Saturday, February 05, 2011

Lifetime Changes and Homemade Yogurt

After a week of staying fairly close to sugar-less (well as close as I had the will power to do), I'm surprised about how greatly the little I did do affected me.  I noticed this yesterday when I gave in and ate two snack cakes.  A couple hours later I was feeling bloated and gassy, my lower back hurt, my stomach hurt. I was miserable for most of the night.  I'm better this morning, still a bit bloated feeling.  So I'm deciding that this needs to be a lifestyle change.  In a short week I've figured out there is a limit to how much sugar intake I can handle and it's less then I realized.  One small sweet a day or so doesn't seem to affect me too bad.  Any more then that and it seems I'll have the symptoms I had last night.  I'd rather not do that anymore so I'm going to continue to: not add sugar to my coffee(I've gotten accustom to the taste now and Dunkin Donuts coffee tastes better without cream/sugar), no added sugar to my oatmeal (it's just as good with a little coconut oil, honey, fresh fruit).  I'm going to make some chocolate chip cookies for the family today and I'm going to try and halve the sugar in it and see how it turns out.
Okay in another post I mentioned I was going to attempt homemade yogurt.  Yesterday I did this and I am so glad I did.  It is so much better then store bought.  The yogurt has this rich,creamy, melt-on-your-tongue texture and flavor.  I drizzled a little honey on some this morning and it was perfection.  Here is the recipe I used:

Homemade Yogurt
I haven’t experimented with soy milk, but regular milk -whole, 2% or 1%) and goat’s milk work very well.
1 heaping tablespoon of the best plain yogurt you can find, making sure it contains active cultures (no additives, stabilizers etc).
2 1/2 cups good quality milk (I like to use organic)
Bring the milk to a full boil in a saucepan, then turn down the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Pour the scalded milk into a bowl, through a strainer or cheesecloth if you have acquired any brown bits around the edge, and cool until you can hold your finger in the milk and count to 10.
Place the yogurt in a small dish and add some of the milk to it to warm it up, then whisk it back into the milk. Pour into a glass jar (glass holds heat well), wrap in a towel or sweater and put in a warm place for about 6 hours or overnight. In the morning put the jar in the fridge to chill and you should end up with a lovely jar of fresh yogurt.
 I got this recipe from The Family Kitchen
Here is what I did with mine:
I used a quart of whole milk (Kroger's 1.70, I forgot the exact price but this is close)
I added one heaping tablespoon of Dannon's Greek yogurt (1.00 Walmart)

I didn't bring the milk to a boil, instead I brought it up to 180 for 10 minutes (I read on another forum that this was best).
Then I put the pan in a sink filled with a small amount of cold water to bring the temp down to 100 degrees
I mixed the yogurt (mine may of actually been more like 2 tablespoons, it was heaped up real good, lol) with about half a cup of the milk to warm it up like the recipe said.  Then I mixed it in with the rest of the milk until the yogurt was well incorporated. I then put the milk/yogurt mixture into a clean/sterilized quart canning jar.  I took a small cooler and put a bath towel in it and set the jar of soon to be yogurt in the towel and wrapped the towel around it.  I took two more quart jars and filled them with warm/hot water (110-120 degrees) and put one on each side of the yogurt (outside of the towel).  I then took the cooler and set it in a warm place (in my case that was in the laundry closet on the top shelf while I was  doing laundry, the dryer kept the area nice and warm).  Then let it set for 6 hours. After it's set up you can put it in the fridge to chill or drain it for greek-type yogurt or yogurt cheese.  Use it as you would any plain yogurt.
The yogurt after 5 hours incubating, just one more hour to go and it was already looking and smelling like yummy yogurt.

Yummy homemade yogurt with honey for breakfast this morning.  Now I'm wondering why I didn't try this sooner.

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