Thursday, January 16, 2014

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

My little grandson has been eating these muffins since he was about 8 mo old. They are one of his favorite things to eat so I decided to jot it down. Maybe there are other babies that would love them too. Wholesome ingredients are the best part.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins


8    TBSP coconut oil

1  cup sugar

4  eggs

2  cups pumpkin puree

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice

3/4 tsp salt

2 2/3 cups whole wheat flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line about 50 ( if that’s too many cut the recipe in half) muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the coconut oil and sugar until well mixed. Add the eggs, pumpkin and vanilla and continue mixing until smooth.
  3. Mix in the baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Add flour a little bit at a time until everything is well mixed.
  4. Spoon batter into the muffin cups, this doesn’t rise much so you can almost fill them.
  5. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
These muffins are dense and not crumbly for a baby to handle. Serve warmed up with a little butter on them. Keeps well in the freezer so you can take out one or two as needed.   

Monday, January 13, 2014

Home Made Vanilla Greek Yogurt


This is my recipe to make yogurt. I started making it for Easton, my then 8 mo old grandson, but I eat it too. If you have babies… it’s so simple, wholesome and cheap. Babies as you probably know need fat and are supposed to be drinking whole milk according to the AAP after the age of one. About 8 mos old they can start on whole milk yogurt because yogurt is digested differently than milk. The story behind this yogurt making of mine is that when Easton was born, Sydney being a single Mom wanted to feed him as cheaply and wholesomely as we could. We’ve been making his food all along.

You will need a crock pot, although you can follow the same procedure on the stove, I just haven’t tried it.

You’ll need a gallon of organic WHOLE milk (I use Shamrock here in AZ)

A 12 oz carton of organic (I use Stony field) Plain yogurt. (Nothing in it but milk and milk cultures). * I buy organic milk, and yogurt, because I don’t like the antibiotics in reg. milk but you can use any whole milk if you are comfortable or even raw milk.   

1 to 1½ cup sugar

2 TBSP vanilla

I start this process about noon on a day that I will be home all afternoon. It’s not time consuming but you need to be around to watch the temperature. Every crock pot heats up at a different speed, so for the first few times you make it,  note how long your crock pot took to get to the desired temp ...YOU DON"T WANT TO BOIL IT!


 Start by pouring the milk into the crock pot and heating it on high it until it reaches 180 degrees on a candy thermometer like the one below, to kill all the bacteria in the milk. This takes about 2 hours in my crock pot but it will depend on your pot, and the amount of milk you put in as well. If a scum forms on the milk while you're checking the temp just skim it off and throw it away.


 Once the milk reaches 180, unplug the crock pot and let it sit covered for a couple hours or so until the temp cool down to 110 degrees. You cool the milk to that temp so it’s not too warm to kill off the new cultures you are going to add when you add the yogurt starter to make the new batch of yogurt. 

At the 110 degree point you add 12 oz of yogurt and mix into the milk with a whisk.  No need to whip it just mix it in good. Make sure the yogurt you buy has nothing but milk and milk cultures in it (no pectin or stablizers), if you want to stay true to the nothing added for babies, although any yogurt will work. At that time you can add the sugar to your own liking, and pure vanilla and stir it all together throughly.  ( I tried other more organic sweeteners like maple syrup, etc. but I didn't like the taste so went back to sugar. Like I said this is how I make it, not how it is to be made, chiseled in stone. A recipe is just a starting place... mess around with it and make it your own like you and your family like it. Maybe you'd rather use a pot than a crock pot for example, or you like yours unsweetened. 
After you mix the sugar, starter yogurt, and vanilla in, put the lid back on the crock pot leaving it unplugged ( so no one messes with the knobs ) crock pot, and cover and tuck around three bath towels making a warm, dark environment for bacteria to grow. Let is sit there for 12 hours or so (overnight). When you open the lid there may be water standing on top. That is called whey and is full of protein and vitamins and a wonderful probiodics. You can drain that off, if you like a thicker yogurt and use it in something else.  I never do I just mix it back in to the yogurt and then pour the yogurt into a plastic bowl with a pouring spout to fill my jars neatly. I invested in some little jars just because I like them but it can be stored in any jar with a cover.  The jars I like are these from Amazon, although they will leak if tipped over in a lunch bag the reviews say, but I only keep them in the fridge so I love them.

The batch this size makes 24 6 oz jars of yogurt. I feed my Grandson one every day so that’s how long it last depending on how many I eat, it’s so good! It keeps in the fridge up to a month, however I’m always out by then. You can cut the recipe in half if you want to.

Now, do the math money wise. A carton of yogurt is on average $1.25 per 6 ounce serving. The home made yogurt was 3.83 for the milk, .75 for the sugar, .25 for the vanilla and 3.24 for the 12 oz Greek yogurt starter. That adds up to 8.07 divided by 24 = 33.6 cents compared to 1.25. It’s a little less firm, than the yogurt that has stabilizers and pectin etc... but not enough to make a huge difference and you know they are eating just milk, yogurt, sugar and vanilla, rather than an inch of stuff on a carton you don’t even know what it is. Easton likes it plain, or sometimes I put fruit in it. I have pureed strawberries ( after baby is a year) . Until then they can have blueberries, peaches, apples or many other fruits. It’s so simple, I hope you enjoy it.