Sunday, January 16, 2011

BEST SMOOTHIES EVER! (including homemade yogurt)

Woot! The first recipe! After my return that is. The best smoothies ever are sooo awesome, and do you know what makes them the best? Homemade yogurt

Spiced Strawberry Banana Smoothie:

  • 2 bananas
  • Half pint of yogurt
  • 1 tray of ice cubes
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • about 1 tablespoon of honey
  • about 1 cup of frozen strawberries

Blend till smooth. May need to use ice crush, but I just pulse a few times with one of my favorite Christmas presents, my Ninja! May need to add a splash of milk or orange juice if its too thick. Sooooo Delicious!

And now, my favorite part of this recipe is the yogurt. Homemade yogurt is FANTASTIC! You just need a galleon of milk to make it, once you have a cup of starter yogurt. If you are starting from the beginning you need

  • 1 galleon of milk (perferably whole)
  • 1 cup of starter yogurt (better off with something with many cultures, check the side. Brand name works much better than store brand because they use more cultures)
  • Optional: 1-2 cups sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla for sweeter flavor
  • 4 Mason Jars
  • 1 smaller seal-able jar
  • 1-2 stock pots
  • Candy thermometer
  • cooler
  • Whisk or spoon

To start with, you can boil  an inch of water with your jars in a stock pan. The lid should be on to steam clean and make sure you kill any bad bacteria that could be on your jars or lids. 

Heat in your second stock pan (or put your jars on a clean towel) the galleon of milk to 90 Degrees Celsius. (and sorry, I memorized it this way because it was easier, going from Celsius to Fahrenheit on the cool down. I think the heat was to 185 Fahrenheit) Keep stiring it our you milk will develop a filmy skin, that does nothing good for your yogurt. Also, it can burn, which tastes bad.

Once it reaches the top heat, place it in the sink. Try to avoid splashing water in the pot, or fill the sink first with cold water and ice. You want to cool the milk toll it reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is hotter, it will kill your yogurt cultures.

Whisk in your starter and if you are adding sugar and vanilla ( I used to, but like the slightly sour taste now, sweetened with a bit of honey or fruit in my smoothies or cereal) Make sure it is well incorporated all throughout the milk.

Then pour to mostly fill your small jar (which is what I reserve to use for my future starter) and fill your 4 mason jars equally. Skim off any bubbles with a spoon. Seal the jars and place in cooler, then fill with warm water of the 120 degree temperature. If it is too much hotter it will kill the cultures and result in runny yogurt.

Shut the cooler and leave it in an unused corner of your kitchen that is draft free for 3 hours. You can leave it longer and it makes it smoother to eat, the cultures are eating the lactose in the milk, but I would not leave it more than 12-18 from what I have heard, though there are bloggers that incubate for 24 hours.

DO not shake or disturb the yogurt during this time, and try to move them from your cooler to the fridge with as little jostling as possible. Once it is cold it will be very thick and yummy!

If you see a liquid at the top or when you use part and let it sit, that is whey, which is very healthy for you! Mix it in delicious smoothies.

 Plain yogurt can be used for a multitude of things, including a replacement for sour cream.

Yummy! My yogurt mixed with vanilla almond granola, blackberries, and a tidge of honey
What is your favorite flavor or way to use yogurt?

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