Posts Tagged ‘Save money’

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!


It’s All About Thermal Mass Baby

With fuel cost on the rise again most folks are feeling the pinch in heating their homes, but not us! This time of year our wood stove heats our 832 sq ft home at a comfortable 68 degrees when thermometer says it 10 degrees or colder outside. What makes our wood stove unique it the fact that’s homemade. Well, you’re thinking “That’s not unique! Lots of people have built their own wood stoves”. That’s true, but I’m sure that no one has a stove quite like ours.

An Original Upland 207

We took an old Upland 207 wood stove, removed the legs, flipped on it’s right end so the left side loading door is now on top and encased it in concrete and covered the concrete with stone. We then cut a hole in the top above the loading door for the stove pipe.So, how does this all work? The old Upland 207 acts as the fire box which in turn heats the concrete and stone which creates a thermal mass of heat. The stove pipe is a pipe within a pipe. The outside pipe collects the heat from the stove pipe and pushes the heat up through the duct work in the house. Since heat rises the heat from the stoves thermal mass in conjunction with the heat from the stove pipe keeps our house toasty at on even the coldest days. Since the stove is air tight, it burns more efficiently, coupled with the thermal mass; this means we use less wood to heat with than conventional wood stoves.

Stove Front - Click for Larger View

Stove Top - Click for Larger View

Pipe Within a Pipe - Click for Larger View

Here’s the kicker: not only did we recycle an old stove, I can dry my clothes by wood heat, bake bread with the wood heat and not to mention, the efficient use of wood fuel is much more eco-friendly than convenient fuels like oil, kerosene and natural gas (LPG). LPG emits 15 times more CO2 per kg than wood, and kerosene nearly 10 times as much. CO2 is the main source of global warming. As long as wood burning is sustainable and doesn’t cause deforestation, its CO2 emissions are neutral — the CO2 released in the fire simply gets recycled back into more trees. It may not be the best looking stove but it’s all about thermal mass baby!