#AtoZChallenge: My Favorite Things Y

This pelican has nothing to do with the post subject but posts are better with pictures and I’ve always wanted to use this one.


I have spent many years being very fond of the word “yes”, except for a brief period around two years old when I was probably practicing “no” more than “yes”. It has been not only a joy to have said yes to many things but it has been the source of adventure that has made life rich. It is hard to go through life without any regrets, but I can’t think of a single “yes” that I would take back if I could. (Perhaps that’s just the blessing of selective memory? Perhaps. ) You know the results of the things you say yes to. The times you answer “no”, you always wonder… what if I had said “yes”.

When I was very young, I said “yes” to God, which was about the only thing I had a choice in. Kids aren’t aware of all the choices they have because they don’t really seem like choices. Should I obey? Should I lie? Should I hide? But the chosen answers do start the formation of character.

As a young adult, I’m glad I said “yes” to the hard work of schooling, to marriage, to employment opportunities, to children.

I’m glad I said “yes” to travel experiences in a faraway part of the world. I’m glad I spent time camping on the Appalachian Trail. I’m glad I said “yes” to riding a horse across Florida.

I’m glad I said “yes” to all the beginning conversations that ended in long time friendships. I could really have missed out there. I’m glad I stretched myself to come alongside some who were in need. I’ve been repaid for those “yeses” as they have given me a sense of purpose and a chance to share burdens with others without going through the hardship myself – vicarious learning.

I’m glad I said “yes” to writing – years of corresponding with friends and family, years of journaling, and years now of this blog. It is my record of life.

To be fair, the word “no” is not bad just because “yes” has been good. “No” finds its rightful place more often now and it feels more like wisdom to say it. I am only content in saying it because of all the times I’ve said “yes”. (No, I don’t want to go waterskiing. I’ve done that and I have no desire to have my arms pulled out of their sockets today. Thanks.)

There is a whole world of “yes” out there, still to be explored, no matter who you are or what your circumstances.  Think about it.


What unregretted “yes” pops into your mind as you read this?

#atozchallenge: Late Y

My food choice for Y is yogurt. I have been eating a lot of it lately since doing a round of antibiotic.  It is made with a lot of active bacterial cultures (good ones) that are naturally found in our intestines and which are a vital part of a healthy immune system and digestive system. Because it is more economical I have developed my own way of making yogurt at home. Here is how I do it.

I start with a gallon of 2% milk.  Any milk will do but the fat content will make a difference in your finished product.

On the stovetop I heat the milk to 190-200 degrees F.. I have a thermometer which clips to the side of the pan and I watch it closely. The milk needs to be stirred so it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan. I don’t let the milk boil.

Heat it slowly, watch and stir (in other words, don’t leave the kitchen or you will have a real mess…)

As soon as the temperature is reached I put the pan in the sink with ice water to cool it down quickly. The thermometer is still on the side of the pan and when it reaches 90-100 degrees F. it is cool enough.

Those are ice cubes, not little fish. The cooling is fast.

Add 3 tablespoons or more of yogurt that you have bought as your starter. It can be any brand that states it has live, active cultures present.  Choose a starter that you like because your yogurt will be similar. Stir the starter into your gallon of prepared milk.

I like to transfer the milk to a heavy bowl (I use the removable bowl from my crock pot) that will hold heat well. Cover it and place in a consistently warm place for 7-8 hours.  Suggestions for the place: your oven if it has a light that you can turn on. The light bulb will produce enough heat if you keep the oven door closed. OR if you have a water heater in a closet put a towel on it and set the pot on the towel OR put a heating pad set on low on your counter and the pot on top of that with a towel over the whole thing to keep the heat in.

Do not turn on the oven! Just the light.

After 8 hours, the yogurt should have curdled. I like to separate the curd from the whey (which makes Greek yogurt) by taking a large colander which I line with cheesecloth and setting in a container to catch the whey. Pour the yogurt into the colander, wrap the cheese cloth corners over the top, place a plate over it and put something heavy on it to press out the whey and put it in the fridg. Let it set for several hours. The longer you let it drain, the thicker it will be. You can always stir some of the whey back in if it gets thicker wanted.

Enjoy your homemade, unsweetened yogurt with fruit, cereal, or as a spread like cream cheese.  It has a milky, soft flavor with just a little tang.