How to make home made yogurt

I have always loved yogurt.  I mean the flavored stuff you buy at the store.  You know the stuff.  The sugar filled, some fruit or flavoring added.  All low fat with some ingredients that I can’t even pronounce let alone spell.  Now they have come out with the new best thing Greek yogurt.  The stuff is good, I’ll give you that, but it is very expensive.  $1.00 a single serving size is not cheap.

A couple of years ago I read the book French Women Don’t Get Fat, by Mireille Guiliano.  She is my hero!  I love the way she looks at food and her basic outlook on life.  One of her many great pieces of advice is eating 2 servings a day of yogurt.  She does not mean flavored and sweetened yogurt that is on the our local grocers shelves.  She meant plain yogurt.  I began by purchasing Stoneyfield Organic yogurt.  The French Vanilla flavor.  It is so good!  I loved it, but it was expensive to purchase 2 quarts a week.  MS. Guiliano gave instructions on how to make yogurt without and with a yogurt maker.  So I attempted to make it without a yogurt maker.  I did okay, but could not make a consistent product.

I researched all the yogurt makers out there.  I wanted one that gives me up to 2 quarts in one big container and not in a bunch of individual jars.  The one that  fits the bill for me is Yogourmet.multi.  I then searched and found it on Ebay.  I won it and have been making fresh yogurt from whole milk for the past few years.  Now it is plain with no sugar added. 

 heat 2 quarts of milk until it is 180 to 195 degrees
fahrenheit.
 I heat mine in the microwave for 17 minutes on high.

Let cool until room temperature.

Take a 1/2 cup of yogurt and mix with a little cooled milk using a whisk.  Gradually add all milk a cup at a time using the whisk.

To start a base of yogurt I begin with a single serve of plain Greek yogurt.  This is only for the first batch.  Each batch after the 1/2 cup of yogurt comes from the previous batch.

I also only use whole milk.  This makes the best consistency without additives.  You would need to add gelatin or dry milk to get a solid product when using 2% or less fat milk.   My youngest daughter is a vegetarian and so gelatin is out.  Don’t you think it is counterproductive to add something when you can use a simpler process?

 

Once everything is mixed it is added to the yogurt maker per the manufactures description.  I let it set overnight for close to 12 hours. 

Then I put it in the refrigerator until early evening.  Say 6 to 7. 

The finished product.  To make Greek yogurt you can strain with cheesecloth for a couple of hours.

My snack tonight, yogurt with walnuts and lemon curd. 

Homemade Yogurt

2 quarts Milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt

Heat milk to 180 to 195 degrees
Remove from heat and let cool until 85 to 90 degrees. 
Whisk 1 cup of milk at a time into yogurt.  Place in maker overnight.  Put into refrigerator for 6 hours until set. 

Make sure the milk cools before adding yogurt. You will end up with yogurt milk.  Not a pretty sight. This is one of my favorite snacks. 

Now there is a recipe to make this with no yogurt maker.  The link is:  http://frenchwomendontgetfat.com/content/making-yogurt

The above link is for a video showing how to make it.  Look all around her site and you will learn so much!

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It works! It WORKS!

Dish Soap?  I have been buying dishwashing liquid for years, just like everyone else out there.  Yes I know it is better to use the dishwasher, but there are just so many items that can not be washed in a dishwasher.  Once I fill up my sink to wash dishes it is a crime to just waste the water after the few dishes that can’t be washed  in a dishwasher are done.  My golden rule is normally one dishwasher load per day and the rest should be hand washed.  Most of the time it is only Chris and myself in the house and that makes this pretty easy.   My parents are here so I do two loads in the dishwasher most days.  If you have kids at home you do what you got to do.

Lately I have been really unhappy with the quality of dishwashing liquid that I have been using.  I have bought Dawn, Palmalive, Gain, and Aldi’s brand.  Not one of these produced suds or cleaning power beyond a sinkfull of dishes. Who knew that phosphates were so important to store bought dishwashing liquid?  I finally got fed up and decided to make my own,  I searched blog site after blog site.  There are so many different types of recipes with so many of the same ingredients that I just wrote the ingredients down and played.

The majority of recipes called for Castile soap and water.  A few others added washing soda or baking soda, vinegar and other types of soap for the base.  I wanted something that could clean a glass, plastic ware, and a skillet quickly and easily.  It also needed to last for a couple of loads of dishes and cut grease.  My first attempt didn’t work so well.  I had a picture and my camera ate it.  I made a small amount and it had clumps of washing soda that didn’t dissolve.  It didn’t cut grease and made no suds.

