Sunday, July 23, 2017

Cheddar Cheese Making, Gardening and Knitting (YOP Week 4)


Hello Everyone! :)))

I started my first batch of Cheddar cheese today! Please see my post on Rainy Day Cheese Making if you are interested! First thought? Doesn't look like Cheddar does it? Well, that's okay because this is just the first stage of the process! :) The next stage is letting it dry for a few days, covering it with an orange cheese coating and letting it age for 3 months. I'll keep you posted with the progress! This was so much fun...in the next few weeks, I'll be making a few more to age 6 months and 12 months too.


Last night's dinner was the easiest recipe I have ever come up with: Chicken Fricassee. It's just onions and potatoes and chicken all cooked up in butter...after spending the last four days doing the menu planning and shopping list, I actually felt a little wiped out! We ate from the pan lol...less dishes that way. Tomorrow is shopping day and then I'm done for the next month! :)


After last week's fiasco with the dogs playing with my knitting, I restarted my beach cover up and this is my progress. I'm not a fan of casting on, so restarting meant casting on 130 stitches, and I admit I dallied a little, but I've got 2 1/2 inches done on the back of the garment and I'm happy with that! My focus was on the menus and shopping list this week so I didn't get in as much knitting as I wanted to. But honestly...isn't it relaxing to just sit and knit? (as long as I don't have to count!) :)


Want to visit my little garden? :) ROMA TOMATOES!!! Woo hoo!!! :)


My Chamomile is finally coming up! At least I think it's Chamomile. My brilliant idea of putting my plant labels in little baggies failed...the moisture erased everything so I can only guess at this point! :) Reminds me of my grandma who used to buy canned vegetables all the time. When she got home, she removed all the labels so veggie side dishes would always be a surprise. :)


Since this is my first attempt at most plants...the question is: Is it a good thing or a bad thing that my green beans are flowering?


The Morning Glories are really climbing! My Blue Fescue grass and Lavender haven't budged, sigh...but the herb shelf is thriving! I finally have some good basil and oregano!


The pumpkin patch is getting "jungular"! I think I just made up a word. I have to remove the chicken wire because the plants are growing through it...I hope the birds leave them alone. I have no idea what's going on IN there under all those big leaves...


Maybe this? I'm just waiting and seeing at this point!!! :)


And in all the hub-bub over my NEW garden...I forgot to update you on my little Meyer lemon tree! It's a year old now and I have 4 lemons growing this year! (one is hiding) Oh and look Mama Pea...I DO have weeds!!! I guess I can be thankful that those little clover dealies are the only weeds I need to pluck out of my containers once in a while!


Alright...that's it for this week. Tomorrow will be eight hours or so of grocery shopping and driving. I have to say I'll be glad when it's over! Alex made us some cocktails today so we could relax on the hammock together. He made his own creation, a Vanilla Flip (made with brandy and an egg white with sugar); and he made me another of his creations, and Apple Brandy Punch with brandy and Calvados. Cheers! :)

39 comments:

Stefanie Ng said...

That cheese is so cool. It looks delicious. I'm interested in seeing what the orange coating you were talking about. What a thriving garden you have. I can imagine all the dishes you will be cooking or baking with them. Yes, I agree, it's hard to start over but once you get past that then off you go.

Mama Pea said...

I can see why you're excited over your gardening efforts. So much going on in your containers! Your beans flowering is just what they're supposed to do. The flowers come first and then you'll start to see little itty-bitty beans forming out of the center where the flowers were.

Whadda wheel of cheese! You are simply on fire with your cheese making. I'm surprised you have any time to knit at all.

When you are plucking out those little clover weeds, look for a four leaf clover. With your green thumb I'm sure you'll find one!!

Sending good thoughts that your day tomorrow goes quickly and smoothly. Tell Alex to have a tall drink waiting for you when you get home. :o)

Marsha said...

I think all of us YOPers should plan a little trip to your neck of the woods in about 3 months for a wine and cheese party lol. I can almost taste that cheese through the computer. your garden is coming along smashingly. Glad to see you started back on your cover up.

