As much as I love store-bought ice cream (especially the loaded Coldstone variety), there's nothing more simple and tasty as homemade ice cream. With a basic ice cream maker (hand-crank or electric) and a few simple ingredients, you're on your way to a fabulously, easy dessert on a hot summer day. That's what made my 4th of July!
I could focus on that, but I think you've been there and done that. So, how about homemade yogurt! All you have to do is grow your own bacteria culture using the live cultures in store-bought yogurt. The trick is to keep the culture in a warm, dark environment so that it will grow. (Much like yeast.) A yogurt maker would probably be easiest, but let's face it--we're not all going to go buy yet another single-use, low frequency appliance.
1 quart whole or 2 percent milk
1-2 tablespoons yogurt as a starter
Warm up the milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat until bubbles appear round the edge and steam rises from the surface. Pour the warm milk into a large bowl to cool until the temperature reaches 110 to 115 degrees.
Put the starter in a small bowl, add some of the heated milk, and stir until well blended. Return the mixture to the large bowl, a third at a time, making sure to stir and blend well after each addition. Cover with a heavy towel and keep in a warm place 6 to 8 hours or overnight. You could put it in the oven with a saucepan of hot water to help raise the temperature.
When set, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours before serving. If thicker yogurt is desired, empty chilled yogurt in a muslin bag or cheesecloth, suspend over a bowl, and drain.
Yes, it really is that simple. You could (and should) add fresh fruit, jam, granola, honey, wheat germ, you name it! This is a fabulously simple and healthy snack, and real yogurt with live cultures works wonders on your digestive tract. Plus, you can make it without all the extra sugars and preservatives that come with store-bought yogurt.