Make Your Own Coconut Yogurt

This non-dairy alternative yogurt is incredibly easy to make! It’s so creamy and SO yummy! All you’ll need is:

2 – 400ml cans of full fat coconut milk

4 – probiotic capsules OR 1/2 cup of non-dairy yogurt from a previous batch

A quart sized glass container or jar w/ an airtight lid

Clean piece of cloth to cover your jar

 

Empty the cans of milk into the jar, break open your probiotic capsules (or add your 1/2 cup yogurt) and stir really, really well. Don’t worry if you see little bits of the probiotic powder in the milk, it will dissolve on its own. Wipe the rim of your jar clean and cover it with your cloth. Set it aside in a warm place out of direct sunlight and let it sit for 12 – 48 hours.

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Now we wait!

The longer you let it sit, the tangier your yogurt will be. Once it’s fermented to your liking, cover with an airtight lid and put it in the fridge (I usually make mine on the evening of day 1 and refrigerate it on the morning of day 3). Once it’s chilled, the yogurt will thicken up a bit and have a similar consistency to full fat Greek yogurt. I recommend using it within a couple weeks, although I’ve had batches go much longer than that and they’ve been perfectly fine.

I’ve tried 3 different brands of coconut milk and the Whole Foods 365 one is my favourite. It’s very smooth, tastes the best and it’s inexpesive. If you’re like me and live very far away from most things or just love Amazon, you can grab it here. As for probiotics, you can get them at any pharmacy or health food store (or here.)

Enjoy!


Disclosure – Many of the product links I provide on this site are affiliate links from which I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, should you chose to use them. I only post affiliate links for products I’ve purchased on my own, have used and love.

Why Should You Use Cloth Diapers?

If you follow me on Instagram or know me in person, you probably already know that I’m a big fan cloth diapers. Don’t get me wrong, it’s had its fair share of challenges, but the pros WAY outnumber the cons. Here are a handful of reasons why I think cloth diapers are pretty neat and why you should consider using them:

1. Money!

When I first decided that we would use cloth diapers, this was the definitely the main reason why. While we were trying to get pregnant and planning for parenthood, I couldn’t believe just how much diapers would end up costing us in the long run. Figuring that our baby would use half of an economy-sized box of disposable diapers per week, it would cost around $60 per month (which is assuming I would buy them on sale and use coupons). I have yet to potty train a child, but most people say it’s usually between the time they are 2 and 3 years old. So if we had to spend $60/month on diapers, it would’ve cost us somewhere between $1400 and $2100 to disposable diaper our baby. Money spent on garbage. Literally, garbage!

So instead I spent about half of that and bought a large assortment of cloth diapers that we’ll use until our son is potty trained. Plus we can use them again if we decide to have another baby OR sell them and make some of our investment back OR have another baby and then sell them. Then they could use them on their baby and then sell them… Okay, you get the picture.

The only downfall was having to pay for them all at once, more or less. I spread it out a little bit and made four or five big purchases throughout my pregnancy which made it very manageable. Plus there are many, many different options available for cloth diapering that can fit any budget. Even factoring the added cost of extra laundry detergent, water and energy to heat the water and dry them, the savings are incredible.

2. Environmentally Friendlier

Speaking of garbage, what do you think two to three years worth of diaper garbage looks like? Here’s a super cool calculator I found that’ll estimate how many diapers your baby will need based on his/her size at birth. Our boy was 10lbs 6oz and it determined we would’ve used just over 2400 disposables, JUST IN HIS FIRST YEAR! Again, literally spending money on garbage.

Not to mention the incredible amount of energy and resources it takes to manufacture, ship and sell those thousands of diapers he would’ve needed. Wins all around!

3. They’re SUPER Cute

I said I wouldn’t become THAT kind of mom who was obsessed with her cloth stash, or fuss over new diaper prints, take photos of them, etc.. Guess what? I did. I’m a full-blown cloth diaper nut and I’m not even embarrassed about it. Be careful though, buying cloth diapers is mega-addicting and before you know it, you end up with WAY more that you could ever hope to need or use. I could’ve spent a lot less on my stash and would’ve had more than enough to diaper our son.

4. Better For Baby

There seems to be some controversy about disposable diapers and they chemicals they contain. I’m not going to pretend to know more about something than I actually do and I understand that chemicals are everywhere, sometimes necessary and that anything can be toxic in the right quantity. All that being said though, when you constantly and consistently read information stating that the chemicals in disposable diapers are associated with a lot of negative health effects, the obvious choice seems to be cloth diapers. I’m sure you know how to run a search engine and could find your own info on it, but you can find a couple good reads on it here and here.

