Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Easy Homemade Yogurt

No formal machine is needed to make yogurt at home.  I use a small cooler for incubating the milk, two mason jars, an instant read thermometer , a container of yogurt with ACTIVE yogurt cultures (I use plain or vanilla with the later giving a less acids taste to the batch), milk and a large bowl.

First:
Scald the things you are using with boiling water to kill any stray bacteria.

Second:
Get the milk ready.  You might want to make a quart to start with.  I make it two quarts at a time.

You can use fresh milk, dried milk, soy milk.  Anything you have.  If I use dried milk or soy I add some extra dried milk to the mix, about a half a cup for two quarts, to give it more thickness when done because I like the consistency of Greek yogurt.

Heat the milk up to 180 degrees.  I do mine in the microwave at 50%
power because you don't want it to boil over.  I don't like scrubbing scalded milk of the bottom of saucepan.

Cool the milk to 110 degrees.  This is IMPORTANT.  If you kill the active yogurt cultures it will not work.

Third:
Add the yogurt with ACTIVE cultures to the mason jar(s) and stir.  SLOWLY add the 110 degree milk, stirring constantly.  Put the lid(s) loosely on the jar(s).

Fourth:
Put the jars into a small picnic cooler.  Fill the chest with warm water up to the neck of the jar.  Place the cooler in a turned off oven to help retain the warmth.
Let incubate, without disturbing it, overnight or about 12 hours.

Refrigerate for up to 2 1/2 weeks.

Use as yogurt (add jam for fruit yogurt and to impart sweetness), sour cream, to replace buttermilk, in salad dressings.



Sunday, July 15, 2018

Buying and Eating: July 1-15

We started the month with an allocation of $369.00 and a cushion of $489.05 ytd and $872.64 in total.


What We Ate:  Jambalaya, fried green beans, cornbread muffins; homemade sausage, peppers and onion pizza; brats and pasta salad; scalloped potatoes and ham, cheese bread, three bean salad;  leftover smorgasbord;  deli sandwiches and pretzels;  chef salads and Italian cheese bread with raisin pie;  pasta with Serrano ham, edemame and creamy cheese sauce, watermelon, cheese bread and pie;  quinoa salad with egg salad wraps; grilled ham steak with pear jelly glaze, cauliflower with three cheese sauce, quinoa salad, watermelon; meat, bean and rice stack enchiladas with corn and watermelon;  ham and smoked turkey Stromboli with popcorn; pasta, salad and garlic bread


What We Bought:

Save A Lot:  spare ribs, hot dogs, olives, bbq sauce, peaches $ 14.41

Aldi:  onions, pretzels, colored peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, spring mix. $ 10.24

Save a Lot:  butter, cinnamon, baking powder.  (In the RV and forgot.) $ 5.18

Save a Lot:  T-bone steaks (3), peaches (3), plums (3), nectarines (3), orange mint thins. $ 16.03

Save a Lot:  Smith's bacon (12 pounds), olives. $30.04

Giant Eagle:   sea salt, yogurt ( starter to make a batch), McDonald's coffee frappe. $3.93

Total Groceries:  $49.83

Eating Out:
 Taco Bell on way to New York. $ 8.35
 Lunch in New York.  $ 12.85
Lunch going to New York. $10.15

Total Eating Out:  $31.35

Total for First Half of the Month:  $ 81.18

Remaining for the Second Half of the Month:  $288.82

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Slow Cooker Tea Cake


I wanted something special for breakfast.  But I wanted easy.  And since it's summer, I didn't want to heat up the kitchen more than necessary.  So in the afternoon I made a tea cake, literally.  It contains tea.

Mix together the following:

1 cup sugar, we found it to be over sweet so will cut the sugar next time
1 cup tea, I used orange spice but any tea would work
1 cup dried fruit such as raisins, I used dried cranberries.  Next time I'll try prunes
1 cup flour, I used whole wheat and upped the liquid some to compensate, I used orange juice but you could just use more tea to keep costs down
1 tsp baking powder

Cook for 1 1/2 hours in a container that fits into your slow cooker.  Cooking times will vary  with the type of slow cooker so add time as you need to.  Cook on high.  Put a tea towel under the lid to absorb condensation.


