Monthly Archives: March 2015

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella Cheese Homemade

Making cheese might be little scary at first.  Don’t worry, you can do this.  The first batch you make probably won’t last long.  There is plenty more where that came from.  Come along, we have mozzarella cheese to make.

You will need a non-reactive stockpot, candy gauge, wooden spoon, lid for stockpot.

Ingredients:  One gallon of whole milk (make sure it is not ultra pasteurized)  Fresh cows milk is best, not everyone has a source for fresh cows milk.

1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid powder or tablets
1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet, combined with one cup of water

Sprinkle citric acid powder into non-reactive stockpot.  Pour 1/4 cup of water over the citric powder, stir to dissolve.

Pour milk into citric acid solution and stir.

Medium to low heat, heat milk to 90 degrees F.

When the milk reaches 90 degrees, remove from burner and pour in rennet mixed with water.

Stir mixture with gentle, circular and up and down motion for 30 seconds.  Use spoon to stop motion of milk.

Put lid on and walk away for minutes.

After 5 minutes the milk should resemble soft custard.

Cut curds into a one inch checker board pattern.

Put on Medium heat, stir gently until the whey reaches 105 degrees F.

Use spoon to transfer curds to colander set over a bowl.

Squeeze cheese draining off the whey.

Microwave cohesion high for ONE minute. Pour off whey.  Do this 3 times pulling and stretching to remove more of the whey.

The cheese should start to get glossy and firm.  If you want to add salt or any spices to your cheese during the pulling process is the time to do this.

Makes approximately one pound of cheese.

Don’t throw all that good whey away.  Whey is pure protein.  Freeze it in ice cubes trays.  When your making your smoothies use a cube. Use it in your homemade soups and baking.  Substitute the whey for the water.  You can use it in the garden.  Cut the whey with half water and half whey or it will burn your plants.  Don’t put it directly on the plants.   I give it to my chickens to drink.  Tons of ways to use whey.  ENJOY!

Graham Crackers Homemade

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If you have never tried homemade graham crackers, well shame on you.  Once you eat a graham cracker homemade from scratch that isn’t picture perfect, you won’t want to eat the pale version you buy in the store.  My husband loves them with a glass of milk.  Even my neighbor who questions everything homemade said they were really good.  That is high praise believe me.  Come along with me and we will make a delicious graham cracker.

Ingredients:  1 Cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 Cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 Cup rye flour plus little more for dusting.  1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/4 Cup packed brown sugar, 3 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into cubes, 4 Tablespoons shortening, 4 Tablespoons honey, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 teaspoon sugar

Combine flours, salt, baking, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and brown sugar in a bowl.  Add the butter and shortening.  Cut the butter and shortening into the mixture, just like you would if making a pie.  It will be crumbly which is what you want.

Combine 1/4 Cup water with honey and vanilla.  Stir until all is dissolved.  Add to your flour mixture.  Combine everything together until a ball is formed.  Refrigerate for 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Take dough out of refrigerator 20 minutes before using.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut dough in half.  Put half the dough between two pieces of way paper dusted with rye flour.  Roll out to an 1/8 of an inch.  Using a knife, crinkle cutter or pizza wheel to cut 2 x 3 rectangles.  Use a spatula to separate the rectangles from the wax paper.  Do not grease the baking sheet you will be putting them on.  Repeat with the rest of the scraps and dough. Using a fork prick the dough several times.

Bake for 15 minutes or until starting to brown around the edges.

If you want cinnamon and sugar graham crackers do the following.  In a small bowl combine cinnamon and sugar.  Sprinkle the crackers and prick the dough several times with a fork.

Makes around 40 crackers.  Store up to 4 months.  If the crackers start to lose their crispness, just pop in a 375 degree oven for 5 minutes.

Did I mention how wonderful the house will smell while these are baking?  It is an added bonus.

Lye Soap DIY

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Are you tired of buying bars of soap only to have them melt away in the shower or bathtub?  Making lye soap sounded extremely hard and really scary.  Lye soap was something our grandmothers, great grandmothers and pioneers had to make.

