Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Bomb!

  • 1 cup frozen cherries (I like the Costco organic ones)
  • 1 scoop Cocoa Acai (https://danakayal NULL.epicure NULL.com/en/product/1001119)
  • 1/2 scoop Optimum vegan protein (https://danakayal NULL.epicure NULL.com/en/product/1006740) blend
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk or water
  • 1/2 banana
  • dash of vanilla

Option: replace cottage Cheese with 1/2 scoop protein powder.

Blend and devour.

Cooking Conversions Made Easy

As a Canadian in my late 40′s I cook easily in both standard and metric as far as cups, tbsp, mls, etc.  Once a recipe talks about gallons, pints, sticks of butter, etc, I’m lost and turning to google.  I’ve put the most common google searches and conversions into one table for myself a few years ago and decided to pretty it up to share it.

Download a printable pdf here:

Cooking Conversion Chart – pdf

Cooking Conversion Chart – Vertical

Cooking Conversion Chart - jpg

 

Cooking Conversion Chart - Vertical

 

DIY Greek Yogurt

Scroll down for an update on an accidental tweak I’ve discovered that gives me EVEN MORE yogurt and less whey!!!

I haven’t done this since my 20′s and I remember it being complicated. It isn’t!  I think back then I barely even cooked, so everything seemed complicated!

There are dozens of recipes on the internet, they’re pretty much fundamentally the same.  They all make ROCKING Greek Yogurt!  I found I was scrolling and scrolling before coming to the how-to, so I have pared down to the essentials.  If you’re looking for explanations and details, here (http://www NULL.daringgourmet NULL.com/2015/01/21/easy-homemade-greek-yogurt/) is one of my fav sites.

I like the crockpot version, it takes about 24hrs although the hands-on time is about 30mins.  It’s a BIG cost saver too.  $4.80 in BC for a 4L jug of milk which results in 7-8 cups of Greek Yogurt and ~8 cups of Whey.  Do not DISCARD the whey -There are dozens of great uses for it.  It’s a fab protein source for use in smoothies, creamy soups, pasta’s, etc.  I use mine as a chicken supplement, they LOVE it.  There are lots more ideas here (http://dontwastethecrumbs NULL.com/2014/05/36-ways-to-use-whey-and-5-ways-to-make-it/).

You’ll need:

  • Crockpot – NOTE.  If you have an instant pot it is MUCH FASTER!  Like less than an hour.  Watch carefully.  I’ve also noted that the faster I heat my milk the more likely I am to get ‘sharper’ more ‘tangy’ yogurt similar to store bought.  I prefer the sweeter milder version.
  • 4 Litres 2% or Homogenized Milk
  • Instant Read Digital Thermometer.  I picked mine up for under $10.
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt (store bought to start, then you can use a cup of the batch to start the next batch)
  • Cheesecloth (can get at $store and can wash and re-use!)
  • Strainer

TIP!  Start your Yogurt one evening as you walk in the door, it will be ready to go to bed when you do.  :)

1.  Pour your Milk into your lg crockpot and turn on HIGH.  Set a timer for 2-3hours!  Once milk is over 180° turn the crockpot OFF.  NOTE:  Not all recipes call to heat to this temp.  It’s key to getting your yogurt to thicken properly.  WATCH CLOSELY once it gets close to 180.  Once you’ve gone over 190 the yogurt is MUCH sharper/ more tart and not as creamy.

Fresh milk getting started

Fresh milk getting started

2.  Take 1 cup yogurt out of your fridge and put into a bowl to come to room temperature.  Set your timer for another 2hrs.  Watch for the temp of the milk in the crockpot to drop to between 110° to 115°.  I typically take my liner out of the crockpot & remove the lid so it cools faster.

Almost time!

Almost time!

3. Once the temp is between 110° and 115° – mix a few ladles of hot milk into your bowl of room temp yogurt &  combine until smooth.  Then mix the bowl of yogurt into the crockpot.  Use Back/forth and side to side motions NOT circular.  I have no idea how come.  If you do, inform me!

