Wednesday, September 11, 2013

DIY Greek Yogurt

**Disclaimer - This is not about making your own yogurt.  This is about making Greek yogurt out of plain yogurt.**

We love Greek yogurt in our house, but really don't like the price.  My hubby tried some Key Lime Greek yogurt a few weeks ago and finally realized what all the hype was about. We're all hooked!

But, it's so expensive!  It's hard to find it for less than $1.00 per serving.  I heard from a friend of a friend that it's possible to make your own Greek yogurt.  And it's easy!  I've made it a few times now.  It's so much cheaper this way.  And easy.  Did I say easy already?  Oh, sorry.  Well, it is.

You'll need:
- Cheesecloth
- Plain Yogurt (I use Balkan style, but you can use whatever you like)
- Big Sieve
- Big Bowl

Set your sieve in your big bowl.

Cut some cheesecloth, a double layer.  You don't want your yogurt oozing out.

 Cut your cheesecloth so that it will hang over the edge of the sieve.

Pour your yogurt into the cheesecloth, sieve and bowl.

 We eat this stuff like it's the last one we'll ever have, so I make two at a time.

Set it in your fridge, uncovered.

Let the yogurt sit for 6-24 hours.  After about two hours you may need to drain the whey (that yellow liquid that runs off.)  You can save the whey to use in baking or smoothies.

After 6-24 hours (however long you're willing to wait) gather the corners of the cheesecloth, lift it up and turn it over into a resealable dish.  Discard the cheesecloth.

And you've got Greek yogurt!

Add honey or your own flavouring (if necessary) and enjoy.  

When my hubby tasted this for the first time he said it was so much better than the Greek yogurt that costs more in the stores.

Try it and see!  It's so easy...  you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Brownie + Cookies = Brookie!

My daughter has been asking for "brookies" lately.  One part brownie, one part cookie.  She said that her cousin makes them and she just had to try them. 

Since I'm always up for a baking challenge, I did some internet searching and didn't find a recipe that I wanted to use.  I needed something that would be chocolatey and ooey-gooey and melt-in-your-mouth soft without falling apart in our hands.  Instead of "reinventing the wheel" I stuck with my tried and true recipes. 

So, without further ado, here is my recipe for Brookies, Brownies and Cookies smooshed together.


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Brownie Batter:

1/2 cup melted margarine
1/2 cup cocoa, sifted

1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Mix margarine and cocoa well.  Add sugar, eggs, and vanilla and mix until combined.  Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix until combined.  Spread evenly in a buttered and floured 9x9 baking pan.
Cookie Batter:

1/2 cup soft margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. 

Mix margarine and brown sugar.  Add egg and vanilla and mix briefly until just combined.  Add flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix briefly, leaving some white flecks of flour visible.  Add chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed.  (White flecks of flour should be gone and batter has not been over-mixed.  Yeah!!!)

Dot cookie batter over brownie batter.  Pat and spread cookie batter so that it evenly covers the brownie batter.  Bake in 350 F oven for 25-30 minutes.  Do not over-bake or it will be too dry when it cools.

This is the hardest part...  Let them cool for at least an hour so that they will be set before you cut them. Cut into 16 (or more or less, depending on how many people you have to share with) and enjoy.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Civil Rights Chicken - Crock Pot

My old(er) sister, MA is slightly crazy.  But in a good way.  Not necessarily important information, but good for you to know.

Anyway, I was canvassing social media looking for some good crock-pot recipes involving chicken.  MA came through with a recipe she had just recently made up - Civil Rights Chicken.  I guess she had a dream that  little black beans would be able to join hands with little white beans as sisters and brothers.

Anyway, I've finally managed to make it AND take pictures. While it's cooking in the crockpot, I'll share the recipe with you.  (It just so happens to be gluten-free too, but don't hold that against it if you're not a fan of such things.)  This was a hit at the last church lunch.

Civil Rights Chicken
(serves 6-8)

You will need:
1 can of drained black beans
1 can of drained white beans
1 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 can diced tomatoes
1 jar salsa
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
3 c chicken broth
2-4 chicken breasts

Civil Rights Chicken

Place in your crock pot:
1 can of drained black beans
1 can of drained white beans
1 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 can diced tomatoes
1/2 jar salsa
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 c chicken broth 
(Add a handful of whatever veggie you have on hand - zucchini, peppers, corn.  I had mushrooms today.)

