January 8, 2019

Easy Homemade Yogurt - Instant Pot (Cold Start)


I'm here to profess my undying love for my Instant Pot.  I've made so many wonderful things with it, and it's hard to choose what has been my favorite so far.  Chicken that literally falls off the bone, pot roast that melts in your mouth, healthy bone broth, hearty soups, amazingly creamy yogurt... the list goes on and on.

Who knew homemade yogurt could be so easy and tasty to make!?  With the Instant Pot, there's no need to go through the tedious steps of heating the yogurt to 180, cooling it to 115 degrees, etc.  This is a cold start recipe, meaning you simply dump the cold ingredients into the pot, cover it, use the yogurt setting, and then chill it in the refrigerator!  I won't be using store-bought yogurt anymore!  I love the fact that I can control exactly what I put into my yogurt!

NOTES:

The Milk:  You need to use an ultra-pasteurized milk since you won't be heating the yogurt up to 180 degrees.  I use Fairlife Whole Milk.

The Starter:  If you're using store-bought yogurt, use yogurt that has live and active cultures in the ingredients.  Also, use a yogurt that you like the taste of on its own.  I used Fage 2% Greek yogurt for my very first batch.  If you're using some of your homemade yogurt as the starter, use it within 7 days of making it.

The Lid:  When making the yogurt, you will not be using any pressure, so you don't need to use the lid that comes with the Instant Pot.  The seal ring inside of the Instant Pot cover tends to smell like the meats that you've been cooking with in the past, even after washing it.  You do not want that smell or taste to come through in your yogurt!  For that reason, I cover my Instant Pot with a dinner plate with no problem.


Ingredients:
Yields 1/2 gallon


  • 1/2 gallon ultra-pasteurized milk (I used Fairlife whole milk)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (Optional, for sweetening)
  • 2 tbsp yogurt with live and active cultures
  • Optional:  Honey, granola, fresh or frozen fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, jello powder, etc., for flavoring 

Directions:

Pour the ultra-pasteurized milk, condensed milk, and yogurt starter into your Instant Pot.  Whisk well, until all of the ingredients are dissolved together.  

Cover your Instant Pot with a dinner plate.  Press the yogurt setting on your Instant Pot, which will process the yogurt for 8 hours.  

After the 8 hours are up, remove the dinner plate.  place a paper towel on top of the top (to help catch condensation while cooling), and put the dinner plate back on top.  

Cool in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.  When the yogurt is finished cooling, give the pot a good stir.  

Serve and enjoy with any toppings of your choice.  Store in covered, sanitized storage containers in the fridge.  Homemade yogurt is good for 2 weeks when stored in the refrigerator.  

Enjoy!

December 25, 2018

Crescent Breakfast Ring


Merry Christmas!!

This is a make-ahead breakfast that is just perfect for the holidays.  Think Thanksgiving morning, Christmas morning, New Year's morning, Easter morning, etc.  It's very versatile, so you can really add any ingredients that your family enjoys.  Assemble it the night before and pop it in the oven when you're ready to eat!  So simple and so tasty!  Oh, and the presentation isn't bad either, huh?!  Next time, I'll use ham or breakfast sausage in place of the bacon, as the bacon kind of gets lost in everything.


November 28, 2018

Zuppa Toscana (Instant Pot Recipe)


On Friday, I'll be 30 weeks pregnant!  There is 14 years' difference between my little sous chef and our little... oh!  I just realized that I never announced the baby's gender!  We're having a...


September 20, 2018

Baked Cheesy Pesto Chicken


In a few days, I'm going to hit the halfway point of my pregnancy, and I have been having some serious cravings!  Mostly good things like apples and grapes... some not-so-good things like chocolate milkshakes and fries.  Another weakness of mine recently has been pesto.  I could seriously slather that stuff on anything!  I decided to make a baked pesto chicken for dinner tonight and add some cheese and tomato freshly picked from my garden.  Oh, my goodness, was this fantastic!  If you're a pesto lover, this is a must make!  


August 20, 2018

Zucchini Crisp - Tastes Just Like Apples!


'Tis the season for zucchini!  As much as I love a good zucchini cake, after a while, I get tired of the same old zucchini desserts.  Enter Zucchini Crisp.  Shh!  Don't tell anyone, and I promise they'll never know that this crisp has zucchini in it.  It tastes just like apples and the consistency is just like apples, too!  Really?  Really!  My daughter, who HATES zucchini, gobbled it up and absolutely loved it.  Once I told her what was really in it, she had a complete look of disbelief on her face and said, "How did you get apple flavor inside the zucchini?"  She even continued to finish and have seconds after the secret was revealed to her.  Give it a try... you will not be disappointed!  

