Ardent Eden

Ardent Eden is a place to explore my thoughts about the interdependence of life - humanity and nature - and to engage with others for collective problem-solving.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Keeping Score

Via one of Sustainablog's posts during this weekend's green blogathon:

The League of Conservation Voters has published its 2005 Environmental Scorecard. Check it out to see how your senators and represenatives are ranked based on their environmental record. Then take a minute to drop them a line letting them know that you approve or that they better focus on environmental issues because you're paying attention.

No surprises for me: on key environmental and public health votes, Kennedy and Kerry each got a 95% score and Mike Capuano got a 94% score. How did your Congress-folk do? Let them know what you think about their score.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Making It Happen

Planning for life changes is never enough. You just can't predict the soul-turmoil that accompanies spending hard-earned savings for your dreams. Moving away from comfortable surroundings is bound to be difficult even when it's been planned for years. As I've mentioned before, we're starting to put the wheels in motion to buy a little (tiny? microscopic?) homestead where we can grow some food, watch the Bean chase fireflies on summer evenings, and cozy up next to a warm fire in the winter. Real estate costs have us groaning and feeling as if we have to be hyper-vigilant and extraordinarily smart. We know we can't afford much land, but we want something to get started with. Add a search for a new job in a different state to the mix, and let's just say that there are a lot of long talks and furrowed brows around here.

Through it all, my husband has been like a mountain stream on an August afternoon: cool and refreshing. He takes care of our daughter with amazing attention and inspiring love. He calls the pediatrician's office to discuss the questions of first time parents. He volunteers to go suit shopping with me for the interviews that I hope to have over the coming months. He meticulously tracks our finances and suggests adjustments when necessary. He never fails to take our dog out morning and night so that I don't have to. He sets up the coffee maker before bed so that I can have a fresh cup when I wake up early to nurse the Bean. He gently chides me out the door to admire the songbirds and tree trunks with him and forget about the stresses of the day. And he makes a delicious batch of enchiladas each Friday evening for dinner. With all of the stresses and strains, with the budget crunching and weighing of numbers, he's there -- making so much happen for our family. I'm so grateful.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Join the Counter Revolution

I felt that familiar surge of outrage coursing through my veins this morning. And I have to admit that it felt good. I've been curled up a little too tightly inside my own mind for the past few weeks to get fired up about much of anything. It's not that I like to walk around feeling outraged, but sometimes that little kick in the pants gets me going, gets me re-energized to fight the good fight. So what did it for me on this sunny February morning? I'm home from work today so I decided to finish watching Deborah Koons Garcia's documentary called The Future of Food. Amazingly, Netflix started carrying the film so I quickly moved it into the first position in our queue. I'm glad that I did.

Much of what Garcia outlines in the film is territory that I know well about the emergence and prevalence of genetically modified foods and what it means for the future of agriculture. But the film is certainly worth a viewing because it ties together the strings quite well and connects the rise of agricultural biotechnology with global corporatism and the decline of subsistence and family farming. The film intertwines interviews with Andrew Kimbrell, who runs The Center for Food Safety, and Fred Kirshenman, who directs the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, along with the viewpoints of farmers like Percy Schmeiser and others who have stood up to the agribusiness giants. Just when I found myself getting furious about our blind adherence to the technology and corporate will, Garcia seemed to sense that it was time to talk about a different world, a new possibility, in her words: a counter revolution.

This revolution wouldn't rely on corporations to feed the world. It would acknowledge that hunger isn't caused by a scarcity of food. Instead, hunger in the world is an issue of access, of policies, of distribution, of injustice. It won't be solved by the introduction of "terminator seeds" that cannot be saved for the next year's crop and may pollute and cross-pollinate with natural seeds. It's certainly not solved by petroleum and input-centric farming mechanisms that make farmers dependent on multinational corporations for high yields of cash crops for export. And more technology isn't the answer either. Kimbrell tells us that the US is currrently reviewing whether to allow genetically modified fish, insects, trees, livestock, and poultry. Of course, these beings could lead to the extinction of species that have existed and evolved with nature. Are we so foolish to think that we can outsmart nature or God? Garcia's film concludes that the real revolution is focused on sustainable agriculture, organic farming, farmers markets, CSAs, and standing up for the logic of nature. The film ends with shots of anti-GMO protests and interviews with the couple who organically farm the diverse and beautiful Full Belly Farm in California. These are juxtaposed with images of gas mask adorned men spraying fields of strawberries with chemicals and a fresh faced boy slugging a can of Coke. The choice, these images tell us, is clear. Garcia gently exhorts us: it's up to you.

