Monday 31 March 2008

Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe

I think I may be the last Canadian to have heard of the Vinyl Cafe and Stuart McLean's fantastic heartfelt funny stories. My friend Steve was telling me about him a while back and I made a mental note to pick up one of his books and give it a read one day. So, I did just this week. I just finished reading "Stories From The Vinyl Cafe" which I believe is the first published book of his stories. I'm now a true believer in the world of Stuart McLean. Dave and Morley are so real and so normal that one can't help but feel a kinship to them. It's really fun to read about the quirky things that happen to this seemingly normal family. What's best of all is the wee Canadianisms that are weaved into his stories. Some of it is only references that we will get. Classic really. My favorite in this particular book was the story of how Morley had to go to get her son a jock strap for hockey. Not knowing what a jock strap is, she wandered into her local Canadian Tire and asked for one. The story plays out after that in a fairly humorous manner. He broadcasts on Saturdays, Sundays and Tuesdays and can be listened to online here. I'm going to totally start giving him a listen. Yesterday when I went to Fairs Fair to trade in more stuff, I traded for Stuart's newest book out "Secrets From The Vinyl Cafe". It's now sitting in my pile of books, and I'm totally looking forward to reading it as well. Check it out, you won't regret it, and your life will be enriched for listening to The Vinyl Cafe.

Saturday 29 March 2008

Report on First Attempt at Running

Just got back from my first go at a run. I did 20 minutes and I think that will do sufficiently for my first time. It's a little harder than I thought, but I did ok. I just did the loop around my neighbourhood. My cardio is up to par, but only just. It's funny, but people who run are always saying to me at the gym - "I don't know how you do that ellyptical machine, it's really hard for me" But, I don't think it's that hard, whereas it's the opposite for me and running - it's harder for me to run. Marsha suggested I do 1 minute of running, and 5 of walking at first and build up. I found today that I was able to do a little more than that to begin with, so what I did was just go as far as I could (or until I got a stitch) and then walked until I caught my breath. I'm no good at this timing business. If I had a spiffy running watch like Becka, I could probably manage it, but meh, the shoes are a beginning. Which brings me to my next point. Can't emphasize enough what an excellent investment those shoes were. I felt like I was gliding on air as I ran. Felt virtually no impact at all. You really can't skimp on good running shoes. You pay for what you get - usually. I must have looked interesting as I was running - totally mismatched. It was snowing lightly, so I had to bundle up somewhat. I wore these knit work-out pants that I bought at Wal-Mart (black), and my pink t-shirt. Over which I wore my red hoody and green Glasgow Celtic touque. I think I looked a bit like a Christmas tree actually, but I don't think it really matters what I wear as long as I don't go running in the buff. So, I will continue with my regular routine this week, and then give it another go on Saturday. When I sell my car I think I'll make it more of a routine as I won't be able to make it to the gym as easy without my car. Here ends my first report on adventures in running.

p.s. That's not me in the picture in case you were wondering. 1. I would not be carrying a plastic water bottle (anymore) and 2. I'm not that slender (yet)

Friday 28 March 2008

Momma's got a new pair of shoes

Sorry yet again for the delay between posts. I don't think I'm THAT busy, but I seem to be - with who knows what? Anyway, this week, I bought this lovely set of trainers for my new adventures in running. I've never really been a runner before. Mostly due to the fact that the weight I was carrying would have done a huge number on my knees on impact. But, I feel now that I am sufficiently light enough that I can probably give it a try. I've been ellyptical-training for like 2 years, so my cardiovascular health is certainly up to par. Shouldn't be too hard to transition into running. Plus, like I said, I will be taking up mass amounts of biking after conference and after I sell my lovely 2003 Honda Civic - Black, standard transmission. (spread the word) So, yeah, I think I'll have my first running adventure tomorrow morning after my visiting teaching. Should be a good time. I'll let you know. I also plan to make yoghurt, take a trip to Fair's Fair to do some trading. (for cash, don't need new stuff), plan my primary lesson, and do laundrey all at the same time. I just love how everything one has to get done gets packed into one day of the week. (note the sarcasm) On a side note, I did retry making Yoghurt with skim milk, and it worked just fine with the proper appliance, and the proper waiting time for cooling. I think the major factor in my unsuccessful first attempt was that I didn't wait for the milk to cool long enough. I know now because it takes flipping forever to get to the proper temperature as per my thermometer. Adding the starter at the time I did simply murdered whatever culture was in there. So, that is my Yoghurt update, next exciting project is cheese. Just bought a book called "And That's How You Make Cheese" by Shane Sokol. It's apparently the most straightforward reference for home cheese-making available so it sounds just perfect for me. That project may wait a few weeks mind you because I've got a number of things to finish up before I am without a vehicle. I feel like some sort of Dairy-obsessed version of Martha Stewart, but it's really fun. I think there's a certain feeling of satisfaction that comes from knowing exactly what is in your food because you put it there. So, from shoes to cheese, that is my most recent update. Maybe I'll write more tomorrow.

