June, 2012

  1. Save money making your own yogurt

    June 16, 2012 by Karl

    telephone berry berry berry


    This article will provide you with a simple way to save money-making your own yogurt.

    Yogurt is nothing but milk that has been fermented (ripened) under controlled conditions with the proper type of bacteria. To do this, we first need to kill off any bad bacteria that may be present in the milk. This process is called pasteurization.

    There is currently a debate in the United States over whether pasteurization does more harm than good. This article is not here to make a statement either way. Please do your own research on this subject.

    For safety sake, the milk that you use to make yogurt should be pasteurized. If you are using raw milk (milk straight from the cow), you will need to pasteurize the milk yourself. This is done by bringing the milk up to 145 degrees Fahrenheit and holding it at that temperature for 30 minutes. Alternately, you can bring it up to 165 degrees Fahrenheit and leave it there for 15 seconds. This will pasteurize the milk. If you want to go to the extreme in the pasteurization process, you can bring the milk up to 280 degrees Fahrenheit and keep it there for 2 seconds. This is ultra pasteurization.  However, you cannot do this at home because water (milk) boils at 212 degrees. You need to place the milk in a pressure chamber to bring it to 280 degrees.

    If you are starting with store-bought milk, chances are that it has already been ultra pasteurized for you. Look for UHT pasteurization on the label. This tells you it has been ultra pasteurized. If this is the case, then you are ready to follow my simple recipe for making yogurt.

    What you will need:

    • 1/2 gallon of milk.
    • 2 tablespoons of yogurt culture (Any off-the-shelf yogurt with live active culture in it will work).
    • 2 tablespoons of honey.
    • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract  (not necessary, but I love the flavor this adds to the yogurt).
    • A two-quart saucepan.
    • A picnic cooler.
    • A heating pad or electric blanket.
    • Clean containers to put your finished yogurt into.
    • A clean ladle.

    Bring your milk up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) in the saucepan on the stove.  Use low heat so you don’t scald the milk on the bottom.  Stir constantly while it is coming up to temperature.  While it is coming up to temperature, add your yogurt culture, honey, and vanilla extract.  When the milk is up to temperature, place a lid on the pan and remove it from the heat.

    Place your heating pad or electric blanket in the bottom of the cooler.  You want to maintain that 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) temperature in the cooler for 7 to 10 hours.  Adjust your heat source as necessary.  Place the pan on the electric heat source and close the lid to the cooler.

    Check your yogurt after the allotted amount of time.  If it is the thickness you want for your yogurt, then it is done.  If not, let it sit a little longer.

    Remove the pan from the cooler when it is the proper thickness.  Use a ladle to scoop the yogurt into some clean containers.  You can now let them cool on the counter for an hour and then transfer them to the refrigerator.

    That’s it!  You have made your own yogurt!  Let them cool and serve with the flavored jam of your choosing!

    Enjoy!!!


  2. Save money on your phone bill!

    June 5, 2012 by Karl

    telephone berry berry berry berry berry


    This article will show you how to save money on your land-line phone. Many people still like the security of a land-line phone and if you have a business it is almost a necessity. If you have reliable internet service, you can easily cut the price of your land-line in half if not better. We went from a $60-$70 bill (USA) to less than $10 per month for a much better service! Anyone can do it if you have a little technical knowledge.

    How do we save so much money? We made the shift from our standard Verizon service with two phone numbers, to Voice Over Internet Protocol (also known as VoIP).  When we were with Verizon, we had the very basic service for each of our numbers. With VoIP we have built-in caller ID, voice mail which we have sent to our email as an attachment, and more importantly, the ability to block phone calls from specific numbers. If we have specific telemarketers calling us from the same number all the time, we simply block their number. It’s GREAT! All for less than $10 per month for two phone numbers! We even switched our existing phone numbers from Verizon to our new VoIP service!

    To make this possible, you need to have a solid high-speed internet service. DSL, Cable, or FiOS are the best, but you are not limited to these. The important thing to check is the amount of latency you have with your internet service.  To find out what your latency is, go to speedtest.net.   On the speed test, latency will show up as either ping, or latency, and will be in a box showing the number of milliseconds of latency you have.  (ping and latency are basically the same thing for our purposes).  If the latency is less than 150ms then you are in a great position to switch to VoIP.  If it is between 150ms and 300ms, you will hear some noticeable lag or echo in your calls.  If it is greater than 300ms, I would not recommend VoIP as an option.

    You can purchase a VoIP phone, but that is not necessary, and they are very expensive compared to standard phones.  What you will need is a box called a VoIP phone adapter that will convert your internet signal to a voice signal and feed it into the existing phone lines in your house.  The one I have been using is the  OBi110 Voice Service Bridge and VoIP Telephone Adapter found on Amazon.com for around $50.  You will need one for each phone number you have coming into the house. The OBi110 gives you more flexibility than other devices because it allows you to tie into Google Voice which gives you free outgoing calls.

    Next you need to set up a VoIP account with one of the many providers out there.  The one I chose and love is voip.ms.  They offer LOTS of flexibility at very low prices.  You also need to set up a Google Voice Account.

    Here’s the way it works.  Your incoming calls will be routed to your VoIP provider, who will send the call to the OBi110 device which connects your internet to your phone line.  Your phones will ring and work just like they normally do.   Your outgoing calls will be sent from your OBi110 device to your Google voice account, and from there the call will be sent to the number you dialed just as normal.  The only difference is that the person picking up the call will see your Google Voice number on their caller ID display rather than your normal number.  That’s it!  Your outgoing calls will be free with Google Voice, and your incoming calls will be charged at the rate of your VoIP provider.  In my case it is $6.95 per month + $1.50 per month for 911 service.  The additional phone number I have set up for $.99 per month on the basic plan because I don’t use it much.  You will need to tweak things to work best for your own calling usage.

    The OBi110 can also be tied into individual phones if you like, instead of tying it into the entire house.  The flexibility of this device is truly amazing.

    Initially I bought the OBi110, and tied it directly into my business phone just to check it out.  I also had my regular Verizon service tied in at the same time so I could compare.  After a month of testing, I could see the savings add up, and by the next month I had purchased another device and plugged them both into all our house phones.  I then transferred or “ported” our existing phone numbers from Verizon to my new voip.ms service, and cut Verizon out of the loop completely.  My bill for last month (May 2012) was $9.48 for both phones.  This is my sixth month after the switch, and we are completely thrilled with the service and the savings.

    obi setup photo

    I am sure you would have the same results if you have a decent high-speed internet connection.  If you have made the switch already or want to give it a try, please leave me some comments below.  I love helping people save money!

    I do receive compensation from Amazon for the OBi110 links on this page, but would recommend the product whether I received anything or not.  It is an excellent product.

    OBi110 Link


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