For some ideas on how to combat GMOs, see my last post on frankenfoods and the related links. Also check out Food First and, by all means, watch Garcia's film. Reliance on the kind of technology that is overtaking one of our most intimate acts, eating, makes us feel helpless and disenfranchised. In Visionaries: People and Ideas to Change Your Life, Kimbrell says it well:
"This is the century of the technological imagination. We think we can do anything with enough research & development - even find the genes that control aging so that we can achieve immortality. But most spiritual traditions say that limits are important, limits bring transcendence. When we are playing music, holding a baby, making love, pitching a great fastball - those moments are meaningful and beautiful in and of themselves."
I would add sharing a wholesome meal, growing our own food, choosing beautiful organic fruits and vegetables, and living in harmony with nature to Kimbrell's list. Call it a transcendent revolution. It can be beautiful and simple. But it requires us to make different choices every day. It requires vigilance and commitment. A sense of humor helps too. It's our future. Isn't it worth it?

*The t-shirt and others like it are from zendik.org.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Pizza and Cookies

Ah, comfort food. It's true that our food traditions - from elaborate holiday celebrations to that morning oatmeal with cinnamon and banana on a winter Monday - bring peace to our lives. That's why I turned to a couple of tried and true recipes tonight for a February dose of calm. I broke out the recipe for whole wheat pizza dough and a tried and true chocolate chip cookie recipe. Add some sauteed garlic and artichokes to the pizza crust with some tomato sauce and cheese, and we had a lovely dinner.

I've been feeling rather out of sorts lately. Maybe that's evidenced by my lack of consistent posting. I'm not sure if it's a case of the typical late winter blues or apprehension about the major decisions that we have in the months ahead: new job, new state, new house, new start. It's overwhelming, but exciting too. At the same time, I acutely feel pain about the state of our world. I find myself thinking about Darfur, global warming, the corporate grip on our democracy...it's enough to make me want to crawl back into bed. But there's a baby to nurse, a job to go to, a husband to love, family to chat with, plans to be made and, yes, pizza dough and chocolate chip cookies to bake.

Sometimes I look at the faces around me on the subway or brushing past my arm while scurrying across an intersection outside my office and I wonder what thoughts are swirling through the minds of those people. Are they concerned with a project at work? Are they excited about a social event scheduled for that evening? Are they sad about a lost love? Do they worry how they will feed their family that evening? I'm not sure if there's a clear point to my thoughts tonight. I've just been searching for the peace that starts from within and radiates outward, letting me live in the moment without fear for the future. That peace centers me and lets me try to take some positive steps rather than burying my head. But it can be hard to come by when the winds of change are howling. For tonight, cooking some comfort food and watching my husband sigh with delight at having a warm cookie for dessert brought me a small measure of that peace. It's up to me to find it in the next moment and the one after that.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Good Questions

Leave it to Wendell Berry to gently lead us through the questions that we should all ask on a regular basis. From this interview:

HB: What are some things we can do—small things, perhaps—until we actually make a commitment on a broader scale, to initiate husbandry (whose trajectory will be felt globally) to ourselves, our families and our communities?

WB: I think this starts with an attempt at criticism of one’s own economy, which may be the same thing as good accounting. What are the things that one buys? How necessary or useful are they? What is their quality? Are they well grown or well made? What is their real cost to their producers and to the ecosystems in which they were produced? Almost inevitably when one asks these questions, one discovers that they are extremely difficult and sometimes impossible to answer. That frequently is because the things we buy have been produced so far away as to make impossible any stewardly interest on the part of the consumer. And this recognition leads to an even better question: How can these mysterious products brought here from so far away be replaced by products that have been produced near home? And that question, of course, leads to all manner of thoughts and questions about the possibility of a better, more self-sufficient local economy. What can we neighbors do for one another and for our place? What can our place do for us without damage to us or to it?

HB: Is it possible to reshape our thinking in baby steps or must we make sweeping changes?

