{ Notable Yogurt }

I’m not a foodie.

I don’t browse food-related blogs and I don’t collect recipes.

I try to cook our meals fast with 5 or less ingredients.

But the love of yogurt is forcing me to write about food today.

When my friend Tifanie told me how to make yogurt in the Instant Pot, I couldn’t wait to try it.

It is truly easy and works out to half the price of my Trader Joe’s favorite brand.

I haven’t gotten the twang factor down yet, but I will keep trying.

In an 8-quart Instant Pot, you can make a gallon of yogurt.

Gather together:

  • Instant Pot
  • gallon of whole milk
  • plain yogurt with active cultures — about 1/2 cup
  • a digital thermometer
  • silicone whisk
  • glass container

Someone mentioned that using metal items while making yogurt causes a metallic taste in the yogurt.  So, I tried to use glass, plastic and silicone utensils.

  1. Start with 1 gallon of whole, organic milk.  I bought this at WalMart for under $7.

milk12. Pour the gallon of milk directly into the insert of the Instant Pot and click the cover on.

3. Press the “Yogurt” button once or twice until you see “Boil.” Allow it to beep and get started.  It will beep again when finished.

4. Remove the hot milk carefully by lifting the entire stainless steel insert out.  Set on a rack to cool.  One foodie I know fills her sink partway with cold water and sets the insert into that.  This speeds cooling.

5. The milk should cool to 110 – 115 degrees F. Use a digital thermometer to record the temp. My thermometer is new; I had never used it before. I  didn’t know the plastic sleeve came off.  So, it works either way.

food-network-waterproof-digital-thermometer-red

6. When the milk cools, measure 1/2 cup actively cultured plain yogurt into a separate container.

7. Scoop a little cooled milk and whisk around with the yogurt until it’s smooth.

8. Now add the yogurt mixture to the entire cooled pot of milk.  Whisk again.

whisk
Your thermometer, whisk and other utensils don’t have to be red.  But red is always a good idea.

9. Cover pot and press “Yogurt” button.  Choose an 8, 9 or 10 hour cooking time.  Supposedly, the longer cooking time, the twangier the yogurt.  I may get crazy and try 12 hours next time.

10. I processed my batch of yogurt overnight and woke up to a surprising victory!

 

 

This was 10 steps long, but it wasn’t difficult.

If you want thicker, Greek-style yogurt, you can strain it.  I was just about to click and buy a strainer online, but then decided to rig one up with what I had on hand.

 

 

  1. I used a large plastic container to house the filtering set-up.  This cheap plastic dish is 3 quart sized.
  2. I lined a plastic colander with 3 basket-type coffee filters.
  3. I placed this lined colander over a smaller plastic container.
  4. I put the whole thing into the large 3-quart bowl so I could cover and forget about it.
  5. The whey seeps through the filter system and gets caught in the inner bowl.
  6. Save the whey for other concoctions.
  7. Scoop out your filtered yogurt and store in refrigerator.

 

Did you try it?  Did it work? Do tell!

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/notable/

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{ Spring Might Be Here.}

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Washing, drying and storing mittens is a sure way to bring snow back to Minnesota.  I might be sabotaging myself.

I live in Minnesota.  I find it too bold and presumptuous to announce:

Spring is here!

Better to hesitantly whimper: “Spring might be here soon.”

Or,

Spring is [perhaps] peeking around the corner?

If one is too aggressive in their assertions, spring might tiptoe away.

I don’t want to jinx it.

Google weather isn’t from Minnesota, so it confidently announced a 67 degree high today.

So, with a hopeful heart, I lugged a laundry load out to the clothesline.

While clipping wet garments to the rope, I thought of my son’s words:

“We have a dryer.  Why do you put clothes on the clothesline?”

In an age when you can tell a disk to buy laundry detergent, clothesline use might seem strange.

  • But it gets me outside.
  • I like the fragrance that the wind leaves on the clothes.
  • The garments return fresh (if a little stiff.)

Aside from saving money, what is it about clotheslines, bread-making or homesteading that bestows joy on some of us?

© Lisa M. Luciano

 

“Come back again and wake me up at about half past May.”

– Toad, from Frog & Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel.

 

 “Flowers appear on the earth and the season of singing has come.”

– Song of Solomon 2:12

 

 

 

 

 

{ My Psalm 23}

sheep

The Lord is my Leader

I have everything I need.

He causes me to rest in peaceful places.

