Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Instant Pot Yogurt without the Yogurt button

You will need...

  • Whole Milk (Supposedly, you'll need to add some gelatin if you use 2%, but I've never tried)
  • 6-8oz of plain yogurt. NOT GREEK YOGURT. Also, make sure that it says something about active cultures on the container. Also, you can save yogurt from a previous batch. This is your starter. 
  • Instant Read Thermometer
  • Instant Pot (or a pot on the stove and a way to keep the milk at 110% for hours)
  • A sink halfwayish filled with cold water. Ice would not be amiss. 
  • Patience.
  1. Dump the milk in the Instant Pot. Half gallon or a gallon, doesn't really matter. I do a full gallon cause......... kids.
  2. Put the lid on the Instant Pot, press the Keep Warm button and let it sit for 40 minutes. 
  3. After 40 minutes, take off the lid. I add a splash of vanilla extract, but I don't know if that really makes a difference in taste. Switch the Instant Pot to Saute and start stirring.
  4. Once the milk gets to 180°F, take the pot out of the Instant Pot and put it in the sink. Stir and/or let it sit until it gets to 110°F. Remove from the water. Take a cup (roughly, amount is not important) of the cooled milk and add to a bowl with the yogurt starter. Mix it up, then add to the rest of the milk. 
  5. Return the pot to the Instant Pot, and use the Keep Warm button to get the temp back to 110°F, if necessary. 
  6. Turn off and unplug the Instant Pot. Wrap it up in a beach towel, making sure to get the towel tucked under the unit. 
  7. Let it sit for anywhere from 6 - 24 hours. The milk should yogurtify in about 3 hours. The longer it sits after 6 hours, the tangier it will get, and the less lactose it will contain. I let it sit for 12 hours. I will admit it's more for convenience on my end, more than anything. 
  8. After the period of time you have chosen, take the pot out of the Instant Pot. I cover the top with plastic wrap. You can move it to another bowl. Whatever works for you. Toss it in the fridge for about 2 hours. 
  9. You now have yogurt! 
If you want Greek Yogurt! 
  1. Line a fine mesh or similar colander with 2 or 3 layers of paper towels or a flour sack towel, or cheesecloth. I use flour sack because it's washable, thus reusable. 
  2. Add the yogurt. Cover the top of the yogurt. 
  3. Put the colander in another bowl and toss in the fridge. 
  4. After an hour, scrape the yogurt off the sides and stir. Dump the whey from the bottom bowl if there's too much. 
  5. After another hour, you have greek yogurt!
Fruit on the Bottom! 

       You can do jam or jelly on the bottom of the container you're putting the yogurt in, but I didn't like adding sugar. 

You will need... 

  • Fruit of your choice, fresh or frozen
  • Small silicone ice cube tray... like really tiny, depending on the container you're using. I also found that my silicone muffin trays worked really well with the 1/2 cup round containers I was using. 
  1. Dump the fruit into a pot. Cook at low heat and stir until the fruit breaks down and turns into a soupy mass. You may need to add a touch of water if you're using fresh fruit. Congrats, now you have a compote. 
  2. This step is optional. To make things easier on my last attempt, I ran the compote through the blender. The kids don't like finding whole berries in their yogurt, and it made it easier to put into the ice cube trays. 
  3. Put the compote into the trays and freeze (or not, I guess, if you want). Everything here depends on the tray and the container you are using. The half cup rounds demanded a very thin layer of compote in the muffin tray, or it wouldn't fit well in the container. But, then, if I tried to freeze excess compote, the disks would break easily. When I moved to the mini ice cube trays, I had to make sure that I filled the mold about halfway up. Any more, and the compote cube would be too high in the container and not melt right. 
  4. Put the frozen compote (or non frozen, I guess) in the bottom of the container, and fill with yogurt. Let it sit in the fridge awhile to let the compote thaw, and you have greek fruit on the bottom yogurt! 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Adding spices to baby food

•  Acorn, hubbard  butternut and other squash: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or ginger
•  Apple and applesauce: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla or ginger
•  Bananas: cinnamon, ginger, allspice or vanilla
•  Carrots: basil, garlic or cinnamon
•  Green beans: garlic powder
•  Mashed potatoes: dill or garlic
•  Sweet potato: nutmeg, cinnamon and/or cardamom
•  Meat: garlic, pepper, onion powder, mint or orange zest.
•  Oatmeal and cereal: cinnamon, nutmeg and/or vanilla
•  Pasta: oregano, garlic or basil
•  Pears: ginger, cinnamon, vanilla or mint
•  Plain Yogurt: mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger, allspice or cardamom
•  Poultry: cinnamon, coriander, garlic powder, basil, pepper, basil, oregano, garlic, sage, rosemary or thyme
•  Pumpkin: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and vanilla
•  Quinoa (for sweet): cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, cardamom or ginger
•  Quinoa (for savory): garlic powder, pepper, onion powder, basil or oregano
•  Millet (for sweet): cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, cardamom or ginger
•  Millet (for savory): garlic powder, pepper, onion powder, basil or oregano

Friday, May 15, 2015

Tylenol Dosing Chart

Because "See Doctor" is really unhelpful.

Homemade wipes

Making baby wipes was something I'd seen pop up on Pinterest. My inital reaction was "Ain't nobody got time for that!"

