Recipes

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OK, you can laugh.  Only if you’re laughing with me though!  You may be wondering why on earth I would do this.  Well, ever since we tried the ricemellow creme, I’ve been wondering if I could make marshmallows with brown rice syrup.  We really enjoy roasting marshmallows on a campfire when the weather is warm, and making s’mores.  However, I’m not crazy about the #1 ingredient being corn syrup.  Our organic market has some “gourmet” vegan vanilla marshmallows, but they still contain corn syrup (and they cost a small fortune).
I found this recipe, and snagged the brown rice syrup in the organic section of my grocery store for $5.49.
It says right on the package that it can be substituted for corn syrup.  It was awfully expensive, but homemade isn’t always about being frugal, sometimes it’s just about being better (or just having fun!)
The first time I use a new recipe, I like to follow it exactly, unless something really jumps out at me as being off.  I also didn’t want to screw up the recipe with the brown rice syrup!  So, I made the recipe with corn syrup first, just to see how it went.  I did have to use a few tablespoons of the brown rice syrup though, I didn’t have enough corn syrup.  I have no idea how old the stuff is, I can’t even remember what I used it for, LOL.
That’s the gelatin dissolving.  I used three packets but it wasn’t quite 2 1/2 tablespoons.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I dissolved the sugar, corn syrup/brown rice syrup, salt & water over low heat.  Don’t worry, that’s a heat resistant spatula!
After that, I brushed the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water, then cranked the heat up per the recipe. 
So, about following the recipe…I do not recommend jacking the heat up to high unless you want an epic (and I do mean EPIC) mess, despite yanking the pan off the burner at the first sign of boil over, LOL.
I have an induction cooktop, so it behaves more like a gas stove as far as responsiveness.  I bumped the heat to medium until the temp reached maybe 220 or so, and the liquid stayed low as it boiled.  When it hit 244, I pulled the pan off the burner, then put a bit in ice water to test.
I was able to form it into a pliable ball, so it was ready to go!
I slowly and very carefully poured the syrup into the gelatin already in the mixing bowl, while the mixer was running on its lowest speed.  Sorry, no photos, I probably would have needed an ER visit if I’d tried, ha ha.
The recipe said to whip it (whip it good!) for 15 minutes on high.  Since I have a pretty powerful mixer, I set the speed to 8.  Here it is after about 5 minutes.
After about 10 minutes:
By 10 minutes it was already getting too congealed to pour in the pan.  I should have stopped the mixer to check the consistency, but I didn’t.  After 15 minutes, I mixed in 1/2 tablespoon of double strength vanilla (so half the recommended amount.)  I made this change due to some of the reviews.  I felt this was still way too much vanilla flavor.  I would use just a touch next time.
While I was waiting, I put a ton of powdered sugar in an 8×8 pan (I wanted thicker marshmallows, so I didn’t use the pan size recommended).
I tried to spread the mixture in the pan, but it really didn’t work out.
I suppose it had cooled down too much, because there was no way that stuff was spreading!!  We tasted the goo that was left on the mixer attachment and it was delicious!
I topped the glop with a bunch more powdered sugar, and let it sit until the next day. 
I cut strips, then rectangular pieces with sharp, clean kitchen shears dipped in powdered sugar.
I sort of tapped each marshmallow in the excess powdered sugar, so they weren’t quite as sticky.
They are definitely not pretty!  Hubby and my daughter thought they were good; my daughter couldn’t get enough of them.  I wonder if the original recipe creator has lower quality vanilla because I thought even half the amount was too much.  What I really didn’t like was the texture.  I thought they were quite rubbery compared to Kraft marshmallows or my favorite, Campfire marshmallows.  I tried one again tonight, about 48 hours after making them, and the texture was much better.  More fluffy and less rubbery.
Believe it or not, I am going to do this again.  I’m going to use the brown rice syrup, maybe some cane sugar, keep the temp low when boiling, and check the consistency after only 5 minutes of whipping!

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I looked at yogurt makers a few years ago, but dismissed the idea because of the cost and space issue, as well as mixed reviews.  When I saw this blog post about making yogurt in your crock pot, I knew I had to try it.  We go through tons of the stuff.  We eat it plain, with a little fruit, or with a drizzle of agave nectar.  It’s the only thing my son will eat with gusto!

