Monday, August 11, 2014

The soccer coach.

Those of you who are regular attenders round here will know that I adopt the twenty words format quite often, being an easy post that transfers well into our Project Life album. The meme originated with Abi and this week it's that time of the month when she hosts a linky, so now would be the perfect time to join in with your own post.


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Working out player positions. It's just one part of her role as coach of her school's Junior B Soccer team.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Homegrown passionfuit

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A couple of very late passionfruits were our first so we picked them while green and finally they were ready.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

This week's links ...

1. 10 Ways to Savor a Slice of Simplicity.

2. I often reuse glass jars and I currently have a whole variety of glass jars with the labels half hanging off so this homemade goo gone may be just what I need with no nasty chemicals.

3. How to Build a New Habit: Strategy Guide.

4. 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime ... I think I've read 33 of these.

5. Would I ever do more than remove the mess on the bench around the dish before photographing food? I'm not sure, but here's 5 Time-saving Tips for Food Photography if I ever do decide to produce some of my own tempting food photos.

Friday, August 1, 2014

My Month in Numbers: July 2014

Month in Numbers is a meme hosted by Julie at Notes on Paper.

9 = the number of nights Hubby was at home.  Two almost 2 week trips with just over a week home between. He decided to try China Southern Airlines on his second trip. Airplane food is not exactly something I usually look forward to but I was very glad that I did not have to front up to the French slippery fried eggs.

2 = the number of hours of sleep The Boy said he got at the Kidschurch "sleepover". His favourite part? Going to Bounce. This was not good a good lead up to the 4:30am wakeup to go to the ...

97cm of snow at Mt Buller. It's been quite a few years since there has been that kind of coverage in the July school holidays. Hubby accompanied The Boy to the time trials for his school snowsports team. We also wrangled a spot for The Big Girl on the bus so she went with them and tried some snowboarding.

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43 years for this man. Yes, he managed to be in the country for his birthday.

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5.15km run in 30:03min. I completed the Couch to 5km on the 7th of July and decided to continue on to complete the 10km. I'm mixing it up with intervals, easy runs and the longer runs from the Couch to 10km app. I want to increase distance and speed. Total distance run this month 42.38km.

3 books read. 

Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky, #3)Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For a short time I thought this might be one YA that broke the mould with the ending, in spite of that very enjoyable conclusion to the series.




 Gathering Blue (The Giver #2)Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Written at a level suitable for preteens or younger teens this was a really easy read but as usual Lowry gives us something to chew over.




How to Keep a Spiritual Journal: A Guide to Journal Keeping for Inner Growth and Personal RecoveryHow to Keep a Spiritual Journal: A Guide to Journal Keeping for Inner Growth and Personal Recovery by Ron Klug
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a re-read for me but it was a while since I'd read it originally and I'd actually forgot a lot of it. Highly recommended book on the topic of keeping a journal. Covers not just writing daily entries but also using a journal to help goal setting, daily devotions, recording the past and more. Also tips for "harvesting" your journal once you're finished.



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Make your own yoghurt in 7 easy steps.

homemade yoghurt

Homemade yoghurt has a beautiful light and silky texture and creamy taste that sets it apart from the store bought variety, and it is really very easy to make. Here's how ...

1. Pour some milk into a saucepan. I use a medium size saucepan and about 600-800ml of milk which makes enough for about 1 week's worth of yoghurt for me. You will need a thermometer. I use a milk thermometer which is handy because it clips onto the edge of the saucepan.

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2. Heat on the stove to 80C or 180F. This kills any bacteria already in the milk. This is the hard part ... 80C is just before the milk boils over and makes a mess so don't forget about it. If it does boil over it will not effect your yoghurt but you lose some milk to the mess on the stove and cleaning milk off the stove is not fun ... yep, I've done it more than once. While it's heating you can add sugar, honey or vanilla if you want a sweet or flavoured yoghurt. When I began making yoghurt I did this and gradually reduced the sugar content as my tastebuds became acclimatised to the lower sugar content. I now just make plain yoghurt, which apart from the reduced sugar has the added bonus that I can use the yoghurt both on my breakfast and in savoury dishes.

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3. Turn the heat off. Let the milk cool down to between 38 and 42C (100-110F). This is the temperature the the yoghurt cultures grow at. Too hot and you'll kill your yoghurt bacteria, too cold and they won't grow. If you do forget your milk at this stage and it drops below 38C just turn on the heat again to get it back to temperature. I normally skim the skin that forms when it cools off the top of the milk.

4. Now you need a little bit of yoghurt as a starter. I use a small amount of my previous batch of yoghurt but starting out you can use a store bought yoghurt with live cultures. I've used Jalna and a few other brands. Just make sure they contain live yoghurt cultures and you should be good to go. I use a heaped teaspoon of yoghurt and mix it with a little bit of the warm milk in a small bowl. It's easier than trying to stir the yoghurt into a big pot of milk. Don't go crazy here, if there's still small lumps of yoghurt, that's fine.

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5. Pour this yoghurt/milk mixture into a clean container. I prefer to use a pyrex container because it's glass with a tight fitting lid, but plastic tupperware type containers or glass jars would be fine. Once you've done that pour in the rest of the milk from the saucepan and give the whole lot a good stir. 

homemade yoghurt

6. Now you want to keep it warm for about 8 hours. I wrap it in a towel and put it into a cooler bag. I used to put a heat pack in the cooler bag as well but then my heat pack spilt and I haven't replaced it. If you've got one you can use it, but it's not necessary. If your house is very cold then you might need it.

homemade yoghurt

7. If you are making the yoghurt in the evening, I often make mine after dinner, you can leave it overnight and your yoghurt will be set in the morning. This batch I made mid morning and put it in the fridge at 8pm. I usually let it set for anywhere between 8 and 14 hours. Once it's set you don't want to stir or shake the container as that will break down the structure of the yoghurt.

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And that's all there is to it. Cheaper and yummier than store bought, and much easier to make than you might think. I think my first batch failed, mainly due to the fact that I was trying to gauge the milk temperature by feel but since then I have only had one batch fail and I've been making it several times a month since early last year. If you want to give it a go my recommendations are to use a thermometer and if a batch does happen to fail, buy new yoghurt to use as a starter. 

Enjoy!