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Wednesday, October 31, 2012


This downward economy has effected so many of us that we all have had to buckle down and find ways to save a buck or two Most times it starts with the frivolous treats in the food budget & unfortunately the compromise in taste  that comes from this exchange often leaves us quite disappointed.......

Does this look awesome?  Read further...
But Boy-oh-Boy have I got good GREAT NEWS for you!!!!!!!! 

This is NOT of those times!!! 


OK, so it doesn't take me much to get excited what I am talking about is my early morning delights, the one thing that makes me feel more human, a tasty lil' delight I would like to call YUM! Or I guess to the lay person coffee.

 I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE--did I mention LOVE and ADORE chai spices so I added that to my morning pot of JAVA & made it  JAVAID.  Translation ... DELICIOUSNESS!!!! 

I like a sweet creamy latte so I add 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, hey I didn't say it was low-cal, just low cost and HIGH FLAVOR content..... You can thank me later!!!

Enough chit-chat bring on the recipe!!

Items Needed:
  • 1 Coffee Pot {Mine makes 12 C I pour in water to 10 C line)
  • Filtered Water {Tastes better that way, but since we are on the "down-low I use plain tap)
  • Heat resistant Spoonula
  • Hazel Nut Coffee or Coffee Grounds of Choice {My perfect money saving tip, try using less coffee grounds, I know you are looking at me like I am nuts, but if you can do it you can save so much money just by using 1 T less grounds per pot of coffee to actually make 1 extra pot of coffee per can.. :-)
  • 1- Can sweetened condensed milk (SCM)- {I use the cheapest brand I can find) 
  • Coffee Filter
  • Can Opener 

The Spices Used
2 Cardamon pods opened and crushed
1-2 T Ground Cinnamon
1-2 t Ground Cloves
1/2-1 t Dried Ground Ginger (fresh grated doesn't have the correct flavor profile)
1/2 t fresh Grated Nutmeg or can use the ground version in spice aisle
1/8-1/2t ground allspice 

  1. ADD the spices above to the coffee filter along with the preferred amount of coffee. 
  2. ADD enough coffee grounds to make a pot of coffee minus 2 cups. For instance, my coffee maker makes 12 portions- I add enough coffee grounds to make 10 C pot.
  3. ADD water to your coffee maker leaving a 2 C portion space available on the water line.
  5. ADD SCM to the freshly BREWED pot of Java, be sure to scrape all the ooey, gooey, goodness from bottom, sides and top of can w/your heat resistant spoonula.
  6. STIR w/spoonula for 2 minutes, the heat of the coffee will help you to completely blend the SCM
  7. POUR into MUG/CUP of choice 
  8. ADD whipped cream and fresh sprinkle of cinnamon
  9. ENJOY!!!!!

  • I save more money by purchasing both Hazel Nut Coffee and Reg Coffee Grounds (My choice is Mild Mexican Ground), I add in a 2 -1 ratio, giving me a hazel nut flavor but saving me some $$.
  • My perfect 10 pot of coffee is 4T & 1 t of my coffee ground mixture
  • I usually only drink 1-2 mugs that is all I need, plus this isn't a low-cal beverage and personally I would rather eat my calories rather than drink them...                                   So WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE REST???
  • I am glad you asked....I am a cheapskate and semi-hoarder (YIKES!) so I saved the glass jars that once held pasta sauce about 19-28 oz jars with tightly fitting lids and I pour the coffee in them. Loosely place lids on top until completely cooled, will semi-seal them, once completely cooled tightly close them and store in fridge.
  • This allows me to have about 2-3 jars of coffee creamy Chai goodness at moments notice just awaiting me through out the day.
  • YOU can do this throughout your work day even if  you work away from home- WHY NOT use your thermos and pour this deliciousness in, take it work and when those co-workers do a coffee run to that $5/venti splash of this skinny soy that specialty coffee shop .... you say polietly "no thank-you", pocket that $5- not only have saved $$ but you know have made it exactly how you like. (No one can screw up your specialty drink  order or "accidentally" drink your coffee and leave you with their cup of gross espresso bitter  yuckiness...ohh this never happened to you???
  • Or you could be a sweetie and major brown-noser by show off you barsita skills or pinterst pinning "good taste" and brew  a couple pots. Bring your coffee goodness to work &  share with your favorite co-workers. Brownie points SCORED that saved you $5/serving, I think this is like .20/serving!!!!
  • IF you like to enjoy your latte iced but hate the way ice weakens your coffee as it melts, pour some of the coffee into your ice tray, freeze completely, & place "coffee cubes" into a gallon/pint storage freezer bags. Then when the mood strikes your fancy, place the coffee cubes into clear container of choice, (I Like to SEE my chilled work of art) and pour your chilled tasty treat over "coffee cubes",  top with whipped cream, sprinkle with cinnamon and add straw.....HMMMMMM MMMMMM MMMMMM!!!!
Ohh by the way........It's Later... :-)

