Archive for August, 2012


Homemade Chèvre

Lemon & Basil Chevre ready to eat with Rosemary flat bread

I did it! I made goat cheese from scratch and it turned out well! I still can’t believe it. If I can keep this up, it should help our grocery budget considerably. We spend so much on cheese every month. Plus this way I also have the added benefits of creating my own herb mixes and then  of taking pride in my creations.

I bought some raw goat milk from a friend, pasteurized it at home, added the live bacteria culture and animal rennet, then added fresh squeezed lemon juice, chopped basil (from our garden!) and some salt. Whipped it up in my kitchen aid and voila! It’s so good and so easy! You’ve gotta try it!

Draining the prepared cheese overnight



I used these directions, and bought the culture, rennet, and cheesecloth from this company.


Kid Friendly Dinners Part Two

Night Two

  • Hot dogs with buns, ketchup, and pickles.
  • Side of baked beans
  • Apple Slices
  • and ice cream for dessert.
  • Cinderella.

Night Three

  • Meaty spaghetti with lots of veggies in the sauce
  • Corn
  • and ice cream for dessert.
  • Cars.

Night Four

  • Macaroni and cheese.
  • Sliced strawberries.
  • Fresh cucumber and carrots in Italian dressing
  • Ice cream for dessert.
  • Sleeping Beauty.

Night Five

  • Repeat Night Two
  • Jungle Book.

Night Six

  • Buttered spaghetti noodles with sauteed onions, kielbasa and zucchini. Seasoned with garlic, salt and Parmesan cheese.
  • Carrot sticks.
  • Cheese sticks.
  • Ice cream for dessert.
  • Lady & the Tramp.

Kid Friendly Dinners Part One

When Ben starts school in two weeks, he will only be working 2 days a week, but this week and next, he is working  swing shifts most days. We’ve never really had to do dinner without Daddy around for consistent time periods so I am bound and determined to make the next two weeks of evenings fun for the kids (and easy for me).

Night One

  • Kraft macaroni and cheese (Spongebob edition) with sliced kielbasa.
  • Baked beans.
  • Raw broccoli florets, baby carrots and sliced strawberries.
  • Milk.
  • Toy Story 1.

Summer Scents

For a more subtle aroma, try mixing a tablespoon of your favorite lotion (citrus ones work beautifully for this) with 5oz of warm water into a spray bottle. Shake to mix and spritz away! I love this method for an everyday smell that isn’t overwhelming or expensive. 


The picture is of my Mirabelle. It has absolutely nothing to do with smells except that she usually smells good.  

Family Camp Menu: Desserts, Drinks & Snacks

Baked Chocolate Bananas

from Campfire Cuisine
serves 1

  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp chocolate
  • 1 tbsp shredded sweetened coconut

With the banana still in its peel, make an incision lengthwise through the length of the peel and the fruit, leaving the underside of the peel intact. Pull the sides of the banana apart and stuff your chocolate pieces inside. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake over high heat 10 to 15 minutes (we just put them in the fire), until the fruit it hot and soft and the chocolate is melted. Remove and discard the foil, and sprinkle the coconut over the top. Serve hot.

Adult Smores 

Just like regular smores (which are also happening), but instead of graham crackers try rice crackers with a melting cheese (we are using gouda this time). Roast a cube of cheese over the fire and then sandwich is between some chocolate and rice cracker.

Roasted Cream Cheese Stuffed Peppers
Serves 4

  • 16 mini bell peppers
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, such as basil, sage, or thyme
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1. Cut a slit lengthwise in each pepper down 1 side.
  2. Combine cream cheese and herbs in a zip-top plastic bag. Cut off 1 corner of the bag. Pipe cheese mixture into each pepper to fill with as much of the cream cheese mixture as will fit. Alternatively, you can combine the cheese and herbs in a bowl and stuff the peppers with your fingers or a small spoon. Press the slit edges together.
  3. Center the filled peppers on top of a piece of foil, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Fold over the foil to create a packet, making sure to seal the seams tightly.
  4. Place the foil packet on a grate over the fire or directly on the embers. Watch them closely, making sure to rotate the packets often. Roast the peppers until they’re lightly browned and the cheese is hot.

Red Wine Poached Pears
Serves 4

  • 4 pears, on the firm side
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup sugar
    1. Traveling with pears can be a bit tricky, especially when they’re very soft. Use firmer pears and don’t worry about any minor bruising since you’ll be peeling the skin off anyways.
    2. Peel the pears, but leave them whole and keep the stems on them. Slice a small amount of the base off if you’d like them to sit up straight up when served.
    3. Pour the wine, water, sugar, and spices into a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Gently add the pears to the poaching liquid.
    4. Let the liquid heat and slowly simmer for about 30 minutes or until until pears are deep red in color.
    5. Remove the pears from the poaching liquid.

You can serve the red wine poached pears immediately along with a glass of the poaching liquid, which is in essence a mulled wine. Alternatively, you can boil the liquid until it is thick and syrupy and drizzle over the poached pears.

Chocolate Biscotti
from Giada’s Kitchen
Makes 36 cookies
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread, like Nutella
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375′. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter, chocolate hazelnut spread and both sugars together, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until just combined.
Using a tablespoon measure, drop spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet, spacing the mounts about 4 inches apart. Use the tines of a fork to flatten each mound. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Use a metal spatula to transfer the cookie to a wire rack and let them cool.
 Mint Juleps 
We make a large batch of Minted Simple Syrup, storing it in mason jars with fresh mint springs for up to 2 weeks. This is a great way to offer cocktails to dinner guests without having to make a mess or have a recipe handy. All you have to do is have your liquor of choice on hand (we use Old Crow whiskey), and mix to taste over ice. 🙂
We’ll also bring fixins for coffee, and bring milk and juice for the kids. 🙂

Family Camp Menu: Sunday

Sunday is just breakfast and a picnic lunch. We are having church at camp so breakfast needs to be filling and fast.


We are going for a simple eggs and bacon breakfast.


We are having a second round of Cucumber Salad and

Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Tomato and Corn Salsa
from Campfire Cuisine
Serves 4 to 6 as an entrée.

  • Olive oil spray
  • 8 10-inch flour tortillas
  • 12 oz soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 1/2 cups)

Tomato and Corn Salsa

  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 4 red or green jalapeno chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup corn kernels

For salsa: Place chopped onion in a bowl, sprinkle with the salt, squeeze the lime juice over and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes. Add the chopped chilies, tomatoes, and cilantro to the onion mixture and stir. Makes 2 cups

For the quesadillas: Spray a large skillet with oil and warm over medium-high heat on the stove. Place 1 tortilla in the hot skillet, and top with one-quarter of cheese and one quarter of the salsa. Top with a second tortilla. Cook about 3 minutes, until the bottom tortilla is golden brown. Turn over the quesadilla and continue cooking, about 3 minutes more, until the bottom is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Remove from skillet and cut into wedges. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, cheese and salsa. Serve immediately.