To Make / Homemade Ricotta

 
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     Buongiorno friends! With summer weather in full swing, it's time to head to Italy - or to their food, at least! Full disclosure: I have been to Italy, and we did eat a lot of delicious food (mainly gelato) while there - but I want to dive deeper than just the standard Italian food that everyone and their nonna has had. Italy has many different regions (that were all their own sovereign states up until the mid-19th century - yup, Italy wasn't unified until about 150 years ago), and therefore, many different cuisines. I want to explore all of them - starting with a cornerstone of many Italian regions: ricotta! You can buy a tub of ricotta in any grocery store, but it's one of the easiest cheeses to make at home - and now that I've made it, I think it tastes 5,000 times better than store bought. I smeared mine on whole wheat toast, and made a quick strawberry jam from the strawberries in our garden - very simple, very fresh, and one of the most delicious things I've eaten in awhile! Find the recipe below, and happy cheese-making!

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     Ingredients: 

- 3 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar

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Directions:

1. Combine milk, heavy cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until warm. Turn up your heat slightly, and add vinegar and lemon juice. Continue to stir occasionally until mixture curdles - about 5 minutes. 

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2. Remove from heat and pour over a cheesecloth into your container. Let strain for about 20 minutes. 

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3. Once strained, use as you like! The ricotta will keep for about a week in the fridge. 

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4. Enjoy! (Preferably the Italian way - on bread with fruit and an espresso :))

    Thanks for reading, and have a fun Tuesday!

To Make / After-Sun Balm

 

     Good morning! Today, I'm sharing a DIY that's essential for summer: after-sun balm! Regardless of skin tone, and susceptibility to sun burns, any sun exposure to the skin damages it. If you're lucky, it's not visible (like with burns or sun spots), but thanks to UV cameras, we know it's there! That being said, there are ways to treat your skin after being out in the sun, and my favorite (and most natural way) is with pure aloe vera. I have a aloe plant, and haven't utilized its gel until now! It's bizarre, but each stalk is only covered with green skin and is actually filled with a clear gel column. All you do is remove the skin and then mash the gel and it's ready to use! Get the rest of the how-to below! 

Ingredients:

- 1/2 cup of aloe vera 

- 1 tbs. of beeswax

- 1 tbs. of jojoba oil

- 1/2 cup of shea butter

- 1/2 cup of coconut oil

- 20 drops of lavender essential oil

Directions:

1. Melt down the beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil, and jojoba oil together in a double boiler. 

2. Transfer to your container, and add your aloe and essential oil. 

3. Let set for a few hours, until fully hardened and cooled. Enjoy!

To Make / Laundry Detergent

 

     Hi there! I've really been enjoying Homesong, a blog about topics ranging from motherhood to essential oils, written by Amanda Watters, a KC local. She has inspired so many small changes I've implemented in my life, and most of them always come back to providing a clean and natural, well-rounded home for Bailey. I've made quite a few of her DIY's already, and I have another one to share with you today! This homemade, all natural laundry detergent is everything you could want, and it actually works, which can't be said for all homemade cleaning supplies. Get the how-to below!

Ingredients / Materials:

- one bar of Dr. Bronners castille soap

- 1 cup of washing soda

- 1 cup of borax

- 20 drops of essential oils, your choice

Directions:

1. Chop up your bar of soap in quarters, and then quarter those.

2. Add in all of your ingredients to a food processor, and blend, then add the essential oils. 

3. Use about 1 tbs. for an average size load, and you're good to go!

To Bake / Bread

 
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     Hi there! I'm a major bread lover, as it goes so well with wine and cheese, and I am always down to made various kinds at home. Bread making is a process for sure, but with so few ingredients, it's relatively simple. I've made focaccia and sourdough, but hadn't made country white, when I stumbled on this recipe from Homesong. I'm not one for excessive elbow grease when it comes to cooking, since I consider it something that should be soothing and creative, so this no no-knead option sounded perfect! Get the recipe below!

Ingredients:

- 3 cups of AP flour

- 1/4 tsp. of yeast

- 1 1/4 tsp. of salt

- 1 5/8 cup of water

Directions:

1. Combine flour, yeast, + salt in a large mixing bowl. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, I recommend using the bowl that goes with that. Add your water, cover the bowl, and let it rest on top of your fridge for 12 hours.

2. Turn the dough into itself a couple of times, and let rest for another 15 minutes.

3. Shape the dough into a oval/ball, and wrap in a cloth towel. Let rest for 2 more hours.

4. Preheat your oven to 450, and place your dough in a baking dish.

5. Bake for 30 minutes covered, 30 minutes uncovered, until the bread has a crisp golden crust.

6. Let cool, then slice and serve with butter, jam, cheese, or whatever you like. Enjoy!

To Make / Baby Balm

 

      Good morning! We've created a really solid night routine for Bailey, and it includes this DIY Baby Balm! I wanted something calming with lavender oil, to help her sleep soundly, and this balm fits the bill. See how to make it below!

Materials:

- jar

- 1 cup of coconut oil

- 1/2 cup of shea butter

- lavender essential oil

- 2 tsp. beeswax pastilles

Directions:

1. Mix together the coconut oil and shea butter in a standing mixer until smooth. Add in about 30 drops of essential oils.

2. Melt your beeswax in a double broiler, and pour into your jar.

3. Immediately add your oil/butter mixture to the jar. Then, let it set overnight.

4. Store in a cool place, and use liberally on yourself or baby! Enjoy!

Book of the Month

 

     Hey guys! The book of the month for February is a cookbook! I thought I'd mix it up a bit (ha, puns). Really though, since last month's book was a lengthy novel, I figured we'd take it easy with a cookbook. Instead of a discussion post at the end of the month, I will post a recipe from the book! I already have one in mind, and I have cooked from this book before. It's awesome and I highly recommend it! It inspires me to make more at home, like tomato sauce, instead of just buying from a grocery store. I don't have a ton of time on my hands, but I do have time to make things that will last for awhile. It's fun to make something you've always eaten, but only bought from a store. Let's get to cooking!