Category Archives: Uncategorized

How To Make Homemade Plain Yogurt

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I still have a hard time believing that I actually made yogurt at home. This is going to be one of the easiest, yet most impressive recipes you’ve made. It’s really simple, and I refuse to complicate it in a long drawn out post.

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All you need is 2 quarts of milk and 1/2 cup of plain yogurt with active cultures.

Heat the 2 quarts of milk to almost boiling (200 degrees), then let it set until just warm (115 degrees).

In a separate cup, whisk 1/2 cup plain yogurt into a bit of the warm milk, then mix it all together.

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Leave in warm place (I used my oven with the pilot light on) for 8 hrs or overnight. It will look similar to the picture above.

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Chill in fridge for a few hours, scoop out the liquidy whey, stir to smooth out the chunks, and serve!

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That’s it!

Heat, cool, mix, set in oven, chill in fridge.

This yogurt is quite a bit thinner than store yogurt, but I have a theory that I’m going to test. Hopefully I can make it thicker without extending the waiting time.

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So far I’ve enjoyed my yogurt mixed with a bit of blueberry jam(if you like fruity commercial yogurts you will probably like it this way), in a peach smoothie, and with granola and honey.

It is so good.

You have got to try making yogurt! I thought it was one of those complicated products that needed special equipment and expertise, but if I can do it in my kitchen, so can you!

If you try it, I’d love to hear about it!

IT WORKED!!! I Made Yogurt!

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I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive about eating milk that had been left in a warm oven overnight. I was eager to see if the yogurt had gotten firm, and how it would taste.

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I skimmed off some of the liquidy whey, as I had read that homemade yogurt is not as firm as store yogurt (sometimes due to the companies adding gelatin). I did not strain it, but did find it to be fairly thick. I typically use yogurt for smoothies, so soft yogurt is not a problem for me.

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My husband likes sugary yogurt with fruit, but he was brave enough to try it for me.

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Yep, he thought it was really gross. I think that was his first time ever trying plain yogurt.

Anyway, he happened to read me a bit of a survival book last night about how you could tell if a plant is edible. Apparently you put it on lips for 3 minutes, then on tongue for 15 minutes, then chew and leave in mouth for 15 minutes, then swallow it and see if any adverse effects appear within 8 hours. If you feel discomfort or irritation after any step, stop; but if you’re still doing fine after the 8 hours, the plant is edible. 

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So, if I’m still doing well in 8 hours, I’ll report back to you with what will be probably the shortest ever yogurt making tutorial. It was really easy, so I don’t intend to complicate it.

Did I save money?

Well, I got almost 2 quarts of plain yogurt for the cost of 2 quarts of milk and half a cup of yogurt. Essentially, I doubled the value of the milk, based on dairy prices here.

Have you ever made yogurt? Would you be interested in trying it?

If I was wearing a necklace, does it still count as gardening?

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I have two types of clothes. I have classy-I-could-teach-a-class-in-this type of clothes; and I have what I affectionately term “garden grunge” clothes, not fit for Walmart.

I felt like my plain gray shirt needed some snazzing up, so I put on a necklace.

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I was really just going to do some light gardening, hopefully burning off my toast with apple butter.

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I took some rich, crumbly compost and top-dressed my sugar snaps. I hope these have a growth spurt soon. They are awfully scrawny. I’m going to start another batch this month and see how they compare.

I also wedged in some cabbage collards and Bibb lettuce transplants.

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Nothing too terribly strenuous, but it was nice to get outside and play in the dirt a bit. This is probably the most dressed up I’ve been for gardening.

Well, unless you count the times I’ve been seen in my church clothes dragging a hose around Sunday afternoons.

What about you? Do you get dressed up to visit your vegetables?

I Need a Sleep Debt Consolidation Specialist

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Christmas break has been awesome. My husband has been off work for about 2 weeks, and it has been raining so much in the Panhandle that we have just been relaxing and enjoying each other’s company so much. I have stayed up way too late. We had such a happy Christmas. I hope you were able to spend time with your loved ones too.

This rain has been persistent. Good for relaxing, but I just wish that I had plowed under half of my yard; scattered half a pound of turnip, mustard, kale, and radish seeds, and let these nine days of rain water them. They’d probably be half grown by now.

