Coconut Yogurt

I finally got the ingredients together and the time to look up a recipe for coconut yogurt. The easiest part was finding the recipe actually. From what I read, there are some specifics.

  • The thicker the yogurt you want, the more coconut water you leave out of the recipe. If you want it more runny, leave the water in the recipe.
  • Coconut milk with guar gum helps create a smooth texture and prevents separation.
  • probiotic is the culture you want to add, not prebiotic.

This is where I read most of the information I took in and the recipe I followed. This is the site where my culture comes from, so I followed the directions for how much culture to add. My culture is not a capsule, but liquid form.

To start, I picked a random can of coconut milk from the store. 3.48 for this brand. I picked it up before I found any recipes. I emptied the contents in a large ceramic bowl.

I whisked it up until smooth.

Added 20 ml of the liquid coconut culture and stirred it in well.

Next I poured the mixture into 2 250 ml jars. In one of them, I added a tsp of vanilla and stirred it in.

I cut some cheese cloth to size for the jar. Placed it on top and screwed on the ring to the jar.

I don’t really have a warm place to put the yogurt, but I thought on top of the dishwasher might be a good enough spot. some good long lasting warmth there. I put the jars in a milk carton for stability and wrapped a hand towel around them for insulation.

So, about 2 days later.

I let it sit on the counter 25 hours. Let it sit in the fridge 16 hours before I tried it.

The coconut separated. Heavy on top, watery on the bottom. 

I tasted the top, not a fan. Really thick too. Not looking like the pictures in the link above! 

I stirred it up to mix well. Very liquidy,  not very pleasing.

So to me, this trial did not work out so well. It could be my spot on the counter was not warm enough. It could be not enough culture. It could be a wrong recipe? Maybe I need to remove the water from the heavy milk. Lots of the culture could be in the water part, not doing its job. I do have another can of coconut milk. Will try again, this time removing most of the water.

But maybe, I will not persue the coconut yogurt. A recent article stating how coconutmoil has a high content of saturated fats got me thinking about the coconut milk. 45% say. fat in one can. Where whole milk is 25%. So got to find a balance if I’m going non dairy with this one. So my question, if I choose not to use coconut milk, can I still use the coconut culture with a different “milk”? I’m thinking yes, but should find out.

 

Making Our Own Fresh Orange Juice

Nothing like having a glass of orange orange juice; freshly squeezed!  I feel like I’m not getting enough Vitamin C so I decided to start having fresh juice available.  Though, it reallymstarted when me and Chris were making drinks. Bahama Mama is my favorite alcoholic drink. I did not want to buy a jug of orange juice, a box of aluminum cans would be too much. So, making my own juice would work. I took the same idea with pineapple juice. Skip the cans and go straight for the fruit!

Peel and core and pop into the blender with a bit of water. After the fruit is blended, strain through a cheese cloth. Lots of yummy fresh juice! We did the pineapple first, and next was the oranges. Instead of adding water like above, we added some pineapple juice to the oranges. Blend, strain and taste. We thought the taste of orange and pineapple was pretty close to Five Alive!

This day, I peeled 6 oranges. Blend 2 at a time with 1/2 cup of water each time. Blend, strain with cheese cloth and stir in a container. At first I was storing the orange juice in a reused sunflower oil bottle, but Chris felt that the kids (Thomas) was too young to have a handle on it. If it dropped, lots of sharp pieces of glass. So, I found our juice jug and stored over a liter of orange juice in it.

The kids are not a fan, it does not have any added sugar of course. Thomas will have some and Jack is so-so. I want to experiment with adding other citrus fruits and see what flavors we can come up with!

 

Halloween of 2019

Happy Halloween!

Our household decorations are very simple. We did not decorate outdoors this year, just inside. We reused decorations from previous years. I cut up some streamers from construction paper which can be reused next year. The kids made some ghosts with Google eyes which were repurposed from other crafts. If need be, we can reuse them again. We used masking tape for hanging decorations, on PEI masking tape is compostable. We also used my homemade glue, still going strong since I made it back in March of 2019 or before then. I got the recipe from Bea Johnston, here is a version online I found. It is found in her book too, Zero Waste Home. The only difference I do, is take some of the water from the measurements, and mix it with the dry ingredients first before heat is added. No clumps this way!

Our kids got their face painted for Halloween at school this morning. Tonight as well for trick or treating. Last year I found that coconut oil is a great product to use to get the face paint off! The paint just smears off with so much ease! I get mine from Bulk Barn. I did buy more face paint, which will last us a long time. I want to find more natural paints, I really did not like buying into these fake paints.

