Monthly Archives: February 2012

Homemade Greek Yogurt! What an amazing idea! =)

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OK, so I found these recipes online… but it is very similar to the one Diane Thomas gave me, who happens to be an extremely reliable source! So for those of you who like Greek yogurt, but don’t have the pocket book to accommodate (like me), here is your solution!

How to make Greek yogurt either completely from scratch, OR from store bought plain yogurt. Easy way to save big bucks and still enjoy great food! =)

I got this first recipe from the following blog:

http://www.happysimpleliving.com/2011/03/06/make-your-own-homemade-greek-yogurt/

Here’s what you need to make 32 ounces (2 pounds) of fantastic, creamy, homemade Greek yogurt:

  • 1/2 gallon milk* – fat content of your choice (I used organic 1% milk)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons plain prepared yogurt (make sure it contains live, active cultures)
  • cooking thermometer
  • cheesecloth to fit 4 layers in a large strainer

*I prefer to prepare this recipe with organic milk, which is produced without any synthetic chemicals, hormones or antibiotics. (Antibiotics can interfere with the yogurt-making process.) If your grocery story has a bargain section in the dairy case, check for organic milk. It’s often on sale there at my store, so the cost savings is even greater. If you’re using non-organic milk, for best results try to use regular pasteurized milk rather than ultra-pasteurized.

To begin, pour all but 2 tablespoons milk into a double boiler or heavy-bottomed pan and turn the heat to medium. If using a double boiler, cover the milk. If the pot is directly on the burner, stir it and watch it very, very carefully so you don’t burn the bottom.

Heat the milk to 180 degrees F. It helps to have a candy thermometer so you can carefully watch the temperature.

Immediately remove the pot from the stove and carefully pour the hot milk into a glass or ceramic bowl or casserole dish. Put the dish on a cooling rack uncovered, and let the milk cool to between 105 and 110 degrees F. In our kitchen, this took about 50 minutes. (Note: remember to leave the dish completely uncovered at this stage, so the good bacteria from the air can start working their magic!)

Meanwhile, turn on your oven light. Just the warmth from the oven light bulb will provide the perfect temperature for the organisms to make yogurt. Now, combine the 2 tablespoons of milk you saved with the prepared yogurt in a small bowl and reserve. Resist the temptation to add more than 3 tablespoons yogurt. According to the Joy of Cooking, “you may wonder why so little starter is used and think that a little more will give a better result. It won’t. The bacillus, if crowded, gives a sour, watery product.” I used 2 1/2 level tablespoons of prepared yogurt and the resulting yogurt was thick, mild and creamy.

Combine the yogurt starter with 2 tablespoons milk

Once the milk has cooled to between 105 and 110 degrees, add in the yogurt-milk mixture and stir well to combine. (Don’t forget this important step.) Put the lid on the casserole and cover it with a dishtowel. Put it in the oven, making sure that the towel isn’t near the oven light bulb, and leave the oven light on. Leave the yogurt for 7 or 8 hours, or overnight.

In the morning, carefully take the dish out, unwrap it and remove the lid, and check to see whether the milk has turned to yogurt. I could hardly believe my eyes when I put a spoon into the mixture:

The milk miraculously turned to yogurt overnight!

If your batch isn’t quite thickened, return it to the oven and check on it again in an hour. Once the yogurt is sufficiently thickened, you can stop at this stage if you want regular yogurt. Just stir the mixture and refrigerate it; you may need to pour off a little of the watery liquid. Don’t forget to turn off the light in your oven!

For creamy Greek yogurt, refrigerate the yogurt for at least two hours to allow it to completely cool and thicken. Line a large strainer with four layers of damp cheesecloth and find a bowl that the strainer will fit inside:

Put the strainer inside the bowl and pour the yogurt in; refrigerate for one hour. Pour out the liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl; this is the whey – that’s right, the very same delicacy Little Miss Muffet ate while she was sitting on her tuffet. You can save the whey and use it for cooking (a common use is as a liquid in homemade bread recipes) or discard it. Return the bowl to the refrigerator for one more hour, strain the liquid again and the yogurt should now look thick and creamy –

Spoon it into a container and refrigerate for up to six days.

