Monday, April 18, 2016

Life's a Journey

Before I married, I lived with two PE teachers while I worked on a master's degree for secondary (hight school) remedial reading. One roommate's parents owned a health food store, so I was introduced to all sorts of healthy suplimenets and foods. They even made yogurt using a yogurt maker, a small counter top appliance with individual cups that contained the milk. I remember the final produce as too sour to eat.

Now years later I have found myself lactose intolerant, so I had to eliminate commercial yogurt, and I miss it terribly. Our neighbor who has the cows mentioned that she had made yogurt for her kids in her slow cooker and described the process. Because she has a large family, she made a gallon of yogurt. Of course, I didn't need that much; instead I found a recipe for a quart.

Here then is my journey in yogurt making. Should you want to try it yourself,  this is the recipe I found on

The milk maid shared a bit of her starter with me, while this recipe suggests buying an organic plain yogurt at the super market. At my local super market, I couldn't find a small container of just plain yogurt. Perhaps if I had gone to an organic grocery I would have found the plain organic yogurt. I preferred the milk maid's starter, anyway. For 1 quart, I used 1 tablespoon of starter.

While the yogurt cooked, I could smell it sweetness even downstairs. Now the finished product ready to be stored and saved for breakfast.

The recipe says to warm the milk to 180 degrees F, taking about an hour to an hour and a half. Using my old slow cooker, the process took much longer. At one point, thinking that the milk was warm enough, I unplugged the cooker before taking the temperature, but its was not hot enough. When I turned the cooker back on, I set it on low by mistake. When I discovered my error, I turned it back to high, so I can't say exactly how long the heating process took--3 hours. I used my heavy duty candy cooking thermometer instead of the meat thermometer . Once the milk has reached 180, cool to 120--again this step took longer than the recipe suggests--then stir in the starter, 1 tablespoon of organic, plain yogurt. Now the milk will ferment.

And here it is: fresh, home grown, home made yogurt. In my Goggle research, I have discovered that raw milk reduces lactotose intolerance. I must stress that the fresh milk I am using is pasteurized.  Our milk maid is very careful to remind us that her milk is pasteurized and that she does not sell it. There are very strict government laws controlling the sale of fresh milk. Having said that, I am quite spoiled because for years we have had milk delivered to the door in glass jars from a local organic dairy. And while our milk maid does not claim her milk to be organic, we do know what the cows are fed--I see them munching on sweet grass all day.

So how does the yogurt compare to store bought--organic or not? 
  • consistency: runny and clumpy, not smooth like processed yogurt. I don't mind. Next batch I will place it in cheese cloth to let the liquid separate. The liquid can be used, too, so  I will have research to see what to with it.
  • Taste: sour and tart, much like commercially processed yogurt. I never thought that I could get used to or even enjoy the tartness. This yogurt has no salt, no sugar, no stabilizers, no artificial coloring, not artificial anything. Essentially straight from the cow. Served with fresh fruit and sweetened with honey would make a percent snack for hungry children and and grandparents. I thawed out sweet black cherries to add to my yogurt last night. 
  • With fruit added or even nuts or granola, the homemade yogurt is just as tasty as the commercially prepared, and I would venture to guess that fresh milk from a small local dairy will not have the residual antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals added during processing to insure public safety as mandated by government regulations. 
  • I feel that I can trust the probiotic and bacteria content of homemade yogurt more. I don't know why, so I need to do more research, but the milk maid did tell me that the home cultured yogurt should help with the lactose problem. I'll let you know. 

Spring in the Rockies (rather the on praire to the east)

I know that I have shared these beautiful flowering crab trees at the University of Northern Colorado before, but they are so gorgeous I just had to share again. The front range last week had been blazing with the crabtree's splendid beauty.

Around the corner the university's Eastern Redbuds are in full splender.


Friday as I pulled out of the garage, I took one last photo of my redbud with the daffodils. The weather people predicted a horrible storm for the week end: rain turning to snow, more rain, freezing temperatures, more snow lasting through Tuesday. Are we depressed? Well, who wouldn't be?

The rain began late Friday

So I took photos

And I picked flowers

Even my precious giant red tulips, but only a few.

