Thursday, July 28, 2011

Homemade Yogurt

A crock , covered with a beach towel, waiting for the yogurt to sufficiently "yog"

In my quest to move to a more organic, whole foods diet, I have been experimenting with making my own soy and dairy yogurt at home in the slow cooker. So far it has been a success for the most part.

It really is a LOT easier than it looks. A 32 oz organic yogurt is easily $3-5, depending on brand and if it is soy (for my dairy-allergic child.) I can buy a half gallon (64 oz) of organic soy or dairy milk for $2.50-$3. It will make a half gallon of yogurt. For the first batch, you will need to buy a small 6 oz yogurt with active cultures to prime the mixture, but afterwards can hold back a cup of your own yogurt to make the next batch.

Homemade yogurt has more water that settles to the top than store-bought. I made "greek-style" yogurt by lining a sieve with coffee filters and putting it in the fridge for 6-8 hours. It then has the consistency of sour cream.

When I made soy yogurt, I used a quarter cup of tapioca flour to help thicken it. The dairy did not require this step. The soy took 18 hours to "yog" and the dairy only about 12.

Word to the wise- I used a stainless steel colander the first time I made it Greek-style and let it sit longer overnight. My first batch then ended up with a metallic taste to it and I had to chuck it down the sink! Next time I used plastic.

A week's worth of soy yogurt, ready to go!

My own plain, unsweetened yogurt, with a few berries- the way my 3 year old likes it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Pasta with summer tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and olive oil, roasted broccoli

Tuesday: Parmesan Roasted Asparagus with Poached Egg, kale chips

Wednesday:Huevos Rancheros

Thursday: Fruit Smoothies with Hemp Protein Powder, Edamame

Friday: dinner at The Winds Cafe with friends

Saturday: Wine tasting for me- husband on his own!

Sunday: hunt and peck for me- probably baked potato and veggie burger

Homemade granola for breakfast, with yogurt and fresh peaches

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Weekly Shopping Trips

This week's trip to Kroger: $76. I spent $6 on meat for my dad- today is his birthday. I am whipping together individual hamburger patties soaked in Guinness , German potato salad like my Grandma used to make, and fruit. I bought store-bought yogurt for this coming week as I don't have a lot of time to "yog" this weekend.

Last week's Whole Foods trip: $85. Yes, I spent $7 on dark chocolate expresso beans. For shame! I eat maybe 6-7 beans a day at work. So, so good!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Turkey Kielbasa, Onions, and Potato Saute

Tuesday: Breakfast is Overnight Steel Cut Oats in the slow cooker with homemade yogurt and fresh fruit

Dinner is Falafel with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce (got to use up that half gallon of yogurt!)

Wednesday: Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Feta, Homemade Black Bean Burgers, Roasted Broccoli

Thursday: day care picnic- bringing Light Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Friday: Spring Pasta with Tomato and Asparagus

Saturday: Ale House Burgers on the grill, Bread Machine Hamburger Buns, Green beans, German Potato Salad, Grilled Pineapple, popcorn for movie night

Sunday: Pancake brunch with sausage and fruit

Making Mujadarrah for lunches next week and Sunday dinner

Lunches: Made a big vat of Spanish Rice and Beans on this past Sunday plus Cinnamon Baked Apples for day care treats

Hundreds more menu plans here!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Going to be lots of egg dishes this week!

Monday: Baked Eggs with Cheese, Tomato, and Bacon, Cole Slaw

Tuesday: Parmesan Polenta, Sauteed Kale, Morningstar Farms Pizza Burger Patties

Wednesday: Tuscan Baked Eggs with Tomato, Onion, and Garlic

Thursday: Creamy Pasta and Spinach, Roasted Broccoli

Friday: massage night- Huevos Rancheros over cheap Chi-chis tortillas

Saturday: Rhineland Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage in slow cooker, Turkey Kielbasa, Onions, and Potatoes on the stovetop

Sunday: Spicy Sauteed Chickpeas with Beef and Cilantro, salad

Experimenting with soy yogurt in the slow cooker, still experimenting with dairy free wheat bread(using olive oil in the recipe and mixing in bread machine and baking in oven)

Weekly Shopping Trip

Whole Foods trip: $49 Pretty much everything is organic except for the polenta and tapioca starch. Why tapioca starch? I am using it in this recipe to experiment making my own soy yogurt in my slow cooker. A half gallon of organic unsweetened soy milk at Whole Foods in $2.49. If this experiment is successful, I can make a half gallon of soy yogurt at a time for the same price I pay for half that amount of store-bought soy yogurt. I had to buy a single small organic soy yogurt as a starter, but should be able to use half a cup of my own yogurt in the future as a starter for future yogurt batches.

I discovered organic unsweetened peanut butter is $2.99 at Whole Foods, the cheapest store bought organic I can find. Still haven't seen any deals the past few months on conventional peanut butter!

While out to lunch, I hit a consignment shop and found a 3T Gymboree dress for $8 andan 18M Carter's dress for $7 on the clearance rack. I used a 30% off Carter's coupon to reduce the dress price further. I got a couple crochet hat patterns on Etsy and looked at Michael's to try and find yarn, but left empty-handed as I didn't want to pay full price. I was intrigued by the bamboo yarn, however, as it was quite soft.

My target trip: a candy thermometer, which is very helpful in ensuring my yogurt culture stays at the right temperature, a drink, and some 80 calorie dark chocolate bites my friend Kim introduced me to. Total $3.50 for the food.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

LinkMonday: Baked beans and BBQ Chicken from mom

Tuesday: leftover baked beans, chicken, corn on the cob, cantaloupe

Wednesday: Mushroom, White Bean, and Tomato Stew

Thursday: Beef and Bean Chimichangas, Roasted Broccoli

Friday: Sauteed Kale With Tomato and Olives over Toasted Polenta

Saturday: Huevos Rancheros with Homemade Tortilla

Sunday: Tuscan Baked Eggs with Tomato and Herbs

Experimenting with this Wheat Bread recipe this week!

Hundreds more menu plans here!