Ditching Store Yogurt Drinks

These are the last yogurt drinks to be washed and recycled in our home. We go through about 4 per day adding up to approximately 130 per month! That is a lot of single use plastic!

Not only does the bottle/package go for recycling, but the wrapper and caps are waste. 130 bottles, 130 caps, 130 wrappers and 21 plastic packaging pieces (comes in a 6 pack).

I asked a few groups of people for help on choosing recipes and how to make smoothies. I thought smoothies would be a great alternative, though I never made them before. I was worried too that the kids would not like them. My sister in law came to the rescue too! Offering lots of suggestions and recipes. Someone else also mentioned to just add some milk to yogurt to make a yogurt drink. Very simple!

So I got my blender and food together and started to try making some smoothies.

1/2 cup yogurt and 1 cup milk.
Fruit such as bananas, strawberries, peanut butter. It was just a no go taste wise. I felt I was wasting a lot of food. Pretty sure my mixtures were not balanced right; too much milk. We found the peanut butter was not pleasing either.

So that day I had to stop and re think what I was doing. Plus buy more product! My next grocery trip I did not buy any yogurt drinks! Skipped them completely!! I was determined to make this work.

The next morning I was all over it! Tried to keep everything simple. I decided to just start with yogurt drinks. Alaina wanted to call them smoothies still, so that is what we are doing! They love the sound of “smoothies”.

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 frozen banana
Alaina liked this one.

1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup blueberries
Alaina liked this one.

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1 Tbsp Nutella
1/2 frozen banana
Thomas liked this one.

1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup strawberries (also with 1/2 banana)
Alaina liked this one.

1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup raspberries
Alaina liked this one.

1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
Daniel and Jack liked this one.

These recipes of mine are basically single servings.

Julia is not a fan of these drinks. I am not sure why. She really is not a fussy eater! She has taken a dislike to white milk lately. I am hoping she will come around. She does like yogurt. We buy the vanilla kind and sometimes the raspberry kind. Source, Yoplait.

Lately, Alaina like the raspberry yogurt with milk blended. She says it tastes like strawbrry ice cream.

I froze some berries and bananas, as the cold makes the drinks better for consuming. Otherwise it seems they are kind of warm. If there is no frozen fruit added, I simply just drop in an ice cube to cool it right down.

I freeze the bananas just as they are in the peel. Just let it sit on the counter for about 5 minutes and the peel comes right off.

I would like to add more to these drinks soon. Like Chai seeds for example. Also I so wish I had a frozen stash of berries! Next year we will be doing lots of berry picking and freezing. I will be needing a bigger freezer and  containers to freeze the produce in. Not using bags. I got lots of time to figure that one out.

I am so happy with the turn out! Next, homemade yogurt! I am more worried about this one! I myself am not a fan of yogurt, but Source Yoplait is the only one I found I liked. I hope the kids are not as fussy as I am about it!

Rocky Road Squares.

The start of Christmas baking! Rocky road squares. Such an easy recipe!! Jack helped me today!

Layer a 8×8 dish with parchment paper and Graham crackers. Melt in a sauce pan .5 cup butter, 1 cup milk chocolate chips. Add 1 beat on egg and 1 cup of icing sugar. Take off heat. Combine well. Once cooled add 2 cups of marshmallows and fold. Pour mixture on top of crackers and add sprinkles if desired on top. Refridgerate until cool and firm.

 

Remove from dish and take off parchment paper. Cut into bite size peices and store in a air tight container.

Update.

I made a second batch without the parchment paper. I just cut the edges along the pan and the whole thing just slipped out. Yay!!!

Also, Peanut butter balls, no parchment paper. I just put the pan holding the fresh balls into the freezer to cool down quickly and harden, then they just pop off the tray. Yay!!

 

Nuts and Bolts

When my brother and I were little, my dad would make us this delicious snack! It was his moms recipe, my Nanny. God love her! I wonder how far back this recipe goes!

Our house is in need of more snacks so I thought this recipe was the perfect fit as I can get these main ingredients from the Bulk Barn, no bags!

In a small sauce pan, combine 1/4 cup melted butter, 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, .5 tsp celery salt, .5 tsp garlic salt, .5 tsp paprika and .5 tsp onion salt.

Pour this mixture over 2 cups Cheerios, 2 cups Shreddies, 2 cups pretzels (I break mine in half) and 1.5 cups salted nuts. Place on large baking pan. Bake at 250 for 1 hour, mixing every 20 minutes.

So yummy!!!

DIY Tomato Paste.

I found another recipe to try. Honeyed Tomato Paste, from The Zero-Waste Chef.

I made a half recipe (or tried).

I weighed 4 lbs of tomatoes, sliced an X and blanched them for 30 seconds. Peeled the skin and removed the seeds.

Put the cleaned tomatoes in a pot with olive oil and cooked on medium heat for 40 minutes. I added the tomatoes juice from the peelings and seeds. Of course, Jack wanted to watch and help if he could!

Once they cooked down, I put them through my food processor. Looked very much like tomato sauce at this point!

Here is where I went wrong. Instead of adding half of the ingredients, I added the full amounts. Salt, honey and bay leaves. I did not realize it until it was simmering for 45 minutes.

After it was done simmering, I put the sauce in a shallow pan. Set the timer for 3 hours and stirred every 20 minutes. This picture is 90 minutes in.

