Saturday, December 28, 2013

Make Your Own Coffee Yogurt

Something I make on a weekly basis is yogurt. I used to buy my husband Dannon Coffee Yogurt but it was not organic and it was expensive. So I got a yogurt maker for Christmas about 3 years ago.

I purchased new jars for it because the ones that came with it had a large shoulder on the jar and I wanted a straight jar.  They have a good price, much better than the Yogurt maker. I bought 6oz jars, 3 dozen.

The first time I made Yogurt I used the recipe that came with the maker. It didn't even fill all the jars so I created my own recipe. I figured out what my jars held and how much yogurt culture I needed. I used yogurt as the culture, it tastes better and works fine and I can make it myself.
So the first time I bought yogurt to use, but after that I make plain yogurt and freeze it in ice trays. I use 4 ice cubes of plain yogurt for my culture. 
5 cups whole milk (whole milk makes the best yogurt)
6 Tablespoons of plain organic yogurt or 4 ice cubes of plain yogurt

Flavoring if you want to make flavored yogurt
2/3 cup organic sugar (+ or - to taste)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2/3 cup organic sugar (+ or - to taste)
2 heaping Tablespoons of instant coffee

DIRECTIONS: If using frozen yogurt, put it in a bowl and set it in the yogurt maker with it on. This will thaw the yogurt but not heat it up to a point that kills the bacteria. 

Measure the 5 cups of milk and pour into a saucepan. I attach a thermometer to be able to see what the temperature is at all times. Use low to medium heat and stir often.

If you are making flavored yogurt add the sugar and flavor to the empty measuring cup and set aside.

add sugar

 add coffee

Cooking milk to the temperature of 185° , not quite boiling, using a heavy stainless pan helps keep it from sticking or scorching.

When the milk reaches the temperature, pour it into the measuring cup and move the thermometer to that. Now you want it to cool to 110°.

Using a sink of cold water and some ice helps it cool faster.

I use a fork to chop up the frozen yogurt to get it to thaw while I wait for the milk to cool. When the cooling mixture reaches the right temperature add in the thawed yogurt. Stir , I use a whisk.

Pour evenly into all seven jars, place in the maker. 

It is OK if you can still see a little of the yogurt not mixed in, it will still work just fine. 

Place lid on maker, I cover with a dish towel too just to hold in the heat. 

Process 7 hours. I read that yogurt gets tarter the longer it is processed so you want to go as short as possible. This time works great for whole milk, other milk may take longer and not firm up as much. The vanilla and plain yogurt I make gets firmer than the coffee flavor, but all get acceptably firm. 

Put on lids and refrigerate. Cool them overnight before you eat. I have found it keeps for weeks. I don't like to make it in a big container and then put it in jars because it breaks it up and causes the whey to separate. I know if you have a big family then this is probably not the recipe for you. I am only feeding two people so it works nicely for me.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bakers German Chocolate Cake

Last weekend was my Dad's 85th birthday. I made his favorite cake which happens to be German Chocolate Cake. I haven't made it in a while and I used organic ingredients. I used the substitute for Buttermilk because I could use organic milk to make it and I mixed my own evaporated milk. The evaporated milk goes in the icing which is kind of a critical part of a cake so I was nervous about that. But it worked wonderfully, no one could tell the difference. Also I used unsweetened coconut and it was still a very sweet cake. Below is the original recipe except I took the 'sweetened' off the coconut. It made too much icing so it oozed out and  isn't as pretty as it could be, but you know you have to make cakes a lot to get the feel for it and I just can't afford to eat that kind of sweets often! This cake is well worth the effort!!

BAKER'S GERMAN Sweet Chocolate Cake

1 package (4oz ) Bakers German Sweet Chocolate

cup  water


eggs, separated


cups  flour


tsp.  baking soda


tsp.  salt


cup  butter, softened


cups  sugar


tsp.  vanilla


cup  buttermilk or (1 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk; let stand 10 min.)

oven to 350°F.

COVER bottoms of 3 (9-inch) round pans with waxed paper; spray sides with cooking spray. Microwave chocolate and water in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 to 2 min. or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
BEAT egg whites in small bowl with mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form; set aside. Mix flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition.
ADD egg whites; stir gently until well blended. Pour into prepared pans.
BAKE 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Immediately run small spatula around cakes in pans. Cool cakes in pans 15 min.; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Spread Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting between cake layers and onto top of cake.


 egg yolks


can  (12 oz.) evaporated milk (use substitute below)


tsp.  vanilla


cups  sugar


cup  butter or margarine


pkg.  (7 oz.)  FLAKE Coconut (2-2/3 cups)


cups  chopped Pecans

BEAT egg yolks, milk and vanilla in large saucepan with whisk until well blended. Add sugar and butter; cook on medium heat 12 min. or until thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
ADD coconut and nuts; mix well. Cool to desired spreading consistency.
I don't like the ingredients in Evaporated Milk so I looked for a healthy alternative:
12oz evaporated milk. 1 cup Powdered Milk, 1 cup + 2T water, 2 T melted butter - mix together and use.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Organic Milk On Sale

I make my own yogurt - which will be a later post. Sometimes my grocery  store has milk on sale and I buy 2 to 4 gallons. That is a lot of milk. It takes 5 cups to make one batch of yogurt so I freeze it in plastic containers 5 cups at a time.

But I make other things too, some need 1 cup of milk and some 1/2 cup of milk and one needs 3 Tablespoons of milk. In the past I have tried freezing milk in zip lock bags but they are hard to get the milk out of and some of the fat sticks to the bag. I liked the containers because I pop it out before it starts to melt and it comes out pretty clean.

But I was starting to have way too many small containers of 1 cup and 1/2 cup and didn't have any Tablespoons so I thought of my ice cub trays.

Each cube is 2 Tablespoons. So that means:
1 1/2 cubes = 3 Tablespoons 
8 cubes = 1/2 cup
16 cubes = 1 cup  
This gives me a much more manageable system for saving milk to use in smaller quantities.

I cover the cubes with wrap and stack them on each other and freeze.
After they are frozen I pop them out and put them in a plastic bag and label and date it. (Very important if you are cube freezing other things. You'd be surprised how similar things look!!)

I use the ice cub trays to freeze broth, tomato sauce, plain yogurt for starter, and milk to be used in small quantities in recipes.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


After one of the many rains we have had all summer my husband found 17 fire ant mounds in the front yard. He used all the ant killer we had on hand and was still needing some. I didn't really want to run to the store for just one thing so I searched on-line to see if there was a recipe for Fire Ant Killer. Well there was and I just happened to have the ingredients on hand. It is really very simple, it is equal parts Borax and white sugar.

Yes, I had Borax because of a recipe for something else I had seen.

I used 2 cups of Borax and 2 cups of sugar. Mix it together with a spoon. 

If the Borax is clumpy break the clumps up with the spoon. After the box is open it will be clumpy.

I then put it all in a quart jar with a lid and labeled it. You just sprinkle some on the top of the ant hill. Apparently they think sugar is good and can't tell the difference between that and Borax when mixed together.  

So we tried it out and  it works. If it rains you have to start again but if there is 24 hours after application till the rain you have a good shot at killing the ants.