Homemade yogurt

This is one of those things that I wish I had discovered 10 years ago. Homemade yogurt. So easy I feel embarrassed telling you how to do it.. And yet, most people still spend so much money on the store bought stuff. This is not only a money saver, but of course is much better for you, as you know that your yogurt has live, active bacteria. I make Kefir, as well, and will explain that process too. Kefir is even better than yogurt but the taste is quite strong, yeasty and sour. I need to disguise mine in a smoothie, or in baking (mmm buttermilk pancakes, anyone?). For either process you can use any milk you like, the best is goat milk.

For regular yogurt, start with 1liter of milk. Pour it into a saucepan and heat to 85 degrees Celsius. If you don’t have a thermometer, you’ll know it’s ready when it forms a nice thick crust on top. Don’t let it boil!

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When it reaches the right temp, take it off the stove and let cool to 43 degrees Celsius, which is a little higher than body temp. You want it to be a little warm to the touch, but not hot enough so it burns your finger. While cooling, take your last batch of yogurt (or a good store bought kind to start with) out of the fridge, and set on counter. You don’t want it to be straight out of the fridge when adding to the milk.

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I add a coupla tablespoons of yogurt to the cooled milk, whisk it well, then pour into a ceramic jug and let sit on the counter for 7 hours or so. The longer it sits the creamier it will get.

And Voila! Like magic, you have a pitcher full of fresh creamy yogurt! Make homemade granola to go with it, add fruit to blend into a smoothie, make frozen yogurt, the possibilities are endless. And so cheap!

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I also want to show my Kefir grains, though I haven’t mastered this art yet. These are the grains:

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I like the flavor to be mild, so I cover with milk, in a glass jar, and leave in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also leave it uncovered (or with a cheesecloth) up to 24 hours on your counter top if you know you’ll want it the next day. I never know when I’ll be in the mood for it, so I leave it in the fridge. Then you will want to strain it through a mesh sieve:

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As it is live bacteria, stay away from metal utensils, this is why I use my baby’s plastic spoon to squeeze the liquid through the sieve, into a ceramic jug. Normally I add fruit to this and blend with my hand blender, or use in baking. It also makes really nice homemade Labane cheese, as this cheese is supposed to be sour. This is a good way to get good bacteria into my family’s tummies..

Vegan Lentil Burgers

I am always searching for nutritious foods that are easily stored and easy to make that I can pull out of the freezer and either dress up into a fabulous meal, or serve simply with a bowl of ketchup for my Two. These burgers are that and so much more. Packed with all the right ingredients for a full protein meal, this is a great way to hide veggies, brown rice, quinoa and lentils. Even my 9month old loves to nibble on these… I love eating them with a green salad and tahini salad dressing. I’ve also cooked them in a tomato based sauce and served over brown rice for a dinner. Since these don’t have eggs in them you don’t have to worry about them going bad quickly, which makes them perfect for a car snack or picnic.
I used brown rice in these, cause I had some leftover. I’ve also used quinoa and they were delicious. if you have time to sprout the lentils, do so!
Oh, and have I mentioned that the prep is a breeze? So quick and easy, throw everything in a food processor, scoop spoonfuls unto a cookie sheet, and bake.

Here we go…

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Ingredients

1 cup brown lentils, soaked (or better yet, sprouted!)
1/2 cup cooked grain such as brown rice, quinoa, millet or even buckwheat
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 medium onion
3 garlic cloves
3 tbsp raw tahini
Any good mix of spice you have on hand. I use cumin, turmeric, coriander seeds, bharat, paprika
S&P
A little water

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Throw all ingredients in a food processor, pulse, adding just as much water as you need for the ingredients to come together. Scoop onto a prepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden, on medium heat

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