Gateau au Yaourt


Life as a mother has settled down a bit, as we approach the second month anniversary of Pon Pon’s arrival. I still cry and pull my hair out once in a while (okay, every other day), but things have definitely gotten much, much better. For one thing, I stopped taking things too seriously. I now let mistakes happen and not punish myself for them. Now that I’m learning to balance my life, I made time during the blissful hour I have before Pon Pon wakes up in the morning to bake Gateau au Yaourt, or Yogurt Cake, courtesy of the book, Bringing Up Bebe, by Pamela Druckerman.

Speaking of the book, it’s a lifesaver. I still have a few more chapters to go, but it’s been wonderful so far, providing me with sound advice about raising a bebe.

Thanks to the book, I learned to “pause,” and started to give Pon Pon the opportunity to self-sooth first, before running to her the moment she cries. I also started speaking to her more frequently, especially when I need to explain her something. The other day, I politely asked Pon Pon to please stay calm and quite in a swing for 30 minutes because mommy needed to eat lunch … and she complied! Now, I speak to her every night before she goes to bed, recapping the things we did together, and thank her for another wonderful and adventurous day.  And of course, let her know how much I love her.

yogurt cake 2

Gateau au Yaourt (Yogurt Cake)
Adapted from the book, Bringing Up Bebe, but modified slightly

The book introduced this recipe because this is a cake that even a three-year-old can make. All the measurements are done in the 6 oz yogurt container. Since I didn’t have the small container, I used the regular measuring cup.


3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used the low fat kind)
2 eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2/3 cup corn oil


① Preheat the oven to 375 degree F. Prepare the 9-inch loaf pan by layering the bottom with a wax paper.

② Combine the yogurt, oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl and mix well (wet). In a separate bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together (dry).

③ Add the dry ingredient with the wet one, and mix to combine. Be careful not to over mix the batter.

④ Pour the combined mixture into a 9-inch loaf pan and bake it in the oven for about 30-45 minutes, until the inserted toothpick comes out clean.

⑤ Let the cake cool at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.

yogurt cake 3

Oh my … this is a delicious cake! I love the combination of subtle sweet and slight tang that is present in this lovely cake. I used the generic, low fat yogurt that I purchased from Fresh and Easy for this. I was worried at first because the yogurt was a little on the watery side but I think that helped make this cake extra soft and moist!

I definitely recommend that you give this recipe a try! It’ll be even better if you go crazy and have fun making this with your little one in the kitchen. I can’t wait to make this cake with Pon Pon soon!

Skincare Superhero: Yogurt Soap

I’m really looking forward to the holiday season this year. I know that I’m getting a little ahead of myself to start thinking about a Christmas tree and holiday cookies (it hasn’t even gotten cold here yet), but I know how December sneaks up on me so quickly every year eek that I can’t be over-prepared. My goal is to finish my holiday crafting by the time we cook up the Thanksgiving feast. It’s going to be a pretty busy next few weeks for me craft-wise but I’m super excited.

I’m planning to give away my handmade soaps as gifts this year again, and I already have a few batches ready to go. I made three batches of soap last month and they’re now ready to be packaged and sent off to my soap-loving friends and family.

One batch that I’m particularly excited about is the Yogurt Soap that I made using my homemade yogurt.  It was inspired by the bowl of yogurt with fresh peach I enjoyed in the summertime when the juicy fruit was in season!

The health benefits of yogurt are widely known but did you know that it can also be great for your skin? It’s great for acne treatment (due to high concentration of zinc), and serves as a much-needed moisturizer during the upcoming chilly weather (due to high fat content). I’m sure you’ve seen girls smother dollops of yogurt on their face during their home spa session on a slumber party, along with other all-natural super skin heros like cucumbers, avocadoes, bananas, and honey. I tried my first bar in the shower this week and I absolutely love the way it makes my skin feel. It lathered incredibly well, with frothy white foam, and the subtle but sweet scents of peach fragrance oil and sweet orange essential oil made my skin smell like wonderful summer days.

Giveaway!  If you’re interested in trying this yogurt soap, leave me a comment here!  I will be happy to share them with first three people to comment on this post!biggrin   

Updated on October 21, 2011:  Thank you to Trisha, Lenna, Va, and Erin, for commenting! You will each receive the homemade Yogurt Peach Soap from Lavender and Olive (which is my Etsy shop). Please kindly email me your mailing address to and I’ll get the soaps out to you! Again, thanks for your participation!

Yogurt Peach Soap: Olive oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil, castor oil, palm kernel oil, palm oil, homemade yogurt (2% fat), distilled water, lye, peach fragrance oil, sweet orange essential oil, lavender essential oil.

It’s 67 days until Christmas!

Making Yogurt at Home from Scratch!

