Friday, March 16, 2012

A little color in my life

It's thursday and things around here are heating up. High humidity and and hot temps (>80 degrees at times!) has been doing a great job on my little flower bed! Gorgeous!

~Song of Solomon 2:11-12
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

Thank you Jesus!
*A note: Please excuse the leaves that cover my flower bed's floor. The color sprouted before this lazy gardener got them cleaned up. I know, I know, I could have cleaned before I took the pictures, but they were too beautiful to wait a second longer. Plus, it shows that glory of the Lord Jesus. Even in the midst of a bunch of dead leaves, he arrayed the flowers of the field more than King Solomon in all his glory. WOW!

 Matthew 6:29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.


First, Let me direct to this very interesting article...
10 Surprising facts you didn't know about yogurt :)

Now that you know this is definitely something you want to eat on a regular basis, Let me direct you to this very interesting article...
Why you don't want to buy it

So, where does that leave you? Making your own of course!

First you'll want to gather the necessary supplies and ingredients. List must be long right? Nope not at all! Yogurt is a one those great luxuries that take little to make, and once you get used to the process, hardly anytime at all! And you probably have what you need already on hand!

Let's go!

  1. Organic (best if you find a local dairy!) Milk
  2. Yogurt (Plain and organic)
  3. Glass mason jars (I use quart size but pint would word for individual servings! so cute!)
  4. Large pot
  5. Thermometer
  6.  something to incubate your yogurt. I use an Excalibur food dehydrator. Other methods I have heard of include wrapping your jars in towels and placing them in a cooler over night, or putting in a 9x13 baking dish and setting in your oven with the light on over night. I have not tried these methods myself but what ever works! Also you can really fancy with a yogurt maker or kit!
Put some water in a large pot, and place your milk filled jars inside. Turn the heat to high and set a timer for 30 minutes.

Stir to distribute heat and to remove skin that formed on top of milk (if any)
By now the heat should be at 180 degrees, if not 10 more minutes on the timer.

Hot milk! Remove from pot carefully using pot holders! Ouch!
now it's time to cool them down. I have found the best and fastest way is a cold water bath. This can break your scorching hot jars or please be careful and follow the tips. Notice in the first picture my water is on hot until my tub is full. Then I turn that water to warm and let it run for about a minute, finally I turn my water to cold and set my timer to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile get your supplies ready for the next step. Your yogurt starter, a bowl and tablespoon, and lids. If you are using a dehydrator, set the temp to 115. Or get your towels and cooler ready.
After 15 minutes, the milk should have cooled between 110 and 120. Any hotter and your yogurt will curdle, leaving you with cottage cheesy yogurt, and any cooler, the cultures won't activate. I usually try to get mine between 115 and 118. Stir and check.

Pour  a little warm milk into bowl
Put 2 Tbsp of yogurt into your bowl and mix.
Pour back into jar
Skim and discard bubbles. Optional, but it looks yummier when you do :)
cap and incubate over night, then place in fridge for another 8 hours. I know, This seems like a lot of steps, and at first it is a bit of time and work. But the more you do it, the faster and easier it will become. Also, your first batch might be half whey ha;f yogurt. (this is due from the lack of real nutrition in commercial yogurt) Not to worry! The whey is actually the best way to give your body extra protein! drink it yourself or give your pet for a healthy boost! Next time use your yogurt as a starter and before you know it, you will weeded out any traces of the commercial yogurt, which result in a full thick yogurt from your own starter. This process was overwhelming to me at first but it got much better with practice. Now my husband and children enjoy yogurt with raw honey and organic homemade yogurt for dessert! Super healthy sweet treat! I'll take it!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vegan Tortillas

Just like your mama (or grandma) used to make. Do you remember the days you awoke to the smell of fresh homemade tortillas? soft and a bit chewy...and delicious?? if this memory has escaped you, or if your circumstances left you without fresh tortilla smell, then this is the post your looking for. Get ready to make some memories... oh yeah.... and tortillas...
  1. 3 cups flour (your choice, I used white bread flour today, but you can use 100% whole wheat, half white half wheat, all purpose, whatev...)
  2. 2 tsp baking powder (not to be confused with baking soda ... boo me)
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 1 cup *hot* water
  5. 2 Tbsp olive oil
  6. Bowl
  7. stirring spoon
  8. tortilla pan (or large skillet or griddle)
Combine dry ingredients and stir well
make a "well" in center or flour mixture. add water and oil. *Tip: Make sure the water is AT LEAST warm. I think this is the secret to soft, pliable tortillas*
Slowly combine
Now That every thing is in one ball, take out and knead by hand until smoooooth
Divide. This recipe will make 12 burrito size tortillas, 16 medium, 20-24 fajita size. *Tip: to help with equal sizing, I divide mine in half, then those in half, then those in half until I get 16. Or in thirds, the in half in half for 12... you get the idea)
Dredge in flour...
on both sides...

