The Taste of Homemade Yogurt

Save money while giving yourself maximum flavor flexibility by making your own yogurt. Homemade yogurt is substantially less expensive than buying commercial yogurts and the process is surprisingly easy. In addition to being able to reap the nutritional benefits of eating yogurt by making it yourself, you also open the door to nearly endless ways to customize the flavor. Everything from the base you use to the ingredients you mix into it alters the way homemade yogurt tastes.

Changing the Base

The type of milk and yogurt culture has direct impact on the yogurt’s flavor. Although cow’s milk is among the most common animal milks used, goat and sheep milk also work. Sheep milk tends to have sweeter flavor, while goat milk has typically has a similar, creamy flavor that can taste slightly off unless it’s fresh. Nondairy milks such as coconut, almond or soy also work, each with its own flavor. If you decide to use dairy-free milk, alter the recipe by adding more sugar, thickening agents such as tapioca starch and extra time for the culturing process. Similarly, using a different type of yogurt cultures or starters can affect the flavor since the bacteria in the culture has different properties and interact differently with milk proteins.

Timing is Everything

After the yogurt has fermented for 10 to 12 hours, transfer it to a container and chill it for roughly 3 hours to let it thicken. Letting it ferment longer and storing it in the refrigerator for a few days yields yogurt with a tangier flavor. Timing is a critical factor in the tartness of your yogurt. If you prefer to eat mild, creamy yogurt that doesn’t have the characteristic tang of most commercial yogurts, eat it within one day of completing the culturing process.

Sweetening the Pot

Adding sweetness to your homemade yogurt complements and changes the flavor, depending on the sweetener that you choose. Since you’re making the yogurt, you’re also in complete control of the type and amount of sweeteners used in your dish. Options include granulated sugar, calorie-free sweeteners such as stevia, maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, fruit juice or jam. Additionally, baking extracts and flavorings such as almond, chocolate, coconut or vanilla can also alter the taste of your yogurt, giving you a myriad of flavor options.

Mixing It Up

Any sweet or savory item you choose to mix into your yogurt affects the overall taste. Keep it sweet by adding fresh fruit such as peaches, apples, berries, pineapple or mango. Switch it up and talk a walk on the savory side by mixing in cucumber, lemon juice, garlic and mint to make a tzatziki-inspired dip or sauce. Other savory mix-ins include kimchi, curry, or truffles. Additional options include fresh herbs such as lavender, thyme or basic or spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom.

Making a Yogurt Smoothie

Make a quick, healthy yogurt smoothie for breakfast or a mid-day refresher using a blender. Start with 1 cup of yogurt and your choice of fruit. Add other ingredients to create the taste, level of sweetness and texture you want. Make your smoothie personal; choose low- or no-fat yogurt, sugar or alternative sweetener, one fruit or several, and additional ingredients that add more flavor, texture or health benefits.

Materials

  • 1 cup plain yogurt, low- or non-fat
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries or other fruit
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 orange
  • ¼-cup non-fat milk
  • 1- to 3-single-serving packets of sugar substitute

Methods

  • Spoon the cup of yogurt into the blender.
  • Wash the strawberries, remove the stems and leaves, and cut each strawberry in half. Add the strawberries to the blender.
  • Peel the banana and cut it in thick slices. The banana adds more nutrients and helps to thicken the smoothie. Add the banana slices to the blender.
  • Wash the orange, cut it in half, and use a knife or spoon to remove the pulp. Add the orange to the blender.
  • Add ¼ cup milk to the blender.
  • Puree the fruit and yogurt mixture in the blender for about 30 seconds or until the smoothie is thick and smooth.
  • For a sweeter smoothie, add 1or more packets of sugar substitute or add the sweetener to single servings.
  • Pour the yogurt smoothie into glasses, garnish with fruit and serve immediately.

Single-Serving Smoothie

Use the regular-size blender or a personal hand-held mixer to make a single serving of the yogurt smoothie. Reduce the yogurt to 1/3 to 1/2 cup of yogurt. Add 1/3 cup of fruit, 3 tablespoons milk or juice, and blend. Add more milk or juice to thin the smoothie or a few banana slices to thicken it and add more flavor. If preferred, use a sweetener.

