Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Ever since reading, Animal,
Vegetable, Miracle I wanted to try making my own mozzarella. It seemed so easy, and the idea of a fresh caprese with tomatoes and basil from my own garden sounded so delicious!


I asked for cheese making supplies for my Birthday last year, but Hubby heard "hard" when I said "soft", so I had the opportunity to make some hard cheeses this winter. I made gouda and Monterey Jack. That was fun, and the taste was awesome, but it takes…all……..and then you have to wait - 2 months for Monterey Jack and 4 for gouda - for the cheese to age. I was drawn to the instant gratification of mozzarella.


So, this summer I finally tried it, and it was very cool! The cheese gets all stretchy, just like Ricki's pictures!


The first few times I made it, it worked, but the flavor was kind of…blah! The curd didn't form very well. And it didn't melt which was not only weird but disappointing! I was very excited about make Fettunta, but the bread burnt & the cheese didn't melt.


The problem is, I didn't really have a great source of real milk. The milk from Costco and Trader Joe's are both rBST-free, but that's the best I can do...or so I thought. I bought mine from Costco the first time, and Trader Joe's milk worked too, though it didn't make as nice of a curd. Recently I tried Oberweis, and that was far tastier. It was a "milkier" taste. Oberweis claims to be rBST-free, hormone free and to have lower somatic (dead) cell counts than organic milk standards require. It's then pasteurized, but at a much lower temperature than most dairies. Their goal isn't to extend the "best by" date but rather to get it to consumers within 36-48 hours. This is a good goal, one that's in line with my goals.


Oberweis is expensive, about $3 a *half* gallon, plus $1.50 for the (refundable) bottle deposit. It's definitely worth it for cheese making, but switching to it for drinking is a more difficult decision.



Monday, August 24, 2009

A Plan for Blogging

So, I've been a bit AWOL lately…as you can see from my menu plan I've been a bit busy! Somehow we're going out to dinner 5 of 7 days this week. You would think that would make life easier, but not for me. My challenge this week has been to get all the veggies (from the CSA from almost two weeks ago) processed and into meals. My second challenge is to get this blog up and running again.

When I started the blog I had a goal to post 3 times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. So far, I'm doing a terrible job of meeting that goal! In order to get back on track, I have created a new blogging plan and schedule. Taking inspiration from SimpleProductivityBlog, I've made a commitment, set up a calendar, and learned to use the future-posting feature of my blogging tool.


SPB suggested figuring out the minimal amount of posting I can do, and if I choose to tie that commitment to a calendar of days I will post. My commitment is to post three days a week, and I find that posting to a calendar helps with ideas and routine.


Menu Plan Monday: an article related to menu planning and my menu plan

Wednesday: Free Day, an article on any topic relating to food, cooking or organizing

Fight Back Fridays: a post related to real food

Blog schedule:

Because the blog has mainly been about my menu plan, my blogging schedule and menu planning schedule are closely tied together.

W: Meal plan draft. My goal is to at least get the paper one out and put our existing plans on it. I've printed a bunch of my menu
planning worksheets on colored paper so that they catch my eye in the folder that I carry every day. I've also added a weekly reminder to www.rememberthe On Wednedays I will begin drafting an article to post on Friday.

R: Type meal plan. Even though I don't know exactly what will be in the CSA, I have a pretty good guess by now. On Thursday I will also draft an outline or put some ideas down for the blog post to accompany my menu plan.

F: On Fridays, I have received the CSA and can finalize the menu plan and make a shopping list. I can future-post the menu plan and finalize and post the Fight
Back Friday article that I drafted earlier in the week. Then, I'll do the shopping any time between Friday and Sunday with other errands or on the way back from a weekend trip.

Sat/Sun: The weekends tend to be very full, but not completely without down time. My plan is to spend some time either researching, writing or planning around at least one of the "archived topics", one of the topics I have outlined or made note of during the week. This will help me get ahead, so I'm not always writing from scratch!

M: Link to Menu Plan
Monday. Draft Wednesday's article

T: Finalize Wednesday's article and future-post it.

So, I'll see how this plan goes. I'm always posting the night before, so I shouldn't find myself posting in the morning before leaving for work, or distracted during the day to finish an article. This should fit in well with my regular routine. Though I am doing something almost every day, I am actually drafting/writing on the days I have set aside for blogging.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Out all week

This was a pretty easy menu to plan because we are BUSY! this week. We are out almost every night at some event or another. The couple of nights I do have I am using up veggies from last week's CSA: cabbage, zucchini, blueberries. I'll also roast beets and have a beet and feta salad for lunch one day. I think that's about all I can squeeze in!

Friday: Out

Saturday: Pizza

Sunday: Buffalo burgers, beets, Grilled Zucchini Rolls with Herbs and Cheese, Grilled Blueberry Upside Down Corn Cake (the recipe is for cherry pie, but who wants to pit 4 cups of cherries?)

Monday: Ravinia for Pat Benetar and Blondie! Bringing Malnatti’s, cold zucchini rolls, and Giada’s chocolate honey almond tart (used only almonds for the crust, graham crackers are really processed.

Tuesday: Pan roasted salmon with ginger and curry, curried cabbage, rice

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday we are out!