Let’s Make Greek Yogurt!

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Don’t you just love the rich, creamy taste of Greek Yogurt? How would you like to make it right from your own kitchen? You can absolutely do this, and I will give you a step-by-step tutorial right here…

You just need 3 tools and 3 ingredients to create this:

  • An Instant Pot or pot on the stovetop
  • Yogurt Thermometer
  • Greek Yogurt Maker / Strainer
  • ½ Gallon Organic Milk
  • 2 tbsp. Tempered Culture Organic Yogurt
  • Desired Flavors – Vanilla, Honey, etc.

I use an Instant Pot and local raw milk to get the best consistency, but you can make this on the stovetop with store bought milk. Because I have only made this with my IP, I will be sharing this version for now…



Set Instant Pot to Disinfect for 5 minutes with 1 cup of water

Remove water and add ½ gallon of milk.

On the “Yogurt” setting, set to Boil for 10 minutes at 180 degrees.

Allow to cool down to 110 degrees (stir occasionally and test temperature – place pot in an ice bath if needed).

Add 2 tablespoons of tempered culture to a small bowl (use store bought organic “cultured” plain yogurt as your starter). Whisk in 1 cup of your warm milk to combine, then add back to your pot).

Put lid on and adjust setting to “Yogurt” for 8 hours on low.

Place pot (covered) in refrigerator for an additional 6-8 hours.

Strain out whey, transfer to a container, add desired flavors and refrigerate.

Now this is where you can make “good” yogurt, or you can make GREAT yogurt… I like to make mine extra thick and creamy with no liquid, so you can either end it here and have an extra soft consistency or you can use this amazing tool to take it to the next level…

Spoon into THIS strainer which will allow all of the additional whey to completely strain out. I’m telling you it will change your experience in yogurt making. This is where you get that thick, Greek consistency. You can see the video of how it turns out (HERE).

I continue to refrigerate it in container for an additional two days before transferring to container.

This is delicious topped with fresh fruit and granola – Enjoy!!

TIP: Take the store bought yogurt that you purchased for your culture and pour into  ice cube trays – freeze and store in a Ziploc bag to use in your next batch. Then simply save 2 tbsp. of your own yogurt when that’s gone to use as your own “starter”. 

Make Wine With Me

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Want To Make Wine With Me?

I never thought I’d be mashing half rotten berries into a jar and making something called “Hooch”, but here I am…

Let’s just call it “Wine” and it hits differently.

So, I found myself buried in a couple  hundred pounds of blueberries this year, and after processing several batches I got burned out. There’s only so many pies we can bake and bags one can freeze before looking at one more berry becomes a form of torture. Especially when you have more waiting to be picked out in a 110 degree heat wave.

So here I am with 24 pounds of berries and I want something “easy” to do with them. Well, I found a recipe!

Don’t worry… This is SO EASY, and I’m here for ya if you want to lean on me while you pull it together.

Here’s All You Need:

  1. Three pounds of Berries
  2. Three half-gallon sized Mason Jars
  3. Three Fermentation Lids (I found some really affordable ones here
  4. 1 Gallon Filtered Water
  5. Yeast (I used THIS fancy yeast especially designed to ferment a good Wine)
  6. 1 Cup Sugar
  7. Thermometer
  8. Large Spoon
  9. A very large Pot


Okay, so here’s how it all goes down… Gather your supplies.

  • Start your water on boil
  • Add sugar & stir until dissolved
  • Mash Blueberries 
  • Add to water & remove once it begins to boil
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool to 100 degrees
  • Transfer to jars
  • Distribute 1 packet of yeast between the three (or 1/2 tsp per half-gallon of regular yeast)
  • Add Fermentation Lids 
  • Store in a cool, dark place for 1 week

So, if you don’t have fermentation lids, you can use a regular lid and burp it daily. This is a real pain, so you might want to rethink that! 

It’s pretty forgiving – you can substitute various elements to fit what you have on hand. Double the recipe if you’d like – I did & I’ll be serving up the hooch at our next shin-dig – haha!!