Linked to Weekend Potluck,30 Days Pity Party,Tidy Mom,

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Menu for 10-28-2012

Busy week with loads of important appointments, I am going to utilize 
my freezer pantry & crock pot to  
save money and time. 

This will also be a cultural week with Chinese, Greek, Italian, & Mexican dishes.

Breakfast Options:
Waffles, Buttered Toast, Cold Cereal, English Muffins & Jam, Bagels w/Cream Cheese, Hot Cereal, Yogurt, Smoothies and Fruit.

Lunch Selections:

Proteins:                                                  Sides:
Chicken Nuggets                                              Cottage Cheese          Carrots & Dippings
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sammies                 Applesauce                Veggie Chips & Hummus
Fish Sticks                                                Yogurt                       Pickles
Hot Ham & Cheese Sammies                      Pretzels                    Fresh Fruit of Choice
English Muffin Pizzas                                 Trail Mix                   Cheese Chunks
Left Overs From Supper                             Cheese Crackers       

Supper Offerings:

Orange Chicken w/ Stir Fried Broccoli and Brown Rice

Smothered Pork W/garlic Mashed Potatoes, Buttered Corn Nibblets, & Spinach Salad

Tacos W/ Refried Black Beans, Yellow Rice, Salsa and Chips

Greek stuffed Chicken, Roasted Potato Picatta, Hummus and Pita chips w/Carrots plus

Homemade Pepperoni Pizzas W/Sausage & Italian Cheese Calazones, Bread sticks plus Spinach Salad

Gyros w/Picotta Pasta, Lemon Grilled Asparagus, and Humus with Pita Wedges and Carrots

recipe and photo credit

Spaghetti w/ Bolognese Sauce  Garlic Bread & spinach Salad

Linked to Organized Junkie Menu Mondays 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


This is not for the dieter! It is sooooooo good rivals Bob Evans, we really like it in my house, but bc it is so unhealthy I only serve it on special days! My kids LOVE it!

  • 2 lbs ground bulk sausage
  • Flour
  • 4 T butter
  • Whole Milk
  • Sage
  • Kosher Salt 
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper
  1. Brown the sausage in a large heavy skillet- I always use my HUGE aluminum clad stainless steal chicken frying pan
  2. Sprinkle with ground dried sage and pepper a touch of salt, taste to be sure it needs it
  3. Remove the sausage and drain over a bowl to capture all the drippings
  4. Pour the fat back into the pan along with 4 T butter and melt the butter
  5. Add enough flour to absorb the juices in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes to cook the flour
  6. Slowly add Milk to pan whisking constantly
  7. I use about 2-3 Cups of milk. I add about 1/2 C at time. You will know the right amount to add by how the milk looks.
  8. Allow to come to a gentle boil and reduce to simmer until the desired viscosity is achieved.
  9. Add sausage back to pan to warm in gravy.
  10. Season with lots of pepper and some salt as needed
Serve with buttermilk biscuits, fresh fruit, & diced hash-browns for the ultimate stick to your ribs breakfast! Perfect for day out hiking with kids looking for the prettiest leaves for your Thanksgiving place mats!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thrify Menu for Oct 22-28,2012

I am still trying to live as frugally as possibly yet satisfy my hungry hard working hubby who wants large portions of stick to your ribs comfort food and my finicky preschooler and toddler. There are days I just throw my hands in the air and the kids eat cereal for supper. I am done with battling over dinner and for a week straight my daughter spent the first 20 min of dinner in time out bc of the crazy fits she would throw over dinner.

