Friday, May 13, 2011

Crockpot Yogurt

I love my crockpot. It is the mother of all kitchen electrics so I was ecstatic when I learned how to make yogurt in the crockpot! You can make crockpot yogurt with whatever milk you prefer. We use coconut milk, but you can also use almond, rice, cow, hemp, and soy. It could not be easier and it saves counter space by not having an additional yogurt making machine.

1. Pour 1/2 gallon of whatever milk you have chosen into your crockpot (we use organic coconut). Turn your crockpot on high and and leave for 90 minutes, until the milk almost starts to boil and reaches about 180 degrees (we use a meat thermometer to check).

2. Turn off your crockpot and leave it alone for 2-2.5 hours, until it reaches 115 degrees. Anywhere from 112-115 is good, but too hot will kill all the cultures and too cool will not them flourish.

3. Once your yogurt has reached 115 degrees, add your starter yogurt. You can either use 3 ounces of store bought plain yogurt or a yogurt culture packet (found in most local health food stores). Mix very well and put the lid back on your crockpot. Wrap the ceramic insert of your crockpot in a heavy duty towel and put the whole thing in your oven with the light on. Leave alone for 8-10 hours. I usually go to sleep for this part so I don't get tempted to mess with it. The more you mess with it the worse!

When you wake up you will have yogurt! Add fresh fruit or honey with each individual serving (not in the whole batch!) and enjoy your delicious, homemade yogurt.

If you prefer to have a thicker yogurt it can be strained! Just put a cheesecloth in the bottom of a strainer and pour in your yogurt. Let it sit there for 2-3 hours or until it reaches the consistency you desire.

Make sure you save a little of your new yogurt to use as a starter for the next batch.


Homemade Deodorant

I really loved my store bought deodorant. I loved all the scents I could try out! I did not love the stinging I felt when using it after shaving my pits, though! Nor did I love the expense of it. It may only be $3 per pack but that adds up quickly when you go through 1-2 sticks per month. If you are my husband you could even go through 2-3 sticks per month. I'm not sure what he's doing with his deodorant but he ALWAYS needs more! Even with the stinging pits and cost I preferred it over the massive B.O. would could accumulate living in the deep south.
Two weeks ago that all changed though. I wasn't just worried about the stinging pits or the cost. Cooper, my chemically sensitive little man, decided that deodorant tastes absolutely delicious. I found him clutching my entire stick with a huge, defined bite mark in the middle (if you have no mental image, think of all those pictures of sharks who have bitten through a surfboard. Got it?). I made my first call to poison control who told me he would start vomiting, which he did while I was on the phone with them. I felt so awful. So that incident led me to good ole' Google and I found out there were so many awful chemicals in deodorant that I was ready to switch (including aluminum being linked to breast cancer). Here is my new deodorant:

5-6 TBSP coconut oil
1/4 C baking soda
1/4 Arrowroot powder or cornstarch
Your choice of essential oils (only a few drops!)

Now, here's the amazing part... all you do is mix it together. That's it! It takes less than 5 minutes to put together and is so much safer. For my essential oils I used tea tree oil for it's antimicrobial and antiseptic properties and lavender oil for it's amazing smell. You don't really need oils, but I love my smelly girly products. Once I bring my hubby over the dark side I'll probably have to leave out the lavender oil. You can store it in a glass jar or even press it into an old deodorant tube for easier application.

And the best benefit... Coop will only have a mouthful of coconut deliciousness the next time he gets hungry while in my bathroom.