Saturday, July 29, 2006

Cheese Questions Answered

After posting yesterdays instructions on making cheese I had a few questions from Michelle which I have tried to answer.  I am not a cheese expert I am sure that my friend Dalyn could give you even more info on cheese making than me.  But I have tried to answer the questions!


 


I have a couple of questions if you don't mind. : )


~No I don’t


 


When you say "any milk" does that mean even regular dairy milk in the gallons at the store?


~Yep.. milk from the store will work too


 


 


Do you purchase the vegetable rennet from Leeners too?


~Yes I do!


 


We like it plain, are the herbs necessary?


~No, plain would work, but this is a very mild feta cheese so it will taste a lot like milk :)


 


About how much salt would you say you use?


~I did not measure, just sprinkled


 


Does it have to be packed in olive oil or can it be stored in a little of the whey (I think that's how they sell it at a local store)?


~If it is not packed in olive oil then it is put in a salt brine.  I have done that before and did not like it like this but it can be done.


 


Do you have to wait 3 days for it to be safe to eat?


~Most cheeses need to be aged for a period of time.  Sometimes as long as 6 months.  This is for flavor not safety.


 


And lastly, I promise, how long does it keep (in the fridge I suppose?) 


~Packed in olive oil it can be set in the cupboard and will not go bad for a long time. The olive oil makes it an oxygen free environment and this keeps the bacteria out.

Thank you *so* much for posting this.


~You’re welcome!


 


Also Rachel asked if I make any other cheese (I am guessing when you say “common cheese” you are referring to hard cheese).  I do make cream cheese but have only tried my hand at the hard cheeses a couple of times. 

Friday, July 28, 2006

Make Super Easy Feta Cheese: With Pictures!






This is a recipe that was given to me by a friend (thank you Cheryl!). It looked so easy to make that I thought it was to much to believe. So of course I had to make it!

It turned out great!! I took pictures of the process so that if it did turn out I could show you just how easy cheese making can be!!  I buy my cheese cultures and my cheese salt from Leeners http://leeners.com/  This is a great company to do business with. 


Here is the recipe:


Super Easy Feta Cheese


1 gallon goats milk (any milk would work, I used raw goats milk)
¼ c cultured buttermilk- this must be real cultured buttermilk or 1/8 t. Mesophilic A culture (I use direct set cultures that I buy from Leeners and that is what the pictures show)
¼ c water
20 drops vegetable rennet

Also:
Salt (cheese salt works best)
herbs, dried or fresh, your choice (dill, basil, oregano, chives, thyme)
Olive oil


Start with 1 gallon of milk



Heat the milk to 70 degrees (about room temp. I am not sure you have to do that, but felt room temp would be better than cold milk).



Add the buttermilk or Mesophilic A culture and stir.





Into the ¼ cup of water add 20 drops of vegetable rennet and stir. Add this to the milk and stir.



Let this sit for 2 hours. After 2 hours, stir slowly and carefully to break up the curds.



Drain this for 8 to 10 hours (overnight is handy). Below you will see pics of how I do this.  I use an old pillow case (works better than cheesecloth) that I have washed and bleached and shoestrings that have been washed and bleached to hang my cheese.








Here it is after 8 hours. You can see the bag of cheese is much smaller and there is much more whey in the bowl



Here is what was in the bag:



cut the cheese into chunks.




Layer pieces of cheese, salt and herbs in a quart jar.




View from the top:



Cover with olive oil making sure no cheese is above the level of the oil.



Turn jar several times a day. This is ready to eat in 3 days.


Friday's Feast!

Appetizer
What's the funniest dream you can remember having?   My problem is I seldom remember my dreams when I wake up!


Soup
If you were a dog, what breed would you be, and why?
  A Great Pyrenees..  they sweet, loyal and loving dogs but fiercely protective when necessary! 

Salad
Continue this sentence: "I get confused when..."
  my teenage daughters make more plans than I can keep up with.. 



