Sunday, January 15, 2012

Never be afraid to fail!

Yesterday I decided to not leave the kitchen. Ok that's not entirely  true, I did get out side and shovel the snow that fell but otherwise I dedicated yesterday to a baking day.  I was tired of the kids complaining about having to have cereal 'AGAIN'?! (insert whiny kid sounds here).  I knew I wanted to make some danish puff since I happened to have 4 dozen eggs in the fridge, but I wanted to stock the freezer too and decided to make muffins. Lots of muffins! 

Mr. Bacon always loves the apple pie muffins so those went on the list.  I even added some walnuts to them! I was craving the yummy 2 ingredient pumpkin muffins.  But I have some extra time still and decided to make one more kind.  Digging though my recipes didn't spark any thing I just had to have, however digging though the pantry sparked my creative side!  I thought of how easy those pumpkin muffins were to make, just cake mix and a can of pumpkin.  Then I wondered if it was that easy with other mixes.  I happened to have a carrot cake mix on the shelf.  And a bazillion containers of applesauce baby food left over from Bacon Bit that needed to get used up. No I had no clue going into this if it would work.  But hey that's how great cooks are made.  There is a deal of science when it comes to making food, however there is always a space to be creative too.  Some of our favorite meals were one's we put together on our own like our curly chicken and peas and our lemon garlic chicken!  They are family favorites.  If we never experimented around, we would never have found them. So with my cake mix and applesauce in hand I headed to the kitchen. 

I dumped the cake mix and 2 cups applesauce in my mixer and away it went. I was surprised how it turned out.  In the bowl it wasn't thicker and dense like the pumpkin muffins mix. It was light and airy.  I honestly was a bit worried about how they 'd turn out.  I scooped them into mini muffin pans and baked them in a pre-heated 350* oven for about 16 minutes.  Took them out of the pan and let them cool on a rack, all but one. Nope I couldn't even wait for them to cool down to try them. I popped one in and they were amazing!  No heavy dense taste like the pumpkin muffin, just light delicious.  Success! 

 I happened to find a container of cream cheese frosting in the pantry as well when I was digging in there and though it would make the perfect topping to these muffins.  Yes it defeats the purpose of making 'healthier' muffins with just applesauce, but it's better than having made the cake according to the box and then putting the frosting on right?  They were a huge hit with all of us here and with Mr. Bacon's co-workers how happily sample my kitchen creations.  Ok the good one's anyway! 

 And to show not all my ideas turn out well, here was a flop!  I made a gallon of yogurt yesterday as well. I pulled out one of the gallons of milk I froze in the freezer back in August.  I had no idea if frozen milk would work for yogurt since I hadn't tried it yet.  It seemed like a good day to try. And Little Miss Bacon has been asking for some 'mommy yogurt' too.  I followed my recipe and filled three quart jars with vanilla yogurt.  Earlier in the day I took out a bag of frozen strawberries, yup the ones from the garden I packaged earlier, they've been wonderful to have all winter long.  I drained the strawberries saving the juice in a separate bowl (the berries went into a banana strawberry smoothie Bacon Bit and I shared).  With the yogurt left after filling the other jars, I added the strawberry juice.  I had thought it would make wonderful strawberry yogurt that Little Boy Bacon would like, he's not entirely hooked on just vanilla regardless of what I add in it.  Well I could tell from the moment I filled the last jar it would be a flop.  Straining the yogurt left a lot of chunky parts.

 I decided to give it a go anyway, at least it looked pretty!  I incubated the yogurt for 8.5hrs. and as soon as it came out of the water I knew it was a disaster!  The strawberry yogurt separated out completely.
  And I had no idea if it was good or not so my monster who lives in my garbage disposal ate it!  (yes the kids think there is a monster that lives inside our garbage disposal who eats all our scraps).  So that experiment didn't work, you can't win them all. However I did learn that using milk that was frozen for months in the freezer works great to make yogurt.  The other three quarts turned out just fine.  You win some, you lose some, but never give up trying!


  1. I usually buy Stonyfield yogurt, and their flavored yogurt usually has a little bit of separation. I just stir it up & eat. May try that next time. :)

  2. Also try adding the juice to the yogurt after it's made. I find this prevents a lot of problems :)

  3. I make yogurt often with this easy recipe. Put about a half gallon of milk into a crockpot on low setting for 2 hrs/45 min. Then turn off and leave for 3 hours. It will be turned off the rest of the time. After the 3 hours, whisk about 1 cup of plain yogurt into the milk. It has to be the kind of yogurt that has cultures in it. You can read the labels to see which kinds do. Then cover your crockpot with a very thick towel or two towels for 8 hours. I have left it go over several hours many times b/c of starting at the wrong time of day, so I don't have to get up in the middle of the night. If you want to make thick yogurt (Greek yogurt) out of your homemade yogurt, strain it in a colander with coffee filters. You can use the whey that drains off for smoothies. (I use whole milk). For your subsequent recipes, you can use your own homemade yogurt for the 1 cup you add, at least for a few times. Then maybe it would be best to buy some more. Chris