Belly Laughs

I have many pictures to post, of course, and will start with these.  (I also have many house-related posts to write up, but, ehhhh… can’t quite do it these days.)

She's a doll.

She’s a doll.

Ben was making her laugh.

Ben was making her laugh.

Serious, serious belly laughs.

Serious, serious belly laughs.

Sophie's Amma crocheted the dress.

Sophie’s Amma crocheted the dress.

Super big belly laughs.

Super big belly laughs.

Cuteness.

Cuteness.

Taking it all in.

Taking it all in.

Living Richly With WIC: Ricotta Cheesecake

The challenge to myself was to make a cheesecake from a gallon of milk.

And I did.

Ricotta yogurt cheesecake.

This can be made without the crust, but I had a box of graham crackers in the cupboard to use up.

Crust:

About 10 full graham crackers
4 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons sugar (this could be optional)

Process in food processor (or crush the graham crackers with a rolling pin and mix in a bowl).  Press into the bottom of a buttered springform pan.  I think mine is 10 inches.

Cake:

2 1/2 cups ricotta
1 cup Greek-style yogurt
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs (or 3 duck eggs)
Grated lemon zest from one lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla
For extra creaminess, you can add 4 ounces of cream cheese, or a half cup of cream.

Mix in food processor until very smooth.  (The second time I made this, I didn’t process it for very long because Sophie was sleeping a few feet away. There was definitely a difference.) Pour into buttered pan.  Bake at 325 for about an hour.

Max’s two favorite things that aren’t video games or Lego, of course. This was two weeks ago. Oh, and ricotta cheesecake is one of his favorite things too.

Living Richly With WIC: Greek-Style Yogurt

“Living Richly With WIC” is a series of posts about how we use our WIC foods.  Since we’re not big milk drinkers, we have to be creative to use up gallons of milk.

Greek-style yogurt is one of my favorite things (along with raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens).  But we don’t buy it often because it’s so expensive.  And even though the directions for it are right on page 182 of my Mediterranean cookbook, it didn’t occur to me that I could make this at home.

(See Homemade Yogurt for how we make yogurt at home.)

It is so rich and creamy that I had no idea it didn’t contain cream.  It is simply strained yogurt.

Yogurt, drained over fine-weave cloth, in a strainer, over a bowl, in the fridge, overnight.

My Mediterranean cookbook gives a more rustic approach — tie up the yogurt in cheesecloth and hang from a broomstick suspended between two chairs, with a bowl on the floor to catch the whey.  But my method works just fine.

I like this yogurt plain, but I also use it for ricotta cheesecake (recipe coming soon) and frozen yogurt.  Max eats frozen yogurt in his school lunch and as a snack after school.

For frozen yogurt, I strain 2 cups yogurt overnight, mix the strained yogurt with 1 cup regular yogurt (Max doesn’t like it too thick), and then add sweetener (he likes maple syrup and sugar) and sometimes blended fruit.  He likes it really smooth, so I use the hand blender to mix it well. Then we run it through our hand-cranked ice cream maker.  It’s super easy, fairly healthy, and really inexpensive.

Sam’s Art

Sam’s preschool sent home a stack of his artwork.

Sophie Smiles (and Sam too)

As three-year-olds can be, he’s quite demanding. “I want to hold Sophie!” “Take a picture!” “OK, done!” We’re always at the ready to take her back. When he’s done, he’s done.

This was a complete photobomb. He’s getting good at it.
I don’t know how to stop taking pictures.
Big smiles these days.
And so pretty.
I tried to only post a couple pictures.
You realize she’s looking at the camera and not me, right?
Cuteness.
She’s a very happy and content baby.