Category Archives: Snack

EASY Homemade Yogurt

This is probably the coolest thing I have ever done with my slow cooker! Yes, that is right, I made yogurt in my slow cooker. I am so excited to tell everyone about this!

I found the recipe at A Year of Slow Cooking. It is a blog documenting a woman’s challenge to use her slow cooker everyday for a year. I think this is the coolest thing ever, since we are all so busy and rarely ever have time to cook good family meals. Plus, the slow cooker is much cheaper to run than an over – it only costs about 2 cents per hour!

Now, on the yogurt, The recipe is for whole milk (AKA vitamin D milk, which by the way has no more vitamin D in it than regular milk) but anyone who knows me knows that I would probably never even consider of purchasing whole milk. At the end of the recipe, Stephanie (the author of the blog mentioned above) mentions you can use unflavored gelatin with a lower fat milk. She also mentions you can strain runny yogurt with a cheesecloth or coffee filters. We had skim milk in the house (of course) so despite all of the warnings on her website about using whole milk for your first time, I decided I try the recipe with skim milk and unflavored gelatin.

The result was a little runny, so I let it sit overnight in a colander lined with coffee filters that I put into a big bowl. If you do this you want to make sure that the colander is not touching the bottom of the bowl – if it is, the liquid won’t be able to go anywhere! If the colander is too big for the bowl, your yogurt may strain into your refrigerator; you could place the colander on a smaller bowl and then place all of this into a larger bowl to catch any extra liquid.

I did loose about 1-2 cups of liquid, so the skim milk version does not make all 8 cups. If you really wanted to stick to skim milk, you could add some powdered milk and/or more gelatin to the recipe. This should help thicken the liquid up.Regardless, this is WAY cheaper than purchasing yogurt at the store. We buy 32oz plain yogurt tubs at Aldi’s for $1.60, which is an amazing deal (it would be $3 or so at Jewel Osco). We buy 1 gallon of milk for $1.89 at Aldis and the gelatin was about 25 cents a packet. Basically, we got about 2 tubs of yogurt for $1.15. I am going to try this with 2% milk next time; I think it will get a much higher yield.


  • 4-6 qt crock pot
  • 8 cups (half-gallon) of milk
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 bath towels

  1. Turn your crockpot on low and add the milk. Cover and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours.
  2. Unplug the crockpot after the 2 1/2 hours and let sit for 3 hours.
  3. Remove 2 cups of milk from the crockpot and replace the lid. Pour the milk into a bowl and add 1 packet of unflavored gelatin (if using low-fat milk) and 1/2 cup yogurt. Whisk well and pour back into crock pot. Whisk everything in the crockpot well and replace the lid.
  4. Cover the crockpot with towels. Let stand 8-9 hours.
  5. If the yogurt is runny, line a colander with coffee filters or a cheesecloth. Place this into a bowl or pot so that the calendar is not touching the bottom. Scoop the yogurt onto the filters. Let stand in the refrigerator until it reaches the desired consistency. The yogurt closest to the filters will be thicker than the yogurt on top, so you can mix it together for an intermediate consistency.
  6. Scoop into containers and store in the refrigerator for 7-10 days. Reserve 1/4 cup for your next batch.

Baking Biscotti for the Centennial Post

I can’t believe it, but this is my 100th post. Prior to this I had thought I fell off the wagon when it came to posting, but now I realize that 100 posts in a little over a year isn’t too shabby. Jason is at work tonight, so I will have to save the celebrating for our weekend camping 🙂

Lately on “Everybody Loves Raymond” Marie has been talking about biscotti. I have never made biscotti and I am not really sure why. It seems simple enough – bake the cookie twice instead of once – but for some reason the thought has never crossed my mind. With camping tomorrow and all of this talk about biscotti, I decided we could use a little treat for the trip and what better than a dessert that is already hard and doesn’t need to be refrigerated? We are even bringing a french press with us to make coffee, so we can have our own little French cafe in the woods.

