Friday, July 15, 2011

Eureka! (Yogurt and smoothie recipes!)

Yay! I am so excited! Finally perfected a yogurt recipe AND made my first smoothie! I never thought I could drink a fruit/yogurt smoothie for breakfast, but with as full as this one made me (couldn't even finish it all), I think I could! My friends Susan and Jess have both been talking of smoothies and/or yogurt for breakfast, so I'm stoked! The yogurt turned out thick and creamy (the first try was too runny for me) and just sweet enough. And, the cost for 1/2 gallon of milk is the same as a quart of store bought yogurt, so I just cut my yogurt costs in half! Sweet!

Vanilla Yogurt

1/2 gallon organic whole milk (raw is best)
3/4 c powdered milk (I used Organic Valley but not needed if using raw milk)
6 oz yogurt (This is the starter for to culture the milk. Use store bought organic yogurt and save some of your own yogurt to be the culture for the next batch)
1/4 c sucanat or equivalent stevia
1-2 T vanilla extract
1/2 gallon Mason jar (I bought mine at Sonnewald Natural Foods)  (Jar does not need to be sterilized for yogurt, but if you would like to, simply boil a small amount of water in a skillet or frying pan and place jar upside down for a minute.)
candy or meat thermometer

Heat 6-7 cups of milk, sucanat and vanilla in pan on stove at low heat. You want to do this slowly. Keep an eye on it and check regularly with thermometer. While the milk is heating up, fill small cooler with tap water as warm as it gets, leaving room for the jar. Pour yogurt into bottom of glass jar.

Once the temperature is between 85-90 degrees (you don't want it to get warmer than 100), remove from heat, pour into jar and shake like crazy (please make sure you have the lid on first!).  Oh, and drink any milk that couldn't fit in the jar...warm whole milk is SO much better than I ever thought it would be!

Set the jar in cooler, close lid and forget about it for 8+ hours. This is to keep the temperature consistent while it is culturing, so try to put it in a consistent temperature location (I used my garage, but in the winter I'm sure I'd keep it in the house).

When you open the jar, make sure you ooh and aah over the wonderful bubbles. Then simply take a taste test (I never dreamed I would like warm yogurt, but it is good!) and then place in fridge. Lasts a LONG time, weeks, if you don't eat it all first  ;)

Fruit Smoothies

1 c yogurt (if frozen your smoothie will be icier, but not necessary)
1 handful each blueberries, cherries, strawberries (if they are frozen your smoothie will be a little icier but fresh is fine as well)
ground flax, wheat germ, chia, hemp

Combine in food processor or blender (I used my Magic Bullet). Add straw, enjoy!

My yogurt was not frozen so I did drink a little and then pop mine in the freezer to ice up a bit. I think I am going to freeze it in muffin tins (got this idea from Jess) and then put in ziploc bags to have portions already set for me. This was so good, I didn't even feel the need for anything sweet at all!

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