Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fresh Yogurt anyone?

Happy Sunday Ya'll.  Been on a cooking kick today and haven't gotten around to posting the method I use for making crock pot yogurt.  Sitting here watching the Titans play so I thought I'd start on it....


Ingredients are very simple. A half gallon of whole milk and NOT ultra pasturized, although I've never seen it in the stores.  I add about a cup of cream too.  I think it adds some bulk to it.

And don't be hatin' on my crock pot.  I love that thing, but it is impossible to clean the painted stuff on the outside.  I got after it one time with Barkeepers Friend, and it rubbed the finish off, so I just said to heck with it.  It's ugly and looks filthy, but it works real well!!

Ok, now mix this up in the crock pot. Plug it in on high.  I use my fancy thermometer my son bought me for christmas that I love, and use the probe to guage the temp.  If you have one, stick it in there, trying not to lay it on the sides or on the bottom, but suspended in the milk.  set the temp to 185 and walk away.  In about 2 hours it should be slightly bubbly around the edges.

  Kinda like this::::


Now turn the crock pot off and walk away AGAIN! LOL  You want it to cool to 115 degrees, so just let it set.  I usually take the crock out and set it aside and it seems to cool within about an hour. Just check on it occasionally.  Kinda like this.......


When it gets close to being cooled, preheat your oven on the lowest temp.  My oven's lowest temp is 175, so I preheat it, and then just turn it off.

 Once it cools to 115, or cool enough to be able to stick your finger in it for 10 seconds, then you add a cup of GREEK FULL FAT YOGURT  which is hard as heck to find, OR if this is your 2nd batch, reserve a cup from a previous batch of yogurt.  They say you can use a reserved cup up to 3 times before the cultures get kinda weak.  You can also get yogurt cultures on line, and I've used it and couldn't tell a difference except for convenience   Whisk in the starter or cup of yogurt.

So how much actual cooking time have we spent so far, maybe 5 minutes?????

NEXT  Take a cookie sheet bigger than the bottom of the crock, and two big old thick cotton bath towels, the thicker the better.

I criss cross the towels and then set the covered crock in the middle of it and wrap that baby up tight, tucking in the towel onto the cookie sheet.  Put the whole thing into the oven that you have turned OFF, but it's warm, right????  and if you have an oven light, leave it on.  It seems to put off a tiny bit of heat.

Stick that puppy in the oven
on a low rack such as:::

Now, go to bed, you have worked incredibly hard on this and deserve to rest. LOL  Actually, I usually do this in the evening and leave it in the oven till I get home the next afternoon.  And believe it or not, I will unwrap it and it is still very warm!!! The longer you leave it in the oven, the tarter it will get. I like it tart, but this last batch hurt my glands it was so tart! LOL  Oh well, it's still good.

Now the next step I didn't get pictures of cause I forgot, but if you want thick, greek like yogurt you need to tend to it a bit more.  I use a big bowl, with my 1000 year old tupperware strainer with a coffee filter in the bottom of it.  Strainer looks like this:


I pour the yogurt into  it and let it set on the counter for a while, and when I walk by, I'll pour off the whey that leaches out.  Then I'll cover it with a plate and stick it in the fridge, still straining it, overnight.

The next morning you are gonna have a glorious batch of yogurt and you will never buy it in the store again.  My favorite way to have it is with frozen blueberries, brown sugar and cinnamon.  And when they are in season, I like the fresh cherries with DaVinci's Wild Cherry syrup.  Peaches are good in it too, but not often for me, a bit to carby.

And don't forget to reserve a cup for the next batch!  I've researched and found that the expiration date of the ingredients you use is a rough guess as to the expiration date of the yogurt, if that makes any sense.  But frankly, I've had it last over 2 weeks.

Let me know what you think peeps.... hugzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday, September 14, 2012

Epic Fail!!!!! Turnip greens... ugh....

Well, I always thought I was a southern girl.  But evidently the Paula Deen gene is not in my pool.  I tried turnip greens today.  From scratch.  Using Paula's recipe on foodnetwork.com  loosely...  my own interpretation... that may be the part I shoulda skipped. LOL

First of all, I bought fresh turnip greens from the farmers market yesterday, brought them home and tried washing them, cause dang they were sandy!  Well, I washed the heck out of them last night, and left them in a pan of water all day today, and when I got home from work, I was gonna cook them....  Well, they smelled like dead cat poop.  omg! I had to throw them out. I rinsed and rinsed, but ugh...  they stunk up my whole house...

