Tag Archives: DIY

Delicious Ways To Enjoy Homemade Yogurt

Homemade Yogurt via SweetRevelations

Remember a while back, I shared with you my recipe for DIY Homemade Yogurt?  I couldn’t believe then, how simple the process was, and how much I loved the idea of making this creamy, tangy staple for my family.  I’ve pretty much got the process down to a fine science now, making it faithfully every Sunday evening before bed, and waking up to the magic of fermentation each Monday morning.  If you’re making it too, you might find that you end up with more yogurt than you know what to do with, so I’m sharing with you some of the ways we enjoy this 2 ingredient gem.

1. For Breakfast

Use it in smoothies or smoothie bowls, with overnight oats, or on its own with nuts and honey or a swirl of jam.  Figs, honey and pistachios are my current morning favourite.   If you process your yogurt in small jars, breakfast to go is made even easier.

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2.  Frozen Yogurt

One of my most loved uses for extra yogurt.  There are endless options for Homemade Frozen Yogurt that don’t require an ice cream maker and you get the added pleasure of knowing exactly what ingredients are in there.  Here’s one of our summertime, or anytime, favourites.  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Frozen Yogurt.  You’re welcome.

Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt via SweetRevelations

3.  Cakes and Breads

If you’ve made and drained homemade yogurt, the remaining whey (the leftover liquid) can be used instead of water in bread making recipes.  Yogurt is also an easy substitution, cup for cup, for sour cream in most cake recipes.  This Blueberry Buckle Coffee Cake from King Arthur Flour, is one of our family favourites (I use 1/2 cup of yogurt and 1/4 cup milk in the batter).

Blueberry Coffee Cake made with Homemade Yogurt via SweetRevelations

4.  Yogurt Cheese {Labneh}

When you drain yogurt overnight or for several hours, the result is yogurt cheese.  It’s thick and tangy and has almost the consistency of cream cheese.  You can add fresh herbs and seasonings to flavor this easy spreadable cheese or eat it plain.  It’s delectable when spread on Rye Crisps with apple slices and pumpkin seeds (a drizzle of honey is super too!).

Homemade Yogurt via SweetRevelations

5.  Fast Dessert

Did dinner company arrive at the last minute?   You can throw together a super quick Eton Mess in no time flat.  Mix some thickened homemade yogurt with macerated strawberries (or strawberry sauce) and crushed meringue nests.  Layer in a dessert glass with fresh berries and cream.

Homemade Yogurt via SweetRevelations

Now that I’m using my own yogurt I don’t think I’ll ever go back to store-bought again.  I have the comfort of knowing exactly what’s in it and I can flavor it to my own liking.   I’m curious to know, do you make your own yogurt?  Is it something you might be willing to try?

Happy baking friends,

Renee

xo

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Filed under Breakfast, Cake, Extra Special, Ice Cream, Tutorial

Easy Pie Crust Recipe ~ For Perfect Pie Every Time! Featured Post

I am ecstatic that my Easy Pie Crust Recipe is being featured today at the fabulous online magazine Hello Creative Family!
 HCFfeature

 

If you haven’t checked them out, you must!  Crystal and Karen, from Hello Creative Family,  have created the go-to resource for parents looking to ignite their creative passion with simple, everyday and back-to-basics projects.   Their motto is all about living the handmade, homemade and heart-made lifestyle so parents can raise their children in a creative home. You’ll truly be inspired!

So follow this link (here), pay them a visit, and leave me some comment love over there too!

Happy pie making friends,

Renee

xo

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Frozen Yogurt

Remember when I last showed you my recipe for DIY Homemade Yogurt?  I’ve been using it in everything.  My overnight oats, smoothies, dips.  It’s seriously the bees knees with just a teaspoon of raspberry jam stirred in.

Recently I made some homemade frozen yogurt with it.  Insanely good Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Frozen Yogurt.   Did you hear that my little peanut butter loving minions?

Honestly, its peanut butter insanity.

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With two cups of homemade yogurt and low-fat milk in the ingredients, my family is so busy high fiving me about it, they have no idea that it’s not really that bad for them.   Using healthier ingredients, has cut down on added sugars significantly, has added more proteins, and the taste is full on peanut butter and chocolate.  It’s a sweet, cool down treat, that we can all enjoy and not feel so guilty about.

icecreamsweetrevelations

 

Initially, when my yogurt making obsession began, my family kind of teased me about it.  There goes mom again, with a science experiment in the oven.  But they’ve seen the benefits from my yogurt persistence.  It’s creamy and smooth just like any premium store-bought brand.  I’m confidant my foray into homemade frozen yogurt has completely won them over.

