diy ricotta cheese

Did you know that you can make cheese at home?

Maybe it was the over-abundance of dairy growing up in Wisconsin, but it never occurred to me to make my own cheese.  We visited farms at school to see cheese being made, we ate cheese on a very regular basis, and by regular basis I mean daily, we grew up surrounded by dairy farms and if you were lucky enough to have friends that lived on farms? You’ve experienced a dairy farm first-hand.

When I was a (naughty) senior in high school, I stayed with a friend while her parents were out of town to “help” her with the farm chores. One afternoon during my farm stay, my brother (thankfully) warned me (via a huge Nokia cell phone) that my parents were coming to videotape me helping on a farm. As if  they didn’t think I was really helping! I scurried out to the barn and started scooping hay just in time.

I’ve grown up a lot since those days, but my love for cheese has remained constant and the thought of making cheese at home is now a thrilling one! My teenage self would think that is like, so lame.

So I set out with a Bon Appétit recipe to make my own ricotta cheese.

Now someone please tell me how to make burrata cheese and my life will be complete. Like, seriously.


DIY Ricotta Cheese

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 20 min

Keywords: cheese

Ingredients (about 2 cups)

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup half & half
  • juice of 1 lemon


Combine the milk, cream, salt and lemon juice in sauce pan and bring to a boil.

Remove pan from heat and let mixture sit for 15 minutes. The curds should start forming.

If you only have a few small curds after 15 minutes, add some more lemon juice, gently stir and let sit another 15 minutes.

Carefully scoop the curds into a cheesecloth lined bowl.

Let ricotta drain until it reaches desired consistency.

Use in recipes, or spread on toast and drizzle with honey for a delicious breakfast!

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can’t live without (ii)

Brian Williams. I can’t miss the 6:30pm nightly news. Or Brian.  (source)

Lunch Crunch Workouts. Our newest workout fave – it is super intense and leaves me feeling amazing!

Ginger Chews. I have a new obsession. Such a perfect after-meal treat.

Family. Enough said. Love ‘em and can’t wait to see them again soon!


Yoga. Despite the recent negative NYT article, yoga has changed my life and I literally can’t live without it. (picture source)

Huge Salads. The perfect lunch – healthy and satisfying!

Skype Dates with Friends. It makes being away from them so much easier!

Address Stamp. I ordered it from etsy and love it!

Happy Hours. Why is it so much more fun than going out later?!

Los Angeles. We <3 our new city!! (picture source)

What’s the one thing you can’t live without right now? 


pumpkin & shrimp curry

I think my Madison friends will really enjoy this recipe. It is from L’Etoile Restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin. If you are from the area, you know what L’Etoile is and what it is all about.

L’Etoile is a restaurant that focuses on supporting local farmers and artisan producers and it just so happened that this recipe was featured in a recent Bon Appétit. I always get really excited when I’ve either been to or know of a restaurant that is featured in Bon Appétit or Food & Wine. It makes me feel like I kind of know about the food world. :)

The recipe sounded great – I love all things curry – and because L’Etoile has such a great reputation I figured it would be a good one. I switched a few things up in the recipe, mainly because I get frustrated when recipes call for 1/2 can of coconut milk or 3/4 cup broth. I don’t want to open it, use half and then throw the rest away! Right?

But the curry, oh this curry.

It was slightly sweet, really creamy and we loved the flavor. It is definitely a warming dish, perfect for fall and winter evenings.

I definitely wouldn’t skip the roasted squash, the texture was a welcome addition to the smooth curry. Since the curry itself didn’t really contain any veggies, I served it over brown rice and steamed green beans, but your favorite vegetable would work.


Pumpkin Curry

by Emily Dingmann (adapted from L’Etoile)

Prep Time: 5 min

Cook Time: 45 min

Keywords: soup/stew entree gluten-free Indian fall winter

A twist on the standard curry and a great way to enjoy it in the fall or winter!

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 2 Tbsp butter or oil (I used ghee)
  • 1 cup sliced onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 can pumpkin (make sure it is plain!)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup roasted squash, chopped
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • cilantro for garnish
  • brown rice and vegetable for serving


Heat oil in large pan.

Saute onions for about 10 minutes.

Add ginger and garlic and saute for about 1 minute.

Add pumpkin, stirring to combine.

Add coconut milk and seasonings.

Simmer for about 20 minutes, or longer.

Add squash and shrimp and heat until shrimp is hot.

Mix in lime juice and serve over brown rice and steamed vegetables.

Garnish with cilantro.

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build it better: entree salads

I love big salads.  They are a great way to get in tons of fresh veggies, good fats and protein and they don’t weigh you down like heavy meals can. They are energizing and always make me feel great!

In order to make a salad filling enough for a meal, though, you’ve got to be sure that you incorporate the right mix of ingredients: lots of fiber-filled fresh vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and a combination that tastes great!

My Tips for Building a Healthy Salad: 

Green Base: I like to have a few varieties of greens – something crunchy and something dark!

  • Romaine
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Herb Salad Mix
  • Dark Greens (Kale, Chard, etc.)

Veggie Toppings: 

  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Zucchini
  • Roasted Veggies (Squash, Sweet Potato)

Protein/Fat/Flavor Toppings: 

  • Lean Protein: Beans, Chicken, Fish, Tofu, Eggs, Cottage Cheese
  • Healthy Fats: Avocado, Nuts, Hemp Seeds, Olives
  • Flavor: Cheese (I like to use a really flavorful cheese like Feta, Goat, Blue, etc), Fresh Herbs, Fresh or Dried Fruits


  • Bottled Dressing (like Annie’s or some of the other organic/natural brands)
  • Simple: drizzle of olive oil, squeeze of lemon, salt & pepper
  • Favorite Vinaigrette: chopped shallots + olive oil + lemon juice or vinegar + mustard + salt & pepper
What are your favorite salad combinations, I’m always looking for healthy, delicious and satisfying salads!