Whatever!

What to muse about today?

December 5, 2014 ~ Say Cheese!

Say Cheese!

Today, I finally used one of the more awesome Christmas presents I’ve ever received and made cheese. Yes, cheese.  Fresh Mozzarella, even!  I’m not sure why I hadn’t tried before.  Maybe it was because I had one or both girls whenever I was mostly awake, or the fact that the package came with rubber gloves.  I don’t really know.  And I’m kicking myself about it.

The cheese was fantastic.

Small curd

And not very difficult to do, maybe an hour for the first batch.  And yes, I said first batch, because, oh yes, there will be more.  I’m sure that when I make the Mozzarella again it will only take about half the time. I will need to get a better thermometer – a digital one, that goes below 100°F.

It seemed crazy to start with one full gallon of milk, but that was the recipe. After adding in the citric acid and heating it up, small curds formed. Once the rennet and calcium chloride were added it changed pretty quickly to much larger curds with clear whey.

Curds and Whey

Straining the whey and getting the curds quickly into a separate bowl was a bit tricky, but eventually I got them all separated. I was amazed at how little cheese curd there was.  Almost all the volume of the gallon was whey.

A quick run through the microwave and it was ready to mix and form into balls.

Warm mozzarella. Omnomnom

I tried some when it was still warm and gooey.  Oh.  It was lovely. Yum.  I haven’t had mozzarella like that before.  Stu also got to try some still warm and thought it was very good.

 

I decided to make just three balls from the batch, I didn’t have much time before needing to go get Ashlin.  They got nice and shiny as they cooled and I dropped them into the brine just before I left.

Ashlin didn’t believe me when I told her I made cheese while she was in school.  I let her try some after it was brined and she approved.  She may have been impressed I actually made cheese.  (It’s not marshmallow fluff or cookies!  LOL!)  She was sad she didn’t get to help though.  I told her that she could help next batch.

Balls brining

We may be making home-made pizza tomorrow.

I have two thirds of it in the fridge, in brine, and the last third is wrapped in plastic in the freezer.  It may not last the weekend.

 

PS.  The cheese making kit came from Standing Stone Farms, and their recipe is similar to this one.

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March 14, 2013

Green #cupcake for #stpatrick

Green cupcake!

We’re supposed to be getting new laptops for work, so I started organizing folders, deleting old files, drafts and I came across this one.  Another conversation between Stu and Teagan in the morning, on the way to day care, sometime back in September:

As they were driving to day care, Stu passed a school bus. Teagan said that she will have a lunch box when she goes to school. In her lunch box she’d like a sandwich and some crackers. And fruit. She likes bananas now, but when she’s on the school bus, she’d like an apple, please.
 

My silly little girl.  I love these “Deep Thoughts” of hers.

In other news, she loved her green cupcake I brought home for her and her sister.  Ashlin, loved getting a “birthday!”

Birthday! #cupcake

Neither of them understood why the cupcake was green, nor as big as their head. They were both happy to eat it though!

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March 9, 2013

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When Ashlin apologizes she will rub her fist on the person she’s apologizing to, her version of the “I’m sorry” ASL sign.Then she gives the recipient a hug. It’s so sweet. Is is the closest I’ve been able to get of her doing her version of “sorry.” She had stabbed Stu with her fork at the restaurant at dinner tonight.

We went out to dinner tonight to celebrate dad’s birthday. We ended up getting there late, it was super busy, food took a long time to get their, but both girls were still super well behaved. Stu and I surrounded Ashlin, my dad and sister had Teagan. It was a good restaurant night with them for a less than stellar restaurant service.

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Happy birthday dad. You’re a great PopPop!

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December 30, 2012

Sugar Cookies!

Sugar Cookies!

Today Teagan and I decorated sugar cookies.  I had found a Christmas package of sprinkles, little trees and sugar.  Glittery!

We didn’t make them from scratch, maybe next year.  Maybe Easter.  I sliced the dough up and Teagan helped pour the sprinkles on.  It was fun, even though Teagan kept wanting to eat the sprinkles off the cookies, not the little pile I gave her.