My second attempt was a winner.  I have used it the past week and it does everything I asked of it, but have suds.  That is something I just have to get used to, but the dishes are clean and my dishcloth came out of the water with no grease on it.  I was able wipe down my counters without leaving a grease trail.

These are the majority of the ingredients that I chose to work with.  I knew the soap base can’t get any gentler than Castile (Dr. Bronners).  The vinegar makes things shine.  The washing soda cuts grease and tea tree oil is an antiseptic.  Now what is not shown is the HOT water, and the essential oil.

Once this was combined I immediately tried it. The hardest part of this is the no suds.  I learned from the first time that you mix the washing soda with hot water completely.  Otherwise the washing soda clumps and is basically useless.

The finished product in a recycled Aldi brand dishwashing soap container.  I was amazed at how well this worked.  If you wanted to you can add food coloring to color the product.

I added a few drops of lavender essential oil for me.

Liquid Dishwashing Detergent

1 Cup hot water
2 Tbsp washing soda
1/2  Cup vinegar
1/2 tsp tea tree oil
1/2 Cup Castile soap

1.    In a liquid measuring cup put 1 cup of hot water.  Add washing soda and stir until dissolved.
2.    Using a funnel put vinegar, tea tree oil, and castile soap into bottle.
3.    When hot water and washing soda have cooled add to bottle and shake until mixed.

Use a squirt in the sink with water and use as per normal.

Let me know how this works for you!  Please feel free to share your ideas on how to make this better!

Correction!

I have used this for the past few weeks and am still not satisfied with the grease cutting ability.  Not in any way, shape, or form!  I will repost when I am completely satisified.
I am very sorry that this is not working to my satisfaction.

A Redeux With Laundry Soap

It seems that everyone has a laundry soap recipe out there.  Back in 2008 when our lives made a 180 degree turn around I had a hard time finding a laundry soap recipe that suited me and my family inexpensively but cleaned really well.  The search was on.  I found many a recipe for a liquid laundry soap.  I was thrilled!  I didn’t like powdered laundry soap, so I jumped at the chance to try it.

The original recipe called for 8 quarts of hot water.  I happily grated my Ivory and Lava soap and then slowly added the grated soap to the hot water.   Oh my what a mess!  I didn’t do it slowly and it lumped, separated and foamed.    Disaster struck!!!!  It went everywhere.  I finally got things under control, cleaned my mess (YUCK)  and promised myself that would never happen again.

The second try I did go very slowly and most everything melted, but it separated and I had to keep a huge wooden spoon on the dryer to stir the stuff.  It worked wonderfully and cleaned everything I used it on.  My husband’s work clothes had the grease removed and my daughter’s clothes looked brighter and better than ever.  I was please, but really unhappy with the mess.

So, one day while drinking my morning coffee and watching My Fox Orlando’s morning show they had a young woman who demonstrated how to make laundry soap. She didn’t add water to hers.  I was amazed because it had never crossed my mind that water was not an absolutely necessary ingredient for laundry soap.  I debated with myself for a few days (Yes I did and most others do too. 🙂  )   The biggest complaint I have with powdered detergents is that they don’t always dissolve.  I was having the same issue with the laundry soap I was making.  So I took the plunge and made my laundry soap with out water,     Wait for it…………It works amazingly!  I use about 2 tablespoons per load and I am in heaven.   My youngest daughter asked for it when she moved out after getting married, my parents are here using it and they aren’t complaining.  You know parents, if it doesn’t work you will know about it.  I asked my mom what she thought and she was impressed because it is doing the same job as her ERA.

So here is my recipe for Laundry Soap

Sue’s Laundry Soap

2 bars of grated bar soap.  I use Ivory and Lava.
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda
2 cups Biz
1 cup of Oxy Clean.

 I added everything together into a food processor and pulsed until it is all pretty much the same consistency and then put into a ziplock plastic storage container, until I can find a cool looking container to store it in.

The finished product

This stuff is pretty amazing.  The only complaint I have had is from my husband concerning his work clothes.  This has very little scent and I was only using vinegar to rinse his clothes.  He said that when he sweated the work clothes smelled musty.  I cleaned my washer with a load of hot water with vinegar and then a load of hot water with bleach.  His clothes still smelled musty when he sweated.  I learned a recipe for fabric softener and the problem is solved.  The clothes smell good, they are soft, and no more musty smell.

Unfortunately I am nearly out of it and will have to buy some lava soap to make it.  Just read about someone making brownies and now I want some!  Oh happy me!