5. They Aren’t As Much Work As You’d Think

Sure I have to wash, sort, fold and put away an extra load of laundry every 2 to 3 days, sure it might take a few more seconds to change a diaper and yes, I have to deal with more poop than I’d probably like to, but it’s really really really not that bad (seriously, having to rinse a bit of poo off a cloth diaper doesn’t kill you). The amount of money you save and waste you avoid producing is SO worth it!!!

Are you a cloth diapering family? What are your reasons why you chose to use cloth? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.


If you live in western Canada and are looking for a great cloth diapering site, I highly recommend Lagoon Baby located in Maple Ridge, BC. They have a great selection (of all things baby, not just cloth diapers) and I’ve made almost all our diaper related purchases there. If you shop through my affiliate link, I make a small commission from them at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Shop Now!

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

A meatless salad filling that’s full of flavour. This recipe is seriously yummy! It’s been on my ‘to-make’ list for a long time and am I ever glad I finally did. Out of all the substitutions I’ve tried since going plant-based, this is one of my favourites! It keeps super well in the fridge so I’ve made this recipe bigger than most (you’ll thank me for that later 😉).


Ingredients: 

2 – 14 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained well

4 celery stalks, diced

1/2 cup diced pickles (I use sweet mix but dill pickles also work great)

2 tbsp onion flakes/powder

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

2 tsp yellow mustard

1/4 cup hemp hearts (totally optional but I like to add these little super seeds anywhere I can)

Pretty straight forward instructions – mash your chickpeas in a bowl with a fork, add in everything else and mix well. Great as a sandwich filler or on crackers. Enjoy!

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The Best Oatmeal Bread

This is, by far, my favourite bread to bake! I made a bit of a hodgepodge recipe from a few different ones I’ve tried and for the last 3 years or so, this has consistently been my go-to. It’s tasty, nutritious and makes lovely toast. And boy, do I love toast!

This recipe makes one generous sized loaf but doubles very well.

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Set up to make a double batch.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

2 tbsp sugar

2 1/4 tsp or 1 pkg dry active yeast

2 tbsp oil (I usually use grape seed, but any plant oil will do fine)

2 tsp salt

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

Extra flour for dusting


Directions:

In a large mixing bowl (or your stand mixer bowl) combine the yeast, sugar, water and oil. Let it bloom for 15 minutes or so until it’s nice and frothy/bubbly looking.

Add in your your salt, oats, flax seed, whole wheat flour and the 1 1/2 cups of your all purpose flour. Mix until combined into a wet dough. Feel free to incorporate some extra flour in if you feel your dough is too wet. Your dough will happily soak up any extra flour you add though so try not to overdo it. Too much extra will make your dough drier and heavier. I promise, the wet dough will become easier to work as you knead it.

Knead your dough by hand on a lightly floured surface or with a dough hook attachment on your mixer for around 10 minutes. Everyone and every mixer is different and it could take shorter or longer than that. The dough will let you know when it’s ready. It’ll feel smooth and stretchy and won’t tear when you try to pull it apart. Notice the difference between the two images below?

 

 

Once you’re dough is ready, place it in an oiled bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Let it rise until it’s doubled in size. Our house is usually quite warm so it only takes around an hour. Once you dough has risen, punch it down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead it by hand for a minute or so. Feel free to recruit a helper.

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The cutest little helper I ever did see! He loves being in the kitchen with me.

Shape the dough into a loaf and place in an oiled bread pan. Preheat you oven to 400F. Cover the loaf with your tea towel and let it proof until the dough has risen up to an inch or so above the loaf pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes until your crust is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when you tap it.

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Proofed and ready to bake!

If you want better oven-rise and a crispier (and more delicious) crust, you can try this neat trick: When I preheat my oven, I put an empty baking sheet on the bottom rack and let it get hot with the oven. Then I put my loaves in to bake, I pour a cup of hot water into the hot, empty pan to steam them. The steam keeps your bread softer during the first bit of baking, letting your it rise without bulging or cracking your crust. Then the extra moisture helps caramelize the surface sugars on the bread, creating a deliciously crispy, golden crust.

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It was hard to get a decent picture while doing this, but I’m sure you get what I mean.

 

Remove your delicious looking bread from the oven and pop them out of the pans. Let them cool on a rack or tea towel.

 

Enjoy!

 

How To Make Kombucha

Kombu-what?? Kombucha is a fermented/cultured beverage that boasts some pretty wonderful health benefits. It starts out as sweetened black tea and with the help of a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) and a little time, it turns into a deliciously tangy, fizzy drink you can feel good about enjoying. Like so many other fermented foods, kombucha is full of good bacteria and yeasts that are very beneficial to digestion and gut health. If you want to learn a more about the health benefits of kombucha, you can have a read here or here.