Variations

  • Use plain non-fat Greek yogurt for double the protein of regular nonfat yogurt.
  • Substitute the milk you prefer, such as soy or almond, or use ¼ cup of apple or orange juice instead.
  • Use different kinds of fruit — peaches, berries, citrus, coconut and mangoes — to make a different yogurt smoothie each day or to make personal smoothies for each family member.
  • Make it a green yogurt smoothie by adding fresh spinach with the fruit. Add other vegetables, such as carrots or uncooked yellow squash.

Tips

  • Smoothies will become thinner if refrigerated. Try pureeing the mixture again to thicken.
  • Use a drop of flavoring, such as vanilla extract, to enhance the flavor of the smoothie.
  • Use honey as a sweetener or start with vanilla yogurt.

Greek Yogurt and Save Money

While different in appearance, texture and flavor, Greek yogurt is made up of the exact same ingredients as the traditional style. Essentially a concentrated form of plain yogurt, Greek yogurt is thicker, dryer and more nutritious. Since Greek yogurt requires more milk to make the final product, the price tends to be higher as a result. Make your own Greek yogurt to save money on your weekly grocery expenses. Homemade yogurt has a sweet, creamy taste and allows you to control the thickness of the final product.

Materials

  • Saucepan
  • 1 qt. whole milk
  • Thermometer
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • Thermos
  • Towel
  • Sieve
  • Coffee filters
  • Mixing bowl

Methods

  • Pour 1 qt. whole milk in a saucepan. Put the pan on the stove at medium-high heat and bring the milk to a boil.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Monitor the temperature of the milk with a thermometer. Reduce the heat to 110 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Whisk ½ cup of yogurt into the heated milk, or use a packet of active yogurt cultures.
  • Pour the yogurt mixture into a thermos and wrap it with a towel. Put the thermos in a sunny location to keep the temperature near 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the thermos to sit undisturbed until the yogurt thickens, between six and 10 hours.
  • Line a sieve with coffee filters. Put the sieve inside a mixing bowl. The bottom of the sieve must be suspended at least 1 inch above the bottom of the mixing bowl.
  • Pour the yogurt into the sieve and leave it in the refrigerator overnight, up to 12 hours. Whey – the liquid portion of yogurt – strains through and leaves a thick, creamy Greek yogurt.
  • Test the yogurt. If the yogurt is too thick for your tastes, mix in a spoonful of the strained whey at a time until it reaches the desired results.

Smoothie Recipe for Clear Skin

A nutrition-dense diet abundant in fresh, organic, antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits does more than make you feel good, it helps you look good too with healthy, glowing skin. The following smoothie recipe includes five taste-pleasing ingredients that provide plenty of skin-healing vitamins, antioxidants and other essential nutrients.

Materials

This recipe makes about 30 ounces or two smoothie servings. To experience maximum benefits, it should be consumed immediately, so half the recipe sufficient for one person.

  • Blender
  • Knife
  • Glasses
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 2 oranges
  • Half a banana
  • Half a can of coconut juice/water (about 5 ounces)
  • A pinch of cinnamon (optional)

Benefits

Cucumber is very hydrating due to the high water content (up to 95%), and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Carrots provide high amounts of vitamins and phytonutrients, such as lutein and lycopene. Studies have shown that lycopene and β-Carotene (a Vitamin A derivate, abundant in carrots) increase the body’s defenses against UV damage, therefore protecting the skin against sunburn.

Banana tastes great in a smoothie, but it also contains vitamins and flavonoids, which have antioxidant effects.

Coconut water is a great source of vitamins B and C, which are a powerful antioxidants and promote repairing of the skin. The tropical water also provides cytokinin, a class of phytohormones that have showed significant anti-aging properties.

Oranges add vitamin C. Vitamin C deficiency has been associated with impaired collagen synthesis, and therefore loss of skin elasticity and the formation of wrinkles.