This is the expression! Photo credits
 I remember my mom making dinner every night after working hard as a book keeper,  yet every night we had full meals with veggies, salads, meat, and some starch.  

Yet, as hard as she worked I was the kid who would snub my nose at times at her hard work, I spent lots of time in the corner and staying late at the table with a "mountain" (In my child's mind) of some offensive veggie, bean, or main dish I had "Yucked"....

And now I get the great experience of the finicky palate of my children, 
ei yie yie!!! 

Last week the best "New" recipe was Coconut Chicken, 
it was soo good my hubby took the left overs to work so that was
 "winner, winner, coconut Chicken" dinner, 
actually this week we had no fits at dinner, some gagging, retching  and whinnying but no fits and each child tried a bite of each food even if they didn't eat it all. That is all I want, even if they don't like it, 
some healthy foods aren't going to be a "party in your mouth" &  your tastes change as your palate develops so I have a a "3-bite rule".

The Frugal portion of my menu continues from last week's Beef goulash that I turned into soup on Sunday with some veggies that were on the last leg of freshness in the fridge and some in the freezer, this meal was nearly FREE! Yipppe!!!  The soup made such large portions we have enough for an "encore" meal, the left over tomato puree will be frozen for a later day and a lot of the meals (Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner) will be pulled from my freezer stash.

Breakfast Choices:
Toasted Cinnamon Bagel w/Homemade Strawberry Cream Cheese Spread, Homemade Pastry Pockets (like Poptarts), Sausage Egg and Cheese Burritos, Cereal, Toast, Waffles with Choice of toppings (Blue Berry, Black Berry, or Raspberry Jam), Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes, Keifer, Smoothies, Yogurt Parfaits, & Fruit.

Lunch Selections:
Buttered Noodles with Parmesan Cheese, Garlic, and Parsley, Grilled Cheese, Ham & Cheese Hot Pockets, Zucchini Patties w/Hummus-Mayo Topping, Chicken Nuggets w/Homemade Honey Mustard, carrot sticks &  Dippings, Triscuits, Cottage Cheese, Applesauce, Cheese wedges, Fruit, Raisons and almonds, Personal Pizzas with English Muffins, PB&J sandwiches, Chicken Noodle Soup, baked potatoes.

Snacks Options:
Cottage Cheese, Cheese Wedges w/pepperoni, club crackers, mozzarella sprinkles, pickles, applesauce, yogurt, Veggie & fruit juice smoothies with Kiefer, fruit, triscuits, carrots, humus dippings,  Treat & Trail Goodies (1/DAY), almonds w/raisins and m&m's, Milk and peanutbutter crackers, cereal, Cheddar Crackers, Animal Crackers, Fruit.


Barb-b-q Pork, Sweet Potato Fries, & Steamed Broccoli

Encore Beefy Vegtable Soup, Salad, and fruit Cup

This is Ree Drummond's pic, looks closest to mine- only this is MY recipe I am posting!
Carnitas w/homemade tomatillos salsa (Salsa Verde) & yellow Rice

Chicken Scalapini w/Angel hair Pasta

Photo Credit
Salisbury Steak Patties w/ Mashed Potatoes, salad, and buttered Corn Nibblets 

Orange Chicken and Brown Rice with Mixed Stir Fried Veggies

Baked Ziti with Salad and Fresh Garlic Bread      

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

RECIPE WED # 18: Samak bi Tahini...Fish with Tahini

Ok, so I am totally in love with tahini sauce, it is soooooooooo yummy... LOVE!!! 

So in my hunt for recipes to use it I ran across 3 recipe for fish all 3 very simple...don't you find the tastiest dishes contain 5 or less ingredients?

I think I will like them all, one is called TAGEN~  a dish consisting of grilled or baked white fish, smothered in creamy tahini paste/butter & chicken stock, the second is basically SAMAK bi TAHINI  translated fish with tahini- and it has olive oil in place of stock and fish is cooked in the tahini sauce in stead of a sauce splashed over top of it like in the tagen recipe & the 3rd is a twist on plain old tuna salad.

Going to include all not really sure which I will like more?? Leave a comment on which you have tried and what you liked/disliked about it, would love to hear your input!

