Sunday, August 30, 2009

yogourmet multi

I use the yogourmet multi electric yogurt maker.

I also have an additional insert so that I can start making more yogurt or french cream before I've finished my last batch. 

I use only one kind of their starters.

I have altered my yogourmet multi with a dimmer switch in order to control the temperature.

French Cream (thick yogurt or Creme Bulgare) Recipe & How-To Video

French Cream (Thick Yogurt)by Arden Durham

2 quarts 1/2 & 1/2
4 packets yogourmet Freeze-dried yogurt starter & Crème Bulgare starter

2 small glass-measuring cups
2 soupspoons
yogourmet multi yogurt maker and insert
Glass pot large enough to hold 1/2 gallon of liquid
Heat safe spatula
Plastic wrap (optional if your pot has a lid, preferably seal tight)

* Repasturize the 1/2 & 1/2 by slowly bringing it up to a simmer (180 degrees Fahrenheit) over medium low heat, stir frequently to prevent scorching. This will take about 35 minutes Do not boil (182 degrees.)
* Remove from heat, cover and let cool to room temperature (80 degrees F or less, you can use the fridge to accelerate the process to about 4-5 hours.)
* Skim the film that has congealed on the surface off with a spoon. Otherwise, your end result will be lumpy.
* Introduce the desired microbes by emptying the 4 packets of starter into the yogourmet insert and add 2 spoonfuls of 1/2 & 1/2.
* Mix slowly and gently into a paste using the spatula, then you may add more liquid liberally using a glass-measuring cup.
* Cover the insert and place in the yogourmet multi with water up to the second or top line on the inside.
* Ferment for 24-30 hours at 100-110 degrees F.
* Refrigerate until well chilled, about 6-8 hours.

Tip: You will need to alter the yogourmet multi to achieve the correct temperature for fermentation. I attached a dimmer switch to mine and ran test batch after test batch until I secured 100-110 degrees F over a long time. This does mean that you need to plan on at least your first batch being inedible. It is worth it to make sure that every batch from there on is perfect!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good Books

Here are some of my favorite reads that have helped me to heal.

Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall is a bit chewy. Bless this woman for doing what she did, but I do have criticisms. One of which is that she plagiarized Dr. Haas. Another is that her writing is poorly organized. A third is that she gave permission to cheat, which is counterproductive to the diet. However, if she hadn't continued in the footsteps of Haas, who knows if any of us would have a clue about carbohydrate specific diets and their healing benefits.

Hunger: An Unnatural History by Sharman Apt Russell is absolutely fascinating, but digestive disorders are left out. Still fascinating, informative and helpful. This book turned me on to Ancel Keys in general through his human starvation tests. Keys was highly influential on our current American diet, for better and for worse.

real food: what to eat and why by Nina Planck is the book I would like to give every person I know who eats the Standard American Diet, aka, SAD. Fat is good for you.

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price should be given to every health care practitioner. Admittedly, I am still reading this one. The Weston A. Price foundation is a wonderful resource that I think everyone with digestive disorders would benefit from checking out, and support them if you can.

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan at least starts to get some of my food values into the mainstream, and it is a delightful read. It really is too bad that we are destroying our environment, our economy, and our bodies in the name and game of industrialized food.

Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride is much easier to comprehend than BTVC. The brain and body are not separate.

Management of Celiac Disease by Sidney Valentine Haas is one that I checked out from the biomedical library at my local university. If you don't have the disposition towards medical texts, probably best to leave this alone. If you do have the scientific mind, don't pass this one up. If you don't have the money, go on an expedition once you have the energy to undertake such an adventure! He is the one who figured this whole mess out, and there are secrets inside that seem to have been forgotten along the way. Bless this man for all his observations, but don't forget he worked with children and that adults have different nutritional needs and do not heal as quickly.

Probiotics: Nature’s Internal Healers by Natasha Trenev is the best way to understand internal culture.

Digestive Wellness by Elizabeth Lipski is a good overview with lots of options for treatments.

Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James L. Wilson helped me to convert many aspects of my lifestyle.

