Cheese made from figs

It’s the end of summer time and around here that means fresh figs from my neighbor. Fresh figs mean delicious fig preserves. But fresh figs also mean it’s time to make some more cheese!! So, yesterday I went and grabbed me my non homogenized local milk and today I am going to make some fresh homemade cheese. I took plenty of pictures this time documenting the process for those of you interested in repeating the process yourselves at home.Image

This is all I used. We have a gallon of milk, a large pot, a thermometer,  two figs, paper towels (because I’m too lazy and cheap to buy cheese clothe. It works just as well) and a strainer.

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A quick note about the milk you use. Organic non homogenized whole milk is best for making cheese. You can use regular store bought milk but you won’t get as much cheese at the end of the process. Stay away from ultra pasteurized milk though. Ultra pasteurized milk is processed at a high temperature damaging the calcium and proteins which are needed to bind the milk and form a curd. So here is what I use from a farm in Edgefield, SC.

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Pour your milk into the pot and start slowly heating it up. You want to leave it on low or medium setting so that you don’t scold or burn the milk as you heat it up. You want it to be just over 100 degrees. Anything between 100 and 120 is fine. The higher the temperature of the milk the harder the cheese will be. I want my cheese soft like cottage cheese so I plan on keeping it around the lower end of that.

Make sure you stir it occasionally and check your milk temperature every 20minutes or so to see where it is. When checking your milk’s temperature make sure you check it in the middle of the pan away from the sides and bottom of the pan to ensure you get the most accurate reading.

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It took an hour for it to heat up but now that the milk is at the desired temperature its time for the figs.Image

The white milky stuff is what curdles the milk.Image

Last time I blended a whole fig and mixed it in but then I had the fig seeds in with the cheese and I didn’t like that so this time I am peeling the fig skins off. You can see the white inside, that is what I am after. Image

Put the skins in a slotted spoon and place it in the milk. Stir it in and turn up the heat to medium-medium high. You will need to stir it constantly now to make sure it does not burn.Image

In about 30 minutes it will start to curdle. When it does go ahead and pull out your fig skins.Image

15 minutes after it first started curdling and it’s ready to drain! There will be white clouds floating in what looks like yellowish water. Those are your curds(cheese) and your whey.

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Put your paper towels in your strainer and start pouring in your cheese. I place a pot underneath to catch the whey. There are numerous ways to use left over whey from making cheese. You can see of few of my favorite ways here-  http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2011/06/16-ways-to-use-your-whey.html

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Make sure you pour slowly for two reasons 1- It’s hot and 2- You can tear your paper towels if you pour too fast. Set your timer for 25 minutes and let it sit and drain.Image

After 25 minutes fold over the corners of the paper towels and press any extra whey out of the cheese. Be careful it will still be very hot!!

Get a plate and put a hand towel and a few more paper towels on it…Image

Move your cheese over from the sink to this and fold over the ends of the towel and let it stand for an hour.

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If you want to got that down to only 30-40minutes you can put a heavy book on top.

You can season it however you want now. If you’re not going to eat it right away you need to add about 2tbs of salt mixing the salt in all the way and refrigerate it. You can make it savory, add some basil and garlic salt. Or some lemon pepper seasoning.

You can also go sweet and add honey in it. Its a very soft mild cheese so you can go any direction you want to with it.Image

We like it plain, on salad, or cut up with fruit!

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Onward and Upside Down

My last challenge was easy at first, frustrating for a while, then I pushed through and it got easy and even a little empowering. I find I feel much more feminine and strong and comfortable in my own skin.

I ended up losing 10lbs, 2inches around, and a bra size(which if you know me, I was kind of excited about. Big boobs can be highly overrated). Taking time on myself turned out to be an amazing experience. When friends and family learned I had lost 10lbs they wanted to know what I did differently. Was it a diet? Not really, no. I did snack less. And I certainly exercised more. Allowing myself to take a little time to think about myself in the morning gave me the freedom to say, hey I deserve some me time to work out a little and clear my head. Not to mention that when you’re trying to lose weight and work out 90% of the work is mental. You have to decide you want it, you can do it, and you deserve it.

I wore jeans today. Its been rainy and yucky and jeans seemed like nice around the house lounging attire. But mostly I’m still in dresses. I feel flirty and pretty. What girl doesn’t want to feel that way?

So on to the next goal!

This year my one and only new years resolution was to be able to do a hand stand. I broke my left ring finger in april and am just now cleared to do whatever again.. But its month 7 and still no handstand.

I have enlisted my friend who teaches gymnastics and plan to talk to my yoga instructor, between those two it shouldn’t be much longer till I’m walking around on my hands!

Stay tuned for pictures!

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Project One

Inspired by Jillian Owens (http://refashionista.net/2012/06/18/day-352-lunch-outing-dress/) and the fact that I’m running out of dresses I decided to take one a project. An easy one. So first up…
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Hmm. Anyone order a tent in stripe pattern?

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Add one belt, deconstructed Aaand….

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Tada!

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Who’s wearing the pants? Submission- an unexpected side effect.

I’m coming to the end of week two of no pants and I have to say this last week has gotten a little harder. I think that’s mostly because I’ve run out of dresses now and had to cycle through some again. I need to get sewing! I have a few projects and I know if I finish them it will make this more fun again.

