Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cheese Making

After a long absence I'm back!

We were in Florida for a wonderful warm week. It's been a bit hard to get back into the groove of things and I know I've been neglecting this blog! (Sorry Catherine!)

So anyway, on to new adventures. New adventures in CHEESE MAKING!

Yes, today, right before my girl's nap, I made fresh mozzarella!


Last year, after reading Barbara Kingsolver's Book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life I became enthralled with the idea of making my own cheese. She had attended a cheese making workshop and gave out the website of the woman, The Cheese Queen, who runs the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company. There I purchased a nifty little kit:

And for $32 which included the supplies, muslin, a thermometer and shipping I can make up to 30lbs of mozzarella or 40lbs of Ricotta (not including the milk of course!) It is supposed to take 30 min but I probably took 45 today as I was checking and double checking the directions.

It is SO delicious! I ended up with a large cheese ball but you can also make smaller ones. (I think I'm going to make a jar of small ones in olive oil with herbs for my SIL's birthday next week)You can make them into string cheese. Over vacation my daughter developed an unearthly love of the cheese stick and it would be a little better eating these than ones made with who knows what.

The local milk is $4.70 a gallon plus $1 worth of cheesemaking supplies and that makes 1 lb of cheese. I have not priced Fresh Mozzarella (of course you can bet I will!) but I am SURE that it is much more expensive and I know this cheese is organic and hormone free as well!

Oh-And cheese making is really fun too!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

My latest favorite breakfast for my girl and me is a delicious Pumpkin Pie Smoothie! This is easy and so so sooooooo good! We LOVE this. (Jacquie, maybe your little guy would even like this one!)

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1 C Almond or Soy Milk. I use plain or vanilla. You could also use milk. No biggie. I just like to mix it up a little.
1/4 block of silken tofu
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
sweetener to taste-I use, stevia, a natural sweetener but you could also use honey or whatever other sweetener you prefer.
crushed ice-maybe a half cup (or a little more if you smoothie seems too thick)
If you want to get fancy you can add a drop or two of vanilla, but only if you feel fussy...

Just whirl it all around in the blender until smooth. Serves 2. Or if this is the only thing I'm having for breakfast, I drink it all myself. This is full of protein and all kinds of pumpkin goodness. I find this keeps me full for a long time!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Local Organic Milk Goodness

If you know me or have read this blog for any length of time, you know I have a thing about eating locally produced food and organic gardening.

At this time of year I'm finding it a struggle to find locally produced food and I'm not gardening at all!

And I'm cheap. You probably all remember that.

So I'll let you in on a little secret. I don't always eat organic vegetables. I do the best I can with the money I have. I try my best and sometimes it's organic, sometimes not. Sometimes the cost difference is minimal and sometimes it is not.

One thing that I'm a pretty big stickler on is organic dairy products. Hormones in our milk are probably my number one concern food-wise. Especially for my 4 year old. I'm not backing down on this one. I'll forgo something else on my list so that we can have quality milk and yogurt. I will pay $6.29 a gallon for milk. (which is the Wegman's organic which is actually quite good, much better than the $8 gallon Horizon that I think is WAY over pasteurized tasting)

Last summer we went to The Pittsford Farms Dairy. They have awesome quality delicious local organic milk. Since my husband drives by on the way home from work it is an easy stop. However, for some reason, we've been lax about it and have been relying on Wegman's. I've also been operating under the assumption it is the most expensive milk we can get. Well I called this week and much to my surprise, they charge $4.75 A GALLON (heck, that is only $2.10 more than normal milk! The first time you need to pay a one time $1 deposit for the glass bottle) and $1.65 for organic 1/2 & 1/2 (as opposed to $3 at Wegman's) .

Sometimes you have to sacrifice price or quality or locale based on your circumstances. I get that and I live that. I'm always making value decisions based on what I feel is best for my family, sometimes that best is determined by price and sometimes by quality. I really scored a home run on this milk thing though!

If you live around me and have not tried the Pittsford Farms dairy I urge you to. If nothing else, it's a great education on local eating. If you don't live near me, investigate additional places to get your food than what you are used to, you just may be surprised!