Thursday, September 18, 2008


I've been making biscuits a lot lately. I make the world's best buns - two kinds! But lately the simplicity of making biscuits has appealed to me. I've served them at breakfasts, lunches and suppers... and never without complaint!

I suppose my switch to simple, uncomplicated, delightful, homey biscuits is a reflection of just how things are going at home.

Homeschool has started... and with it, excitement with new books, delight in learning something new. But after all these years of homeschooling, this year I've decided to try a new approach. Instead of the "six-subject-days", I've decided to work on one subject at a time. The worries about retention levels went out the window when I discussed with my sister her success in homeschooling her eight kids. (One of whom graduated Magna Cum Laude in University.) She has her kids work on one subject - finishing 10 pages per day. And mine are too.

My kids toddle off to their study area of choice - a bed, a well-lit desk, or the dining room table - and count out their ten pages. And, as new concepts challenge them, they come to me with questions. Homeschool can be done in about 3-4 hours for a typical student. Longer for those where cursed with my inability to sit still and think about anything for too long.

But homeschool isn't the only place where simplicity is settling things down.

Breakfasts are at exactly the same time every morning. I write the menu on the kitchen chalkboard so that the kids will have a clue what to set the table with. Lunches are identical - sandwiches, veggies and fruit - and a granola bar or dried fruit treat. Suppers are quick, uncomplicated 3-4 menu items.

Chores (or duties) are listed in my household notebook with some detail about my expectation for how they are to be finished. Perfection isn't required, but great effort is certainly appreciated.

Our schedule has been simplified as well. One church event mid-week. One skill-builder (piano lessons will start soon). One apprenticeship (trade preparation for "real life"). That's it.

My interests - arts and academia - are pursued when homeschool is "out". Fitting my fitness in is my next challenge.

Simplicity. I don't know why I didn't think of this before. It's as easy as biscuits. Fewer ingredients, less time in the kitchen, more time enjoying the product of your work.

Here's my recipe:

2 1/4 cups flour

3/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

4 tsp. baking powder

1/3 cup frozen butter (use cheese grater to "cut" butter)

1 cup milk

Sift dry ingredients together. Toss in grated butter. Toss lightly. Add very cold milk. Stir with fork until just blended. Toss dough onto floured board. Knead 10 times. (Any more and you'll have tough biscuits - and you want to keep the dough very cold.) Roll out to 3/4 inch thick. Place on ungreased cookie sheet in a preheated 400F oven. Bake for 12 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Serve plain, with butter, jelly or sausage gravy!

To reheat biscuits, place on a cookie sheet and cover with aluminum foil in a 350F oven for 10 minutes. (Microwave makes them soggy, uncovered makes them dry and hard.) Baking fresh biscuits is so easy, re-heating yesterday's seems hardly worth it.