Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Making Yogurt Without a Yogurt Maker

I really love homemade yogurt. Tangy and smooth, almost sweet. Creamy and lovely to gaze upon, especially when stirred into fresh blue berries, strawberries or bananas. Tasty on it's own or with real maple syrup and some raisins.

We all have seen the commercials for yogurt and we know some have live Bactria cultures that are suppose to help our digestion and immune systems. I want some of that goodness for myself and my family but I'm not going to pay what they are asking. Plus, a lot of the yogurt on the shelves are loaded with sugar, or worse, artificial sugar, and are "low in fat."

I don't want the sugar but I do want the fat.

I read how to make yogurt this way on line somewhere but I cannot find it now. This is my take on how to make yogurt without a yogurt maker. When space is limited, and storage space even more so, items in your kitchen must serve more than one purpose. Also, I don't want to spend my husbands hard earned money on something we can do without.

The tools...

*thermometer
*whisk
*a pot, at least 8 cup capacity
*ladle
*small bowl
*an insulated beverage container, 6-8 cup capacity. This is your incubator.

I use this Rubbermaid one.

Making Yogurt

Ingredients needed...

*a package of yogurt starter
*4 cups whole milk (Using UHT pasteurized milk will not work. UHT changes the milk into something the yogurt culture can not use. Neither should you...ever. Using whole milk will give a thicker and creamier yogurt than if you use lower fat.)

Making Yogurt

This is the starter that I use. I don't know anything about other cultures but if the package of starter says to incubate at around 110* for 4-6 hours, these directions should work for you. The bacteria are L.bulgaricus, S.thermophilus, L.acidophilus.

That's all we need for thick, delicious, healthy, frugal yogurt.

Okay, here we go.

Fill your Rubbermaid incubator with very hot tap water and put the lid on. You are preheating the container so it will stay warm for the few billion organisms you are trying to multiply.

Pour the milk into the pot and put in the thermometer (don't let it touch the bottom). Heat the milk over medium low, whisking gently but frequently, until the temperature reaches 180*F. Don't leave the stove. I have boiled over more milk than I care to remember because I went to do "something" that would just take a "minute."

Making Yogurt

Now, we cool down the milk in a cold water bath or just let it cool on its own. If it cools down to much you can always warm it a bit on the stove again. You want the temp to be no more than 115* and no less than 110*.

Using the ladle, put about a cup of warm milk in a bowl. Gently stir in the starter using the whisk. It might take a little while for the starter to dissolve so be patent and stir gently. Pour the cultured milk back into the pan of warm milk and, gently, stir well.

Pour the hot water out of the incubator, quickly dry it out and fill it with the warm, cultured milk. Screw on the lid and place it in a spot where it won't be disturbed for 4 hours.

Making Yogurt

After four hours, remove the lid and put it in the fridge to cool down and greatly slow down the culturing. After the yogurt is cold, you can put it into a different container.

I usually make my yogurt before I go to bed and put it in the fridge in the morning, 8-10 hours later and it tastes fantastic.

When making yogurt using the packaged starter the directions on the package say 4 cups of milk, like I have writen here, but I have found the package will culture 5 cups of milk.  Also, you can use any yogurt that has live culture as a starter.  The next batch I make I will use 6 cups of milk and about 3 tbsp of yogurt from this batch.  The yogurt will get "stronger" tasting with each succesive batch. Quite tangy.  Make your toes curl.  After about 4 or 5 batches it's time to use a packaged starter again.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Glimpses Of...(Birthday Edition)

Blinni

school books

Ginger beer bug

My Beauty

school books

Popcorn and hot chocolate

Winter back yard on my birthday

dishes

little man, 4 months today

1. Buckwheat pancakes, Blinni.
2. Book for my babies.
3. Beginnings of probiotic Ginger Ale.
4. Little Miss. Jelly Bean
5. Book for my bigger babies.
6. Popcorn, hot chocolate and Cars 2 for lunch.
7. My backyard this morning. Finally some snow.
8. Our dishes, where the littles can reach them, for ease of table setting.
9. Little man! Oh, I could squeeze him all day!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Asian Style Soup

We just finished eating our lunch and it was so very yummy. Great for filling bellies and soothing the sick. And if you are sick, put in more garlic and ginger to nip it in the bud.

