24 April 2009

DIY: Yogurt, Baby Food, Applesauce

I'm sort of a hippie mom. Or at least much more than I would have anticipated. I am open to delaying vaccinations (which after research I only delayed this one); I plan on nursing past a year if baby-man wants to continue; if we are blessed with another kid, I will probably do it epidural-free and try hypnobirthing; I experiment with homemade cleaners / laundry detergent / baby wipes; I don't really care for meat and am basically a flexitarian; and I have really really really wanted to try out cloth diapers since Jonas was born (for economic reasons, environmental reasons, sensitive-Jonas-skin reasons, and see-I-told-you-I-could-do-it reasons).

And lest you think I'm part of the "let's plagiarize cjane and hope no one finds out" fiasco, I was reminded of my hippie tendencies by Lara.

These sorta-hippie tendencies lead to a lot of Do-It-Yourself projects. In an offering to other DIY-moms, here are 3 of my favorites:

Part 1. Plain Yogurt (recipe source)

You're looking at homemade mango yogurt. Yummedy-yum-yum.

Jonas loves yogurt, but that Yobaby stuff is outrageously expensive. Plus, I can't stand how much trash it generates for just a little bit of yogurt.

1 qt whole milk
1/4 c live-culture yogurt
1/4 c powdered milk

1. Pour milk into slow cooker. Cook on low for 2.5 hours.
2. Unplug slow cooker and let sit for 3 hours.
3. Whisk in yogurt and powdered milk into 1 cup of warm milk. Return to slow cooker and stir.
4. Cover slow cooker with heavy towel to insulate.
5. Let sit 8 hours or overnight.
6. Add any desired sweeteners or mix-ins

* Lasts 7-10 days
* I halved the original recipe
* I added powdered milk as a thickener. Original recipe did not use it
* After the first batch, you can use your homemade yogurt as a starter about 5 times before buying more store-bought yogurt.
* I hear you should start with whole milk until you get the hang of it and then start on lower-fat versions.
* Consistency is a little runny, much like nonfat plain yogurt
* The longer it sits, the tangier it gets

* I have control over any added sugar. The only sugar is in the milk and the fruit I add
* Homemade cost: ~$1/qt; Yobaby cost: ~$5.75/qt. For real.
* Easy.
* You get to use some of the 16 pounds/person dry milk you don't know what to do with

* Despite its ease, you need to be close to home until you are ready to let it sit

Part 2. Homemade Baby Food.

I'm a big advocate. All my tips and tricks were learned from Wholesome Baby Food. The only thing I changed is that I cook the veggies in the CrockPot rather than in the oven. I throw in just a little bit of water (somewhere between 1/4 c to 3/4 c; different amounts for different vegetables due to water content; I guess and usually have to add a bit more) and cook on high. Everything is done within 3 hours. I put them in ice cube trays and we're good to go.

Cost comes out to about 14 cents per jar compared to 45 cents per jar. It's a commitment, but worth it because I know what is going into my baby's body. My only warning: if you use frozen vegetables and fruit, check out the ingredients. A lot of them have added salt and sugar. Lame.

Part 3. Applesauce from Cannery Apples. (recipe source)
I dislike opening up a jar of applesauce when I want to substitute for the oil in baking because I have too much left over. Solution: make it myself. Plus, it's another way to incorporate food storage into our daily routine.

1. Mix equal parts apples and boiling water.

2. Let sit for 5 minutes

3. Blend. (that's a bottle of eXfuze behind the blender, not a green leaf inside of it)

4. Sweeten to taste and enjoy.

I don't typically sweeten mine (especially if I'm baking), but I usually add cinnamon if I just want to eat it plain.

Next DIY Project: Soy Milk here and here

And somewhere between my DIY projects there will be many more posts. Here are some of the thoughts bouncing around my head:
* Love Affair Rekindled
* Book Reviews: Culinary Edition, Wuthering Heights, One More Day, Memory Keeper's Daughter, Wednesday Letters, The Screwtape Letters, The Black Flower
* Easter
* Tea Party Afterthoughts
* Move it or Lose it
* Stealing Beauty
* Harwin Shopping District
* A Day with a Dietitian
* In-town in-laws

Stay tuned.


Blarney Girl said...

You're the coolest hippie conservative I know. Well, you're the only hippie conservative I know!! rofl

Elliott said...

Awesome post!

vigues said...

You are officially one of my heros. I think I'll be logging this one away--or printing it out and using at as a total resource! I never knew you could make homemade yogurt!
I tried both hypnobirthing and hypnobabies and liked how many more options hypnobabies had (and it really works, if you're willing to put in the time).

keithandnicci said...

I am so with you hippie girl! Never thought I'd do half the stuff I do now, but it's so rewarding and fulfilling. I may have to reference you on my new blog, "Frugal, Not Cheap!"

keithandnicci said...

Oh, and I use a combination of hypno birthing and hypnobabies. Keith and I took the hypnobirthing class and used many of their techniques, but my sister in law had the hypnobabies home study so I actually listened to some of their cd's while preparing and when laboring. If you ever want more specifics I'll shoot you an email :)

heather said...

Wow, look at you. I'm very impressed! I try to be like this more but I know I need to work on it. Thanks for the great tips. Oh and I was right about to report you cause your post looked like someone elses.....j/k. Can you believe that though? That story was crazy!
Oh yes, this post was AWESOME!

The Richardsons said...

I'm with you Jen! Ok, so I'm on your wagon but sitting in different seats, so to speak. I've been trying to go as all-natural, meat-free as possible with my cooking too. No boxes, packages, or premade re-heatables. I found two markets with absurd sales on wednesdays and probably 80 percent of my shopping is fresh produce. I make our own bread (whole wheat of course) and have fallen in love with two cookbooks that I think you would love too: Laurel's Kitchen, and the Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. Her philosophies on food alone gave me the energy to try to go as natural as possible. She breaks everything down into exactly the vitamins, minerals and fats we need at every stage of life (babies included). Ok this was a long comment, but can you tell I've gotten slightly passionate? My apologies for taking over your blog :)