Two very good friends of mine spent an hour showing me how to make homemade lye soap.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was, or how much the recipe made.  In the past buying a bar of lye soap ranged from $3.50 up to 5.00.  My budget can’t handle that.  Come along while I tell you just how easy this soap is to make.  Don’t be put off by the many steps listed.  I really want everyone to understand each step, so I broke it down a lot. Let’s go make some LYE SOAP.

SUPPLIES:  Stainless steel or enamel pot, wooden spoon or emulsion blender, scale, rubber gloves, eye protection, parchment paper or butcher paper or freezer paper, box (mine was 22×20 with tall sides, blankets to wrap the box, lid from an old storage container.

RECIPE:  4 Cups Distilled water,  12 ounces Lye, 3 lbs. lard (can use Crisco), 2 lbs., coconut oil,  16 ounces olive oil

If you live on well water or from a fresh spring you don’t have to use distilled water.

EXTRA STUFF: Essentials oils, soap coloring.  These are not necessary, your choice.

INPORTANT:  Please have VINEGAR on hand incase you get any of the lye mixture on your skin.  If you do immediately wash with vinegar.

  1.  Line cardboard box with either parchment, butcher or freezer paper.  Line inside of the box completely.
  2.  Measure the distilled water, lye, lard, coconut oil and olive oil into individual paper bowls or plates.  Line everything up as it is listed.  This is the order you will put each into your pot.
  3.  In a well ventilated area pour in the distilled water.
  4.  Add in Lye without splashing.  Mix to dissolve.
  5.  Add in Lard without splashing.  Keep stirring to melt the lard.  You can use your emulsion blender just be sure not to splash any of the mixture.  The bottom of your pan will be hot.  The lye is heating everything up and melting the lard.
  6.  Add the coconut oil.  Keep stirring to melt.
  7.  Add olive oil.  Keep stirring, you want everything to be melted and it will start to become  thicker and come together.
  8.  When you lift your spoon out of the mixture and as it drips off, you will see a fine line on top of the soap mixture.  This is called TRACING.  This is what you want to happen.
  9.  Now would be the time to add any essentials oils.
  10.  Stir in the essentials oils and make sure the soap mixture traces again.  If you stir to long the soap mixture turns back into liquid.  You don’t want this to happen.
  11.  Add soap coloring and pour very carefully into your lined box.
  12.  Put your box in a warm place.  Cover with lid.  Wrap blankets all around the box.
  13.  Between 20 minutes to an hour, check soap to see if it has set up enough to cut into squares.  Soap should separate when you cut it.
  14.  Cover the soap box back up.  Let your soap cure for 24 hours.
  15.  Remove soap from box and separate into bars.
  16.  Very important you let the soap dry for 2 weeks.  The lye is still working its magic and you can’t use the bars yet.
  17.  Longer you let the soap dry, harder it will get.  Soap lasts longer if well dried.  Some people let it sit for up to a year.  Set it in a container and leave it alone for a while.

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SOAP MIXTURE.

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Lye soap that has been poured into lined box.  Lid on top of box with towels wrapped around the box of soap.

 

 

 

 

 

4 Cream of Soup Mixes

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This cream of soup mix can be made into Cream of Chicken Soup, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Cream of Celery, or Cream of Broccoli.  First start with a basic soup mix and then with a few different ingredients you have several different kinds of cream soups.  Instead of buying those expensive store-bought soups with all kinds of additives, take a few minutes to make something delicious and healthy for you and your family.

What you will need:  2 Cups powder milk, 3/4 Cup cornstarch, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, basil, and parsley, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Mix everything together.  To make the basic cream of soup, add 1 1/4 cups water and 1/3 cup of the mix.  Bring to a boil.  Cook and stir until thick.  This is equal to one can condensed cream of soup.

Cream of Mushroom Soup:  Add 1/4 cup diced, cooked mushrooms to thickened soup.

Cream of Chicken Soup:  Use 1 1/4 cups chicken broth to make soup instead of water.  Can add diced cooked chicken if you want.

Cream of Celery Soup:  Add 1/4 cup diced, cooked celery or 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds to thickened soup.

Cream of Broccoli Soup:  Add 1/4 cup diced, cooked broccoli to thickened soup.

TIP:  For dairy free soup, use powdered rice milk in place of powdered milk.

