A Year In Review

It is hard to believe that this blustery day in February marks the one year anniversary of Making of a Home.  Thank you so much to all of you who have been following my musings over the course of the last year!  I am deeply grateful for each of you.

Today I would like to share with you some of my favorite (and your favorite) posts from this past year.  Thank you again, and be on the look out for some new and exciting changes and additions to Making of a Home over the course of the next year.

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Chocolate Anyone?

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Inspiration

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Laundry Day

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Upstream

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Let Them Read

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Rhubarb Goodness

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Spring Soup

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It’s In My Blood

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Pastaless Lasagna 

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Fuasa—Italian Easter Bread

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Generational Wealth

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Farm Fresh

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Ode to the Strawberry

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Retreat

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Grandma Dit’s Carrot Cake

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Canning Day

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New Chapter

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Suburban Homestead

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Walk with Us

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Thanksgiving 2012

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Musings

Brew and Moo

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The mercury had risen just a touch, but enough to make it bearable outside.  The snow fell lightly upon the ground, leaving a white dusting on the roofs of houses and the paved roadways.  This past weekend we took full advantage of this beauty.  I kept the kitchen warm with the stovetop all abustle, and the smell of warm milk in the air.  Meanwhile, my hubby could be found in the nearby garage, reading and mixing his brew with the aromas of hops pouring forth into the crisp air outside.  The girls frolicked in the snow, while the cat sat perched in a tree, taking in all the action.

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My oldest daughter and I used our favorite cheese kit and made two pounds of fresh mozzarella cheese.  (You can check out our previous cheesemaking experience here.)  For the first time, I allowed her to truly assist me by slowly stirring the curd and then stretching it, adding salt, and then forming it into small balls of deliciousness.  The best part of the entire experience was when this six year-old, who normally only likes “cooked cheese,”  took a ball of fresh mozzarella and bit in.  She said, “Well, I only like cheese that I make.  That’s the only kind I’ll eat.”  Love.

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The holidays left us empty handed in the home-brew department, so my husband brewed three fresh batches this weekend.  He tried out a new brewing kit, and then made two tried and true favorites…a caramel creme ale and a fabulous breakfast stout.

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The finished products of the day:  beer, cheese and a bit of hot chocolate of course.  Is there anything better?  Yum!

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It’s In My Blood

My great-grandfather, Hans Jacob Untersee, arrived in The United States from Bern, Switzerland on June 8, 1922.  Upon his arrival, he made his way to northern Illinois  to find work so that he could send for his wife and children, who still remained in Switzerland.  It was in northern Illinois that he established himself as a successful cheese maker, and was able to save enough money so that his family could join him in America.

Ever since my youth, I have been drawn to all aspects of my heritage.  I love connecting to my ancestors, whether it is admiring old photographs, thinking of my grandfather while in my garden, or cooking family heirloom recipes.

About three years ago I stumbled upon Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, and I must admit that that read greatly impacted my life.  Her discussion of food as a connection to our ancestry drew me in like I never thought possible.  It was while reading this book that I began to think of my Great Grandpa Untersee.  He was a cheese maker by trade, why couldn’t I become a hobby cheese maker?

I used Barbra Kingsolver’s references in the back of her piece, and found Ricki Carroll’s website.  I never looked back.

Yesterday we decided it had been far too long since we had made cheese, so we ventured to our local, natural grocer where we are able to purchase milk from a local source.  We then busted out our New English Cheesemaking Supply Company cheese kit and got to work.

Here we are making a batch of ricotta cheese:

And here we are making mozzarella:

Hopefully Great Grandpa Untersee was looking down on us yesterday and smiling.