4.  Once mixed put the lid back on and wrap your crockpot in a small blanket or lg towel.  Keep away from drafts and leave undisturbed in room temp or warmer.  Walk away and come back 12hrs or overnight (my preference).

In the blankie for the night

In the blankie for the night

5. Ready to strain!  You’ll see the whey has started to separate from the milk.  Line your strainer with cheesecloth and set over a bowl that will hold at least 8 cups of whey – I’m straining into my 12 cup Multi-Purpose Pot (https://danakayal NULL.epicure NULL.com/en/product/1006715).  It’s got the easy pour spout for using the whey later.  Using a big scoop, move your soft yogurt/whey to your lined strainer.  IF you have a chinois or fine bouillon strainer (https://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Chinois) you won’t need the cheesecloth!

How beautiful is this?!

How beautiful is this?!

A simple piece of cheesecloth  with a rubber band

A simple piece of cheesecloth with a rubber band

6.  Strain approx 4hrs at room temp for thick Greek yogurt!

First spoonful!  Instant LOVE!!

First spoonful! Instant LOVE!!

7.  Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

My Favorite Mix-ins – Epicure’s Chocolate Truffle (https://danakayal NULL.epicure NULL.com/en/product/1001092)or Summer Berry (https://danakayal NULL.epicure NULL.com/en/product/1001096) Mix – Top either with fresh berries and you’ll be IN LOVE!

Chocolate Truffle Fruit Dip.  Get in my BELLY!

Chocolate Truffle Fruit Dip. Get in my BELLY!

This yogurt is so creamy and amazing and not as tart, so I used even less dip mix to bring it to a perfect flavor!

Now it's even better!

Now it’s even better!

 UPDATE

So recently I’ve discovered a trick!  We accidentally missed the 110-115 window (step 3) when my sister was here, so she turned the crockpot back onto low to bring it up to 110.  Then continued on with the process.  The resulting yogurt was EVEN THICKER with much less whey to strain.  I thought it was a fluke.  Last night I had the same oops.  It had cooled to the 90′s before I caught it so I reheated to 111 and then onto step 4.  Today I’ve gotten 11 cups of thick (stand up on a spoon) yogurt!! 

Compare the whey that seeped into the ladle hole in the ‘regular’ method to the lack of whey in the ‘oops/re-heat’ method.

Regular method - check out the wheyPhoto 2016-12-18, 10 32 09 AM

Chicken Fajita Soup

Leftover fajita chicken broth & bones. Make a stock.

Sieve out bones etc.

IMG_0193

add 2 tsp minced garlic, 2 tsp toasted Onion, 1 tsp Salt
1 can Black beans
2 cups roasted cherry tomatoes
leftover chicken
1/4 tsp chipotle pepper
IMG_0173

5 mins before serving:
Handful of Cilantro, chopped
juice of one lime
2 cups corn

Serve with Sour Cream (with Guac / lime & tortilla chips).

Meatball Sub Butternut Squash

WOWSERS!

I had meatball mix & marinara left over from last night’s Spaghetti & Mrs C’s Meatballs. Since we’re eating Gluten Free I stuffed my sub filling into a squash instead.

Squash 2

Cut your Butternut squash in half length wise, scoop out seeds. Place in lg steamer and cook 13-15 minutes (until a fork can just pierce it). Drizzle with olive oil and coat with Tuxedo Pepper and Chili Garlic Salt. Place in 450 oven until roasted (20mins?).

Squash 1

Meanwhile, saute your celery and cabbage in a touch of olive oil, keeping them soft and moist (don’t overcook or dry out), remove from pan. Fry your meatball mix, drain off fat if required. Mix your cooked veg, your beef and your yellow peppers.

Scoop filling into your squash. Drizzle with Marinara. Top with Red Onions, Cheddar and grind on some salt and pepper. Pop back into your oven at 400 for 10 mins.

Squash 3