Thursday, July 27, 2017


Making your own yogurt at home sends it into an entirely new realm. First off, it's cheaper. Second, it's much better.

The process is simple.

 Start with a half gallon of milk. Whole, skim, or 2% like I'm using here. Scald it. That means you bring right to the brink of a boil. Do. Not. Boil. It will make a horrendous mess. Once you see the ring of tiny bubbles around the wall of the pot, cut the heat, and wait for it to cool. This will kill off any bacteria besides the yogurt critters we will introduce later. I usually wait about an hour, or until I can pick up and handle the pot with bare hands without burning or discomfort.
The traditional way to do it involves boiling to reduce the water content and concentrate the milk solids, but, since I am avoiding the boil over mess making, add in 3 cups of powdered milk. This will achieve the same result.

Take some yogurt to use as a starter. This will introduce the yogurt bacteria to your cooled, concentrated solids milk. Then it's into the little yogurt maker. I use a French product called "YOGOURMET," which works its magic overnight. You can also set your oven on warm and leave the door cracked just a bit. Here's the deal though. You need things warm enough to grow the bacteria culture, but not hot enough to kill it. My little maker does all that. I just put the milk culture into the water bath in the canister, plug it in, and walk away.
This morning I spooned the yogurt into a muslin bag
and it's now hanging over a bowl on the shelf. This will drain the whey, which I will drink chilled (whey is full of nutrients, ask any body builder) with a spoon of gelatin to promote good nail and hair growth.

The difference between yogurt you buy and yogurt you make yourself is as pronounced a difference as you find with ice cream and bread. It's an entirely different food. It's packed with essential nutrients like calcium and Vitamin D.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Today's Progress

On the unpacking end was a bit on the light side. First off, I went to a morning meeting which is conveniently right up the road. Folks in recovery in Palm Springs, especially in the summer, get the meeting done before the sun really begins to hammer down.

I like daytime meetings. They tend to be filled with people who are doing life stuff. Jobs, families, and other things to accomplish. They also don't lose sight of knowing we only get ourselves a daily reprieve from the disease. I took an hour for me. It was worth it.

Then I busied myself indoors with getting some art hung on the walls. Having things to look at, things that can provoke a memory of a place, or a time, lends a calming, pleasurable feeling for me.

My mother painted this picture of Abbie after she got sick and died. Abbie was a wonderful dog. Here's a picture I took of her back when she was younger.
I have to admit. Even with her advanced age, and Parkinson's, mom had skills.

That's another one by mom. It's pastel on paper, done in the 50's of me. She did one for each of her kids. That's what is hanging in the bedroom for now. As things progress I'll get more up.

That's one from a Pow-wow I attended with one of my X's. It's not great art, but in the bathroom, nobody will really know.

Three done by my friend Angie. The one on the bottom is a pencil and pastel she did after one of our convention stays right here in Palm Springs. The mountains on the top of it are the ones I can see from the kitchen window where it hangs.
That's bad photography on my part. It's a decoupage done by my sister Kerry. In the center is her calligraphy of a section from Tennyson's "Ulysses." Here that is:

Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. 
Kerry died a few years ago, and just as Tennyson said so beautifully, "Though much is taken, much abides. . ."

Here, also in the kitchen, are pictures of my nephew Nick's wonderful daughters, Amira, and Kiera.

Still in the kitchen, an abstract in a shadow box, sent to me by James Zedaker.

Finally, a pen and ink with watercolor wash, by Patricia Allen. The view is from my mother's kitchen window in El Centro.

Then I had a visit from my sister Kelly, and her husband Ron. They brought me a guitar I had left at their house in Yucca Valley. They work a short distance away at Rancho Mirage High School (Go Rattlers!), so it was no big thing for them to bring the guitar and a Jeopardy! messenger bag I use to carry music stuff, spare string sets, peg winders, pliers, scissors, picks, batteries, and other stuff that always seems to fail when you're onstage, about to go onstage, or other inconvenient times. They left with a loaf of fresh bread and a quart jar of yogurt.

After all that, I went to the pool and got some good exercise in. My left leg is a mess. The knee has been rebuilt a few times, the ankle is fused. Without exercise, the muscles atrophy, and the knee becomes unstable. I have been determined to do what needs to be done to work it back up. I figure it will also increase my stamina and overall health.

I'll write up the recipe for homemade yogurt next batch. The difference between yogurt you make at home and what you buy in the store is huge. It's also not hard at all.

So that's the report of the day's progress. See y'all tomorrow.

Monday, July 24, 2017

What to do when you go shopping

and forget to buy bread when all you really want is some avocado toast for dinner?

You make you some bread, that's what you do.

Then you remember you didn't pack a toaster. . .

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Progress Made

The place is beginning to look more like a place where somebody lives and much less like a camp site. I'm still on the couch for tonight,
but I've gathered a stash of quarters to be spent in laundry tomorrow. Once washed the towels and shirts that were used as padding in the packing can be folded and put away in their various assigned places.
A second shelf unit was erected and a degree of organization achieved.
The cupboards are no longer bare
and it's beginning to look like things might just get accomplished.
Slowly it's coming together.

Tomorrow I might even sleep on the bed. Like a real person who lives here or something.

There's even a batch of yogurt cooking. It will do that slowly, overnight, then in the morning it goes into a muslin bag to drain the whey and make it a true Greek style yogurt.

Now I intend to eat the rest of my chopped liver sandwich, take a shower, and relax.