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Homemade yogurt: bring on the pleasure

Yogurt is the perfect food to have at any time of the day. It is not only delicious but yogurt helps to make people of all ages strong and healthy.
I enjoy using yogurt in multiple ways…in smoothies, in children’s lunches, in crepes, for dips, snacking…  
Eating yogurt is so good for you. Yogurt is a “super food” with its high calcium, protein and B vitamins. It restores your good bacteria levels and its healthy “probiotics” have the power to protect you in so many ways. Yogurt promotes a healthy digestive and immune system; it relieves cramps, controls cravings…
The best way to enjoy these health benefits is to make your own fresh yogurt. Homemade yogurt is richer and thicker and fresher than anything you can buy at the grocery store.
If I buy yogurt, I buy Greek yogurt. I love Fage. It is just the way I love my yogurt…plain, thick and creamy like a pudding with a sweetener on the side.
European yogurt is not as sweet as American yogurt. Americans like a lot of sugar. I like to make my yogurt plain and then sweeten it with honey or maple syrup.
I think that it’s important for children to develop a taste without the heavy sugar. I like to buy Stonyfield’s yobaby and yokids yogurts for my children because it’s thick, wholesome and organic. I love the fact that it is made without artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners. Stonyfield just came out with a greek yogurt for kids that tastes a lot like the yogurt I make at home. My children also love Yoplait GoGurt; the squeeze tubes are easily portable for their lunch boxes and it’s a perfect freezer treat. As long as they love yogurt, I am happy!
Making yogurt is a science of precise measurement of temperature and
time. I enjoy making yogurt on the weekends, I find it satisfying and rewarding. My children love to help by creating just the right toppings. It’s fun for them to experiment and find their favorite yogurt recipe (it usually involves strawberries).You do not have to have a yogurt machine to make it but it sure makes it easy and neat with the perfect size container. Everyone enjoys watching the yogurt set on the kitchen counter.
So, it’s very good for you, it’s fun to make, delicious to eat, a teaching/learning opportunity for your children (including the lesson about having the “patience” to wait for something as the yogurt takes its time to set) and finally, knowing that you have done all these things brings on the pleasure that comes from going to the trouble to do something that makes you feel good.
Ashley’s recipe for yogurt
4 C of whole milk
Either ½ C of store bought yogurt or homemade yogurt from a previous batch (you can also use a package starter with a little powdered milk). You can add more powdered milk to produce a richer yogurt
In a large saucepan over medium heat the milk to 170 degrees. The milk should look like it’s on the verge of a boil. Remove from heat and let cool to 110 degrees then stir in ½ C of plain yogurt to act as your starter. This will set the yogurt. Pour the yogurt into individual jars turn on your yogurt machine and let it stay warm as the yogurt gets firmer (about five hours).  Cover the cups and place them in the refrigerator until well chilled for at least two hours.

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