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!

 

Switched Oils

As much as I looked, I could not find vegetable oil in glass or refill style for the recipes that I use at home, mainly bread. I decided that I would try using sunflower oil, it is in glass, but more expensive than vegetable oil. I will have to ask around at the farmer’s market and see if anyone makes oils, or maybe see if anyone is interested!

Changing oils did not make any noticeable changes in the bread flavour or texture. It’s all the same in my eyes! I will keep the bottles as someday I hope there to be liquid refill stations for products. They would make cute vases too. If ever I make fermented drinks or re start apple cider vinegar, they will make good storage options. Glass on PEI gets recycled by means of crushing and reusing as aggregate for construction. I believe we need to focuse on reusing a product as is, rather than adding more energy to its process or making it unreusable indefinitely.

Reuse Bags for Bread

Our one bread box does not seem to be enough to store our bread needs. Its fine to store the homemade bread and sub buns I make, but there is no room for bagels. Often I don’t buy bagels because there is no room at home. The other problem is that I don’t have enough counter space to give for another bread box. Today I decided to use cereal bags to store the over stocked bread items! Sometimes it is the simplest ideas that make great solutions!

I use cereal bags for litter picking when I’m outdoors. I also use them instead of  boxes for storing toys or packing donations.

Cereal we buy are Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerioes, and Corn Flakes. Recently Rice Crispies. I buy Bran Flakes and Shreddies from Bulk Barn. The kids do not eat much cereal lately, they have a lot of toast or buns instead. I like adding raisins, dried cran berries, dried blue berries and pumpkin seeds to bran Flakes for a wholesome snack.

When there is no room in the bread box for both bread loaves, the one being used will sit on top of the bread box, cut side down. It will stay fresh until it is gone or a couple days. The bread in the box will stay fresh for about 3 days after that. Normally I make bread 2 times a week, but I feel as of late, it’s been 3 times a week.

Refundable Recyclable Reusable Bag

I have had a plan for months to cut out blue bags for one part of our waste sorting. The types of recyclables that you pay a deposit for, in return recieve a small refund. On PEI aluminum cans for pop, juice and liquor are refundable. Also, juice cartons, kids juice boxes, and sport drink containers. All of which are single use items unfortunately. We have cut back much of these items, keeping in mind aluminum has a higher probability to be recycled compared to the other cartons.

I’m not sure why, but I have always stored these items in blue bags. Any bag would due! As of late, I have been using boxes to store these items. I get the box back to reload once I visit the recycling depot. My master plan was to sew cloth bags to house the recyclables destined for the depot. Once emptied, the bag can be washed, unlike the cardboard boxes I have been using.

Our refundable recyclables include pop and juice aluminium cans. Once in a while the kids will bring home a sports drink bottle or other plastic drink container. We reuse them for a while, but eventually they must go. We do not drink much juice. We have cut down from over 2 litres a day to a cup a day each basically. And not everyday either. I do not drink juice or pop, Chris rarely drinks juice, and Daniel will have a pop once a week or so. Our bag used to fill up within a month, now it takes 2-3 months to fill, which is great! Reduce what you can.

I grabbed a piece of old sheet that I have already took pieces from and made 2 good size bags, basically large pillow cases. So easy! I made a pocket around the top to put in a drawstring to close the bag once full. The drawstring was a narrow piece of another sheet of different colour I cut and used. At first I used the same sheet for this purpose, but the drawstring blended in too much.

Cut to size, Thomas is helping.
Sewing machine is set
Two made, that’s all I need.
One full, the other not so much.
Drawstrings cut.
Tied into a straw, the tap is there to stop the drawstring from slipping off while pushing it through the bag pocket.
Ta-da!

 

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!

Cloth Diapers

Soon time to wash the diaper stash.

We switched our youngest child, Thomas, to cloth diapers back in October of 2018. We had some difficulty in the beginning but got on board soon after. I’d say (with potty training for 3 months in between the time) we saved about 1000 disposable diapers from landfill since then.

My regret is that we did not switch with child #1. We put 4 children plus (Thomas)1.5 years through disposable diapers. I had the idea and curiosity back with child #4 to switch to cloth to save money. But I did not have the will (ick factor).

