DIY Mascarpone Cheese

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:23 am on Monday, October 21, 2013

Mascarpone is an Italian cheese that is a mix between whip cream and cream cheese. It’s delicious and easy to make, as I learned recently when I made my own.

Most cheese takes special ingredients like Themo B powdered thermophilic starter culture. Mascarpone, on the other hand, uses cream, lemon, and powdered milk, like the kind I used in the DIY Hot Chocolate recipe.

The mascarpone recipe I used was from Artisan Cheese Making at Home by Mary Karlin. The book is kind of fussy so I wasn’t sure what to think of the recipe. Because it uses an entire lemon, I thought the cheese would taste like lemon, but it was like mascarpone is supposed to be: creamy and cheesy, begging you to use it in desserts or any number of Italian dishes.

Mascarpone is expensive, about $5.99 for an 8 oz container. This cheese cost me $3, so I’ll probably be making it from here on out.

Mascarpone Cheese from Artisan Cheese Making at Home

Ingredients:

    2 c heavy cream
    1/3 c powdered milk
    1 lemon

Directions:

Whisk the cream and powdered milk togehter in a nonreactive saucepan.

Slowly heat the mixture up to 180 degrees over 40 minutes. Monitor the temperature carefully on low. Don’t be afraid to turn off the burner if the temperature starts to go up too quickly. (I told you this book was fussy.)

When it reaches 180 degrees, turn off the heat.

Squeeze half the juice into the cream. Stir until the cream coagulates. When that happens, it will thicken and stick to the spoon. You will start to see flecks of solids in the cream.

Add the rest of the juice to the cream and stir.

Cover, let sit overnight (8 hours) in the fridge. I actually forgot mine for 24 hours and it was fine.

When you look again, you should have somehing resembling mascarpone. If you still see liquid, transfer to a collander lined with a cheesecloth. Twist and squeeze the ball to get out the excess whey.

And then, the cheese is done! Eat within a few days, and enjoy.

Monster Eye Cake

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:26 am on Friday, October 18, 2013

I like this Monster Eye Cake. The eyes are Oreo cookies and Junior Mints.

Great for a Halloween party.

Frugal Sunburn Treatment

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:20 am on Thursday, October 17, 2013

An aloe plant is an easy houseplant to care for. All it takes is a sunny window and moderate watering. And when it comes to sunburns, cuts, and other minor burns, it’s waiting there to offer relief. To use, cut the skin away from the leaf and rub the sap on the wound.

Aloe is so effective at treating burns that it is one of the main ingredients in most burn medication. So when it comes to minor injuries, why not go straight to the source? Never buy burn relief ointment again.

What a helpful little plant!

Pumpkin Spice Bourbon

Filed under: Food/Drink — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:01 am on Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Behold! Homemade Pumpkin Spice Bourbon.

Like my coconut vodka, this was insanely easy to make. All it took was regular pumpkin pies spices–cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove–bourbon, and time.

The result is bourbon with a tasty pumpkin pie undertone and a nice lingering finish. Great for sipping and for cocktails too.

(You’ll notice there is no pumpkin in this recipe. I did try the bourbon with some canned pumpkin, but it didn’t add much flavor to the recipe. It just made the bourbon harder to strain.)

Pumpkin Spice Bourbon

    2 c good-quality bourbon
    1 tsp dried ginger
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp nutmeg
    1 clove

Directions:

Combine all spices and the bourbon in a glass jar. Put the lid on and shake thoroughly. Let sit for 3 days and taste. If you’re happy with the spice flavor, line a colander with a cheese cloth and strain the bourbon through to a clean jar or bottle. The cheese cloth will collect any extra spices from the bourbon.

Enjoy!

Fireplace Pumpkin Arrangement

Filed under: Cleaning/Decorating — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:57 am on Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Another great Halloween decoration idea: Fireplace Pumpkin Arrangement.

Arrange pumpkins in the fireplace, then carve the flames using a template. Get some candles in there and you’re good to go.