And listen, I have a house full of teenagers, so winning them over can be very, very difficult.

icecreamsweetrevelations

 

It’s super fast to make and requires no special equipment.   The yogurt freezes in as little as 6 hours.  If you made this in the morning, you could easily be licking a double scoop by dinnertime.  It really is that simple.

 

icecreamsweetrevelations

I hope you are having a wonderful, double scoop frozen yogurt kinda summer wherever you are!

Renee

xo

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Frozen Yogurt

*adapted from Martha Stewart

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (low fat)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 cups plain homemade yogurt or plain Greek style yogurt
  • 1 cup milk (low fat)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 cup chocolate chunks, mini peanut butter cups or chocolate buttons (optional)

1.  In a large bowl with a mixer, beat the condensed milk, peanut butter, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Add in yogurt, milk, and cocoa powder and mix until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl to completely combine.  Stir in the chocolate chunks.  Leave the yogurt in the mixing bowl and freeze, removing from the freezer and beating once every hour (for about 30 seconds), for a total of 3 hours.  Transfer to a container and freeze until firm and scoopable, about 2 more hours.  If left for longer than 6 hours in the freezer, it will need a few minutes to soften on the counter before scooping.

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DIY Homemade Yogurt

I have made an insane amount of Homemade Yogurt in the last while.  I didn’t realize until recently just how simple the process really is and how amazing the results can be.   I’m pretty late to this party because people have been making this for years and years.  It honestly never occurred to me and now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t try it sooner. Much like making my own breads, the satisfaction that comes from making my own yogurt is the same.    It’s essentially 5 steps: scald, cool, starter, incubate, refrigerate.

The very best part of the process is that all of the work is done while we’re in bed, with no special equipment.  In the evening, I scald some cream and milk, add some organic natural yogurt as a “starter” and wake up to a full jar of creamy yogurt.  It’s left in the oven all night to incubate and become thick and creamy and tangy.  I’ve been enjoying it late in the morning for a snack with some homemade granola and a drizzle of Date Syrup that a student made for me.

homemadeyogurt

The Date Syrup is a coveted jar because she took the time to write down her mom’s recipe, which is fairly detailed, and includes soaking the dates and boiling them down into a thick syrup.  This girl is a wonderful young lady, who I know is going to change with world.  She told me it’s a Middle Eastern tradition to eat it for breakfast drizzled atop Tahini with some bread for dipping.  It makes a lovely sweetener substitute and tastes divine when stirred into some homemade yogurt in the morning.   It adds just enough sweetness, without hiding the rich, tang of the yogurt.

DIYyogurt

 

In the morning, I take the jar out of the oven and put it in the refrigerator to continue to firm up.  After an hour or two, I drain it in cheesecloth until nice and thick, which is exactly how Greek Yogurt is made.  Sometimes I can’t wait and choose to eat it warm and slightly thinner with some fresh fruit puree stirred in.   It’s absolutely heavenly.  If I drain it for quite a while I’m left with a tangy yogurt cheese (also called Labneh), which has the same consistency as cream cheese and is outstanding when spread on rye crisps.  Who knew there were so many options!

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My first attempt to make it was a complete disaster, and it never set up properly.  But, I’m nothing if not persistent and I tried again until I was happy with the results.  Fresh dairy is key and I’m an advocate for using premium local dairy when I can.  It just tastes better and it’s better for my family and my community.  I use Organic Whole Milk and sometimes, when I have some left over, I use cream to make it just a little more decadent.

 

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The hands on prep time is about 30 minutes.   The longer it’s left to incubate, the tangier it is.   Be prepared because this doesn’t have the store-bought added sweetener taste that you might be used to.  It’s slightly tangy and any sweetness is added by you.  Try honey or agave.  Use fresh seasonal fruit.  Stir in some lemon curd (insanely good) or jam.  Make frozen yogurt.  Stay tuned because I made the most sensational Eton Mess with it that I’m going to share soon!

The possibilities are endless.  Just try it!   I urge you to try it.  If you’re a yogurt loving family like we are this is a win-win situation.

Happy Summer Everyone!

