Kris Mares

Just a woman trying to love Jesus and others a little bit more…

My Attempt at Homemade Yogurt October 5, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 12:09 pm
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My kids and I really like yogurt.  We like flavored yogurt the best, with vanilla and strawberry as top universal flavors.  I’m getting tired of buying it though, because I don’t buy it unless it’s on sale and I have a great coupon too.  The hassle of watching the sale/finding the coupon is getting too much for me right now, so when I read The Frugal Girl’s post about making yogurt I thought I’d give it a try.

So, on Saturday, I tried.  Here’s the recipe from The Frugal Girls’s blog – How to Make Homemade Yogurt.  Blue helped me that day (reluctantly) since I wasn’t sure this baby belly would allow me to lift and pour pots and hold jars and get the cooler out of the barn/shed, etc.  So during nap time, we went to work.

I did boil/sterilize my jars and next time I will have 5 jars ready.  There was a lot of temperature watching.  I think since it was my first time making it, I was overly watchful of the temps.  They are important, but I wasn’t sure how fast the milk and water would reach the temperatures necessary.  We did make the vanilla yogurt (using a vanilla flavored “starter”) and I would suggest adding the full amount suggested, if not a little more. 

The biggest hassle was the pouring.  I forgot about the suggestion to pour from the pot into a pitcher and THEN into the jars.  Pouring from the pot into the jars was a mess – I spilled everywhere!  Had I not made such a mess, I think I would’ve needed a 5th jar anyway, so I guess it all worked out.  I just hated to have had the waste I did. 

After waiting the 3 hours and putting the jars in the refrigerator, we tried some with dinner.  It was still warm and a little too runny, so not the best.  After curing in the refrigerator for a day, the yogurt was MUCH better.  Sorry, I just don’t like warm yogurt.  The vanilla taste was slight, but there.  Today I had some with granola in it – YUMMY!  I also bought frozen strawberries at the grocery, so smoothies are on the menu at some point.

Overall, will I make it again?  I think so.  I want to try to up the vanilla flavor, use a pitcher to pour into the jars and heat the milk up a little higher then cool it a little lower.  I think the heating/cooling will help make it a little thicker.  After reading some of the comment and suggestions from other Frugal Girl readers, I also think I’ll use a different brand of starter. 

It is WAY cheaper to make it than buy it (especially since I used a gallon of milk purchased with WIC vouchers).  The taste is good, the time is no different for me that what I took to search for sale/coupon combinations to make it reasonably priced anyway.  Occasionally, I would catch a deal that made the yogurt free at the store, but my new grocery doesn’t double coupons, so those “free yogurt days” are gone. 

I shared about my yogurt adventure – your turn!  Have you ever attempted homemade yogurt?  If you have, what was your experience like?  If not, try it and tell me about your experience!


Another Coupon Game Win! February 5, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 2:20 pm
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I did it again!  This time I saved 71% – YEAH ME!!  So earlier this week, I shared my first real success at playing the coupon game well.  Today, I’ve been doing even better.  I’ve been reading other blogs about frugal living, saving money and couponing.  So I used what I learned and went to my main grocery store, armed with my printable coupons and other coupons loaded onto my store savers card (click here and here for more info).  So, here is what I bought:

12 roll pkg. of toilet paper, 4 bags chex mix snack, 1 pkg. steam veggies, 2 boxes granola bars, 4 bags of fish crackers

The grand total:  $10.22 

That’s right – I saved $25.99 – 71%!!!  This was almost all snack stuff that I wouldn’t usually buy, but it was on sale, I had coupons in hand, PLUS my new love – coupons that you “send” to your store saver card that automatically deduct. 

As for the not shopping and cooking with what I have…  so yeah, I went shopping.  Let me say, however, that I have meals planned out for the entire next week based on what we already had at home.  Nothing that I bought will be used for meals – just snacks. 

So today’s dinner menu – chili with drop biscuits.  I’ve got lots of stuff marked in my trusty, go to cookbook.  Now if the kids will just cooperate and let me cook… 

Maybe I’ll just let them help!


Coupon Game Success!! February 2, 2010

Filed under: Frugal living — Kris @ 11:52 pm
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Today, I am claiming a small victory at the grocery store!!  I went in prepared and came out a victor.  I matched my coupons up with what was on sale – especially the buy 10 save $5 items.  Then ground beef was on sale (with my store saver card) and so was frozen chicken, both of which my family eats a lot of.  Then I had some coupons for cleaning products – buy 2 get this product free (one of the options was on sale too).  Then I had 2 coupons for a new product out – $1 off a package of toilet paper and a $1 off OR a free roll.  So here is the list of what I got:

2 boxes store brand corn flakes, 96 oz. bleach, 12 rolls toilet paper made from recycled paper, 1.5 pt. ice cream, 3 boxes fiber granola bars, 6 bags fish crackers, 2 containers of disinfectant cleaning wipes, 3 lbs. store brand frozen chicken pieces, 1 lb. polish sausage, 8 lbs. ground beef

The grand total before discounts and coupons was about $82.  I paid $33.27!!  Yeah for me!!  The store paid me $1 to take the toilet paper out of the store (they read the coupon wrong in my favor) and I got the bleach and cleaning wipes for $2.01.  I know there are people out there who do a far better job playing the coupon game, but this was the best success I’ve had yet, so I just had to share.  I’m learning and that’s what it’s all about!! 

Now, on to my challenge to cook from what I have for the next 2 weeks (minus milk, bread and lunch meat).  I have the menu planned and ready to go.  I’ll let you know how it goes…


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