Sunday, January 17, 2010

EASY Homemade Yogurt

What you will need:

Large pot used to heat 1 gallon of milk (sterilize by first boiling water with a lid on, then empty)

4 quart jars that have been pre-sterilized by dipping to boiling water and emptied

1 gallon of organic milk (preferred)

1/2 cup of fresh PLAIN yogurt Unflavored and unsweetened.


In your pot, you will scald the milk on medium heat just until the milk is hot enough to form small bubbles (do not let boil).

Then let the milk cool to a warm temperature that is no longer hot to the touch.

Add the yogurt to the milk and stir completely, making sure there are no clumps and the yogurt/milk is evenly mixed.

Pour into the jars and seal with the lid. (It is not necessary to get a "seal", in fact you can use other containers, but the jars work nicely and you can use them over and over)

Turn oven to 300 for 1-2 minutes then turn OFF.

Place the jars in the oven, close the door and leave undisturbed for 8-12 hours.

Remove the jars from the oven and refrigerate. Keep the lids on till you are ready to eat your homemade yogurt.

Your yogurt will keep for several weeks due to the natural preservative of the cultures in the milk.

Now you are ready to enjoy. Try adding in a little vanilla and agave nectar to sweeten, or some fresh berries. This is fantastic when added to your smoothies or granola.

Fun Dehydrator Yogurt Rollup Recipe:

Mix your homemade yogurt with your favorite purred fruit. If the substance seems too thin, you can mix in small amounts of ground chia to obtain the desired consistency that is spreadable.

Use your Excalibur dehydrator and cover each tray being used with a paraflexx sheet.

With yogurt at room temperature, empty approximately 1 1/2 - 2 cups of yogurt onto each sheet.

With a spatula smooth the yogurt onto the sheets leaving approximately 1 inch on the sides.

Dry at 110F for approximately 8 hours. When dried, yogurt will be shiny and non-sticky when lightly touched.

Cut to desired sizes, cover each with plastic wrap, roll up and store. You can also use cookie cutters to create fun shapes

Running low on yogurt?

Save a cup of your plain yogurt to start your next batch.

You now will never need to buy yogurt again!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Almond milk cost comparison

I wanted to find out how economical it is to make my own almond milk, which I have been doing over the last year, though I didn't really know how much it was costing me. I was pleasantly surprised.

Raw Almonds - $4.00 per lb (this is VERY affordable - could cost more depending on where you buy them)

1 lb = 5 cups of sprouted/soaked almonds (just more than 5 cups actually)

Making sprouted almond “mylk” (see recipe):

1 cup of sprouted almonds

4 cups of water

16 Cups = 1 gallon

1 lb of almonds make approximately 1 ½ gallons of almond milk (Or 6 quarts)

The cost is approximately $2.66 per gallon of milk using 4 cups water, 1 cup almonds.

Less water makes a creamier milk, more water could be added to make a consistency more of that of skim milk.

Then it depends on what you can purchase your raw almonds for. I still have about 20 lbs for $4 per lb.

$2.66 per gallon is much less than organic milk, but nutritionally speaking, they are much closer than pasteurized milk that has other ingredients that are not considered healthy.

You can even reduce this cost more by making a mixture of 1/2 almond milk, and 1/2 rice milk. You'd make brown rice and then blend it with water using the same recipe as for the almond milk, just using rice instead of almonds. Not 'as' healthy, but still better than consuming cows milk in any form.

If you are interested in the almonds, give me a call at 623-332-2262 or email

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Group Buy Order Extra Items

I received an extra large shipment of group buy items and have extras that I can now break down into smaller orders (for those who did not want 25# of something).

Here is what I have left as of 1-31-10:

Olive Oil: Extra Virgin – $27 ea gallon – I have 1 gallon tin left

Coconut: Shredded, Organic – $1.85 per lb – I have 1.5 lbs

VitaMineral Green: $52 ea – (17.6 oz.) I have 5 bottles left

Walnuts, raw: $4.00 per lb – I have 24 lbs

Chia Seeds: Raw, Hulled (sproutable) – $5.50 per lb I have 4 lbs

I'm out of the raw almonds

I can break these down into any weight (1 lb minimums each please) and will be available for pickup in (Arizona) either Gilbert (Country Club/Baseline), or in the Buckeye area which ever is most convenient.

I can also ship to any U.S. location.

Flat rate shipping costs:

  • Medium Flat Rate Box $10.70 13-5/8" x 11-7/8" x 3-3/8" or 11" x 8-1/2" x 5-1/2" (fits approx 11 lbs)
  • Large Flat Rate Box $14.50 12" x 12" x 6" - (Fits no more than 17 lbs)

Arrives in 2-3 business days

Please contact me by either email at or call me at 623-332-2262

I will update this page with what is available as it changes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Egg Marketing - What’s in the Label?