Usually we are out trick or treating, so there is no need to stock up on give away treats. Though it’s good to have some on hand. This year I chose treats wrapped in foil from Bulk Barm, not Nestle brand. Next year I need to get more creative, I feel like I fell off the ball.

I sent some homemade cookies with the school kids to school. I had to make 2 batches yesterday! Decorated with falls leaf sugar sprinkles.

Daniel dressed the same as last year basically, Zombie. Home outfit.
Alaina dressed as The Joker, though she doesn’t really know who The joker actually is 😉. Home outfit.
Julia dressed as a vampire. Already had the outfit.
Jack is going as Spider-man. Already had the costume.
Thomas is, well, he does not want to dress up! I have a traditional dragon costume everyone used when they were young and he did not want it! Nor a skeleton. I guess maybe paint his face a tiny bit?

We got some pumpkins yesterday. We were very late getting pumpkins this year. One farm had none, the stores had none. The last place did, thank goodness! Though, they did not have the traditional round orange pumpkin we normally try to get. Instead, they had different kinds, weird shapes and different colors! Instead of stressing out trying to find the 7 best ones (one pumpkin for everybody), I decided we would have funky pumpkins! Not one alike, all strange looking! I love the look of it! We carved them up after supper, though me and Chris were too tired to carve ours. Mine looks good as is anyways, it’s full of bumps and looks creepy without added decoration. Chris’s pumpkin is wacky! I don’t think it is really carvable! Again, it looks good as it is!

The night of carving went so fast and we were so tired, I didn’t even think to stop Chris when he took out the compost to save seeds. It was my plan all along, but I totally forgot until this morning. I’m not going through our compost bin now, but, oops! I’m going to ask some farmers from the Summerside Farmer’s Market on Saturday to see if anyone wants our pumpkins for the animals. Composting is great, but if we can feed some farm animals that would be awesome. Even if we went for a little drive and throw the pumpkins in the woods for the wild animals.

Thomas and his “warty” pumpkin
Jack and his pumpkin, one of my favourites! Yellow with orange stripes!
Julia! Dark orange/red pumpkin.
Alaina and her white pumpkin. Guess what colour the insides were? Green!
Daniel chose the regular pumpkin, though it is not orange!
My pumpkin, super bumpy all over!
Chris’s pumpkin, I love its design!
Thomas
Jack
Julia
Alaina
Daniel, Minecraft Creeper

Vampire Julia, Joker Alaina and Zombie Daniel
Me and my Earth face. Love the Earth!

 

Trick or Treating Time!

Daniel went out with one of his friends so Chris and I  took the other 4 out and about. Thomas finally let us put the dragon costume on, I was so exited! The costume was handed down from my cousin and all our 5 kids wore it in the past 6 years!

We did not go too far. Maybe about 30 houses. The young boys had enough and I stayed home with them while Chris took the girls out for another half hour.  It was raining a bit when we started, then tapered off to a bit if a mist. By the time Chris and the girls got back it was training pretty good. It was not cold, which really made a big difference staying out, forecast called for 15 deg. celcius. The kids had a great time!

While sorting the candies and undoing the treat bags, a thought came across me. I always rip the treat bags to empty the treats inside. This time, I untied the ones with twist ties and set aside the good treat bags. They can be re used next year or for something else!

Thomas as dragon
He likes it now!
Jack as Spider-man!
Shooting webs!
Julia as a vampire! Scary!
Alsina as The Joker. “Why so serious! “
Hahahahaha!
Daniel as a zombie.
Treat bags to be saved for reuse, plus 4 more from Daniel’s take home.

We had about 15 visitors to our home, more than usual.

Re-purposing Cloth

Today I cut up some old clothes to make handkerchiefs, that time of year is coming. I have a stash in both bathrooms and one in the kitchen/dining room. slowly, the stash is growing and I will be able to have more spread about the house to other rooms.

I also made some no sew cloth bags out of a few old T-shirts. Too worn out to fix or donate, but still kind of special to cut up into handkerchiefs. So I tried making some bags and it was so easy!! I will see how they hold up when I go shopping. I don’t think they will hold heavy items, like milk cartons for example.

I have a bunch of Jeans I want to re-purpose. I just need to take some time and look up some how to’s and make bags from them. I have a couple that I got a while ago and they are so nice and sturdy! One of them is my purse bag.

I have some old sheets as well, I want to make a bag for our refundable cans, no blue plastic bags for that. This way I can just wash the cloth bag and reuse it over and over. I have had this plan for a good long while now, just have not acted on it yet. Currently I am using boxes to house the cans and I will reuse them.

