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Labneh in lent

Life sure does get busy over here, I’m sure it gets busy where you are also.  With maple season wrapping up,  wild edibles starting to pop up, getting gardens planned and farm animals ordered, we seem to be going all the time.   When life becomes such a rush I like to have meals that feel slow.  Meals that allow us to sit anywhere and just enjoy simple, filling food with each other and get a chance to talk to just sit together and talk or dream.

Labneh cheese is one of those foods to me.  It takes a while to make but most of the work does not require me to be next to it, it just requires me to plan it.  It is a rather easy cheese to make and we all love it so.  Lately, I have been feeling like I should be making a batch every week.  We put it on everything, crackers, toast, on flat bread and eat it with raw veggies.  So good I tell ya.

I don’t really have a recipe but its been a while since I shared a recipe here with you so I will make this more of a suggestion than a recipe.  This is a good recipe for days when we don’t eat meat, which is quite often and if you can make yogurt then you can make this cheese.  If you don’t know how to make yogurt, you can follow my recipe here.

Labneh cheese

A half gallon of yogurt (or adjust the ingredients to fit the amount you will be using)

2 cloves garlic minced

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp thyme

2 tsp salt or salt to taste if you like more or less salt

Pour your yogurt into a muslin cloth over a colander and let it sit for a hour or so to allow some of the whey to drain out.  Then pull up all the corners and tie the end so you can hang it over a bowl to drip.  I do this by hanging it from a cabinet hook and let the whey drain into a bowl underneath.  I let it drip out all day or overnight.  You can totally do this in the fridge if you like.

When all the whey drips out, you will be left with something very similar to cream cheese.  If you like it this way, you are done.  If not then you can add my suggestions to make a very good, savory cheese.  Play with different spices and have fun making different kinds.  You can also make it sweet instead of savory by adding fruits or fruit preserves.

This is my favorite food to take to the park or out in the woods for a picnic lunch.  We make flatbread with it and usually olives, tomatoes or pickled veggies.  So good and pretty easy but it feels like you put so much love into it and isn’t that what food is supposed to be?

I hope you are having a blessed lent and we will talk again soon, yes?

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not yet spring

Last week I was so sure that spring was on its way.  It has been a very warm winter and most of us have felt a bit cheated.  We haven’t really gotten that winter feel where we just want to curl up with a book or a project by the woodstove.  Our woodpile barely looks any different than when we stacked it in November.

Then on Friday I got to give my little boys the news they have been waiting for.  A cold snap.  Enough days for us to tap our trees for maple which we had thought probably would not happen for us this year.  In just 2 days we went from spring right back to winter.  So much happiness from my little Southern boys.  It isn’t that they love the cold so much as that they know we need a bit more winter so we can tap our maples and so we get some good fruit set on our plants.

So the winter coats are back out as well as scarves and gloves.  We aren’t minding the cold very much and we have as much time with the sun out as dreariness which truly I probably will always love though the cloud days aren’t so bad either.  We are all pretty excited about foraging season starting very soon and our walks in the woods are turning more into inspections to see what might be coming up out of the ground these days.  We are back to indoor games and projects and the chinese checkerboard has regained popularity with games going on in the kitchen at almost every meal.

Two weeks ago, I walked into Luckys and they had Florida strawberries piled so high that my heart just flew home which meant that I had to buy a bunch!  It isn’t strawberry season here for a while but my heart knew that back home in Florida, the festivals are starting and I would have been making jam in these days so I bought some and made a batch.  6 jars of jam did not last very long with kids using a big spoonful in their yogurt or on toast with butter.  So this time I bought slightly a bit more and made 12 jars of our balsamic strawberry jam.  I hope it lasts until we have our own strawberries ripening on the homestead but I have to tell you,  these strawberries were so good.  They tasted like home.

I should get on with planning the garden and starting some seedlings but this year I am doing winter sowing so I am giving myself some grace and time to procrastinate, a little, not a lot.  Are you planning a garden this year?  I will be using what is left of winter inside time to get my spring prepared and planned and perhaps get just one more winter hat finished which we will still be able to use for another month or two in the early mornings.   I had hoped to finish a sweater for Mateo but its not even worthy of mention yet so perhaps that project should be in my basket right now where I can see it.

We did actually tap trees two days ago and the task of collecting sap every day has begun.  I am looking forward to a few days outside boiling it all down but much more on that tomorrow yes?   So much spring coming but very little winter left so I better get back to it.


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