How I Spent My Winter Vacation…

Looking around the house I realized that I actually managed to get a lot done over my winter vacation this year! I had a few days alone at home with The Kid at daycare and I finished the plan of reorganizing the entire house. It’s surprisingly fulfilling to finish a job that has been kind of hanging over my head for what feels like years. I got rid of so much stuff that it took a few car loads to get everything to Cradles to Crayons and Goodwill, but at least someone can use all of the stuff I wasn’t (and probably never would use again).

Now, obviously, I had to do some cooking related stuff too so I used that yogurt maker I found in my Pantry Reorg and made mango-strawberry yogurt  with some preserves I had in the fridge.  Not sure why it took me so long to make the yogurt since I bought the yogurt maker almost a year ago and as it turns out the process is really easy. I just heated up the milk to 180F added the culture and the mango and strawberry preserves and poured the mixture into the jars and turned on the machine.  The machine does all the work!

I tried the first batch using a spoonful of store bought Greek yogurt to get the cultures, but it’s just not cost effective.  Greek yogurt isn’t that cheap so I found some freeze dried starter at the supermarket that I’m going to use to do the next batch. The Kid loves yogurt so I’m determined to figure out how to get (less expensive) organic yogurt for him.

I also made a pineapple-pear preserve before we left to visit family for a few days. I knew the pear and pineapple wouldn’t still be good after we got back so I figured preserves was a reasonable solution. And I could use it in future batches of yogurt. I’m probably going to end up tinkering with this recipe, but here was the original:

Pineapple-Pear Preserves

4 small pears, cored, peeled, and cubed
1/2 pineapple, cored, peeled, and cubed
2 cups natural cane sugar
1 pinch ground cardamom

Purée the pineapple in a food processor. Pour the puree into a fine mesh strainer set over a small saucepan. When most of the juice has dripped into the saucepan (remove the strainer and rest it on the lid of the pan) and set the saucepan over medium heat. Let the pineapple juice caramelize (about 3-5 minutes) then add the pear pieces. When the pear has started to soften (about 5-8 minutes), add the remaining pineapple purée and a pinch of ground cardamom. Leave to simmer on the stove as it thickens. Process in pressure cooker.


I honestly didn’t think the flavors would work, but it tastes great and it’s not too sweet. Should be really good with the next batch of yogurt.

Oh and did I mention I got a pressure canner…

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