maple syrup festival

Spring is finally a reality and so is the non-stop flurry of activity and things to do.   Our bodies have been indoors, keeping busy with the business of staying warm and cozy, cooking thick heavy meals, preparing for warmer weather and planning for the spring rush.  Last week, the rush happened.  All at once as always and it always manages to catch me by surprise.  We are finished with our maple syrup season and I will be sharing with you tomorrow how it went.  So much fun and sweetness but it took a week to get the wonderful smell of campfire smoke out of everyone.

Two weekends ago we went on our annual trip to the local maple syrup festival.  It was quite cold but it kicked off the beginning of spring for us and now it seems as if so much has happened around here since then.

We love this festival.  It’s an excuse to be outside the whole day and see how the pros go about producing maple syrup for the masses while we are over here hoping to produce enough for our own needs.  Thankful for another year of having my children come with me and still want to.  I have a little negative sound in my head that tells me that someday they will not be interested in this way of life but thankfully, they still do and I hope they always will love everything we do and have done to live more naturally.  That is my hope as a mother.  To raise good and strong people who will love God and their faith, will have a strong connection to nature and know how to take care of themselves and live a natural life.  The rest is details and time will tell but so far we are doing pretty good and I am grateful for it.

Well,  I am off.  I have many more seeds to get started, wild edibles to pick, garden beds to prep and the perfect weather to do it all!  See you tomorrow!

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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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