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I have to be content, though, with harvesting a few sugar snap peas and some mustard greens. Planting those peas in September has worked out well so far. They got tossed into a stir fry last night. Yummy! The cosmos you see in the background is actually a second generation flower from seeds I planted last spring. I think all the plants are confused.

New Year’s Day I plan to make some blackeye peas and collard greens.  Happy New Year, everyone!

Where were you at 2 AM?

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Where you out Black Friday shopping? Or were you at home in your jammies, sleeping?

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I added some gifts to a cart, but it was a virtual cart online. The thought of the crowds and buying frenzy gives me the heebie-jeebies.

This morning I looked at my fall decorations and thought about putting up the Christmas decorations. I was just about to head out to the shed to get a bin, when I stopped.

It just felt wrong to put up Christmas decorations now.  The air conditioner was running, I was wearing short sleeves, and it just felt wrong to get the Christmas decorations out so close to the end of the glorious fall holiday weekend.

I turned the Christmas music off.

We love Thanksgiving and fall. I’m in no hurry to get out the Christmas decorations. The fall decorations will probably come down this weekend, and Christmas decorations will probably go up on Monday. That’s soon enough for me.

What about you? Are your Christmas decorations up already? Did you find any great deals? What did I miss out on last night?

A Day for Making Pies

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It is just not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. Even if someone else makes a pie for dessert, I usually make sure that I have another one for me later. Today’s list: salted caramel pecan pie, mixed berry pie, and pumpkin cheesecake. My father in-law is a certified executive chef, and he’s doing the turkey and many of the sides.

First, I made homemade ginger snaps using the recipe on the McCormick site. I baked some of them a few extra minutes to get them crunchy.

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They were used to make the crust for the pumpkin cheesecake. So good!

Then I made pie crust for the other pies.

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Scraps were not wasted; I used my cute Wilton cutters to make little shapes. After a bit of egg wash and sugar, they were baked for a bit on some foil. Cute garnish, don’t ya think?

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So maybe I spent way to much time on this crust. It is just going to be eaten, I know, but isn’t it pretty?

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I’m looking forward to trying this tomorrow. My original plan was to put the pie crust leaves around this border, but I may do something fancy on the cheesecake tomorrow.

I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving! Let us not forget our God, to Whom we owe everything. If you are able to be near a wonderful family, do not take that for granted. Many are so far from their loved ones on this special day.

Hug your loved ones close, thank God for His provision, and enjoy the day!

I’m Still Planting Seeds!

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I poked some seeds into the ground Tuesday, and the turnips are already popping up from the ground!

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I put a few ‘French Breakfast’ radish seeds in this evening; maybe I’ll have radishes by Christmas?

There’s lots more that you can plant now; you can visit here for more crops.

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I was on a roll, so I planted some snapdragons, alyssum, pak choi, and cilantro. We’ll see how the flowers do; I would really like to save some moolah there.

It’s so nice to have homemade compost handy for starting seeds- what a money saver!

It’s not too late to start a garden- the weather is beautiful for planting!

Playing in the Dirt

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It’s fun to play outside for a bit, isn’t it?

Fun to be outside past 9 am and not dripping sweat off your nose.

I’m a little late getting my garlic in, but it’s in now. I usually try to put it in around Halloween. The garlic-vampire connection helps me remember when to plant it.

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Technically, you’re not supposed to plant garlic from the grocery store, but since when do gardeners follow all the gardening rules? I’ve done pretty well the past couple of years doing it this way, and it’s quite cheap too.

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I snipped the last of the basil. It is now a lush green bouquet by my kitchen sink. I’ll have to think of something worthy of it, or maybe I’ll let it root in water (similar to Torenia) and have it become a coddled houseplant on the windowsill.

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Leif has been enjoying having his humans outside with him. Chasing a tennis ball is fun in the fall.

He wasn’t really interested in the second batch of mustard greens or turnips that I planted. Thankfully, he’s past the digging lots of holes phase. Well, kind of. I also planted some Bloomsdale spinach. I haven’t had much success with it in the past, but maybe this will be the year for it.

How’s your garden? Have you been able to get outside and play lately?