WB: Oh, let’s be against sweeping changes and in favor of doing things in small steps. Let’s not discourage ourselves by trying for too much or subject ourselves to the tyranny of somebody else’s big idea.

Indeed.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Intersections

The abundance of the earth is a gift that everyone should be able to share. Of course, in our society of private property, tradable pollution "rights," and disturbingly disproportionate access to food, services, education, and just about everything else you can imagine, we don't share equally. Not even close. I'm heartened to see that Grist has introduced a seven-week series on environmental justice focused on the intersection of poverty and the environment. From the introduction to the series:
"...poverty and environmental degradation go hand and hand in the United States as well. The lower your income in this country, the higher the likelihood that you will be exposed to toxics at home and on the job. The greater the risk that you will suffer from diseases -- ranging from asthma to cancer -- caused or exacerbated by environmental factors. The harder it will be for you to find and afford healthy food to put on your table. The less likely you are to live in a community that provides safe outdoor spaces for you and your family to enjoy. And, as recent history tragically exposed, the more vulnerable you are to environmental catastrophes, whether they are natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina or human-made tragedies like the Exxon Valdez."

The series is in its first week and the theme is "Land and People." The idea is to explore the land where many Americans, including the poorest, live rather than focusing on the wildernesses and sacred spaces frequently associated with the environmental movement. There are virtual walking tours, articles about mountaintop removal and the impact on the people who live in affected areas, interviews with activists, and a bunch of other worthwhile links.

It's no use to try to separate issues of poverty and class from environmental degradation, just like we shouldn't isolate "issues" so that globalization goes in one basket, tuberculosis care in Haiti fits into another, mercury in breastmilk gets plopped into a third, and so on. Rather, we've got to look at the whole fabric of our way of life and ask ourselves whether our current structure serves life. I'm intensely interested in these interconnections. I like not having to align myself with just one cause or another. Instead, I try to keep that old web of life metaphor at the forefront of my daily thinking. It's my sanity-saver in these zany times.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Simply From the Heart

All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
All you need is love (all together now)
All you need is love (everybody)
All you need is love, love, love is all you need

- John Lennon/Paul McCartney

It really is that simple. I believe that the words of the famed Beatles song are meant to be taken in the broadest possible sense. That is, we all need to love in an active way -- reaching out to all of humanity and all of nature from the heart. Instead of ranting against the consumerism that typically marks Valentines Day, I am choosing today to focus on the love that I have to send out into the world. It may sound sappy or soft, but I believe that it’s all we need to do.

In the spirit of love for our neighbors, I am celebrating Valentines Day by making a donation to Partners In Health. You may have heard about Paul Farmer’s organization in Mountains Beyond Mountains (recommended reading!) PIH puts love into action by creating “a preferential option for the poor” and providing health care services to those with the least resources in the world. They literally save lives that would be lost to TB, malaria, and AIDS.

My heart feels fuller already. And you have to love that!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Grace, Faith, and Snow

This morning I sat watching the snow blow sideways outside my window with the side of my daughter's soft infant head pressed firmly into my left cheek. I squeezed her just a bit tighter and dispensed some kisses on the back of her neck, thanking God for grace the whole while.

You see, the weathermen's hype was enough to get us out of the house yesterday afternoon and off to the library for storm provisions. I picked up a book about bread, Ruth Reichl's latest foodie memoir, and Anne Lamott's Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith. I've always liked Lamott's quirky spiritual side: a Christian who is as progressive as anyone I've read, a recovered addict, a single mom, and a delightful writer who brings it all together in a way that makes me want to write her a letter that simply says, "Let's have coffee and talk about all of this sometime." I dug into her newest book yesterday afternoon and felt enlightened and, yes, more faithful with each essay. Her witty commentary about George Bush synchronizes seamlessly with her tales of her son's adolescence and her ardent struggle to see and affirm light every day.

