Quick Yogurt Hack!

Hello friends,

This is just a short post to share a hack I recently discovered:

As the baby starts solids, we have been giving her coconut milk yogurt (my babies generally don’t do well with dairy until they are almost a year old.) We discovered the GT’s brand Cocoyo, which has excellent ingredients and a good dose of probiotics, and she really enjoys it; however, it is expensive yogurt.

Then, I stumbled upon this post from Butter for All (one of my current favorite websites for recipes in general.) I followed the instructions carefully, and it worked! Hooray! I thought, no more buying expensive yogurt! Then I had an epiphany: if this mesophilic yogurt works with coconut milk, might it also work with raw cow’s milk?

In short, reader, it did. I kept the same ratio of one tablespoon of coconut yogurt to two-ish cups of milk, and whisked the two together in a glass jar. I covered the jar loosely and let it ferment on the counter until it was thick. It took a little more than 24 hours (probably because my house is chilly at night right now,) but yielded a good, thick raw yogurt. A few days later, I tested the strength of the culture by using a tablespoon of the raw yogurt to make a new batch. This batch was even better! It set more quickly than the original, too. Although I have successfully used a version of Wardee’s thermophilic raw yogurt in the past, this season of life seems to require simplifying kitchen work whenever possible. Thus, if I can just chuck some starter in a jar of milk and forget about it until the next day, so be it!

Hopefully, the culture will remain strong–I have heard that mesophilic yogurts require a pasteurized mother culture after some time, but we’ll see how this goes. If need be, I should just be able to use the homemade coconut yogurt again, as I think the canned coconut milk is usually heated before being canned.

This could also probably be done with pasteurized cow’s milk; I just haven’t tried it yet.

I hope you’re all having a blessed day!

Gathering Up the Fragments

Here begins a new feature (inasmuch as a blog with only four posts can have “features”) I’d like to call “Gathering Up the Fragments”. As homemakers, we have the duty to be frugal–as our individual family situations warrant–and so I’d like to share some successes and failures, specifically in the realm of food.

Firstly, our usual grocery store has recently been marking down a lot of clearance produce. They take random fruits and vegetables, stuff them in plastic bags, and mark those down to $.99. This week’s haul included a jicama; two bags of organic sweet peppers; two bags of organic kale, and a container of organic cilantro. Here’s how we’ve used things so far:

–Jicama was peeled and grated over salad (didn’t use the whole thing…next time, I’ll chop the rest for snacks.)

–Kale went to the chickens (this helps us cut down on our feed bill.)

–Cilantro went into salad, and the rest was added to a pot of black beans, stems and all.

–The peppers were used for our recent party. Those that were nice and crisp got cut up for crudites; any that were starting to soften (but were still good) were halved, stuffed with cream cheese and seasonings, topped with shredded cheddar cheese, and baked at 350* for 10 minutes.

I also found a clearance organic chicken at the supermarket. We are very blessed to have several good local farms, and usually get our meat from them. This price was too good to pass up, however, so I tried to use the chicken for a dinner. Unfortunately, the meat didn’t cook very well, and seemed both rubbery and underdone, despite having cooked to 165*. Whomp whomp. Since I had cooked it in the crockpot, I just left it in there, added water and my vegetable and bone scraps from the freezer, and cooked the thing for almost 24 hours. We got a large amount of broth from it, and the chickens and cat enjoyed a treat.

My husband had gotten a variety pack of beer several months ago, and there was one variety he disliked. I used the remaining two cans in a double batch of beer bread. Since we had family coming to town, it was handy to have some extra bread. I used coconut sugar, half white flour and half sprouted wheat, and half the butter. One loaf was under-baked, but the other came out better. At least, I think so.

Most of the buns for the party had been bought on clearance and frozen previously. We were also able to do a bulk order of hamburgers and hot dogs from our usual meat farmer, which earned us a discount.

That’s all I can think of for now–hopefully I’ll have more successes to report next week!