I am blessed to have a handful of stores near me with reasonable prices; I choked when I saw the comment that someone was paying $6.00 for a 6 pack of YoBaby?!  Eek!

Regular whole milk yogurt costs me about $3.69 for 32 oz, or 11 1/2 cents per ounce.  The brand of Greek yogurt I like (tastes the best, has the best texture and has the highest protein content) costs $1.79-$1.89 for a 7 oz container.  Well, that’s the price where I will buy it!  It’s over $2 many places.  That is 25 1/2-27 cents per ounce.

The cost to try making my own yogurt was $3.29 for the milk, plus the cost of 1/2 cup of yogurt.  I figured it didn’t hurt to try, and if it was a disaster, I was just out a few bucks.

I read through all 300something comments and got ready to try.  When it was suggested to get the freshest milk possible, I took that to heart.

Thanks ladies!

Sorry the pics aren’t that great, I forgot my camera & took these with my phone.

Just for cutes & awws, a calf less than a month old napping.

 

About 5 days old.

 

Saying hello!

Back at home, I got things ready.

Set my crock pot on low.

Ick, why do I not realize how dirty household objects are until I photograph them?

I poured the whole half gallon of milk in the crock pot.

Put the lid on, then set my timer for 2 1/2 hours.

When the timer went off, I unplugged the crock pot, leaving the lid on, and set the timer for 3 hours to allow the milk to cool somewhat.

When the 3 hours of cooling was up, I ladled out 2 cups of the warm milk, and measured out 1/2 cup of my starter yogurt.

Whisked together.

Poured the mixture back in the crock pot.

Stirred.

Then I put the lid back on.  Here’s where people seemed to run into problems.  You have to “incubate” the yogurt for about 8 hours, and you need to keep it warm in that time.  People wrapped the crock in towels, put it in the oven, put it in a warmed then turned off oven, put it in the oven with the light on, even put it on heating pads.

I had a ginormous insulated bag, so I put it in there, then left it on the counter!

It stayed in there, overnight, for about 10 hours.  I was anxious to see it in the morning!

Woo-hoo!  Yogurt!!

I spooned out two 1/2 cup portions and froze them, to use as starters for future batches.  Word is, you can only use a batch as starter maybe 5 times, before the bacteria lose potency…or something.

 Many comments said it was too thin, or thinner than store bought.  people were adding powdered milk, gelatin, pudding…mine was great.  I think it must have something to do with the temperature.  Mine seemed to be the same consistency as store bought.

Half, I put in a clean yogurt container.  Mine is on the left.

I thought the homemade yogurt tasted much more mild, almost sweet, compared to the store bought.  I was afraid it would end up too tart.  Next time, I think I will incubate it longer.  Maybe 12 hours.

I wanted to make some Greek yogurt with the other half, so I lined a strainer with opened coffee filters, then set it over a bowl.

 

Spooned the yogurt in.

 

I let it sit in the fridge for a few hours, until it seemed like most of the whey had drained, and the consistency was similar to Greek yogurt.

I got almost a cup and a half of whey!  I want to try to use it in pancakes.

 The consistency was great!

I dished it out into 4 servings of about 4 ounces each.

Yummy.

Just a little more mild/sweet than store bought.

The yield was about 32 ounces of regular yogurt and 16 ounces of Greek style (volume was reduced by about half by draining).

Cost of regular, about 5 cents per ounce.  Greek about 10.2 cents per ounce.  Much better than 11.5/25.5 cents per ounce for store bought.

I want to try 12 hours next time, and I also want to try with low fat milk.  I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to consume it all in the 7-10 days in which homemade yogurt is best, but it’s about half gone already in just one day. So, I may make myself a batch of low fat yogurt!  I think it’s safe to assume that the nutrition content is equal to that of it’s ingredients.  So around 160 calories/8g protein for 1 cup of regular or 1/2 cup of Greek made with whole milk and whole milk yogurt.

No preservatives, added sugar, processing etc.  Just deliciousness!

I also want to try draining some overnight to make yogurt cheese!

Let me know if you give this a try, it seems the key is keeping it warm overnight!

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