The book has been like a cup of hot cocoa for me while the storm rages outside...and inside. Because the other blizzard activity that my husband and I undertook was watching Schindler's List for the first time. I can only tell you that having that film juxtaposed with a book on faith that I happened upon at our library yesterday is one of the simplest examples of Grace that I know. My God. I don't have the message all figured out. I just know that when Grace speaks, you're given a chance to listen, to respond. For now, I am going to sit quietly in the heavy silence of the snowstorm, with my baby snug and safe nearby, listening.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

"P" is for Precaution

The "P" in EPA is supposed to stand for protection. But precaution, prudence, and protection seem to be the last virtues upon which the agency bases its actions. Until February 21st, the EPA is accepting comments from the public on its current proposal to allow a carcinogenic chemical called methyl iodide to be used as a pesticide. According to this OCA report, the EPA's proposal would allow farmers to spray up to 400 lbs. of methyl iodide per acre of land. Apparently, this pesticide causes particular problems because it vaporizes quickly and floats through the air, drifting far distances.

So why should we care about methyl iodide drifting through the air we breathe? First, California considers this chemical to be cancer causing. Second, the EPA itself has said that it causes thyroid tumors. Third, I always vote for using the precautionary principle. And I want the government agencies that are charged with regulating environmental health to start exercising the same sort of prudent judgment. We may not have books full of double-blind, scientifically rigorous studies about every single agricultural pesticide or the interactions among those pesticides (check out this Enviroblog entry for info. about a recent Berkeley study about this). What we do have are many objective studies that show that the pesticides that are sprayed onto the ironically-termed conventional produce cause health problems for humans, the soil, and the birds, bees, insects, fish, and frogs that make their home near farms. Each one of us also knows many people who have suffered from cancer, and we stand helplessly by.

Why don't we start exercising common sense? Why do we persist in trying to outsmart Mother Nature? I just can't sit back believing that human beings can manufacture ways to subdue the earth's natural processes without suffering some dire consequences. Come to think of it, this latest move by the EPA gets at the heart of why I call myself an environmentalist. So I've taken a minute to learn more at the Pesticide Action Network's well-footnoted site and have sent a comment to the EPA. Won't you do the same?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Hole in the Head

If it's been some time since I've posted about the woes that big box stores, especially Wal-Mart, heap on our society, it's not because my views have changed. If anything, I'm more violently opposed to what is happening to our landscape, our workers, and the impoverished people abroad who are existing in near-slavery conditions in order to produce the cheap goods that Wal-Mart demands. At some point, though, I started suffering from what I've heard aptly termed "outrage fatigue syndrome" on the Blue Voice: the consistently high level of outrage that we feel about something eventually leads us to need a little break from thinking about it. Such was the case with me and Wal-Mart.

Today I heard my husband let out a loud groan while scanning headlines. "Ugh, Wal-Mart is planning to build 1,500 new stores....," he said with a shake of the head and a troubled tone. I know that he often worries about the destruction of our environment for the sake of new McMansions, Applebee's restaurants and, yes, Wal-Mart super-centers. I also know that when he looks at the area around his hometown in Pennsylvania, he feels a palpable pain at seeing cornfields and meadows turned into another subdivision with tiny lollipop trees or a Target. Maybe I vicariously felt his disgust this morning, maybe it's just that it's already been a long week and we're only halfway to the weekend. Whatever the reason, I'm feeling really bent out of shape about this latest Wal-Mart news. We need another 1,500 Wal-Mart stores in America like we each need a hole in the head. Where are our heads? Where are our hearts? Maybe the better question is, what can we do about it? Is there a way that we can overcome our outrage fatigue syndrome and do something about this?

Here are a couple of ideas. Please share any that you have.
  • The most obvious idea is to stop shopping, or at the very least reduce your dollars spent, at Wal-Mart and other big box stores. Yes, that means Target too. I admit to shopping at Target occasionally, but I know that it's not the answer to Wal-Mart. I haven't stepped foot inside a Wal-Mart in a long time, and I don't plan to again...ever. I just can't be complicit with their policies.
  • We need to get and stay educated about the effect that the largest retailer has on so many aspects of our society, culture, and environment. Check out the Wal-Mart movie if you haven't yet seen it. There are also a bunch of books that your local library likely stocks about the mega-chain. One that I particularly like because it focuses on what it's like to work not only at Wal-Mart but also in other low-wage jobs is Barbara Ehrenreich's excellent Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.
  • Support so-called "Fair Share Healthcare" legislation in your state. The Maryland state legislature passed a law that is set to take effect on Saturday requiring corporations employing more than 10,000 workers to pay 8 percent of their payroll in employee health care or pay the difference to the state. 30 other states are considering similar measures. Predictably, a lawsuit was filed yesterday challenging the law. Read here what you can do to support these kinds of laws that force companies like Wal-Mart to provide health care coverage to their workers that doesn't leave the taxpayers on the hook for subsidizing their basic health care. If you live in a hot spot state (Connecticut, New Hampshire, Washington, and West Virginia), start writing letters to your representatives in the state legislature.
  • If you are in a town where Wal-Mart is trying to build one of its new stores, join in the protests. Talk to your neighbors, organize, fight!