Instructions

Wash the fruits and vegetables and peel the carrots, oranges and bananas. Cut them into small chunks and combine them in your blender with the coconut water and cinnamon, if desired. Process the smoothie until it reaches your desired consistency, and serve it immediately.

Don’t Forget to Chew!

You may be tempted to simply drink your smoothie. However, you should chew it as if you were eating it, or at least swish it around your mouth to let it mix with your saliva before you swallow. Chewing releases an enzyme called ptyalin (a form of amylase) that helps digest carbohydrates and proteins.

Best Foods To Eat To Lose Weight: Have Your Juice And Drink It Too

Fruit juice (orange, apple, grape, etc.) is a drink that people automatically believe is healthy, simply because it comes from fruit. This is especially true when the label reads “100% real fruit juice” or made from “natural” or “organic” ingredients. Unfortunately, juice is not part of a healthy diet unless you freshly squeeze it. When possible, it’s even better to blend it in a juicer with the skin included. (the skin is usually where most of the fiber is stored).

The primary problem with store-bought juices is that they are loaded with sugar. And sugar should be your number one enemy – to be avoided whenever possible. It does terrible things to your body and can cause long-term negative health effects.

Now, you may be thinking that whole fruit also contains large amounts of sugar. And you would be right. But whole fruit is also packed with vitamins and fiber. And those important elements are lost during the juice production process.

There are many drinks on the market today that are advertised as being fortified with vitamins and minerals. However, these are usually synthetic variations of the real thing. And believe it or not, your body can actually tell the difference. Often, your body will reject (not absorb) the synthetic vitamins and minerals and simply pass them through as waste. To get the full effect from the vitamins and minerals, they must be obtained from natural sources.

So if you must have your juice and drink it too, I suggest that you get a good quality juicer. There’s an endless variety of juice combinations that you make.And if needed, there are certainly recipes available. These drinks can be incredibly healthy, energizing and delicious.

Be careful, though, not to overindulge. You still have to watch your sugar intake – even from natural sources. It’s a good idea, particularly with children, to cut your juice 50/50 with water. You can also mix in some vegetables for a nutrition boost (also a sneaky way to get more vegetables in your children’s diet).

Food And Drink To Combat Stress

Are you stressed out? Are you running on empty? Do you skip meals simply because you never seem to have enough hours in the day to sit down and refuel? If you’ve answered yes to all three questions, the chances are you’re already trapped in a vicious circle of unremitting stress. You may also be relying upon a diet that lacks the types of foods that can actually reduce your stress levels. The fact of the matter is that certain foods can bolster the immune system and act as great stress-busters. And the good news is that simply increasing one’s intake of such food items can have a marked effect on how we cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life.

So, which foods have the thumbs up as stress-busters? Opt for foods containing: Polyunsaturated Fats (Omega-3 Fatty Acids) Foods containing polyunsaturated fats help reduce the risk of heart disease, a condition associated with stress. Oily fish, such as mackerel and tuna, are excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) Pantothenic Acid (B5), often dubbed the “anti-stress” vitamin can be found in a wide range of food items including beef, pork, liver, kidneys, fish, fresh vegetables, nuts, whole wheat and rye flour and brewer’s yeast. Dandelion leaves are also a good source of Pantothenic Acid!Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Vitamin C, arguably the single most important anti-stress nutrient, is vital for boosting the immune system. Now, stress is known to deplete the body of this essential vitamin. Fresh fruits, vegetables, (particularly broccoli and new potatoes, cooked in their skins) and fresh herbs are all high in Vitamin C.Calcium Calcium is essential for nerve transmission as well as the proper functioning of the heart. And, apart from its various other functions, such as helping the body absorb iron and magnesium, more effectively, calcium has also been shown to aid relaxation and to reduce tension in the body. Good sources of calcium include milk, cheese and yogurt.

Magnesium

Magnesium acts as a natural tranquilizer. This important mineral can be found in meats, cereals, dairy products, shell fish such as shrimps, fruits, vegetables (particularly spinach and pumpkin), nuts including almonds and cashews, soy beans and, would you believe it, even in chocolate!