Chocolate Biscotti with Almonds
(adapted from multiple recipes)

– 1/2 cup butter, soft at room temperature
– 1 cup sugar
– 2 eggs
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 1 1/4 cup white flour
– 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
– 1/3 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 cup slivered almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg and vanilla. Beat well.
3. In a small bowl add the remaining ingredients and mix well with a whisk.
4. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix again until smooth. The dough will be sticky.
5. Split the dough in half and place it on the parchment paper. Form the dough into a log about 12 inches long. Press down so the dough is about 1 1/2 inches thick.
6. Repeat with the remaining dough. Leave at least 2 inches between the logs (I did not and mine started to touch while baking).
7. Bake for 25 minutes. I recommend checking them at 20 minutes first. They are done once the middle is firm and the tops are starting to crack.
8. Remove from over and place parchment paper with logs on a cooling rack. Cool for 10 minutes.
9. Line the baking sheet with a new piece of parchment paper. Slice the logs into 1 inch pieces with a serrated knife and place the cut side down onto the sheet (see photo). Repeat until all of the pieces are cut.
10. Bake for 7 minutes on each cut-side to harden up the biscotti.
11. Remove from the oven. Let cool and store in an air-tight container (after enjoying one, of course).

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Posted by on August 14, 2009 in Cookie, Desserts, Snack


Chewy Granola Bars

Last year around this time in August Jason and I went camping at Perrot State Park in Trempealeau, Wisconsin (near La Crosse). Just behind our campsite was the Great River State Trail which is part of the Bike 4 Trails that spans for 101 miles across western Wisconsin. We bike about 75 miles during our trip but I would like to go back and do the entire trail (202 miles from bottom to top and back). Jason’s mom came prepared with homemade granola bars which were perfect for our days out biking.

This year we are camping at Kettle Moraine State Forest with our friends Kathryn and Brandon. The trip is this weekend already! I plan to take some pictures and will likely post some here.

Homemade Granola Bars
Recipe from Nora Stiff

– ½ cup rice syrup (you could substitute honey, corn syrup, or maple syrup if you don’t have rice syrup)
– ½ cup sugar
– ¼ cup molasses
– ¼ cup honey
– ½ cup peanut butter
– 1 tsp vanilla
– Dash of cinnamon
– ¼ flax seed
– 2 ½ cup oatmeal
– 2 ½ cup rice kipsies (I used a mixture of rice krispies, cherrios, and corn flakes)
– 1 cup raisins

1. Heat first 7 ingredients until melted and boil for 1 minute
2. Mix cereals and raisins together. Pour hot mixture over the top and stir.
3. Press into a 13×9 pan and cool. I lined the pan with wax paper and then used wax paper to press the bars down. This seemed to work well, but is not necessary.
4. Cut into bars. Store in an air-tight container.

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Posted by on August 12, 2009 in Breakfast, Grains, Snack


Bread, Cheese, and Wine

Flat Bread (from “The Best of Cooking Light: Everyday Favorites”
– 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
– 1 cup warm water (100-110F)
– 1 package dry yeast
– 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
– salt
– garlic powder

1. Combine whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup water, and yeast in a dish and let stand 10 minutes.
2. Combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and reamining water into a bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir until dough forms. Knead dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes, adding the reaminnig all-purpose flour as needed.
3. Place dough in an oil-greased bowl, cover with a dish towel, and place in the oven (or any other draft-free location) to let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
4. When dough is done, remove from the oven and prehead over to 450F.
5. Punch down dough and let rest 5 minutes. Divide in half and roll each into the desired shape.
6. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Bake for 10 minute, or until crisp. Serve with cheese spread, or top with marinated vegetables.

Herbed Cream Cheese Spread

– 1 packaged of neufchatel cheese
– 1 tbsp minced garlic
– 2 tbsp minced basil
– 1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes

1. In a food processor blend all of the ingredients together. If the mixture is too thick, add a splash of olive oil.


– Your choice of wine (I chose my favorite: Sauvingon Blanc)

1. Pour into a tall glass and enjoy

*Blacksmith Inn on the Shore is where Jason and I spent a few days of our honeymoon. It is located in Door County, Wisconsin and is probably the cutest place I have ever been. I highly recommend it.