Saturday 22 March 2008

Book Review - One Red Paperclip (or how an ordinary man achieved his dream with the help of a simple office supply)

I know that probably most of you heard this story while it was occuring, but for me - it is new. I hardly ever watch tv, and though I am a fan of George Stroumboulopoulos (even if I don't always agree with him) I missed that episode (and also the other one) of The Hour. So, Kyle is a pretty freaking amazing guy who is perpetually positive, and constantly an example for any one of us who have a dream. He truly is a person who realizes their funtential (see what I did there?) For those of you who don't know the story, I will try to sum it up. Kyle was a pretty average guy who struggled to pay the rent, and was between jobs whilst his girlfriend Dom worked as a Dietitian to keep a roof over their head and food on their table. One day, Kyle remembered about a game he played as a kid (which I also remember playing except the best I ever got out of it was a smelly old refrigerator) called "Bigger and Better". It's a game where you take a small item (such as a paperclip), and trade it for say a pen and so forth until you get something really cool in the end. So, Kyle was remembering this game with fondness, and a crazy idea formed in his head. Theoretically, there's nothing that can stop a person from trading all the way up to a house if they put their mind to it. So, Kyle - with a lot of support from Dom and his family and friends decided to put his effort into it. Through a series of 14 trades in a period of a year which started with an advertisement on "Craig's list", Kyle realized his dream, and now lives in the paperclip house at 503 Main Street in Kipling, Saskatchewan. What I love about this story is that it really isn't about what Kyle could get out of trading. It's about his journey; and WHAT a journey it is. It's tonnes of fun to read about his experiences as he goes where people usually only dream about. (I won't give away the details if you don't know them) I also love that Kyle didn't sell out his dream. When he started to get famous for his experiment, he got lots of offers from companies wanting to give him a house just to capitalize on his popularity. (he had over 3 million hits on his website, and now it's almost 8 million, with more hitting every day - people like me, the late comers) Kyle didn't sell out, and he made it about the journey. What a great guy, and what a great example of what someone can do if they put their mind to it. It kind of reminds me of the parable of the talents. The guy who was given 3 and the guy who was given 6 doubled their talents while the one who buried his one talent that the master gave him received nothing. Kyle portrays that lesson very well. He took something simple and turned it into a movement which is bigger than a house any day of the week. Seriously - you have to read the book. It's so entertaining at the very least, not to mention inspirational.

Kyle and George Stroumboulopoulos in Yahk, BC promoting Yahktivism

Kyle and Dom in their new house at 503 Main Street - Kipling, Saskatchewan

Friday 21 March 2008

Katnip Kollege

I love how cheesy this is. It reminds me of every movie my parents ever made me watch only in cartoon form. My parents grew up during WW2, so we listened to a lot of big bands and swing music growing up and watched about every "fred and ginger" movie ever made. (I actually saw this on Kyle MacDonald's site and borrowed it)

Paninis and House Cleaning Items

I tried the Chicken Club one first and it's really good - it has bacon!!!!!

Then I had the Chicken, Spinach and Mushrooms one - just as good and filling too!

Today I ate the Chicken Tuscany Panini, fabulous and almost pizzaish. I know, I'm a living, breathing advertisement. No, I am not being paid, but I should be.