I tucked the cookie cutters away for next year.  I may try a different season, or no season at all, to do cookies from scratch with her.  The pre-made worked very well for now, especially with a little girl with a very limited attention span.

They tasted lovely.

9 Comments »

November 12, 2012

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Peeled

Today I made some Apple Jam.  I found one recipe that tempted me with apples and caramel…  I’m a sucker for caramel.  We had lots of apples, still.  I haven’t been able to go through all the 20 some odd pounds of apples we picked.  I’ve tried!

Anyway, I finally remembered to get pectin, and had a few hours, so I pulled out the big canning pot and the peeler.

The recipe was pretty easy, dice up the apples, cook them down, add the pectin, sugars and process.  The worst part was dicing up the apples, tiny tiny.  I’ll admit that I did use the immersion blender a little, just to take some of the bigger chunks out…

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Diced

Not too bothersome though, I was able to peel and dice while waiting for the water to heat up to a boil in the canning pot. Man, that takes a LONG time.  Eventually, the jars were sterilized and laid out, waiting for the jam to be ready.

It took a bit longer for the apples to cook to tender than I expected, but eventually they were ready for the pectin to go in.

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Cooking down

Once the pectin was in, I needed to bring it up to a boil before mixing in the sugar. After a few minutes it came up to a rolling boil.  Sugar in, and it was time to mix, mix mix.  I did cheat a little, and add some splenda along with the white and brown sugars.

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Is it caramel yet?

The recipe said it would make 7 pints. I got two 1.5 pint jars along with the 4 pints and one half pint jars. I needed to do this mish-mosh because I forgot to check to see if I had lids before starting. I only had six regular size, and then four wide mouth. The half pint jar is a wide mouth jar. I’m lucky I had enough! And very glad I did.

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Processing!

Anyway, I think the canning pot took almost an hour to get to the boil I needed to process the jam. The jars sat on the counter a bit longer than probably was necessary between being filled and being able to be processed. But eventually they were done…

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All done!

… And I could have a decent taste (from the funnel and pot which had cooled off). It tasted more like apple pie filling than caramel. Oh, well. It’s still quite yummy. A bit sweet, but yummy.

I’ll be buying some caramels so I can try the other recipe, and see if it’s more like eating a caramel apple. Maybe I’ll have time next weekend. Now, I have to crochet a pig.

16 Comments »

November 2, 2012

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Fringe!

Today I was able to finish Stu’s scarf. Yay for fringe! He’s been wearing it already, but now it has it’s fringe. I was really happy with how it turned out, just a simple single crochet and then a double crochet make that nifty waffle-like pattern.  It’s delicate without being feminine, very nice.  I’m going to need to try that with another scarf, or even a blanket. Yes, maybe a blanket.  I’ve got three baby blankets and three-quarters of a toddler blanket under my belt…  Maybe it’s time for an adult one?  Though I do have my eye on a circle in a square pattern…

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Apple Cheddar Meat Pie!

For dinner tonight I made Apple and Cheddar meat pies! I had a package of the Goya discos and oh, so many apples.  They turned out pretty well, considering.  I think next time, I’ll try with rolled out pizza dough, maybe do a Stromboli type roll.

I bought some puff pastry, so will use that to make some more apple hand pies.  It seems more of a sweet pastry than savory one, so I’ll be making more hand pies soon…  maybe with Teagan this weekend.  She asked about them, while eating her dinner tonight.  Also, if I could make a broccoli pie.  Um.  Ok.  I could, I’m sure.  I’ll find one with cheese.  Everything is always better with cheese.

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Can you make broccoli pies?

Both girls enjoyed the meat pies. Ashlin ate three quarters of hers, in something like 1o minutes, while Teagan ate about the same amount in 30 minutes.  She almost didn’t get her treat – Sherbert – because she was taking so long with her dinner.  Stu liked them too :)

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Taped on shoes! Really?!?!?!?