My fiancé and I met in 2006 and we hit it off immediately, thanks to our mutual love for good food. We dined out together very frequently and on every occasion, I would take home a business card from the restaurant to remember the night. When the collection of business cards became unmanageable, I decided to start a blog to chronicle our dining adventures in a more organized manner … and thus, Time for Dinner was born!

Kind people at WordPress reminded me when I posted my last ramble that my next one would be my 300th. So, here it is — my 300th post! YAY! biggrin Our baby is all grown up!  Thank you for your continued support and readership (to all three of you out there) of this humble blog.  It exists because of you.

So, for this momentous occasion, why not talk about my latest yogurt endeavor?  But this is no ordinary yogurt. It’s a homemade version, made from scratch. Yes, from scratch. This means no yogurt maker or other gimmicks! It’s just me, a pot, an empty glass jar, 2% milk, dehydrated milk, active culture, and a candy thermometer, the old fashioned way.

I must admit, I’ve always wanted to make a homemade yogurt using only the natural ingredients but the idea of spoiling milk (although purposely) and growing bacteria in my kitchen gave me the creeps. But thanks to Yankee Prepper and his video tutorial, I got enough courage to go for it.

Once you taste the homemade yogurt, it’ll be very difficult for you to go back to the store-bought kind even though there are so many wonderful brands available now. The homemade version is much creamier and milder (but deliciously tangy), without the grainy texture or strange sourness. It may take a few tries to get used to it because it’s so different from the ones you may be used to, but trust, me, the homemade version is 100 times better. And 100 times better for you!

Homemade Yogurt
Inspired by Yankee Prepper’s video on YouTube.
Makes 1 quart
This is a recipe for 1 glass jar. I made two batches so all the photos reflect that. To make more, simply multiply the ingredients.


1 quart sterilized glass jar with lid (I used the empty meat sauce jar)
A medium-size pot like Le Creuset
Spoon to stir
Candy thermometer


1 quart (or 4 cups) milk. You can use whole, non-fat, or 2% milk. I used 2%.
½ dehydrated milk
1 heaping tablespoon yogurt with active culture
1/3 cup sugar or honey (optional)

Update (November 21, 2011): I noticed, after making the homemade yogurt at least 5 times, that you can completely omit the dehydrated milk and still get the same, wonderful yogurt (apparently the only purpose of the dehydrated milk is to add more protein). Also, I tried using several different yogurt brands for a starter, and came to the conclusion that Mountain High (pictured below) is the absolute best. I’ve tried Trader Joe’s and Wallaby Organic, and while they are delicious yogurts on their own, they made my yogurt super watery (eeek).

Okay, you might be thinking, “What? You need a store-bought yogurt to make a homemade one?” rolleyes That was my initial thought too. It’s a classic chicken or egg debate. Which really came first, the yogurt or … the yogurt? Well, the fact is that you need active culture, or good bacteria, to make a yogurt so just ignore this strange hypocrisy and just get yourself your favorite yogurt from a store. Make sure you get the one that contains active culture (it should indicate it in the ingredients list on the back) and not those sugar-laden ones.

Once you make your own homemade yogurt, you can use that to add to the new batch, instead of using the store-bought one.


1. Heat the milk in a large pot on a medium-low heat, until it reaches 160 degree F. Do not let the liquid come to a boil. When the temperature is at about 150 degree F, add your sweetener of choice, if using, and add dehydrated milk. Stir constantly. Let it warm slowly, for about 10-15 minutes, until it reaches the optimum temperature of 160 degree F.

2. Once the liquid reaches 160 degree F, turn off the heat. Transfer the liquid in to a clean glass jar. Let the liquid sit at room temperature for about an hour and let it come down to about 100 – 110 degree F.

(By the way, do you see my new Moleskin Recipe Journal in the background? I love it. It’s amazing!)

3. Add a yogurt and stir until all the yogurt is dissolved in the liquid. According to Yankee Prepper, this is the temperature where bacteria can stay alive and get to work. I used Mountain High’s Original Style All-Natural Yoghurt. I’ve never tasted this one but I bought it because it  had a big sign that said “Contains Live, Active and Probiotic Cultures.”

4. Put the lid on the jar and put the jar in an empty oven, with pilot lights on. You’re not baking it so make sure that your oven is off, but you still need the pilot light for residual heat. If you don’t have an oven or don’t want to use it, you can always use a cooler box and put one of those electric heat patches in it. Let the jar sit for about 9 hours.

After 9 hours, open your oven or a cooler.  Your yogurt should have a nice, velvety texture. Put the jar in the refrigerator and let it cool, for about 2-3 hours before serving.

I had my first serving this morning for breakfast and was amazing. I put fresh strawberries and drizzled some Agave nectar. I’m looking forward to making Lassi and refreshing Frozen Yogurt with it!

And here’s to 300 more posts!