I also have some old towels, I want to cut them up for rags around the house as well. I know I can not just cut them and use as is, they will fray and fall apart pretty quickly, making a big mess. I just need to take some time and re-sew the edges.

Mustard Pickles

Iingredients

12 cups of cucumber (peeled and seeds removed), about 8 good sized ones
6 cups diced onion
3 red peppers
3/4 cup salt
4 cups of vinegar
4 cups sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup dry mustard powder
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp celery seed

When I made this recipe I used what I had. I did not have 6 cups of onions. I used a very large red onion and a medium yellow onion and also I had 1 1/2 orange pepper and a bit of red pepper. Also, I did not have the whole 1/4 cup of dry mustard powder. My mustard pickles still turned out great and yummy! Me and Thomas are the only ones who will eat it, so 7 jars should last until next year.

This recipe came from my mom.

In a large pot add 12 cups of chopped cucumber, 6 cups diced onion and 3 red peppers. Add 3/4 cup of salt. Cover with cold water for 2 hours. Drain well and do not rinse. Add 4 cups of vinegar and cook on stove top for 20 minutes, do not boil and keep veggies crunchy.
In a bowl mix 4 cups of sugar, 3/4 cup of flour, 1/4 cup dry mustard powder, 1 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1 Tbsp of celery seed. Add to cooked veggies and mix well. Cook for 10 minutes, no boil. Add to clean canning jars and seal. Makes about 8 jars.

Veggies in place
Vinegar and cooking for 20 minutes
All ingredients are in
Canned. Not so bright a yellow as I did not have all the dry mustard powder. Tastes great anyways!

Reviving Dry Markers

This bin is our dry marker storage until I take it to Staples for recycling. That’s right, Staples will send these to Terracycle for recycling into new products. Check it out here. Another company that will take back markers is Crayola, but from what was shared to me and my own looking, Crayola burns them to make fuel. Check it out here.

I seen a tip from another group member on Facebook about wetting the dry markers to bring them back. I tested it and it works!! In the main picture (above), the markers in the bin did not come back, but the rest did!

I took a cup of water, wet the end of the marker and stood it up to let the water drain inside. Right away it was working! The kids were thrilled as we were running low on markers.

The left side marks are the before strokes. The right side (3 lines each) are the after strokes.
Julia used the markers to make a picture.
Lots of colour
Jack too, made a picture.
Lots of colour
These pictures and test were done July 7, 2019. Today is August 5, 2019, and those markers are still in use!

Buy Nothing August

I am taking the 31 day challenge of Buy Nothing for a month (August). Basically, this challenge will help me avoid impulse purchasing, purchasing items not needed, saving money, buying local and second hand. Make do or do without.

Rules I am going by:

  • Buy what you need only (groceries, school supply list, emergency item)
  • Shop local (Farmer’s Market, small businesses)
  • Shop second hand (Franchies/Salvation Army)
  • No takeout (lunch and supper type meals)
  • Eat out the fridge, freezer and pantry.
Day 1
  • Bought nothing
Day 2
  • Much needed school shopping. Stuck completely to the list, bought as much possible package free, I’m really excited!! (I already signed up to buy school supplies back in June, this is necessary purchases)
  • Groceries at Sobey’s. Some plastic packaging (hotdog, milk, pizzaronies, pop cans, oxygen bleach). Though, I only bought what we needed, and am planning to eat out the fridge and pantry this month.
  • I will add, my husband and son wanted a pizza slice from a local shop, Michael’s Pizzeria. I did not get myself a slice! My husband is shaking his head at me 😂

Day 3
  • First, the Summerside Farmer’s Market. English cucumber requested without plastic wrap (stays fresh without!), carrots, peas, garlic and string beans using my cloth bags, 2 fresh croissonts and bacon from Pleasant Pork.
  • Second stop, Super store. Only place I can find 10 lb amount in a paper bag from Canada. (plastic mesh on front).
  • Third Stop, Bulk Barn. Used my cloth bags and container.
  • Fourth stop at Summerside Butcher Shop, meat wrapped in paper.
  • (Staples and Wal-Mart for school supplies, almost finished school supply shopping)

Day 4
  • Bought nothing
Day 5
  • Bought nothing
Day 6
  • Went to Bulk Barn today for peanut butter. We ran out and Chris wanted more gummy worms, as well as the kids. I think I did not buy enough this past Saturday. While I was there, I noticed a new product, chocolate bars. Big ones too! Chocolate and Almond, ones like Caramilk brand. I was excited and got some. It was only when I sat in the van that I realized my mistake. Impulsive shopping. Guilty chocolate. (Not worth it either, the chocolate is not very good! I will stick to the chocolate bars I do buy once in a while, Lindt. They come wrapped in paper and foil. No plastic waste.)
Day 7
  • Bought nothing
Day 8
  • Milk and Dishwasher powder
Day 9

Grocery run, part 1.