I will be doing the grocery shopping tomorrow also. Menus were done today too.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

HAHA! I had a good laugh with the evil pumpkins!

Oh, a little Meyer lemon tree! So cute. Next year when we plan our garden, I'd love to grow one. Is it hard to maintain? Do you keep it indoors in the colder months? Inquiring garden minds want to know! :)

mysparemoments.com said...

Yay to the cheddar and I can't wait to see it aged and with its distinctive orange cover. Your garden looks amazing, so many wonderful treats going to come out of it. Well done on getting your beach cover started again, it's lovely and relaxing to just sit and knit.

Dorothy said...

Had to laugh about your grandma's veggies ... what fun. I agree with you on the casting on - I'm also glad when its done. Your stitches look lovely and even - looking forward to seeing your cover-up when its done. Wow that cheese sure looks good.

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Nice looking cheese!!! :) I can't wait to see the final result!

Oh I laughed at your comment about the tin cans and your grandma's sense of adventure. Love it!!!!!

Your lemons are fantastic!! My pumpkin patches have gone "jungular" also. My neighbor was commenting yesterday on how impressive the "giganticness" of it all was. I think I made up a new word too....

Good luck today!

Becki said...

Your cheese wheel looks lovely. I'm beginning to think maybe the hardest part for me would be leaving it alone for 3 months so that it could reach perfection. lol Mmmmm your Chicken Fricassee looks yummy. One of my favorite dishes to make is potatoes and onions fried together. I'd never thought of adding chicken. I think I need to pick up some potatoes from the grocery when I go shopping today. :) Love all your garden pictures. Things are growing really nicely!

Treey Stynes said...

Hi Rain , that chicken fricassee looks good�� You'll have to excuse me. I seem to have down with a little cold. ��It takes you eight hours to get there and back? It only took us 10 minutes. I could have had a bath an mowed the lawn (and weeded the garden and fed the cats) in that time. The website is looking good, however. I can't dispute that.

Lucy Bowen said...

Your garden is looking great - I would say with any sort of produce that doesn't involve eating the leaves, flowers are good. Love the look of the cheese.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Are you a Monty Python fan? I love their version of the Sermon on the Mount where the people in the back who can't hear, think Jesus said "Blessed are the Cheese-makers."

Nicole Thomas said...

OOooOOoohhh...i can't wait to follow this cheese wheels journey along :) looking good. I had my citric acid and my thermometer in the mail today. Still waiting for the salt and rennet.
Your beans are doing a good job by flowering. Just what u want them to do. The lemon tree looks fantastic !!!
Hope shopping day will go by easy :)

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Congratulations on the Lemons and Cheese!

Jenn said...

So much going on, knitting, cheese making, cooking delicious things, the garden! Love it!!
I especially like the lemon tree!!

Susan said...

In my favorite daydream, I come home to a hunky guy holding a cocktail at the door, with the words, "dinner is ready anytime you are." That cheddar looks promising! You have inspired me to get back into cheesemaking. I am going to wait until my new fridge arrives, as I need to make sure the temperatures are right. Good luck with your Big Shopping! BTW, my least favorite part of knitting is casting on, too. And that's a whole lotta stitches to cast on!

Mama Pea said...

Oh, Susan! In my favorite daydream, I come in from the garden tired to the bone, dirty, sweaty, bug-bitten, starving, looking as unattractive as could be to a hunky guy holding a cocktail at the door, with the words, "dinner is ready anytime you are." Sigh. We must all just keep having our daydreams. I laughed and laughed at that perfect line of yours in above comment!

Rain said...

Hi Stefanie :)) Thank you :) The cheese smells so good, we're so tempted to dig in, but we're being patient! You're right about the casting on. Once it's done it's more of a pleasure to keep knitting! The garden is doing well, but we still have to wait quite a bit for the veggies to grow for harvesting! But I can't wait! :)

Rain said...