Asian Style Soup

1/2 of one onion chopped
1-2 ribs celery chopped
2 carrots cut into coins
1/2 a rutabaga chopped small
1 cup chopped leeks
3 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp seaweed
Salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic chopped fine
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1 tbsp olive oil
Soya sauce
Sesame oil
Parsley
Green or red onion

Heat a fry pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Sauté the onion, celery and carrots for about 5 minutes adding water as needed to keep things from burning.

Asian soup

Add in the rutabaga and cook another 2 minutes.

Asian soup

Next, put in the garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Pour in the stock. Add the yummy leeks and the seaweed. I chopped my ginger and put it in my large tea strainer thingy because the ginger was quite old and tough.

Asian soup

Add salt, pepper and soya sauce to taste. Bring to a boil then turn it down to simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and top with green or red onion, parley and a few drops of sesame oil. Love sesame oil!

Asian soup

And to switch it up...
*Add some red pepper as a garnish.
*Use homemade stock.
*Add some chicken.
*Add some more Asian flavors.
*Squeeze of lemon or lime at the end.
*Some miso at the end.

Hope you try this very easy and nourishing soup and let me know how you like it. I've also linked to Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade. Stop over there for some great information and more recipes.
Also, linked to Sunday Night Soup Night over at Easy Natural Food.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day everyone! I pray you are able to be with the ones you love!

Valentines Day ice cream cake

Ice cream cake is a gift from my mother-in-law to the kids! Thank-you!

She love ice cream cake

Monday, February 13, 2012

Zucchini Mushroom Frittata

Lovely supper tonight! Leek and Mushroom frittata! I had most of the ingredients chopped already. Something I'm trying to do every morning or when I'm chopping for one meal, chop for the next. This little guy likes to surprise me with the timing of his naps and when he needs me, so when I find a knife in my hand I'm a variable chopping machine.

All I had to chop we're the zucchini and garlic.

zucchini and garlic

So, the ingredients are...

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup sliced leeks
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup baby spinach
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 eggs lightly beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil

Sounds good already, right?!

Heat your non-stick, non-teflon, pan on medium and add in your olive oil. Throw in the mushrooms and stir frequently until browned.

mushrooms

And the leeks for a minute or two...

added leeks

... Then add the zucchini.

in with the zucchini

Cook until the zucchini are ALMOST done, then add the baby spinach. When wilted, toss in the garlic and stir gently for two or three minutes.

in with the spinach and garlic

Add the eggs. Stir for about a minute, then spread it out on the bottom of the pan.

eggs are in

Throw it into a 350* oven for 5 minutes or until set.

just out of the oven

Slide the whole thing onto a plate or cutting board and cut yourself a big slice.

on the plate

I served this with homemade sauerkraut, a bit of cottage cheese and hot sauce. Also, sprinkle a big helping of parsley over everything because it's yummy and good for you.

with my sides

I would have added 1/2 cup of red pepper with the zucchini if I had it.

The boys didn't try it. They had pizza.

All of these pictures were taken, and the blogging was written, on my iPad 2. It was a gift from my husband for Christmas. Isn't he awesome?


* To clarify, I do not recommend Teflon for a non-stick pan. We use porcelain non-stick or a hot cast iron pan.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Glimpses Of...

Juice

George

Sour Dough starter

Sprouting

sprouted whole wheat flour

Mushroom, leek, zucchini stir fry

Smoothie

Julius

1. Beet blender drink with a friend. It was horrible!
2. My good cat.
3. Sour dough starter.
4. Sprouting and...
5. Grinding
6. Mushroom, leek, zucchini stir fry. Yumm!
7. Little girl loves smoothies!
8. More little man goodness!