Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Kentucky Derby

I'm not originally from Kentucky, although I grew up just across the river.  And I lived in 2 different small towns in western Kentucky, so I can say that I've always been familiar with the area, but never did I have any idea how big the Kentucky Derby was until we moved to Louisville 2 years ago.  I was amazed!  Now we don't live in Louisville, but we're close enough that the lesson plans this week for both of my sons - preschool and first grade - have the same theme: Kentucky Derby.  I think the boys know more about horse racing than I do.  (Granted, that wouldn't take much!)  All of the schools in Louisville and surrounding counties have tomorrow off.  Why?  I asked, actually, and was told that it was too hard to get the teachers and staff to show up for work the day before Derby!  And the Friday before is the hometown race, the Oaks. 

So my kids are off school tomorrow.  And Malachi keeps telling me that we HAVE to go to the horse races Saturday.  I've tried to explain that there's no way I'm taking 3 little kids to the Kentucky Derby.  We've gone to Churchill Downs (when Nathaniel gets free tickets from work) and had fun for a couple of hours.  The kids like the horses, and they love that they have fun names.  But the Derby? 

It really is huge here.  The papers and magazines here show pictures of Derby fashion, Derby party foods, and of course, LOTS of Derby hats for weeks before the big event.  Celebrities come.  Rich people party at massive balls.  Average people party with friends.  It's quite amazing to me, really.  Derby in Louisville isn't just a horse race, it's an event, a tradition, a source of local pride.

So what are we doing for Derby?  We might catch it on TV.   I'll probably read about it in the paper Sunday.  And my boys will play horse race with stick horses.  I think that's enough for us. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rain, Rain, Rain...

It's been very rainy here lately, but I'm not upset about it. It's a fresh, spring-feeling rain, and I'm happy to see my garden and container plants growing. It will be nice to have a sunny day tomorrow, though (if the weather people are right). Lydia has been quite insistent about playing outside. She keeps bringing me her shoes and jacket and saying "go!". She's emphatic at times. And Elijah and Malachi could certainly use some outdoors running around!

Here is the spinach growing in a pot on the deck:
The garden is looking good, too, although the grass is trying to make a comeback and needs weeded.
It's kinda hard to see in this picture, but there are some tomatoes, a pepper, nearly 100 onions, and broccoli and zucchini at this point. I'm not sure if the cucumber seeds have sprouted yet. And I will be adding 18 more tomato plants this week. Yes, I love tomatoes. And salsa. And tomato sauce. And so I need tons of tomatoes. I eat at least 2 a day in the summer, just because I can.

And Nathaniel finally got all of the sand for our kids' digger:

It took several loads to get all that sand!

I've decided that I am going to have a separate pumpkin garden. I've picked out the spot, and I just need to till it up (or really, have Nathaniel till it up with the tiller!) He and I agreed on a good sunny spot just outside the sunroom (kids' playroom). I just don't have the space in my garden, and I have my heart set on pumpkins. So, of course, I decided that I could try more than one kind of pumpkin while I'm at it. Sigh. I'll probably overplant those, too!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Too cute

I just had to post this one. Lydia's favorite word right now is doggie. And you see why.

Oatmeal Sourdough Rolls

I've been having a lot of fun with sourdough lately. To find more great recipes and advice on starting the starter, try this blog: I love her blog, and she has lots of great recipes that aren't sourdough, too. Mostly, I've made her sourdough recipes and had great results, but I did adapt a roll recipe that I make often, and so this is the recipe for Oatmeal Sourdough Rolls:

1 c starter (mine is whole wheat)
1/2 c water
1/2 c rolled oats
1/4 c honey
1 egg
1/4 c olive oil
2 T warm water
2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt

3 c whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur)

To start with, you need to let the oats soak in the half cup of water for at least 15 minutes. It's even better if you let them soak for several hours, or all night, but it will work with 15 or 20 minutes if the water is warm. Then add the starter, honey, oil, and egg. Mix well. In a small bowl or cup, mix the yeast and 2T warm water, then add to mixture. Add salt and about 2 1/2 c of the flour. At this point, it should be getting hard to stir with a spoon, so I throw the last 1/2 c down in my bread bowl and knead it in. (You can use a counter top just fine, but I love my bread bowl. It belonged to my great-great-grandma, and my mom has good memories of her baking.) Knead for about 5 minutes. It will be sticky, but feel free to flour your hands if that bothers you. Put it in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. It should look like this:

Cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rise for about 2 hours. It will be bigger, but not necesarily doubled in bulk.

