How to Make 24-Hour Half and Half Yogurt

Berries topped with half and half yogurt. This was our 4th of July dessert this past summer.
Berries topped with half and half yogurt and raw honey. A good 4th of July dessert!

I think most of you know that I do eat some limited sources of dairy. Specifically, homemade 24-hour yogurt and butter/ghee are the only dairy sources I can safely tolerate. In fact, homemade 24-hour yogurt is a major component of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and the reason I started making it in the first place. Culturing it for 24 hours ensures that all the lactose gets broken down and makes for a nice, sour yogurt. Generally, I make it with organic grass-fed whole milk, but sometimes I make it with pasture-raised half and half when I want something more decadent. The hardest part is waiting for it to culture and then waiting again for it to set overnight in the fridge. I tell you though, it is well worth the wait! This is unlike any yogurt you’ve ever tasted and thick by nature. It’s yogurt fit for the Gods. I enjoy it plain, with fruit or as a dessert garnish (whipped cream).

For this specific recipe, you need a yogurt maker, but there are ways to make homemade yogurt without one too. I know there is an oven method, along with a heating pad method. I can attest that the heating pad method works, but is a pain in the butt if your heating pad automatically shuts off every two hours, like mine. I had to get up a few times in the night to turn the heating pad back on and after this escapade, I bought a yogurt maker. They’re pretty affordable and I’ve definitely gotten more than my money’s worth out of it. Specifically, this recipe uses the Yogourmet electric yogurt maker, so directions may differ slightly if you have another model.

If you don’t tolerate dairy, you can make yogurt with homemade almond milk or full-fat canned coconut milk, but would need to find a source of non-dairy cultures. I do okay with dairy yogurt and cultures, so I’ve never experimented with this, but I know it’s doable.

Click here to read about the importance of 24-hour yogurt in the SCD.

Half and half yogurt with homemade grain-free granola (click for recipe).
Half and half yogurt with homemade grain-free granola (click for recipe).

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Pour the half and half into a large pot and turn burner to medium heat (or just above medium). Clip a thermometer (candy thermometer works) to the side of the pot. Stir the half and half continuously to keep it from sticking or scorching.
  2. Slowly heat the half and half to a simmer while stirring constantly. Turn heat down and continue to simmer for about two minutes. Watch closely and keep stirring, so it doesn’t boil over.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to 110 degrees F. To speed up this process, you can also place the pot into a sink filled with cold water. When checking the temperature, be sure to stir the half and half first and then test in the middle of the pot, versus on the side. It is very important that it’s not too hot when you add the cultures.
  4. Add yogurt cultures into the yogurt container (mine is one big container) or a large bowl. Scoop a few ladle-fulls of the cooled half and half into the container or bowl. Stir well until the cultures are dissolved. Then, mix back into the pot with the remaining milk.
  5. Pour the milk into the yogurt container and seal with the lid. Add water to the fill line in the yogurt maker and then place the container inside, and cover with the yogurt maker lid. Plug in and culture for 24-30 hours.
  6. Once done, place yogurt in the fridge to chill and firm up. I recommend letting it sit overnight to ensure the yogurt is fully set and chilled.
  7. Enjoy as desired!

Yields: 2 quarts of yogurt

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My Go-To Lunches and Some Ideas

In debating what to blog about today, I realized that I’ve never addressed any lunch recipes or ideas. I’m not sure why that is exactly … maybe because I usually just throw something together or eat dinner leftovers. Also, lunch is my least favorite meal of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat and definitely enjoy lunch, but of my three meals each day, lunch is number three (breakfast is number one and dinner is number two). I generally don’t eat snacks because my body doesn’t need it, and eating high-quality protein and fats in each meal helps carry me over to the next.

Below you’ll see a few of my typical lunches. Sometimes, I’ll have a small dish of homemade 24-hour whole milk yogurt and a piece of fruit with my lunch as well. It just depends on what my lunch is and how I feel. Following my photos, you’ll find a few great sounding and looking lunch ideas.

Applegate Naturals fresh-sliced (not pre-sliced) oven-roasted turkey breast, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and carrots.
Applegate Naturals fresh-sliced (not pre-sliced) oven-roasted turkey breast, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and carrots.
Two grass-fed beef hot dogs, sauerkraut, avocado, cucumber slices, carrots and Dijon mustard.
Two Applegate Naturals nitrate-free, grass-fed beef hot dogs, sauerkraut, avocado, cucumber slices, carrots and Dijon mustard.
Large spinach leaves wrapped with Applegate Naturals freshly-sliced oven roasted turkey breast, avocado and cucumber slices, and carrots with homemade beet dip.
(Taken with iPhone). Large spinach leaves wrapped with Applegate Naturals freshly-sliced oven roasted turkey breast, avocado and cucumber slices, and carrots with homemade beet dip. Sometimes I make these wraps with romaine or green leaf lettuce too. See link to my beet dip recipe below.
Salad at Whole Foods
(Taken with iPhone). Salad at Whole Foods: spinach, cucumber, carrots, beets, hard-boiled eggs, small amount of walnuts, rotisserie chicken, all topped with olive oil. Also, a side of fresh strawberries and blueberries. Sometimes I buy a few slices of Applegate Naturals freshly-sliced oven-roasted chicken or turkey breast and add it into my salad. It’s cheaper (because of the weight) than adding a bunch of rotisserie chicken pieces!

In case you’re curious about my beet dip recipe, check out this blog post from a while back. You’ll see a carrot dip recipe, which is exactly the same as the beet dip — just sub beets for carrots (about 2 cups worth).

