I recently used a King Arthur Flour gift certificate to purchase a few splurges, including the yogurt maker and 6 quart dough bucket pictured below. Bread and yogurt are two staples around here, so I figured it would be worthwhile to make both a little easier.
Sprout was a bit late to the solid foods game, but yogurt was one of the first things he decided he liked and it's still one of his favorites. Making yogurt is pretty simple - all you really need to do is use some store-bought yogurt as a starter which you mix with heated milk and then this little machine holds it at a temperature of about 110 degrees for around 8 hours. Once you make the first batch, you just have to make sure that you save some as a starter for the next one. Those little YoBaby 4-packs were putting a pretty good dent in the grocery budget, so now I can make Sprout his favorite apple-cinnamon flavored breakfast with homemade apple butter for about 1/4 of the cost.
We've also recently realized that it's been more than a year since we last bought a loaf of bread from the store. Using the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day system works really well for me. What you see on the right in the picture above is a big batch of bread dough which I just mix together real quick, leave on the counter for two hours to rise and then I put it in the fridge until I'm ready to make a loaf. On baking day I pull out a 2 pound hunk which I shape into a loaf and then put it in a pan to rise again for about 2 hours before baking at 450 degrees for 45 minutes.
Here's a whole grain rye loaf, fresh from the oven. Peasant food can feel pretty luxurious sometimes!