How to Make Evaporated Milk at Home

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Have you ever used a can of (fat-free) evaporated milk and thought, I wonder how they make this? Ever looked at the back of the ingredients? It’s non-fat milk and dipotassium phosphate (water-soluble salt additive often used as an buffering agent, emulsifier and preservative. It’s used in evaporated milk to thicken it).

Skip the salt and make your own either by simmer it or buying non-fat dry milk powder.

Since I make my own condensed soup I buy a big box of non-fat dry milk, Wal-Mart’s brand.

Here’s how you can make your own:

2/3 cup non-fat dry milk powder

3/4 cup water

Mix milk and water (makes 1 cup)

or

simmer 2 1/4 cups of regular whole milk until it reduces to 1 cup

Use it anywhere that calls for evaporated milk!

There you have it!

Stay tuned for more Meal Plan Monday’s and as always, with every recipe I post, I do hope you love it!

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Linking up with: thebettermom

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Homemade Yogurt {Lactose Free}

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I’m a bit weird when it comes to what goes into my children. They don’t eat a lot of candy if any at all. NO juices with dyes, occasional takeout, chips, or things with sugary contents. I try to always provide vegetables as a snack…try. I’m so glad they love them! My sister tells them that their eyes will grow big and makes a big bug-eyed face O.O.

I recently discovered that my big little is lactose intolerant. It would be so embarrassing how bad he’d get gas. “Boys are boys,”  I thought. Farting is apart of them growing into men. And then their would be bad stomach aches following.

I started to buy lactaid milk and cut down cooking with different things that bothered him. It helped a little but there were still things left that gave him bad gas and stomach aches, like yogurt and cheeses.

I’m a stickler for homemade. That means I know what goes in and am not surprised by what could possibly come out. LOL

Any way. I’ve seen a few posts like these floating around on pinterest. So that’s originally where the idea came from. I had a hard time finding answers to my lactose free questions though. I saw that you could make ricotta cheese lactose-free from this lady so I thought I’d give the yogurt a go.

I used a gallon of whole lactaid milk

a half cup of Chobani plain Greek yogurt

a sieve

and two paper towels to strain

I also used a meat thermometer to read the temps

First, I set my 5 qt crockpot to high and poured a gallon of whole lactaid milk inside for 3 hours or until the temp read 180 degrees

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After 3 hours I turned it off and let it sit for another 3 hours on the counter until the crockpot was warm to 115 degrees

I scooped out 1 cup of the yogurt into a measuring cup and added the half cup of plain Greek yogurt

(when buying a starter yogurt make sure it says active and live cultures in the ingredients)

I chose Greek yogurt because it had little to nothing in it. I wanted my yogurt as close to natural without any chemicals as much as possible.

I didn’t cover the crockpot until it was cooled to 115 degrees

I then wrapped it in a towel and put it in the oven (not turned on) to incubate (with the light on )

The live cultures in the yogurt need the warmth from the light to be able to do their thing

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(Please forgive my dirty oven)

I’m a working mom. So what. lol

I put my crockpot in the oven for 8 hours

I chose to put it in the oven to ensure warmth because my kitchen gets drafty

otherwise you can put it wherever

**Note: The crockpot should not be hot or cold. When you touch it should be warm. Too warm will mean the cultures die, too cold will mean they don’t work.

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When I took it out I was so excited to see that it worked!

I’ve heard that the less yogurt you use to start it the thicker it gets and you won’t have to strain it

Mine was thick enough for me but I know my children like it thicker

I didn’t have cheesecloth so I lined a sieve with paper towel and dumped the yogurt in it for 30 minutes

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You can see it it thickening as it sits. The longer it sits, the thicker it gets. (you could even go all the way and make yogurt cheese)

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This was all the whey I got from half of the yogurt

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In the end I sweetened it with honey to taste and two tsp of vanilla extract

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I plan on cooking down some berries with honey and mixing it in the other batch I have.