Hi Mama Pea :)) Thank you! For some reason I thought that the beans were "bolting". I guess my only experience with that is when my cilantro bolted last summer and stopped making cilantro. I'm glad to hear that this is how it's supposed to be :) I can't wait to see some beans!! Lol...wouldn't it be cool to find a four leaf clover? I already have many wishes in mind :) I"m glad you approve of my "weeds" ;) And I guess you know Alex by now, he did have a nice cocktail waiting for me when I got home :)) Shopping was exhausting...I needed all day yesterday to recover!

Rain said...

Hi Marsha :)) Ha ha...we're the type who hide behind the curtains if the door bell rings and we're not expecting anyone hee hee...especially those after my cheese! ;) I hope your grocery day went well, I find it such a chore!

Rain said...

Hi Martha :)) I'm glad you liked my evil pumpkins...I actually got the photo online from an old Scooby Doo episode!! The Meyer Lemon tree is tricky. It needs lots of sun and can't handle much cold. Come September, last year, I had it in and out of the house, dang thing is heavy! It sat by the sunny window all winter, but a foot or so away so it wouldn't catch the cold drafts. It was so much fun trying to barricade it from the cats lol...I had a little home-made fence of paperbacks all around it so the cats couldn't come snacking on the little growing lemons! It actually was a "cocktail tree"...meaning it had a little lime tree next to it, but that died last winter unfortunately. When I got it, it was tiny and had one little lemon growing, and it only turned yellow about 9 months later...but the lemon was super sour. The representative where I bought the little tree told me they should taste more like an orange than a lemon...haven't experienced that yet! This year, the lemons seem to be growing much better, I'm hoping we actually have some by the end of the summer! But 4 lemons don't really produce much! It's nice to know it can be done though. I water it just like any other plant, when it gets dry. It's fun to see the lemons forming and it smells divine when it's at the flowering stage! It gives me hope that maybe I can grow other fruit trees under the proper conditions, like a greenhouse. This is all future plans!

Rain said...

Hi Ruth :)) Yes, I love to sit and knit, but I have no attention span...if I focus on anything else, I'm so close to dropping stitches! I wish I could be the type of knitter who can do something else at the same time, but it helps me to relax so I look at it as a type of therapy too :)) I'm looking forward to seeing an orange Cheddar too! I hope it all works out.

Rain said...

Hi Dorothy :)) My grandma...she was so funny with stuff like that. Sometimes my grandfather said he'd have lima beans 4 days in a row lol...I'm reading many people aren't fond of the casting one! I'm not alone! :) Thanks for your support! I'm so happy I joined the YOP group! :)

Rain said...

Hi Dianna :)) Well, as you know, shopping rendered me useless for 2 days lol...but I'm back now with a wee bit of energy. :) My grandma's cans...it always made me laugh when she did that. Lol...giganticness and jungular are the only words to describe the pumpkin patch these days. When I went out this morning, the plants were standing really tall and I could see a little bit under them, I have a lot of orange flowers in there! I'm so excited about it! The lemons are great. The tree seems to have reached it's peak of growing tall though, I don't think we'll get more than a half dozen lemons a year if we're lucky.

Rain said...

Hi Becki :)) I was thinking the same thing, Alex too. We have to flip the cheese wheel twice a day for now and every time we go near it, it smells so good we are so tempted to take a little bite...off the bottom so you can't tell lol...but we're going to be patient! The fricassee is so good...I know fricassee can be made many different ways, but this is one I came up with based on what Alex was telling me his grandmother used to make. We just gobble that stuff up and it's so easy to make!

Rain said...

Hi Terry :)) I hope you're feeling better! A cold in the summer frankly sucks! We get a little nasaly in the summer, but it's mostly allergies, Alex is worse though. His lasts from May through to September. The shopping trip in total is about 8 hours. I make the trip once a month to the bigger towns down the highway because shopping at the more local places...the quality is terrible and the prices are too high. Also because I shop with the flyer sales, I make a lot of stops and Monday I left at 7:30am and got home just after 3pm. I start with the furthest stores which are 90 minutes away and work my way back. I calculated once to see if it was really worth it and it is, I do save money this way so I'm willing to do it for now! One day hopefully it'll be a bi-YEARLY shopping trip...that would be heaven but we'd have to rent a truck to bring everything back lol...