At work, I'm now famous for introducing the Lean Cuisine Paninis. For this new found fame, I must thank my friend Becka who first discovered them. I work with a lot of Dietitians, and they're all raving about them. (well, like the 2 that tried them), but they are stirring up a lot of interest anyway. I'm a huge fan. The only downside is the sodium content in these puppies. But, if that's the only thing one is eating that has a large amount of sodium in it, then you're on easy street. It's only about 35% of your daily sodium intake anyway. I never add salt to anything. So, yeah, I'm famous now. I'm the panini girl. I haven't blogged a lot this week - I'm sorry for anyone who reads my blogs regularly (not that I think I'm that popular or anything, but I check people's blogs regularly, and figure I must have 1 or 2 fans) Work has been a bit on the stressful side what with new schedule rotations and a rush to put templates into the schedule, etc, plus everybody wants a vacation for some reason. On top of this there is still all of those Diabetics who need some Education to book. But, you know, I like that kind of busy. It makes me feel useful to some degree. Tomorrow I have off (for which I am very grateful), but it is filled with all kinds of errands (or rather house cleaning items). I'm going to clean out my closet again, and take a trip to Value Village, make Yoghurt, go through all my videos and books and decide what I don't need in order to make life simpler (you know, in case I have to take up and leave or something - you never know) I've already bequeathed my James Bond collection to my buddy Mike. He and his lovely wife Katie will be watching bond all week-end now with our other friends Linda and Ryan. (Happy Easter friends!!!!!) I also have a plan to use some of my creative talents and decorate a mug (just because I need my own at work) with my name on it and everything. I'm just about to finish up this FANTASTIC book I'm reading - which I will review on here in the next couple of days. It really is awesome, and many of you have probably already heard the story though it's new to me. Not going to give it away, but keeping you in suspense until the next blog. I think that about covers my thoughts for the day and week.

Sunday 16 March 2008

Another Local Discovery

Had a lunch date today with one of my best friends, and we went to my favorite Vietnamese restaurant - which I discovered is next to this GREAT Health Food Store called Community Natural Foods. I've heard people talk about it before, but never really gave it a thought. Apparently they've been a Calgary business since 1977. Daniel and I decided to venture in today and I discovered a whole other world of Organic, fair trade, non gmo products. The book I've been reading about PCOS and diet tells me I ought to eat more natural foods as much as I possibly can. So, that description fits my needs at Community Natural Foods. Today I picked up organic apples, avocado, even better Yoghurt starter with 5 probiotics instead of 3, almond butter, home-made Tabhouli, and home-made soap. I could have bought more stuff, but all of that adds up pretty fast. They have 2 locations, one at Chinook Station (which is the one we hit today), and another not too far away from my work at 10th and 10th. So, yet another destination for my lunch-time walks. Pretty exciting!!! On a side note, I LOVE pickled asparagus, but think I ought to ease up a bit, because the salt is really starting to make me feel a bit thicker even if I'm not. I've eaten almost 2 whole jars since I last posted about them which was Wednesday. I think I'll give them a rest for a little while.

Saturday 15 March 2008

I Miss The Good Old Days...

So today I got some sad news..... My favorite bookstore - McNally Robinson is closing down their store in Calgary. You can't really blame them considering that the property where they sit is a prime location for lunchtime traffic, and that the evenings and week-ends must be pretty slow. They sit on Stephen Avenue which is a historic district of Calgary right in the middle of the downtown core. I admit that the only time I ever go to the store is on my lunch break as well, and not every day. The cost of renting a place like that while trying to keep your employees happy on top of it must be astronomical. Why is everything in Calgary so flipping expensive? Man, I tell you, the first chance I get, I'm out of here. Calgary is not the city I grew up in anymore. When I was a kid, Calgary had some pretty sweet community spirit, and it was simple, and practically crime free, and the most exciting thing that ever happened was the Calgary Stampede once a year. Which, I kinda liked - life was simpler you know? I certainly do appreciate the way Calgary has become diverse and culturally aware. We have lots of great people from all over the world now, and that part I really kinda like. The problem is though - insane population growth, not to mention - stupid decisions made by the Alberta government (but I'm not going to make this a political rant) Our infrastructure, our health care system, our city in general can NOT sustain the enormous numbers of people that are now in this city. I'm really starting to get a little freaked out that every time I listen to the news there's some new murder victim they find. I absolutely hate it. Now, to top it all off, great businesses with character and style which are not part of the huge conglomerate megastores are being forced to shut down because they too cannot afford to exist in this city. I work downtown, and I see a lot more people who live on the streets than I ever did before. A lot of these people have jobs, but they have nowhere to live. This is a serious problem. They're people just like me who aren't making enough to live in this ridiculously overpriced city. I see the effects worst of all in my job because I work for the Calgary Health Region, and there are LOTS of people who need access to health care that simply aren't getting it because there aren't enough doctors and nurses to support a population this huge. Frustrating for patients, and more so for those providing care. Anyway, something needs to be done, and disappointingly yet again, Ed has made the statement today that he won't be able to live up to a lot of his campaign promises because there isn't the funds for it. (big surprise) So, obviously we can't rely on the provincial government to bail us out. Ok, I've got to stop ranting because if I don't, I'll toss and turn in frustration, and I've got to sleep peacefully tonight. Here, for your viewing pleasure, is a small piece of Calgary history for those of you who may or may not remember it.