He guides me along calm waters.

He cleans and fixes my soul.

He leads me on bright and holy paths

That are good for me,

Will bring Him glory,

And will lead me to His Heaven.

Sometimes I walk inside shadowy, scary places.

Even then, I will choose not to fear.

Because God is with me.

His loving discipline, guidance and rules

Remind me that I am His child.

And, those boundaries are strangely

Comforting.

Loving Father, You bring me to a place

Of good things and gifts

Even inside a circle of

Problems, pain, and difficult people.

You have chosen me,

Consecrated me,

And give my life purpose.

I am filled up

and dripping with unnatural contentment.

I have this feeling that

Your grace, forgiveness and goodness

Will keep pursuing me all through life

And someday

Because of your grace

I will find myself in heaven,

And I will call Your Home…

My Home.

 

A vague interpretation of David the Psalmist’s  inspired Psalm 23.

© Lisa M. Luciano

Photo credit:Alex Blăjan

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

{ Don’t Use a Hammer.}

adam-sherez-228582-unsplash

You can rage, you can vent, you can stammer

With hot words mixed up in the clamor

But to change peoples ways

Don't get half-crazed

Use an eye-dropper -- don't use a hammer.

“For precept must be on precept, precept on precept; line on line, line on line; here a little, and there a little…” Isaiah 28:10

Photo Credit:Adam Sherez

{ Parallel Pain }

A friend asked me to listen to a radio conversation about this….

Should a parent share her pain with her own children?

Would it help?

Would it wound?

Would it open walls?

Would it cleanse?

Would it explain?

Should a parent share his pain?

 

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

–Psalm 32:3

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad. –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

https://www.moodyradio.org/programs/chris-fabry-live/2018/04-2018/2018.04.16-sharing-a-parents-pain/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/parallel/

What do you think?

{ Don’t Fret about Flabby Arms. Or Taxes. }

It’s national Haiku Poetry Day and Tax Day and the Word Prompt is FRET and it’s my nephew Anthony’s birthday.

Can I combine everything into one worthy blog post?

No.

I will talk about something else.

Late last night (after looking at my arms in the mirror and thinking about summer), I searched online for easy arm exercises.

I don’t want to use weights.

And, I don’t want to get down on the floor.

I don’t want to join a gym

Or buy stretchy plastic straps

Or a medicine ball.

So I searched for

“exercises you can do while seated”

I found yoga poses (nope, on the floor)

Then I searched for

“wheelchair exercises”

And I found what I was looking for: simple arm circles.

It doesn’t look like spring out there, but it’s time to think about wearing short sleeves.  (Thus, the arm exercises.)

Because everything is covered with a thick blanket of Minnesota April snow, My daughter has been feeding the birds and even making bird muffins to set out on the snow-filled bird bath.

Dark-eyed juncos, chickadees and an occasional woodpecker scrambled around, up and down getting seeds and playing king of the bird feeder.

Birds can be cranky about their food.

Even I, a casual human observer, could tell which ones were prone to selfish hoarding.

birds

God cares for the birds.

They manage to find food all winter long — even when we forget to fill the feeder or get lax making bird muffins.

Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t worry! You are more valuable to him than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31, Living Bible

God notices us and cares for us despite all our fussing around. Despite our selfishness. Even when we are acting proud or when we are sad.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8

Don’t fret.

God cares for you, his valuable, treasured creation.

(Flabby arms and all.)

(c) Lisa M. Luciano

{ Song: It’s Not Spring! }

 

 

Sing to the tune of “Jingle Bells”

It's a Minnesota Spring

We're sore from shov'ling snow

The highways are undriveable

And the temps are dipping low
Cancellations by the hour

We're sitting here at home

Baking stuff and eating it,

At least there's gas and power
Chorus:

It's not spring!

It's not spring!

Winter's "on repeat"

Blizzards, flurries, sleet and snow,

We're turning up the heat -- HEY!

 

(I didn’t write a second verse. Just keep repeating verse one until the plows finish.

Or, take a nap if you wish.)

 

Word Prompt: SONG

(c) Lisa M. Luciano

Photos taken from local WCCO news site.

{ Library Hopping }

Have you ever gone library hopping?

We rotate between a few local libraries: Small Town Library & Smaller Town Library. Sometimes we get crazy and bold and we venture into The Outer Ring Suburban Library. The vast supply of books is slightly claustrophobic.  It’s fun to visit, but I wouldn’t want to *live there.*

In celebration of National Library Week, I’d like to acquaint you with our two closest Minnesota libraries: ~ Small Town Library and Smaller Town Library.

