{ Notable Yogurt }

I’m not a foodie.

I don’t browse food-related blogs and I don’t collect recipes.

I try to cook our meals fast with 5 or less ingredients.

But the love of yogurt is forcing me to write about food today.

When my friend Tifanie told me how to make yogurt in the Instant Pot, I couldn’t wait to try it.

It is truly easy and works out to half the price of my Trader Joe’s favorite brand.

I haven’t gotten the twang factor down yet, but I will keep trying.

In an 8-quart Instant Pot, you can make a gallon of yogurt.

Gather together:

  • Instant Pot
  • gallon of whole milk
  • plain yogurt with active cultures — about 1/2 cup
  • a digital thermometer
  • silicone whisk
  • glass container

Someone mentioned that using metal items while making yogurt causes a metallic taste in the yogurt.  So, I tried to use glass, plastic and silicone utensils.

  1. Start with 1 gallon of whole, organic milk.  I bought this at WalMart for under $7.

milk12. Pour the gallon of milk directly into the insert of the Instant Pot and click the cover on.

3. Press the “Yogurt” button once or twice until you see “Boil.” Allow it to beep and get started.  It will beep again when finished.

4. Remove the hot milk carefully by lifting the entire stainless steel insert out.  Set on a rack to cool.  One foodie I know fills her sink partway with cold water and sets the insert into that.  This speeds cooling.

5. The milk should cool to 110 – 115 degrees F. Use a digital thermometer to record the temp. My thermometer is new; I had never used it before. I  didn’t know the plastic sleeve came off.  So, it works either way.


6. When the milk cools, measure 1/2 cup actively cultured plain yogurt into a separate container.

7. Scoop a little cooled milk and whisk around with the yogurt until it’s smooth.

8. Now add the yogurt mixture to the entire cooled pot of milk.  Whisk again.

Your thermometer, whisk and other utensils don’t have to be red.  But red is always a good idea.

9. Cover pot and press “Yogurt” button.  Choose an 8, 9 or 10 hour cooking time.  Supposedly, the longer cooking time, the twangier the yogurt.  I may get crazy and try 12 hours next time.

10. I processed my batch of yogurt overnight and woke up to a surprising victory!



This was 10 steps long, but it wasn’t difficult.

If you want thicker, Greek-style yogurt, you can strain it.  I was just about to click and buy a strainer online, but then decided to rig one up with what I had on hand.



  1. I used a large plastic container to house the filtering set-up.  This cheap plastic dish is 3 quart sized.
  2. I lined a plastic colander with 3 basket-type coffee filters.
  3. I placed this lined colander over a smaller plastic container.
  4. I put the whole thing into the large 3-quart bowl so I could cover and forget about it.
  5. The whey seeps through the filter system and gets caught in the inner bowl.
  6. Save the whey for other concoctions.
  7. Scoop out your filtered yogurt and store in refrigerator.


Did you try it?  Did it work? Do tell!



{ Spring Might Be Here.}

Washing, drying and storing mittens is a sure way to bring snow back to Minnesota.  I might be sabotaging myself.

I live in Minnesota.  I find it too bold and presumptuous to announce:

Spring is here!

Better to hesitantly whimper: “Spring might be here soon.”


Spring is [perhaps] peeking around the corner?

If one is too aggressive in their assertions, spring might tiptoe away.

I don’t want to jinx it.

Google weather isn’t from Minnesota, so it confidently announced a 67 degree high today.

So, with a hopeful heart, I lugged a laundry load out to the clothesline.

While clipping wet garments to the rope, I thought of my son’s words:

“We have a dryer.  Why do you put clothes on the clothesline?”

In an age when you can tell a disk to buy laundry detergent, clothesline use might seem strange.

  • But it gets me outside.
  • I like the fragrance that the wind leaves on the clothes.
  • The garments return fresh (if a little stiff.)