Stephen Avenue circa 1912

Thursday 13 March 2008

Yoghurt trials - # 2 - SUCCESSFUL!!!!!

Ok, so here's the update on the Yoghurt making. I got my Yoghurt maker/incubator that I ordered on ebay in the mail on Monday. So, couldn't really wait to try it out, and gave it a whirl last night. Here's what I did...

I boiled 2 Litres (a whole carton) of 2% milk (decided skim might not have worked as well) making sure it got up to at least 82 degrees celsius. (see thermometer on the edge of the pot) Incidentally, the pepsi on the side of this picture is not mine but my brother's.

Then, I let it cool to 45ish degrees Celsius before adding in the bacterial starter. Making sure that the starter was well mixed in to a small amount before adding it to the rest of the milk, I mixed the milk and starter thoroughly.

Then, I poured it into the 5 glass cups in the pre-heated incubator (warm and ready to incubate), filling each close to the top, and putting on the lids. Then, I placed the plastic lid overtop of the incubator, and let the Yoghurt incubate for 4 and a half hours ('til 1am, I think I'm doing this on a Saturday next time) In which time, I did an hour of Yoga, and took a shower (there was no way I would have time this morning - being a zombie and all), also managed to get some scripture study in there as well as a fair bit of facebook surfing.

Then, voila!!!!!!! After 4 hours, this is what it looked like - thick and creamy.

At this point, I was a zombie (1am), I put the Yoghurt in the fridge to stop the incubation process and let the bacteria go into dormancy until the party in my stomach wakes them up again. In the morning, I ground up some lovely frozen berries, put them into my Yoghurt with a wee bit of splenda (sucralose - not as bad as aspartame - really), and this is what it looked like.

And this is what it tasted like.....

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fresh, creamy, lovely and best of all - cheap!!!!
On a side note, not related to Yoghurt at all, I picked these babies up at my friend's family meat shop today - not meat I know, but they have lots of good stuff besides meat there...

Pickled Asparagus - highly addictive and really tasty. I think I may be in love with them. There are no preservatives at all in this particular jar, and they are made locally (well - in Alberta anyway). Soooooo tasty. A bit decadent mind you, and it was $12.99 a jar, but worth it for a wee evening snack. You can find them and other fine quality foods at my friend's store - Second To None Meats on 4th Street. Canning may be next on my list for projects at this rate. I'll get Fidela to teach me how.

Tuesday 11 March 2008

Becka's Tag

I've never done one of these tag things before, but I think Becka tagged me. So here goes...

Apparently the rules are these:
A. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning.
B. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
C. At the end of the post the player then tags 5 other people and posts their names and leaves a message on their blog letting them know they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog to get directions.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
1998, hmmm, I think I was thinking about going on a mission, hanging out with my best friend Rob, going to Friday night dances and tearing up the floor with him. I guess I was working at UMA as a pee-on clerk. Other than that, not sure. The 90's are kind of a blur you know? I was 23 at the time, so I must have been doing something fun.

2. 5 things on my to do list...
Long term - Get to my evenutal goal of being at an ideal weight and be in the best shape of my life; get married (not as easy as it sounds); have babies (again, not that easy); get a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics; move to the homeland of the UK. (not in that order obviously)
Current - Change half the water in my fish tank and change the chemistry in the filter; work on making interview questions for my parents' interviews while they still have a memory of WW2 and growing up in Britain; Vacuum and Dust my room; sell my car; buy a bicycle.