Renee

 

 

Homemade Yogurt

  • 4 cups Whole Organic Milk (or sometimes I sub in one cup of cream for the milk)
  • 1/4 cup Organic Plain Yogurt with Active Cultures (a MUST)

 

1.  Fill a quart sized mason jar half way with boiling water and cover lightly with the lid.  Set aside while you do the rest of the prep.  Turn the oven light on.

2.  In a large pan, heat the milk to 190° on medium heat.  This might take some time but avoids burnt milk at the bottom of the pot.  I find that if I take my time bringing the milk to temperature, my yogurt is not grainy.  Whisk often as the milk is heating.  Once to temperature, remove from heat and let milk rest until it comes down to 120°.   You can set the pot in a few inches of cold water in the sink and whisk continually to help the temp come down faster if you’re pressed for time.  Whisk in the yogurt.  Whisk well to spread all of those active cultures around.

3.  Empty the water from the mason jar and pour the milk mixture in.  Cover with the lid.  I like to wrap the jar in a towel at this point.  Place the jar in the oven with the oven light on.  Leave overnight- some have results in as little as five hours but I prefer the overnight method.  In the morning transfer the yogurt to smaller containers if desired and refrigerate.  It will firm up more in the refrigerator.  If you like really thick yogurt, strain it in some cheesecloth that is suspended from a deep bowl (in the refrigerator).  The yogurt will become thicker after an hour or so but leave it until it reaches your desired consistency.  Leave it overnight for some Yogurt Cheese.  Refrigerate the yogurt as you normally would.

Note:  1.  Keep a 1/4 of yogurt from your new batch to use as a starter for your next batch!

2.  No worries if there is a clear liquid on top.  That’s pure whey and is excellent when substituted for water in bread making.  Refrigerate it and use it in smoothies.   Some swear by watering their plants with it too.

3.  Sometimes I don’t even bother with the mason jar.   I have used the blue pottery bowl you see in the pictures with a smaller plate placed on top.  The results have always been excellent!

jarofcream

 

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Extra Special, Sauces and Syrups, Tutorial

Brownie Bottom Speckled Egg Easter Ice Cream Cake

Happy Monday friends!  Today was the first day back to work after our March Break.  Nine days off to sleep in, read great novels, recipe test and repeat!  While we didn’t take off to anywhere for the holidays it was certainly nice to catch up with friends and not have the morning rush out the door!

Speaking of being rushed, I’m always thinking of ways that I can satisfy my family’s love of dessert while enjoying the holidays. Easter is fast approaching and with that comes some menu planning.  My goal is to do as much work ahead as possible so I can enjoy my time with those around me.  This Brownie Bottom Speckled Egg Easter Ice Cream Cake, or BBSEEICC for short, seems to be just the ticket.

cake

If there’s one thing this whole house can agree on it’s ice cream.  Remember this Salted Caramel Ice Cream Cake?   I’m still dreaming about it.  It was pure ice cream decadence with very little prep.   This Speckled Easter Cake is too, the only difficult part is deciding what flavours to use.  Honestly, I’m not EGGS- aggerating, the sky’s the limit here with flavour possibilities!

cake top

I used just a simple brownie base with layers of chocolate, chocolate ganache and vanilla ice cream. I’ve come to love the simplicity of this lightly tinted whipped cream icing along with some gorgeous spring blue speckled eggs on top.  It’s a small 6″ cake, just enough for us for dinner without all of the crazy leftovers ~ not that anyone would be complaining.  If you’ve been following me for a while you know that my favourite family cake size is a 6″ pan.  It’s the perfect size for this family of five along with the few extra friends that are often at the dinner table.

slice

I know I’ve said this before but ice cream certainly doesn’t only need to be a summer treat.  It’s a favourite in this house all year-long.  So much so that I’ve been known to hide the containers at the very bottom of the deep freeze in the hopes that teenage hands won’t find them and they’ll stick around for a while.   You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

 

Happy Easter everyone and have a blessed spring.

Renee

xo

 

Brownie Bottom Speckled Egg Easter Ice Cream Cake

Brownie Layer

*this makes 2 6″ layers – I used one and froze the other for later

*from Kraft Foods

  • 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup  milk
  • 1 tsp.  vanilla
  • 1 cup  flour
  • 1/2 tsp.  salt

PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

1.  Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl for 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.   Add the sugar and mix well.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until blended.  Add the milk and the vanilla and mix well. Combine flour and salt.  Add to chocolate mixture, mixing just until blended. Spread evenly into two greased and floured 6″ springform pans.  Bake 20 minutes and set aside to cool.