If you want to start making your own kombucha but are intimidated by the process, don’t be! It’s much easier to make kombucha than you might think.

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See that weird looking floating thing? That’s the SCOBY. And that film on top is a baby that she made during the fermentation process.

What You’ll Need:

A gallon sized glass jar. Any big glass container would work and you could totally re-purpose one you have lying around… Just as long as it’s really clean with a narrow(ish) neck to help prevent spills and so you can cover it during the fermentation process. I managed to nab one somewhere randomly a long time ago so when I decided to start making my own kombucha, I was in luck. But if you’re on the hunt for one (and you love Amazon as much as I do) you can get one here.

A clean piece of cloth or a basket style coffee filter that’s big enough to cover your jar’s opening and an elastic band to secure it.

A large mixing spoon.

Container(s) to store or second ferment your finished kombucha in (see storing & bottling section below).

3 to 4 liters of water. Most kombucha brewing guides will say you need to use distilled water for your’s and your SCOBY’s health (which you can read more about here). I have a very healthy, well established SCOBY and high quality tap water where I live and have never had any problems using it. So use your own discretion about what kind of water you’d like to use.

8 black tea bags or the equivalent worth of loose tea and something to strain it with. You can use green or oolong tea to have a different flavour but I’ve always preferred black tea.

1 cup white sugar. Lots of recipes call for organic cane sugar instead. Feel free to use whichever you prefer.

And last but certainly not least, a SCOBY and 2 cups of starter liquid (aka kombucha from a previous batch). If you know someone who brews their own kombucha and can give you a SCOBY and starter liquid or have somewhere you can buy one locally, great! If not, you can order one here.

One thing is should mention is it’s important not to use any reactive metal equipment when making kombucha due to it’s acidic compostion. So make sure to use stainless steel, wood, glass or plastic.

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My equipment all set up to brew a fresh batch.

What To Do:

Start with clean and dry equipment and clean hands. No need to get fancy, regular dish soap will do just fine.

Boil 1.5(ish) liters of water and pour it in your gallon jar. Add the sugar and tea bags and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let it steep for 20 minutes or so then remove the tea bags. Add 2(ish) liters of cold water to your sweetened tea. It is very important that your tea is room temperature before adding the SCOBY. If it’s too hot, it will damage or kill her. Test your temperature and then add your SCOBY and starter liquid. Don’t be afraid to handle the SCOBY with your hands. Top off the jar with more cold water, leaving a couple inches of head-space.

Cover with your jar with the clean cloth/coffee filter and elastic band. Now tuck it away somewhere to ferment. Somewhere that’s warm, out of direct sunlight and where it can’t be bumped or spilled. I put mine above my fridge but somewhere like a closet would be a good place too.

Now the not-so-fun part, waiting. How long you have to wait depends on how warm your house is, how active your SCOBY is, how strong you like your kombucha, etc.. Like I mentioned before, the SCOBY I have is well established so she is very active and cultures quickly. I usually can only go a week or so in between brewing batches before it starts to get vinegar-y. The SCOBY feeds off the sugar in the tea so the longer she’s in there, the more she’ll eat which lowers the sugar content.

After you brew a batch or two, you’ll be able to tell just by looking at her when it’s ready. The tea starts out a dark brown, almost black colour, and once it’s cultured will change to a light amber. Plus you’ll see that new baby SCOBY formed like I mentioned in the photo caption earlier.


Storing & Bottling Your Kombucha:

Once you think your kombucha is done fermenting, you can store it in the fridge and drink as is OR you can flavour and carbonate it with a second fermentation.

If you are not going to do a second fermentation, remove your SCOBYs and 2 cups of the liquid out of your gallon jar and set them aside for your next batch in a clean container (a mixing bowl or quart sized jar will work fine). You only need to use one SCOBY per batch so feel free to gift the new baby ones to friends so they can start making some kombucha of their own! Pour your kombucha into a container with a lid – a big juice jug, a bunch of water bottles, anything that you want to use. Then clean your brewing jar and repeat the whole process. Now you can enjoy your kombucha that’s in the fridge while your new batch cultures!

If you are going to do a second fermentation, you will need some flip top glass bottles with tight fitting lids (these are the ones I have), a funnel, a glass measuring cup or jug to make pouring into the bottles a lot easier and your flavouring of choice. There are SO many flavouring options out there so feel free to experiment. You can use fruit, fruit juice, syrups, spices, herbs, anything you can think of! My favourites so far are strawberry, raspberry, ginger or maple and cinnamon.

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Using 1 tsp of maple syrup and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon per 500 ml bottle to flavour my second fermentation.

