Easy Slow Cooker Yogurt

0408170957

Slow Cooker Yogurt

This is one of the easiest ways you can save some serious money. If you eat yogurt, add up how many little, 5-7 oz. cups you go through in 7-10 days. For the cost of some milk, yogurt, gelatin (optional), and electricity, you can make the creamiest homemade yogurt. It is so easy!

What you need:

  • a slow cooker, thick beach towel, small clean containers for finished yogurt, and a whisk
  • 1 gal of milk (fresher is better, pasteurized is fine)
  • 3 TBS powdered milk (optional- use if you want thicker finished yogurt)
  • 1 small packet Knox gelatin (optional- great for thicker yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup yogurt with active cultures (save some from previous batches or use store bought as a starter. Just check the label for active cultures)

Pour milk in slow cooker. Mix in powdered milk if you prefer a thicker yogurt or if milk is high heat pasteurized. Turn on low. Let milk cook for 3 hours.
Unplug slow cooker and let sit for 3 hours without removing lid.
Scoop out 2 cups of the warmish milk and whisk with active yogurt and optional gelatin.
Return milk mixture to slow cooker and whisk quickly into warm milk.
Cover still unplugged slow cooker. Wrap in thick beach towel to retain heat and leave sitting without disturbing for 8-10 hours (this is where I go to bed).
When the cover is lifted and you scoop your spoon through the creamy yogurt you won’t believe how easy it was!
Scoop into containers and refrigerate promptly.
Top the unsweetened yogurt with fresh fruit, jam, or chocolate syrup. It’s so yummy.

If you like sour cream or Greek yogurt, simply strain through cheesecloth overnight in a colander in the refrigerator. The whey that collects is wonderful for making bread, lemonade, or even acidifying the soil around plants.

Now, you do the math. You can get a gallon of yogurt for the price of milk and some extras in 16 hours.

Let me know what you do with yours.

Grandma’s Easy White Bread

0401171836

Grandma’s Easy White Bread

What you need:

  • 1 TBS of active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 TBS bacon grease (or other natural oil/shortening)
  • 6-ish cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 TBS sugar
  • 2 standard loaf pans, greased
  • 2 9×5 standard loaf pans

This bread is so incredibly easy to make—even for folks who don’t think they can bake bread.

I got the recipe from my grandmother, back in the 80s, when I was a fairly new housewife, making our first home, and struggling to save money. It was then that I learned that my grandfather once owned a bakery. I’m thankful that they were able to pass on skills that are in danger of slipping away.  Note that *bacon grease or oil prevents the dough from becoming too elastic and controls the big air holes in the bread. Don’t leave it out, if you want a nice small crumb that goes with sandwiches and everyday use. Once you are making bread, you can experiment with it and its effect on texture. Have fun!

  1. Put 2 cups of warm water in a very large bowl. Add the active dry yeast sugar and salt. Add the *bacon grease and whisk to mix.
  2. Gradually add flour to the mixture, ½ cup at a time. At first it will be soupy, then it will start to get sticky, then move on to have a sturdier form. It will be hard to mix. A large sturdy metal spoon works well (or a stand mixer with a dough hook). The bread will become a workable, soft dough at somewhere near 6 cups of flour. Don’t add too much or it will be too stiff and prevent proper rising. Knead for 5 minutes.
  3. Oil the inside of a large bowl and transfer the dough into it. Set it aside to rise until it is 1 ½ its original size. Pick a warm location that is free of drafts. Plan on this taking an hour or so.
  4. Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Punch down and knead about 1 minute.
  5. Divide into 2 equal pieces. Shape the pieces into a loaf and put in the 2 greased loaf pans.
  6. Set aside and let rise until double in size.
  7. Split top with a sharp knife and drizzle butter down middle for a fancy butter-top finish.
  8. Bake at 375° until light golden brown. Bread will sound hollow when thumped or tapped.
  9. Bread will be done in approximately 25-30 minutes. Set a timer and check it at 20 minutes.

Bread is a living thing and will have slight changes from batch to batch. The more you make it, the more you will get to know your yeast, altitude, personal oven, etc. Once you find the perfect crumb for your family, stick to the recipe variations you have found successful. If you get a new oven, you will have to play with it a bit to find the perfect timing.

Recipe makes 2 loaves. We slice into about 12 slices per loaf.

 

 

 

The Buddy Burner

0311171412

Making a Traditional BuddyBurner

If you grew up in Girl Scouts, the chances are good that you made a Situpon or a BuddyBurner.  The BuddyBurner is a fun and useful project to create with the kiddos. Not only does it make use of common items that would normally be tossed into the trash, it becomes a useful item for preparedness.

You will need:

  • An empty tuna can (save the lid if possible)
  • Corrugated cardboard cut into 1-inch wide strips across the corrugated grain
  • Broken crayons, wax remnants from used candles, or paraffin wax

Open the tuna can with a safety opener that leaves no sharp edges. Regular can openers can leave sharp edges that you must be doubly careful of. No matter the method be careful of sharp edges.

Coil up the 1″ corrugated strips tightly. Continue adding strips until you have enough to tightly fill the tuna can. If you have extra space cut a few small strips and slide them in spaces until the can is completely filled with the coil.

Melt the wax or crayons and pour into the can. Allow the wax to fill the spaces in the corrugated cardboard. The cardboard becomes a wick and the wax become the fuel.

The saved lid can be used as a quick way to extinguish the flame and preserve unused fuel.

To use, place the burner on a fireproof surface, where it may remain when it becomes hot. This is an activity best done outdoors. Simply light the cardboard wick. The burner will become very hot.

A larger can with holes punched in it for airflow may be placed above it to heat water or food.

For a bit of a walk down memory lane, go to http://www.girlscoutsla.org/documents/6_Griddle_Skillet_Buddy_Burner_Recipes.pdf and enjoy some Girl Scout fun. Don’t forget to support your local Troop with a donation of money or purchase of cookies!