Homemade Ricotta Cheese

I was on the phone with my BFF the other day and said to her "I am making cheese". The phone went dead silent and then she said "you are MAKING cheese?" Yes indeed, I made cheese and it was so easy. You need all of three ingredients and a couple of hours to produce ricotta with no stabalizers, gumming agents or preservatives. It is dead simple and the outcome is delish.

Ricotta Cheese

9 C whole milk
1/2 t salt
3 T lemon juice or white vinegar

Add milk to a large pot and set over a high flame. Heat until the milk reaches a rolling boil, stirring occassionally to prevent scorching. When the milk reaches a boil, take it off the heat and add lemon juice. Stir to combine. Let the mix sit for two minutes. Stir to seperate the curds from the whey (you will see it happening as you stir).

Pour the mixture into a strainer that has been lined with three layers of cheese cloth or a fine cotton tea towel which has been set over a large bowl. Cover the cheese and let strain for one hour. If the cheese is still too wet, wring gently inside the cheese cloth/tea towel. Discard whey. Place cheese in a storage container and refrigerate.


Low Sugar Granola

Last week, Daniel had Spring Break. Because David was still in school, we decided to enrol Dan in Spring Break Camp. Every morning, I dropped David off at school and then had 60 minutes to kill before bringing Daniel to camp (which was just around the corner from David's school). What do you do with 1 empty hour and a 4 year old? Breakfast naturally.

Every morning last week Daniel and I ate at a different local restaurant. One morning we ate at a sandwich and salad cafe which offered a really spartan breakfast menu. Daniel choose granola topped with fruit and milk. He devoured it. I told him that morning that we could try making our own granola (you know how unhealthy traditional granola is) and this is what I came up with.

When analyzed against Bear Naked Fruit and Nut Granola, mine comes in at about the same per serving (1/4 cup) for calories (140), carbs (16 gr) and fiber (2 gr). Where it really shines is the sugar, where I have halved the amount per serving (mine is 3 gr to their 6 gr). This makes the fiber to sugar ratio pretty appealing for a grown up snack and an overall decent choice for kids anytime.

Low Sugar Granola

2 C rolled oats
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
3 T canola oil
1/4 C agave syrup
1 t vanilla
1/2 C walnuts, chopped
1/2 C almonds, slivered
1/2 c raisins

Preheat oven to 325. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss oats with cinnamon and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk oil, agave and vanilla with a fork until well blended. Pour wet mix into bowl and mix with hands to combine. Pour mixture onto baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir well. Return pan to oven and bake an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and stir in nuts and fruit. Return to oven for an additional 2 minutes or until nuts are fragrant. Remove and let cool. Pack into air tight container and enjoy.

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