March 1, 2011

humility. (help!)

in an effort to help heal n's colitis (while keeping his belly happy), i'm trying to go about it a bit holistically, and work on cooking more nutritiously rich foods. on a budget.

this week, i tried making yogurt. i failed.

it looks pretty, doesn't it? well, while it smelled good, the consistency turned out to be not much more than lumpy milk. ew.

i know a lot of you out there are much more experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to whole foods, raw foods and healthy foods. so, this is my official call for help.

this appeal is not only for a good home made yogurt recipe, but for any recipes that you might be willing to share.

much love + appreciation, dear friends! a.


  1. This just reminded me that I didn't send you that quinoa recipe... I will send it when I get home tonight. Quinoa is really good for you and packed with iron! I'm getting a little more natural myself, so I'll let you know if I find anything good. The next thing I want to try is using dry beans instead of canned.

  2. did you make the yogurt on a cold day? i've found that in the winter, i often have to let the yogurt sit out much longer than the 8 hours the crockpot recipe says. (i'm assuming you're using the crockpot blog recipe?) i would definitely encourage you to try it again, because once you figure out a few of the variables (temperature being the biggest), it really is so so easy, and significantly cheaper than store-bought. if you still have trouble, i know trent cormier makes yogurt the 'real' way, on the stovetop. i'm sure he could give you some tips :)

    also, i would highly recommend the cookbook 'vegetarian classics' by jeanne lemlin - even if you don't necessarily want to cook all vegetarian. i have yet to find a recipe in that book that isn't good, and meat could easily be added to most of them.

    making the switch to brown rice is also something to think about. trader joe's sells delicious brown jasmine and basmati rice for cheaper than i can find even yucky grocery store brown rice.

    last suggestion - read michael pollan's 'in defense of food.' that was the first food book i read that, instead of making me feel like it was all hopeless, left me with actual tools for changing our diet. good luck!


  3. Did you make it in the crock-pot? It is super easy that way. I get the best results using Whole foods 365 Whole Milk and a Stonyfield brand starter. I usually add in a bit more starter than it calls for because it seems to come out thicker. In the comment section of this post are other ideas to thicken it:

  4. On yogurt--I actually have a batch in the oven now :). I agree with Dawn: temp matters. I've found I get the best results leaving my oven light on for a while, then putting my yogurt in and turning it off, then letting it sit overnight. My oven light makes it a little too warm, and my yogurt was coming out stringy.

    My goal is to get some yogurt culture from Cultures For Health, which sells a yogurt with more/diff. bacterial strains in it. You can actually culture it on your countertop!

    One of my favorite natural blogs is Very helpful. Also, have you considered putting Nick on the GAPS diet? It's not for the faint of heart, but a lot of people have seen significant results with it.

  5. Also, I would highly recommend buying whole chickens and making stock with the bones. It is a powerhouse of nutrition, and so cheap. Too bad it's getting on summer, but you can still do lots of delicious soups, plus I use stock in place of water anywhere I can. Once you get in the habit of simmering up your chicken bones, you'll have a freezer full of chicken stock in no time!

  6. Here's a blog by a girl I know who is a mama and trying to be healthy:

    She doesn't have a lot on their yet, but maybe a good resource? Love you!

  7. I second the home-made broth :) It is yummy. I get a 15-20 pound turkey and it makes enough broth to last us for about 6 months. But that would be hard to store without a second freezer. We can't tell the difference between turkey and chicken broth.

    Also, when I was trying to figure out what I could make myself I only did about one thing a month. It made it less overwhelming to know I had the whole month to just focus on figuring out one item and getting good at it. Some things didn't take that long so after 4 months of this I had made it through most of my list of things I wanted to try. I figure anything I make myself is much better for us already and once I could make something, then I focused on things I could substitute in to make it more healthy.

  8. thanks, everyone!

    i'm going to attempt the yogurt again today. i noticed that my starter is a pretty runny sort of yogurt. maybe that aided in the thinness?

    also, i read somewhere that you can add plain gelatin to thicken it, and i wanted to get your thoughts on that. i'm a bit nervous about it, but i want my yogurt to be thick. :)

    thanks again for all of the encouragement--your suggestions were most helpful, and i'm already incorporating most of them into my planning for the coming weeks. i'll let you know how it goes!

  9. i've used the gelatin before, but i think just giving it more time to culture and thicken on the counter is usually enough. when i do use gelatin, i just use a pinch, and it definitely helps. you could probably even add the gelatin at the end, if you feel like it isn't thick enough, and then let it sit for a couple more hours. good luck!

  10. I also put my yogurt in the oven with the light on, but I leave it on all night. I guess it depends on your oven. I have noticed if I leave it in too long I get really sour yogurt. It makes awesome sour cream, but not the best yogurt.
    I always drain my yogurt to get it to the consistency I want.I line my colander with a clean dish towel, pour the yogurt in, fold the towel over it and place the colander over a bowl. Then I place the whole thing in the fridge and check on it in a few hours. I can make it as creamy as I want this way. Sometimes I will take out most of the yogurt and let the rest drain till it is as thick as sour cream (which is what I use that part for). You can also make it as thick as cream cheese and use it as a substitute. You will then have a bowl full of whey. I save it and add it to my bread in place of water. It makes my whole wheat bread more tender and healthier. The Nourishing Traditions book you want calls for whey in a lot of the recipes.

    Love ya!


hey, friend! thanks for your comment--so glad you're here!