A Sort of Clorox Clean Up (Works Just as Good)




Lots to share with you!  I am working on a couple of things right now and have a bunch of things to show you in the next couple of days or weeks.  I have a coffee creamer, dishwasher detergent, and a liquid dish washing soap that I have been experimenting with.

Today I want to talk about bleach cleaners.  There are a lot of different ideas out there on other blogs. This bleach cleaner is something I have made longer than any other cleaner.  I have made this for at least 20 years.  It is very simple and does exactly what the expensive Clorox brand does

The necessary ingredients are bleach, water, a spray bottle and a liquid 1 cup measuring cup

Take 2 ounces of bleach (any kind or fragrance)

Add water to fill and it is ready to use any place on anything you would use Clorox Clean up. Now some blogs have said to use washing soda or borax with this.  Why?  This works just as well with very little muss and fuss.  I used this pretty much all the time when my kids were little.  We lived on a farm with chickens, ducks, cattle, swine, a couple of dogs and all kinds of cats.   There were lots of germs and lots of dirt.  This pretty much wiped it all away.  I use this on the kitchen counters, sinks, and bathroom counters, sinks, toilet (outside) and floor.  We don’t get sick much, never really did even when the kids were little.

Bleach cleaner like Clorox Clean up

ounces bleach
water

Hopefully I will get done with the experimenting and start posting some amazing household hints.

It is nearly over buy Happy Mardi Gras!

Making my world smell amazing

 Happy Valentines day all!  Isn’t is a beautiful day with love in the air?  My husband got  2 more solar panels so guess where he was?  In the backyard making them work.  So I have been working in the kitchen to make a little thing called  fake Fabreeze.  I got the idea and most of the recipe off of Pinterest.  For some reason I can’t seem to add their web address onto my blog’s home page, but this thing is AWESOME!!!!

The web address of the actual recipe is http://fakeitfrugal.blogspot.com/2011/07/fake-febreeze.html.  Now I followed her advice except I made this with homemade fabric softener.  I also had to use just a little more fabric softener.
                                                                        

There are many ideas out there for air freshener.  Most use rubbing alcohol or vodka.  These work fine I am sure, but I would prefer to drink my vodka or make vanilla or orange oil than make air freshener.  I have attempted the rubbing alcohol air fresheners and I just end up with headaches.

 This is why I got so excited to make this. No head aches and there are so many better uses for my vodka.

This just takes fabric softener and baking soda.  Water too.

Each time I find these recipes I have to work them until they work for me.  I suggest you do the same.  Every recipe needs your finger print,  That being said, I used home made fabric softener, but you don’t have to.  You can use any kind of fabric softener that you choose.  The only thing that this will do is change the scent and cost more.

The only tools you will need are a spray bottle and a set of measuring spoons.  A funnel is a great tool too.  I am a mess sometimes!
                   
Fake Fabreeze
3 tbsp fabric softener
2 tbsp baking soda
Water to fill
I put the 2 tbsp’s of baking soda in first and then the fabric softener.  Then added hot tap water about a third of the bottle full.  I then covered the top of bottle and shook until the baking soda was dissolved.  I then added hot tap water to the fill line.
The finished product.

It works better to me.  The smell is not as strong and after the smell disappears the air is fresh and clean. It is nearly as nice as opening the windows.  I spray my bedding and living room furniture.  This stuff has to work as I have 2 dogs and a cat.

Now on the fake it frugal blog there was quite a discussion as to how safe this was.  The amount of fabric softener in this is very small.  You are spraying mostly water.  If this is a concern to you, don’t spray your furniture.  Spray bedding or other items that can be washed.  It doesn’t cost all that much and you choose the fragrance.   I am looking for a cheap conditioner to make my fabric softener that has lavender.  I love spraying my pillows with lavender.
Blue

Courtney

Winter garden

Hello all,  Just took pictures of my little garden.  It is a beautiful day here in Central Florida.  We started growing this a couple of weeks ago.

 This is a picture of our garden.  We are learning how to garden here in Central Florida.  I tried by myself and then Chris tried.  Now teamwork is reigning.  This is a picture of tomato plants, green peppers, broccoli, and cucumber plants

The plants were pretty cheap. We bought the closest tomato plants and the green peppers for a $1 each at Walmart as distressed plants.  We already have tomatoes and green peppers with fruit on the plants.  The broccoli and cucumbers were 6 plants for $3.50 each.

 This is a picture of the rest of the garden.  We have lettuce on the far right.  There are onion bulbs that are growing, green onions, more onions, green beans, and garlic growing along with lots of tomatoes. 

