A Mom's Guide to Saving on Groceries

Woman of Culture 09/06/2008

I have become a woman of culture… well, make that cultures! Specifically: S. thermophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, and L. casei.

Ever since I found this recipe on another site (listed below), I’ve been like a mad scientist in the kitchen, nurturing my little colonies of beneficial bacteria. Yes, that is how yogurt and cheese are made! Don’t worry about making a mistake and poisoning your family, because if something goes wrong, your effort will be smelly and obviously inedible.

For me, it worked the very first try, and I’ve really had a blast with this recipe. I’ve lost count as to how many jars I’ve made, but some surprising things have happened:

First, I seem to be losing weight. Maybe I’m eating so much yogurt that I’m not craving heavier foods? Dunno.

Second, I discovered by accident that having a glass of yogurt before bed really does make you sleepy. I’d heard that it works, but never had the urge to slurp dairy (other than ice cream) before bed. This, come to think of it, could possibly be a partial explanation of the weight loss.

Here’s the recipe:

1 qt milk (4 cups). I use 1 packet of nonfat milk plus 1/2 cup of Nido whole milk (or an additional 1.2 cup of nonfat dry milk) and boiling water. Use your magic bullet or blender, fill with with about 1 cup of the hot water, add a little cold to it (so it doesn't build pressure inside and splat you when you open it) add both powdered milks and blend. Put it all in a 4 cup measure, add enough boiling water to make 4 cups.  OR

heat 4 cups of milk to scald. But then you have to wash the pot.

I use a cooler, and put the hot milk in a jar inside. Wait an hour or so until it's about 110 degrees. Warm, not hot, same as for bread. Add 4 TBSP of store-bought yogurt with live cultures, shake it up and put back. Put two jars of very hot water in with it, and leave it alone for 8 hours. I actually like to make 2 quarts at a time. Can take 6-10 hours, so do it at night before you sleep. Resist the urge to keep checking it, because you will let the heat out. But you can refill the hot water jars as needed.

I make plain, then flavor later, but you could flavor it before it sets if you want. Use syrup, vanilla, jelly, preserves, what about cooked apples with cinnamon? When it's done, it's just about solid, but then if you stir it, it's like a luxurious milkshake. To make thicker, put coffee filters in a colander, and strain to remove some of the whey.  You can do that in your cooler to save space in the fridge, and put in two bottles of ice cold water, to keep cool.

Another way is to pour into several layers of cheesecloth, bring ends up and twist to secure the top. You'll have a "ball" of yogurt in there.  Put it in a jar, and put the lid on, leaving the ends of the cloth sticking out so it is suspended and the whey can drain into the jar in the fridge.  If it drains all the way, you have something very like cream cheese, less fattening.

I got this from
www.hillbillyhousewife.com, fun site.

Some ideas:

add a little whipped cream to make a mousse (great with lemon or chocolate). Try 3 parts yogurt to 1 part whipped cream (hey, mostly air!) to keep it healthy.

mix 1/2 an envelope of unflavored gelatin with 1 tbsp. hot water, let cool, strain (to catch any little globs) into yogurt and stir up. Put into custard cups.

Use some of that lemon syrup (recipe in the recipe section) and drizzle over cubed cantaloupe on a baking tray, and broil very close to flame to carmelize the fruit. You want it close, so it happens fast and doesn’t cook your cantaloupe (yuk). Drizzle with your favorite version of yogurt.



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