Category Archives: Real Food

Pretty Cheese – No Microwave

The first time I made mozzarella, it wasn’t pretty. It was a crumbly mess. (See last image below). It tasted SO great on homemade pizza so wasn’t a total loss, but I wanted to know what I did wrong. After reading a bunch of different cheese-making sites, I figured it out. I had used Pioneer Woman’s recipe on her site, but because the husband is not a fan of the microwave, I skipped the microwave steps and just tried to get all the whey out by kneading. Now, I understand that getting the curds warm enough to melt together is key. Not wanting to use the microwave, I thought about what else might work. It was a gamble, but crumbly cheese is still good cheese, so I went for it. (On a side note, I also decided that since the recipe is the same for cottage cheese, I would make 1/3 of the gallon into cottage cheese.)

I used the standard mozzarella recipe: (some references – Pioneer Woman, cheesemaking.com)

1/4 tablet of vegetable rennet dissolved in 1/2 cup filtered water
1 1/2 tsp citric acid
1 gallon RAW local full-fat milk
1 tsp salt

I used two pots. One was heating about 6 cups of water on low and the other was for the milk. I poured the gallon of milk in one of the large stainless steel stock pots and turned the stove on med heat.
I sprinkled the citric acid over the milk and stirred it in. I heated the milk to 85 degrees, turned off the burner and poured the dissolved rennet water into the pot and lightly stirred again and then stilled the milk. It sat for 5 minutes until it had set. I cut through the set in a grid pattern. (At this point I took out 1/3 of the curds and put them in a bowl to sit longer for cottage cheese). I heated the curds and whey to 105 – until the curds started to melt and stretch. Using a slotted spoon, I scooped out the curds and put them in a colander in a bowl and drained the whey off.

Here’s where recipes call for putting the curds in the microwave, and here’s where my method differs. I worked some of the whey out with my hands, salted the curds and kneaded it just enough to pack the curds together. I placed the whole ball into the pot of heated water (I would guess about 110-120 degrees) and let it sit for about 20 seconds and I pulled it out and kneaded and stretched the ball and then put it back in the water one more time and pulled it out after 20 seconds and formed my final ball.

It looks pretty this time and there was no microwave involved.



Nutrient Dense Cinnamon Spice Ice Cream

The husband is a no-sweets kind of guy. As in, NONE. Almost ever.  He has this weird ability to resist things that make him feel bad, even if they taste good. Just strange. 😉  Today was (is!) his birthday and the rest of the family wanted SWEETS to celebrate.

So, to get HIM to eat his birthday treat with us, we went  ‘real food’.  The kids and I made ice cream from raw milk and cream and we sweetened it mostly with honey and a touch of raw sugar. To keep the sweet factor down for him, we didn’t add fruit like we usually do. We spiced it up with cinnamon and nutmeg and added a couple of pastured egg yolks to pack the nutrients in and make it more custard-like.  The recipe was adjusted and adapted from several ice cream recipes online but it is not really attributable to any one person so I’m including my adapted recipe instead of links to several others.  I would call it flan flavored ice cream, which went right along with our sprouted corn chips and salsa and fajitas.



Real Food Cinnamon Spice Ice Cream (Makes about 4 cups)

1 1/2 cups raw cream (because raw cream is not legal to sell in Utah, I separate it from the raw milk -Check out my YouTube Video on my super easy method of separating cream from milk. )

1 1/2 cups raw milk

1/2 cup local raw honey

2 tbsp sucanant

1 tsp organic vanilla

2 tsp Ceylon cinnamon

1/4 tsp organic nutmeg

pinch  Real Salt (we’re used to the undissolved minerals in our food, but use plain sea salt if you prefer)

2 local pastured egg yolks

I mixed all the ingredients (except the egg yolks) together in a glass bowl earlier in the day to let the flavors settle in a bit. When I was ready to put the mix in the ice cream maker, I beat in the egg yolks and poured it in immediately. It took about 20 minutes to get to a nice soft-serve consistency and it was served with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg on top…and, of course,  a candle for the birthday boy.

What? No cake? Well, no. I gave up on trying to make  ‘acceptable’ cakes for him years ago although, one year I did whole wheat rolls in cupcake liners with real butter on top and that was a huge hit.



Lacto Fermented Pickles


Laco-fermented Pickles

In our efforts to transition to a well-rounded diet of real foods, I’ve been looking at ways to get the right kinds of bacteria without trying to get my kids to love something like kombucha right off the bat. They have been enjoying raw milk Kefir smoothies and that’s a good step. I wanted to do more, so I thought…pickles! They love dill pickles but I’ve never made my own until today. I read several methods on different sites and decided on one that was simple and didn’t have many ingredients from this site

I made a small batch of just one jar of whole pickles and one of sliced.  The real test will be if the kids like them.  Wild Fermentation is in my cart at amazon.com, thanks to a suggestion from Molly Newman. I *really, really* hope these turn out to be just the beginning of a bunch of batches of fermented real food for us because those little lactobacillus bugs help with digestion and have anti-inflammatory properties that I could sure use.  Not to mention the yum factor.  Check back in 4-5 days for the verdict.

 Update: Day 3 – bubbles!! I couldn’t resist taking the lid off and trying one of the slices. Pretty darn tasty already! Salty and a touch spicy. The husband is not a cucumber fan, but he likes pickles for some reason. I’m hoping that the longer they are in the brine, the less cucumber taste there is so that he’ll enjoy them.  If not, there will be more for me!