Well, I was not to be defeated!!!  So I go to my little grocery store on the corner, and buy a hog jowl and 3 bunches of fresh turnip greens, and by golly, I'm gonna do it!!!

I bring it home, put the hog jowl in water with some bacon grease and boil the crap out of it for 2 hours... in the meantime, I start washing the turnip greens.  I rinsed them once.... twice.... three times.   Then I spent the better part of an hour desteming them but they still felt sandy, so I rinsed them again..... and again....  I made piles of them on the counter on dishtowels to drain.

Once the hog jowl got semi tender, I took it out of the water to cool, and diced up a turnip and added it to the water.  I let it simmer about a half hour.  Then I added the two huge mounds of turnip greens that I felt like I had blood invested in, cause I spent sooooo much time on the damned things.  I added some pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the water, and added the humongous mounds of turnip greens to the pot.  within seconds it cooked down (as I expected) and I let it simmer for about 1/2 hour.

I went in for the taste... added some more salt, and then it hit me.... too much red pepper flakes!  oh my!  a bit too spicy... but I thought, OK, keep trying....

Then I started stirring and I could feel the grit on the bottom of the pan!!!!  I washed the bejeebers out of that crap, and it still had sand in it.

I give up.  I give up my title as a southern cook.  If I can't cook turnip greens, then I'm definitely turning in my crown.  Hanging head in shame......

From now on, I will be buying my turnip greens from the freezer case... If I'm banished from the south, I apologize ahead of time.

If anyone has any suggestions, Please PLEASE let me know.  I just can not go to my grave not being able to cook turnip greens. (just kidding)

Ok, That is all for today.  I still have all my yogurt stuff to post.  Will try to get to that tomorrow.

And for lack of any other cutesie tag line...... PEACE OUT!!!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hi Kids!!! happy hump day...

I just made a dish inspired by my good friends Mark and Stacy Hayden.  They came up with a LC hashbrown casserole that tastes amazingly like Cracker Barrel's and I kinda tweaked it to make it a full meal.  Here is a picture, and the recipe follows:


Kinda looks naughty, doesn't it?? HEHEHEHE

Mark And Stacy's Hash Brown Casserole

Cut spaghetti squash in half, clean out seeds, and place face down in 1-1/2 inches of water in a glass baking dish. Cover tightly with Saran Wrap and microwave on high for 10-12 minutes.

(ALTERNATELY you can bake it in the oven, whole, until it's nice and soft, at about 375 degrees. I had some in the freezer, and it makes about 3 cups of Skitty Squish) 

After cooked, remove the meat from the squash with a fork and put into a bowl and mix with the following: 

1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese 

2 tbsp of finely chopped onion  ( I shredded it with a grater)

1/4 cup of sour cream (I didn't measure and added a bit more I think)

Salt and pepper to taste. (I added some garlic powder too)

Place mixture in a small casserole dish, and bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes. 


this recipe is on StellaStyle.com so I'm not sharing something I shouldn't, and it's also in one of George Stella's cookbooks.

The only thing I did different was take a package of Bratwurst and split it down the middle, and remove the casing and place it on top.  I wanted to use the whole package so I kinda got decorative (?) with it!  I've made this using Kielbasa sausage too and it's really good.  The recipe by itself is great as a side, but adding some kind of protein on top makes it a full meal!

I finished my yogurt today, and will try to organize the recipe and pictures tomorrow.  I took a lot of pictures! LOL.... but I'm also having it for breakfast in the morning, so be jealous, be very very jealous! LOL

Ok ya'll, off to watch the Voice! Love that show.

PEACE OUT!!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Happy Tuesday Y'all. How bout some crackers???

Hi ya'll!  I'm going to attempt to put this blog up with pictures of how I have learned to make cheese crackers.  Thanks to my friends at a group I'm in on FB called I Love Low Carb, I've found a replacement for some yummy "chips" to dip with salsa, have with tuna salads, etc, use as croutons, have with lunch meats. etc etc etc. Sstill finding ways to use them.

They are SO incredibly easy to make, but you need to practice.  All instructions depend on the cheese you buy and the power of your microwave.  But once you get the hang of it, I bet you get as addicted to these as I am!!

Here is my first picture.... (wish me luck!)


Woot Woot I did it!   Start your crackers by cutting a piece of parchment paper the same size as a microwavable plate.  I have Correll ware and it works perfectly, but after a few rounds it gets hot, so use a hot pad.