But the best thing about this week is what its started in my relationship with my husband. It’s not the dresses but the way I feel in dresses. I feel delicate, feminine, relaxed. This week my husband has decided to take over our finances. I had started paying things and keeping track of what was due when and what was coming in when I started staying home. It seemed easier to both of us at the time for me to keep track of everything since I was home and had the time to do it. But there is something I have learned about myself since I got married- I really really like to feel in charge of things. In control. Now I am learning how great it can be to let go. And how incredibly sexy it can be when a man takes charge. There is something incredibly freeing about knowing my husband is taking care of us and I don’t have to worry about anything. I don’t have to think about the phone being paid on time, if we set aside rent money, is this going to be enough for groceries for us? He’s budgeted. He’s got it. There is crazy security in knowing how much he adores and loves his girls and so I trust him entirely to take care of us. I had given him that kind of trust in providing for us and now that he is asking for that in our finances its easier then I thought it would be to say ok and let go of the reigns. I also know that he respects me very much so I in no way feel cut out of our finances. I know that I am still included in making big decisions and he cares what I think. He has just taken on the bulk of the responsibility.

So hey, maybe he’s been thinking of this for a while and it just happens to be coincidence, but I think wearing dresses has put me in a mindset to say yes to being taken care of and letting my husband take leadership. Who knows how else he will take charge or what other changes he might move us towards. Whatever he decides I feel ready to follow his leading knowing that God is in control, that my husband is accountable to Him, and that my husband loves me and only wants the best for our family.

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June- 30 days of Dresses

A couple months ago I was with another mom friend and we were talking about our styles and fashion.

She was talking about how your body changes after you have children making it imperative to change your style too. I found myself saying “uh huh” a lot. You see, my personal “style” is blue jeans. And Tshirts. Maybe a tank top, or some khaki’s every now and then to mix things up. And I wish I could blame that on being a mom, cause I’m sure I could get away with that, however the truth is that I’ve never given too much thought to what my personal style is. My morning routine? Grab a pair of jeans, decide what color I’m in the mood for and then grab a tshirt. I put no effort, thought, or time into what I was going to wear or how I looked. Its a little sad really. And that was before we had our daughter.

So here’s a good question- If I have always been like this and it never bothered me before then what has changed?

I became a mom.

It’s funny to me how expectations changed when we became parents. It’s the things people stopped expecting that really bothered me. Sitting there talking to my friend it suddenly occurred to me that no one cares if I wear jeans and tshirts all the time because I’m a mom. I’m expected to be tired and busy. I dearly appreciate and truly need my friends to be gracious with me on certain days/weeks. But had I given up altogether?  Here my friend was, talking to me about having a little girl and how much fun it is to dress her up, how she’s looking forward to doing nails together with her little girl, playing with her hair, etc. I started thinking about my little girl. My daughter has so much fun trying on shoes, loves it when we do our nails together and has started experimenting with mixing and matching her clothes.

Once upon a time I remember having fun getting dressed. How long ago was that?

 When did I lose that fun and fall into this blue jeans tshirts rut? Is this the message I want to give my daughter? That we grow up quit caring what we look like and give up on ourselves? And then I thought of my husband. Now in all fairness, he dated me while I was firmly in my blue jeans fashion rut and has said he liked that I wasn’t “high maintenance” but maybe he was just being nice? Or maybe has never known me any other way? That thought was a little saddening. I feel I still tried harder to look nice when we were dating and wore something nicer then just jeans here and there. I certainly wore more makeup when we were dating then I have been lately. Suddenly I felt bad. He is committed to me but I want him to desire me, to want to be with me. I would like for him to look over at me and think “Hey, she’s kinda cute!“.  So after that conversation and a lot of thought I came up with an idea- No more jeans. No more tshirts. But I wanted to stay away from focusing on a bunch of don’ts and try to focus on an over all goal to work towards.

What I want For My Daughter:

I want to show her that even as an adult, even as a mommy, you can still have fun dressing up.

What I want For My Husband:

I want for him to know that I’m not “letting myself go” haha. That I still care about trying to look nice for him.

Cause I do.

What I want For Myself:

I want to feel better about myself. I want to spend more time on myself because when I take a little more time to try and look nice I feel… Sassy. Energetic. Confident. Flirty.

And without the crutch of jeans hopefully I will learn more about myself and discover what exactly my “style” truly is.

 

So, here we go. 30days of no pants, no tshirts. For the whole month of June I will wear dresses or skirts only. Why? Because I want to get waaay out of my comfort zone and push myself. I want to avoid saying “hey, I can’t wear jeans, so I’ll just wear shorts/khakis/etc.” and fall back into the familiar habit of grabbing a pair of pants and a top and throwing it on without thinking of about it.

 

 

 

Week One

Here We go! These are not all of them but just a few of my favorites.

Discovered I LOVE Vintage.

Decided I don’t really like this belted. Maybe I just have the wrong belt? Cause without one it looks like a tent.

Love the color though and the lace detail in the back.

Feeling sassy in Peachy/orange. I love this dress. It is so soft.

Because every dress needs cute shoes!

Now why didn’t anyone ever tell me how comfortable Maxi dresses are?? Its like wearing an adorable comfy nightgown all day. I only have one! But I need to get more because they are amazing, cute and comfortable. Not to mention so easy to move around and play with the toddler while wearing.

Week one has come and gone and was quite a bit easier then I expected it to be!

Looking forward to next week 🙂

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