Follow the same directions I’ve listed above by removing your SCOBYs and starter. Place your fruit or flavouring of choice into the clean bottles. A little goes a long way with flavours and usually a tablespoon or two is plenty to flavour a 500 ml bottle. If you’re looking for some flavour inspiration, I have a Pinterest board about it you can check out here. Fill the bottles with your kombucha, leaving an inch of head-space. Seal the bottles and tuck them away again in a warm, dark place for 2-5 days. You can pop the tops or “burp” the bottles once a day to check if they’re ready and to release any excess carbonation. Check them over the kitchen sink or wrap a towel around them when you do because sometimes it can fizz over and get messy. Once they’re flavoured and carbonated to your liking, put them in the fridge.


So there you have it, two ways to enjoy kombucha. I hope you love making it and drinking it as much as we do!

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Happy fermenting!

Disclosure – Many of the product links I provide on this site are affiliate links from which I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, should you chose to use them. I only post affiliate links for products I’ve purchased on my own, have used and love.

Dehydrating Mushrooms

Today I want to talk about one of my all-time favorite things to dehydrate – MUSHROOMS!  They’re SO easy to do, easy to cook with, store wonderfully, re-hydrate very well and they’re super yum. No big prep, no peeling, no blanching – just wash them, slice them up and pop them in your dehydrator. Plus they already have a low water content so they don’t take long to dry.

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Easy-Peasy Instructions:

 

– Fill up the sink with water, add some cider vinegar. Soak the mushrooms for a few minutes, give them a good wash, then let them air dry on a clean towel. One good tip I learned early on and now always want to stress to people when they ask about food preservation – ALWAYS wash your produce well. Whatever is on it, will be stored along with it. Best to keep it as clean as possible.

– Once they’re dry, slice them up however you like. The thicker you slice them they longer they’ll take to dry – about 1/4 inch thick usually works well. I usually use Cremini mushrooms and I like to leave the stems on. They’re a perfectly good and very edible part of the mushroom that you pay money for so you might as well eat them.

– Once you’ve sliced them, place them on your dehydrator trays. Make sure you don’t over crowd them or else they’ll take much longer to dry. Set your dehydrator to 130F for 4 hours. At that point I’ll check them, rotate the trays if needed and restart the timer for another 2 – 6 hours. This is a bit of a guessing game at first but after you use your dehydrator a few times, you’ll have a better idea of any adjustments you need to make. I’ve been using this dehydrator for almost 4 years and I’ve been very happy with it. I really love how the trays are rectangular and unless I overfill it, everything always dries evenly. These mushrooms were sliced closer to a 1/2″ thick and they took about 9 hours to dry.

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– Once they’re fully dry and have cooled, store them in an airtight container (preferably glass). I like to use quart sized mason jars to store most of my dehydrated foods. An extra thing I do is pop a couple moisture absorbing silica packs in the bottom of the jars before I fill them.

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Happiness is: food stored in mason jars ❤

– To maximize their shelf life, store your containers in a dry, dark place away from heat. Add them directly to soups and sauces or re-hydrate them and use as you would fresh mushrooms. To re-hydrate them just pour boiling water over them in a heat-safe container and soak them for 20 mins (you can keep the liquid for cooking. Its full of great flavour!)

Enjoy!

 


Disclosure – Many of the product links I provide on this site are affiliate links from which I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, should you chose to use them. I only post affiliate links for products I’ve purchased on my own, have used and love.

Who, What, Where, Why, When?

I’m Cassie and I’m a 28 year old stay-at-home mom to a wonderful boy, Bruce. I live in my hometown and have been with my husband, Royce (also wonderful), for almost 10 years.

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A couple of cuties riding in the “BEEP BEEP!” as Bruce would call it. Royce had rented a mini excavator for the day and Bruce was over the moon about it.

We have a 13 year old chihuahua, Penny, and 5 chickens – Mrs. White, Ronnie, Amber, Betty and Veronica.

I really love reading other blogs, watching Youtube videos and creeping on social media of anything to do with all the things I’m in to. I’ve hummed and hawed about getting somewhat serious about sharing on some kind of platform on a regular basis. I recently made a post on Instagram about my root cellar and (through the magic of hashtags) it got over 1100 likes! I was so incredibly blown away by that and it got me thinking that maybe it’s time to finally start.

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Penny looking so majestic. Photo credit goes to my sister here. Thanks, Ellie!

So here it is, my first post. Thanks for bearing with me! They’ll get better in time (hopefully) and I’m excited to connect with others who enjoy similar interests. As for the when, I think a weekly blog is a pretty obtainable goal. I might try and post a bit more frequently off the hop to create some content, but we’ll see.

Cheers,

Cassie