Say cheese!

Tonight we tasted my homemade feta cheese. It was a tad salty so I rinsed it off before putting it on the pizza.


Tonight I only used up the partial jar of feta. I still have another full jar and will let that age a bit longer. I am thrilled that I was able to make cheese from a gallon of milk.

We want to attempt cheddar cheese next, which has to age for six long months. I love aged cheeses so I’m excited about the possibilities.

May wrap-up / June goal

May’s 30 day challenge has not actually ended. Yes, May is over but I got a late start to my cheesemaking and it took longer than I expected. The cheese will be ready to taste-test on Wednesday. At that point, we’ll decide if it’s edible. If so, we’ll be making pizza with it.

I’ve been thinking about June’s challenge and I don’t think I can set one. We are still hoping to travel to Taiwan at the end of July, though if the judge doesn’t issue first ruling soon, we may not be traveling until August. I have an overambitious list of things I want to accomplish before travel. I don’t think it’s wise to concentrate on just one challenge this month. Instead, I’ll be working my way down my list.

Here’s what I am hoping to accomplish before travel.

Packing test run
Finish KonMarie’ing my house
Deep clean my house
Write up a menu for the first two weeks home
Grocery shopping for all non-perishables for the above menu
Summer clothes shopping for Jeff, Cin-Ru, and myself
Plan the actual trip
Finish blog design and launch my new blog

And, I want to make decent sized strides in my Chinese ability. I did join a June mini-challenge to read Chinese materials for at least half an hour each day. This means something written by native Chinese speakers for native Chinese speakers, not for those learning Chinese. There is a huge difference. This is in addition to my normal flashcards and my writing attempts.

Looking at my list, I’d better get busy!

Cheesemaking progress

We are plowing forward in our efforts to make feta cheese. After three days of drying, the cheese was finally ready for the next step. It’s a good thing I read the directions online instead of relying on the pamphlet in the kit. The pamphlet said that the cheese should dry for two days; the online directions said it could take up to three days to dry. Mine took three full days.

Close up of this beautiful but stinky cheese

Jarred and in a light brine solution. These are going in the fridge to ripen for another 7-10 days and then we’ll do a taste test.

Speaking of cheese, we discovered a very happy announcement at the mall.

Beecher’s is coming to our local mall! Woohoo! I adore their fresh mac&cheese but we have to visit Pike Place Market in order to partake. Soon there will be a restaurant 15 minutes from our house!

Adventures in Cheesemaking

I finally dove into my cheesemaking yesterday. I didn’t mean to wait until so late in the month but stuff kept happening and I couldn’t find an entire day to devote to the process.

Starting off with whole milk from Whole Foods.

Using the thermometer from the kit…

only to discover that ours works so much better!

At the end of step one, the milk was starting to change form.

I did a really messy job turning it into curds.


Draining some more.

Starting the drying process.

Drying while covered in cheesecloth.

I started the process yesterday morning around 10. I think it was 11PM or so when it was finally ready to add the ingredients for the brine. This morning I had to get up early and lay it all out so that it could dry flat. I’ve been rotating the cheese every couple of hours today so that it will dry on all sides. I have to do the same tomorrow and then Sabbath morning it finally starts the ripening process. It will be another week before it’s ready to eat.

What have I learned? This takes a lot of time and way more patience than I possess. I had SUCH a hard time keeping the milk at the right temperature. It was supposed to be heated indirectly so I placed the pan on top of my frying pan. The frying pan was filled with water and heated, which then heated my pan and the milk. Even with that, I couldn’t get it hot enough and then I way overshot the target temperature. To be honest, I might have ruined it. It smells like cheese but it’s pungent. It’s supposed to ripen into feta cheese, which I know has a strong smell. But this is slightly different. I’m not sure if it’s normal or if I ruined the cheese when I heated the milk too hot. We’re going to wait until tomorrow to see if the smell changes and decide if we’re going to keep the process going or toss it out and try again some other time.

Either way, if I end up with trash or cheese, it has definitely been a learning experience. I had no idea cheesemaking is so HARD!