This is a very simple British  recipe updated to bake in the slow cooker.
I baked a treat without heating up the kitchen.  WIN!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Two More Inexpensive Vegetarian Meals

Bean and Rice Burritos:

Either cook up some beans from dry (cheaper) or drain and rinse canned beans, either pinto, kidney or black beans will work.

Mash the beans and season as you like.  I add cumin, garlic and onion powder, and chili powder.  If cooking from dry, add some salt.

Cook some white or brown rice. Feel free to cook more than you need and freeze the extra for quick future meals.

Season the rice with your favourite salsa.

Place beans and rice on a flour tortilla.

Add sour cream or Greek yogurt, chopped tomato and onion, lettuce, cheese or whatever you like.  Some more salsa is also good.

 Roll and enjoy.


Meatless Taco Soup:

Cooked or canned beans:  pinto, kidney, black or a combination.

Whole kernel corn.  Canned works well and is often cheaper.

Rotel tomatoes.

Tomato juice.

Chopped onion.

Spices such as garlic, cumin, chili powder.

Heat through slowly to blend flavors.

Crumbled corn tortilla chips on top when serving for garnish.

Some cheese is also good.





Friday, July 6, 2018

Five Ways I Saved Money in June

1.  We used points to pay for our Hotel rooms in both Amsterdam (x2) and Dresden.  As a very conservative estimate, that saved us over $300.

2.  Parking the car at a Park and Fly in Toronto that was running a special:  pay for a week, park for a month.  That saved us about $375.

3.  Shopping at local grocery stores in Dresden, Prague, Budapest and Amsterdam for most of our meals rather than paying restaurant prices.

4.  Drinking the free coffee on the boat rather than paying €4 for a cola.

5.  Downloading only the free books on Amazon.

An Extra:  We saved $48 in speciality food for our cat Max because we were willing to take food three days beyond its best by date.  It pays to use the same vet for 30 years.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Buying and Eating: End of June and Half Way Through the Year


I allotted $61.55for the last five days of the month  plus we have a cushion of $455.78 YTD and $839.37 in total.

What We Ate:
Grilled steak, rice, corn, strawberry shortcake (all from freezer);  black bean casserole, Mac and cheese with salsa,  lima beans and strawberry shortcake;  pasta with meat sauce (using meatloaf from freezer), garlic cheese bread, three bean salad, fruit salad and cookies;  Italian beef stir-fry and cranberry apple muffins;  homemade pizza with three cheeses,sausage, onion and peppers

Eating Out:
Aunt Millie's on trip home from Toronto  $14.22
Lunch with Bill and Ginger. $14.06
Total:  28.28

We were able to eat from the freezer and the cupboard so our only cost were two meals out for a total of $28.28.  That leaves $ 33.27 to add to the cushion.  So, our YTD  cushion is now $489.05 and our total cushion is now $ 872.64.

We are 181 days into the year and in total for groceries and meals out we have spent $ 1739.06.  That averages out to $9.66/day and $ 4.83/person/day.

So far this year we have spent $ 207.41 eating out or $1.15/day.
For groceries we have spent $ 8.51/ day or $ 4.25 /person/day.


Friday, June 29, 2018

Easy cranberry muffins

I can often get great deals on cereal at the salvage groceries.  Last month I got two boxes of Quaker Multigrain Flakes with cranberries and apple for $1.

I decided to use some to make some muffins.

I followed a muffin recipe from my very old Betty Crocker cookbook (40+years old), substituting the Wheaties called for with my Quaker flakes.

They were yummy for breakfast and would also go well with a light dinner or for a snack.

1 egg
1/2 cup milk  (I substituted orange juice)
1/4 cup oil
2 cups Quaker Multigrain Flakes with cranberries and Apple
handful of dried cranberries for fun (optional)
Mix above well and let sit for ten minutes or so

Add
1 cup flour
1/2 cup of sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
Mix well

Put into a greased muffin tin and bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes
Makes 12 muffins