Sunday, February 22, 2009

Perfect days

Perfection is subjective, but for us, at this time in the year, I think we had just about the perfect weekend. But, there are two funny things with this: one, we didn't do anything out of the ordinary, but the time just felt perfect. Two, Dave was gone for the whole weekend. I feel so bad saying that, and it certainly was not part of the perfection of the time. It would have been better if he were here, none the less, we had a great weekend! Please don't judge me...

Corrina and I hit our children's museum on Friday morning. We decided to buy a membership pass because they are very well priced. I think we have payed it off already with the 3 or 4 times we've been. At this age Corrina just doesn't get bored with it. In fact, she get's more excited about it every time we go. Love that!

I think the most perfect thing was making it through the grocery store without any fits or run aways. Corrina is the type of gal who just loves a good chase. It's just thrilling to her, and once she gets going she is the hardest little thing to catch because she's pretty sure it's a game, right down to the very upset momma assuring her that I do not feel the same way. But, this did not happen on our last shopping trip, and I still can't believe it. After helping me bag all the produce, she walked along, holding the side of the cart for the rest of the grocery trip. I'm sure she was sick of hearing me say "Corrina, it's good that you are holding the cart while we shop! I feel happy when you hold on and stay close." (They say praise the good behaviour you want to see more than the bad you don't want. She doesn't like this change, it's just not as thrilling at the troubmle attention, which means it works!) Anyway, I am defining moments like that as making my weekend perfect!

On Saturday night we had our little friend and his family over for an impromptu birthday dinner for him, and my gosh was it delicious. I made my own ricotta cheese for a roasted vegtable lasagne. We followed this up with the most amazing carrot cake I've ever had, topped with whipped cream-cream cheese frosting. The cake recipe came from my looney spoons cook books, which if you haven't checked out (ie. read, or checked-out from the library, either one) after hearing me rant about them for at least 3 posts, than I don't know what to say to you. Maybe I'm doing a bad job at convincing you... you tell me! Anyway, lovely super, lovely cake, and here are a few recipes.

Ricotta Cheese
2L Milk (whole, 2 %, I used 1%)
1 cup heavey cream (whipping cream, 35%)
1/2 tsp salt

3 Tbsp lemon juice
Mix together first three ingredients in sauce pot over moderate heat until this comes to a rolling boil. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. This can take a long time if you're bringing it up to a boil slowly. Be patient, it will pay off.
Once boiling, add lemon juice. Reduce heat to low, and stir for 2-5 minutes, until the mixture has curdled. Line a sieve with cheese cloth, or thin, clean, tea towel, and place over a bowl to catch the drippings/whey/butter milk. Slowly pour all contents from pot into lined sieve, and allowed to strain until all liquid has dripped through. In the sieve you have your ricotta cheese, and in the bowl you have buttermilk. Ricotta cheese lasts for 2-3 days. Not sure about the holding time for the butter milk.

(I think we are eating yogurt on our valentines pancakes, so it relates!)

Hope you get a chance to try this out. I loved the results, plus the money saved (at least here in MB, ricotta cheese is ridiculously expensive). I am still meaning to make yogurt, (or here) but keep forgetting to buy a thermometer to get the temps right. I don't have a yogurt machine to keep things at a consistent temp, but I have read some different ideas about ways to incubate the yogurt. I have one friend who rigs up her crock pot in a funny way to create her own yogurt maker machine. Might try that, or this. Yogurt making, and maybe ricotta cheese making too, seem like the easiest homemade things to do in the WORLD. If only I had a cow, I would be set! But then, it wouldn't be so easy, would it!? (I heard on the radio that someone has combined !? into it's own punctuation mark called the interrobang... what do you think? )

Dave gave me a beautiful, fragrant hyacinth earlier this week. It has fully blossomed and is such a lovely reminder that in certain places of the country many people are about to enjoy the new life of spring. We won't for a more months outside, but at least I can enjoy the colors and smells in my kitchen!

I think the weekend will end in perfect as well, when Dave returns home tonight (and I have to shove him off because I am working on my overdue homework!) At least he will be home.
Ha, gotta love life!


Sarah said...

Corrina is looking so sassy!

When I make my yogurt, to incubate it, first I preheat my oven to 200F while the milk heats and cools. Once I have mixed in my starter into the milk and poured it into jars, i place them in the oven loosely wrapped in a tea towel (so it covers the openings - i never put the lids on to incubate). Close the oven, turn on the light, and shut off the element. The light alone maintains a warm enough temperature to keep the bacteria active for a good 8 or 9 hours, just make sure you don't open the door to check on it. It shouldn't be necessary, anyway... mine has come out perfectly every time so far. :) I use this recipe for mine, it is the simplest and most effective i have found.

Good luck!

DAve and JAnie said...

Sarah, thanks for the tips. I forgot you have been making yogurt too. I read about doing the light on in the oven thing, but was worried that this wouldn't be enough heat, or that I would put the starter yogurt into the mix when the milk was too hot. I am hoping to pick up a thermometer tomorrow so I can check temps and get it right. But, I guess if I botch it up it's just milk!
I'm very glad to know the oven light thing worked for you though. I think that will be my first attempt.