I find most store-bought plain yogurt is too tart for my liking so I usually buy vanilla-flavored, but you’ll find this homemade yogurt has a very mild flavor. You can enjoy it as is, add some fresh fruit or jam, or do what we did and serve it with raw wildflower honey (we love Colorado-based Madhava Honey) and homemade granola.

Remember to save a couple of tablespoons of your homemade yogurt so you can use it as starter for the next batch!

The next recipe I found is for making Greek yogurt by just using plain yogurt from the store:

http://www.cookingforseven.com/2010/06/how-to-make-greek-yogurt/

How to make Greek yogurt

Place a colander or strainer in a large bowl. Line with several thicknesses of cheesecloth. Pour in desired amount of plain yogurt (homemade or store-bought). Keep in mind that the yogurt will diminish by about half.

Fold the cheesecloth on top of itself. Place a plate on top of the yogurt and a heavy bowl on top of the plate. Place in the refrigerator and allow to strain until the yogurt is very thick, about 4-8 hours. The whey will drip into the bottom of the bowl. Save for future use or discard. Carefully scoop the thickened yogurt into storage containers. Store in the refrigerator.

Notes: Whole milk yogurt makes for the creamiest texture. If you’re making your own yogurt, you could even add a little cream.

I have also used paper towels to strain the yogurt. Just make sure that none of the paper sticks to the yogurt.

Ok, so there you go! If you don’t have the time (or desire) to make it all from scratch, there’s a simple way to make it as well! I know what I’m doing tonight! =)

I hope you all are doing well! =)


2/27/12

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A little thought

I received this from a co-worker. While it is good advice, I believe each of us know this deep down… even so, it is a good reminder. Let us rededicate ourselves to stand a little taller and take responsibility for our lives, actions, and reactions. I hope you have a wonderful day and choose to see the best in everything you see and do.
 
The best light

Would you like to have less stress in your life? Then quit creating so much.

Instead of jumping at the chance to be offended, choose to be amused. Rather than filling your thoughts with resentment, fill your heart with forgiveness.

If someone is rude to you, let it be that person’s problem and not yours. Quickly move beyond each disappointment, while savoring and extending and sharing each joy.

The world in general is what it is. Yet your life in particular, and your experience of it, is the way you choose to make it.

When you encounter difficult, frustrating situations, choose to respond with patience and understanding. When things don’t go your way, see it not as a disappointment but rather as an opportunity to make positive improvements.

Take each occurrence in stride, confidently knowing that you can make the best of it. Life is good when you see it as good, so decide to always see it in the best light you can imagine.


February 19, 2012

We painted our kitchen yesterday! I’m not completely done yet, I’m hoping to do some stencils on the cabinets, but it is such an amazing difference! From white, sanitary prison cell to colorful and inspiring kitchen! Here are the pics (I’ll post some more when I do paint the stencils):

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The colors are bright, fun, and wonderful (too bright for some people, lol, but I love it!) I truly love make our little apartment our home! And big huge thank you to my sweet hubby for putting up with all of my insane projects! I love you! =)


If a picture’s worth 1,000 words…

Here are some pictures to update you on our lives:

Josh and Jennifer at the Albuquerque Zoo/Aquarium 2011 (check out the guy behind us laughing at us making crazy faces to the camera… lol):

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Gid & Jesse (Gid is the dark one, Jesse is the one with the white) 2011:

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Jennifer’s first finished quilt! Made for Jennifer’s brother Michael, Christmas 2011:

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And last but not least, my brother Blaine and his fiancé Shaley!:

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Well there’s several thousand words to catch you up on 2011!


My fishies

I promised you pictures of my fishies and the “fishie play-pen”. Well here they are!

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The last one is of one of my Angels eyeing the baby Mollys.. They watched those babies constantly! I think their thought process was more along the lines of “food” rather than “cute”. Lol


A bit of “comic” relief

And now, a bit of “comic” relief thanks to Calvin & Hobbes (double-click image to make it bigger, and then click the “back arrow” on your top left browser corner to go back to my blog):

Wow. I love seeing the world through a child’s eyes, don’t you?