Cold-start Yogurt in the Instant Pot


Cup of yogurt

This recipe is for what is called a “cold start yogurt” process. It omits the need to boil the milk first because you use Fairlife milk which is ultra-filtered. This really is a very simple process – however, there are some important details to know in order to successfully achieve creamy, delicious yogurt – so you’re going to want to read this whole post before you get started.

What is Fairlife Milk?

  • Fairlife Milk is an ultra-filtered product, which runs through “soft” filters to concentrate the Milk and remove impurities
  • There is more natural protein and calcium which comes directly from the Milk.
  • Because of the Filtration process, the Milk is higher in protein and calcium.
  • There is less sugar and the Milk is Lactose-Free!
  • Fairlife Milk is not organic but is ultra-pasteurized.

DISCLAIMER:  This is not an advertisement for Fairlife. This Instant Pot cold-start yogurt recipe is not to be used with milk that hasn’t been through an ultra-filtration process, like Fairlife which is different than ultra-pasteurized. Regular milk has some bacteria that needs to be brought up to 180 degrees prior to making yogurt.

Okay – back to our regularly scheduled program: I wanted a vanilla-based yogurt for this batch and opted to put the vanilla creamer and the sweetened condensed milk in the mix at the beginning of the process to get a more intensified vanilla flavor (and boy did I!).  Because this makes about 96oz of yogurt (I filled 12 8oz jars) you might want to do it at the end and divide your yogurt in half so you can have both vanilla yogurt and plain yogurt for savory purposes.

IngredientsCast of Characters

  • 1-52oz Fairlife whole milk (Fairlife does have skim milk but it will definitely change the consistency)
  • 1-cup of natural bliss creamer (or use two tablespoons vanilla extract – omit if you want plain yogurt)
  • 1-can of sweetened condensed milk (you can substitute 1/4 cup of honey – omit if you want plain yogurt)
  • *2-Tablespoons of store-bought yogurt (this is the starter – you can save 2 tablespoons from this batch for your next one).

*It’s critical for you to check the ingredient list of the store-bought yogurt when you’re shopping for a yogurt starter. It must have active bacterial cultures for it to work as the yogurt starter.  A live culture usually contains at least 2 types of bacteria (L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus). I used Oui for this recipe but Oikos and Fage are both good options and have unflavored plain yogurt if you’re going that route.  Dairy-free yogurt will not work. Continue reading

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Homemade Granola


JarsI initially made this granola because I finally learned how to make my own yogurt (recipe HERE)! But it turned out so delicious that I plan to make it a regular staple in my pantry. And it freezes well, too!

PRO TIP: The ingredients below are what I enjoy – feel free to substitute whatever nuts or seeds you prefer – but they need to be raw and not pre-roasted or they will overcook. If you want to add coconut or dried fruit – you will need to add that in halfway through the cooking process.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1.5 cups sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 melted butter (you can always substitute coconut or vegetable oil, but I mean, come on… butter!)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg or 2 medium eggs – whites only

Ready to Cook?

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Adjust the oven rack to the second level from the top.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl (oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, brown sugar, and salt). In a separate, smaller bowl mix together the wet ingredients (butter, egg whites, honey, and vanilla). Drizzle over the top of the dry mixture, stirring until well-combined and all the dry has been coated with the wet mixture (

Granola

add additional honey if it seems too dry). Transfer the granola mixture to the baking sheet and spread out evenly with a spatula, pressing down firmly so it’s compact. This will helps create “chunks” of granola later.

Bake for 30-35 minutes – rotating halfway through for even baking. Since all ovens vary – check around the 25-minute mark (especially if you can really smell it!). It should be golden brown with crispy edges, and the nuts should look lightly toasted.  Just keep an eye on it because it can burn quickly!

Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces. It should keep in an airtight container up to 3 weeks – if it lasts that long!

 

Creamy Garlicky Hummus using the Instant Pot


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I. Love. Hummus.

I mean, it really is the perfect food. Such a vehicle for a multitude of flavors yet equally delicious plain. I could eat buckets of the stuff.

But oh the fat!  Typically there are 5 grams of fat per 1 ounce of hummus. By the way, most store-bought tubs of hummus say that 1 ounce/2 tablespoons is a serving. Who are they kidding? So, I set out to make a lighter version.

Water. Who knew? I have always made hummus by blending olive oil into the mixture as it whirled through the blender. But I recently came across a recipe using water instead. I’m still using tahini so there is still some fat involved… but not nearly as much as when using oil (most store-bought hummus has soybean oil in it – even worse!).