  • Parked the van at Superstore and walked to Wal-Mart (1 min walk, lol) for part of the school supply list. Graph paper.
  • Borax and Ragu spaghetti sauce at Superstore. (None at Sobey’s for the past couple weeks).
  • Drove to Sobey’s for the rest of the groceries.
  • Chris and Daniel wanted pizza from Michaels Pizzeria. None for me obviously. Brought my own containers. Was called “the zero waste lady”!

Eating out the fridge/freezer/pantry. Ragu to use up pasta on hand X2. More pantry supper plans under way. Finished the Salmon for supper from the freezer; done and done.

Day 10

Grocery run, part 2

  • Summerside Farmer’s Market, plastic free.
  • Frenchy’s Summerside second hand clothes for school kids. (First time heavily shopping for second hand!) plastic tag for price tag attachment. Less than $10.00
  • HMS office solutions for plastic free packaging on dry erase markers for school supplies.
  • Walked to the Dollar store from other end of strip mall for earphones for school supplies. Did not buy the cheap cheap ones. (though I needed only one pair, but Alaina says she needs a pair for school too, though it was not on the list. I believe her though, they use them in all the classes).
  • Summerside Salvation Army. Jeans for school kids. Less than $8.00
  • Compton’s Very Berry Patch / Compton’s Vegetable Stand for a tray of berries and new potatoes.
  • Super store for watermelon (not local yet), deli meat in my own container and bagels in my cloth bag. (I gave someone one of my bags so they did not have to use a plastic one).
  • Bulk Barn. Goods from there.

Heading to the Summerside Butcher Shop to pick up order wrapped in paper. (I was late getting my order in today, have to pick up this afternoon). Hair cuts for me and Alaina (We go like once a year! Lol.)

School supply shopping is done. Focusing on clothes (much needed!), backpack, lunch can, shoes, and water bottles. 3 kids in school this year.

Day 11
  • Bought chicken breasts at the butcher shop. They had none available package free on day 10. Not buying pre packed.
  • Pop for the big boys, almost out and did not know it when shopping the other day.
Day 12
  • Bought nothing
Day 13
  • Bought nothing
Day 14
  • Bought nothing
Day 15
  • Bought nothing
Day 16
  • Bought regular groceries needed.
  • Bought a new bra, mine are totally wearing out.
  • Bought second hand pants for Daniel.
Day 17
  • Lots of local shopping such as the Farmer’s Market. Free range eggs and bacon, garlic and peas, carrots and peppers. Almond Croissant and laundry soap (returnable, refundable and reusable container).
  • Plastic free products such as meats (wrapped in paper, deli meat in my own container) and bulk barn trip.
  • Comptons Veg. Patch for fresh corn, cucumbers and Blue berries!
  • Thrift shopping and got some great clothes for the kids at school and a school bag for Julia. Was planning on buying a new one, more pricy so it lasts many years, but seen this one at Salvation Army for $3.00! Super excited!
    Alaina
    Backpack and grey t-shirt for Julia, rest for Alaina
    3 t-shirts for Daniel, hoody for Julia
    Summerside Farmer’s Market haul.
    Jeans for Daniel, belt too!
    Day 18
  • Bought nothing
Day 19
  • Bought nothing
Day 20
  • Bought ice cream as a treat for the family at a dairy bar. 3 cones and 3 dishes (waste), but brought our own spoons.
Day 21
  • Picked up some more grocery items I missed and ran out of.
  • Picked up some socks and underwear for the school kids. Hate the plastic packaging.
  • Bought a new bra, last one I got was too small; it will be donated.
Day 22
  • Bought nothing
Day 23
  • Regular groceries at Sobey’s
Day 24
  • Farmer’s Market, lots of goods. Beans and peas, eggs, croissant, local apples, shampoo bar and bar soap.
  • Frenchy’s for gym clothes for Daniel. Less than $5.00!
  • Compton’s Vegetable Stand, making mustard pickles. Yummy corn and fresh blueberries!
  • Superstore goods. I had to exchange two packs of socks for Alaina, bought the ankle ones by accident the oither day.
  • Bulk Barn. Jack wanted a pez dispenser. Could not change his mind. Trying out some more dried fruit this week.
  • The Summerside Butcher Shop, meat wrapped in paper. Chicken and a bit of Hamburg.
  • Take out for supper. But, here is a link to make it a plastic free meal, at McDonald’s, for a family!
Day 25
  • Bought nothing
Day 26
  • Bought nothing
Day 27
  • Bought salt so I could make mustard pickles
Day 28
  • Bought nothing
  • Tablet died, touch screen does not work. No more pictures to add here.
Day 29
  • Bought sugar and peanut butter at Bulk Barn
  • Bought fresh blueberries from Compton”s Vegetable Stand
  • Donated 5 boxes of household items to Salvation Army (45 boxes donated since November 2018)
Day 30
  • Bought regular groceries at Sobey’s
  • Bought sneakers for Alaina for school
Day 31
  • Farmer’s Market haul
  • Frenchy’s for 2 T-shirts for Julia and a T-shirt for Daniel (for school)
  • Compton’s for corn
  • Superstore for package free deli meat, oranges and Nature Clean dishwasher powder (box)
  • Summerside Butcher Shop for meat wrapped in paper
  • Picked a bunch of green and yellow string beans at my mom’s for blanching and freezing. Also picked oversize pea pods as the peas were breaking free from the pod. I will dry them out for seed planting next year as well as some of the oversize beans.
  • McDonald’s for supper, ran out of time and patients by the time we got back home. Everyone was hungry, and it would have been after 6 before I could have supper made, convenience.
End of challenge