This group was the cheapest of all.  The lettuce plants were 2 seed packets for $2 each, the onion bulbs were $1.59, the green onions were free, the green bean seeds were from 2 years ago, and the garlic bulbs were ones that were going bad in my house.

 This is my lettuce mix.  It has 5 different types of lettuce.  At the very top of the page is spinach.  I normally grow my lettuce in large bowls instead of in a garden. I cut the lettuce every couple of days and make a fresh salad from it. Or I will when it is ready.  

This is my little project.  Not with pretty planters and stuff, but one day there will be.  This consists of 2 pineapple plants started from a couple of fresh pineapples.  It seems that lettuce likes growing with the pineapple as one of the pots have lettuce growing inside of the pot.  I keep cutting and eating it. 

There is an avocado tree growing in the middle. Started this from a seed.  Not sure if it will ever bear fruit, but it will make a decent tree in my yard.

I have a bowl of cilantro, a pot of parsley, and some arugula.

A word on the green onions.  A friend of mine told me don’t keep buying scallions.  Buy the green onions, chop the green top off and plant the bulb.  I did it and we were harvesting the greens for most of the year.  Hopefully we will get so many tomatoes out of this garden that I can can it all. 

Not pictured yet are the aloe plant and rosemary bush planted out by our back fence.  I also have 2 pretty basil plants, a french thyme, and a spearmint plant.  Those we bought from South Brevard Nursery and the are looking great.  I need to re-pot them.  Once they are I will post. 

I know this isn’t fair to all of you living where it is cold, but I couldn’t help myself.  It looks so like spring.  Here’s hoping your Spring won’t be far behind!

In a pinch spray bottle cleaner and a great glass cleaner

No pictures today all.  Sorry about that but I am trying out a faux Fabreeze that I read about on Pinterest.  So the pictures will be here on Monday.

Today I just want to mention a spray bottle cleaner very much like the all purpose cleaner from yesterday.  I also want to give you a glass cleaner that works wonders.

Spray bottle Cleaner
2 Tbsp Vinegar
1 tsp Borax
a couple of drops of dish soap such as Dawn (can be any brand)

Fill a spray bottle with water, vinegar, and borax.  Swish until mixed.  Drop a couple drops of dish soap.
This is now ready to go.

Glass Cleaner
1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol
1/2 cup of vinegar
1/2 tsp dish soap

Put rubbing alcohol and vinegar into a spray bottle.  Fill with water and add dish soap.  Shake and use.  Use 2 cups of water per rubbing alcohol, vinegar solution.

Another really good use for this product is to clean up after pets have “accidents”.  The vinegar does a great job of making the smell go away.

Cleaning glass without glass cleaner.

In a pinch shaving cream can be sprayed on the glass of a bathroom mirror and cleaned off. There should be no fogging of mirror while taking a shower if this is done.

Chris is replacing the faucet on my sink tomorrow morning.  I can’t wait the darn thing is leaking.  Maybe his solar panels will be here tomorrow afternoon.  Enjoy the weekend!

Quick and easy all purpose cleaner

I am so glad to be back writing this blog.  Been a busy few months at the Drew household.  Time was not available for me to write and I missed it.  We have had lots of changes here is sunny (not so much this week) Central Florida.  My husband has been working on solar panels in the back yard and I am enjoying time with my parents. 

I have written so much about my laundry soap.  My mom is using it right now.  She feels it does exactly the same job as her Era laundry soap.  I feel completely vindicated as so many in my family think I am nutty. . Especially my husband’s side of the family.  Of course Chris feels that I am wonderful saving him money.  

I rarely buy cleaning supplies.  The few that I do buy I am working on new ways to make them just as good as the store bought ones.  On that note Pinterest has become one of my new favorite places.  More on that in another blog. 🙂
 
Today  it is all about a good all purpose cleaner that cuts grease and eliminates germs.  I hate getting sick, don’t you?  I have been using this one for ages.  I use it on my ceramic tile floors, kitchen counters, bathroom sinks, walls, just about anything that is not unpainted wood or furniture.

Now, you could just use vinegar for most things, but the smell of vinegar is not appealing and it doesn’t quite clean everything.  This recipe does call for ammonia and borax.  In very small quantities.  The use of these products does not bother me and I feel comfortable enough with them.