Aside from saving money, what is it about clotheslines, bread-making or homesteading that bestows joy on some of us?

© Lisa M. Luciano


“Come back again and wake me up at about half past May.”

– Toad, from Frog & Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel.


 “Flowers appear on the earth and the season of singing has come.”

– Song of Solomon 2:12






{ My Psalm 23}


The Lord is my Leader

I have everything I need.

He causes me to rest in peaceful places.

He guides me along calm waters.

He cleans and fixes my soul.

He leads me on bright and holy paths

That are good for me,

Will bring Him glory,

And will lead me to His Heaven.

Sometimes I walk inside shadowy, scary places.

Even then, I will choose not to fear.

Because God is with me.

His loving discipline, guidance and rules

Remind me that I am His child.

And, those boundaries are strangely


Loving Father, You bring me to a place

Of good things and gifts

Even inside a circle of

Problems, pain, and difficult people.

You have chosen me,

Consecrated me,

And give my life purpose.

I am filled up

and dripping with unnatural contentment.

I have this feeling that

Your grace, forgiveness and goodness

Will keep pursuing me all through life

And someday

Because of your grace

I will find myself in heaven,

And I will call Your Home…

My Home.


A vague interpretation of David the Psalmist’s  inspired Psalm 23.

© Lisa M. Luciano

Photo credit:Alex Blăjan

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

{ Parallel Pain }

A friend asked me to listen to a radio conversation about this….

Should a parent share her pain with her own children?

Would it help?

Would it wound?

Would it open walls?

Would it cleanse?

Would it explain?

Should a parent share his pain?


For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

–Psalm 32:3

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad. –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



What do you think?

{ Don’t Fret about Flabby Arms. Or Taxes. }

It’s national Haiku Poetry Day and Tax Day and the Word Prompt is FRET and it’s my nephew Anthony’s birthday.

Can I combine everything into one worthy blog post?


I will talk about something else.

Late last night (after looking at my arms in the mirror and thinking about summer), I searched online for easy arm exercises.

I don’t want to use weights.

And, I don’t want to get down on the floor.

I don’t want to join a gym

Or buy stretchy plastic straps

Or a medicine ball.

So I searched for

“exercises you can do while seated”

I found yoga poses (nope, on the floor)

Then I searched for

“wheelchair exercises”

And I found what I was looking for: simple arm circles.

It doesn’t look like spring out there, but it’s time to think about wearing short sleeves.  (Thus, the arm exercises.)

Because everything is covered with a thick blanket of Minnesota April snow, My daughter has been feeding the birds and even making bird muffins to set out on the snow-filled bird bath.

Dark-eyed juncos, chickadees and an occasional woodpecker scrambled around, up and down getting seeds and playing king of the bird feeder.

Birds can be cranky about their food.

Even I, a casual human observer, could tell which ones were prone to selfish hoarding.


God cares for the birds.

They manage to find food all winter long — even when we forget to fill the feeder or get lax making bird muffins.

Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t worry! You are more valuable to him than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31, Living Bible

God notices us and cares for us despite all our fussing around. Despite our selfishness. Even when we are acting proud or when we are sad.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8

Don’t fret.

God cares for you, his valuable, treasured creation.

(Flabby arms and all.)

(c) Lisa M. Luciano

{ Song: It’s Not Spring! }



Sing to the tune of “Jingle Bells”

It's a Minnesota Spring

We're sore from shov'ling snow

The highways are undriveable

And the temps are dipping low
Cancellations by the hour

We're sitting here at home

Baking stuff and eating it,

At least there's gas and power

It's not spring!

It's not spring!

Winter's "on repeat"

Blizzards, flurries, sleet and snow,

We're turning up the heat -- HEY!


(I didn’t write a second verse. Just keep repeating verse one until the plows finish.

Or, take a nap if you wish.)


Word Prompt: SONG

(c) Lisa M. Luciano

Photos taken from local WCCO news site.