Rain said...

Hi Lucy :)) Thanks! The garden is really looking nice! But I can't wait until I have one that's more permanent! I think I've mastered the herbs and tomatoes. I want to branch out into many more veggies, but I don't have the space here in our rental.

Rain said...

Hi Debra :)) YES! I know the scene you are talking about and I guffawed out loud when I read your comment, tee hee...I haven't seen Life of Brian in ages...have to go download all the Monty Pythons I can find! :)

Rain said...

Hi Nik :)) Oh nice! Did you order from Make Cheese? What are you going to make first? Just a tip, if you ordered from Make Cheese...if you ordered liquid rennet, look at the label. They sell "double strength" and you have to adjust your recipes for that! I made that mistake and one of my batches of Mozzarella came out really sour. I'm excited about the beans! I'm still waiting on the cucumbers too, I hope those do okay, we keep having 12 degree nights lately. Shopping was the usual, and I'm pretty much recovered now lol! :) Can't wait to read about your cheese making!!

Rain said...

Thanks TB :)) I know you were rooting for the lemon tree all winter! :)

Rain said...

Hi Jenn :)) Thank you! I'm trying to fit everything in. I have a tendency to get lazy so I need to keep busy and these hobbies are so much fun! And I hope one day, delicious too :)

Rain said...

Hi Susan :)) Ha ha ha...I think I'm living your dream for you ;) Alex had a nice cherry cocktail waiting for me and we munched on Ciabatta and Brie...mmmm...I have my fingers crossed for the Cheddar...it's in the drying stage now and looking more yellow every day! Fun! :) You too!!! Casting on chore...I can't force myself to enjoy it lol...The shopping day is over for another month...but I may have enough food for 6 weeks, so I'm hoping for that miracle too! I'll have to go get a few things, but the longer in between trips, the better!!!

Rain said...

Mama Pea I'm sighing along with you lol...Susan's line was perfect, but I like your dirty sweaty bug-bitten and starving look. :))

Breathing Life said...

Okay I shouldn't read your blog on an empty stomach. Now I want cheese and tomatoes for breakfast! Your photographs are wonderful.

Treey Stynes said...

Hi Rain, you and Alex look as though you make a great team. You'll need that if you're to make a success of it all.

Rain said...

LOL Mary-Anne, I'm proud to say I get that comment often! I'm glad my food looks delicious through the computer screen! :)

Rain said...

Thanks Terry :) We definitely make a great team! Everyone has their ups and downs, but life in our home is easy and enjoyable. We have so much in common which is rare to find these days!

Sam I Am...... said...

Wow! There is no stopping you....not that I want to as you are really motivating me! Your knitting looks great and it is relaxing as long as everything is going well! LOL! I did not have a successful knitting week but it just means I have some new skills to learn. I did finish a pair of socks though so not all was for naught. You have really been a boon to my spirit with all your projects and living a reclusive life like I do. I really feel inspired after reading your posts....like I have found a kindred spirit. You have no idea what that means to me. If it wasn't for my blogging friends I would be a pretty lonely gal although I do like my reclusive life as a whole.

Sam I Am...... said...

I forgot to tell you how great your garden is looking and producing! Also, do you precook the chicken in your Chicken Fricasee? I'll be making that one for sure! Thanks, as always!

Rain said...

Hi Sam :)) I know what you mean, I think that if I make another mistake and have to frog my project...I will lack motivation to start casting on again lol...That's great that you got a pair of socks done! I have yet to knit some socks! And thank you so much for the compliments and sweet words! I'm just as inspired by you, a kindred spirit for sure!!! :) Reclusive is definitely the way to go!!! :)

Thank you, I wish the garden was producing a little quicker, but so far I'm pretty happy with the results!

For the fricassee, sometimes I use pre-cooked chicken and just toss it in as is, but most of the time I just have thawed out chicken breast and cut it into small cubes and put it in pan like that. It cooks pretty quick with the top on the pan. I love that dinner, it's SO easy and hygge! :)