Now, here are some lunch recipes that look worthy of trying. I’ve pinned all of them to my Pinterest boards and encourage you to come follow me! To find these recipes, just click on each photo.

Turkey avocado roll-ups from Avocado Pesto.
Turkey avocado roll-ups from Avocado Pesto.
Hayley's Chicken Salad
Hayley’s Chicken Salad from The Food Lovers Kitchen.
Or this chicken salad from Everyday Paleo.
Or this chicken salad from Everyday Paleo.
Bacon, egg, avocado and tomato salad from Mark's Daily Apple.
Bacon, egg, avocado and tomato salad from Mark’s Daily Apple.
Spinach and smoked salmon salad with lemon dill dressing from Food & Wine.
Spinach and smoked salmon salad with lemon dill dressing from Food & Wine.
Grain-free salmon cakes from Balanced Bites.
Grain-free salmon cakes from Balanced Bites.

Fourth of July Celebratory Dinner and Dessert

Well, Jesse and I had a pretty chill Fourth of July this year. Normally, we go to Bend to be with friends, ride in the annual ‘Freedom Ride,’ and have a crazy good time. We weren’t able to go this year for a few different reasons, so we stayed in town and did our own thing. We sat outside on the patio, relaxed and ate some good food, but no fireworks … we didn’t really care (we sure could hear ’em around the neighborhood though).

No drinks for me, but Jesse indulged in a few … and a few more! He was celebrating in his own way. Whenever I do choose to indulge in a beverage, it’s usually a small glass of Crispin Honey Crisp Hard Cider (it’s gluten free with no added preservatives or sugar!) or good quality vodka with fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. One drink is enough to make me dizzy and tipsy (seriously), so generally I never have more than that, but on occasion I’ll have two. I very, very rarely drink though because I don’t particularly like the way it makes me feel. More often than not, I’d rather have a coconut water. I did try a (nonalcoholic) Tiki Juice though, which I wasn’t too impressed with despite the happy look on my face below. It’s made from rooibos tea and has different botanicals added to it – in this case, stress-relieving botanicals. It was the only flavor of the two available that didn’t have added sugar. By no means am I stressed right now (I think I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my adult life!), but I still wanted to try it. Needless to say, I won’t buy it again. It was basically iced rooibos tea and I’m not a big rooibos tea fan in the first place.

Alisa with Tiki Juice
Me with my not-so-special Tiki Juice.

We had a spectacular dinner of grass-fed tri tip steak, which I pan seared in butter with salt and pepper and then finished in the oven, roasted asparagus, tossed salad made with lettuce from our friend’s garden and homemade vinaigrette, crimini mushrooms sautéed in steak juices and butter, and a dessert of fresh berries with half-and-half 24-hour yogurt (drained to make it even thicker) and a drizzle of honey on top. Oh, there was second dessert too because I found a recipe that I wanted to try pronto … almond butter freezer fudge. Thank you to Theresa Fisher’s blog for that one. It is awesome! Theresa’s recipe calls for peanut butter, but I don’t and can’t eat peanuts, so I used almond butter instead. I used 1/4 cup of honey, rather than a 1/2 (it calls for 1/4 – 1/2 cup) and subbed pure almond extract for the vanilla because I was fresh out. I also added one tablespoon of organic butter to the mixture for added creaminess. For ease of cleanup and cutting, I lined the pan with foil before pouring in the fudge mixture, which worked like a charm. Seriously, this is such an easy recipe and SO FRIGGIN’ GOOD … almost too good!

Overall, it was a pleasant Fourth of July and nice to spend it at home. How about you … what did you do for the Fourth and what sorts of goodies did you eat?

Almond butter fudge mixture
Stirring the almond butter fudge mixture.
Fourth of July feast
Fourth of July feast.
Almond butter freezer fudge
Almond butter freezer fudge.
Berries with half-and-half 24-hour yogurt
Local strawberries, blueberries and raspberries with half-and-half 24-hour yogurt and a drizzle of honey.

Banana-Rama-Fo-Fana Cake

A bunch of Bananas.
Photo credit: Wikipedia

I have a love affair with bananas, and that’s no exaggeration. I recently decided to cut back my consumption because it had become far too frequent and consistent. Not that I was eating five a day or anything (I’d occasionally have two in a day), but I came to the realization that I had eaten one nearly every day since October! I can’t help it … I love eating ’em mashed up in 24-hour yogurt, eating slices with coconut butter spread on top, and using bananas to make pancakes (so easy – mashed ripe banana, two eggs, cinnamon and sometimes 1 or 2 Tbsp of almond butter mixed in or spread on top). You may remember my ice cream that had banana in it too. So anyway, I’ve been giving my system a little bit of a banana detox, and after going a couple weeks of not eating bananas at all, I may now have one or two in a week’s time. I think this is much more reasonable.

Most recently, I chose to meet my weekly banana quota by way of a delectable, moist, subtly sweet banana cake. Basically, it’s like banana bread in the shape of a round cake instead of a loaf. I like to eat it with fresh Oregon strawberries and a dollop of my homemade 24-hour yogurt. Coconut whipped cream would also be wonderful.

Banana Cake:

  • 2.5 cups almond flour
  • 3 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup melted grass-fed butter, ghee or coconut oil
  • 3 pastured eggs, beaten
  • 3-4 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl. In separate bowl, mix wet ingredients.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together until well incorporated.
  4. Pour into a greased 9-inch round cake pan.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until top springs back when touched.

Banana Cake

Banana cake, yogurt and strawberries

Banana cake bite