A Post about Popcorn

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This is my first blog post in a very long time. Not that you’ve noticed because my comadres Lily and Missy have been keeping Love, Laugh & Make Lemonade going strong during my unexcused absence.

I could write a book (let alone a blog post) about how and why I’ve been slacking in my zero-waste pursuits: summer vacation, laziness, unprecedented heat, traveling, houseguests, summer-time ear infections, ER visits, broken wrist, surgery…

But instead, I’m going to write about popcorn. Continue reading

How to Make Zero Waste Pudding Cups

For Marilyn’s 4th birthday she was adamant about having a camping birthday before she was even 3 1/2. As the time got closer she did not waiver on her choice so we planned a wonderful weekend of camping with friends including a big fireside party. While we were flipping through some of my old Martha Stewart magazines for summer inspiration she came across an ad with pudding cups and asked if she could have those, she’s a huge chocolate fan. I fondly remember pudding cups as a kid. Pulling back the plastic-y foil tops and using my spoon to attack every nook for the chocolatey goodness. Looking back the pudding was really not that great, and I hang my head in shame thinking of all the waste they created. So it got me thinking, how could I recreate that childhood favorite for my own child without leaving a huge footprint?

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Make it Yourself: Yogurt

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One side effect of avoiding plastic packaging is that sometimes you have to make things from scratch.  I enjoy cooking and creating so I really don’t mind making things from scratch, if I can possibly find the time (which is rare these days because my two little guys keep me pretty busy).

We typically go through a lot of yogurt. Yogurt with fruit or granola, in smoothies and sauces. But yogurt is really hard to find not in plastic. There is one local brand of yogurt that is sold in glass quart jars. It’s delicious and organic, but SO pricey. So I thought, it can’t be that hard to make yogurt, can it??? It turns out it’s not very hard at all.

There is a lot of info out there about yogurt science, cultures, timing, temperature, etc. But ultimately, it’s pretty simple: heat some milk, add a little bit of yogurt, let it sit in a warm place, and voila – you’ve got yogurt!

I did some research and reading, but ultimately used the technique described on one of my favorite cooking websites, The Kitchn.

My notes:

  • I used local organic non-homogenized 2% milk (plus a ½ cup of plain organic yogurt)
  • I used a probe thermometer with a long cord (like this one), so I could monitor the temperature periodically without opening the oven (but, to be honest, the temperature was a little off and it still came out great!)
  • My yogurt sat for about 6 hours (which produced a thick yet pourable consistency and mildly tangy taste)
  • Don’t forget to save a bit of your yogurt for the next batch!

What have you made from scratch lately???