Thursday, April 21, 2011

God Wants Me To Make My Own Food

I'd been thinking a lot about food in recent months - rereading the book Real Food, reading blogs and articles, and so on. I'm pretty sure that at least once, I took a moment to ask God to guide me towards what I should be doing. And apparently, He has some suggestions to make.

1. Make Your Own Yogurt

It started when I was attempting to make homemade yogurt. (I blogged before about this.) When I came across this recipe for home-cultured yogurt, it really caught my eye, because my kids eat a ton of yogurt, and it seems like the kind of thing that could be healthy but probably isn't when you buy it from a store with tons of sugar and other random ingredients added in. So a-yogurt-making I went.

How it went:
My first few attempts failed because I couldn't insulate the yogurt well enough to keep it warm to "grow". So I experimented with my oven's dial and a digital meat thermometer, to find where on the dial is about 106 °F. 

Yes, I marked the spot on the dial with tape so I could find it again. And you have no idea how hard it was to get this picture. Either the shot came out blurry or the light reflected off that black surface, making everything invisible.

The author of the recipe said using the cheap yogurt as a starter worked best. To test this for myself, I tried three different brands of yogurt.

YoBaby Peach (organic, not cheap); Strawberry (cheap); Plain

She was right. 

YoBaby = watery/separated. Strawberry = best of the lot. Plain = most watery/separated.

It didn't work so well when I tried to use some of the middle yogurt to grow another batch, though. It might not have been "strong" enough. I made five jars worth the next time around, and we'll see if we can get any of those to grow its own batch. Kyrie, who eats the most yogurt, tried some today and said, "I'm eating it, but I don't know if I like it or not." (That was after adding some pure maple syrup, since they're used to it sweet.) I love it, though, and I think I will let the kids get used to it.

2. Make Your Own Applesauce

Somewhere in the process of writing about yogurt, the idea had popped into my head of making homemade applesauce. I was moderately charmed by the idea, but did not think a whole lot about it. Then out of the blue one day, Kyrie told me I should make homemade applesauce. When I asked her where the idea came from, she said someone on one of the cartoons she had watched had done that. Since the idea had independently come up twice, I took it as God telling me something.

How it went: 
Peel 15 apples of mixed varieties; use the corer to core and slice them; put them in a pot with 3/4 c. water and simmer on med-low until soft. Mash with a potato masher. Fill 8 mason jars to put in fridge, and enjoy a heaping bowlful leftover to eat warm. Simple, and delicious.

I didn't bother canning it "properly", since I wasn't planning on having them sit in the fridge for more than a week.

Kyrie loved it. I loved it. Elijah and Savi said they didn't like "what you put in it, Mom". I found that hilarious, since I hadn't even added sugar or cinnamon. They just meant they didn't like the chunks of apples that hadn't got as liquified as the rest. Next time I will stir it every ten minutes or so to make sure the apples spend equal time in the water along the bottom, to make them softer and reduce chunkiness. (Although I like the chunkiness myself.)

3. Make Your Own Cheese

Right after I made the decision to try to make my own applesauce and yogurt because I felt God was leading me to it, I woke up to discover this article in my feed reader about a local class that teaches how to make your own cheese at home. (Which led me to this book about making your own cheese, yogurt, butter, and more, which I'm considering buying).

I laughed and said to God, "Really?! You want me to make my own cheese too?"

I plan to try some mozarella at some point, although I'm highly attached to cheddar, and I don't know if it's even possible to make cheddar at home. But mozarella is good too.

4. Make Your Own Cereal

I have this recipe called "Koinonia Granola" that my mom taught me to make growing up. I love the stuff; it's oodles and oodles better than any storebought granola that I have ever tasted. It's not overly complicated, but it takes a variety of ingredients that I don't usually keep on hand. And it has to be done in batches, so it can take a bit of time. (It lasts a long time, though.) I've only made it once since I moved to Oregon almost five years ago.

I wasn't planning to include this as one of my homemade foods. Then this morning, my son was staring at a box of Apple Jacks and said, out of the blue, "Mom, I wish we could make homemade cereal some time."

Okie doke, God. Homemade granola it is.


  1. I love it!!! Enjoy your journey of making homemade stuff. I enjoy it immensely. :)

  2. Loved the post and the pictures to go with it. I have been making "homemade applesauce" for Toby... basically just pureeing apples. Interesting, quartered them, then left the peels on (apparently this helps it to retain nutrients? says my recipe). Then I let them cool. Now for the apples that get well-covered by the water, the peels just fall off. If not it's sort of annoying to remove them. Anyway then I put it in the blender and add some of the cooking water to get it the texture I want. I guess that is a few more steps but I definitely didn't have any chunks!
    PS: If you start making your own cheese, does that mean you will need a churn? Oh, wait, that is for butter! Well, I am really enjoying an image of you and your kids churning butter. :)

  3. Leaving the peels on may retain nutrients better, but for now I am all about reducing the preparation, and peeling the apples before they are cooked is easier than peeling them after. (Although if I was going to puree them, it might be worthwhile to keep them on.)

    My food processor is not big enough to hold fifteen apples worth of applesauce. (And the blender that I used to have was not, either.) I'd have to break it up into batches, and quite frankly, that's more work than I want to do. If stirring the apples more doesn't work, I might try adding more water ... if that still doesn't help, maybe I'll puree one batch worth for Julie and the pickier kids.

    By the way, have you ever tried steaming cauliflower for Toby?

    lol, I don't own a churn. I've ordered the book from the library, so maybe I will find out whether I really need one or not! :)