Sunday, May 05, 2013

dairy and carbs

Coupled with my busy schedule lately, we've been rocking a pretty tight budget, too.  I'm not complaining, though -- I love a challenge in the kitchen.  In order to shave a few dollars here and a few dollars there off our grocery budget, I have been exploring even more things I can cook or bake from scratch.  I've discovered that with some extra labor, we are able to eat very well and very healthfully, largely organic, and still stay on a moderate budget for groceries.

Here are a few things I worked on this weekend . . .

Homemade crackers!

This is actually my second attempt at making these crackers, and like any new skill, practice makes perfect.  :)  While I wouldn't say these crackers are "perfect," they are crispy, delicious, easy, and are just so much better than storebought crackers!  (Cheap!  No preservatives!  No packaging!)  If you've never made homemade crackers, I encourage you to give them a try.  It's worth it!

Cookie of the week -- snickerdoodles!

I need to pack a snack for the bus most nights, and honestly, there aren't many things that are easy to eat on the bus.  (Especially since you're not technically supposed to eat on the bus, so I have to be kinda sneaky.)  Giant cookies to the rescue!  I've been churning out a batch or so of cookies per week, using my #16 disher to portion out the dough, resulting in large, satisfying, tide-me-over bus treats.  :)  You know you'd look forward to a long ride home if you had a cookie waiting for you in your lunch bag, too!

I managed to go through an entire gallon of organic, grass-fed whole milk today.  How?

First, buttermilk and yogurt:

I have been serially reculturing buttermilk for several months now, with excellent results, and have recently experienced consistent success with yogurt reculturing, too.  I've found that a heating pad set on "low" provides a warm, consistent temperature for those little reproducing cultures.  Fortunately, John and I both have bad backs so we have two heating pads, (comes in handy when I want to make both yogurt and buttermilk,) but unfortunately, they have auto shut-off functions, so I have to check on things periodically and turn heating pads back on.  Win some, lose some.  Dairy abound!

Second, I made my first-ever batch of homemade ricotta!

Although I found I needed to drain my ricotta about twice as long as the recipe suggested, I found this recipe simple and foolproof otherwise.  My recipe yielded about 2 1/2 cups of cheese from a half-gallon of milk, plus the leftover whey.  Now, what to do with the whey?  Any suggestions?

I've also been working on stocking my freezer with tasty, homemade bread products for the coming summer months, as it will likely be too hot to bake for much of the summer.  This afternoon, I made more bagels!

I use a little more than half whole-wheat bread flour in the linked recipe, with great results.  (Specifically, about 3 cups WW bread flour, and about 2 cups white bread flour.)  Previously, I've only made plain bagels -- John requested "everything" bagels this time.  So, I made a half-batch plain, and smothered the other half with dried onion, dried garlic, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and salt.  MMMMMMMMM.

We did actually eat some "real" food this weekend, too, so I'll be back soon with a post on meals.  Until then, keep enjoying all of this dairy and carb goodness!

1 comment:

Carrie™ said...

Wow! Look at you - making ricotta cheese! That's very impressive. Those crackers look great as do the bagels.