First up:

  • 2 Lbs grilled or oven baked firm white fish
  • 1/2 cup of tahini 
  • 1 onion diced & sautéed until fragrant and soft
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth. 
  • EVOO
  • Kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper corns, dill (dried or fresh)-chopped to taste
  • Fresh Lemon

Coat fish in  EVOO and season w/ splash of lemon wedge & sprinkling of s,p, & dill bake or grill until forks easily flakes, don't over cook!

To make tagen, you’ll need to add 1/2 cup of tahini to 1/2 cup of chicken broth. Add this mixture to a hot pan with sautéed, diced onions and continue stirring until the sauce begins to boil. Add the sauce to a grilled fillet of white fish add a squeeze of lemon wedge for freshness and sprinkle of chopped dill and enjoy tagen.

  • 2 lbs. fish{any firm white fish: tilapia, orange roughy, flounder, cod whatever is cheapest that day}
  • 1/2 cups tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt 
  • fresh cracked pepper corns
  • fresh or dried dill to taste
Drizzle olive oil and season fish w/ kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and chopped fresh dill  and bake in baking pan at 350 degrees for about 12-14 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with fork.

Remove from oven and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine tahini, olive oil and water. Mix until a sauce forms, adding more water and lemon juice as needed.

Spread sauce over fish and cover with onion slices.

Bake for 25 minutes at 325 degrees.

Serve immediately or place in refrigerator and serve cold. Serve fish with tahini with white rice and lemon wedges. 

Tuna Fish salad with Tahini Paste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup tahini paste, depending on taste
  • 1 6 oz. can of tuna, drained
  • 1/4 yellow onion, chopped & sauteed
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped
  • dallop of real mayo
  • kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, dill to taste
  • fresh lemons wedges
  • lettuce, shredded or whole leaf, whatever is preferred
Chop vegetables & lemons, cook onions and set aside.

Open can of tuna, drain and flake in a medium bowl. Add vegetables and desired amount of tahini sauce & mayo. Mix well until all ingredients have combined squeeze a lemon wedge to two according to taste.

Serve tuna salad with tahini chilled or as is in a pita or on regular sandwich bread. It is also a great stand alone dish to toss with romaine for an entree salad. 


After making several batches of pitas 
from my master dough I have used 
these tips... 
AND made it a whole lot easier!!!!!

Imagine found here
I use my master dough to make pitas but  
will pinch off 2 portions-
I use 
"Bule" Master Dough

  1. Roll out in a rope, and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. 
  2. Place balls on floured surface. 
  3. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. 
  4. Preheat oven to 450 deg F- 
  5. Make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven 
  6. Be sure to also preheat pizza stone.
  • Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick
  • Once placed in oven add 1/2C water to broiler pan to create steam 
  • Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. 
  • Turn over and bake for 2 minutes more.  
  • Remove each pita with a spatula from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking. 
  • Take spatula and gently push down puff
  • After cooled, immediately place in storage bags.

Pita bread can be stored for up to a week in a pantry or bread box, and up to a month in the freezer

Be sure to use THICK freezer bags when storing in the freezer.

I even will wrap pitas in paper towels 
to prevent the ice crystals from forming 
on pitas and making them soggy. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Menu for Oct 14-20, 2012

It has months since I have planned my menu a week at time, if you recall I had major abdominal surgery on July 11, 2012 stayed a week and then 2 weeks later had another 7 day say because  a dangerous massive infection. I was so sick I couldn't even deal with the meals, so my church and family brought meals over for the first 4-6 weeks. Thankfully I made enough food to stock the freezer &  I still have meals or at least the protein portions ready for cooking/assembly for a few more months.

I am back on the "wagon" 
with planning menus for the week
even with the expensive part of the meals in the freezer ready, we have been spending way too much on groceries. I found a 6lb can of tomato puree for $3.59 so I have bought as many cans as I can afford. 

I tried to make meals around those cans, and make interesting at the same time 
then fill in the rest with meals I have in the freezer along
 with veggies and starches I have found on sale. 

I am splitting the can into 3rds this week, won't be as much left over sauce but much more economical. 

