Monday, May 28, 2012

Last Week's Firsts

It's always fun to expand one's knowledge and skills and learn how to do something new . . .

. . . and it seems like as soon as one new thing is tried or learned, I'm ready to branch out and try the next thing whether it be a new recipe, a new skill, or a new quilt or crochet project . . .

. . . and even if I never become accomplished at some (or many :) of the things I try, it's still so enjoyable! I love to learn and keep busy . . . and to do those things that help to make our house a home and help our little homestead along.

I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to try so many things and enjoy many different experiences including a few new things tried this week . . .

~ canning strawberry syrup ~

(which was*delicious* over waffles!)

~ canning strawberry jam ~

(which is also in the above photo)

~ canning strawberry rhubarb jam ~

(not pictured)


~ making mozzarella cheese! ~

Yes, cheese! For a long time, I have wanted to try my hand at cheesemaking, and I cannot tell you how many times over the years books from the library came home that covered various aspects of how to make cheese, butter, etc.

Before making the mozzarella cheese, I had printed out several different recipes for how to do it, Leah and I watched videos online of how to make it, and we thought we had a fairly good grasp for how the process should go.

Only . . . it didn't go according to the 'books.' :) After adding the rennet and letting the warm milk/rennet mixture set for the called for time, we took the lid off the pot to cut the curd. Only there was no curd!

"What to do next?" was the question that was in both Leah's and my mind. 

Long story short, after some looking online, we found that goat's milk can take up to one hour for the curd to set which helped to explain some things! We did eventually get some curd to form and ended up with a little over 6 oz. of mozzarella when all was said and done (only about a third of what we should have gotten, but at least it was some!) . . .

The mozzarella after it was grated

Leah and I had so much fun making this cheese together and had quite a few laughs over our failures and 'learning as we go.' Oh, the memories! 

At least now we have a much better idea of how to do it next time, 
and we are looking forward to that!

In the meantime, we enjoyed our first ever homemade cheese in a delicious broccoli salad (made with our own broccoli and onions, too, by the way) . . .


  1. Way to go, Mrs. Ingalls!:-) Your post brought back wonderful memories of the cheese-making process Laura Ingalls described in "Little House in the Big Woods." I always thought it sounded fascinating...but I wasn't too keen on obtaining the piece of rennet!

    The salad looks delish! Now all you have to do is purchase a pig, and you can add your own bacon as well!:-)

    If you haven't already...could you post the broccoli salad recipe? You knew that was coming, didn't you?:-)

    ~ Betsy

  2. Canning is so much fun, isn't it? Strawberry syrup and jam sounds so delicious... and trying new ideas and recipes is always a learning experience! {And also makes many laughs to cherish!}


  3. We love mozzarella cheese, and often eat it with home grown tomatoes, sliced, drizzled with a little vinagrette and sprinkled with basil leaves.

  4. AnonymousMay 28, 2012

    The cheese looks great! I've made lots of butter but have never tried cheese. Good job! :-)

  5. AnonymousMay 28, 2012

    that's awesome! I admire so much of what you do, and it's inspiring to me :) I bet it was delicious!

  6. Oh your jam looks great! I am itching to get to canning but thanks to hubby he is gently reminding me that I need to rest ;o) Hopefully soon I shall be joining in the fun! I want to make some syrup! It sounds great. Where did you get your recipe from? I have wanted to make mozz as well but wonder if there is a way to make it without rennet. I will have to check around. :o)

  7. In celebration of my 3rd year and 300th post, you are invited to enter my anniversary give-a-way. Please hurry, the drawing will be held on Friday, June 1, 2012.

  8. You have surely been busy on the homestead, Sarah! What fun you and Leah must be having as you tackle new endeavors. I bet that strawberry suryp is delicious. I'm looking so forward to begining the canning season here in another few weeks. The rural Amish will have the pickler cucumbers ready by then. I've found that we just don't eat a lot of the fruit preserves, so I will be skipping those this year and freezing the fresh berries instead.
    I hope to get our home put back in order after another busy long weekend away from home. I cringe a wee bit at all of the laundry that needs to be done, the groceries that need to be gotten, and the house that needs tidied up. I find myself seeking the Lord for contentment and joy as I navigate the disorder that my home is in. How does your family manage when days are needing to be spent out of town or away from home?

  9. I have never heard of Strawberry syrup. I bet it tastes delicious. I don't think I will find that in any of the stores here and if I did, I bet it's not half as good as yours. :)

  10. Thank you, Betsy! Oh yes, I, too, well remember the cheese making process in the Little House Books. I also remember as a little girl after reading those books wanting to make some of our own cheese even then! Though, Mozzarella is a soft cheese and not a hard cheese so we didn’t use a cheese press or anything like that this time. We do hope to try hard cheeses sometime, though!