(You also don’t have to use a crockpot. You can warm the milk in a pot and follow the rest of the steps. I think you would definitely want to use a thermometer if you do.)

I thought it was delicious and will make it forever! 🙂

So tell me? What would you add in to make it yummy?

Quick and Easy Pretzel Chicken

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Having a better camera is so much fun! This picture makes my mouth drool.

Anyway.

In my effort to meal plan better and actually make quick meals, I’ve scoured the world-wide-web (and pinterest of course) for hours and hours looking for some of the best meals that will better suit my family and my picky eaters. Sundays are our great days. It’s where a big meal hits the table and chatter boxes get ta chatterin’. But through the week, between work and work I’m always in a crunch for time. Literally everything needs to be timed. I’m crazy.

I’ve come across a recipe like this on pinterest a few times already when it came time to write out my meal plans and it didn’t really interest me. It’s so funny my meal planning. Whatever I actually put on the schedule to eat always changes the week of. So I started to just make a tentative schedule. -My taste buds are demanding.

Today I was in the mood for a quirky meal mixed with a little comfort. I think I succeeded as my big little person asked me to repeatedly give him more.

I usually go for baking my meat or something like that but I figured the oil that has been sitting in my cabinet for a while should probably be used at some point. Glad it was peanut oil and no one is allergic.

The recipes I looked at didn’t seem intriguing enough so like always I followed and wandered.

Here it is:

Ingredients:

I used about five boneless chicken breast and butterflied them (cut them in half to be thin)

salt and pepper (to taste but not a lot)

Mrs. Dash (just to add some kind of spontaneity)

4 eggs

2 cups broken pretzel sticks (mine were sourdough)

3 cups peanut oil (or just enough to cover the chicken after it’s been coated)

1. Butterfly your chicken breast after cleaning and prepping.

2. Break up pretzels in a food processor (I don’t own one so I used my trusty meat tenderizer and a zip lock bag)

3. Season chicken (optional, I didn’t)/ season pretzels with salt and pepper and Mrs. Dash (M.D also optional)

4. Turn your pan on medium high heat with oil in it

5. Crack your eggs in a separate bowl and beat well

6. Here we go: Dip your chicken in the pretzels and coat as much as you can, then dip in the egg, and back into the pretzel mix and next in the pan.

Bring it out and on to a plate lined with paper towels. And repeat until all the chicken is finished.

That’s it. It tasted almost like Chik fil A’s Chicken. You be the judge and enjoy. I topped my off with a cheesy mustard sauce that I found on pinterest and paired the chicken with ranch roasted carrots and baked sweet potatoes.

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This will be going in my pocket for the ages. I hope it is the same for you!

With all that I post, tell me what you think and what you did different. Don’t forget to click the link and follow me on pinterest. I’m always pinning something good!

Can’t wait to hear!

Homemade Cherry Pie Bars

Who doesn’t love a great dessert??

I don’t think anyone can actually answer that with a straight face. In fact, if I could eat dessert everyday I would..but don’t tell my boys!

I’m always so busy these days so I am always looking for something good to prepare that’s easy and yummy. I’ve found a keeper for my list of “dessert crack.” Yup, this is one you’ll put down and think about every second until you pick it back up. So good you just might slap yo mamma. But please don’t. LOL!

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Easy Cherry Pie Bars

Recipe adapted from: therecipecritic

Original source: Julies Treats

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 (21 ounce) cherry pie filling

1. Cream together butter and sugar, add all the eggs and beat them well then beat in both extracts.

2. In a separate bowl combine flour and salt and add that to the cream mix. Mix until combined.

3. Grease a 9×13 pan and spread 3 cups batter in the bottom of the pan, spread the pie filling on top of the batter mixture. Once the filling mix is spread all over, drop some leftover batter on top of the pie filling sporadically.

4. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes clean

This made our Sunday extra special! Let me know how it turns out.

-Choose Love

Nykiah