“Free Range,” “Cage Free,” “Organic”…what does it all mean? Marketing labels are perhaps the most confusing part of this whole “eating healthy” game - and they are MEANT to be confusing - well... it is at least meant to make us believe we are getting something much more healthy than the egg with NO label. Marketing is very tricky and it makes me mad! So what do the various terms you see on the packages mean?

  • Conventional (i.e., no special label) - Typically less than half a square foot of space per hen, giving not even enough room to spread their wings. These chickens do not ever see the light of day, eat a blade of grass and are fed the cheapest food. The lack of nutrition in their diet has prompted the egg producers to add ingredients to their feed that will color the egg yolk to a darker yellow/orange. If they did not do this, the yolks would be very very light yellow, closer to clear.

  • Cage Free - Just as it says..., the hens are able to move about inside a barn without being confined to cages. They can also be fed the same as the conventional chicken above!

  • Free Range - "Implies" chickens feed on lush green pastures. Actually, it is not a regulated term for eggs so this can be used by absolutely anyone. Really all that’s needed is a door to the outside that gives the chickens “access” to an outdoor area, whether they actually use it or not. This is a meaningless term.

  • Organic - This means the hens were fed organic feed, (grown without commercial fertilizers or pesticides), and not given hormones or antibiotics or fed animal byproducts. Federal regulations state that they must have access to the outdoors, shade, shelter, exercise areas, fresh air, and direct sunlight suitable to the species, its stage of production, the climate, and the environment.

  • Vegetarian - The hen is fed a vegetarian feed (not fed animal by-products which is offensive to some people). Chickens need protein in their diet and they are naturally omnivores, not vegetarians, and will naturally eat bugs, grubs, etc. This term is used to imply “healthier” in our anti-meat culture.

  • Pastured - This is the one most people ‘think’ the above mean - Pastured means the chickens were raised on pasture, with access to the sun, grass, bugs, and possibly supplemented with grains and other feed. Chickens are very social animals. Pastured chickens get the opportunity to run around, dust bathe, socialize, spread their wings, scratch in the dirt for bugs and worms, eat grass, weeds, bits of dirt (which they need and is natural for them).

Sometimes there is a combination of labels. If you are able to find “Pastured AND Organic”, then you would know you are getting the best eggs (from a store).

How can you be sure you are getting what you really want? Consider raising a few chickens of your own. You might be surprised how many people are doing it. I personally have three that I raised from chicks (photos below). I have a family of four (on most days – I have step children on the weekends), and I get approximately 18 eggs per week from my ‘girls’ – that is plenty for us (I actually have to give many away). I KNOW what they eat (grass, weeds, bugs, grains, sprouted wheat, and occasional leftovers – they will eat anything – one of mine actually caught a little lizard and gobbled it right up – this is all part of their natural diet) I also know where they live – they have a coop, but get free run of my backyard most of the time. I have NEVER seen nor eaten eggs that were as rich in flavor and color. There are many websites that support this growing trend. Check out This is a fun site with photos of coops, tips, lots of information and photos.

I'd like to hear from those of you who have raised a few (or want to) and what your experience is with the difference in quality of the eggs.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Is Your Desire to Eat Heathy Causing Relationship Stress?

This may be getting personal, but it is on my mind. I wondered if anyone else out there is experiencing a strained relationship because you want to eat healthy, but the other person doesn't. For the last 2 months or so, I have been more and more committed to eating healthy. I eat very little meat, we focus the larger part of meals on vegetables and salads, the smaller portion of the meal is meat and other side dishes. My husband, in my case, has loved all the things I have been making. I have made him some of the things he loves and tried to add balance. I have been very cautious about not trying to tell him what he needs to eat, etc... but for some reason, he is viewing my desire to fix healthy foods for me and my family as "fanatical". I can now see that he resents this new lifestyle I am sharing with my family, and it is causing some pretty big arguments. I have a 2 and 3 year old at home and I feel responsible for teaching them how to eat right. I was amazed tonight at dinner when my 2 year old asked for MORE salad. This salad has spinach, lettuce, carrot, tomato, cucumber, mushrooms, and celery in it and she ate it all and wanted more! I felt like this was a positive turning point in our diet at home. It has taken her awhile to accept that she will have salad at just about every meal. She is actually beginning to LIKE it and is finally eating tomotos and mushrooms! I felt proud! :) My husband on the other hand, while he likes salad and eats it, he feels that the kids should be able to eat whatever they want. My response was that it is my responsibility as the mom to teach them to eat well. I buy the food and I cook the food, so I will cook them what I think will be best. He can choose to participate, or he can make something else. I wasn't trying to be rude or anything, but just stating what the situation is. I work full time, he works full time, so it isn't like I have to be the one who does all the cooking. So after all this complaining (thanks for letting me vent) I'm truly at a loss of what to do. He is resenting the "healthy food" approach and feels I'm being too restrictive with the kids. I'm so bummed because I truly thought he'd see it as a loving and positive thing I am trying to do. I don't think I'm willing to make two separate meals, so I'd like to hear from anyone who has dealt with this and provide any helpful tips. I could use it.