Poultry Seasoning

 

Poultry seasoning can and will bring chicken to a new level of goodness.  With only five spices mixed together, you are on your way to delicious chicken.  Here are the five spices you will need to make this great poultry seasoning.

4 teaspoons thyme
4 teaspoons marjoram
1 1/2 teaspoons rosemary
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sage

Combine and you have your poultry seasoning.  As you can see from the picture, I make a larger batch so there is always some on hand.  Enjoy!

Steak Seasoning

 

You can’t go wrong with this Steak Seasoning mix.  Sprinkle it on right before you grill your steaks, or rub it in and let it marinate for awhile.  I have even added it to hamburgers and meatloaf.

Here is what you will need to make some awesome steak seasoning.

1 Tablespoon coriander seed or powder
4 Tablespoons sea salt
1 Tablespoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons paprika
1/2 Tablespoon dried onion
1/2 Tablespoon red pepper
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

Mix everything together.

Now go make some great tasting steaks or hamburgers.

Lemon Pepper Mix

 

Lemon Pepper seasoning taste delicious on pasta, rice, fish, chicken and vegetables.  My favorite way to use lemon pepper is to sprinkle it on top of chicken and roast the chicken in the oven.  If you have never tried it, now is your chance.  Don’t pass it up.

Here is what you will need:  4 Tablespoons basil, 3 Tablespoons oregano, 1 Tablespoon of pepper, 1 Tablespoon dried onion, 1 Tablespoon celery seed, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 2 Tablespoons lemon rind dried.

Remember you can add or subtract the amount that suits your family.  Enjoy

Hidden Valley Ranch Mix

 

Hidden Valley Ranch is one of our favorite mixes.  This mix is extremely easy to make and use.  Come along with me and make some Hidden Valley Ranch mix for some vegetables tonight.

You will need the following:  15 saltine crackers, 2 Cups parsley, 1/2 Cup minced onions, 2 Tablespoons dill, 1/4 Cup onion salt, 1/4 Cup garlic salt, 1/4 Cup onion powder and 1/4 Cup garlic powder

Place everything in your blender or food processor.  Blend until everything is in powder form.

To use:  Combine 1 teaspoon mix with 1 cup mayo and 1 cup buttermilk.  Second way to use the mix.  1 teaspoon mix with 1/2 cup may and 1/2 cup sour cream.

Salsa Mix

 

Sometime during the winter, I run out of the summer salsa I canned.  This makes me sad.  Here is a dry mix, when combined with tomatoes will help you make it to the summer.

1 1/2 cups dried cilantro
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup dried onion
1/4 cup red pepper
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon black pepper
Salsa:  2 Tablespoons mix, one 10 ounce can Mexican tomatoes.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Share what other spices you add to your salsa.

Kitchen Towels

 

As I threw away another paper towel roll and didn’t have anymore paper towels in the house.  It was then I decided there had to be a cheaper way to wipe up spills, dry fruit and vegetables and save on using paper towels all the time.  Now this doesn’t mean I am not using paper towels at all.  Very proud to say, I have reduced the use of paper towels considerably.  I made 6 kitchen towels the first time.  Since then I have made several more.  They make great gifts for the newlywed, mothers day, birthday, christmas, well you get the picture.  Personally I would love to be given a homemade gift like this.

Some people might argue that having to wash them doesn’t save anything.  I wash them with the rest of my towels, there are no extra loads being washed.  A beginning sewer can make these.  So come along and let me tell you just how easy they are to make.

To make one kitchen towel:  Cut one 12 x 12 square of flannel.  Cut one 12 x 12 square of terrycloth.  I used an old bath towel.  Thread of choice and a sewing machine.

Put both squares right sides together.  Pin and sew around the edges with a straight stitch leaving an opening on one side to turn right side out.

After turning right side out ( make sure your corners are completely out) Using the zig zag stitch sew around the square completely.

At the bottom you can see the zig zag stitch.  Now starting in one corner, using a straight stitch sew from corner to corner.  Do the same in the other corners making an X.

You can see the sides and the X better on the towel side.

Make some for your own use and some for gifts.  Cut down on all that paper towel use.  Let me know how yours turn out.

 

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