Main Course
Name two things that need to be done, but you are procrastinating in completing
.  Finishing a sewing project and cleaning out my 3 big freezers



Dessert
When was the last time you tried something new, and what was it?
 I tried a new recipe for Feta Cheese sent to me by a friend and I think it turned out quite good (it will be 3 more days before it is ready for eating!)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Gathering Our Winter Wood

We burn wood for our winter heat.  It takes about 6 to 8 cords of wood to get us through the winter.  Every summer a few of our weekends and various days are devoted to gathering wood from our property.  We have 18 acres and much of it is in trees.  So with 75 inches of rain a year (helps the trees to grow quickly) and a bit of good selective logging we seem to be able to continue to meet our own wood heating needs. 


 


Tobin has been spending his weekends tractoring around the property and gathering wood. He has been making paths through different areas that are overgrown to be able to access the trees. With the chain saw he cuts and fills up the bucket of tractor with the wood and then he brings it back to the house.  Some of the bigger pieces will still have to be split.  The smaller pieces are cut up and then stacked in our wood shelter.


 


Jacob had been doing the job of cutting up the smaller pieces.  Tobin put the chop saw out for him and he has been working all day.  Isaac has been his faithful helper.  He is helping with the stacking.


 


Here are some pics of our progress:


 


Pics of the wood gathered so far:



 


 


 


My boys at work:



 



 


The wood bin behind the boys will be need to be filled up before winter sets in:


Are You Interested In Making Soap?

   


I just put a whole new section on my website all about making soap!  I have given information, instructions, recipes and more!!


 


http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/makesoap.htm

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Favorite Memories
(in no particular order)


 


1. Sitting on the back of the couch at my grandparents putting curlers in my grandpas very sparse hair.. he just sat there reading the paper and watching the news.  I was about 4 years old.


 


2. Going with my big sister (10 years older than me) to the lake to swim in the summer


 


3. Finally delivering my firstborn child after many hours of labor!


 


4. Holding my 8th baby Isaac for the first time while I was in ICU and so thankful we were both alive


 


5. Tobin and I spending a weekend in Las Vegas alone.. 


 


6. Baking bread for the first time with my mother (which was a big deal.. she rarely baked anything).


 


7. Going to work with my dad one hot summer day. He bought me ice cream on the way home.


 


8. Camping with my husband and (then) 2 children right next to a beautiful lake..


 


9. Taking a picture of my 8 children last year next to the Christmas tree.  I knew as they are growing now that it may be the last Christmas for awhile that I am able to get them all together at the same time


 


10. Watching my 12 year old son drive a motor boat all by himself at the lake we were at earlier this month.. made me realize he is not a little boy, but growing up to be a man


 


11. Finding the fort my 3 youngest children had made..  They used about 5 rolls of toilet paper..  (they were 8 years old and under)..   I had to give them some credit for being creative with limited resources..  but they had a big mess to clean up!   


 


12. Hugging my oldest son good bye before he left for boot camp


 


13. Not long ago I watched my teenage daughters laugh, joke and enjoy each others company.. put a smile on my face

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Make a Simple Clothes Pin Bag for your Clothes Line!


Summertime is time to hang out the laundry!  I love my clothesline but was always struggling with how to deal with the clothes pins.  Well I have solved that problem and want to pass this on to all you clothes line ladies!!



This is a VERY simple project to make!  If you don’t sew, do not despair because you can hand stitch this one!


Supplies:


1 child’s size button up the front shirt, about size 2T or 3T


1 coat hanger


Thread to match the fabric


Lay the shirt on the table and button up the front of the shirt. 


Turn the shirt inside out and sew the bottom of the shirt closed.


Turn the shirt right side out and unbutton the first few buttons at the top.


Now you have a little bag that you can fill with your clothes pins!


Insert your coat hanger as if you were hanging the shirt up and hang it on your clothes line! 