Done baking! Yahoo! Looks good!

My batch made .75 cup of tomato paste.

Had I put in the half amount of salt, honey and bay leaf, this would have been absolutely yummy!!! Even with the extra honey and bay leaf. BUT the extra salt ruined it! I can taste the flavour besides the salt and it is delicious! Too bad!

Maybe I can make a new batch and not add any of those ingredients, then mix that one and this one together?

Today was so worth it, I will be making more! Now, I need to find tomatoes locally!

Home Made Granola Bars.

The kids really enjoy the store bought granola bars. I was determined to find a recipe they all enjoyed and I did! Even Chris likes them! We both would like added nuts, but with a nut free school, that is “nut” going to happen unless they get eaten lots at home alone.

This recipe I found needed to be tweaked to the kids liking, so I will share our recipe with you.

First toast 3 cups large rolled oats at 350 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes, stirring up halfway through timer.

Next, heat in pot 2 Tbsp canola oil, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 1/4 cup of honey, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar and .5 tsp salt. Heat up until brown sugar is dissolved, but don’t boil.

Once the oats are toasted put them in a large bowl, add the hot liquid mixture and stir for 1 minute to coat the oats. Add 1 cup of milk chocolate chips in the pot while the mixture is still hot so the chips will melt. They will act like glue to hold the granola bars together. Stir for another minute making sure mixture is coated very well.

Add .5 cup milk chocolate chips into the bowl when the mixture is not so hot and fold them in. (Optional).

(see update at the bottom for a waste free alternative to this step!) Line a 8×8 dish (pyrex) with parchment paper, enough to fold over itself once the granola is pressed. Add the mixture and press it down to all corners of dish. Use a flat utensil to firmly press the granola down.

I used a bit too much parchment paper

Cover the granola with the extra parchment paper and with your hands to smooth the mixture flat.

Keep on counter until cool, about 1 hour or more. If still warm, leave it longer! Remove the parchment paper and granola out of pan and peel off the paper. Cut the granola onto bar sizes and store them in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

Update November 22, 2018.

I figured out a way to use no single use material in tge making of the granola bars. Simply use a cheesecake pan!

 

 

Baking Bread Day

Today is baking day, bread and sub buns! Yummy!! Chris bought me a bread box a few weeks ago, and it works great!!!! No more bread bags! Our bread will last 3-5 days, and does not go very dry!  I can’t believe we did not use one before!! I highly recommend using a bread box instead of bread bags! Though our family could use two. Depending on the bread size depends if I can fit everything in! My recipe make 1 loaf and 6 sub buns.

First off, measure 2 cups warm water and add 2/3 cup white sugar. Mix until sugar us dissolved and add 1.5 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast. Cover and let sit in warm place for 10-15 minutes or until thick and puffy!

Next add 1/4 cup Vegetable oil and 1 tsp salt. Add 4 cups of flour. Mix until most of the flour us dissolved. Add in half cup at a time 1-1.5 cups of  flour, until dough is not too sticky anymore and the sides of the bowl are clean. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic.

Next I divide the dough in half, and divide one of the halfs into 5 pieces. (Update: divide to have a 500g and 6 130g).Coat them in veg oil and place them in individual dishes coated with butter and cover with warm cloth. I stick them in the preheated oven at the lowest temperature(shut off oven once preheated), for 1 hour to rise.  Be sure not to have the temperature too hot as some bowls keep the heat and will kill the yeast. 

After one hour, take out the dough and one by one, flatten, and form gluten balls. That them sit covered 10 minutes.

Next I take the loaf dough, roll it flat, roll it up, pinch the ends. Coat it with more oil and place it in the loaf pan. Preheat oven followers temp and then shut off. Place pan inside and let rise 40 minutes. Then turn on oven to 350 degree and bake for 30 minutes. During this time, I do the same with the sub buns except slicing the tops. I place them in buttered coated Pyrex dishes and let them rise until the bread is baked, covered with a damp cloth. Depending on how much you let them rise depends on how big they will be.  These ones pop into the hot oven after the loaf comes out at 350 degrees for 28 minutes.

Let them cool on a cooling rack and enjoy!

Thank you Jack for your help!!!! Xx

Baking Day With the Kiddos

Alaina has been asking to make double chocolate chip cookies for about a week. I finally found some time today, in the 38 degree humidex to make some. Hahaha. They turned out pretty good! My husband found an amazing chocolate chip recipe. Bakery style!

This day, since Alaina wanted double chocolate chip cookies, I decided to add in a package of instant chocolate pudding mix (a secret ingredient from another cookie recipe) and take out 3/4 cup of flour (same amount of dry pudding mixture). I did not want to have the batch too dry. Though I am sure I could have taken some sugar out instead. Another thought for another time.

Next on this HOT day I needed some bread and sub buns made for tomorrow. I told Julia she could help since she was left out with the cookies. Jack wanted to help out too. 

My bread recipe I use makes two loaves, but I make 1 loaf and 5 sub buns instead. I usually use 5-5.5 cups flour instead of 6. It really depends on the humidity and the moisture in the dough referring to how much flour is needed.

Chris sent me some links a while back for tips on making bread. Kneading and windowpane testRounding the dough.     Finger poke test. They are really good to follow, especially if you are just starting or have issues.

Julia and Jack helping to make the bread