Breakfasts Choices:
Cereal,  Fruit, waffles, pancakes, toast w/jelly, Smoothies, French Toast,Yogurt, Ham& Cheese Omelets, English Muffins.

Lunch Options:
Grilled Cheese, Tomato Soup, Chicken Noodle Soup, Ham Monticrisco Sandwiches, Macaroni & Cheese, Chicken Nuggets, Carrots & Dippings, Yogurt, Applesauce, Cottage Cheese, Fruit, Mini English Muffin Pizzas, Left Overs, Buttered Noodles, Meat & Cheese Plate Munchies.

Snack Munchies:
Protein Bars, Smoothies, Yogurt, Trisket Crackers, Cheese Chunks, Hummus, Bunny Cheddar Crackers, Cottage Cheese, Fruit, Baby Carrots & Dippings, Meat & Cheese Plate,  Granola bars, Fiber & Fruit Bars


Crock Pot Carnitas, Salsa Potatoes, & Corn

Baked  Chicken Parm Chef John Sytle & Pasta w/mushroom marinara sauce side (Mozzarella, Pasta, ) & salad 

Patates sto Fourn
Greek Stuffed Chicken from this site
Greek Stuffed Chicken 
w/ Patates sto Fourno,  (basically Greek Roasted Potatoes, sounds more interesting in Greek doesn't it?) & Humus w/carrots

Crock Pot Beef Goulash (Beef Roast, Tomato Puree, Beef Stock, Paprika ) w/ Egg Noodles & sweet corn niblets

Coconut Chix w./roasted potatoes, garlic, & onions, plus steamed broccoli

Mongolian Beef

Linked to Menu Mondays
& Homeaking
Mongolian Beef & Broccoli w/Rice

Homemade Pizza (Make AB5M/D Master Dough for Dough & Chef John's Sauce- Use Sausage, Mushroom, Pepperoni) w/salad & roasted veggies ( frozen from CSA share zucchinis & squash)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

RECIPE WED # 17: Romanian Grilled Minced Meat Rolls (MICI)

I love these, but since I did not grow up on the taste of them I have taken some liberties with the recipe and this is not as authentic as it once was, I will include the original recipe with my substitutions...

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 8 ounces chopped suet (don't really have that lying around, so I added 1/2 gr pork)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds ground toasted cumin seeds (Not a fan of caraway seeds, so cumin is close in taste just smokier in flavor)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground juniper berries
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 t water Gin  (juniper berries {jb}, are what makes gin, so I substitute berries and water for for Gin- I just know that jb would go to waste in my pantry- could also substitute rosemary spring or ground bay leaf)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil-(Used xtra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons beef broth stock


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the ground beef, suet (gr. pork), baking soda, caraway seeds (Cumin), garlic, salt, pepper and juniper berries , using your hands. Mix with your hands for about 15 minutes until mixed will get tough if over mix, adding a little bit of the water gin at a time. This part can be made a few hours ahead of time if you like, giving the flavors a chance to mellow.
  2. Preheat a grill for high heat. With wet hands form the meat into rolls about 3 inches long and 1 inch thick. Brush lightly with oil.
  3. Grill the meat for 5 to 10 minutes, basting frequently with a mixture of beef broth and any remaining oil, until well done.
  4. I will pan fry or roast in 350 oven basting (every 10 min or so) until well done or if roasting will place in a foil tent with beef stock.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


AS you know, I have been making my own laundry detergent- liquid for nearly a year now:
  • It has worked great, 
  • Saved us money, 
  • Helped us to make a smaller carbon footprints on the earth!! 

SUPER-DUPER-right?, only thing my whites have not been so "WHITE".... 
more like grey & dingy, so sad! 
I really don't want to use bleach, so I tried various whiteners, so far this formula I found has worked quite nicely!