Spiced Peach Pie Filling

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Truly good peaches must be eaten over the sink, juice dripping off your hands, down your arms, and plinking gently into the sink. Wouldn’t it be nice if peaches were in season all year long?

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I have been steadily working my way through 75 pounds of peaches; the peach jam has been great, the blueberry peach jam has been great, but I have really been enjoying my spiced peach pie filling. Since really good peaches won’t be available in the blustery cold evenings of January, I made some pie filling out of them. Actually, I see many easy cobblers in my future. Yum!

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Here is what you need: 14 cups of peeled sliced peaches, juice of 2 lemons, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2   2/3 cup sugar. This will yield about 5 pints.

Combine all ingredients in heavy stock pot and cook over medium-high heat until the juice has slightly thickened. For me, this took about 25 minutes.

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At this point, you can either freeze it, or can it in pint jars in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. This recipe yields wonderfully soft, sweet , spiced peaches. If you prefer only mildly spiced peaches, use only the nutmeg.

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My yield was slightly over 5 pints. So, what to do with the little bit of extra?

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I poured some over vanilla ice cream and sprinkled pecans over it. Delicious! I did try making some peach syrup for sweetening iced tea, and it turned out really good! I’ll share that recipe/process in a later post, as well as how to can sliced peaches. If you hate peaches I’m sorry, but they have been my life recently.

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I’m not sick of them yet, and I have enough in my fridge to either eat fresh for a while, or to make some spiced peach butter and eat fresh for just a little while.

Decisions decisions. What should I do?

My Awesome Finds at the Pace Virtual Farmers *SUPER* Market

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Did you go to the market on Thursday? I did, and found some great deals and made another gardening friend!

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The market was bustling with people there to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Pace Virtual Farmers Market.

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Pensacola Permaculture was there, and of course their display of plants, flowers, and beautiful yard eggs got my attention, but what drew me in was these tiny tomatoes.

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Matt’s Wild Cherry tomato!!! Of course I had to try one, and they are delicious! They are classic tomato flavor in a cute little package. I am going to try to plant some seeds from them for my garden. According to Michelle, they do really well here in North Florida. I had so much fun talking with her about gardening.

It’s not often that I find someone enthusiastic about gardening like me; many of my friends get this glazed over look in their eyes when I bring up the dreaded squash vine borers, pet chickens, cover crops… and that’s one of the reasons why I started this blog-I needed an outlet!

The topic of the pickleworm came up, and Michelle shared that when she removed the faded blossoms from her pollinated cucumbers, she didn’t get the pickleworms! Great tip!

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Look at these gorgeous chanterelle mushrooms. I’ve gotta work on growing my own mushrooms, ASAP.

I bought a tromboncino squash plant from them, and Michelle ripped off a purple sweet potato slip off for me. Yes, you read that right. PURPLE!! Won’t that be fun to eat?!

Anyway, felt as though I could stay at that booth for hours, but then I might’ve fainted from hunger. Thankfully, the Crossroads Roll’n Cafe was ready with dinner.

The owners, Tony and  Carla Cross, have one of those food trucks that are so popular.

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Aren’t they cute?

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Their burger was really good, and it was on a Hawaiian sweet roll- so yummy!

My husband went a little crazy and ordered all kinds of stuff, so I can vouch not only for their burger, but also for their Conecuh sausage dog.

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Oh, and I can vouch for their grilled green beans too.

I like chips (which they also offer), but I also like to be semi-healthy too. 🙂

So, since I ate my veggies, that means I can have dessert, right?

 

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This cream cheese cinnamon bar was really good. Really, really good.

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I almost got out of there without buying any jewelry, but then I saw the Paparazzi lady.

$5 for a necklace?! That’s my kind of deal!

“Buy two,” my husband said. Hey, he knows a good deal when he sees it. Elizabeth’s site, www.fancyforfive.com, has all kinds of pretty jewelry.

The Pace Virtual Farmers Market meets on Thursday evenings 6-7 p.m. behind the Relevant Life Church on Hwy 90. Ask to join their Facebook group to view more vendors and see what they have to offer. You can even make your order ahead of time, and the vendor will have it ready for you!

You can read more about the Pace Virtual Farmers Market in my post here, or visit their blog.

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