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Posted by on August 4, 2009 in Bread, Snack, Spread



Plums and Mangoes

Bing Cherries

Veggie Packs

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Posted by on August 2, 2009 in Fruit, Snack, Vegetarian


Homemade Crackers

Yes, that is right, homemade crackers. At first, I too was in disbelief that crackers could come from anywhere but a box. Then I looked at the recipe and thought, “of course, crackers are basically just wheat, water, oil, and salt; why did I not think of this before?” 
At my bridal shower my mother-in-law gave me all 
kinds of cooking items, one of which was a jar of lecithin. I had never used lecithin before, but it is
 similar to an egg. It’s job is to emulsify, which is bind water-soluble things to fat-soluble things, to prevent separation. I did not use the lecithin for a year. I had kept meaning to try this recipe for the entire time, but it kept getting pushed aside by whatever food I was in the mood to bake at the time. I am very glad I decided to try the recipe, because the crackers are great. Jason likes them too, so I happy that I now have a new homemade snack. 

There are basic steps to follow for all variations of crackers. I made two different kinds and plan to experiment with seasonings, herbs, and different grains.

  1. Heat oven to 350F
  2. Combine dry ingredients
  3. Combine water, oil, honey, and lecithin.
  4. Stir dry ingredients into went ingredients to make a cohesive ball.
  5. Coat large baking sheet with lecithin or cooking spray.
  6. Pat dough out to shape of pan.
  7. Roll to 1/8” thick.
  8. Score with a knife to desired shapes.
  9. Bake for 5 minutes* before removing from the pan

*bake time will change with variations

Oatmeal Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup oatmeal, blended to resemble a coarse oat flour
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 5 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp lecithin
*Bake for 12 minutes instead of 5 minutes

Cornmeal Ingredients

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp lecithin
  • 3 ounces shard cheddar, grated (considered a wet ingredient for directions)
*Bake for 20 minutes instead of 5 minutes

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Posted by on March 12, 2009 in Grains, Snack


Back with Berry Scones

I know, I know…I have been MIA for the past 2 months! What happened, right? I am not sure what it was, but I had no desire to blog. While I was cooking, most of the items were nothing exceptionally special, so that in combination with a lack of desire to blog led to a uneventful blog. However, I have had a new burst of blogging and cooking energy, so hopefully I will stick with it for awhile. I just got a new cookbook last week – The Best of Cooking Light, Everyday Favorites. It is nothing short of amazing. While I do have many amazing food blogs I follow, there is just something about a book that you can hold onto and flip through to find a what to make for dinner. I am guessing a lot of me recipes will be coming from this book, or my recently renewed subscription of the magazine. I love cooking light because the food tastes good and is good for you. One of their goals is to make food we love to eat healthier without losing all of the flavor. Well, they succeeded with these scones! You could use any frozen fruit you want. I chose a mixture of strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries, because that is what I had on hand. Enjoy with a big cup of coffee 🙂

Berry Scones

(Slightly modified from the best of Cooking Light everyday favorites)


·         ½ cup skim milk

·         1/8 cup granulated sugar

·         1/8 cup brown sugar

·         2 tsp lemon juice

·         1 tsp vanilla extract

·         1 large egg

·         1 cup all-purpose flour

·         1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

·         1 tbsp baking powder

·         ½ tsp salt

·         3 tbsp chilled butter, cut into small pieces

1 ½ cup frozen berries

·         ¼ cup slivered almonds

·         Cooking Spray

·         1 large egg white

·         2 tbsp granulated sugar


1.       Preheat oven to 375F and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray

2.       Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk.

3.       Combine flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and mix well. Cut in butter with a pastry blender, 2 knives, or your hands until a coarse meal is formed. Add berries and almonds and stir well.

4.       Add the milk mixture to the berry-flour mixture and stir until the dough is just moist – it will be sticky!

5.       Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface. With flour on your hands, pat into an 8-10 inch circle. Cut into about 12 wedges. With floured hands, transfer each wedge to the baking pan.

6.       Coat the dough with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.

7.       Bake for 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

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Posted by on February 19, 2009 in Breakfast, Snack