I love these whole grain blender pancakes

I was enjoying my Veteran's Day off at home with my girls and they wanted pancakes for breakfast. It isn't something we do often here, but today, their wish came true. This recipe turns out so fluffy and good. The girls (2 and 3) kept eating and eating them. (OK - so did I)

Whole Grain Blender Pancakes

You don't need a fancy blender for this recipe, nor do you need a grain grinder. Just put whole grains right in your blender with liquid (and other ingredients) and "Walla". Pancakes with the taste of freshly ground wheat (or other grain). Delicious. Place the following in your blender:

1 cup of whole grains
(wheat, buckwheat, brown rice, oats, include a tablespoon of flax if you have it, quinoa, barley, amaranth, kamut, millet - whatever you have or like, use it! Just use one cup total of whatever grains you like.)

1 cup of almond milk (or any kind of milk)

Blend on high speed for 2 full minutes (will take only 1 minute in your
Blendtec blender)

3/4 more cup of milk and blend 2 more minutes

(depending on the type of grain you used, you may need a little more or less liquid)


2 eggs - best if organic, free range
1/3 cup olive or coconut oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon & nutmeg each
1TBS. agave nectar (or honey)
Blend well. Can store in refrigerator over night.
Just before cooking, add: 1 TBS. baking powder - Blend in gently
Pour onto heated and greased griddle.


Options: Fold in 1/2 cup of blueberries before cooking and/or your favorite nuts. Or, top with sliced bananas and chopped walnuts. Or top with sliced strawberries and whipped topping. Try spreading on your favorite jam. These are delicious!You can use whole wheat flour as well. Use 1 1/2 cups of flour if pre-ground.

Friday, November 6, 2009

See What's in My Dehydrator Today

Today I decided to make a few things. I recently bought a huge box each, of pears and apples. The apples will last longer, but the pears are starting to get soft. They are perfect to eat right now, but I can't eat the whole box. So, I'm making some fruit leather and dried fruit. I have a 9 tray Excalibur dehydrator. It's great because it has a timer, so I can set it for up to 26 hours if I need to, and a temparature control (very important) Foods need to be dried under 118 to retain the natural enzymes. I did 4 trays of fruit leather. 2 were peach/pear which I pureed in my Blendtec Blender. I had some frozen peaches and I thought the combination would be tasty. Then I made some strawberry/pear (used frozen strawberries from costco), and then just apples with some cinnamon sprinkled in the blender. The other 5 trays are just rings of apples and pears.

I can't believe how sweet they are. No sweetener added! Once the fruit dries, the natural sugars are concentrated into a much smaller peice than what you start with. Now I don't have to worry about the pears going bad. These will last for years now - well they will probably go much quicker in this house. The girls LOVED them! I kept catching them sneaking another fruit roll up. They are only 2 and 3 years old. At least all it is is pure fruit - a mother can only smile at that! :)

Fruit Leather:

Select ripe or slightly overripe (but not spoiling) produce that blends and tastes well together. (Strawberries and rhubarb, or bananas and pineapple make great combinations.) Wash, remove any blemishes, stems or pits and peel produce, if desired. (Keep in mind produce skins are highly nutritious). Puree the produce in a blender until it is smooth.

Pour 1½ to 2 cups of puree on to a ParaFlexx™ sheet or parchment paper covered trays. Since the edges tend to dry more rapidly, the poured puree should be 1/8" thick at the center and 1/4" thick at the edges. Place the prepared puree in the dehydrator with the temperature set at 135ºF. Average drying time for leathers is 4 to 6 hours. When the leather has dried, it will be a bit shiny and non-sticky to the touch. Allow the leather to cool and peel it from the tray. Roll it into a tight cylindrical shape. A piece of plastic wrap, measured to fit the length and width, is then tightly wrapped around the leather.

See my website for more info on my favorite kitchen tools that make this a cinch!