Clapping On The Down Beat

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It’s Been A While October 16, 2013

Filed under: Interests,Meal Planning,Parenthood — clappingonthedownbeat @ 3:31 PM

I don’t want to even look to see when my last post was.  I guess this will just be a little bit of everything.


I don’t think I ever would have thought I would say this in a million years, but I actually am really enjoying it.  I think Kate is too.  There are so many benefits.  My night owl does much better with the extra hour or two of sleep each day.  I get Jack up at 6:45 and off to school by 7:15.  Kate gets up around 8/8:15.  We have breakfast and depending on the day and our schedule, either starts her work or comes with me to work.

We have spent a lot of quality time together talking in the car, grocery shopping, cooking, ect. The first two weeks were a little rough getting a routine established and a rhythm for the work load.  But I knew that I was committed to this and we would get on track.  She has been setting her pace and getting a lot done.  We have added to our basics of math, reading and writing to include handwriting, phonics, grammar, more math, science, and bible.  I was concerned at first about figuring out her progress, but it looks like she will complete her math and grammar programs in December.

I have seen her mature.  There is no “homework”, fundraisers, conferences or packing lunches.



I have learned so much in the Nutrition and Meal Planning class.  I can say that I had the basics covered, but this went more in-depth.  I think about structuring my home meals differently.  We recently had an assignment called Lean Global Cuisine.  We had to pick a recipe and make it according to the recipe instructions and evaluate on taste, and nutrition analysis.  Then make it a second time making recipe modifications, such as boosting vitamin content, fiber, or reducing saturated fat.  I chose Indian Butter Chicken.  I love Indian food, but I am often intimidated.  The first time through the dish was fantastic!  The second was ok, but I loved the original.  I did make a lot of modifications for saturated fat, vitamins, and fiber.    I had a class presentation on trans fat, and learned how much college libraries have changed.


POTTY TRAINING:  My third child is potty trained.  Enough said!  I am so glad that is over.


MEAL PLANNING:      Here are a few great new recipes I have tried:



1 teaspoon Active Dry Or Instant Yeast

4 cups All-purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water.

In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined.

Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you need it. ***It’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.   Drizzle olive oil on a large baking sheet and use fingers to coat thoroughly. Remove HALF the pizza dough from the bowl. Stretch pizza dough into a large rectangle, pressing with fingers to finish forming. Dough will be very thin.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly. Remove from pan and slice with a pizza cutter.


GARLIC OIL (great on  pizza, pasta, polenta, as a dip for bread)

1 1/2 c. olive oil

1 small head garlic peeled, minced

Heat garlic in oil but DO NOT BURN.  Watch closely.  Add (1) 28 oz crushed tomatoes.  Puree in blender or with an immersion blender till homogenous.  Season with 1-2TBS. sugar to balance acidity.  Season with salt and pepper.  You can add basil, crushed red pepper or oregano to your preference.

Gajar (Carrot) Halwa also known as gajrala is a traditional Punjabi dessert made with carrots and milk.  Recipe serves 4

• 2 cups shredded carrots

• 2 cups milk

• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 1/4 cup sugar

• 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

• 6 chopped roasted cashew nuts (To garnish)

1. Roast the cashew nuts and set aside for the garnish.

2. Boil the milk on medium-high heat in a non-stick pan until it is reduced to about to 1 cup. Stir often to ensure the milk does not burn in the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

3. Melt the butter in a frying pan on medium heat.

4. Add the shredded carrots and stir-fry for about seven to eight minutes.

5. Carrots should be tender and slightly changed in color.

6. Add the milk and cook until the milk dries. This will take about eight to ten minutes.

7. Next add the sugar, and cardamom powder and stir-fry for another three to four minutes until the halwa starts to leave the side of frying pan.

8. Garnish with cashew nuts.



1 cup hard winter wheatberries

Kosher salt

1 cup finely diced red onion (1 onion)

6 tablespoons good olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 scallions, minced, white and green parts

1/2 red bell pepper, small diced

1 carrot, small diced

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the wheatberries and 3 cups of boiling salted water in a saucepan and cook, uncovered, over low heat for approximately 45 minutes, or until they are soft. Drain.    Saute the red onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the remaining 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.

In a large bowl, combine the warm wheatberries, sauteed onions, scallions, red bell pepper, carrot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. Allow the salad to sit for at least 30 minutes for the wheatberries to absorb the sauce. Season, to taste, and serve at room temperature.

0-5 8.01.03 PM Butter Chicken is on the left, pumpkin squash soup is on the right.

Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

1 tablespoon peanut oil

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped

  • 1/4 white onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Saute shallot and onion until soft and translucent. Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in half-and-half and yogurt. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, and season with 1 teaspoon garam masala and cayenne. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce, and simmer until liquid has reduced, and chicken is no longer pink. Stir cooked chicken into sauce.
  3. Mix together cornstarch and water, then stir into the sauce. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.



One Response to “It’s Been A While”

  1. shoesinks Says:

    Glad to hear that homeschooling is going well. And YAY for potty training! I think Alyssa is finally there, too.

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