Monday, February 28, 2011

And The Winner Is...

First off I want to say I LOVED reading all the cool things you guys will be making from scratch! I'm definitely wanting to steal the recipe for this Fuzzy Navel Cake that JD speaks of (insert evil grin here), and sprouted wheat bread made the ancient way by Raven sounds amazing, I can't wait to try this bread!

The winner was determined by the handy-dandy, and that person is: Kim from Salinas,CA!

Congrats Kim!

Kim, if you have a chance to see this post before I contact you, just send me an email to saying what your preference is for the gift card and I will send you the E-gift certificate of your choosing :D

Thanks to everyone who entered my very first giveaway, I am so grateful to have such bad ass, amazingly cool and talented readers! Thanks for all the kind words too, you guys make my heart smile.

More great news: I may be partnering up with a huge online merchant soon and that means, bigger and better giveaways to come soon!! Stay tuned!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cheesy Does It

Let's make some cheese! I'm so excited to learn how to do this. There is nothing better than a good piece of savory cheese on a salty cracker or tortilla. I decided I should start easy and work my way up because as I have researched, some of my favorite cheeses seem insanely hard to make! I found this great looking recipe for queso fresco in a special edition of Better Homes and Garden Magazine last month and I think it looks easy enough for even me to do. Queso fresco is a soft and salty Mexican cheese used for topping tacos, quesadillas, crumbling over salads and you can even incorporating into a tomato and basil bruschetta or anything else; it's a really versatile cheese. I can't get enough of this stuff, and usually have some on hand in the fridge, but I have always had the store bought kind in the little round wheel. Going with the premise that everything tastes better from scratch, my taste buds are just dancing at the thought that it could get any better.

Homemade Organic Queso Fresco
Makes about 4 cups

1 Gal Organic Whole Milk
2 Tbsp Sea Salt
1/2 Cup White Vinegar

1. In a big pot (6-8 qt) add your milk and salt, stir, then bring up to 190 degrees F using a candy thermometer. Stir frequently.
2. Remove from heat and gradually add the vinegar as you stir the milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then gently stir. This is where you will notice the curd separating from the whey.

3. Line a colander with a double thickness of cheesecloth and pour in the contents of your pot, discard the whey (the liquid). Let the curd drain for about 15 to 20 minutes.

4 &5.  Now you can either spoon it into a container, or if you want a firmer cheese you can take the ends off of a tin can, put the can on the plate, spoon the cheese into the can, put the lid over the top and top the lid with a weighted can(see illustration below). I just used a can of beans I had in the pantry :). Then you can chill it for a few hours (4-24) and it will get nice and firm.  

6. Cut the cheese--haha-- into smaller wheels, wrap in saran wrap, then you can either chill and use the individual wheels, or share with friends. See, easy right?
Step 1. Bring milk and salt up to 190 degrees F, while stiring frequently.

Step 2. Remove from heat, gradually add vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes

Step 3. Drain whey from curd, 15-20 minutes

Step 4. Chill cheese, or pack it unto a cylinder (can) and press for 4-24 hours, then chill.

Step 5. Weight lid down with another can to press cheese and make it firmer
Step 6. Cut cheese into wheels, wrap in saran wrap, and chill or share with friends.

This was such a fun project and was so easy, I let my nine year old niece help me and she had a blast. She had so much fun, but was a little sad she didn't get to get messy. The great thing about making cheese is it's pretty simple and clean, no need to ruin those manicured nails. Making cheese is a great activity for kids, not only because it's fun, but also because they are actually learning about the food that they eat and how it's made. The more kids understand about food, the easier it will be for them to distinguish the crap from the good stuff later in life.

So overall this whole cheese making experience was great, I knew making this cheese would be easy, but this was a piece of cake! I am definitely ready to try my hand at some harder, more intricate cheeses; but for now I'm going to enjoy my queso fresco. It does taste a little different from the store bought queso fresco. It's a little more mild, and has a consistency  between queso fresco and ricotta; It's really good. I put some on top of my pizza last night, threw some in my salad for lunch today, and think I will make some tostada's with it tomorrow. I may even try mixing it into a lasagna; the possibilities are endless.

My nine year old niece enjoys making cheese as much as I do :)
Update 2.25.11
I was nominated for Blog Of The Month on the site Just For Blogs! If you like what you see here, please go to their site and vote for Preserving the Past in their March poll. This would be the best birthday present ever. Thanks! :D

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blackout Due To FCC Regulations

Okay, I've been totally neglecting my blog readers! I am definitely going through blog withdrawals and can't wait until this weekend so I can do something fun and exciting! I've been absent from the web world recently because I just took a huge test for my PCA (Pest Control Advisor) license, so I've been studying like a madwoman and haven't had time to do anything fun. However, the test is now now all I have is time! Woohoo!

 I decided for my next post I will be making a simple cheese that anyone can make at home. It will be easy, promise! I found the recipe in a special edition of Better Homes and Gardens, and it's one of my favorite cheeses so I'm really excited to try making it. So, I will be  doing that this weekend and hopefully making a successful blog post if I don't eff it up too bad...ah, what the hell...there will be a blog post regardless of eff ups. I don't need to hide anything from you guys :)

So, stay tuned for "Cheesy Does It"! In the meantime, make sure you enter my Giveaway! I am so excited to read all of the amazing things you guys make from scratch! Holy crap, I have some talented readers; you guys are incredible. On the 28th of this month I will be announcing the winner, good luck to all of you! Also, check out the "As Seen on" tab!  I am now the "Style Columnist" for The Bakersfield Voice and published my first article last week. I posted the actual article in that tab. Feel free to go to and check it out and comment there if you like.

I have also become a crochet fiend! Now that I actually know what I'm doing it's become really relaxing and it's so damn fun! Currently, I'm working a pretty rad scarf with some fun little details. Beer coozy equipt with crochet flowers is on my backburner, but I think I can bang that out pretty fast. I'm also excited about the present I just got from Wicked Crochet! Thanks Kara! I don't want to spoil the surprise, but I will tell you it's a pattern...and it will definitely make a few of my readers blush once I finish it.

Thanks again for being loyal readers; this whole blog thing is starting to consume me! I totally live for your comments and it's so cool to hear some of you talk about trying the recipes and learning to do some of the stuff I've blogged about. You guys make my day!


Monday, February 7, 2011

My First Giveaway!

I'm so excited I'm about to reach 100 followers! I figured in order to express my thanks to all my readers I would reward you with cool stuff! I thought long and hard about I might offer up as a reward, and I was stuck between The Happy Hooker book and the bad ass pastry gun from Williams n Sonoma. So I think I will let you decide. The winner will get their choice of a $25 gift certificate to Williams n Sonoma or My budget is is a little measly because I'm blogging for donations only, the more donations I get, the better the prizes will be in the future :)

All you have to do is:

1. Become a Follower if you aren't already
2. Comment on this post and tell me what you plan to make from scratch this year for the first time, or tell me about your favorite tradition that you have learned from your grandma or on your own.

I will put all the names from the comments below in a hat and draw them at the end of this month. Winner will be announced February 28th!

Stay tuned kiddies!