Potassium

Potassium is important for the physiological functions of the body that affect stress levels. Foods high in potassium include meats, vegetables, fruits, cereals and milk.Another essential mineral that can help reduce tension in the body, zinc can be found in a number of food items such as beef, chicken, sardines and oysters.Iron plays a vital role in the functioning of the nerves and muscles, which, in turn, have a direct impact on how the body copes with stress. Sources of iron include red meats, fish, poultry, cereals, green leaf vegetables, wholemeal bread and egg yolk.

And finally…what to drink (and what not to drink) in order to De-stress…The irony is that when we’re stressed, tired, and tensions are running high, we tend to over-indulge in alcohol and caffeine which, as we all know, only serves to crank up our stress levels! We’d be better off substituting that extra cup of caffeine-laden tea or coffee with natural fruit or vegetable juices, or even a soothing banana “smoothie” or a glass of calcium-fortified soya milk. Herbal teas, such as camomile or dandelion can have an immediate calming effect, in times of stress. And, there’s no harm in a glass or two of wine (preferably red and organically produced) provided, of course, that we imbibe in moderation.The old adage that “we are what we eat” is certainly true, today. Indeed, research has shown that there is a direct link between what we eat (and drink!) and how we handle stress and the continuous demands placed upon by our increasingly busy lifestyles.

Beat the Heat, Eat and Drink – The Top Six Water-Rich Foods

Six of Nature’s Highest-Hydration Foods It is well-known that our bodies can get by without food for extended periods, but without water, we can face the most drastic of consequences within a few days. Our bodies are made up of 65-70 percent water and continuing to hydrate can be challenging for many people.

Using nature’s fruits to flavor water is one great way to make drinking water more appealing, as well as thirst quenching. All of those wonderful electrolytes that are touted in sugary, artificial “sports drinks” can be obtained through lemons, limes, and oranges! Imagine that!! So start slicing those beautiful citrus jewels – they are also full of vitamin C and aid in digestion – great side benefits we could all use! The body’s need for water is often taken for granted. If you wait until you feel thirsty, you are already in a state of dehydration. This means we have to replenish our bodily water constantly – so keep that pitcher in the fridge nice and full, with your water bottle close by and refill, refill, refill!While essential to staying hydrated, drinking the recommended minimum 8 glasses of water a day isn’t the only way to get all our water requirements. It’s also important to consume foods that are high in water content to regulate metabolism, circulation, and vital biological systems. Smoothies are a quick and delicious way to get the best of both worlds. All of the foods listed below can be used in tasty and nourishing smoothies.Six of the Top Water-Rich Foods

Comprised of 96% water, eating a cucumber is like drinking a three-ounce glass of water, only better. It contains key nutrients that can boost health. Cucumbers counteract toxins, cleanse the blood, and are high in electrolytes and potassium. Potassium and sodium work together to maintain fluid levels in the body. This helps regulate circulation and heartbeat.

Watermelon

Watermelon is 95 percent water and rich in vitamin C as well as being a thirst-quenching summer treat. Its health properties include being mildly diuretic so it is helpful for edema, bladder and kidney problems and flushing toxins from the body. It has even been used to treat depression.

Lettuce

Lettuces are roughly 94 to 95% water and are highly refreshing and high in hydration. Lettuce contains fiber, chlorophyll, cellulose and minerals. It is a good source of Vitamin A and potassium–and remember, the greener the lettuce leaves the more phytochemicals and minerals they contain.At 95% water content, pineapple is very effective in neutralizing summer heat. Pineapple also contains bromelain, which increases digestion, and destroys many parasites. Pineapple has properties that are anti-inflammatory and is especially helpful with intestinal distress. It is delightfully sweet and very thirst quenching. Pineapple is used in Chinese medicine to treat sunstroke, indigestion, anorexia, diarrhea and edema.