Notes:  If you use a very large zucchini from your garden, make sure to remove the seeds from it after you cut it lengthwise.  Small zucchini don't need to be seeded.


July 16, 2018

A Life Update...

If you happen to be wondering why you haven't heard from me for a while, it's for an important reason.  There have been some major changes in my family that have affected every facet of my life.  These changes have affected my marriage, my little sous chef, my church ministries, my family, my health, my job, it will affect my homeschooling, and it has even affect my gardening and other hobbies, too.  I recently found out that we're pregnant!  We are over the moon and cannot wait to meet our Valentine's Baby!  

It's been tough to hold down food the last several weeks, let alone cook, which is why I haven't been posting much.  Another recent, minor change is that I decided to stop the Keto diet, especially since crackers and cereal seem to be the only things that help with the nausea!  But I'm not complaining... looking on the bright side, it's only temporary, and it will all be worth it in the end!     

Anyway, I just wanted to jump on here and share the exciting life update with you guys!




May 30, 2018

Keto Cheddar & Broccoli Soup


We are officially through our home school year!  My, that went by quickly!  Now that it's summer break and I have a little extra time on my hands, I hope to post recipes more frequently than I have been.  

It's been four months since I started on the Keto diet.  I originally intended to use it as a tool to lose the extra weight that I put on over the winter months.  After losing the extra pounds, I decided that I'm actually going to stick with it.  It's hard to put into words exactly how, but I overall feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically while on this diet.  I feel like I have more clarity of mind, which is super important while home schooling... and working and adulting in general.  Don't get me wrong, though; I still have mom brain from time to time!  

This Keto Broccoli & Cheddar Soup came out fan-flippin'-tastic!  It's rich, creamy, and so delicious that it feels like I'm cheating on my diet while eating it!  This was my first time using xanthan gum as a thickening agent, and it worked like a charm!  


March 22, 2018

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Fat Bombs (Keto)


Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to a little gem that gets me through those times when I'm craving something sweet and naughty.  Ever heard of a fat bomb?  I hadn't until I started my Keto diet journey.  They sound kind of gross, don't they?  Actually, fat bombs are so high in fat and low in protein that they help your body burn more fat for fuel and stay in ketosis.  And when I say "fat," I'm talking about healthy fats.  Here's the homeschooling mom coming out... we need these healthy fats to help our bodies absorb fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, and K.  Thanks, Apologia science!  Anyway, back to the recipe.  These chocolate and peanut butter fat bombs are amazing!  1 gram of carbs never tasted so good!    

Notes:  The mixture will sweeten as it sets.  Carb count will vary depending on the size of your silicone molds.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  


March 14, 2018

Cheddar Cheese Taco Shells (Keto)


A few weeks ago, we had some wonderful teases of spring weather.  I was super excited to take my dog for a long walk and drink in the sun.  I got out some shorts and -- gasp!  Uncomfortably snug.  It was obvious that I packed on some winter bulk over the long, cold months while hibernating in my home.  I had been avoiding the scale... avoiding exercise... but not avoiding 1/2 price donuts.  Oh, glorious donuts, how I sought after thee.  *End sob story*

I decided to drastically cut carbs and sugar from my diet to kick-start some weight loss, and it's really been working quite well!  The first several days were very difficult, but now it's pretty much been smooth sailing!  I've been experimenting with all kinds of low-carb recipes, and I stumbled across this idea from Pinterest.  I honestly was debating on whether or not to post this because it's not technically a "recipe", but it's too good not to share!  It's also very easy.

Storage:  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  


January 22, 2018

Spicy Shrimp Sushi Stacks


The Eagles are going to the Super Bowl!!  That was a fantastic game!  There were so many moments last night, where my husband and I would look at each other in disbelief of what we were witnessing.   

What made the game even sweeter were these sushi stacks!  Don't let the picture fool you; these babies are a lot bigger than your average piece of sushi.  The ingredients are layered in a 1 cup measuring cup.  Perfectly seasoned sushi rice is topped with a cool, creamy, crunchy, avocado and cucumber layer, and then it's topped off with delectable, spicy, creamy, shrimp.  Delicious!  They are also very versatile.  You can swap out the shrimp with raw salmon, tuna, or cooked chicken.  My gears were turning as I was making these, and I've decided to make a buffalo chicken version for the Super Bowl, replacing the avocado mixture with a blue cheese and celery mixture and replacing the spicy shrimp with buffalo chicken!  

Note:  For an extra kick of heat, up the Sriracha to 1 tbsp.  


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