Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Trying my hand at cheese making

My mom gave me some goat's milk the other day. Her friend has a small dairy and sells the milk to her for $5 a gallon. It took me longer to get home than I anticipated and the milk was left out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours. I didn't feel okay about drinking it, so I thought I'd try my hand at cheese making.

I heated the milk (1 1/2 quarts) up to 190 degrees, then removed from heat and stirred in 3 tablespoons of white vinegar. The milk immediately curdled. I let it sit until the temperature dropped to around 100 degrees.

I didn't have any cheesecloth, so I lined a colander with a thin dish towel and placed the colander into a bowl. I poured the curds into the colander and added a teaspoon of salt and a 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. I pulled the four corners up, tied it and hung it from the handle of one of my cabinets. I left it hanging over the bowl for about an hour and a half and collected the whey.

I squeezed the ball of cheese to get out as much whey as I could and then pressed the curds into a small tupperware container. It is now in my refrigerator cooling and will be ready for breakfast tomorrow.

The whey is in glass jars awaiting use in baking this week. I'm planning on making biscuits to go with soup within the next couple days. I've also heard of people using whey as the liquid in pizza crust to add a nice sour flavor to it.

I was initially disappointed when I lost my goats milk as it is a great treat in my house. Instead, I got to have some great cheese (store bought goat's cheese is around $18 a pound here). I also got to learn a new skill. Sounds like a win to me.

Shared on:
Homestead Barn Hop

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Keeping Cool the Frugal Way

It's still only May, but the forecast for my city this week says I'll be enjoying 90 degree temps. I'm not ready for those insane electric bills yet, so I'm trying to keep cool without running the air conditioning constantly. Hundreds of people die each year from the heat. As climate change rears its ugly head(11 degree temperature rise), we can expect to suffer a bit more in the dog days of summer.

Here are some ways that I use to be a little less miserable as the mercury rises.

* Open your windows to get some fresh air (assuming you don't have bad allergies). Use fans to get a good breeze blowing through your home. Set bowls of ice water in front of the fan to cool the air.

* Get out of the house when it's really hot. Go out for coffee or to the library to enjoy their air conditioning for free.

* Don't use the oven if at all possible. Use the slow cooker or microwave to prepare meals rather than use the stove top. Grill and eat your meals outside.

* Don't be modest. Go naked. Just be careful of peeping neighbors. Otherwise wear lightweight clothing in light colors. Wear shorts, skirts, sleeveless shirts or just walk around in your swimsuit. Avoid denim or any other heavy clothing.

* Cut your hair short or pull it up.

* Keep hydrated. Drink lots of water. Have a pitcher of iced coffee or tea in the frig at all times. Make mini Popsicles with an ice cube tray and toothpicks. Freeze fruit for smoothies or as a cooling snack.

* Exercise in the early morning  or late evening hours. Avoid over-exerting yourself during the hottest hours of the day.

* When you feel really sweaty and hot, run your head under cool water for a minute. It is very refreshing and has gotten me through many a night of 95 degree temps in my bakery. Also rub ice cubes over your face, arms and neck. Keep a spray bottle nearby to mist yourself throughout the day when you need a refresher.

* Take a few short, cool showers throughout the day to feel less gross and to cool off.

* Consider getting away to the woods on scalding days. When it gets really hot in our area, Trucker and I go hiking in the woods. Since it's so hot, there aren't too many people who want to go hiking so we have the park all to ourselves. Also the shade keeps the temperature cooler. Just bring lots of water.

* Lose some of that winter insulation. Eat light meals and do moderate exercise.

* Go for a swim. This is a great way to stay cool, get some moderate exercise and get out of the stuffy apartment. It's also (usually) free entertainment. Go to the lake, ocean, pond, river or community pool. If you live close enough, make it a daily outing.

* Talk with your utility company if you need fans or help with higher-than-normal electric bills. There are programs in place to help senior or low-income households to avoid heat stroke. Don't be too proud to ask for help when you need it.

Happy living!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dumpster Diving Surprise

Last night I was digging around in a dumpster looking for some magazines to read. This particular bin is always filled with magazines and newspapers. I always find a few magazines that interest me and will later recycle them. 

This time I found an extra goody: a pair of Dockers pants in excellent condition.
 I looked them over and found no tears, no stains, no ripped hems, no fading and no frayed edges. I checked for the stains that announce bedbugs. They were perfect. I checked the tag. They were my size.

When I got home, I tried them on and they fit perfectly. Yay! I wash clothes immediately upon returning home in hot water to sanitize and get rid of any bugs that may have tagged along.

Even if the pants hadn't fit, they still would have been worth pulling from the dumpster. There is no need to allow good usable material to end up in the landfill.

First since they were in such awesome condition, I could have taken them to a consignment shop to try to make a couple bucks. One of my friends dumpster dives in nicer neighborhoods and sells any clothes or accessories she can't use to a consignment shop.

I could also ask my sisters or a couple friends if they wanted them. One of my sisters is still wearing a great leather jacket I pulled out of a dumpster in Edgewater a few years ago.

There was a thrift store a couple blocks away, and I could have just dropped the pants off. Someone would have loved them and the thrift store would have made a few extra dollars for a good cause.

I also will sometimes take clothes that aren't in pristine condition. There is still the possibility of altering an item (cutting off the bottoms of ragged-bottom jeans to make jean shorts), using the items for chores/painting/gardening or to use for crafting (unraveling a sweater for the yarn or cutting denim quilting squares from old jeans).
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...