DIY "Oxy-Cleaner" Soak for Whites
3 CUP Peroxide
2 & 1/2  CUP Water
2 & 1/2 CUP Baking Soda
  1. I mixed this into an upcycled, LARGE, WIDE MOUTH, Pickle jar. 
  2. Shake well & use  1/4-1/2 C on a HOT WATER setting& allow the water to fill up with laundry soap and clothes but stop before agitation begins.
  3. Allow WHITE clothes to soak for 20-30 min
  4. Continue with cycle and Wash clothes as usual
Another simple trick to whiten any white even those "stains" that clothe diapers get:
Hanging to Line DRY in the Bright Sun Shine will whiten any load!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

RECIPE WED #16: Chicken Tortillas Soup


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 T Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomato Puree
  •  3 C chicken Stock
  • 1/2 C Chili Pepper Brine
  • 1 cup whole corn kernels, cooked
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh/dried cilantro
  • 1 & 1/2 Lb boneless chicken breasts
  • Squeeze of 1 Lime 
  • crushed tortilla chips
  • quacamole
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • chopped green onions
  • Sour Cream
  • Chopped Fresh Cilantro


  1. In a med bowl add corn, beans, cilantro, chili powder, smoked paprika, oregano, tomato puree, stock, lime juice and chiles brine stir to combine.
  2. Into Crock pot add chicken breasts, onions, & garlic. 
  3. Pour rest of ingredients over top
  4. Cook on low for 4-6 hours
  5. Cool to room temp and add to (2)- 1, Gallon Freezer Bags
  6. Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese, and chopped green onion.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Teach Me Tuedays: Making Homemade Yogurt-2nd Time around Homemade Yogurt:

Making Yogurt with Store Bought Yogurt as a Starter

I have had some ppl voice their concerns about making yogurt at home and I have done so much reading and research from various web sites and books-
basically yogurt is created using "helpful" bacteria (usually lactobacillus bulgaricus & streptococcus thermophilus), found in Dannon PLAIN, which will cause the WHOLE milk to ferment.

For all the science behind what these particular HELPFUL BACTERIA do to the WHOLE milk check the blog below!

Before pasteurization and refrigeration, this was the only way to make milk last longer !!!
I find this  homemade yogurt to be more like a Keifer than a thick yogurt. Remember that MOST STORE BOUGHT YOGURTS use pectins and other such additives to thicken. IF you want a thicker yogurt, after making use a mesh strainer lined with cheese clothe or a coffee filter and place over a bowl in fridge. The Whey will strain off and make a thicker yogurt. Don't waste the "whey", use it to ferment veggies, add to lemonade (MY personal fav!), this is good stuff!!

2nd Time around Homemade Yogurt:
I learned some things from the last time I attempted making yogurt at home from a yogurt starter.
  • If you hold the WHOLE milk at 185°F for 30 minutes, you will get a thicker consistency-just read that, only held that temp for minutes, if it doesn't get thick this time I will remember to hold 185 for 30 min next time.
  • Make sure house is not colder than 68- ideal temp is 70-72. Too cold temps won't allow the starter to ferment the WHOLE milk into yogurty loveliness!
  • Allowing the  starter to sit 9-12 hours-is the stage of tanginess I like!
  • Just found out about using the lactobacillus bulgaricus & streptococcus thermophilus cultures, the yogurt I used doesn't have those 2 listed, so if you are going to make a yogurt with the thought of having a "mother starter" you need to check the ingredients for these 2, apparently Dannon's Plain Yogurt is the one that contains this strain, not a fan of the way that way one tastes will check other brands to see if they contain these 2. UPDATE: Wasn't an issue-  it tasted fine!
  • Place yogurt in the coldest part of your refrigerator and wait overnight, for a tastier and thicker yogurt.~THE BACK OF THE FRIDGE!
  • The recipe I initially used called for 1/2C yogurt & for the one I have seen from a very reputable home yogurt maker uses 2-3T of starter. It was just fine with only 2-3T, I do this now.
  • Take 2-3T from your container right away so the starter doesn't die off if you wait too long and if you aren't going to be making yogurt within 5 days- freeze your starter. Just thaw in fridge overnight and proceed with the recipe as usual. I do this all the time, not an issue!
  • USE WHOLE MILK! Lower fat milk didn't give me a good result.
  Now the recipe I use (From Web site Below):
  • 1/2 gallon of WHOLE milk (The amount of  WHOLE milk you use, is the amount of yogurt you will make so use what your family will gobble up!)
  • 2-3 Tbs of plain Dannon yogurt (as a starter)
  • 1 8-10 Qt stock pot
  • 1 4-5 Qt pot with lid
  • 1 Metal or plastic spoon (NO WOODEN SPOONS!)
  • 1 candy thermometer with clip
  • 1 Heating pad (can be replaced by a hotplate)

Milk as it starts to cook, notice the bubbles are starting to get @ 130 degrees   

Heat the WHOLE milk to reach 185°F  this temp will kill any bacteria- stir constantly.