The Yeast Connection by William G. Crook is where it all began for me back in 1991.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Part One: Love and Hate

Cooking is almost a dirty word in my world. Yeah, ouch! But, it’s honest. I have to cook in order to live, which also makes it sacred. There is no other way around my situation under my present circumstances with my current resources. However, my disregard for, fear from ignorance, and distaste (pun intended) of cooking has been under constant revision as I have struggled to embrace it as the way of my life. My journey has not been pretty or easy. I’ve experienced a lot of resistance to my truths from other people. I don’t fit in anywhere and have bungled in making my own path. At times I have given in to peer and societal pressures to be like them, to be “normal,” and this has always led to my further demise, doom, and gloom. I am far from finished; I have not arrived, and will surely discover more of my erroneous notions in the future. Perhaps one day I will adore cooking, and I do have faith that that is possible. For now, I see myself as the court jester, the clown, the trickster, and the canary of American culture.

Many of my inculcated values have served me ill. It’s not feminist for me to be a “slave to the kitchen.” It’s un-American not to eat as much premade, packaged, processed, prepared at the hands of others food. It’s anti-capitalist to “waste time” in real cooking. That “time should be spent” pursuing more meaningful engagements that stretch the fabric of my intellect. How “uncivilized” it is to cook; cooking is such “primitive” behavior. These are just a few, but aren’t they enough to keep an industrious gal out of the kitchen? Cooking does look awful bad under these labels that carry so much cultural weight over who I’m supposed to be as a modern, American woman. Certainly I should not be expected to carry the preposterous burden of cooking every meal from scratch with sourced out ingredients here in this day and age. And, most people I encounter like to remind me of this “fact.”

My mother was never really fond of cooking in her own right as a person. If she didn’t perceive that she had to, she didn’t. I think she was trying to save my older sister and me from the duties of cooking because she wanted to be liberated from them herself. Neither of us grew up in the kitchen. Making stained glass candy for Christmas presents was a rare exception of fun together in the kitchen. Both my sister and I learned to cook from reading cookbooks, asking friends, etc. as adults. My mother would never deny that.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Peanut Butter Brownies Recipe & How-To Video

Watch my how-to cook this recipe video:

Peanut Butter Brownies by Arden Durham



2 cups peanut butter with only salt added

1/2 cup honey (you can add more or less to taste)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup of dried fruit (with no additives or preservatives)

1/2 tablespoon butter with only salt added (no flow agent)


24x8” baking pan (I prefer glass)
Set of 3 mixing bowls (small, medium, and large)
Dry measuring cup
Dry measuring half cup



* Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

* Grease baking dish with butter.

* In a large mixing bowl, empty contents of peanut butter jar and stir in the oils, as they are most likely separated and riding on top of the jar.

* Add honey and stir until mixed.

* In a small bowl, beat eggs until the whites have mixed with the yokes.

* Add eggs to peanut butter and honey and stir well.

* Add baking soda and stir until no white clumps are visible, the batter should be sticking to itself now and turning glossy.

* Add in dried fruit stirring minimally as too much mixing now will result in dry brownies.

* Dump batter into baking dish and gently push it into corners, do not slide it around or you will disturb the butter and they will stick.

* Place in the middle of oven on the rack second from the bottom for about 18 minutes- the edges should be browned slightly and the center should not wiggle.

* Cool for about half and hour, cover to keep moist.


Tip: Use the medium size bowl as your tabletop trash bin. 

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Kopplin's Coffee

I am sitting outside of Kopplin's Coffee in St. Paul, sipping a most delicious Americano.  This is my favorite coffee house in the Twin Cities.  The coffee always rules in taste, the atmosphere is open and inviting, and the people are nice and intriguing.  

Kopplin's uses a Clover machine to make their coffee by the cup, so there is no paper filter to take the digestive enzymes out of the coffee.  No gut rot, no upset tummy!!!  Andrew, the owner, is serious, and I mean serious, about coffee.  There is no messing around here as even the shape of the coffee mugs are chosen for flavor- no square corners for the fine particles to get stuck in.  

I appreciate that it isn't just about the coffee, but also how it is treated along the way, how it is made at the end of the line, and how it is presented.  I highly recommend giving the place a visit.  This is the only place I haunt, the only place I feel safe consuming any kind of food product that I have not made personally or supervised the preparation.  How much more endorsement could I give the place?