May 30 Day Challenge

To help keep me busy while we wait and wait and wait for the court process, I thought it would be fun to pick a project for the month of May. There are several I could have picked from, most of which consist of finishing knitting and quilting projects that are in various stages of completion. But I thought it would be more fun to do something related to cooking – making cheese.

My mother-in-law bought me a cheesemaking kit for Christmas and I am so excited to get started!

I have two cheesemaking books. One is for dairy cheeses…

And the other is for vegan cheeses…

This weekend I will flip through both books, decide what type of cheese I want to attempt, and make a shopping list in preparation for grocery shopping on Monday. I can’t wait!

Time for a new challenge

It’s been quite awhile since my last 30 day challenge. Because we’re currently in a Waiting period of the adoption process, now would be a great time to start a new 30 day challenge. It’ll give me something constructive to do, rather than refreshing my email every 15 minutes!

This month, I’ve decided that I’m going to overhaul my blog. The current design, if you can even call it that, is really old and desperately needs redone. So for the next 30 days, my challenge is to learn about blog design and put together something new. I can’t wait to see what I learn!

30 day challenges

I wasn’t planning on undertaking a 30 day challenge in October. Last month’s homemaking challenge was kind of a failure, partly due to circumstances beyond my control and partly due to a varying level of motivation. Considering homemaking is my job, I should be able to rise above the lack of motivation and complete my job regardless of how I feel. However, that was only partially successful.

This month I am going to continue my homemaking challenge. I came up with a good cleaning schedule last month. I started a loose routine. This month I want to work on my menu planning and grocery lists and price sheets. I might throw in something else as well but that’s what I am going to concentrate on.

Then I stumbled across this:

31 days of blogging! October is my birthday month, the start of fall, and the first chance we have to sleep on a comfortable bed every night. Things are looking up! Hopefully this means I will have more to talk about and can get into a comfortable blogging rhythm. I want to post more often and I have tons of photos from the past several months of exploring Seattle and surrounding areas.

Is anyone else participating in the Blogtoberfest or something similar?

Thursday’s Homemaking

Today I had some additional incentive to finish with my house cleaning early: the library! I thought I had some books due back today and knew that hubby wouldn’t be able to go with me after work. Today there is no “after work” as it’s after seven and he’s still working…

Thursday Cleaning – Stairs and Downstairs Sinks

  • Sweep and mop stairs
  • Sweep and mop downstairs hallway
  • Sweep bedroom floors
  • Scrub both bathroom sinks (one in master bedroom, one across from washer/dryer in hallway)
  • Wipe off top of washer and dryer
  • Tomorrow’s cleaning – the shower and toilet in the downstairs bath.

    I am so happy that I have a checklist now. I love lists. Next week I will have a printed list for each day and that will provide its own incentive, getting to check things off the list.

    As it turns out, I had nothing due back at the library but I was dying to go regardless. So, come 2:30 this afternoon, I finished my cleaning, took a shower, and then hopped in the car. Library, here I come!

    When I left for the library, I had 66 items checked out and took a bag of books with me to return. Now that I’m home again, I have 76 items checked out. Oops. That number is supposed to be going down, not up! I spent an hour browsing the shelves, mostly in the quilting section. I am looking for inspiration for my brother’s new baby (due in December).

    Of course, Bruno demanded that he be included in the photo. I tried to explain to him that they were just books about quilts, not actual quilts, but he insisted.

    And two of the books I checked out just for me. My husband was shocked that I dared suggest that I desecrate his precious French press with YARN but finally acquiesed and I said I could knit him a coffee cozy. 😉 Ah, true love.

    Wednesday’s Homemaking

    Today was much quieter as far as my husband’s phone was concerned. That made it easier for me to work as needed.

    Wednesday Cleaning – Upstairs Bathroom

  • Wipe down counter
  • Scrub toilet
  • Sweep under cat boxes
  • Mop floor
  • Scrub sink
  • Clean mirror
  • In addition to this, I kept the kitchen clean, ran a load of laundry, and swept the entire upstairs floor. It’s looking better in here every day!

    I still need to deal with the piles of papers, though… those piles are the only thing keeping our upstairs from looking tidy.