Friday, January 16, 2009

Our Favorite Way to Eat Homemade Yogurt

We love this simple dish. I don't know of a desert we enjoy more!
Simply peel and core apples, (Mama's job) slice (daughter's job), and
put in a kettle. Add raisins (toddler's job) and a little water to cook.
Add cinnamon to taste.

This is how the finished product looks. Depending on the type of apple used,
you don't need to add any sugar. The raisins sweeten it.
Of course, you decide the raisin/apple ratio.

Serve still warm over cold yogurt. Daddy's job when eating it is usually
to groan and go for another dish. I don't know why it's so good.
It really doesn't sound that great, but there's something about the contrasts!

The great thing is, it isn't really a desert, so it can be breakfast... etc.
This fall I canned some apples this way so we can have it on short notice!
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How To Make Easy Homemade Yogurt

This recipe is for one gallon of yogurt. Of course you can make less, just do the math. You don't need any special equipment. You will see here what I use and common sense will help you figure out how to do it with what you have on hand. I use raw organic cows milk from a local blessing for $3 a gallon. Kind of hard to buy a gallon of yogurt for that, isn't it?

Start with: Dissolve 2 Tablespoons unflavored gelatin in 2/3 cup cool water. (Top left picture)
(I am able to get it at a bulk food store, but Knox gelatin is fine. Two envelopes will do. Bulk is cheaper and you're not out so soon.)
Heat 1 gallon (minus a cup to make room for added ingredients) milk to 180 degrees. The old-fashioned term is "scald" it, a thermometer just takes the guess work out of it. If you stir it constantly as it heats it seems to turn out creamier yogurt. I guess something to do with heating it evenly and gradually. It takes some time but can be done with a book in the other hand! :)

Then add: The dissolved gelatin, sweetener to taste, (I use 1/2 cup fructose)
and vanilla. (I just pour - maybe 2 Tblsp.?)
Of course you may leave it unsweetened and plain.
Cool to 130 degrees, it doesn't take long if you set it in the sink in cold water. Again, stirring while it cools makes it better. Last but not least, add 1/2 cup yogurt as starter. I like Dannon, you can experiment, but just make sure it contains live cultures. Once you have your own made, you can use it next time. Whisk to blend in. Strain into jar. (Not essential to strain, but it insures a smoother texture.)

I set my jar in this 2 gallon cooler. It is one of God's little goodnesses to me. I love red and blue in my kitchen and ones in the store are orange, etc. I happened to find this one, like new, for $3 at a second hand store. It's perfect! (Further evidence God knows me!) (Two quart jars fit in an Igloo lunch box.) Fill up to the neck of the jar with hot tap water.Let sit for three to 4 hours or until thick. If you use your own yogurt as starter, it seems to incubate faster. Storebought takes the full 4 hours. The longer it sets, the sourer it gets. I like to catch it as soon as it's thick and very mild. The little ones like it better! Take out, refridgerate and enjoy!

If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments.
Also, if you know any tips, or a better way, I'd love to learn it!
Favorite uses, too!

Grandmother's Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe is a favorite at our house.
I have found that even some folks that don't like raisins, like them!
I've discovered that if you use fresh ground whole wheat flour, they turn out just as good!
I will not be posting recipes that taste "healthy",
just those that taste great and hopefully fall somewhere in the "healthy" category.

Grandmother's Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup raisins
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
Soak these first three ingredients for an hour.
If time gets away from you like it often does for me, don't worry!
It doesn't hurt anything for it to sit longer.
Cream: 1 cup butter
(I use half Expeller Pressed, Naturally Refined, Pure Coconut Oil)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
Add the egg mixture to this and mix.
Next, add and mix well:
2 &1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp. soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
Then add: 2 generous cups oatmeal
(I like quick oats, but rolled is fine too.)
1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts, optional
Roll in balls; dip the bottom of a cup in sugar and press. (Kids love to help!)
Bake in 350 degree oven for approx. 8 minutes. Do not over bake!

The secret to these cookies great taste is the raisins soaking in the vanilla/egg.
Their great texture is ruined if you over bake. Ask me how I know!!
If anything, under bake and be sure to bang the pan a bit when you take them out of the oven!
They are very more-ish!
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