Recent Pains + Recent Gains = Pretty Sweet Life.

Of the things that I hate in life, messing up something I’ve prepared for myself (or others…but mostly myself) to eat probably makes the top 5.

So imagine my level of saddness when these beautiful beans:
OK… maybe they’re not that beautiful
Turned into this:
after roasting. They look sort of alright at first glance, but some of them were sour (ewwww) and I ended up tossing the whole batch for fear of eating another sour green bean. This has never happened to me.
Have you ever eaten a sour green bean?

Fortunately, the dish that I made with it turned out great! (Still enjoying it as leftovers)
Looks plain, but tastes great! And it’s quick and easy! (Recipe soon)
The other recent pain happened yesterday during an awesome Quick Cardio class at my Y. Yesterday I was so excited to be able to go to my favorite combo of Quick Cardio + Power Yoga with this really awesome instructor. Quick Cardio is basically 30 minutes of high intensity cardio – running, jumping, shuffling, leaps, etc. It’s quite fun but also quite intense. (And I’m sure you all know what Power Yoga is)
Well, in Quick Cardio, I’m working hard and feeling pretty awesome (we had these run-across-the-floor things and I beat my group a couple times) when all of a sudden I get the most-killer-cramp-I-have-ever-gotten-in-my-life. The right side of my insides seized up into the worst-pain-I-have-ever-felt-from-an-exercise-cramp.
this was in my side
Normally, I’m the type to just run through cramps until they go away, but I felt completely incapacitated by this cramp. I’m pretty sure I made a face of excruciating pain as I grabbed my side and stopped because another lady in the class instructed me to go get water haha So after guzzling down the full 20oz of my water, the cramp subsided but the class was over : (
Have you ever gotten a cramp from hell such as this one?

Luckily the awesomeness soon followed this cramp set-back. Two nights ago, I made my usual plain yogurt. As I had told you all before, I have started to use pectin (the no-sugar-needed kind) to thicken my yogurt and upped the milk fat to 2% in an effort to make a more creamy yogurt that won’t turn into liquid. And finally (FINALLY!!!) I was successful. So, if you want to make your own thick-and-creamy yogurt that tastes just like Stonyfield Farms follow these steps:
Homemade Yogurt Recipe (Makes 6 cups)
1. Heat 6 cups of 2% milk on the stove over medium heat until it reaches 180˚F, or until it’s hot and bubbling but not boiling.
2. Meanwhile, place 1 tablespoon of no-sugar-necessary pectin in your blender.
3. Once the milk is at the necessary temperature, pour about 1 cup of it into the blender with the pectin and pour the rest into your storage container. Blend on low until mixed and pour into the container with the rest of your milk, scraping the sides into the milk.
4. Cover and allow the milk temperature to drop between 110˚F and 120˚F, or until it’s still hot but you could leave your (very clean) finger in it without burning you.
5. With a bowl, scoop out about a cup of the milk. Add 3/4 cup of your favorite brand of Whole Milk Plain Yogurt (I used Stonyfield Farm). The end product will taste most-similar to whatever yogurt you use. Stir well and pour back into your container.
6. Cover with 2 dish cloths and allow to sit for 7 hours on the warmest part of your counter without disturbing it.
7. Refrigerate after 7 hours and serve when cold!
You will get this:
Blurry picture, but can you see how globular and non-liquid it is?!?!
I used it in my cocoa-peanut flour-cereal-stevia-yogurt concoction:
It tasted just like Stonyfield Farm Low Fat Yogurt!
OK so real quick (gotta make it to the gym before work!) the other awesome gain in my life is this:
Fresh, home-grown Romaine Lettuce!

My mom made a garden this year, and this is its first yield! I’ve been using it in my salads mixed with other stuff so that it lasts longer. I’m looking forward to enjoying (and posting about) all sorts of goodies from her garden this Summer! 😀

The End.

The Long-Awaited, Much-Talked-About Yogurt Post

I love plain yogurt. I eat plain yogurt… everyday. And I really try to only eat organic animal products. So, at $3.50 per 32 oz organic yogurt container, my habit gets pretty expensive. (4 servings per container = 1.75 containers per week= $6.13/week) So in order to cut down on this cost, I started making it myself!

First off, let me say that this process is easy! All you need is about 15-20 minutes of active time, 1 hour of cooling time, and then 7 hours of sitting time.
Ingredients
– 6 cups 1% organic Milk
– ½ cup nonfat powdered milk (note: this is an optional ingredient that thickens your yogurt, especially when you use milk with lower percentages of milk fat)
– ¾ cup plain organic whole milk yogurt
Directions
1. Heat 6 cups of milk in a large saucepan over medium heat. If you have a thermometer, heat it until it reaches 175˚F. If you do not have a thermometer, heat it until it’s hot and giving off a good amount of steam but not yet boiling. (Think extra-hot latte)
2. While the milk is heating, place the ½ cup powdered milk in a 2 quart Pyrex dish (or whatever container you plan on storing the yogurt in)
3. Once the milk is heated, pour it over the powdered milk in the storage dish and stir to combine. Cover. Allow milk to cool at room temperature until it is between 110˚F and 120˚F. If you do not have a thermometer, let it cool until it hot to touch but you can leave your (clean) finger in it without feeling burned.
4. Once this temperature is achieved (usually after about an hour), mix in about ¾ cup of plain organic whole milk yogurt. Replace cover, and wrap in two dishtowels. Allow to sit at room temperature without being disturbed for 7 hours.
Voila! You’ve made your own batch of plain yogurt! Just refrigerate and serve!
When you uncover your yogurt, it should look nice and thick. To maintain the thickness, I try to pour off any liquid that may be sitting on top of the yogurt each time I scoop some out.
You can play around with different brands of yogurt, milk percentages, and powder amounts to achieve your desired consistency and flavor.