I get my raw milk from an organic food co-op, and usually transform most of if into yogurt to drink throughout the week.
Making my own yogurt is healthier, cheaper and greener (less waste).
How To Prepare Delicious Yogurt At Home
What You Need:
- Milk, preferably organic-raw. I’ve tried with pasteurized milk in the past and found that some brands would work and others don’t
- 1 tablespoon of natural yogurt per liter of milk
- A glass or stainless steel container with airtight lid. I use my stainless steel pressure cooker
- A hot/cool thermal bag big enough to fit your container
I know most recipes call for the use of a thermometer and oven or heater, but I’ve never used them.
Now I live in a just warm enough valley near Quito, but this worked when I lived in cooler Quito, and a similar arrange in cold Japanese winter (just add more covers to your container to keep it warm until next day)
The best time to prepare this is at night, after dinner.
- Heat the milk a few minutes, so that it’s warm but not hot. A good measure is to put your little finger inside the milk and shake it. If it’s a bearable temperature, go to the next step;
- If you’re going to use a different recipient, transfer the milk. I prefer to use the same container to heat the milk so it helps to keep the milk warm thru the night;
- Put the natural yogurt or yogurt from a previous batch in the milk and stir well;
- Cover and put the container inside the cool bag. If you live in cold areas you’ll need to add extra covers like an old winter jacket. Put everything inside a basket or cardboard box;
- Leave for about 8 hours. The container should be still warm after this time;
- Ready! Keep the yogurt in the fridge and use it through the week.
Power bars are common in these days among people looking for extra energy. The truth is a balanced diet should provide your body with its nutritional needs. Should you feel the need for additional power to get more done, check this list of 10 power packed foods. They’re designed to give you energy and vitality, while being all natural and easy to prepare.
1. Yogurt –Yogurt contains calcium, Vitamin B, and protein. It’s a great alternative for those who can’t drink milk. Live yogurt also contains friendly bacteria to help promote a healthy digestive system.
2. Beans – As a general rule, get used to soaking them overnight before cooking. It improves digestion and nutrients abortion. Beans of all kinds (kidney, navy, lentils, chickpeas, Northern) are high in protein. If fiber is a problem in your diet, eating a healthy portion of beans each day can keep your digestive system healthy.
3. Allium foods – This class of foods includes garlic, onions, leeks and shallots. Allium vegetables help guard the body against the risk of cancer and many other health issues. They also help lower blood pressure and prevent blood clots. Eating these power packed vegetables in their natural state especially garlic increases their health benefits.
4. Oatmeal – Oatmeal is coming into popularity as a food that lowers blood cholesterol. You can make it yourself with rolled oats (try soaking them as well, for an instant breakfast). Oatmeal is a filling grain that also provides much needed fiber to keep hunger at bay and your blood sugar constant.
5. Fruits and vegetables – Fruits and vegetables are filled with antioxidants such as Vitamin C and A. Antioxidants fight free radical damage in the body and reduce the risk of cancer. However, be cautious not to eat too much fruit because of its sugar content.
6. Nuts and seeds – Nuts are high in fat but those fats are the good kind. Peanuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts and pistachios are all providers of good fats and protein. Eat them right out of the shell with no additives. You can soak overnight in salty water and toast them in the oven for better digestion and taste.
7. Flax seed – It contains omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids. Ground flax seed can be added to fruit smoothies, sprinkled in yogurt, eaten with cereal or added to pancake mix, among other uses.
8. Peppers – They contain antioxidants like beta-carotene and Vitamin C. All peppers contain a substance called capsaicin. Capsaicin has the properties of an anti-inflammatory, a pain reliever, lowers cancer risk and heart disease. Taste great in salads, salsa and all sorts of dishes.
9. Salmon and fatty fish– Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of heart disease and other conditions like atherosclerosis. Fatty fish contains good fats that has been proven to improve health. Salmon is rich in protein which is of great use after an exercise session to build muscle tissue.