Then roll the dough into 24 balls and place in greased 13" x 9" pan. Cover with towel; let rise 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400. Bake rolls for 10-11 minutes. Enjoy!
You could make this without the yeast, if you want to. It does take HOURS for the dough to rise, though.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy Anniversary!! (yesterday)

Nathaniel completely surprised me by having his sister drive down from Indy to babysit last night. He took me to a local steak house, and we had a nice dinner. Alone. On our anniversary. We're pretty sure that's never happened before.
I love you, Nathaniel!
And the kids did fine for his sister, so that was a relief. We got home in time to tuck everyone in.

Healthier Banana Muffins

My kids (and I) like to snack. They are particularly fond of mini-muffins, so I adapted my banana bread recipe, and this is what I've come up with:

1 1/2 c whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur, usually)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
3 bananas, mashed well
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c applesauce
1/8 tsp salt

Basically, I mash the bananas with a fork, then add the wet stuff. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into greased mini-muffin pan and bake at 350 for 9-10 minutes. (If you want to make regular-sized muffins, bake for 19-20 min. You can also make this into an actual loaf of banana bread, just bake it about 50 min). Enjoy!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Back home

We're back home again after another weekend away. It was lots of fun to visit Autumn and go to the Bug Bowl (at Purdue), but I am definately looking forward to a weekend at home. There is so much that needs done around here. I've got diapers on the line and more wash in the washer, but that's about all I've "accomplished" this weekend. Maybe I'll be able to plant broccoli later, when Nathaniel can watch the baby. (Right now he's playing Zelda with the boys - something they haven't done in weeks and all of them are quite excited about it!)

I know I need to get some pictures on here. It's on the to-do list!

I'm very excited that the seeds I planted last weekend are already sprouting: carrots, lettuce mix, deer tongue, and rainbow chard. Or maybe the spinach. I can't remember which is the chard and which is the spinach, but I'll be able to figure that out soon, when they really start growing. Last summer I fell in love with sauteeing chard in olive oil or bacon grease with garlic and then adding balsamic vinegar. So yummy! And then I started sauteeing mushrooms and onions first, then doing the chard and etc and that was wonderful. It's the reason I'm growing swiss chard even though my kids won't touch it and my husband is less than enthusiastic about it.

Well that's it for now. I'm heading back outside!

Friday, April 16, 2010

First Blog

Well, I did it. I started a blog. My friend Karen has been on me for about a year now, so here goes.
What do I want this blog to be?
That's a very good question, and I haven't really figured it all out yet. I plan to share recipes, good books, and bits about my life.
Why "Barefoot Kentucky Mama"?
Because I am one. Nathaniel (my husband) has always teased that I have been the Kentucky stereotype: in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. Well, I'm not pregnant now, but I do have three kids, spend a lot of my time in the kitchen, and I'm barefoot whenever possible.

In short, I'm a stay-at-home mom of two boys and one baby girl (ok, she just turned one, but she's still my baby). I have a dog and a big garden. I try to keep things green as much as I can, but I'm still a work in progress. I try to cook from scratch and feed my family healthy things, but again, I'm working on it, and I do believe in having desserts every now and then. (I just made whole wheat sourdough rolls...and chocolate chip cookies.) I live in a small town in Kentucky. I like small towns. I've lived in several in Kentucky, and in Indiana (where I'm from orginially), and one in Texas (which was way too far from home). I love my family, both immediate and extended. My faith is always a work in progress, and although I don't talk about it as much, I pray for guidance every day.

I think that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by. I'll have a more focused post next time!