Helpful Hints:
•While you are waiting for the milk to reach 185°F, fill your sink about 1/4 of the way with cold water. You know- while your stirring the yogurt at the same time, you can do this! :-)
•For your final trick...Add some ice to the sink water.

Notice the the texture of the milk @185 degrees

This took about 10-15 min over med heat, if you do this method you need to constantly stir so you don't scald the WHOLE milk.

If you do not have a thermometer, this is also the temperature that milk will begin to froth, like in a latte.

Once the temp heats to 185 degrees- keep the WHOLE milk at this temp for 30 min, Haven't tried this method yet.UPDATE: Did try and it helps slightly, enough that I do it every time now.

Cool to WHOLE milk to 108°F -110°F . 
This is the temperature where you get to  
start the yogurt magic. 
(For reasons behind this phenomenon check the blog below)

Slowly & Carefully place the pan of WHOLE milk into the sink that has been filled with ice water.  The level of cold water in the sink REALLY needs to be pretty much even with the level of WHOLE milk in the pot.- I waited for the WHOLE milk to cool on its own, with the thought that yogurt likes to be still and undisturbed about 10-15 min and I also stirred occasionally to help cool, pretty much same results.

Adding the yogurt starter

Pour your 2-3 Tbs of yogurt into your 110°F milk.
Helpful Hints:
•Again, if this is your first batch, use only Dannon plain yogurt. All
future batches you will make using your own.

Yogurt all warm and cozy
The 7+ Hour Wait
After stirring you need to leave the yogurt undisturbed and warm for at least 7 hours!  I used a corner of my stove top &  turned the hood light on. (I know seems scary, but that back burner doesn't work)

Stir WHOLE milk well to incorporate the yogurt you just added.

I covered with a towel bc of all the blogs I read told me to allow "natural gasses to escape".

**The household temps will affect the yogurt setting up, so be sure to really insulate the yogurt. NOT too hot either or you will kill all that healthy bacteria... Wait at least seven hours to uncover.

What I did to make my own YOGURT MAKER: 

Set heating pad to medium and place on a cutting board or as I did a pizza stone. Place your pot of yogurty goodness on top. I THEN Cover with several towels and blanket to insulate THE PAN and keep  it toasty as my household temps are below 68- I really wrap it up.


Stir, Stir, Stir!!
THE BEST PART!! After waiting at least 7 hours, or in my case 9-12 hours, it's like Christmas time, you get to see what all those patient hours made!!

Remove from heating pad, uncover yogurt,  & use a sterilized spatula/spoon to combine the curds in with liquid.  


IT might look like you did something wrong at first or smell a bit "off" it is normal, all cheese kinda smells off to me anyways...
Helpful Hints:
•Sometimes there might be a strong, cheesy odor, and you might even see some greenish liquid on top. This is ok, it's part of the process and what want to you to see, it freaked me out at first too!
•Really stir it well to incorporate the clumpy curds into any remaining liquid, you DON'T want curds and whey, remember what happened to Little Miss Muffet dontcha?

Almost there!!
Pour YOUR yogurty delicousness into chosen container/s & cover with tight fitting lid/s...You can use any containers that have a GOOD fitting lid and can hold whatever size batch you are making, I sometimes use more than one container.
Helpful Hints:
•Yogurt will be thinner than commercial yogurt, remember they use thickeners plus, your yogurt is not yet in its finished state, see below*

*Once you stir the yogurt like you mean it, quite robustly, you stop the whole process then storing in coldest part of fridge overnight will help thicken it up. Trust me it does help! For the science part check the blog below

& Enjoy all that delicious yogurt that saved you bunches of money & in my personal opinion TASTES wayyy better!!

This blogg "How to make Your Own Yogurt" 
is amazing if you have any in depth questions or want to see more pics, I got a lot of my info from this blog...