10. Açai – This berry is rich in antioxidants and increases energy. You can probably get Açai supplements in your health food store.
Building a better healthier body begins with what you eat. Try to incorporate some of these super foods into your daily menu. You can get more done and look better while doing it.
Have you ever wondered how our ancestors managed to have complete and nutritious meals every day, without the modern access to ready made food and food preservation methods? Even in many places of the developing world there is no access to such food, many do not use large fridges, but fresh food is brought to their tables for every meal. In fact, I’m still amazed with the size of the shopping carts of many foreigners living in Ecuador, especially those coming from “modern” societies. Trust me, there’s a way to spend less and eat better if we learn from our ancestors and the people in traditional communities.
The items that we have on hand are what determine how far our food will go. Filling your pantry with a few key ingredients can make a difference on your ability to offer quality and varied meals for several days, without breaking the bank. Stocking just a few choice items is all you need to create wonderful meals.
1. Flour. This is a starter for several recipes. Flour is used to make bread (biscuits, rolls, loaves), to coat chicken, and even added to soups. It can also be used to coat a round or square cake pan to prevent the cake from sticking. The best way to get your flour is to grind your own grains using a mill. However, if this is not possible you can stock with whole grain flours for many uses.
2. Rice. When I lived in Japan I learnt that rice is a great ingredient to have on hand. Asian people have invented a myriad of recipes using rice, and it’s even present in the everyday lunch boxes (obento) in the form of onigiri and other delicious preparations. It could be prepared as a side dish, but it doesn’t always have to be plain. It can be jazzed up with veggies to accompany dinner. Sweet rice preparations are also delicious. A popular dessert is rice pudding. Rice can also be mixed with leftover meat and a cream soup to form a casserole. If you’ve not tried brown rice yet, maybe it’s time to give it a try. The nutritional benefits of going choosing brown
rice are worth the extra cooking time. Plus, cooked rice can be kept in the fridge (and even at room temperature in chilly days) for several days.
3. Pasta. There are many different pasta choices and all have great uses. Manicotti can be stuffed with tomato sauce and cheeses. Macaroni can be used to make a creamy salad and also is great combined with cheese or spaghetti sauce. Spiral pasta is used in many different pasta salads. Spaghetti can be used in a casserole topped with cheese or in the traditional way with tomato sauce and meat. I’d love to start making our own pasta. It doesn’t seem to be so difficult anyways. If buying, chose pasta made from whole ingredients.
4. Spices. There are other ways to season food besides salt and pepper. In fact, many spices taste better than salt. Cayenne pepper, chili powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, thyme, oregano, ginger, and garlic powder are all useful tools in your flavor arsenal to give foods a fresh new taste. Also, small amounts of marine salt are good for our health. It’s a good idea to buy them in bulk and stock them for several months. Just check how much you can save by doing this. You can also try to buy in bulk with a friend and divide the costs.
5. Beans. They can top your salad (edamame), make an awesome dip (black beans), and go well with grilled foods (baked beans). They provide a good source of protein with very little fat. Beans are good in soups, stews, and over rice for a simple yet filling meal. Just don’t forget to soak your beans overnight before cooking. If grandmothers did it, there must be a good reason (in fact there is: nutrients are better absorbed this way.)
6. Fermented food. Almost every culture have their traditional fermented food. Fermentation is a preservation method that is actually good for our health. Try fermenting pastured fed milk into yogurt and it could be kept for over a week in the fridge. Fermented vegetables go great with meat, rice and even alone as an entrée. Most fermented vegetables get better with time, so you can stock them in glass jars for several months.
Do you have these staples in your kitchen? You may be able to come up with several others that will enhance your pantry and save money. Start with these and grow your own list of basic kitchen staples that are versatile, healthy, and economical. photo credit: star5112
Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions is a great source of traditional and fermented food recipes, as well as of information on good nutrition. Not to be missed.