I take a stack of 7 slices of cheese, and cut them into quarters. This will make 4 plates worth, which easily fills a sandwich sized baggie.   You can cut them into 16th's for "goldfish" sized bites but you will have to adjust the times since they are smaller.  You can also put more on a plate with the smaller size.  I prefer the "cracker" size.

As you can see, I find that 7 pieces fits perfectly on my plate.  Depending on how you space them, they still might kinda run together, but once they cool a bit, you can break them apart. (or consider them "rejects" and eat them immediately!!)

The can of stuff with the green top is some popcorn seasoning that can be used to flavor them.  I used Cheddar/Jalapeno in this, but they also have Ranch, and a few other flavors.  You can find it in the Popcorn section at Kroger.  Not sure if Walmart carries it cause I haven't looked.  You can sprinkle a small amount on each cracker, or put some in a bowl and toss the slices in it before you put it on the plate.  But honestly, they are just as good plain.

Next thing, Put them in your microwave on high power for one minute to start.  Now remember, this is what works in MY microwave, and it's a fairly new 1000 watt microwave.  Microwaves lose some power with age, from what I'm told, so play with yours...  Here is a picture of the crackers after one minute....

As you can see, they are bubbly, but still very yellow.  At this point you may think you screwed them up, but don't give up!!!!  You are testing your microwave and timing.... so I added 15 seconds and it looked like this:


As you can see, they are puffing up a little but not quite browned.... so add another 15 seconds and they may look like this:


AAAAHHHHHHH Perfection!!! See how they are browned?  that's what you are looking for.

Once you get the timing down, plant that little number in your little brain and use that measurement.  If you don't see this yummolicious brownness, add 15 seconds at a time till you get it down.  If your first batch comes out a little "too" brown for your taste, back it off a bit.  And you might think when you turn them over, that you over did them cause they get REALLY browned inside.  But before you make up your mind, try it.  Even if they may look over done, they still taste REALLY good. (think I could say REALLY a few more times????)

The times and measurements also depends on the cheese you get, how thick it is, the fat content, etc. (make sure you buy DELUXE AMERICAN CHEESE  not the cheese that comes prewrapped.   I've been told that you can use parmesan cheese, shredded, and make little mounds with it, but I haven't tried it.  This works for me and I'm sticking to it!!!

Kraft makes Deluxe SWISS cheese which I've used, but honestly can't tell much of a difference in taste.

And to end this rambling,  I keep 2 plates prepared with the parchment paper, and rotate them and I can make a huge batch of crackers in under 15 minutes. I also store my plates with the parchment on it in the microwave and make many batches before I have to replace the parchment paper. (I'm CHEAP) I try not to make too many at a time cause they are very addictive!  And instead of all the potatoes, processed crap, flour, bad oils, etc in the usual Chips and Crackers, you are only eating a piece of cheese!  How cool is that?

Now also, I've known people who nuke a whole piece of cheese at a time and use them as a bun for burgers, but I have not tried it yet.  Believe me, I will!  Next time a juicy burger on a bun calls my name...

Some day I want to play with this and see if I cant make little taco bowls with a whole piece over a small cup or something.

So there you go buddies.  Crackers!!!  I really hope you give this a try.  It has become my newest obsession.  And I tell ya what, BoBo knows when I'm making them and he tries to jump up on the counter to grab them.  Thank goodness he's not 2 inches taller or I'd have to sit on him while I make them!

And again, Please leave your feedback and comments.  I wanna hear from you and what you would like me to blog about.  I am working on a blog for tomorrow on how I've learned to make home made greek yogurt in the crock pot!  Stay tuned!

PEACE OUT!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

My Post about 12 tips to help this WOL from StellaStyle

I'm going to edit my "about me" to include my reasoning for starting this WOL here on my blog, but I thought I'd share this from 2006 that I wrote on StellaStyle.com.  Maybe you will understand how and why I do this way of life. Granted, I'm not perfect, and sometimes I still eat bad stuff, and I pay for it, believe me!  But I give it my best shot.  A lot of times I have too much of the "good stuff" too.  But instead of focusing on my weight, I'm trying to focus on my health.   Hope you enjoy the read:

Ever had to re-read your own advice? Well I do!!! And I thought I'd start a thread for everyone to add their own advice too. Feel free to add to this sticky with your own good advice! 


12 Tips to help in this WOL 
Wednesday November 29, 2006, 14:24 
[ 962 ] 
Here is some advice that I like to give anyone who asks: 

#1 Added, so change the total! LOL 

Go to the home page here at StellaStyle.com and print out everything!!! There is so much advice here from EXPERTS (ie: the Stella Family) that is completely unbelievable. How can you say that this WOL doesn't work when you see a family of four have such success, and maintaining it for so many years!!!!! 