I remember the first time with cloth diapers, using reusable liners, I thought to myself, what am I getting myself into!!? But you know, it’s not that bad! Really! You get used to it, and it becomes the new normal. You do what you got to do. Having access to soap and water makes it all a breeze (not of fresh air though, lol!). You get used to that too!

This is how extreme the other way I was before jumping to cloth diapers:

If one of the younger kids had a #2 accident, I would lay them on the floor, cut the underwear off them, peel it off like a diaper and toss it. No way was I making a mess trying to get underwear off or even touching or cleaning them! The blinders on me were huge! I would not even think about how I would possibly clean them! Such a waste!!!

Routine
  • Dirty diapers sit in a container, inserts taken out so they can be easily washed of course. Poo diapers, recently, I just rinse off on the toilet bowl. I used to use the bathtub (after putting the poo down the toilet) to rinse the liner and reusable wipes, but the whole bathtub would then need a good cleaning. The toilet bowl is much smaller, there is already water in it (less water usage in my opinion), and it can always use a cleaning anyways. Though I must say, its not nice in the winter, the water is freezing.
  • Once most of the diapers are used up I put them in the washer for a rinse cycle. I use cold water for this and on a medium load.
  • After the rinse cycle, I fill the washer with hot water. I add some detergent such as liquid Tide unscented. I tried other detergents and even the lovley laundry soap from the farmer’s market, but I end up with a mineral build up and the liners do not absorb liquids anymore. Diapers stop holding the pee, and it’s a constant mess. The Tide liquid was bought as a slight emergency and a powdered version was not thought of at the time. Once the container is empty, I will switch to the powdered version, Super store has it in a box.
  • I also add about .5 cup of Borax and 1 cup of liquid Oxygen Bleach. I do not want to use Oxi Clean as there are too many chemicals I am uncomfortable with for using, even the smallest amount. I also can not find it in a box form in Summerside, just the plastic container.
  • I run this on the longest aggitation cycle with just the one hot water cycle. The second part of the wash is cold water and I finish with an extra rinse.
  • Because I only have 13 cloth diapers, and I wait for almost all of them to be used before washing, I stick them in the dryer on low heat for about 45 minutes with wool dryer balls. I’m not set up with a clothes line, though I really really want one. The younger kids will not respect it and clothes will be on the ground. Pick our battles!
  • I wash the diapers about every 36 hours.
  • I pre fold them once dry, 2 inserts each and the reusable liner. Wipes get stored ready to refill the wipe container once empty.
Reusable Wipes

The  wipes I use are from am old sheet, though polyester. It’s what I had and used when I made them 10 months ago. Not ideal type of fabric, but I’m using what I had and saving money spent on other material. I started out using scraps of cotton fabric, but I felt they did not hold up to a good job wiping. Flannel would probably be better (fabric knowledge is not strong with me, yet).

So I cut the sheet to wipe size pieces. I have a long container by which I fill with about 3 cups of warm water, about 3 Tbsp of Down East dish soap and a drop of tea tree oil. I used to add coconut oil, but I don’t think it is necessary. I mix the water solution up and full it with the wipes. Now and then I flip the wipes in the box as the bottom ones are super soaked. They will drain to soak the now dryer bottom ones. Rotation. These wipes get washed with the diapers as well.

Our stash
Liners, polyester wicks away moisture. I tried cotton the first two days and Thomas got a sever bum burn! I wonder if natural wool would work, not the fake polyester wool!
Wipes
Thomas’ first time trying out the diapers! Would you know, he made me jump into the deep end by having a poo right away! Not an easy to clean pee, a poo! I was so off guard, the first and only liner that got tossed!! Lol!!

 

First Video, Shaping the Bread Loaves

Made a video, but there is no sound by me, just static. My tablet is not working properly. This video shows me shaping and rolling the dough. 1 bread loaf and 3 sub buns. Jack took a look too, then I try to figure out how to turn the camera around, only to realize I can’t. We finish off with an awkward showing of the shaped dough! Enjoy!! LOL!!

Bread recipe