Now, are YOU going to be making Berry Wine? If you do, let me know! I haven’t quite made it to my 1 week mark, but I’ll definitely update ya on my Instagram Account soon. 

Unlocking the Health Benefits of Castor Oil Packs: A Natural Remedy Worth Trying

Unlocking the Health Benefits of Castor Oil Packs: A Natural Remedy Worth Trying

In the quest for improved health and wellness, I have exclusively turned to natural remedies which have been successfully used for generations. One remedy which has gained popularity in recent years is the castor oil pack, which I have been using every single day. Derived from the seeds of the Ricinus Communis Plant, Castor Oil, when combined with the application of a warm compress (known as a castor oil pack), has eliminated so many issues for me.

For one, it soothes Inflammation and Reduces Pain: Castor oil possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties. When applied topically, the oil penetrates deep into the tissues, promoting blood circulation and reducing inflammation. This makes it an excellent remedy for those like me who are suffering from joint pain, eczema, and gallbladder pain.

It also supports Digestive Health: Many people struggle with digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Castor oil packs can be used on the abdomen to alleviate these discomforts. The oil’s lubricating properties help stimulate bowel movements and relieve pain. Additionally, it aids in detoxification by improving liver function and promoting the elimination of waste from the body. Regular use of castor oil packs can help restore balance to the digestive system, leading to improved overall gut health.

I have been using this for years to alleviate menstrual cramps by soaking a flannel, and covering the area with a heating pad while sleeping.

I personally recommend using the QUEEN OF THE THRONES Castor Oil Pack kit, which includes a trusted extra virgin, organic cold-pressed oil and a wrap that can be tied on for ease.

The therapeutic benefits of castor oil packs extend beyond conventional treatments, offering a natural and holistic approach to achieving optimal health. Whether you’re seeking relief from pain, improved digestion, detoxification support, or enhanced skin health, incorporating castor oil packs into your self-care routine can be a valuable addition. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any new health regimen, particularly if you have underlying health conditions. Embrace the power of nature and unlock the potential benefits of castor oil packs – you may find yourself on a journey towards improved well-being and vitality like I have.

The Imperfectly Perfect Sourdough Starter

Let me preface this with this statement; “Any task that I perform for my homestead which may be done imperfectly still blesses our home”.

This recipe is not going to be sharing the precise grams in weight or maintenance plan which you may find in those fancy Blogs or Videos. This is my tried-and-true process of maintaining a healthy and happy ferment since its inception.

Isn’t it ironic that the Starter began to gain popularity once again in recent years? There was a great influx when the pandemic hit, but as I recall there was a lot of chatter in the months before. I started mine around Thanksgiving of 2019 & lovingly named her Dolores. (Did you know that if you name your starter, you may be more likely to keep it going?) I think that philosophy actually helped me.

I kept her going throughout the entire “lockdown” period, through our big move across the country in the Summer of 2020, and she’s still alive & thriving today.

There have been times when I got down to a couple of tablespoons or had to put her dormant in the refrigerator, but it’s very easy to build back up and get it active again.


Here’s my Recipe and Maintenance for my two-year-old Sourdough Starter

Tools Needed:

  • Any jar with a lid, such as a Mason Jar
  • Breathable cover (like cheesecloth)
  • Glass Measuring Cup
  • Wooden Spoon


1. To get started, in the evening fill your jar with 1/3 cup of flour and 1/3 cup of clean, warm, filtered water. You can use any flour for this process EXCEPT for “bleached” flour – I tried it & it didn’t turn out well. 

2. Stir well, making sure all dry pockets are blended.

3. When you wake up in the morning, it should have multiplied. Remove 1/3 of your Starter and either discard it, or save it in a container in your refrigerator.

4. Now, add back 1/3 cup of flour & and mix it into your remaining Starter + JUST enough luke-warm water to incorporate into a thick pancake consistency  (this has become my secret weapon to a thriving ferment).

