Saturday, January 21, 2012


Bam.  No, wait....let me rephrase that, BAM.  I am on the verge of freeing myself from any need for store-bought food.  Now, don't get too concerned....the McGhees aren't going to escape all civilization and go live in a self-sustaining cabin in the mountains, having no regard for society and the laws of the government.  We would never do that, we live in Illinois, where our citizens have the upmost respect for our law.  Just ask these guys....

The first recipe I want to share for you will rock your world if you have goldfish/cheezit/wheat-thin loving husbands minis.  I got the recipe for homemade cheesecrackers from Heavenly Homemakers. 

Crispy Cheese Crackers
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ t. sea salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ t. baking powder
  • 1 T. cold water
Use beaters or food processor to mix butter and salt until creamy. Add cheese. Mix well. Gradually add flour, baking powder and water, mixing until dough begins to form a ball. Form dough into a ball with hands.

Roll the dough into 1/8 inch thickness onto a cookie sheet. (I find that placing the dough between two pieces of parchment paper helps me to roll them out more easily.) Cut the rolled out dough into 1 ½ inch squares. Bake 15 minutes at 350° or until lightly browned. Turn off the oven and leave the crackers inside to crisp up. Store tightly covered.

**sidenote** My dough was very crumbly so when I was forming it into a ball, I added more water 1/2 TBSP at a time.  I would say maybe 2-3 more tablespoons.

This next recipe is going to save my oldest mini from finding part-time work to support our families yogurt-eating habits.  I got the recipe from Astrid, who is waaaaay ahead of me in most things in life, but loves me anyway.

EDITING TO SAY:  I have since found a cheez-it recipe that we like much better, here's the recipe.

Crockpot Yogurt
  • 8 cups skim milk
  • 1/2 cup dry milk powder
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
1.  Put milk and milk powder in crockpt and turn on low for 2.5 hours.
2.  Unplug crockpot.  Leave the lid on and let it sit for 3 hours.  (Seriously, you do nothing in this step, except unplug your crockpot.  Nobody needs to know this though so if someone asks you to do something, you can say, "I am busy making yogurt" and then sneak away to read a book.  Need book recommendations?  I've got those too!)
3.  When 3 hours has passed, scoop out 2 cups of the warm milk and wisk in 1/2 cup plain yogurt.  I used 6 oz of Fage yogurt. 
4.  Add the milk/yogurt mixture back into the warmed milk.  Put lid on and wrap the crockpot in warm towels to keep it warm overnight.  IMPORTANT:  I use 3 large bath towels.  Wrap your crockpot tight so it stays warm all night.  If it isn't warm, the bacteria won't grow, and you won't have will have a crockpot of thick milk!
5.  The next morning, you will have yogurt!  You can strain it with a yogurt strainer if you prefer thicker, greek style yogurt.
6.  Mix in whatever you'd like to flavor your yogurt....we prefer fruit or honey. 

Complete and total success!!!  Here's where things get interesting...the first time I made both the crackers and the yogurt, they turned out okay.  I made mistakes on both recipes...on the crackers, I rolled them too thin, so when they baked they got a little burnt.  For the yogurt, I didn't have any dry milk powder, so my yogurt turned out really runny, and despite putting it in my fridge for a few hours, it still didn't thinken up.

So, how can I consider these successes?  Because I know what I want to change and do differently next time....and I am really excited about next time.  Honestly, how often do you fail, easily figure out what your mistake was, and then feel excited to go back and correct your failure?  Probably not too often in life, but in the kitchen.....all the time!!!!

I have a great friend who recently gave me some reading materials and today's reading was something I want to share. 

In the short-term, you may be able to hide who you are or pretend to be something you're not.  Inevitably, your authentic self will be revealed.  So stop hiding.  Show everybody the real you.  You'll be surprised how anxious people ar to see who you really are.

The interesting thing about this New Years resolution is that my life has been completely simplified.  I take care of my family, I run, I cook, I blog, and I read.  And I have realized, I am not content with that, I am filled with joy over that.  So, it's really made me think....what started out being all about food, has ended up being a path to far more.  It's shocking, right?  Because we think it's just food.  I challenge you to rethink your attitudes towards the food you buy, cook, and eat.  Because, for me, I am convinced that what we eat is so powerful because what feeds the belly also feeds the spirit.