Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Yesterday was an extremely productive kitchen day for me: first-ever batch of crockpot yogurt, homemade granola, sandwich bread and brownies.

You see, we have re-examined Ye Olde Household Budget. I won't say Josh's discovery of this guy didn't have anything to do with it. "Early Retirement through Badassity"... I sense a new life-motto for my husband, who has always said he wants to retire by 40.

He is 33, which means we've got some serious saving to do. (And by "retire," he means stop having to work for someone else, not stop working altogether, btw.) ANYway. Budgets. We've also hopped on the Mint bandwagon. Which has an app. Which means Josh knows exactly how much money I've spent on mochas. and yarn. Like, ever. I'm happy to report, however, he is still speaking to me ;-).

Also happy to report that it's true what they say -- the little things add up! If you save a little here and there by enjoying homemade iced mochas (which are actually pretty darn good), homemade yogurt (which I've done in the past, but hope to be more consistent about), and fresh baked bread (who doesn't love that?), you will likely be pleasantly surprised by what's left in your account at the end of each week/month. I know I am!

Homemade Iced Mocha = Jar of strong coffee left over from the morning, stuck in the freezer for 2 hours (It freezes just a bit around the edges, so you don't need ice) + milk + chocolate syrup + whipped cream, if you're lucky.
I've always (and by always, I mean 4 or 5 times) made yogurt on the stovetop...

Bringing a 1/2 gallon of milk slowly up to 180 degrees F, then cooling to 110 degrees F; stirring in 1/2 c. plain yogurt ("starter") w/ active cultures; finally wrapping in a heating pad & a beach towel (yes, really), and leaving to sit overnight. It's a lot.

Crockpot yogurt was So Much Easier! It's still an all-day activity and it still involves beach towels, but much less attention must be paid.

This recipe is all over the web, but I'll just go ahead and put it out there one more time.

Here's whatcha do:

-Pour 1/2 gallon milk (I used whole, have read reports of lower-fat milks not working as well) into your crockpot (mine's a normal size, I think).

-Cover, turn it on LOW and leave it alone for 2 hours and 45 minutes.

-Still covered, turn it OFF and leave it alone for 3 hours.

-Take out about 2 cups of your warmish milk and mix it with 1/2 cup or so of active yogurt, or "starter." I used some 0% Greek Yogurt we had on hand. For future batches, you'll reserve 1/2 c. of your homemade yogurt for this purpose.

-Whisk your starter mix back into the crockpot, cover it back up and WRAP IT IN A COUPLE OF HEAVY BEACH TOWELS. 

-Leave it alone overnight or for 10-12 hours. I believe the longer you let it sit, the tangier it gets. I left mine at 7pm last night (having started the whole process just after 1pm), so it was ready to put in the fridge this morning.

-Refrigerate. Warm yogurt is kind of gross, plus it will thicken a bit as it cools. Homemade yogurt is not as thick as the store-bought stuff. I think that makes it even better spooned over homemade granola, though, and it's still perfect for smoothies, or wherever else you usually enjoy it. 

Sandwich bread and brownie recipe soon! Granola is here, and highly adaptable to whatever you've got in the cupboard. I used coconut oil (Trader Joe's has it!) in lieu of vegetable oil w/ this batch, and it worked great.

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