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Grown-up Grilled Cheese with Sherry Tomato Basil Soup


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Who doesn’t love grilled cheese and tomato soup on a cold wintery day? If you don’t, we probably can’t be friends. This grilled cheese is a result of LOTS of experimentation. I have a bit of a reputation because of these – and countless requests to finally get it posted. So here you go… now you can stop bugging me make your own whenever you like!

The soup recipe comes from the one and only Pioneer Woman. I mean, she puts sherry and cream in it. She can definitely be my friend.

Ingredients for Grilled Cheese

  • Any bread that can stand up to some weight. I personally love sough dough bread.
  • 1 slice of TWO of your favorite cheese (2 slices total – swiss ,cheddar, gruyere, etc)
  • 1 tablespoon whipped cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon butter

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Chilaquiles Verde


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This may have become my new favorite Christmas morning tradition. I have never made chilaquiles and I was having a serious craving Christmas morning. But where to go? My kitchen was the only option.

What I love about this is how easy it is and yet it feel so decadent. I mean, you want a yummy breakfast on Christmas morning… but who wants to spend the holiday in the kitchen? The most labor intensive thing was making my own tortilla chips. Totally worth it though!

Because it was a holiday and I literally had to use what I had in my kitchen – I used Beekman 1802 Boys Salsa Verde – which is amazing! It’s very spicy so be prepared. But if you’d rather make your own – go for it! The beauty of this dish is that other than the chips and the salsa you can really put whatever you want on it. Not all chilaquiles come with eggs. You can even use red salsa or mole. You can add avocado or pulled chicken. The main thing that makes it chilaquiles is that the chips are both soft and crunchy from being tossed in the warm salsa. This dish is from Mexico and goes back hundreds of years – it was originally created to use up leftover chips and salsa and is eaten for breakfast after a “big night” and is a standard hangover cure.  Ole!

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Cheesy Asparagus Tart


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After all the filling holiday meals I decided to go vegetarian the week between Christmas and New Year’s. So l was looking for some creative ideas, as well as a way to clean out the freezer and unused veggies… I came up with this (Inspired by Carla Hall’s Acorn Squash Tart). It took all of five minutes to assemble and 30 minutes to bake – and I guarantee you everyone will ohh and ahh. I posted a photo on social media (because yes, I’m that girl) and my notifications blew up!

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Santa Fe Chili


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About five years ago, I began an annual tradition of making my first pot of chili of the season on Halloween night.  Typically, it’s a cool evening, I can invite a few friends over and we can enjoy a pot of chili as we pass out candy to the kiddos in the neighborhood.

I started a new job a few months ago, and it turns out that they have a annual tradition of having a chili cook-off on Halloween. How perfect! UPDATE: I won Best Chili Theme with this recipe – was told I was only one point away from taking Best Overall Chili. I wasn’t able to add the fried Hatch chili rings because they got soggy in transport – that would have clinched it for sure!

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Honey Walnut Shrimp


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I love Chinese food. Not only are they the masters of blending sweet and savory but I can make a meal out of nothing but the appetizers! I love variety and a Chinese menu gives me the opportunity to try many things. And I’m not referring to the fast food “Panda” or food court walkup. I’m talking a real sit down restaurant with a legitimate chef. 🙂

That said – my new found favorite is Honey Walnut Shrimp. It probably one of the more expensive items on the menu but you can make a pound of shrimp at home for under $15.00. I purchased tail off, peeled and deveined raw shrimp but you can save even more if you do the work yourself. Just be sure to devein them – poop tracks are No Bueno.

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Zuppa Tuscana (Rustic Italian Soup)


15EEEF22-B8D7-4479-A255-78F16653D8C9Apparently this is a soup at Olive Garden that people rave about – however, I’ve never had it there. I saw a similar recipe online and then tweaked it to make it my own. And. I. Love. It.

Now, this is not the most waist-friendly soup, what with the cream, potatoes and spicy sausage. But I figure the kale makes up for all of that and I’m willing to risk it! One step, you must not, I repeat, NOT skip is using the homemade garlic broth. It doesn’t taste the same if you just add garlic (clove or paste). So don’t skip it. Seriously. I’m not kidding here.

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Pineapple Agua Fresca


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So oddly enough I’ve never been a huge pineapple fan. But right after the long harsh winter we had this year – I was craving ANYTHING that even hinted at summer! So once again, I was perusing the aisles of my new favorite Mexican grocery and they had these big beautiful pineapples stacked in neat little rows… and they literally called my name. No seriously. They did.

I was watching one of my go-to cooking shows, Mexican Made Easy and Marcela made this delicious looking pineapple agua fresca (which simply means water with fresh fruit). So I made it and it is incredible! I give all the props to Marcela Valladolid – she’s never steered me wrong.

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