    Isn’t it nice that we live in a day and age when one can buy rennet? :) I wouldn’t especially relish the idea of getting ones’ own back in Laura’s day.

    We teased about needing a pig, too! Then even the bacon would be ‘homegrown’. :)

    I would be happy to post the broccoli salad recipe! Watch for it in an upcoming post . . . .

  11. It is indeed, Shannon! And that is wonderful that you enjoy it as well. The syrup and jam were delicious . . . and definite new favorites. Yes, trying new ideas/recipes is indeed a learning experience! And can make for fun and special memories, too (and as you shared, laughs to cherish as well. :)

  12. The ways you use Mozzarella sound delicious, Elizabeth! It is one of the cheeses we use the most often, and I think it will be one we will be making fairly often as well. It has such a good flavor!

  13. Thank you, Mrs. Anne! How fun that you have made a lot of butter! I am sure it is delicious. :) That is another thing we would love to make, too. Only, because goat’s milk is naturally homogenized, we would need a cream separator first. So for now, we’ll just enjoy using the milk for cheeses and yogurt! (And of course for cooking/baking and drinking, too :)

  14. Thank you for your sweet comment, Speiro! And I’m glad that some of what is shared here can be an inspiration. And yes, the cheese was good. A little rubbery :), but pretty good for a first attempt!

  15. Thank you, Nabila! I can relate to what you said about itching to get back to canning . . . it’s always fun to begin it again in the spring! Though, like your husband gently reminds you, you do need your rest now. :) It shouldn’t be long, though, when you’ll be able to be up and around again and then you will be able to can to your heart’s content!

    The syrup recipe came from my Mom’s old Better Homes and Garden cookbook. There was a recipe for strawberry syrup in one of my canning books, but it used corn syrup which I did not want to use, so I was glad that my Mom found this recipe! I’ll type it up and e-mail it to you.

    As far as I know, any kind of cheese needs rennet, but there is a vegetable rennet available now. I don’t know much about it, though, but I’m sure a little looking online could give you the information you would need!

  16. Congrats on three years of blogging, Mrs. B! And thank you for letting me know about your giveaway. I’ll have to stop by your blog!

  17. We have been just a bit, Renee! :) Yes, Leah and I do have a lot of fun together as we try new things and learn new skills. And it has made for some wonderful memories!

    I am sure you are looking forward to canning! That is a blessing that you are able to get produce from the Amish to can. Have fun making pickles!

    That is one downside of traveling (and my least favorite part of the process) . . . catching up on everything once you get back home. It is a wonderful opportunity, as you shared, though, to seek to grow in contentment and joy. Even little things like laundry and cleaning can be spiritual training ground for us! As far as how we manage . . . well, I’m not really sure! I’ve never really given it much thought. Once we get home, we all just pitch in to get everything put away and the laundry done (Mom generally does all of the laundry.) Before we travel, though, we do try to have our home nice and clean so that we don’t have to tend with that when we get home. It is really nice and restful to come home to a clean house! I hope that you have been able to get caught up on things after your travels and are enjoying the rest of your week!

  18. Thank you, Leah, for your comment! I hadn’t heard of strawberry syrup before either, but as I have been wanting to try to make a fruit syrup and since we had so many strawberries, I started looking to see if there were recipes for it. I was happy to find that there were! It is very good . . . though, unfortunately it uses a lot of strawberries otherwise I would make a lot more!

  19. How fun! I love all of your canning posts...for some reason they make me happy. :)

    That looks so fun to make cheese! Anything homemade always seems better. :)

    I remember the first item of clothing I ever made for was a flannel jumper with low armholes that I could nurse Elyse in. David looked at it and said he loved it. When I asked him why, he said it was because I made it myself. "It just seems better somehow," he said. He's so cute. :)

    I've enjoyed reading about all your "firsts" through the years. Can't wait to read many more of them! :)

    (I just realized that there's a happy face at the end of every sentence in this comment--guess I'm feeling happy!) :)

  20. Thank you for letting your happiness bubble over and brighten up my day, Joy! I so enjoyed your comment.

    Cheese making was a lot of fun! I tried again today and this time the making of mozzarella went much better. I ended up with 4 more ounces than last time (for a grand total of 10!), and the flavor and texture is much better, too. Surprisingly, the process is really simple . . . already I love cheesemaking!

    Aww, that is sweet about your husband’s comment with your jumper. Something made by yourself always has something extra special somehow. :)

    Thank you again, Joy!


Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)