1. Small Town Library

Small Town Library takes up a whole floor of a historic school, originally built in 1932. Librarian Jacci is friendly, and her enthusiastic, capable daughter Gabi is second in command.  They are a good team.

There’s a Lego club and a book club and an old schoolroom where you can buy used books on the honor system.

Over the Christmas season, the library staff fills the spacious flooring with a dozen large, artificial trees.

Each tree is decorated to reflect a different holiday.

(This is impressive to me, the queen of reluctant decorating.)

 

 

 

2.  Smaller Town Library

Smaller Town Librarian often wears shorts, tees and sweatshirts.  There’s a Keurig machine in the corner. Candy and scratch-n-sniff bookmarks sit on the shelf for everyone to help themselves. You can study in this library if you like, but you might want to settle toward the back of the building.  If you don’t, you will be sucked in to the friendly conversation and cheerful banter that happens every day.  The library staff knows and loves you, so there’s no need to bring your library card to check out books.

Although not an official policy, I’ve heard it implied:

“If you’re not incurring library fines, you’re not enjoying the library enough.”

This gem is more like a local watering hole than a stuffy library. Head librarian Lisa is an untiring listener with a quick wit and laugh. The walls explode with seasonal decorations, applied to the walls by dedicated, fun-loving helpers.

Smaller Town Library feels as warm and friendly as a second home.

winsted library

Libraries are amazing.  Is that something we can all agree on?

Free books and internet. Free help and clean bathrooms.

When your funds are depleted,  head to a library.  The world is yours.

National Library Week is here, and today is Library Workers Day.

Go library hopping to celebrate and thank a library worker 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ I Have a Superpower }

 

I woke up today

Realizing that I have a superpower.

htro_superhero_mom_mug

I can make my teenage sons

  • Roll their Eyes
  • Smirk
  • Shake their heads.

So, far it’s working pretty well.

I just have to figure out how to channel it into something useful.

I feel my superpower coming upon me when I:

  • Say a phrase like “street cred” and use it in a sentence
  • Talk about the latest sports trade like I’m interested
  • Use initials when I speak of famous athletes, like they are my personal friends
  • Purposely misuse hip slang words
  • Drag the virtual into the world of reality – “I really like that you liked my Instagram post.”
  • Sarcastically over-praise them for minor things that I’m happy about: “I think it’s great that you made your bed today. (thumbs up) You’re the best.”

Sometimes I follow up a trendy phrase with a wink and I flash the peace sign.

They might be a little puzzled…. unless they read this blog post.

Which they never do.

 

© Lisa M. Luciano

Mother of six boys,

who all seem to still love me,

despite my superpowers and super failures.

Word Prompt of the Day – Glimmer

 

{ Change }

 

 

There are dozens of songs containing the word change somewhere in the title:

Change of Heart

Seasons Change

She Changes the Weather

We Can Change the World

I Don’t Want to Change the World

Can’t Change Me

A Change Would Do You Good

Everything Changes

Nuthin’ Changes

We change our minds, our décor, and our favorite frothy drink at the coffee shop.

It’s amazing – and comforting—to ponder the fact that God never changes. 

  • “For I the Lord do not change…”—Malachi 3:6
  • “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” –Hebrews 13:8
  • “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.” –Numbers 23:19

But people change. We age. We grow. We are different now than we were ten years ago.

We experience a changed life when we surrender to Jesus Christ.

And then, we keep changing:

  • Growing— in grace and in the knowledge of God. (2 Peter 3:18)
  • Decreasing—so He can increase in us. (John 3:30)
  • Filling up – with the knowledge of His will. (Colossians 1:9)

A solid Christian should grow like a healthy tree: producing mature fruit, sheltering branches, and a constant reach for heaven.

Keep changing.  Keep growing.  Keep softening the rigid ways that are just tradition or denomination.  Keep learning how to love like Jesus did.

Don’t change your convictions if they are based on God’s word.

Don’t change because of your whims, or because the current culture screams at you to do so.

“…You and I cannot change or control the world around us, but we can change and control the world within us.”– Warren Wiersbe

“When you live in the light of eternity, your values change.”– Rick Warren

 

Photo Credits:

Marina Khrapova

Gary Bendig