And then the snow came, heavy and wet, full of moisture.

Today, most of the snow has melted, but it is cold. I haven't gone out to check the damage. What's the use? I can't do anything about it.

At least for a few day we enjoyed the spring flowers. I am sure that the daffodils will bounce back. They are almost done, anyway. There are still some late tulips left to bloom and the lilacs are weeks away. 

I leave you with this beauty, a double pink poppy. Isn't she gorgeous? I should have brought her home. Even with the crummy weather yesterday, we toured our favorite garden centers where I bought more gladiola bulbs and some dahlias. We price checked tomatoes since we didn't start any this year. We will purchase them in couple of weeks.

Well, time to get busy. I have plenty to do today: laundry at the top of the list and I will start packing way dishes and knick-knacks in the china hutch and cleaning out the floors in the closets in preparation for the installation of new floors next week. What do you have going on this week? Will you make yogurt? 

Thanks so much stopping by. I'll be visiting around, too, and linking with Mosaic Monday, hosted by Judith at Lavender Cottage. Join us.


  1. I remember my Mom making yogurt in that individual yogurt maker. It was good and not lumpy at all. It looked just like store bought one. But we're not eating too much dairy either. It gives arthritis. So I save my points for ice cream. LOL!
    That's too bad for your garden! I'm sure some flowers will have made it through. Maybe? It's just rain, rain, rain here. Like a monsoon!

  2. Hello, thanks for sharing the yogurt recipe. Your flowers and blooms are beautiful. I heard about your most recent snow, poor flowers! Happy Monday, enjoy your new week ahead!

  3. Argh. I'm ready for the snow to disappear!

  4. i've tried and tried to like yogurt but...i just don't.
    those trees are just beautiful

  5. Oh my that is too bad about the late snow...I have some damaged blooms from our late storm but as you say, nothing you can do about it. Very interesting about the yogurt! And I love all that was blooming....hoping it continues to bloom for spring.

    and LivingFromHappiness

  6. No, I'm not going to make yogurt, I like to buy Greek yoghurt at our grocery. But that snow, I don't think we ever had snow on flowering tulips.

  7. Sorry Ann, I loathe yoghurt, so won't be making any!
    I can't believe your see those photos of snow was amazing!

  8. Sounds like a lot of trouble to go to making your own yogurt. It doesn't agree with me any more so I don't eat any. I did try to make it once with goats milk from my goats but it didn't work so I never bothered again. Shame about the darned snow on your lovely spring blooms at least it didn't hang around for long. The blossom on the trees is lovely - so many good things to see emerging at this time of year.
    p.s. regarding your comment on my post - I don't think I could commit to reading eight volumes of Outlander and you can only get it on Amazon Prime at the moment so I will have to wait till it all comes out on DVD.

    Enjoy the rest of the week - and don't work too hard.

  9. I hope I never have to make my own yogurt and even with a mild lactose issue I can still eat store bought. Just something else to add to your busy day?
    Nice to see spring blooms and blossoms, we're getting close but I sure don't want any of that snow our way thanks.

  10. Ann, I hope the home made yogurt lets you enjoy a treat every once in while and maybe more often. Food closest to source is always best. Glad you rescued a few flowers and took some pics. That wet snow must have been a shock. Sylvia D.

  11. I have never made yogurt before, I'm going to have to try it. Beautiful flowers, our daughter who lives outside of Denver said it snowed there.

  12. Wow, I know how discouraging April snow can be! We had the same problem. April 8th, snow and freezing temperatures, April 15th, sunny and 70 degrees! So weird.

  13. Hi Ann,

    You left a comment on my blog Petal Pics on a post about streptocarpus. You said that you didn't have a light space in the house to grow it. I grew mine under a long-life bulb for two years. Worked great. So you might give them a try.

    I also make my own yogurt. It doesn't need to be sour. You can turn it into Greek yogurt by having it drip through muslin. Then it will be quite sweet, even with most of the lactose gone. Let me know if you want to see my ancient webpage on this, which I published 17 years ago. It must still be floating around the web somewhere :-)

    Your poppies are out already? We still wear down coats.


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