Tomato

An important and delicious food, tomatoes contain 94 % water and are rich in the antioxidant: lycopene. Studies show that lycopenes reduced risk of many cancers. Tomato builds the blood, helps the liver and relieves high blood pressure. The tomato alkalinizes the blood and is therefore is useful for acid conditions. Whether you use them in a salad or sauteed with onions and your favorite greens in a breakfast omelette, tomatoes are a super food – and in season this month here in the northeast! Nature’s sweet candy for sure so pop some cherry tomatoes in your mouth today! Surely a kid favorite snack too!Blueberries contain up to 95% water and are rich in many phytochemicals and antioxidants. Blueberries are helpful in renewal of liver cells and because of their high content in Reservation they can be helpful in anti-aging, skin regeneration and healing. It is said that eating a cup of blueberries a day helps improve memory function!! While they are in season, buy in abundance – they freeze great for breakfast smoothies!

These delicious and naturally healing foods can be used in simple dishes or combined with other healthy foods into gourmet recipes. The creative opportunities for incorporating these foods are limitless,Diane Hoch, CHC, founded The Food Evolution in 2010, and is currently its CEO. Diane is passionate about healthy eating, delicious meal creating and furthering a new, Eco-conscious food system. She is a crusader for better school food and is actively committed to nutrition education for children and their parents.

The Food Evolution is Nutrition & Cooking center in Bardonia, NY that helps educate individuals and families in healthful eating and meal preparation. The Center is dedicated to fostering the peaceful progress of food evolution on our planet.

Without Eating Or Drinking We’d All Die – How to Write Articles on Food and Drink

Live Long and Prosper,” Spock said. This is decent advice, and there is an old saying from the Viking days, it goes something like this; “Be Well, Live Well, and Live Longest,” which is also good advice. But today, I’d like to talk to you about some advice that many people feel very dear to their heart. Most people want to live healthy, drink good wine, and eat great meals.

What more could you ask for?

In the United States of America we have a solid middle-class, and as people reach the top of the middle class and start bumping up against the upper class, their priorities change. They wish to dine at the best restaurants, and enjoy themselves with the best wine. Who can blame them right? Indeed this is all true.

The interesting thing about all this is that provides an excellent opportunity for online article authors who wish to write about this topic. It’s amazing how many people read restaurant reviews, and how many people go online to learn information about their favorite wines, or to learn trivia facts about where the wine was grown, in which vineyard it came from, and in which year it was produced.

If you enjoy such topics, you will be amazed how many readers will flock to your articles. Over the years, I’ve written nearly 70 articles on this topic, and I am always amazed at the amount of traffic they get, and some of the e-mail feedback that comes my way. It’s almost as if the Internet readers can’t get enough of this type of content. If you are going to write articles on food and drink, I have some advice for you.

First, you must consider who your audience is. And you must write it from their perspective. People are interested not only in the food, but the dining experience. When talking about recipes and specialty dishes they are interested in ingredients, the brands, the flavor, the spices, and all the potential substitutes.

When talking about wine, people are interested in every single aspect, of each bottle. Do not spare any details, these readers want it all, and they want it now, so give it to them and enjoy the traffic that it brings your website. Please consider all this.

Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank. Lance Winslow believes you should call for reservations in advance on your new T Phone.

Note: All of Lance Winslow’s articles are written by him, not by Automated Software, any Computer Program, or Artificially Intelligent Software. None of his articles are outsourced, PLR Content or written by ghost writers. Lance Winslow believes those who use these strategies lack integrity and mislead the reader. Indeed, those who use such cheating tools, crutches, and tricks of the trade may even be breaking the law by misleading the consumer and misrepresenting themselves in online marketing, which he finds completely unacceptable.

Food and Drinks are Social Pleasures

Two of the things in this life that none of us can do without are food and drinks. We must have food and drinks to survive but they also play a major role in our social lives. Interactions such as family gatherings, dating, or just sitting down with a friend for a drink or a cup of coffee. And how many business deals, both large and small, have been consummated over a lunch or dinner? The answer is “countless.” Restaurants provide the ambiance for social gatherings and business meetings. After all, a great many of our parents had their first date in a restaurant, and got to know each other over food and drinks. Had they not done so, then some of us might not be here today.