3. What snacks do I enjoy?
Well, I really really like natural plain unsalted almonds. But, when I eat too many of them I get a rash (according to the allergist). (which I have at present, so probably should go easy on them) Also am a fan of 100 calorie snacks, though I try to stay away from the salty ones because they just make me want to eat more. I stick to Dark Aeros and the like. I also like sweet snap peas. If I were eating bad things - it would include cheesecake, shortbread, and Skor Bars.

4. What would you do if you were instantly a billionaire?
Well, obviously I'd pay off my debts, and all of my families' as well. Buy a simple house, and a great reliable yet environmentally conscious vehicle. Then I'd probably invest in a halfway house where people were empowered to change their lives. (I work downtown and see a lot of people who need empowering) Then I'd probably spend a lot of time travelling, and settle down to be a permanent student.

5. 3 Bad Habits
Oooh, don't know if I want to share my worst. But some of them include - procrastination, being a doormat (which I am no more), and negative self-talk from time to time (which my best friend chastises me for)

6. 6 Places I lived
Hmm, don't know if I've even lived in 6 places, but I'll try...
Calgary, AB (obviously)
Olds, AB
Crossfield, AB
Tucson, Arizona
Thatcher, Arizona
Vail, Arizona (that one's a bit of a stretch - right outside of Vail, but served in the area)

7. 5 Jobs I've had
- Spiffy Cutco Knives Salesperson
- Retail sales clerk in various stores (Antels, POPi, Petland)
- Sanding monkey extrordinaire (I was the best sander - they told me so)
- Billing Clerk
- Unit Clerk (mass communication centre)

8. 5 things people don't know about me
hmmm, this could get dangerous
- I've seen Neil Diamond in concert - twice (he's quite an entertainer)
- I want to go to India some day and do Yoga in the middle of nowhere like in the videos (but I want to go to India anyway to travel - it's a fabulous place)
- I can probably quote the movie - "Singing in the Rain" from beginning to end while watching it
- When I was little I wanted to be Miss Piggy (little did I know - kidding)
- I've read the Autobiography of Malcolm X and loved it. (the man had a great soul)
Phew got through that without revealing too much.

Now it's other people's turns. Umm, I don't know many people with blogs besides Becka, so I'm tagging everyone I know even if it isn't 5.
M'Lisa, Sheri, Amanda, Steve (you don't have to Steve, I know your blog is mostly for research posting stuff)

Monday 10 March 2008

My New Flame

So yesterday I was on facebook, and I had this idea to create a fake profile for a handsome hollywood star - Gerard Butler for instance, and say that I was in a relationship with him. It's surprising to me (considering what an up and coming star he is) how many people are actually fooled by this ruse. I actually had a phone call from my sister asking what all this was about me being in a relationship because my nephews said that I was in one according to facebook. The rumors are a flying!!!! I've had a couple of people ask me about it and offer their congratulations. I'm having lots of fun with this one. I think I'll keep it on there for a week or two, and then lend him to a girlfriend for a while. Seriously, who doesn't know Gerard Butler?

Sunday 9 March 2008

Book Review - "Modoc - The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived"

Minutes ago, I just finished this book - "Modoc - The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived". I still have tears stinging my eyes. I started reading it this morning, and haven't stopped reading it (with brief breaks) all day. Anyone who is an animal lover of any kind should read this book. The story is true, yet the author Ralph Helfer (who personally knew Modoc) wrote it in a way that makes you feel like it's a novel. To quote him in a note at the beginning of the book - "The story of Modoc is true. When writers attempt to write a story based on the truth, they must first take all that they themselves have seen and know it to be a fact. Next comes research and documented proof which may-or may not-be true. And, finally there is "hearsay"-that which people tell you is factual. All this is put in a bowl, mashed and ground, and spread onto the pages in as close a semblance as possible. Then a little (poetic) political license is taken. Therefore, the story of Modoc is true-at least as far as I know. It's the best I could do." The story is epic really. Amazing that one animal could have done so much and had so much love, and had such an adventure - spanning 70 years and 3 continents. Saving people's lives, and escaping death numerous times. Modoc's story also enhanced my disgust for people who abuse animals in any way. (I seriously believe these people ought to suffer torturous deaths) More than anything else, the book is a story of a relationship between an elephant and her boy. Born on the same day, in the same hour on the same German farm; and best friends until the day they died. Following Bram and Modoc's journey is an exciting ride let me tell you. Totally worth spending an entire Saturday reading. Anyone who has ever had a bond with an animal will love this story and will cry as much as I did. Read it!!!!!

