Friday, February 26, 2010

A break away.

The kids and I were in Alabama this past weekend. We made it back home Wednesday night so I haven't disappeared or given up on my blog. I had ever intention of pre-posting before I left and couldn't find the time. So I packed my camera and list of posts to post about with me but never got around to doing it while in Huntsville.  This Monday though, I'll be back to posting Monday thru Friday.

Amy, from The Bear Tracks, sent me a tasty looking recipe for another slow cooker cake that includes yogurt! She knows me so well.

I've been sewing more, of course and picked up some gorgeous fabric while in Huntsville. I'll let you in on the plans I have for those beauties.

I had a great time seeing some of my friends this weekend. Erin and's always so much fun hanging out with you too!!!!! I love you both!

See you soon.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Homemade Sour Cream.

It doesn't take much to make your own Homemade Sour Cream.

1-1/2 cups of whole milk (in the jar)
1 cup of heavy cream (in the round bowl)
1/2 cup cultured buttermilk (in the square bowl)

Leave them to sit at room temperature for about an hour and a half.

Then pour the cream and buttermilk in the jar with the whole milk and stir them together for a few minutes. Place the lid on the jar tightly.
Then wrap the jar in a towel (I secured mine with a blue rubber band, I know, I know, I'm so fancy like that) and place in a warm spot for 12-24 hours. The top of the refrigerator is a good place, it's out of the way and most fridge tops are somewhat warm. It's also a good place to keep neon pink fish eggs for all those fishing trips you're going to get in when the weather clears up. (Thanks dad, the color really adds to the picture!)
Once the consistency is like that of a thick custard or cling to a spoon then you have Sour Cream and can pop it in the fridge to keep for an entire month. The longer this sits the thicker it gets. I was quick to use mine on some homemade Enchilada's we had for dinner that night.
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

30 Minute Dress.

If ever there were a princess it would be Evan Grace. She's all girl, loves her hair clips and make up. She loves wearing dresses and pretty shoes and changing shoes and dresses throughout the day. So imagine my surprise when my princess picked out this black and white hoodie about a year ago. It's cute, I personally would have picked it out for her to wear but I would have had to bribe her to get her to wear it. Since she was the one that picked it out then she wears it every chance she gets.

Just look how much she loves it?

It was beginning to show her little belly. She's grown so fast the last couple of months that a lot of her clothing is coming up to short on her. I didn't want to let this hoodie go and I'm sure she didn't either.  Earlier that day she had asked me if she could help me cut fabric. I agreed, thinking I would give her some scrapes and see what she came up with. Then I thought...huh....what if I take that hoodie and add some fabric to it, make it longer so she can at least play in it and love it a little longer.  I cut 3 inches off the bottom of the shirt.

Then I pulled out some nice red cotton fabric and some 4 way stretch black knit. I wanted just a waistband size of the red, just enough to add some color. The black I cut long enough to make a long skirt out of.
With right sides together I started sewing on the red waist band.
Then I pinned and sewed on the black skirt part. Finally I sewed the 3 inch of the hoodie I cut off to the bottom of the black skirt part. And viola!!! Her hoodie was now a play dress that maybe will last the rest of this year???

Then I nicely asked her to sit for me and pose in her new dress. She did so, and I was very pleased with the results. Look at those sweet eyes and the curls.
Then she started getting antsy. I don't blame her though, she kept saying how much she loved her new dress, hugging her arms around herself and running through the house to show her sister and brother, until I made her sit for pictures that is.

"Ok Evan Grace, go ahead and get up and pose however you want too." (I'm such a good mom right?) This is the picture I got seconds after uttering the words.
Yeah, I think I should have kept her sitting down.

I was going to title this post '15 Minute Dress' but between all the pinning and sewing I was drawning hearts and helping the little princess cut them out.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day Fun.

The younger kids spent their Valentine's day working on Valentine Day cards for their dad and working on a heart garland for their room. I had previously cut out large and small hearts for them to use. All they had to do was put them together and tape the bottoms shut.

Here's Isaac really concentrating.
Evan Grace giving me the: "Mom, are you really taking another picture of me today?" face.
The finished heart garland hanging on their ceiling in their room. We eventually had to tape it to the wall but I liked it up here.
I was able to steal away and pick up 2 gifts for myself. The black flower is a that and the necklace is a metal piece of a fabric version I've found and must have. This one though, I could afford the fabric version will have to come later or I'll have to figure out how to make one for myself. I think I love the flowers in these pieces so much because they remind me of ruffles and we all know how I adore ruffles.

Mackenzie, though she was asked to join the fun, didn't want to do anything but dive into the big plate of Brownie Pudding I had cooling on the stove.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My sweet cottage.

My sweet cottage cheese that is. I've had more fun in the kitchen whiping up some fresh, made in my kitchen, cottage cheese. It was so easy I'm not sure why I put it off longer than I did. Here's what you need to get started.

