Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Making progress and other yummy stuff

I can't tell the difference between store bought and homemade. Oh wait, the price, less packaging, knowing all of the additives and ingredients... I guess I can tell the difference!
I finally succeeded in making granola and this time I put it Into the Crockpot. Imagine that. What a difference. I was able to toast it without it scorching it to death. It was a lot easier this way because I didn't have to keep opening the oven door and putting on the oven mitts. Thanks to a Year in Crockpotting for that great tip. I never really considered cooking dry in the crockpot before, I always thought you had to have liquid. Not so!
The yogurt; I made a new batch using my old batch as a starter. I also let it "incubate" in my camping cooler this time, wrapped in a towel as before. There was a lot more whey this time, perhaps due to my homemade starter? I am not sure... will have to read up on this. I decided it needed to be drained, but how to do it? I got out my plastic juice jug and some cloth and an elastic band. I kind of pushed the cloth in to make an indentation and put the elastic band around the lip of the jug. Then I poured the yogurt in. Voila. The whey dripped into the jug, leaving the creamy yogurt in the cloth, which I just scooped back into the container. One litre of reconstituted milk filled up my container when it was all said and done. Beautiful. Cheap summer breakfast and it was also kid tested and approved.

I made dinner in the crockpot, a spicy, tomato based beef stew with lentils. I served it over rice and it was very good. It was in the menu plan and it made so much, I froze half of it. I am trying to plan around our new, busier schedule. This should prove interesting to the budget efforts. Wish me luck. I also made a loaf of white breadmaker bread. I got a gander at The Frugal Girl's gorgeous whole wheat loaves and I must say, they look scrumptious. Put that in my must do list, when I get more baking pans.
I got the crockpot for christmas when my son was just a baby. My sister got it for me. Wouldn't you know it, she knows me like the back of her hand. I have been using it faithfully ever since. The breadmaker is a recent acquisition. I kept talking about getting one and I never quite got around to it. I made a lot of quickbreads, muffins, scones, biscuits, but usually stayed away from the yeast doughs. I don't know exactly why. My Mum often made bread when I was young. It's one of my most comforting childhood memories. Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread! While I was visiting her last winter, she happened to find a breadmaker in the thrift store for $6.50. She plugged it in and checked all the buttons and decided it was worth the risk. It was! We played around with it a bit, and I had to research online to get a good recipe, but at last I have found one that is quite versatile and reliable. I can add raisins and cinnamon to make a sweet dough for breakfast, for example, or just plain when I want a fresh loaf for dinner. You see, I can't take all the credit for my frugal talents. I come from a loooonng line of Frugalistas...Recessionistas, Depressionistas, whatever you want to call it. I think it would be very educational for me to do a feature post on some of my predecessors...hmmm...
My mama done raised me right :D
Today is a big day for us, lots of changes. It's nice to take a few minutes to drink my coffee and ponder the possibilities.


hustler said...

Your spicy dinner sounds good. I want a crockpot! There's so many good recipes out there, I think I may just break down and get one.

hiptobeme said...

Oh do, it's such a great way to cook! Once you get a few good recipes and get to know your specific pot's cooking time, there is nothing easier. Imagine a beautiful roast dinner waiting for you when you get home from a busy day. All you do is throw it in and leave it. The trick is planning for it to cook all day. Check out a Year in Crockpotting in my faves, she knows all there is to know about this wonderous kitchen appliance!!