Do It Yourself

Yo Gert…It’s Homemade Yogurt!

 Back by popular demand with directions for making Greek Style Yogurt

Homemade Yogurt

Disturbed by the high prices of you favorite brand of yogurt at the supermarket? Well, make your own; making yogurt at home is easy. The great thing about whipping up homemade yogurt, is that it taste better than store bought, cost less to make than store bought and you gain the self-satisfaction from making it yourself.

4 cups (1 quart) milk
1/2 cup powdered milk (optional for thicker yogurt)
1/2 cup “live culture” yogurt (use a good quality plain yogurt)

  1. Stirring slowly, heat the milk (and powdered milk, if you like thick yogurt) in a double-boiler or (very carefully, so as not to scorch) on your stove, to 185°F for one minute; remove from heat and cool to 110°F. To cool more quickly, place the boiler/pan you’re using in a bath of cool water and stir.
  2. Once down to 110°F, add the live cultures as well as the sweetener, if you desire, and give it a good stir.
  3. Now comes the tricky part: you need to keep the mixture at 110°F for the next 6-7 hours; drop much below that, and the bacteria won’t be warm enough to do their job, anywhere higher than about 110°F will kill them, and leave you with not much more than boiled milk. This can be done several ways: in your oven, on the very lowest setting, in a bath of warm water (to help the heat from varying too much), or a crock pot set on low. I set my next to the wood stove which seems to work well. No matter which method you choose, take care to keep the temperature as close to 110°F as possible.
  4. After 6-7 hours, your yogurt is done. Refrigerate overnight, your yogurt with thicken more as it cools.
  5. The next morning enjoy add sweetener and fresh fruit or a dollop of homemade strawberry preserves. Yum!
  6. For creamy Greek yogurt, refrigerate the yogurt for at least two hours to allow it to completely cool and thicken. Line a large strainer with  damp cheesecloth and find a bowl or pan that the strainer will fit in and pour your yogurt into the strainer. Refrigerate for several hours. After the yogurt has strained for several hours, pour out the liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl or pan; this is the whey. What’s left in the strainer is delicious, thick and creamy Greek style yogurt. Enjoy

Feed Your Face

If you’re like me, you’re tired of being bombarded with ads that claim to give you healthy, younger looking skin in just weeks. You look in the mirror and see all these fine lines or wrinkles that seem to appear overnight and wonder if “this product” will work for me? Then you go to the store in search of that “fountain of youth” in a jar that will restore your natural glow. You hesitate for a moment at the cost, then go ahead and make the purchase because beauty has it’s price. Get home and slather this potion on your face daily, hoping that in 6 weeks you won’t look like a Shar-Pei any more. I have one word for you: FAIL. These products do not work! They are not the elixir of youth, they cost an arm and a leg; not mention the list of toxic chemical you’re putting on you skin is frightening. So what’s a girl to do? Seek out natural, green alternatives of course. Some of the cheapest, most natural, eco-friendly skin care products are found right in your own kitchen. Milk can be used to remove make-up. Olive oil will remove mascara and eye-liner. Try a sugar scrub to exfoliate your face. Give yourself a facial with an egg, honey, yogurt and olive oil mask. While you’re at it, slap on a couple of cucumber slice over your eyes to reduce puffiness and remove those dark circles. Finally, tone it up with some lime juice. Since I’ve started feeding my face with skin care products from my kitchen, my face feels great! It’s clearer, softer, smoother and has a healthy radiant glow again, all a matter of days (not weeks). Feed your Face your skin will thank you later!

The Old New Perfection

This past summer I purchased what I thought was a wood stove oven at the annual Bouckville-Madison Antique show, located in my childhood hometown of Bouckville, NY. After scouring the internet for more information, I found the oven was actually a part for the Royalite New Perfection Oil Stove made around 1915. Because of opening in the bottom I knew this oven could also be use on the top of a wood stove. At the time of purchase I had kinds of great ideas for baking my winter bread on the top of my wood stove, but since it was still summer, I put the oven in the garage and promptly forgot about it until today when we ran out of propane and I needed to bake bread. Being Sunday and the day after Christmas plus the added fact we fill our propane tanks ourselves as opposed to having it delivered; we’re sh*t out of luck and gas. Yeah, I know I could have gone to one of those tank exchanges and paid an arm & leg for propane, or even drove 3 mile to the nearest gas station for some stale, overpriced bread; but remember, I’m a cheapskate. I can live without propane but I can’t live without bread. Well…I could live without bread and I might even loose a few pounds in the process, but I don’t want to right now. I got a few more days to pig out before New Years rolls around and roly-poly me rolls right on annual resolution wagon to loose weight. Being the resourceful person I am, I dug that oven out of the garage, plopped that sucker down on my wood stove and proceeded to bake bread. The result was a perfectly golden brown loaf, produced from my old 1915 New Perfection Oven.