1 gallon on whole, low-fat or nonfat milk. I decided to go for whole milk because I can be a rebel at times.
1/4 tsp liquid rennet (you can buy vegetable or animal rennet, I go with vegetable only because it seems to  make me less sick to my stomach thinking about vegetable rennet instead of animal rennet.)
2 TBS water for the rennet to dissolve in, yes even though it's liquid you need to mix it well with the water. DON'T SKIP THIS STEP.
1/4 cup cultured buttermilk
1 to 2 tsp salt
Start by pouring the entire gallon of milk into the largest pot you have. Preferably a heavy bottom one, makes it harder for the milk to scorch or burn. Heat the milk to about 95 degrees. While you're waiting for the milk to heat dissolve the rennet into the 2 Tablespoons of water.
Once your milk is warm enough you're going to add the rennet to the milk and STIR FOR 30 SECONDS. Time yourself, and make sure you do the full 30 seconds. Then stir in your buttermilk and watch the magic happen. Within seconds of pouring in the buttermilk, curds started to pop to the top. Look at that cheesy goodness below.

Now you need to take it off of the heat. You have one of those handy trivet things that my mom seems to collect?? Good, use that, it's perfect. Put a lid on the pot and walk away; just walk away for 30 minutes. You're going to want to peek at it, I wanted to and I tried to see around the condensation that formed on the glass lid but couldn't really see much.  This is what happens to cottage cheese when you let it sit for 30 minutes without peeking. It turns into one large curd.
Take a knife, a long one, and as best you can cut these curds into one inch cubes. It's going to try and swim away from you and you're not going to be able to do a bang up job of it, but try your best.

Then back onto the stove. Keep the heat on LOW, nothing warmer than low and start stirring gently for 5 full minutes. All you're doing is pulling the curds up from the bottom so they mix and heat up evenly with the rest of  the curds without burning. After 5 minutes you can gently stir the curds every 5 minutes. Do this for a total 30 minutes, or until the curds reach 110 degrees. Don't rush this step though by turning up the heat, it'll only burn and you'll have to throw out the entire batch. Trust me.
During one of your 5 minute breaks from stiring, line a colander with 2 layers of butter muslin or 3 layers of cheesecloth. Then place this colander over another colander and place them both in the sink.

Once your curds have reached the right temp, then carefully pour or ladle them into the butter muslin lined colander. Let this sit for 5 minutes so the majority of the whey can drain off.

Gather up the ends of your butter muslin and rinse the entire ball in cold water, squeezing the curds as you rinse.  The curds can take a beating so don't try and be gentle.

Once the curds are rinsed, then turn off the cold water and squeeze the bundle of curds still in the butter muslin dry. Dump into a bowl, stir in some salt to taste and keep covered in the fridge for 2 days.

 What did I make with this cottage chesse? You'll have to wait a day or two for that post, it's a yummy recipe. (It's really very white, I just couldn't get the yellow color to lift off of the picture any better than this, sorry) If you wonder why the cottage cheese isn't 'wet' like you would find in the market thats because all processed cottage cheese comes with heavy cream or light cream depending on the lable of the container. So if you want something more like a store bought cottage cheese just pour in a little heavy cream and enjoy. I've never tasted cottage cheese so glorious before.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What to Do.

I've been making batch after batch of yogurt. Almost everyday I heat up milk, adding dry milk and culture, mixing, cooling and then waiting 6 hours before refrigerating 2 hours. Yes, I'm addicted. I've found a wonderful culture that makes a sweeter yogurt so you don't have to sprinkle in sugar or vanilla and I think I'd eat it all day long if I had an endless supply of blueberries.

The kids and I made smoothies with our yogurt the other day. It was delicious.
Then I pulled out a large metal mixing bowl. My perfect colander and two sheets of cheesecloth.

I made a fresh batch of yogurt and plopped all 4 cups of it onto the cheesecloth.
I let it drain, untouched for 30 minutes. Got a good amount of whey collected in the bottom of the bowl.
Then I pulled up the ends of the cheesecloth. Looped a few rubberbands around the end because I couldn't find my kitchen string and plopped it back on the strainer and into the refrigerator. The longer you let the yogurt drain the thicker your end result will be. You can drain it as few as 8 hours and as long as 24 hours. I went for 16, seemed like a good number to start with.
This is what my yogurt looked like after 16 hours of draining in the refrigerator. It's Yogurt Cheese. Though it's not really a cheese, letting the whey drip out of the yogurt turned it into a cheese consistancy.  Dump the yogurt cheese into another dish and wash out your cheesecloth, and hang up somewhere to dry.
I smoothed the yogurt cheese into a nice serving dish and poured the whey into a jar. I can't believe how much whey dripped out of the yogurt in 16 hours. I need to find something to do with the whey, it just say around for a day or two while I tried to figure out how to use it. I will figure out how to use it!!!
Then I made a non-bake Yogurt Cheesecake. So yummy. It didn't set up like I was hoping and I think the next time I make this I'll let my yogurt drain for a full 24 hours if cheesecake is on the menu.
Then I cut the crusts off of two slices of then white bread. I mixed some honey and a few drops of vanilla extract into 1/4 cup of yogurt cheese and spread that on one side of the bread. Then I thinly sliced some peaches and layered them just so on top of the yogurt cheese. Looks good doesn't it?
Then I dry grilled them in a hot skillet, about 2 minutes on each side.
Transfer to a plate and drizzle with a little more honey.
Then let your 13 year old daughter come in and eat them all before you get a bite and have to make a whole new sandwich!
I'm going to make Yogurt Pancakes next. I hear they are more like a dessert pancake than a breakfast pancake...sounds perfect for me and my crew.
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