I've been feeling a bit powerless in the face of my outrage recently. I'm going to take the edge off by kneading dough for two loaves of bread and enjoying some red wine with dinner tonight. Maybe then I'll be able to celebrate the many blessings I've been given while at the same time holding the outrage in my heart and turning it into something productive: an energy for saving this world of ours.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Mixed Bag

Ah, Saturday. I finally have a chance to catch up on some of the things that have been on my mind this week.

First, something that makes me crazy: the destruction of virgin forests by Kimberly-Clark in order to make toilet paper. Yes, toilet paper is quite literally destroying the rain forest. Since Kimberly-Clark makes the most popular brands of consumer paper products (Scott, Cottonelle, Kleenex and Viva), we're talking about a lot of trees being logged for paper towels and tissues. I had heard of Greenpeace's campaign against Kimberly-Clark but I didn't pay too much attention to it because we buy Whole Foods' 365 brand of toilet paper and 100% recycled tissues from Trader Joe's. But my Mom called the other day to say that her local newspaper ran a story about this (not available online) that included the web address to NRDC's shopping guide for sustainable alternatives. We were both (somewhat) heartened that this kind of article was run in a mainstream press even though it was buried in the Health section. Anyway, I decided to take a look at the NRDC page to refresh my mind about the issue. Two numbers speak louder than words:

  • 1.1 million: cubic meters of trees from Canada's boreal forests that Kimberly-Clark uses each year
  • 0: percentage of recycled content in grocery store brands such as Kleenex and Scott

What can we do in the face of this scale of disregard for the crucial role - as habitat, as ecosystem, as sacred places - of forests? While sending a message to Kimberly-Clark is a good idea, we all know that as long as those boxes of Kleenex are flying off the shelves it will be business as usual. NRDC has a handy shopper's guide (PDF) that you print and take to the store with you. Greenpeace has more info. on brands of paper products to buy and which ones to avoid. And spread the word. I'm thinking about getting one of these t-shirts to wear this spring. Maybe it will get a conversation going.

Next, some words that make me feel hopeful: Check out baloghblog for some inspired words from Bono on poverty, faith, Africa, and our notions of charity, equality and justive.

Finally, something I've been meaning to do: breadchick and norene have tagged me for this meme, so here goes.

  • 4 jobs I've had. I don't want to even think about my real job on a Saturday, so I'm going with these throwbacks to a simpler time when minimum wage was plenty to get me a rad outfit for the big Friday night football game: hostess at restaurant in mall; piffer (lest you think that this was something interesting,"PIF" stands for "put in file"); neighborhood baby-sitter; Girl Scout cookie salesperson
  • 4 Movies I could watch over and over. Like Norene, I don't watch movies over and over so I'll list the last four films I saw in the theater. Yes, I realize that I haven't been to the movies for a long time. Maybe I need to hire one of those neighborhood sitters...: Sideways (thumbs up); Kinsey (thumbs down); Spanglish (sideways thumb); The Yes Men (thumbs up)
  • 4 places I've lived. Boston, MA; Pittsburgh, PA; Cambridge, MA; Lewisburg, PA
  • 4 Tv Shows I love. I don't really watch TV, but a few shows I've liked at various times are: Sex and the City; NOW with Bill Moyers; Victory Garden; weekend cooking shows on PBS
  • 4 Places I've Vacationed. Isla Mujeres, Mexico; London, England; Rehobeth, Delaware; Boothbay Harbor, Maine
  • 4 of my favorite dishes. any veggie falafel/tabouli/hummus combo; good ol' Tex Mex (burritos, enchiladas, fajitas); huevos mexicanos at Centre Street Cafe; dark chocolate (surely that counts as a dish)
  • 4 sites I visit daily. MSNBC; bloglines; boston.com; hotmail
  • 4 places I'd rather be. Life is pretty good on a Saturday with my husband, baby girl and dog, but some other good spots: sitting in a chair at the ocean's edge in August; in my grandmother's kitchen; on a wooded trail on an early fall day; sitting across the table from my husband at a restaurant in Mexico, margaritas in hand
  • 4 bloggers I'm tagging. I'll cheat again: feel free to play if you want to. :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

