Cheese Making Day and MS

Its the first of the new year and I've been busy making and enjoying cheese!   All kinds of cheese from Cashew/Vegan cheese to Queso Blanco, to homemade goat cheese and farmers cheese.   I love cheese and so curious about the process.  It was on my bucket list but is now checked off.  

Also, purchased were supplies to make more cheeses, like cheddar and mozzarella.   The learning curve is fun and fast.  Basically spent the week on Pinterest, at the market and then in front of the stove.   Next time more milk will be used so more cheese can be produced.  Since it was my first time, just a quart of milk was used for each of the three homemade recipes.  Two from cows milk and one from fresh raw Goats milk.  

To get me in the mood, some queso blanco with WSU Cougar Gold was in order.  This cheese was not homemade by me but made by students at Washington State University and is one of my absolute favorite.  So, melted that into my white sauce (made with rich homemade vegetable stock) and added a previously frozen, now roasted, jalapeno pepper.  With a bowl of chips and salsa I sat down to a day of football and pinterest.  

Queso Blanco made with WSU Cougar Gold Cheddar Cheese and Jalapenos

Had some raw cashews so soaked them up over night and processed them the next day with 1) garlic and olive oil and 2) Sriracha spiced.   I used this recipe.  Yum!  

Then came the real fun - the whole fresh milk cheese!  


First two are a farmers cheese made from cow's milk. Click here for recipe. The third one is goat cheese with lemon and thyme.   Delicious and so easy!  

After heating the milk, add the acid and let it curdle away.  Then separate the curdles from the whey, drain, press and voila - CHEESE!

Farmers Cheese (cow) with Blueberry Salt from Iceland

fresh rosemary and garlic
Bundle herbs in muslin, tie with string
use bundles to infuse milk while it's warming up on the stove
Farmers Cheese infused with Garlic and Rosemary
Fresh flowers and herbs sprinkles in muslin before draining.

Next made was a Chevre, or goat cheese.  Same process as above, using a simple acid (lemon juice) to curdle the milk.   I used this recipe but there are a lot out there.  I used fresh thyme and lemon juice at end to make a light, refreshing cheese.   Just this morning it was consumed with sour dough baguette and fresh black/raspberries from our local farmers market.  Delicious!  (consumed before a photo could be taken but darn it was good)

What a way to celebrate the Golden Globes and La La Land, a beautiful and inspirational movie.    Fresh homemade cheese (also had some fresh fig jam).  Feeling quite spoiled, a feeling to treasure on this gloomy, rainy Monday.  

At the end of the day one has lots of Whey left over.  In commercial cheese making this whey is considered toxic and buried in the ground.  But in home cheese making this whey is valuable!   Last night it was used to flavor the water in our version of Uncle Ben's rice.  Dang, it was good!

Next on the agenda is to try some Feta and Mozzarella.  Both of these require rennet, which was purchased on Amazon and ready to use.  (No one around town had it in store or would have purchased it locally).  

So, what does cheese making and MS have to do with each other?  Well, anytime one can check something off their bucket list is a good thing, and since we never know how fast/hard/where the MS will hit next we need to take advantage of our life possibilities as best we can.  

My weekly talks at #TakethatMS online support group are focusing on this very topic, how to take advantage of life's possibilities.  Did you see La La Land?   I know, I know, so Hollywood.  But heck, I'm a born and bred So Cal Hollywood Girl and this movie quite resonated with me.  The line, where she talks about one's potential.  That's it; the key to life.  Maximizing our potential.  

Now, throw in a disability like MS and this potential seems to go out the door.  But wait, let's look at this potential again.  Revise the picture you see of yourself in the coming year, or five years.  How do you want people to remember you by?  to think of you as?  How do YOU want to feel about yourself as life ends?  Every year and each decade my bucket list changes based on MS and my life.  

Sometimes we just need to remove an item from our list, knowing that it most likely will not happen in our lifetime.  Realizing this is painful and sad as it reminds us of the disabling affects of multiple sclerosis, something we did not choose to get.  

But when this happens, when we need to remove something from our life wish list, then immediately replace it with something else.  Something a bit more attainable.  Not able to downhill ski or snowboard anymore?  What about snow shoeing if able to walk?   The point here is to look for options to allow you to enjoy your life more.  Some of my bucket list items are from "when I get really old, I'll play golf".  Well, that golfing option is looking pretty good right now and one that may not be an option for me for long.   

Maybe the new item is smaller, less demanding.  Totally different.  It doesn't matter.  Just find something new that inspires you and go for it.  Today, mine was cheese making.   And now I'm looking forward to learning more about this process and trying to types.  And then getting to eat it all


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