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Here’s an over-share to start your day off right.  I’ve been having tummy troubles. Not really, I just sort of feel out of wack.

So, as a result, I’ve been trying to introduce more probiotics into my diet in hopes of getting back into balance. This is the portion of the program where I tell you I am not a doctor, I don’t even play one on tv. This is just me and my ramblings, trying to stay healthy.

According to the Mayo Clinic probiotics may:
Treat diarrhea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics
Prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections
Treat irritable bowel syndrome
Reduce bladder cancer recurrence
Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections
Prevent and treat eczema in children
Prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has more good information on probiotics.

The most common way we get probiotics into our diet is through yogurt.  I have a few friends who make yogurt and go on and on about how easy it is.  The flavor is amazing.  blah, blah, blah…  So, as I do, I turn to the internet and do a little research.  and I made yogurt!  No fancy machines and for half the price of the organic stuff I had been buying.

At Safeway Nancy’s Organic Lowfat 32z Plain yogurt $3.09
OR their “house brand” lowfat organic yogurt 27z $2.99 (notice generic just got more expensive than name brand, wtf)
MY homemade yogurt:
1/2 gallon Trader Joe’s Organic 2% milk $2.09
1/3 box Yogourmet active yogurt culture from New Season’s $1.83 (this is a 6 pack for $5.49)
My recipe produces 64 ounces for $3.92
A little time in the crockpot and yummmm. Breakfast is served!

With the first batch, I started with a heaping tablespoon of store bought yogurt.  The second batch I used the Yogourmet starter and liked this flavor better, a bit more tart.

Warm the milk on the stove to 180*, then let cool to 110(ish).  Add the yogurt starter of your choice to half of the warm milk and stir until dissolved.  Once dissolved add remaining warm milk and pour into glass bowl (or other non-reactive material).

Since I don’t have a yogurt maker, I poured some hot water in the bottom of my crockpot and turned on “warm” setting.  Do this a few minutes before so the crock can preheat and not take all the heat away from your yogurt.  Set your glass bowl in the water bath and rest a thermometer on the edge of the bowl and put the lid on the crockpot.  I covered the lid with a towel to help keep the heat in.  The goal is too keep it in the 105-120* range for 4-5 hours or as many as 18-24 hours, depending on the recipe you are following.  I turned the crockpot on and off as needed for about 6 hours (20 minutes on warm, off for an hour or so).  I turned it off for good around 11pm, covered with towels and went to bed.  The next morning it was at 80* and it was YOGURT!

To make it thicker (think more Greek-style), I strained the first batch.  Just a quick strain through some cheese cloth then popped in the fridge.  I kept the whey to use later. (remember Miss Muffit? she was making cheese.)

This is one of my favorite breakfasts.  Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Meusli, yogurt (you can see how thick it turned out after straining) and a drizzle of local honey.