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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Homemade Frozen Yogurt!!

Delicious!
Okay, so I happened to have a little extra time today waiting for school to get out after doing some errands.  Instead of just hanging out in my car, I decided to pop into a local thrift store to see what kind of trouble I could get into.

The boys are HARD on their clothes, and our 13 year old is growing faster than a Chia Pet, so I'm always on the lookout for some sturdy, inexpensive clothes.

After scoring a great swim shirt and new-with-tags pair of shorts, I still had some time on my hands, so I wandered around a bit.  Somehow, I ended up in the kitchen section where I spied a practically new ice cream maker for four bucks.  Score.

I've been wanting to try my hand at frozen yogurt because we have various family members who can't eat regular dairy.  I was assured it was a pretty easy and effective process.  I couldn't quite see how you could get that lovely TCBY-like frozen yogurt at home, but for four dollars, I was willing to try.  I had just made a fresh batch of homemade yogurt (learn how here or, even easier, in a crock pot here), too, so it was perfect timing!

Ingredients in!
Plus, here is a FANTASTIC fact I've just learned:  Freezing does NOT kill the live and active cultures
in yogurt!  Freezing makes them go into a kind of dormant state, but as soon as you eat the frozen yogurt, they warm back up and become live again, doing all those awesome things for your digestive tract that they're known for!  How awesome is that?!?!

Since I wasn't really expecting to do this tonight, and had limited time, I made up a test recipe.  This is what I used:

Ingredients:
  • 4 Cups Plain Homemade Yogurt
  • 1 Small Box Low-Sugar Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 4 Packets Stevia/Sugar Mix

All pureed and ready to add to maker
Equipment:
  • Bowl for mixing
  • Spatula
  • Stick Blender
  • Knife
  • Fine Mesh Strainer
  • OR
  • Colander and Cheesecloth
  • Bowl large enough to hold strainer or colander
  • Measuring Cup

Method:
All that's left is to wait until done!
  • Measure out your plain yogurt 
  • Place in fine mesh strainer or into a colander lined with damp cheesecloth
  • Set inside your large bowl
  • Refrigerate for an hour to drain whey (do this even if you have Greek style yogurt)
  • When drained, save whey for use in baking or smoothies or discard
  • Place drained yogurt in your mixing bowl
  • Add pudding mix, stevia blend, and banana (cut into smallish chunks)
  • Using your stick blender (or a food processor), puree until smooth
  • Transfer to your ice cream maker and proceed according to manufacturer's directions

That's it!  Despite my initial skepticism, it turned out so light and creamy and gorgeous, it was as good as any you get in a frozen yogurt shop!  I was told it gets a little icy and hard when you freeze it, so we made sure to finish this batch up tonight!  :)

But don't forget to drain the yogurt. . .doing so makes it less likely to develop ice crystals.  It sure seemed to work as ours was as smooth and creamy as a cloud.

Every last member of our family loved it and wanted to know if we were making more tomorrow!  I guess I'm going to have to up my weekly yogurt production from two gallons to FOUR!  SHEESH!

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