Not only is it cute but it is the most simple to make and useable project that I have made in awhile!!

Lemonade

 


I have been making lemonade lately a lot.  I am doing really in a simple way.  I don’t like to buy the frozen lemonade because it has so much sugar and fructose in it and probably “natural flavors” (another name for MSG, which I try my best to avoid).  So I have been using lemon juice.  The kind you buy at the store.  The recipe on the bottle says 1 cup lemon juice and 1 cup sugar to two quarts of water.  I made it this way but thought it was way to sweet.  We like beverages that are not overly sweet so what I do now may not be sweet enough for some!  To make one gallon I use 1 cup lemon juice and ¾ cup sweetener (this can be cane juice crystals or sugar.. whatever it is that you usually use to sweeten things).  My kids don’t think that is sweet enough (a sign to me that it is plenty sweet..   ).  But if you like it a little sweeter you can mess around with the orginal proportions similar to what I did and see what tastes the best. 


 


Enjoy and stay cool!! 

Hot Weather Cooking Tip

 


Last night Hannah made cornbread and put it in the table top oven (Nesco Roaster Oven) outside on the deck.  It worked great.  I have baked a lot of turkeys, chickens, pot roasts, etc.. in there but not looked at it much for actual baking needs.  We also baked a potato casserole in there the other night.  Just thought I would pass this little tip on to anyone not wanting to heat up there kitchens any more than necessary!

Ten on Tuesday


What are your favorite ten words?


 


1. Homestead


2. Family


3. Tobin (  )


4. Faith


5. Grace


6. Forgiveness


7. Simple


8. Blessings


9. Goats


10. Google

Monday, July 24, 2006

Monday Madness

 


1. I won't eat past _____ o'clock in the evening.   usually 7:30pm..  I can’t sleep with a  full stomach

2. My favorite subject for photographing is my family and my farm

3. I use _________most often to edit my photographs. 
I use the software that came with my Olympus camera

4. If I'm having trouble sleeping, I usually read.


5. When I'm hungry for a snack, I usually eat
nuts or chips and homemade dip or fruit or anything that my girls concoct in the kitchen 

Monday on the Homestead

 


It seems we are enjoying yet another day of hot temps.  I know when this summer is over I will feel very well “summered”. 


 


Despite the heat I made another 4 batches of soap.  Yesterday I made 4 also.  Today I made 3 batches of shampoo bars and 1 bath of peppermint tea soap.. that one was more experimental as I won’t be selling it.  It smells very nice.. but then again I love the smell of peppermint.   I woke up very early with hubby and then took advantage of a cool house to make my soap. 


 


I also did 4 loads of laundry.  At over 90 degrees outside the loads dried very quickly.  We cleaned up the house and that was about it for the day.


 


The kids spent a lot of time in the pond keeping cool and when Tobin came home from work he and I did the same thing.


 


Finally we just had to bake bread today.  I was on the last little slice of bread and it had to be done. I was avoiding it because I did not want to heat up the house. But this evening Emily and Leanne made 6 loaves.  I just opened the windows and set the fan so it could blow the heat out of the kitchen.. not sure it worked, I think it is now hotter in the house than outside.. LOL.. 


 


Hannah made cornbread in the table top oven on the deck.  Dinner tonight is chili bean soup, cornbread and salad.


 


Tomorrow the kids have a dental appt. for teeth cleaning.  I don’t really look forward to this as it means about 2 ½ hours of sitting and waiting for them to be done.  We take over the whole office and use all the hygienists!  LOL..  it would be a very big deal to them if I canceled!  so despite the heat we will head to the big city.


 


Afterwards if it is not too late we will go and visit Grandpa.  He lives across the street from the dentist.  He just moved into a retirement home and the kids have not visited him there yet, so this would be a perfect time to do it.


 


Well Tobin and I may go down for another swim in the pond before bedtime.. we will see.. 


 


That sums up my Monday on the Homestead!