Homemade Yogurt or Hang-Gliding, hmmmm…

I was bored.  I thought about hang gliding that day, but the closest place was too far to make it home for dinner.  My criteria for an alternative were that whatever I did had to teach me a new skill, be something I’d never dared before, not cause injury, and get me home by 6:00 p.m.  Instead of taking a road trip, I tried two Do- It-Yourself projects that had intimidated me for months.

My first project was to make Greek style yogurt.  The recipe looked too easy to be true, as in, “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”  It turned out to be both easy and good.  This recipe used four cups of milk, ¼ cup nonfat dry milk, ¼ cup Greek yogurt, and fermented in the oven for seven hours.  Super cheap.  Super easy.  The hardest part was figuring out how to keep the oven at a mere 100° for seven hours.  Goldilocks-like, I discovered using a heating pad and leaving the oven light on were just right.   The next morning, we ate fantastic yogurt with bananas and crunchy granola for breakfast. Find the recipe at http://www.americastestkitchenfeed.com/do-it-yourself/2012/02/how-to-make-greek-style-yogurt/

My second project was to make vanilla extract.  This was even easier to make than the yogurt. Last year I met a woman who does this, bought some of her homemade vanilla and have enjoyed it ever since.  All it takes is good quality vanilla beans and some vodka.  My source recommends vanilla beans from Mexico and potato vodka.   My vanilla extract is taking its two month rest in the pantry now.  It will be ready to sample in late March. Find the cookbook that got me going at http://www.americastestkitchenfeed.com/do-it-yourself/2012/08/announcing-the-americas-test-kitchen-diy-cookbook/

I was so pleased with myself after these projects that I finished the day by making granola, filling the bird feeders, cutting roses for the kitchen table, and harvesting limes from the tree in my backyard.  Periodically I stretched out on the sofa and read.  I intentionally did none of my ordinary tasks for an entire day. It was glorious.

My day felt wasn’t as exciting as hang gliding would have been, but it was nevertheless different, new, and productive.  I learned new skills, pushed through the intimidation factor, enjoyed the world’s beauty in roses and good food, and pampered myself by doing only what I wanted to do.

The day was so far outside my usual routine that it had the desired effect: I awoke the next morning refreshed, excited and full of stories to share.

My tip for the day is that the next time you need a bit of newness in your life, a break from routine and stress, or an antidote to boredom, remember what I gained from yogurt and vanilla extract.

  1. Try something new that pushes your boundaries in some way.
  2. Learn a new skill.
  3. Experiment.
  4. Risk making mistakes.

By the time you finish your endeavor, you will have taken a trip to someplace you’d never been, your boredom will be gone, and you’ll have new memories to laugh about and celebrate.

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