Much like Janet Jackson, I want to be the one in control – in control of the ingredients in my food, that is. Now, I am not going to claim we eat 100% organic. We go to restaurants, we eat what friends serve us for dinner, we buy snacks at the circus, and I love me a Diet Coke and a McDouble when the goin’ gets tough. But we try. And we fall off the healthy wagon and jump right back on again. However, nothing grinds my gears as much as thinking I am serving my family healthful foods only to find out they include harmful ingredients or are riddled with GMOs. If I want junk, I know where to find it and it shouldn’t be stocked in the friggin’ organic market. But it is and it’s hiding and that’s why I began to take a closer look at things we eat a lot of in our house and decided to make them myself.
I began by making my own yogurt because we eat a ton of it in my house, not only for a cup on the go, but also in the form of sauces, dips, smoothie additions, and mayo substitutions. I do have a yogurt maker, which is perfect for individual portions to throw in your lunch pail or to eat in the car, but we consume more yogurt than seven 4-ounce cups can handle. Instead, I make my yogurt in a good, old-fashioned, dented on one side, crockpot. Each batch yields about three full 16-ounce mason jars of yogurt and has two ingredients: milk and yogurt starter or organic yogurt. You can order yogurt starter online or you can begin with a plain, organic container of your own.
This is the simple recipe I follow:
Once you make your yogurt, you can have a field day with preparing all kinds of recipes, simple or complex. Here are a few ways I use the yogurt:
I begin filling the Baby Bullet Easy Pop Batch Tray with six plain yogurt bombs. Next, I puree whatever fresh or frozen fruits we have available in the Baby Bullet, then add four ounces of yogurt to every one ounce of fruit pureed and blend those together. You can add honey or sweetener of your choice if you would like, as homemade yogurt is traditionally a bit thinner and tarter than store-bought. I love it as is! I fill the remaining compartments of the Batch Tray with the fruit yogurt and freeze the whole thing. Pop out all twelve bombs and put in a freezer-safe container. You have frozen yogurt for smoothies or cooking and baking that will last up three months in the freezer. Divide some yogurt into Zipzicles (like Go-Gurts without the artificial colors, preservatives, and additives) or 4-ounce ounce mason jars and keep those in the fridge for single-serving portions for you and the kids.
Dips, Dressings and Sauces
You can also use yogurt for creating all kinds of dips, sauces and salad dressings. Buy these at the store and you usually pay a fortune for a treasure chest’s worth of harmful additives. Just whip up your own in seconds!
Yogurt cucumber dip: I love to put a cup of yogurt, two cloves of garlic, ½ cucumber, sea salt and a little pepper in the Baby Bullet and make a tzatziki dip for veggies, falafel or grilled chicken.
Ranch dressing: For an easy dressing, take ½ cup yogurt; ½ teaspoon of chives, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, spicy or Dijon mustard and vinegar or lemon juice and blend in the Baby Bullet.
Tandoori marinade: My husband is East Indian, so I have really embraced the complex and exquisitely spicy flavors of Indian cuisine, but I have not really mastered preparing his favorite dishes without a little help. I honestly buy tandoori paste from the East Indian market (you can find it at some grocery stores) and use my crockpot yogurt to complete the marinade. You can marinate everything from shrimp and chicken to tofu and legumes. Out of this world delicious and nutritious!