I just recovered from my yearly panic attack in regards to school. It happens every year around this time. I wonder when i fell and cracked my head, making me think it's possible for me to actually teach my children enough knowledge to make them capable adults. I lay awake at night, fear gnawing at the pit of my stomach, convinced we are permanently damaging our offspring. When people raise their eyebrows at finding out that not only do we have 7 children but i HOMESCHOOL, i find myself agreeing and thinking that i may as well line up some local counselors for my suffering children. I find myself working at a furious pace, trying to conquer the fears through slave labor, only to find myself chewing my fingernails instead of praying. And when i do pray, my prayers fall flat, smacking me in the face. And then i do the one thing that i should've done in the beginning. I start. I take that leap of faith, drag the books out, take the children on a shopping trip for new colors and pencils, and voila! the fear is gone. We sharpen our pencils, start a new book for read aloud time, play follow the leader in break (my new best breakthrough. Have a 10 minute break part way through the morning lessons, and actually play with them. Peek around the corner, hide and seek upstairs, anything that's active and gets the blood flowing, even if you do have to carry either a 3 year old or a 1 year old on your hip. They LOVE it, you will laugh hysterically and somehow it doesn't matter as much that you've got dust bunnies under your bed) and whether i'm teaching double multiplication or chasing someone around the room, i remember again why i homeschool. I remember why we've chosen this way and somehow my fears fall back to the pit where they came from. I had plans of buying certain history and science books this year, but for now that's been put on hold. We will take (Lord willing) many trips to the library as a family, bringing home stacks of books and oh the fun of cuddling in blankets, surrounded with many small bodies as we read through book after book. And for those mornings when i feel like taking the books over my children's heads? That's what chocolate is for, even if it means eating it in the bathroom. Nothing wrong with the bathroom.......especially if you have magazines.
And now that we've got that out of the way, let me tell you about our new favorite breakfast. It's delicious, feeds many people and best of all? It's really, really cheap. I'm talking like seriously cheap with only 5 ingredients, and when you're feeding 11 people on a daily basis, that's kind of important.
Cracked Pepper Gravy. There's one must. It MUST, i tell you, MUST be freshly cracked peppercorns. You must buy the whole peppercorns along with a pepper grinder, or your gravy will lack and your man won't look at you at the breakfast table and wink. Yours doesn't wink? Try this gravy, he just might. So here's the recipe.
Cracked Pepper Gravy
Cracked pepper is different from freshly ground pepper because the former is stronger in flavor and aroma. Grind them in a food processor or blender, only pulsing them once or twice just to crack them.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
5 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 teaspoons cracked pepper
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. When the foam goes down, whisk in the flour. Continually whisk until the flour cooks, becoming a fragrant light brown. Slowly add the milk, continuing to whisk to keep lumps from forming. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer gravy for 10 minutes to cook and reduce.
Makes 3 cups.
See? How simple is that and my man doesn't even miss meat when i make this. We actually prefer this above sausage gravy, although we happily eat that too. And i like when he winks at me at the breakfast table. I'm not quite as quick to take to the bathroom later and eat chocolate during school.
So that's pretty much what's been happening lately. Panic attacks, school, gravy, winking......