Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cheese-tastic Tuesday!

My Christmas countdown plate surprised me this morning (I don't know why, I'm the one that wrote it, lol) when I saw that we are officially in the single digits - only 9 days 'til Christmas!  Yay!  I don't know if it was getting most of the shopping done early or being homebound a little bit more due to illness and getting some extra stuff done, but I have really been enjoying getting ready instead of frantic about what's next.  

Our playdate was overtaken by germs (ew!) this morning at our friends, so Mikayla and went with Plan B.  We first headed up to Beechview for a bit to help work on stuff for the super cool assembly the PTA was bringing in this afternoon.  It's been a surprise (haven't even told Noah) but Brainstormers is doing a two assembly series at Beechview!  (Kudos to Peggy for putting this together!!!)  The basic premise is that the kids are being introduced to the program today and then are asked to write a story of their own.  I think 3 students stories from the whole school are chosen (without them knowing!) and then the team makes them into a play which they perform for the whole school in a few months!!  So neat - check out the website for more info.  The first assembly is today and we were helping get some information ready to send home with parents as this has been top secret until today!

After we got done there we ended up meeting up with Tess, Colleen, R, D and E at our house for coffee and chit chat for awhile.  While they were here Mikayla and R ended up making some super adorable Paper Plate Cows in honor of Wisconsin being the Dairy State!  I love what kids do with paper plates (R's face was on the back of his cow :-p).  Plus R and the Bean are getting to be bestest buds (Kayla told me today - I like Rian, he's one of my best friends.  I miss his already. - after they left) and are great off by themselves playing and having fun.

We then had to run a quick errand to get supplies for our big Wisconsin project (more on this later) and a couple other things, including nail polish to match the Bean's dress for her big school production tomorrow.  You know a girl must always be in style!  So we made it back here for lunch, to get nails polished and also managed to make and frost some cookies for the Bean to take tomorrow.  Totally missed the memo that we were to take cookies (oops!) so glad that the pre-made dough that cake in the pizza kit the other night was still available.  (Cheating cookies for the win!)  Since Kayla wanted to frost and decorate them, I let her have at it.  Only a myriad of sprinkles were lost in the action ;-)

I got a very excited NJ home from school and set out making our dinner of  Wisconsin Beer Battered Fish and Wisconsin Cheese Stuffed Potatoes.  When I was talking to my boss, Ketra, yesterday who actually lived in Wisconsin for awhile, one of the things she recounted to me was that EVERY Friday night there seemed to be a fish fry!  While I didn't know that when I picked the recipe (it was honestly for my Bean who has been seafood deprived as of late) it was an extra bonus!  And the potatoes were all for Grant.  He loves twice baked potatoes.  And I really liked this recipe - I found that the shells held up really nicely and stuffed quite well.  Only change I made was to use white cheddar cheese in the recipe.  We sat down to eat a little early tonight because I had big plans for the evening..

To make cheese!

I scoured pinterest and found Farm Cheese Tutorial One and Farm Cheese Tutorial Two and figured we'd give it a go.  I did decide since we were just testing it out we'd only go with a half gallon of milk, but I figured - what was the worst that could happen and I KNEW the kids would love to try it and see the process.  On the way to the bus this morning we talked all about the process of why the curds and whey separated and how you would make different types of cheese from the basic process.  Now, I've never made or even attempted to make cheese before (I leave the cheese making expertise up to Kristina!) but this seemed pretty easy.  We had a lot of fun (as the pictures will prove) trying it out.  The finished product doesn't have a ton of flavor (I decided not to go with the ones adding herbs because of how I wanted to use it) but we're going to try throwing it in some scrambled eggs one more this week and seeing what happens :)

We had enough time after making cheese to head out and check out the lights in Livonia, hurry back here to taste test our cheese and make it just in time for an extra special treat.  We let Thing 1 and Thing 2 stay up late to watch "Charlie Brown Christmas" tonight and feast on skillet cookie sundaes!  If you've never had a skillet cookie before - you're missing out.  It's basically exactly what it sounds like - a cookie baked in a skillet until it's *not quite* done, And then you top it with ice cream and all the fixings!  I specifically chose this dessert tonight because 
Ice Cream Sundae has a claim of debuting in Wisconsin.  You might remember that Illinois and New York also claim the sundae.  But Wisconsin's story lies in the town of Two Rivers, Wisconsin  According to my lovely friends over at wikipedia "Two Rivers' claim is based on the story of George Hallauer asking Edward C. Berners, the owner of Berners' Soda Fountain, to drizzle chocolate syrup over ice cream in 1881. Berners eventually did and wound up selling the treat for a nickel, originally only on Sundays, but later every day. According to this story, the spelling changed when a glass salesman ordered canoe-shaped dishes. When Berners died in 1939, the Chicago Tribune headlined his obituary "Man Who Made First Ice Cream Sundae Is Dead"."  So obviously we had to get an ice cream sundae recipe in this week and this was PERFECT for tonight!

Busy day again tomorrow with the Bean's big Christmas performance at school and a Scout pack meeting tomorrow night.  Plus my Dynamic Duo was been drooling over the thought of Noodles and Co's Wisconsin Mac & Cheese of which I'm making a copy cat recipe of tomorrow.  Plus in between all that fun we'll try to get in the "We've Been There State" (only three left!) and who knows what else!  So until then...

Wisconsin Fun Fact of the Day: Wisconsin visitors and residents enjoy the state's 7,446 streams and rivers. End-to-end they'd stretch 26,767 miles. That is more than enough to circle the globe at the equator.

Cow Construction

With R!

What an adorable heifer!

Getting her nails done

Sprinkles, lots and lots of sprinkles!

Noah came to make his cow

Complete with a goatee

The kid cracks me up...

Wisconsin Stuffed Baked Potatoes - they LOVED these

Frying up some fish

Fish fry at the Gatchel's!

Getting ready to make cheese

So we add the vinegar....



Lots and lots of curds

Through the cheese cloth

Look at all the whey

Hanging it to dry 

And this is what we got - TA DA!

Taste testing - so we all decided it tastes like cottage cheese without the creamy part

Super cool

Mmmmm, skillet cookie sundae

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