Cat Scarves $3 Shipped

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:40 am on Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I just picked up some of these cat scarves for Christmas gifts. Cute and a great price.

Cat Print Scarf in Black for $2.96.

Cat Print Scarf in White for $3.25.

[Via One Hundred Dollars A Month]

Save Money By Dehydrating Fruit

Filed under: Money — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:14 am on Monday, October 14, 2013

How much would a plate of dried pears, apples, plums, and grapes cost if you bought them in the store? $5.99? By dehydrating fruit myself, this plate cost me $.70.

I use my food dehydrator all the time. It has paid for itself several times over in the money it saves me.

My favorite thing to do with my food dehydrator is use it to preserve fruit, especially fruit that might get thrown out otherwise.

* Got an apple with a bruise? Cut it up, put it in the dehydrator, and make apple chips.

* What to do with a banana that’s past its prime? Banana chips.

* Did your tomato plant produce more tomatoes than you can possibly use? Dried tomatoes can be stuffed in a jar and sit at the back of the pantry for ages.

* Did you see a deal on pears–say $1 for 5 pounds, like I saw recently at the grocery store–but you’re not sure you can eat them all before they go bad? No problem, make pear chips and you can take your time.

While dried fruit is a healthy snack, you can cook with it, too.

Example: one time I bought some champagne grapes, but didn’t get around to eating them before they started looking unappetizing. So I put them in the food dehydrator to make raisins. But some grapes dehydrate better than others. After a long time dehydrating, it became clear that champagne grape raisins were going to be too sticky to comfortably snack upon. So I used them as raisins when making oatmeal raisin cookies. They were the best oatmeal raisin cookies I’ve ever had.

I use a food dehydrator with four stacking trays that looks a lot like this:

Most models are around $30, but you can get them cheaper. I’ve seen them online for $20. One time I found a food dehydrator at a thrift store for $2. I bought it and gave to my mother.

You can also dehydrate food in the oven, which is nice on a cold day. Here’s a post on oven dried tomatoes for more on that.

Dried fruit is expensive. I’ve seen dried fruit ranging between $5.99-$20 a pound. Apple chips, one of the easier things to dehydrate, can go for $8.99 a pound…or more. Yesterday I saw dehydrated apple chips with sugar on them selling for $16.99 a pound.

Apples, on the other hand, can be cheap. At the farm near my parent’s house, I regularly get apples for $.30/pound in season. Even considering the moisture that comes out in the dehydrator, that’s still big savings.

Asian pears cut up on a my dehydrator tray, ready to go.

I’m just starting to scratch the surface of things you can do with the dehydrator. I’ve tried drying mushrooms, making beef jerky like this recipe, and vegetable chips. So far, I like making dried fruit the best, but I’m still learning.

What’s your favorite food to dehydrate?

Foodista’s Drink Blog of the Day

Filed under: News — Savvy Housekeeper at 10:44 am on Saturday, October 12, 2013

Check it out. Savvy Housekeeping is Foodista’s Drink Blog of the Day!

They featured the Apple Brown Bourbon, the tasty fall cocktail I made with DIY Cocktails.

Foodista Drink Blog of the Day Badge

Bats As Halloween Decor

Filed under: Cleaning/Decorating — Savvy Housekeeper at 7:01 am on Friday, October 11, 2013

I’ve mentioned the idea of bats as Halloween decor before. All you do is cut out a bat template like this in black paper or felt and tape or string to the wall. Like so:

Bats In the Living Room.

Bats across the mirror.

Bats on the house.

Bat garland.

Car Seat Sun Shade

Filed under: Kids — Savvy Housekeeper at 8:52 am on Thursday, October 10, 2013

Another thing I could have used this summer: a Car Seat Sun Shade.

Spread it over the car seat when you’re not using it and it will keep the seat an average of 26 degrees F cooler. And it’s reasonably priced at $7.99.

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