In the different countries all over the world, with all of our cultural differences, food and drinks are what bring people together. In Hawaii they have the Luau, Germany has Oktoberfest, Russia has Easter Feast, Mexico has Cinco de Mayo, and your own home town has the police officers at the donut shop. Imagine what life would be like if we ate just because we had to. There would be no festivals, no galas, and very few social gatherings. Of course, we would still see the police officers at the donut shop because…..well , just because.

Let’s face it. We just love to eat. We have taken great pains to insure that our food will always taste scrumptious, and is readily available. Gourmet food is a good example. We can even buy gourmet food gift baskets. And take it from one who knows, they are a special treat. As a matter of fact, getting a food gift basket for someone is a good idea. Come to think of it, getting one for yourself could be an even better one.

Being a RitzyShopper you have at your fingertips restaurants, gourmet food, food gift baskets, and drinks such as wine and tea. Take a peek and let your appetite guide you.

By the way, I just couldn’t resist kidding the police just a little bit. I have a police officer in the family and have a great deal of respect for the people who put their lives on the line everyday so I can sit here and write this article. Thank you.

The Sweetest Foods

The pursuit of sweetness, says the Harvard School of Public Health in 2014, is one of the defining characteristics of modern gastronomy. The main culprit in the pursuit of sweet is sugar, which is often consumed in alarming quantities. While plain sugar clearly announces itself, other foods can hoodwink the innocent consumer, even masquerading as healthy low-fat dining alternatives.

Wicked Nougat

As Healthaliciousness confirms, at the top of the pyramid of foods containing sugar is nougat, to the point that this delicious candy is effectively sugar. First developed as an aristocratic luxury in 15th century Italy, the tough but brittle candy bar can comprise up to 83 percent sugar. The saving grace is the addition of pistachio or other nuts for a cursory flash of protein. Today, nougat — or one of its variants — is a worldwide delicacy, consumed across Europe and the Middle East, and forms the basis of several candy bars.

Dried Fruit

Despite their wholesome image and near-stratospheric approval ratings among the healthy living community, many fruits are little more than appealingly packaged sugar. Once those fruits are dried, the sweetness becomes even more concentrated. The Food Doctor advises cutting them out completely to restore the blood’s sugar balance. Dried mango, for example, is the worst offender, at 73 percent sugar, as measured by the founders of the Paleo Diet. The good news, though, is that the natural sugar in fruit is fructose, which is absorbed quickly into the body without causing a spike in blood sugar levels. Avoid the dried fruit brands that add sugar, and the benefits of dried fruit should still outweigh the fructose load.

Cookies and Candy

Cookies and cakes get a deservedly bad rap when it comes to sweetness. While some cakes and cookies come within acceptable limits, macaroons push them with abandon. These dainty delights, made from whisked egg whites and sugar, contain up to 71 percent of the latter. Again, Italian gastronomy is the culprit for this nefarious delicacy, particularly the delectable amaretti, which is flavored with almonds. Connoisseurs of Indian sweets are familiar with gulab jamun, deep fried dough balls steeped in sugar syrup. Peda incorporate thickened milk into the equation. Packing over 80 calories per piece, these festive candies are, as the Huffington Post notes, overwhelmingly sweet to the Western palate.

Natural Supersweeteners

Certain plants and roots from around the globe contain proteins that can be up to 2,000 times sweeter than sucrose. The Sweetener Book chronicles, for example, that licorice root is 50 times sweeter than sucrose and has long served as a natural sweetener in the Middle East and Mediterranean. West Africa’s katemfe fruit contains thaumatin, a protein that is 2,000 times sweeter than sucrose. The sweetness is extracted from the pod membrane and is used to perk up palm wine and cornbread. Other super-sweet naturally occurring plants include monk fruit of Southeast Asia and the stevia plant of Paraguay, whose leaves are used by the Guarani in their cooking.