5. Cover and store in a warm place – around 70-80 degrees is ideal. You can keep it near a heater, fireplace (not too close that it bakes), a sunny window sill or your stove. When I am baking a lot, I wrap mine in a towel and leave it on the stovetop.

6. If you choose to keep the “discard”, use it up quickly because it can clutter up your refrigerator if you’re not careful. I recommend saving the discard only after it gets established, around day three or so. You can find many amazing recipes for this on YouTube.

7. Repeat this process for 10 days, then you can begin incorporating the Starter in Sourdough recipes. I have also begun to take it out with my hands and knead it just a little bit, so that it gets used to my touch. This has really helped my Wild Yeast to respond very well in my recipes! The important thing to remember is that your Starter needs just enough warmth to create those big beautiful bubbles. After around the 30 day mark, it should be well established with a nice bubbly appearance, feel spongy, glutenous, and smell like delicious Sourdough.

Now that “Dolores” is fully established, I use it and then when I know I won’t be baking for a while, I will feed, seal up tight & store in the refrigerator until I know I need it again (feeding every week or so). This way, I don’t have to start all over with the waiting process to achieve the good ferments again.

Thank you for visiting our Blog – Please let us know how your Starter is going by tagging us on Instagram. We would love to keep in touch!

Download this Recipe HERE


In Joy – Renee Weatherford – Magnolia Hill Homestead

Homemade Products From Your Marigold Flowers

Have you ever heard about the wonderful benefits that can be extracted from Marigold buds? I have used Calendula Oil before, but I had no idea that there were so many other uses for these bright flowers.


We planted several Marigolds throughout our Gardens last Spring after hearing about it’s benefits of bringing in pollinators & keeping pests at bay. And it wasn’t until early Fall that I began researching different uses for the abundance of blooms we had.


Here is how I dried & preserved my Harvest, and 7 different ideas you can use to incorporate these pretty petals into your home…



You want to either snap off or cut the green stem from the flower, separating the blooms from the seeds. There are some benefits to using the seeds, but you may want to start with a clean cut. Discard the stems and place blooms in a bowl.


There are 3 ways I’ve dried these, and they all came out perfectly dehydrated:

Dehydrator Machine – This takes the longest, yet is the easiest method for me. I have a five-tray dehydrator and set them at 100 degrees for 8-10 hours. Place in one layer on trays – do not over-crowd, but depending on how much you have, you may want to fill each tray completely. After a few hours, they will shrink down considerably & you can space them out for better ventilation. (CLICK HERE  to see the Machine I always use on Instagram).

Sun Dried – This method is excellent if you have a dry heat with no wind. You have to be very careful to keep moisture & humidity out the process. This can take just a few hours in the right conditions.

Oven – If you have a dehydrator setting on your oven, this is a good option. You just have to check on them often to ensure they are dehydrating and not cooking. It’s especially important to have a tray that allows good ventilation (I tried a French bread rack with small holes & it worked well). This took about 8 hours. (You can also hang to dry, but this can take up to a month).


Once dry, place in a Mason Jar or air tight container and add a Silica Packet if you have one. These can be stored on the shelf for about a year. You can grind it down into a powder form, but I like to keep my herbs whole so that I can use them for different products, like teas or soaps.

Personal Uses

Your Marigolds can be used for so many things, from beauty products to additions in the kitchen. These are just a few things I use them for. As always, please do your own research on these suggestions and consult with your Medical Professional before attempting to ingest anything that you have not taken before.

Loose-leaf Teas

Top your Salads or homemade Vinaigrette (dried or fresh)

Add color to your Quiche, Stirfry or Soups

Mix into homemade Artesian Bread

Handmade Soaps, Salves & Lotions


Essential Oil Extract: Wound Care, Sunscreen, Acne, Dry Skin, Diaper Rash, Cracked Feet, Cuticles

So there you have it! Do you have these vibrant flowers growing around your home? What would you like to make from them? Tag us on Instagram & let us know!


Renee Weatherford – Magnolia Hill Homestead