Thursday, March 5, 2009

Not My Mother's Yogurt

I have never really liked yogurt.  Especially the homemade plain yogurt my mom used to make in the hotbox in Peru (Sorry, Mom!).  So I simply avoided eating it.

When Jaela and Macey were little, I used to buy them those special baby yogurts.  I figured that I should at least taste what I was feeding my kids, and what do you know?!?  They were pretty good!  I started buying yogurt for me, too, in all the fancy flavors I could find.  After a while, Jaela and Macey were both eating yogurt at least once a day, too, and it was cheaper to buy them the same kinds I was buying for Mike and I.  When Anya graduated to eating "big people yogurt" too, it got to be a little bit expensive.  We were going through at least 25 yogurts a week, usually more, and the commissary doesn't carry any (cheaper) generic brands.

When I was pregnant with Isaak, I had gestational diabetes, and I had to pay attention to how many carbohydrates were in each thing I ate.  Just one of my favorite yogurts filled my entire quota of carbs for a snack, (and it was too many carbs for my breakfast), and I began to examine the label a little closer.  Sugar. Lots of sugar.

So I borrowed a little trick from a friend who is a registered dietitian and mother of four, and began mixing the sugared, flavored yogurts with plain yogurt for the kids' snacks.  Three scoops of plain yogurt for each kid, and one scoop of flavored came out perfectly.  We used only one yogurt a day (for the kids, anyway) and they no longer complained that their yogurt was too sweet.

When Mike left for Afghanistan, I quit buying yogurt for his lunches, and the kids and I started mixing other things into our plain yogurt for snacks.  We've had it with raisins, frozen fruit, honey, jam, brown sugar, and granola.  Most recently, our favorite way to eat yogurt is plain...and warm.  (I can hear you now..."Eww!  Warm yogurt?!?  That's disgusting!"  Bear with me...)

I was now buying plain yogurt in those two pound containers, and we were eating so much of it  that I was beginning (again) to question the cost, not to mention the fact that two times out of three the commissary was out of it when we needed it.  So I looked online and found a recipe for making yogurt in the crockpot.  And it actually works!  The first time I tried it, it was ready right at breakfast time, and all four kids practically inhaled their huge servings of warm yogurt, and then they asked for more.  Well, except for Isaak.  The only words he said the entire time were, "Mmmm.  Mmmm.  Mmmm.", and then finally he asked for more too.  "Mo, Mama!"

Yesterday I made it again in my new crockpot, but a double batch this time.  I had also found a recipe for vanilla yogurt, but it called for almost as much sugar as it did milk, so I decided to just try adding vanilla to the milk and see what happened.  I made the vanilla yogurt in my old, smaller crockpot.  I started both batches yesterday morning, and by 9:00 last night they were done.  I waited until 11:00 to put all the yogurt in jars, and I ran out of jars before I had emptied the crockpot of vanilla yogurt.  There was about 3/4 of a glass left over of the most liquid-y of the still-warm yogurt.

So I drank it.  It was so good that I mixed a little milk into another glassful of yogurt this morning for breakfast.

It is definitely not my mother's yogurt.

(Disclaimer:  It makes a difference when you get to work with real milk.  In Peru, milk came in the form of powdered milk or evaporated milk.  Blech.  No wonder mom's yogurt was awful!)