Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sugar Detox and Greek Yogurt Part 1

Stumbling Through the Sugar Detox

Today Husband and I are starting up the third week of our sugar detox. (If you would like to try a sugar detox yourself, you find the one that we are following on this website.) During the first week, we cut out all high fructose corn syrup, and during the second week we cut out all refined grains. We did allow ourselves some liberties with the detox, however.

For example, even though the garlic cheese biscuits that I made last Friday were made with white flour, when we started Week 2 of the detox, we allowed ourselves to finish them off, rather than throw them away (though I will not be making any more baked goods with white flour for the duration of our detox).

And as another example, we were invited to a dinner party on Wednesday night. Though the dessert served appeared to have been made with white flour, we ate it anyway: a special occasion, and no desire on our parts to be rude.

And a final example: a co-worker of mine gifted Husband and me with a pan of absolutely divine cinnamon rolls. We ate them—all of them—in about 36 hours.

So far the sugar detox hasn’t been too difficult for us. I’m pretty proud to admit that Husband and I do not have much in the house that has high fructose corn syrup in it. The list is about 25 food items, but frankly, in our corn-based foods society, I was expecting to find a lot more. Eating only whole grains has presented a larger challenge for us, especially in the way of breakfast cereal.

We love breakfast cereal. My favorite is probably a toss-up between Cracklin’ Oat Bran and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Oooh, my mouth waters just typing the names. Mmm.

Anyway, not many breakfast cereals are made with neither corn syrup nor refined grains, and because Husband and I eat cold cereal for breakfast pretty much every day, we are having to branch out, put forth a little more effort to procure healthy alternatives for breakfast.

So, I made granola today. I love granola, and I have made it before. This is my absolutely favorite recipe:

Maple-Almond Granola with Dried Berries

Yield: 8 c.

5 c. old-fashioned oats
2 c. slivered almonds
2 t. ground cinnamon
½ c. canola oil
½ c. pure maple syrup (though I often use honey because it’s cheaper)
½ c. hot water
1 T. vanilla
2 t. almond extract
½ t. salt
1 ¼ c. dried cranberries or blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss oats, almonds, and cinnamon in large bowl. Whisk oil, maple syrup, hot water, extracts, and sea salt in a medium bowl. Drizzle over dry ingredients; toss to coat. Divide mixture between two baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes. Stir. Bake until golden, another 20 minutes, or so. Move baking sheets to racks to cool. Sprinkle fruit over the granola and allow to cool completely.

See? Yum.

Greek Yogurt—to be or not to be?

With a great degree of trepidation, I have also begun a new project today: Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is all the rage right now as a ‘health food,’ yet it is outrageously expensive in the grocery store. I had never actually had Greek yogurt before, and I’m not quite sure what possessed me to try to make it myself. The only reason I can think of is that I have noticed a particular urge in myself, in the last few weeks, to create, so when I saw a recipe online for Greek yogurt, I was drawn to it. I’m also considering trying to begin a sourdough starter at home. Sourdough bread. Mmmm.

I did have to purchase a small amount of Greek yogurt for the purpose of using its live culture. My husband did the shopping, and he came home with enough Greek yogurt that we could try some too. We tried it last night with supper, and I was surprised when I dug the serving spoon into it to see how thick it was. I plopped a blob of the thick white stuff down on my plate and took a tentative bite.

Love at first taste. I should have expected that. Any dairy product that is full-fat generally has my stamp of approval. But I did not expect to enjoy the firmness and creaminess of Greek yogurt quite so much.

Suddenly, my desire to make my own Greek yogurt at home was more than a passing fancy. If I can figure out how to make it at home, I can eat it regularly. If not, well, then Greek yogurt will merely be the occasional expensive treat.

So, at around noon today, I began to heat my whole milk:

I needed to heat it to 180 degrees. I monitored it’s heating up with this thermometer:

Never mind that it’s in a glass of half ice and half water and still says 40 degrees. It really was accurate. This picture must have been taken immediately after re-submerging the thermometer in the water.

When the milk got up to 180 degrees, I took it off the heat and let it sit until the temperature was only about 120 degrees. Then I mixed a half cup of the milk with a half cup of Greek yogurt (purchased for its live culture), added that mix back into the milk, and transferred the milk and yogurt to a pre-warmed crock pot:

The crock pot is not plugged in, and is actually never plugged in throughout the making of the yogurt.

I then wrapped the crock pot up really well:

Now it will sit until about 8:00 tonight, at which point I will set it to drain off the whey in a colander lined with a linen cloth, and we will see whether I have created yogurt or sour-tasting milk.

Stop by tomorrow to see!

1 comment:

  1. I've made Greek yogurt myself, although when I made it, we didn't eat it quickly enough, so I've never made it again. Hopefully yours turns out!