State of the Yogurt

So I admit that I just couldn't bear to watch the State of the Union last night. I actually have a visceral, angry reaction to listening to Bush speak. I'm not exaggerating: I think it's bad for my health! The Democratic response usually isn't much better. So last night I decided to treat myself to something much better than listening to Bush trumpet about Iraq. I went to bed. Yep, I decided that crawling into bed at 9:00 pm was a much better use of my time. From this, it seems like it was business as usual and I didn't miss much. I was, however, glad to hear that Cindy Sheehan shook things up a bit.

Now moving on to the important stuff. Namely, my foray into yogurt making. When I read about Norene's excellent results with home yogurt making, a light bulb went off. This is another one of those skills that I should work on for multiple reasons: yogurt cups are hard to recycle, yogurt is so good for you, and making your own saves money. Once I start thinking about everyday decisions through the lens of interconnection, it usually seems so obvious to me that I should take some sort of action. If it seems like I take these kinds of decisions seriously, it's because I do spend time analyzing the costs and benefits beforehand. I'm a working mother who, like the rest of us, needs to make her time and money count in the most effective way. I also don't like to buy a new kitchen appliance without being sure that I'm going to use it.

Anyway, my yogurt maker arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago and I set out to find yogurt starter at a local store. After calling every health food store in the greater Boston area, it became pretty obvious that I wasn't going to find starter. Time to move on to Plan B, which would mean abandoning Norene's reliable recipe. I was feeling a bit intimidated, but I dove in after referencing the instruction manual and reading recipes online.

The end result is a thick, creamy and yummy plain yogurt. I want to work on flavored yogurts next for some variety. In the meantime, I've been taking a jar of this stuff to work with me and mixing it with a jar of my homemade granola for a mid-morning snack each day. I also want to drain it for some yogurt cheese, serve it in lieu of sour cream on the black bean soup on tonight's menu and the enchiladas verdes scheduled for tomorrow night, and concoct some savory dips with it. I definitely think that the yogurt maker purchase was worth the $30 as long as I can keep the habit going. By the way, the Super Baby Foods book that I've been reading is all about making whole foods for babies to eat. There's a whole section on making yogurt, and the author gives some ideas on how to incubate yogurt without having a yogurt maker. If anyone is interested in trying those, let me know and I'll post about them.

Yogurt 101

Step One: Heat 4 cups of milk in saucepan until it boils and starts to climb the sides of the pan. I used Organic Valley skim milk. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the milk to cool to between 95 - 105 degrees. I pulled out my new thermometer for this step because it's important that the milk not be so hot that it kills the beneficial bacteria you add in Step Three.

Step Two: Pour cooled milk into a pitcher and add 5 tablespoons of dry milk. I used Organic Valley nonfat dried milk. Stir until dissolved. The yogurt maker instructions say that you need to strain the milk as you're pouring it into the pitcher. I didn't find that necessary but it was nice to have the yogurt in a pitcher for pouring into the jars. You could save a step and keep it in the saucepan though.

Step Three: In a small bowl, mix together already-made yogurt with a small amount of the cooled milk until you have a smooth mixture. I used a container of Trader Joe's organic plain yogurt, but I'll be using a little of my own yogurt going forward. The idea is just to get some of those live cultures into your batch where they can work their magic.

Step Four: Mix the smooth mixture into the pitcher of milk.

Step Five: Pour the mixture into the glass jars, put them in the yogurt maker without their lids, put the cover on, and flip the switch on. Don't bump the yogurt maker! Let the jars incubate for eight hours for thick creamy yogurt. If you like a runnier texture, reduce the amount of dry milk and/or the time incubating. When done, put the lids on and refrigerate for three hours before eating.

Step Six: Enjoy plain, with fresh or frozen fruit stirred in, or with nuts or granola for some crunch!