Then, we started using cloth diapers (which will be another post), and suddenly, it was disposable wipes ain't nobody had time for. Because, honestly, it would either mean a container for the cloth diapers AND a trash can for the wipes or throwing away the wipe in the trash can in the bathroom, and that was just too much work.

So, to Pinterest!

Most of the pins I saw involved homemade disposable wipes. Which still had the same disposal problem as disposables, and as many people pointed out in the comments, were barely any cheaper than buying wipes. I'm no Food Babe, worrying about unpronounceable chemicals (TOXINS!, oh noes!) invading my poor little baby, I just wanted something that I would wash with the diapers and not make an extra trip to the bathroom. I found one blog that was using wash cloths, but man, that would be pretty expensive to get enough.. I mean, they're cheap, but still. Then I had a thought... Some of those second hand receiving blankets I got from a neighbor looked pretty... used, and I had a billion receiving blanket... I didn't really NEED that many... and they're a good sturdy fabric...........

I started with one disposable wipe, one receiving blanket, and pen and, at the lack of anything else, measuring tape (the metal kind, not the fabricy kind). I laid out the wipe on the blanket, and used it to make a grid on the blanket. Or, I should say, that's what I ended up doing by the end. Believe me, measure twice, cut once are words to live by. Or else you end up with a combination really big wipes and really little wipes. A standard receiving blanket will net you a lot of wipes, so start out cutting one up until you decide if you like these or not. One receiving blanket supplied about a week's worth of wipes for my 5 month old.

After cutting out the wipes, I took them to my wonderful Mom, who ran them through the sewing machine. This doesn't have to be pretty, they will be used to clean up poop. BUT, from experience from the one batch I didn't have time for her to sew, sewing along the edges is the difference between wipes that come out of the washer unscathed and wipes that come out in a pile of cotton. (Which reminds me, I need to make more wipes to replace the ones that have been destroyed...)

I have two wipe containers. A container from Parents' Choice wipes (or whatever the really cheap brand from WalMart was...) The container was as cheap as the wipes, so it's used to store clean wipes before they're juiced up. I have a Huggies container for day to day use. It's got a better seal on it, and if I hadn't given up on tissue folding the wipes, it's great for popup dispensing.

Now, to tissue fold or to not tissue fold.

Tissue folding was something else I saw on the same blog as using wash cloths for wipes. The theory is, like tissues, if you pull out one, the next one will be there ready for you. While I found folding them to be rather calming and zen-ny, dispensing them was not calming and zen-ny, but frustrating and annoying. If you could get one grabbable from the lid, when you pulled it out, it and it's friend would come try to come out together and usually get stuck. Fixing that would usually break the fold, and you have to fight the next one into grabbable position, and rinse and repeat.

But, if you want to try tissue folding, here's how.

1. Lay one wipe down.
2. Lay the top half of a second wipe on the bottom half of the first.
3. Fold the top (uncovered) half of the first wipe onto the second wipe.
4. Lay the bottom half of a third wipe on the folded over part of the first wipe.
5. Fold the remaining portion of the second wipe onto the growing stack.
6. Repeat until you run out of wipes.

Here's a video explaining it.

Next is my favorite part, making the juice. Start with the wipe container full, as in, the wipes level with the top when you're pressing down on them.

1. Microwave (or boil) 2 cups of water for 3 minutes (or until boiling). This will work to prevent molding... (as if the wipes will be hanging around long enough to grow anything...)
2. Get another container that can hold about 2 cups. A spout is preferable. 
3. Mix 2 tablespoons baby wash and 2 tablespoons coconut oil. You can use baby oil instead, but the coconut oil has some antifungal properties, which helps prevent diaper yeast infections.  
 This is the step a lot of people play with. Some add some essential oils. I've played around with the baby wash I use. Stuff with shea butter, stuff with oatmeal, I haven't noticed any difference. 
4. Stir. I don't know if there's a real point to it, but I think it's fun.
5. Pour half a cup of the water into the oil/wash mixture. I usually hold the measuring spoon over the bowl and pour the water onto the spoon first to wash it off. 
6. Stir... SLOWLY. You want to get everything dissolved, but you don't want to make bubbles, because the bubbles leave residue on the top wipe and it's gross feeling.
7. Pour the mixture over the wipes.
8. To deal with any icky oil bubbles, pour the remaining cup of water over the wipes. 
9. Let them sit for a few minutes to cool down and for all the wipes to absorb the juice.
10. Enjoy! (I really wanted an even 10 steps. ;) )

I had a bit of a game changing brainstorm one day when I saw the ice cube trays I had for freezing baby food. I froze the oil/baby wash combo. And it worked GREAT! I moved to a cup of the oil and shampoo, and that worked out that 2 cubes made 1 container of wipes. When I need more wipes, I throw the two cubes in my dedicated wipe juice mixing bowl first thing in the morning and just let them thaw naturally as long as I can. I pour 1 cup of water in and use that to dissolve the coconut oil, and then follow the rest of the directions. 


I toss the wipe in the diaper, flush the liner and punt the diaper in the diaper pail. I wash both diaper and wipe together. The 10 billion steps to wash the cloth diapers (okay, 3, but they FEEL like 10 billion) are more than enough for the wipes. (Rinse cycle, wash on hottest water setting, rinse cycle again). After they are washed, I had been drying the wipes, but then I decided there wasn't a point. So now, I just fold the wipes in half and dump them in the clean wipe box.