Thursday 6 March 2008

Big Changes in the Water Bottle World

After reading much recently about Nalgene plastic (Lexan - #7), and other plastics containing toxins that are carcinogenic and also (slightly more important to me - though it probably should be the other way around) disruptive of the endocrine system; I have decided that after 8 years of carrying around my little 1 litre friend - Nalgene to move on to a safer water bottle. So, yesterday I walked into MEC, looking for a different solution. I found this little number... The Bilt Designs Fresco Water Bottle - for $10. Cheap, stainless steel - safe (for now), and a reasonable size for my needs. So, I bought 2. One for now, and one for later. The only problem is - when you fill it with water it becomes freezing to the touch. So, I went back to MEC today, and bought the Outdoor Research Water Bottle Tote. I'm a made advertisement for MEC. I love MEC. It's a retail paradise for all who love the outdoors. The great thing is (and I only just realized this) it's a mere 10 or 15 minute walk from my place of work. I think I may be spending more lunches there in the future. So, I'm off of Nalgene forever now. My new water bottle may be cheap and not the world's greatest quality, but it does what it's supposed to, and it's reasonably safe for me to drink from. (for now) I went to look at bikes on my way back from MEC today. Stopped into this little bike shop on 11th Ave that has quite a selection and really knowledgable staff. It looks like I'll be spending at least $1000 on the bike alone. That's ok though because it's a great investment, and it's going to be my only transportation besides my 2 legs and public transit. Still really excited about that.

Wednesday 5 March 2008

I Want To Ride My Bicycle

So, last night as I was saying my prayers, I had a revelation or an epiphany if you will. It was one of those ones I wasn't seeking, but just came to me. I've been trying to think of a way to get to where I want to be financially so that I can move on to the next thing in life. Without even soliciting advice last night, I had this idea thrust into my head; and I know you're all going to think I'm crazy when I tell you what it is, but here goes anyway...

In April after I get back from Utah and general conference, I'm going to sell my car, and trade it in for a bicycle. I'm going to ride my bike 20 km to work every day I can and 20 km back. (on rainy days and days where I just can't move, I'll take transit) This is really a great idea for so many reasons. # 1 - Cost - no car = most of my debt gone, also, gas costs and insurance are totally gone, not to mention parking with the CHR. # 2 - Exercise - not being able to drive to the gym after work every day will be absolutely no problem, as I'll get plenty of exercise without that jaunt to the gym. # 3 - I'll feel better about doing my part to lower emissions in the city. # 4 - NO TRAFFIC, and therefore less stress. There are oodles of bike paths in Calgary that will make this a fantastic, lovely stress free ride to work. Honestly, there are soooooooo many reasons why this is the most fantastic idea and could only be inspiration from above. There are some downsides to this, one of which I'll not be able to go wherever I want when I want, but where do I go much anyway? I'll figure all of that out. It was no problem before I had a car, and I can do without with reasonable ease now. So, if anyone knows of someone who wants a 2003 Honda Civic DXG - Black, Standard Transmission and in pretty sweet shape for $14000 obo, please give them my phone number. (or email me) Now all I need to do is decide which bike I'm going to replace my car with. There's no point on skimping in price, this thing's going to be my only transportation and my pride and joy, so I think tomorrow on my lunch break I'll take a jaunt over to Mission Cycle and ask their advice. I think I want a basket. So, there you have it, I know you all think I'm nuts, but I feel so good about it, I don't care.

Sunday 2 March 2008

Ebay Excitement!!!!

