas, onions, tofu, brisket, chicken, cheese, 3 gallons of milk, and eggs. After unloading (what I thought was all) my groceries onto the conveyor belt, making sure there were still two kids in the "car," and handing over my loyalty card so as not to be overcharged $30, I began sacking my groceries. (I was excited to do this because it meant there was no way the brisket was gonna end up on top of the bananas.) I ran my credit card through the machine, signed the electronic dotted line, and went outside to load stuff in the car. I got half the groceries unpacked when I saw that @%#*$% watermelon. No way was I gonna leave the groceries (including the butter and chocolate I had gotten at WalMart) and take two kids BACK into Krogers to pay for a $7 watermelon.

My sweet hubby did swing by Krogers and pay for the watermelon :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Where to Begin

Homeschooling can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. My daughter will be starting first grade this fall. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a boxed curriculum, I decided to create my own. There are several places to find a curriculum or scope and sequence for various grade levels. You might be able to get one from your local public or private school. Here are some websites I consulted:

A Beka scope and sequence nursery through grade 12
Time 4 Learning scope and sequence preschool through grade 8
BJU Press scope and sequence preschool through grade 12

I found a couple of textbooks at Goodwill and the Women's Shelter Resale Shop. A friend of mine who is no longer homeschooling gave me some books. Most of our "textbooks" will come from our public library and university library. I picked up a math workbook at the Women's Shelter for $0.59! And it just happens to be the level we need! If I hadn't found that, I was planning to buy the workbooks from Horizons. My cousin uses their math curriculum so I got to look over hers and I really liked it. I may use it next year.

The following sites have a variety of worksheets, activities, and crafts. Some of the activities would be fun for kids to do on the weekends or during summer, not just for homeschooling. Some of the sites are geared toward younger kids.

A to Z Teacher Stuff
Easy Fun School
Family Education
TLS Books
The Home School Mom
Super Teacher Worksheets
DLTK's Sites

If you've been homeschooling for a while, you probably have a list of favorite sites. If you're just getting started, I hope these will help you. I think I've got a science activity/experiment for every week! I'll probably be posting some sites by topic later. Having them categorized is helping me find what I want more easily.