"Raising Souls"

"Raising Souls"

Monday, November 17, 2014

Food at $65 per week: Make your own yogurt!

In my real food switch I started buying organic whole plain yogurt at Trader Joe's for $3 a large container. My Augustine devoured it and it would be gone in a day or two... then came Gianna... it was gone in a day... It makes a great baby food. I had wanted to try making it for a while to stretch a buck, but it needed to be EASY and fool proof. I have to many memories of my mom's runny homemade yogurt. However, I have good memories of it... warm with cherries mixed in! Yummy! 

I found a recipe I love and fits in my busy life... and I'm here to share it with you! 

Pour 1 gallon of whole organic milk into my large crock pot around 3 or 4pm when my first kid wakes from naps.

Turn crock pot on high for 2-3hrs.

At around 2hrs milk should be 180*. (This depends on crock pot.) Heating kills of competing bacteria.

Take off cover and let it cool to 115*. (Don't let it cool lower than this or your yogurt won't be as thick.)

At 115* stir in 1 cup of plain yogurt with live active cultures. (With each batch I make I freeze 1cup of yogurt for the next batch and the gift keeps giving!)

Put on lid. Wrap entire crock pot, plug and all, in a big towel and put the whole thing in a dormant oven. I don't want to question your intelligence but, well, make sure the oven is NOT on. I also put one oven rack on my stove to remind my forgetful mind not to turn the oven on and make late night cookies! 

Leave for 8-12hrs. Overnight basically. In the morning you have thick and creamy yogurt!

The next step that I do is to make greek yogurt. I fell in love with Greek Yogurt before it was even cool. I went to Greece years ago and was served real Greek Yogurt with honey at all our bed and breakfasts. Oy yum! Now I can make it!

Greek yogurt is yogurt strained (in a cheese cloth) to remove whey and allow for a thick and high protein dessert er... food. Strain to desired thickness. Then use as breakfast, snack, dessert with raw honey or jelly/jam. I also use it for sour cream in recipes and as toppings as well as dips and it even passes for cream cheese if you strain it to long! (Oh happy fault!) I only strain about half of my yogurt. The kids eat the regular stuff, it lasts longer.

Now how about those health benefits? Yogurt with live active cultures is a great source of pro-biotics. Key to staying healthy during cold season. Feel free to google for more details! My personal testimony is that (knock on wood) I have not gotten sick for a couple months now despite the fact that my germ pool children get colds continuously. I am only this healthy when I am pregnant. And no, this is not a pregnancy announcement. ;-) The most recent change to my diet has been homemade yogurt. That's the only thing I can match it to. I usually catch almost everything my kids have to offer except perhaps their puke-- in the bucket I'm holding... inches from their face. Eck!!! So, this is pretty unusual for me and I am now completely sold on my yogurt kick!

Speaking of being sold...

A whole gallon of milk makes enough yogurt for a full week (or two) of yogurt eating here. I buy my milk for 5.99 at TJS using their organic store brand. It's even cheaper at Whole Foods but not worth the extra trip right now. Besides that I don't have to buy sour cream or cream cheese! Also, DON'T throw away the whey that you strain off of your greek yogurt. We use it to make smoothies and it has a great tart flavor. You can also freeze it for later use. Or experiment with fermenting veggies. I'm not there yet, but hopefully soon! I think it lasts for a couple weeks or so. 

**Also, as a side note. Based on my research I do not think low-fat is the healthy option. It's not natural and the body needs good healthy fats and so do our kids. Lower fat dairy goes through extra processing effecting it's health benefits. Also, the right fats help us absorb vitamins. I could go on and on but I'm not a scientist nor am I writing a research paper. I do encourage you to research it though, you might be surprised! Look at holistic and naturalist writers.** 

Here's to hoping for better health to all!

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