1. Buy both of George's cookbooks, and read the first 30 pages of each several times. Get the DVD's. You will be so glad you did. Get the On-Demand. What an education, and it's FUN too!!!!. Buy the Atkins New Diet Revolution book. READ IT. These books will be the best investment you could make. 
2. Drink lots of water. Some people say the rule of thumb for water is one ounce for every two pounds of weight, per day. Example: if you weight 200 pounds, you should have 100 ounces of water per day. I know it sounds like a lot, but if you really devote yourself to low carb living, it won’t be hard, I promise. But at least drink 64 ounces a day minimum. If you watch the DVD's and the On-Demand, George says he is never without a bottle of water! ME TOO!!!! 
3. I think this point is important too. Make sure you measure yourself when you start. I didn’t and I wish I had. You will find that there are times when the scales don’t move, but you will still be losing inches. That is my one big regret, that I didn’t take my measurements. I think in the beginning, I was afraid to know! Take pictures regularly too. It really helps to “see” your progress. 
4. Eat either three regular-size meals a day or four or five smaller meals. Do not skip meals or go more than six waking hours without eating. 
5. Commit yourself to “just two weeks”. Anyone can do anything for just two weeks. Then you will feel so good, you won’t want to go back to the old ways! 
6. The first few days you might not feel very good. Your body is ridding itself of the toxic carbohydrates you have stored. Just make sure you drink plenty of water, eat regularly, and remember that you will feel much better soon! 
7. Keep acceptable foods available. I almost always have cheese, boiled eggs, lunchmeat, salad, tuna or chicken salad, pepperoni slices, and various other things ready to eat in my fridge. This will help you stay on track, I promise. 
8. Surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you on your journey. If you aren’t getting the encouragement you need, try joining an on-line e-mail group. There are lots of them out there. You have already found the best "home" there is for a LC lifestyle! Come back daily for inspiration and a ton of knowledge!!! 
9. Rid your home of all the bad stuff. If it’s not possible, make sure you have your own place for your stuff. The first month, I made my youngest son hide all his snacks in his room. Now I’m not even tempted. 
10. Reward yourself! But don’t use food as a reward. Get your nails done, slip off for a nice bubble bath, read a good book. I have an internet friend who had a lot to lose, and she buys herself a charm for a charm necklace for every 10 lbs she loses. She is getting ready to buy her 11th charm! She has been an incredible inspiration to me. 
11. Take a good multiple vitamin. Make sure it isn’t full of fillers and starch. Later on your journey, you might find you have to add other supplements to your day. The book covers that better than I can. I’m struggling to get my vitamins every day, cause I just hate to take pills, but I’m trying! 
12. Try to remember, nothing tastes as good as thin feels. I have this posted all around my house. Take pictures too. I have my "before" picture posted everywhere! I'm so sick of seeing me, I can't stand it! LOL

My First Blog

Hello Peeps.  It's me, Dingbat.  Thought I'd give this a go and see how it works out.

Had my kids home this weekend, and it was great to see them all.  Was talking to Amber and Cortney, and they suggested I start a blog and see how it goes.  Well, this is it!  I watched Julie and Julia last night and kinda got inspired. (thanks Cortney!)  And I have an idea that I may try in the vein of that movie, but I need to get someone's permission first.


Amber brought a great recipe idea for lunch yesterday.  Ross and Tyler grilled out some sirloin's and eggplant, and Amber and I made roasted sweet potatoes that were out of this world good.... Here is a basic recipe from my memory:


Roasted Sweet Potatoes


Preheat oven to 400 degrees


Prepare a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil sprayed with Pam.


5 lbs of sweet potatoes, washed and diced into aprox 1" pieces (skins on)


Drizzle with Olive Oil liberally, and kinda stir them up.


Sprinkle liberally with Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper


Top with about 1 1/2 of fresh shredded parmesan cheese (not the green can but it might work)


Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.


Pure Perfection!  I have always had "sweet" sweet potatoes, IE: butter and brown sugar subsitute, but this was even better.  sweet and savory.  I give Amber the credit for that one, but I'm sure stealing it!


Well, I guess this is the end of my first blog.  Hopefully you will leave me a comment so I can see how this works, and get some feedback and input as to what you would like to see here.


Thanks Everybuddy!!!  Peace Out!