Saturday, June 20, 2009

Homemade Yogurt & Chocolate Sheet Cake

Some of this Jack's kitchen adventures/experiments have been low on the to-do-list (along with many other things...) but hopefully the kitchen is back to being inhabited a little more often

Normal store-bought yogurt, if you don't buy plain, is often:
1. full of slightly, if not highly, disturbing ingredients
2. way to sweet to choke down
3. more expensive than I'd like (free would be preferable)

As we happened to be fortunate enough to have a yogurt maker passed down to us, we made yogurt. Actually, Pete made the first batch while I was feeling sick and my mom and I made the second while Pete was working. The pictures are mostly products of the second batch


pretty much all you need ingredient-wise is milk (we used skim) and 2 T. yogurt (used as a starter)
We also added some non-fat powdered milk.
Here's the directions we used:

I have heard there are ways of using a crockpot to make yogurt although we haven't tried that, yet.

For eating purposes, it is rather bland by itself but delicious with honey.
I like berries on top too.

Secondly I made this for our church community group

those bumps on top are powdered sugar clumps (I hope!) that didn't quite make it. that was a sad misfortune and only so many could be picked out by a non-perfectionist youngest child (they probably taste real good that way anyways)

OK, honestly, I didn't even try this cake. I am not big on chocolate on chocolate with more chocolate, but some people are. I heard many good "reviews" and am inclined to believe them because I got the recipe from this super fun site which has a lot of yummy recipes on it. Maybe they also liked it because it has a lot of butter, sugar, and chocolate - also a possibility

Not the "healthiest" choice of baking but one should probably not bring whole wheat bran muffins when signed up for snacks - it just might not go over well

Saturday, June 13, 2009

beans, refried

OK, the sad part about this little bean story is that out of all the times I have made these the time I take pictures of the process they turn out to be my least favorite so far. Thankfully I believe I know why and can share that with you as well... alas.

Here's the Recipe
Starting off with "overnight" soaked pinto beans, add them to boiling water
with onions and garlic

A low effort way to peel garlic is to cut off the hard end, put them in a dishcloth and smash them against the counter.It works surprisingly well.
My thought is that a little older garlic works better than brand spanking fresh, but that is just a guess
simmer, simmer, simmer... the onions look different now

cook some onions in butter, add some seasonings...
(I use the same "big" pot for everything, I just transfer the cooked beans to
a bowl and then the vitamix to mash them)

And voila! You have yourself some homemade refried beans!

Now for the sad part. I used my vitamix too much, if that is possible... which apparently it is.
I "chopped" the onions in the said machine which, I believe, made them too runny and made the beans a little more oniony than I like. So the moral of the story is, chop, don't puree your onions! I think by cooking some more plain pinto beans (with salt) and adding them to my now frozen beans would solve the problem.

Notable Changes I made of the real recipe...
I used more beans than 1.25 cups because I think that is just too few!!
I didn't put cilantro in this batch, I didn't have any.
I have never used feta for garnish but that sounds interesting!

I like to use these refried beans (when they turn out less oniony!) for bean bowls:
layered- brown rice, beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and usually some salsa for good measure.
They really are good!