Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pajama Day and a Great Bread Recipe

Sunday we celebrated Pajama Day, where we wore our jammies all day and just stayed home. The girls read books and played games including Bingo, Blink, and Boggle. I did a ton of cooking -- homemade yogurt, homemade bread, roasted chicken -- and washed and folded all the laundry. It was the most relaxing day I've had in a long time.

I want to share the Easy Multigrain Sandwich Bread, which I adapted from the March/April 2006 issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine

I love how they use multigrain hot cereal mix to provide the nutrition of the multiple grains without them making the bread heavy and dense. This is a nice subtly sweet sandwich bread. We're having some now for lunch with Watermelon, Orange, and Feta Salad.

Easy Multigrain Sandwich Bread

Place 1 ¼ cups multigrain hot cereal mix in a medium mixing bowl and pour 2 ½ cups of boiling water over. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until mixture cools to 100 degrees and resembles thick porridge, about 1 hour.

Combine 3 cups all purpose flour and 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour in another medium bowl.

Melt 4 T unsalted butter and let cool.

Once grain mixture has cooled, add ¼ cup golden syrup, melted butter, and one packet of active dry yeast. Stir to combine. Add flour mixture, ½ cup at a time, and stir. Knead for two minutes until a ball of dough has formed. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a clean floured surface. Sprinkle with 1 T table salt and knead for 5 minutes. (Optional: add ¾ pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds and knead another minute.)
Dough should form a smooth taut ball. Place dough in large greased mixing bowl with 4 quart capacity, turn dough so that it is oiled all over, cover, and let rise until doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.

Grease two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.

Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and pat into 12 by 9 inch rectangle. Cut dough in half crosswise.

Shape each piece into a loaf as follows. With short side facing you, starting at farthest end, roll dough piece into a log. Keep roll taut by tucking it under itself as you go. To seal loaf, pinch seam gently with thumb and forefinger. Spray loaves lightly with water. Roll each dough log in ¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats. Coat evenly. Place loaf seam-side down into greased loaf pan, pressing gently into corners. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled in size, 30 to 40 minutes. Dough should barely spring back when poked with a knuckle.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 375 degrees.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until internal temperature registers 200 degrees on instant-read thermometer. Remove loaves from pan and cool on wire rack before slicing, about 3 hours.

Yield: 2 loaves

Storage: Bread can be wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for 3 days. Wrap with an additional layer of aluminum foil and freeze for up to one month.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Edible Landscaping

One of the things that I've become interested in lately is Edible Landscaping (both personally at home and as a way to increase what we are able to grow at school). I'm pretty overwhelmed, though, by all the books that are now available about this topic. Here's the list I've gathered.

Next I will start looking at the library for those that I can find and I will post reviews and which ones are my favorites. If you have one of these books and you love it, please please let me know.

And I've learned something new already... an artichoke is a flower!

My Grains Project

My project for the Maryland "Agriculture in the Classroom" workshop that I attended this June is a PowerPoint presentation (required) used to kick off a unit on Grains. For Waldorf, this would be part of a 3rd Grade Farming block. My concept is to introduce the grains of the world and how they were first cultivated by early peoples, then ask the students to research each grain. We will look at what kind of climate and soil it needs, when it is planted and when and how it is harvested, as well as any other growth requirements, and then each student will do a presentation on his/her grain and whether it would be a good fit for our region (Southern Maryland). If you are homeschooling, this might be a nice bridge unit between 3rd and 4th grade, starting the topic of Local History/Geography. We will choose a grain, grow it during the school year, harvest it, and use it in a recipe to serve to the students of the school. My students can then share with the preschool and kindergarten students all about the process of growing this grain.

So please be aware that I'll probably be posting a lot of links to Grains as I prepare my presentation.

Here are two nice links for teacher background:

The July 2011 issue of National Geographic has two references to heritage grains and the importance of this topic, and some wonderful pictures. Check out the article online: Food Ark. There's also an amazing graphic illustrating Our Dwindling Food Variety.

Hulu is a nice resource for free documentaries on a variety of topics. Check out King Corn.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Edutopia: The Waldorf Way

The October/November 2009 issue of Edutopia featured an article called "The Waldorf Way." So I went online to their website, hoping to link to the article (which was excellent) and found even more to share, including videos.

Article: Waldorf-Inspired Public Schools Are on the Rise
Waldorf-inspired public schools are on the rise as parents seek relief from the high-stakes testing culture.

Article: Waldorf Methods to Use in Your Classroom
Six tips to spice up the day.

Video: Waldorf's Integrated Way of Learning
Art and movement blend into academics at this K-8 school.

Video: A Day in the Life of a Waldorf School
Creativity and relationships are central to John Morse Waldorf Methods School, in Sacramento, California, a public K-8 school.

Article: Waldorf-Inspired Curriculum Materials
What makes a Waldorf class work? Here are some notes from a veteran teacher.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Crossing Borders/Breaking Boundaries

Links to lesson plans created by attendees of Crossing Borders/Breaking Boundaries ("A Series of Multidisciplinary Summer Institutes for Arts Educators"). This program was part of the Center for Renaissance & Baroque Studies, of the College of Arts & Humanities at the University of Maryland.

These lessons are appropriate for Middle and High School students.

topic for 2000: Africa & Its Influences, Jazz & America, and Considering the Postmodern

topic for 2002: The Arts of Ancient Greece

topic for 2003: The Arts of the Renaissance

topic for 2004: The Impact of Islamic Culture on the Arts of the Renaissance

topic for 2005: Looking East, Looking West: Europe and Arabia, 1450-1750

topic for 2006: The Arts and Artistic Legacies of the West African Civilizations, 700-1600 c.e.

topic for 2007: The Portuguese Empire in the Sixteenth and
Seventeenth Centuries: Artistic and Cultural Exchange

topic for 2008: The Arts of India, 1556-1658

topic for 2009: Pre- and Post-Encounter Arts of the Early Americas

These amazing week long institutes were FREE, including Room & Board! However, sadly, they seem to be no more. There's a link to a 2010 topic: The Arts of Tibet: Cultural Exchange in the Himalayas but no resulting lesson plans. There are no links to a 2011 topic or application form.

Sunday School Books

My big summer project is to clean out my basement and organize it all (having moved six times in seven years). Also, to go backpacking as much as possible. :-) Last week I did the Northville-Placid trail from Piseco to Wakeley Dam and next week I'm going to do Wakeley Dam to Lake Placid if all goes well.

Anyway, I plan on posting the notes that I find written on little scraps of paper as I go from box to box. This is an old bank deposit receipt and on the back I have listed two lovely books:

Fish Printing Set-Up

Today I lead the fish printing activity at our local community center. I have six different kinds of rubber fish, six foam brushes, calligraphy ink in six small jars, and inexpensive lightweight paper from "grocery store" sketchpads. Newsprint is best but we had this other paper on hand so I'm using it up.

I practiced this on my kitchen floor and found that it spatters so I am placing each fish in a cardboard box lid -- from the boxes that hold reams of paper.

I also recommend smocks if you have them. Simply dip the foam brush into the ink, spread along the top surface of the fish, place the paper sheet on top, and press the paper onto the fish being sure to get all of the texture. Flip it over and lay it to dry!

I have also seen this done using paint but the ink gets the details of the texture much more nicely.