Place 2-4 chicken breasts on top.  
Top chicken with remaining 1/2 can of tomatoes, 1/2 jar salsa salsa and one more cup of chicken broth.

Cover and cook on high for about 6 hours.

About an hour before you serve it, you can get a couple forks in there and shred the chicken a bit.  It lets the chicken absorb the flavour of the sauce.

Mix and serve over rice.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Mayan celebrations, Happy December 21, 2012!

Since the world didn't end as the Mayan calendar may have suggested, I'm gearing up to do the very last of my Christmas shopping.  This means that I need to head out to the Bulk Food store and pick up some last minute ingredients.  I'm making jars of taco seasoning to hand out to a few people as nice little homemade gifts. 

As I prepared my shopping list I realized that my recipe is on my iPod (thank you Dropbox!) but I couldn't access it away from the house.  So I used that handy-dandy snapshot feature and took a picture of my screen.

And now, so that you can make it too (it really is a wonderful seasoning, and it's great to know what's in it!), here is my "shopping list" snapshot of the recipe:

This should make 4 or 5 little jars of seasoning for the Mayans in your life.

For those who wish to make slightly less...

Jar of Taco Seasoning
1/4 cup Chili powder
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp paprika
1/4 cup cumin
2 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp black pepper

For 1lb ground meat
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

To prepare, add 1 Tbsp seasoning to your meat/beans, along with 1/2 cup water and 1 clove of garlic.  Simmer, serve, enjoy!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Magic Bags (Christmas gift idea!)

I came up with an idea for a "Teacher Gift" this Christmas.  You just can't have enough of these hanging around your house, so even if our teachers have one, I'm sure they'd appreciate another.

(Edited: These are great to heat up in the micro-wave for muscles aches or to keep in the freezer as a cold compress.)

These Magic Bags start out as a rectangle of fabric, 11"x16".  (I used a brushed cotton, $5.00/meter.)

I folded the fabric so that the outside was in, and sewed the 16" long edges together, and then sewed up one of the ends.

I turned the fabric right side out and filled it with just under 2 lbs of rice (I think 1.88 lbs was the final weight.)

I folded the final open edge in on itself and pinned it together, sewing that last bit together.


 You can give this away or keep it for yourself.

Total cost: $2.00

This is the poem I've written to attach to each one:

This Magic Bag, all filled with rice,
Works hot or cold; it's mighty nice!

Keep it cool to soothe a knot
When a cold compress hits the spot

Or warm it up to soothe an ache
and ward off cold from snowing flakes

This handmade gift brings Christmas cheer
And wishes for a blessed New Year!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Happy Hot Cocoa Day!

I just finished baking slightly over 1200 Christmas goodies.  I've posted links to the recipes below so that you can make some too if you like.  But then I found out that it's National Cocoa Day, so I figured I needed to make some cocoa to go with these treats.

I found a recipe on Allrecipes but changed it a bit, to suit my tastes.  This is a nice, rich cocoa that will warm your hands on a cold almost-winter's day.

1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt

1/3 cup boiling water

3 1/2 cups milk

Vanilla extract (or some other flavour)

Combine cocoa, sugar and salt in a large saucepan.  Add boiling water and heat over medium heat until bubbles begin to form, continuously stirring with a whisk.  Add milk and continuing heating and stirring until it is hot.  Do not let the milk boil.  Remove from heat.  Add a dash of your favourite extract (vanilla, almond, mint, hazelnut, coconut) to give it extra flavour.  Enjoy on its own or with a crisp shortbread (or, I suppose, another delectable treat would suffice.)



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas/Teacher Gift Idea

I have an idea.  I'm always on the lookout for gift ideas for the person who seems to have it all, or the person who I just don't know well enough to get something they'll adore.

I was tucking my daughter into bed tonight and thought, "It's cold in here.  I really need to figure out how to make a magic bag for her."  (Magic bags are those awesome bags, filled with rice or oats, the kind you then pop in the micro-wave or freezer to get it hot or cold.)

That got me thinking that this would be a great gift for pretty nearly anyone.  And hand-made, it could be quite inexpensive.

So I'm soliciting ideas...

Which material would you choose to fill the bag?  Rice, oats, beans, barley, something else?  Have you made one before and do you have tips to share.  It seems pretty straight-forward, but I'm pretty good at messing things up.