Sorry, just had to share my exciting news with everyone. I was asking my friend advice about Yoghurt making - as he's had previous experience with this, and he said a crock pot would probably be too hot. He recommended putting it in a container on top of my hot-water tank. Well, I went to check out the hot-water tank, and it's cool to the touch. Darned new homes with their "safe" hot water tanks. Anyway, he also recommended that I go to either Value Village or look on ebay for an actual Yoghurt maker appliance. Tonight, just had a minute (or two) and decide to check out ebay. Well there was one Yoghurt maker which the auction was about to run out on and it looked to be in perfect condition. (see picture) So, I bid on it, and WON!!!!!!! So exciting. The lady I bought it from says she'll ship it out on Monday. So hopefully some time next week, I'll be making Yoghurt the proper way. Normal life will carry on until then. ;-) Then, I will update you about Yoghurt Trial # 2. Heehee

Saturday 1 March 2008

Yoghurt trials - # 1

Well, as I thought would probably happen, the first batch of Yoghurt did not turn out as well as I had hoped. The instructions on the package are as follows...

1. Heat one litre or quart of milk to 82 degrees Celsius (180 degrees Farenheit) or bring to boiling point. Then let cool down to 42-44 degrees Celsius (108-112 degrees Farenheit)

2. Dissolve 5 g of starter with a small quantity of lukewarm milk in a cup, then pour back into the litre or quart of milk. Mix well.

3. Incubate 4 to 4.5 hours, or until yoghurt has reached the desired firmness. May be used with any make of appliance, according to instructions. For best results, use a Yogourmet yogurt maker.

4. Refrigerate to stop incubation.

This is what I did...

Well, I don't have a Yoghurt maker, or a thermometer for that matter, so I was pretty much guessing at temperatures, and also creating my own incubator environment for the bacteria. It turned out pretty much like sweet milk with some bacteria in it. I think in order to salvage what I did come up with, I may just throw some gelatin in there (I know, it's cheating) and use it anyway. I may have killed the bacteria in the process of not knowing what actual temps are, but whatever right? Anyway, I have a feeling that the reason it didn't set is - well, for several reasons... Perhaps it requires some fat in the milk (I used skim), so maybe I'll try 1 or 2% next time. Also, as I said, I had no real idea what the temp of things were, so just guessed. I could have dissolved the starter a little better and mixed it a lot more as well. I've decided that instead of incubating it in a double level pot on the stove as I was doing, to give the old crock-pot a try. Who knows, it may work out just perfect. Oh, and I added splenda at the beginning when I was boiling the milk. Perhaps that had some effect on things. So, in conclusion, this is what I'm going to do next time... I will boil the milk (1%) with no splenda in it, let it cool, use the candy thermometer I bought today to know the right temp, add the bacteria starter, let it incubate in the crock-pot for 4.5 hours, then will see what I come up with. It's worth a second try right? Perhaps I'll wait a couple of days to try it again. I'm going to see today if I can salvage my first batch and use that up first.

Just to get you all excited for the 4th greatest holiday of the year! My personal favorites...

My Science Experiment

The other day, I was there in the Yoghurt aisle at the grocery store trying to find a good yoghurt that has the really good kind of bacteria in it. There's so many of these fancy schmancy kinds of bacteria out there now that are supposed to be really good for you. I was starting to get frustrated because all of these yoghurts are high in fat and sugars. I've been reading in this book about my condition that I need to avoid added sugars, and also fat, so I found myself frustrated that I couldn't find one that had the special bacteria and also was low in fat and sugar. So there I was at work voicing my frustrations at work to my co-workers, and Natalie suggests to me "Why don't you make your own yoghurt?" She told me that she found this Yogourmet mix at Sunterra Market that has the special bacteria in it that you make yourself. So, I figure, skim milk, splenda, a bit of fruit, bang, I've got my own special yoghurt. So, tonight, I'm going to give it a try. I'm sure I'll screw up my first batch, but why not, it's fun - like a science experiment. Heehee, so fun. Will let you know how it turns out. I'm sure it can't turn out too badly. If it works, maybe I'll move on to cheese one of these days. I was thinking last week, if there was a major emergency, and I was living on food storage for like a year or whatever, what would I do about cheese? I really don't know if I could live a whole year without cheese. So, the only answer is, one must learn how to make their own cheese. Granted, I would need land, and milk-producing cows, etc to begin with, but someday I do plan to have those things. Yes, I know I grew up in the city, but I'm a farm girl at heart. I long for the simple life really. Don't know if I'll ever have a simple life, but one can dream.