Some of my Staples

Certain items are always in my kitchen, and yes, some things I do buy in bulk.

1. Sweet tea — Luzianne large tea bags; 3 decaf, 1 regular. Boil water in a 2-qt. saucepan with 1 and 1/2 cups sugar. When the water/sugar mix is at a rolling boil, add the 4 tea bags, cover the pan and turn off the heat. LEAVE IT ALONE for at least 2 hours. 

When you are ready to make the tea, fill a gallon pitcher about halfway with ice cubes. Then remove the tea bags from the pan. Just let the tea bags drip; don’t squeeze them (it may be an urban myth, but supposedly if you squeeze the tea bags the tea becomes bitter more quickly). Pour the concentrated tea over the ice cubes, and then fill the pitcher with cold water. Stir, and put in the fridge. 

You can add a slice of lemon to the glass for a little extra zest. And, even with 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar for an entire gallon, it’s less sugar than that found in soda.

2. Powdered milk — it doesn’t take up room in the refrigerator; I can make up just what I need. For buttermilk — 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar, 1 cup of water. Add 1/2 cup powdered milk (2 scoops), shake or whisk really well, and then let it sit for 10 minutes. 

For evaporated milk — 1 and 1/4 cups water, 1 cup powdered milk. Stir well. This equals a 12-oz can of evaporated milk

For yogurt — yes, I make my own 🙂 to 1 quart of hot water (at least 110 degrees) add 1 and 1/2 cups of powdered milk, a little vanilla extract, and 1/3 cup of sugar (optional). Mix well. When liquid is at 110 degrees, stir in 1/4 cup of starter yogurt. Let the yogurt “cook” at 110 degrees for 6 to 8 hours. Put in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and you have creamy yogurt that is about the consistency of greek yogurt.

For my starter, I buy a 1 quart size of plain yogurt, divide the quart into 1/4 cup portions, and freeze. When I make the yogurt, I just take the starter from the freezer and leave it sit on the counter until thawed, or speed the process by floating the container in hot water. 

This is my little magic yogurt machine! After “wearing out” a couple of the individual glass yogurt makers, I chose this little number, and it is well worth the $35. I make at least 2 quarts of yogurt per week. I use it for my vanilla cream pie; chocolate cream pie; for breakfast over granola. . .

and I can’t wait to use it to make some hot spinach dip!

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