WARNING LONG TERM USE OF THIS PRODUCT SAVES MONEY AND MAKES THOSE STORE BOUGHT CLEANERS IRRITATING TO THE NOSE!  No, Seriously!  I have been making this stuff since 2008.  I had a temp job for Christmas. We cleaned up and there was a bottle of a name brand cleaner left at the end. I decided not to waste it and take it home.  It was very strong smelling and it didn’t clean any better! I actually had to open a window to air the smell out.

 Here are the basic ingredients.  The bottle on the left is an empty vinegar bottle.  I experimented with different type of gallon containers.  This one is the longest lasting and most economical.  It doesn’t leak and it was FREE!

 Fill the gallon container 3/4 of the way full with water.  I used basic tap water. You can use distilled, but why bother when this is so much more convenient and works just as well.

 Now add 2 Tbsps of ammonia.  Any brand will do.   

Add 1/4 cup of  vinegar
2 tsp of Borax

 1 tsp of any dish washing soap. This is the Aldi brand container filled with Palmolive.

 Now this is a non essential ingredient, but one I like to add for a pretty smell.  This is a lavender essential oil.  I put 5 drops to add the wonderful smell of lavender in the batch.  Now you don’t have to add any of this or you can add another essential oil to the mix.

 Before this step, shake the container to mix.  You shouldn’t have to shake it again to mix, unless you want to.
Fill the bottle up the rest of the way with water.

And there you go!  1 gallon of great cleaning power with no muss or fuss! It costs next to nothing and it works so well!  I pour mine into a spray bottle for quick cleanups and use it by the 1/4 cup more or less depending on the condition of your floor, in my bucket to mop floors.
1 Gallon All Purpose Cleaner.

2 tablespoons ammonia
1 tsp liquid dish soap
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tsp Borax.

Fill a gallon container 3/4ths full of water, add above ingredients.  Add essential oil if desired.  Shake until well mixed.  Add water until full. Will foam some.  It’s okay to squeeze out the foam, ta da!  It is ready to use.

Let me know what you think of it!  I love feedback!

Cool morning in Central Florida equals pumpkin pancakes!!!

I mentioned all the pumpkins I bought and cooked down then froze in the last couple of blogs.  I decided I had to make something with some of the pumpkin so I had about a 10 ounces of pumpkin ready to go sitting in the fridge. I was going to make pumpkin bread, but just wasn’t in the mood.  My girls have all wanted me to figure out how to make Pumpkin coffee. It didn’t take long to make at all.  I just wasn’t happy with the results.  I don’t like sweet drinks and this just was either not strong enough or to strong. So that goes back to the drawing board.


The weather was crisp and cool this morning.  I knew I needed to get the yard mowed.  Mowing this time should be the last time of the year to mow for me here in Central Florida.  I was drinking my coffee with all the windows opened and decided then and there that I was going to figure out how to make pumpkin pancakes. Besides I needed to fuel up to mow my yard.  I have a really great recipe from Martha Stewart for basic pancakes.  They are a hit every time I make them. I decided to use that as the base, but half the recipe.  This is what they looked as they were cooked on my griddle!

Pumpkin pancakes 

What made me pretty happy is this is the first time I have ever made up any part of a recipe by myself.  They were pretty easy and very moist. (Isn’t that a funny word?)

The pancakes once they were done.  The recipe made quite a few pancakes.  I think you could add toasted pecans or walnuts to the recipe and it would taste great.  I think I will try that the next time I make this.  You can serve this with whipped cream, maple syrup, pancake syrup, or with pecan syrup!  You can bet which one I did!  It was pretty good!

So here is the finished product and no,I did not eat all of those!  I learned quite a while ago that when it comes to food in my house no one eats at the same time.  Once your kids get a car they are out of here.  So I make what I want and then put the rest in the fridge.  When my husband gets home tonight he has his pick of pasta and mussels or this. 

PUMPKIN PANCAKES

1 Cup Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground Cloves
1 tsp Cinnamon
3 Tbsp Sugar
1 lg Egg
1 1/2 Buttermilk
2 Tbsp melted Butter
1 Cup canned pumpkin

1.  Preheat  griddle to 375 degrees
2.  Mix eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and pumpkin in medium bowl.
3.  Whisk Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, ground cloves, cinnamon and sugar.
4.  Slowly add egg mixture to flour mixture.  Mix until lumpy. but no flour showing.
5. Use a small amount of butter to coat griddle and pour 1/4 cup of batter and cook.  This seemed to take a while, but I forgot to time it.  I’d say until you can see bubbles around the edges and it looks set. 

Enjoy!

Oh and in case you were wondering, the lawn has been mowed and looks beautiful darling!

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