 

Chocolate Ganache

In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup heavy cream just to a boil over medium-high heat. Put 6 oz  bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof medium bowl and pour the boiling cream over the chocolate. Let it sit until the chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Stir the mixture with a spatula until the ganache is smooth.  Allow to cool.

Whipped Cream Icing

* don’t make this until you are ready to ice your cake

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • few drops of teal gel colour

1.  .   In a medium bowl whip the cream until soft peaks form.  Add in sugar and mix well.  Add in teal tint.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Cake Assembly

*need two cups of premium vanilla and two cups of premium chocolate ice cream (or flavours of your choice), slightly softened.

1.  Cover the cooled brownie layer with a layer (approx. 2 cups) of ice cream, using a piece of saran on top to evenly distribute the layer with your hands.  Cover and freeze until ice cream is firm.  Spread the ganache on top of the firm ice cream layer and return to the freezer until firm.  Spread the remaining 2 cups of ice cream on top of the ganache and return the cake to the freezer for 6 hours or more to harden.

2.  Remove the cake from the freezer and use the Whipped Cream Icing to ice the entire cake.  Mix a 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract with a few drops of water.  Use a small paintbrush to flick drops of the vanilla on to the cake and make a speckled look.  Top with some chocolate speckled eggs.  Return the whole cake to the freezer until needed.  The cake should sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving (to soften the cake slightly but not long enough to melt the ice cream).

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Homemade Vanilla Extract

I wish this blog was scratch and sniff…I really do.

vanillabeans4

 

This is my coveted jar of homemade vanilla that I’ve been using for over 4 years.  The smell is so intense and the flavor in baked goods is bar none.  It’s a simple mix of vodka and vanilla beans that I’ve been adding to and refilling for quite some time.   It is by far one of my best ingredients and the scent can be associated with so many amazing things.  Moms cookies, vanilla bean cake, homemade ice cream and marshmallows.  The list goes on and on.

vanillabeans2

A while ago when I was teaching basic baking classes to some young boys, they always argued over who got to pour the vanilla in.  It’s such a tiny part of most recipes but the flavor it imparts can’t be denied.  It enhances everything else in the bowl.  It’s essential!

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It’s also an easy gift to make.  If you started a jar of vanilla extract today you could have a some pretty awesome Christmas gifts for December!  It really only needs a couple of months to steep, but the longer it sits the better.  Keep the bottle in the pantry and give it a shake every now and then.  There are loads of vanilla extract printables on line (like the one below from tidymom.net) and you can cross a whole mess of people off your Christmas list ~ in July everyone!  That’s the best part!

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What’s your favourite vanilla memory?

Homemade Vanilla Extract

  • Use 3-4 whole vanilla beans per cup of vodka.  Split the beans in half, place in a sealable jar and pour vodka on top!  Place in a cool dark place for 2-3 months before using.  Give the jar a shake every now and then.  I continue to add beans that I have used in baking (however not if they have been steeped in any kind of milk or cream), and adding more vodka when low.

 

 

 

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Valentine Rose Cupcakes ~ Tutorial

Want an easy but really impressive dessert for Valentine’s Day?

valentine rose

No joke, just a few hours prep the night before and these can totally be on your candle lit table the next evening.  You know, between you and your Valentine… *gush.*

Heck, buy the cupcakes and you’ve saved yourself a step.

Although, I do recommend trying these or these or even these if you really want to impress the socks off someone.  See?  This is getting risque already….

I’ve added a picture tutorial to show you how simple this really is.

rosetutorial

All you need is some coloured fondant (for best results mix with a little gumpaste), 3 piping tips or circle cutters (different sizes), and a ball tool.  You don’t even really need the ball tool.  Remember here , when I showed you how to make rose petals with just your hands and some parchment?

1.  Gather all of your supplies.  Colour and roll out your fondant nice and thin.

2.  Cut out your circles.  You will need about 6 of each size.

3.  Using your ball tool, or fingers, thin out the petals as much as possible.  Try to create some ruffles or movement.

4.  Let your petals dry out over night on a flower former.  Or, use a dish covered in foil like I did here.

5.  The next day, begin with the largest petals and start layering on your cupcake.  Try to do some overlapping.

6. Voila!   Aren’t you pleased with yourself?

You could make a few large roses and then add some ribbon roses on the rest.

Happy Valentine’s Day friends!

valentine rose 2

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