Roll, flip and turn 180degrees, roll, flip and turn, roll, flip and turn, repeat until your desired size and thickness

Place on hot griddle for about 7 seconds, you should see a few bubbles. *Tip: I cook mine on a higher heat for a shorter time than most people. Not sure, but I have a theory this also attributes to the super soft tortillas that result. If you're burning yours, lower heat or flip faster, keep trying until you get your rhythm, you can do it)

Flip and cook again for about 5 seconds. *Again I like to have the heat to were you will see the brown spots within 5 seconds. on my stove this is a medium heat)

 Repeat with all your dough balls.

FIN! <3

Yay! You did it!
These babies are best when eaten right now, however they will keep for a few days (definitely not as tasty by the third day, I usually do not make more than this recipe unless we are having company to ensure peak freshness and tastiness) They also freeze well so have at it. I must admit, mine have never made it to the freezer (me checking the bread box... hey! didn't I just make a batch of tortillas?) but the more you do it the faster you will get and you will see that you can have tortillas whenever you feel like them! burritos, wraps, soup scoopers, you name it. enjoy

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Water Colors!

So, Spring break has finally arrived! And what came with Spring break? ALOT of rainy days, accompanied by high fevers, head aches, tummy ows, and runny noses! Now you tell me, was that timing or what?!? As the flu bug that was going around started to wear down we had to think of a fun inside activity we could all be apart of. How do you say, Super fun and easy? oh yeah, Home made water colors...
Gather supplies *that are probably in your kitchen already! 5 points*
  1. 3 Tbsp Corn starch
  2. 3 Tbsp Baking Soda
  3. 3 Tbsp White Vinegar
  4. 1 1/2 Tsp Corn Syrup (I didn't have it so I made a simple Sugar syrup by using 2 parts sugar to 1 part water)
  5. food coloring

Combine all ingredients (except the food coloring) and stir. *Cool chemical reaction 5 points!* wait for fizzing to stop...
Separate into different containers. We used an egg carton (As you can see, it was a card board one...not the best idea, stick to Styrofoam) Baby food jars, ice cube tray, small tuperwares... And add color! *double cool for color mixing fun! 5 points!*
Let those babies dry over night (I know I know the suspense is killing you) Let your little one (s) go at it! *Two days worth of activities! FTW!!*
 Fin <3

Wordless Wednesday- First signs of color

Ipod cozy

So, let me start by saying I have the best husband in the world. He recently surprised me with a brand new ipod touch (and a beautiful new comforter set for our bedroom, ftw!!) So to make sure it stays safe and secure while being tottled (is that a word?) around in my bag, it needed a case. So i hit the web and came across a wonderful blog Randomness by Petchy, and tweeked it to fit my needs. Excuse to sew, anyone?
1.So first gather and prepare materials. Cut two 12x3 1/2" rectangles in the fabric of your choice. For the lining, I would go with something soft. (maybe even minky...) Press.
2. With right sides together, sew a 1/4" seam all the way around leaving a small gap on one of the short sides.

3. Snip those corners
4. Flip right side out, and use your scissors to make the corners lovely.

5. press

6. Sew along small edge to close up gap

7. Place ipod in center and place a mark where you phones jack is and sew a button hole.
8. Cut a piece of fabric measuring 5x1 1/2. This will be your strap.
9. To make the strap, fold the piece long ways, right sides together and stitch. Using a safety pin, flip it right side out and press with the seam in the middle.

10. Fold your case so that the button hole is right on bottom (check out pic) and pin strap between folds. Start at the bottom and stitch around entire case until you get to where the other side of the strap needs to be.

11. When you get to that point, slip in the other side of strap, then hold it up and over your needle, so that the stitch is under. In the pic you get the idea, however, there was too much give on the strap and it was loose. Pull the strap tighter than shown. You can get the necessary give by folding the case up, rather than the strap. Comprende?