Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sum, Sum, Summertime Blooms

Sweet potatoes; tomatoes and acorn squash ....

Roses, petunias, inpatients, begonias, lilies and ferns to mention a few!

But something is eating my echinacea and broccoli too!


Sliced nicely!

Hubby says, "mmmm good!"

Used some for Caprese snacks

Melted in grilled sandwiches
So, all and all I have to say that the cheesemaking venture was a success.  Miss A. is anxious and ready for her cheese making day at Camp Nonna in a few weeks. We may make ricotta too!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Making Mozzarella

This is week two of Nonna Camp, and we've had a great time this week exploring the attic and today attending a play and having lunch at a pub. We plan on making mozzarella cheese, but we are not making it until week three or four, which will be in August. However, a teacher always practices her lesson before teaching, so today after I returned home from the play "Little Mermaid" I decided to give it a go and here you have it...

I read a few blogs and watched a few videos and then took from each what I thought made sense and took it away! A gallon of pasteurized whole milk, which I added 1/2 tsp of citric acid,  is the start of making mozzarella. It should be heated to about 90 degrees f., but as you can see I was a little over! That's because I was juggling trying to take photos for you to see the process. I hoped it wouldn't matter much, and as you will see it did not make a difference, at least as far as I can tell it did not. Once the milk was heated, I added a 1/2 rennet tablet, dissolved in about a quarter cup of spring water. Most information I read said not to use tap water, the chlorine could destroy the rennet. I removed the pot from the heat and covered the pot for 10 minutes. Next time I may leave it sit a little longer.

After ten minutes you could see that there is a curd layer...yay!

Using a long knife I cut the curd into squares; swirled the pot a few times and then began to remove the curd from the whey.

As I continued to separate the curds from the whey, I drained off excess whey into a colander; this was the most time consuming part of the cheese making process. When I had recovered as much of the curds as possible, the curd went into the microwave for 1 minute, which released more whey that had to be drained off. Again, the curd went back into the microwave for 45 seconds and more whey was drained from the curd. At this point the curd started sticking together and began to resemble cheese. I attempted to knead it at this point, but it was still too wet, so I put it back into the microwave for and additional 30 seconds and drain off the final bit of whey.

Curds and whey separated, and ready for Miss Muffet! 

 Well, okay ready to be turned into mozzarella.




...and there you have it; one gallon of milk now 12.6 ounces of fresh homemade mozzarella.

At this point I put the cheese into an ice bath for just a few seconds to shock it and harden it a bit. Then, I heated the whey and added 1/2 ounce of cheese salt to the water; dropped the cheese into it, gave it a few stirs and took it out again. I did this to lightly salt the cheese. Some recipes said to add salt while kneading, but I watched a video when the cheese maker suggested a quick salt bath. It made sense to me because I would worry that some spots would be saltier than others if I kneaded in the salt.  

There is of course one final step and that is the taste test, which my husband will take tonight! 

The entire process from start to finish, including kitchen clean up was an hour. Imagine, wonderful homemade cheese for the cost of a gallon of milk and an hour of your time. One important note that may dismay some of my readers; you cannot use organic milk. Sigh....sorry! I've learned that organic milk is ULTRA pasteurize and therefore will not process.

Watch for  my next post which will be the results of the taste test.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Nonna Camp: Week 1

Planning for a fun-filled summer. . . 

There will be only a few weeks that I will get to spend time with my granddaughter, but during those weeks we have collaborated on a bunch of fun stuff to do together. Last week was our first week together, although it was only a partial week; we had a great time making decadent chocolates and weaving a basket.

We made raspberry filled and peanut butter filled chocolates. There were enough chocolates to fill five gift boxes; one of which became Miss A.'s Father's Day gift for her dad.   
The chocolates were truly decadent!

Three hours is what it took to make the chocolates and three hours is what it took to weave this pretty little basket. However, the attention span was definitely more in tune to making the chocolates!  Miss A. got through it though with a bit of help,  and is enjoying the use of her basket, which she added to her art supply closet.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

An Explorer's Birthday

Stacks of gingerbread cookies ready to become.....

Cairo Cookies!

Delicious...Temple of Doom Cake

Nonna baked and decorated the cookies, while Mommy baked and created the cake.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Happy Anniversary, Father Stan!

After earning his MBA and spending years in the corporate world, Fr. Stan decided to listen to the call of Jesus, and went on to earn a master degree in theology.

This morning a group of "morning glories" (as Father refers to those who attend daily mass at 8 AM) celebrated his 14th anniversary of ordinance with breakfast and of course cake.

I am among those whom are so very glad he answered the call and has been assigned as our pastor for the last four years. We are hoping he remains at our parish for many years to come.

Happy anniversary, Father Stan!

Twins on the Way

The A B C's of gift giving........

It is so much fun to share my hand knits, but especially so with a fellow knitter!

Momma likes Baby A's (boy) little grey cardigan, and...

She liked that Baby B (girl) received a sweater to match her baby brother's.

Momma was especially touched that "C", who is 6 years old, received a pink and grey gift too.

Yes, she likes the gifts!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Little Girl Big Girl Dress

This was on my blocking board for the last post and I am hoping for the next post I will have a picture of it on the little girl for whom I made it! In the meantime, you get the idea!

This pattern is designed to be for a toddler to wear as a dress, and then later by loosening the side ribbons, as I have done here, it becomes a tunic for an older girl.

The pattern was designed by Sami Kaplan and can be found on Ravelry.


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