Teagan had a great day at day care, a great week actually, hence her treat.  Ashlin, well, I’m not sure what happened for her today at day care.  She came home with her shoes  taped – yes, I said TAPED! – on. AND they taped her socks on too.  Stu didn’t notice when he picked them up tonight, but you can be sure I’ll ask why they felt they needed to tape them on.  Yes, the shoes are a bit big, she’s outgrown the size 4’s and is a bit too small for the 5’s, and she does love to take her socks off, but still.  It just doesn’t seem right.

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AND socks!?!?! WTF??

AND her socks?!?!?! WTF??

9 Comments »

September 21, 2012

20120921-202916.jpgTonight was a night full of win!

We all went out to dinner.  Just the four of us.  It was the first time in a while that just the four of us actually ate out.  Both girls are great alone, but will feed off of each other, helping to escalate into embarrassing tantrums.  What we could normally be dealt with quickly and quietly if there was only one of them, but are impossible with the two.  With just Teagan, we would go out to dinner, and get compliments from other diners about how well behaved she was.  If we went out with just Ashlin, it would be the same.  Somehow, the two of them together don’t make double good.  So we stayed home, or took out.

We had told Teagan that if she was good all week, listened at day care, at home, if she behaved, that maybe we’d do something special.  Well, today, we got coupons for DQ in the mail.  Their kids meal comes with a frozen treat at the end :D  We decided to try eating in.  She was so excited, that we almost changed our minds, but we decided to try it, knowing we could always throw the food in a bag and dash out if either one started something.  Something we couldn’t calm down.  Well, did we get close to needing to leave, but it all turned out ok.

Tonight, was a good night.  With ice cream on top!

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Thank you (for ice cream)

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Don’t take my ice cream, dada

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What’chu doing?

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I can have a spoon?

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Brain Freeze!

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We all laugh for ice cream

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August 17, 2012

Chicken Donut Joy

Chicken Donut Joy

Look who was excited to get chicken donuts! She made it through the entire week without a bubble! Such a big girl. She could barely contain herself with joy and excitement at KFC tonight. She was running around in circles, jumping on the bench, going up to a worker and asking his name, touching all the sauce packets, singing her Chicken Donut Happy song. The lady who took our order was laughing at her antics. I’m glad she appreciated them!

Teagan, was obviously tired by the time we got home, so we ate dinner quickly. Ashlin had no problem eating quickly, she always seems to be ravenous by the time we get her in her chair, and wolfs down whatever we put in front of her. She did surprise us at the end of dinner, by trying to say “thank you” while she signed it. It wasn’t very clear, but it was obvious what she was trying to say. Yay!

All in all, a pretty good end to a pretty good week.

I can lick my elbow

I can lick my elbow

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August 1, 2012 ~ Dinner

20120801-222448.jpgTonight I made a recipe I saw on Rachael Ray’s show the other day.  I had all the ingredients, except for one, which is a bonus.  We picked it up last night on the way home from day care.  And well, it had cheese, which is always a winning ingredient for me.

The Taco Cake was very easy.  I did a few slight changes and a substitution.  I used a blend of cheddar and Swiss cheeses, as that’s what was in the fridge just waiting to be used up.  Also, I swapped out the refried beans for the  mashed black bean soup I usually make.  The bean puree, I made a bit thicker than normal, to more closely resemble refried bean consistency.

I was able to get the two main parts done over the course of the day, five minutes here, 10 minutes there, so all the parts were ready to put together after the working day was done, before I had to leave to get the girls. A quick 10 minute bake and then I pulled it from the oven to let it set while I picked the girls up.

20120801-222455.jpgI removed the spring form to serve, and it oozed out.  For some reason, it hadn’t set enough, it was too wet.  It may also have been a bit too warm still.  After sitting on the counter, waiting for Stu to get home, it seemed to firm up and I was able to cut two nice slices for us for dinner.

One of the girls loved it, the other, not so much.  Ashlin ate her portion as well as most of Teagan’s.  Teagan had a few of the corn chips I served hers with, for dipping and scooping, but barely even tasted the cake.

I had also made a Date and Honey smoothie, and that both girls loved.  Teagan kept calling it soda.   Ashlin did an awesome job drinking hers from an open cup!

You lookin' at me?

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