I have learned to thrift shop on this challenge. Thrift stores have a lot to offer! If I am in need to buy something, I will search them out first. Even the buy/sell groups on line are beneficial and those groups help individual people, which is good.

A lesson I already stand by is to think about the item I want to purchase. Is the item needed? How long? What is the quality? Going zero waste has already taught me that one, and it is very important!

We do not overspend on things anyways as a household. We have been that way for years, except on Holidays, but that has changed between 2018 and present time. Buy Nothing Challenge opens your eyes to what is actually needed versus want. Wanting is adding to the problem of over consumption. Focus on need. Use what you have, buy second hand, buy local, or do without.

 

Glue on Jars

My trick to remove glue residues from jars after peeling the label off is peanut butter! It is super easy! All I do, is just lather on peanut butter on the residue area and let it sit overnight or maybe about 12 hours. After, wash in hot soapy water as one would normally wash dishes. With rubbing, the oil in the peanut butter will remove the glue. I find with really thick residue, it needs to be done another time. Sometimes, for what ever reason, the residue does not come off. I may have 2 jars I have been unable to clean up.

I hear that lemon essential oil works great too. Sometimes just soaking the jar in water overnight does the trick too.

Take Care of the Toaster

Last night, Chris and Daniel were baking a snack. While waiting for the oven to pre heat, they discovered our toaster had slide out trays, a crumb catcher! They asked if I knew about them by which I responded yes, but I don’t empty it often. Often, I forget it is there (but know its there, if you know what I mean). Not a habit to check it periodically, Maybe once a year!! Eek!

Some back story
We have been having trouble with the toaster for quite some time. The toast diosn’t always toast the way we expect it too. Most times it’s toasted on one side and not much on the other. Doesn’t matter which slot we use. Also, when the toaster was recently used, one should put their slice of bread in a different slot, other wise the toast would come out nearly burnt! As for toasting bagels, we had to set it at #4. We always toast at 3, as of late, we had to go to #2.5 on the dial.

I told Chris, after he emptied the tray and told me the toaster needs a good clean out, I would look at it the next day. This was past 11:00 pm, wasn’t doing it then!

This morning I took hold of the toaster and found a huge crumbly mess underneath! No way the boys dumped the trays there! The toaster was filling up with crumbs, offsetting the heat, causing our poorly toasted food!

Talk about crumb overflow!

Not only was the mess on the counter under the toaster, but crumbs were stuck in the toaster too at the bottom. Lucky there was no fire in my opinion! I did my best to shake the crumbs out. I tried  too reach the bottom with a paintbrush, different sizes. Not much luck. I tried air pressure by blowing through a straw, but it did not work so well. I think in time, with the toaster in use, it will help dry out those crumbs and they should fall out easily. Just need to remember to clean it more often, weekly and stay on top of it!

I thought our toaster, which is about 9-10 years old, was slowly crashing. I figured we needed a new one, but I didn’t want to get a new one. Surly they must last longer than 9 years! Glad we do not need a new one!

Shake and rattle!

While I had it out, I decided to give it a shine as well. I took some baking soda and water, made a paste, and the dark parts on top of the toaster came right off! The real dark patches were much harder to remove. By the end of cleaning the top, I came to realize and reassure myself to not look for perfection! I would be there all day trying to make it spick and span like new, my original idea. No need, really!

Baking soda paste, rag, tooth brush and paintbrush. Great tools for cleaning, scrubbing and reaching hard to reach places!
Before
After