Soy yogurt and other musings

Three days until NHVegFest and I’ll be able to sleep again. There are so many details and people to take care of that I find myself waking up early worrying over some detail of the event. The clock is ticking and there are a lot of things I still have to do. There is my own personal Arbonne business that I’d like to support. I’m not sure that I’ll be able to swing a booth this year. It’s too much. My husband understands, my upline does not. She has an idea so I’m waiting to hear what she has to say.

How to make soy yogurt.

I’ve always loved the taste of homemade yogurt. I also dislike throwing all that plastic away from store bought yogurt. I do try to recycle but let’s face it, plastic isn’t widely recycled even when placed in the recycling bin. Buying yogurt is so wasteful and expensive. So with a little investment of an Instapot, i learned how to make yogurt which is crazy easy to make. I also like to know what’s in the food I’m eating,

An Instapot is an appliance that is part pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice maker, and yogurt maker. You can get them at a lot of places, even Amazon–although I hope you don’t buy from Amazon (they are the new Walmart if you ask me).

The pots come in a variety of sizes. You need at least a quart size for this recipe. After many attempts and successful methods, I now use this method which is simple and is a “no fail.”

Purchase a plain soy yogurt or a yogurt starter for non dairy milks. I purchase my yogurt starter at the local coop. Amazon and Whole Foods also carry yogurt starters. The eden soy makes the best and most consistent yogurt. Pour the milk into the pot and stir in the starter, or 1/4 cup of yogurt.

Give it a good stir and close the cover, set the lid to sealing and set the time. Use the yogurt settings and then the plus sign to the desired cooking time. The longer you cook it, the more tart it becomes. I believe you can go up to 12 hours. I like 10.5 my husband finds it too tart but he doesn’t normally eat it-plus it gives him an excuse to add maple syrup to it.

After you’ve entered your time, the machine will beep and set the time to zero. It counts time up to the desired time. Just leave it until your time is up. It will keep the yogurt warm until you open the lid. I often make yogurt overnight, or when I’m at work.

It’s delicious.

You can make yogurt with milk that isn’t in the sealed package. It’s a little more work as you have to bring it to boil (there is a boil function on the Instapot that’s tied into the yogurt function). Once boiled, you have to cool it down to 112, add the starter and put it back in the machine for 8-12 hours. Whatever time setting you like best.

Soy yogurt.

  • 1 package of starter for non dairy milk, or 1/4 plain yogurt.
  • 1 package eden soy milk
  • Put in Instapot, stir. Cover pot, set to sealing. Choose yogurt button and add desired time. Wait for the beeps and walk away.
  • When the time is up, you can enjoy perfect yogurt.

My favorite vegan pizza recipe

Stuart and I love this pizza. It started with the pizza crust which was difficult to get at the local farmers market. On Saturday mornings, we’d run the farmers market and often wouldn’t get there in time, so he bought a bread machine and I perfected the dough.

The cashew cream sauce and toppings were a “no brainer.” Luckily we have similar taste.

Usually he starts the pizza by soaking a cup of cashews in water for at least an hour while I’m still at work. When I get home I put the ingredients in the bread machine. It takes 23 minutes for the dough to process in my machine.

Then I sauté a couple of cups of wild mushrooms in olive oil, garlic, and add thyme.

I like to use a cast iron pan because it holds the heat well and adds iron to the mushrooms.

While this is sautéing, I mix the cashew cream in the vitamix. The combination of soaked cashews and high speed blender make the sauce more creamy. I preheat the oven to 450. Don’t use the convection oven, I learned that the pizza crust doesn’t get crunchy in the convection over.

By now, the dough is done and I spread it out on the pizza stone, pile in the cream sauce, the mushrooms, chopped artichoke hearts, and chopped black olives. I use a pampered chef pizza stone that does not need to be heated. Sometimes I use vegan cheese and sometimes I don’t. Lately I’ve been using kite cheese.

Bake for about 15 minutes. Watch for doneness (brown crust). The time varies depending upon the thickness of your dough and the oven.

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Koolaid and yarn dyeing

I’ve been enjoying my yarn adventures in koolaid dyeing. What will I do when I run out of my stash of wool? I’ll need to look for a vegan alternative for dyeing. For now, I’m still set with a few more skeins on yarn. And I’ve enjoyed sharing my experiments with funkyforty on utube.

Funkyforty found a pattern for me to use some of my hand dyed yarn on Raverly and has even coached me through crochet using Facebook–again the good of Facebook. Given all the bad press about Facebook (and it’s probably well deserved), it’s nice to highlight the positive.

The pattern is Windowpane by Adrienne Lash. This is what my project looks like. You’ll see it’s the yarn I recently dyed.

I had some white wool laying around the house, I don’t know what it is, my guess is that it’s a knitpicks worsted wool. I did two dyeing experiments.

I mixed each packet with 5 ounces of hot water. Added it to the wet yarn that I had soaked in vinegar and warm water. I cooked on the stovetop until the water was clear. This time I didn’t add to the yarn soaking in water, as I did in the past. This is 85 yards.

I did a similar experiment with these colors and cooked in the oven for 45 minutes.

I love how both of experiments came out. This is also 85 yards.

In a few days, my web address will change to my I’m very happy about this change.

So when I’m not dyeing I’ve even busy with NHVegFest. I’ll post about this event soon.

Three more adventures in yarn dyeing

I know there is plenty to be said for Facebook, both good and bad. I like to use the powers of Facebook, for good and the most interesting thing happened last week. I had posted a picture of yarn that I had dyed on “finished Friday,” on one of the many yarn and knitting Facebook groups that I’m on. A wonderful woman named Mel PM’ed me and we’ve been experimenting with yarn dyeing ever since. The funny thing, she lives in the UK and I live in the US. This is her vblog where she talks about her adventures in fiber adventures (I honestly don’t know what I’m doing with links to utube–she’s at funkyforty).

We chat back and forth, using Facebook pm and sharing images as we dye. There is 5 hours time difference so I’m up early and she’s at it late. It’s a lot of fun! I call us indie dyers, which is probably pretentious since we just as we’re only playing.  Who knows, maybe we could claim that title one day.

So far, I’ve dyed so much yarn, I can barely keep track. Here we go, another three yarn dyeing adventure. (One technically is not yarn but a knitted project.)

I used lions brand fisherman’s wool.

I started with yarn soaked for a half hour in solution on warm water with a “good glug” of vinegar. I used violet and pink icing coloring by Wilton mixed and 1/8 tsp. each to 1/2 cup boiling water.

Then I poured into a pot of water and let simmer until the water was clear. I don’t seem to have a picture. Knowing me, I poured the pink on one side and the purpose on the other. I simmered until the water was clear, about 20 minutes.

It’s 108 yards.

I’ll tell you about the other project, the same day, as I might completely lose track of my work.

Again, using lions brand fisherman’s yarn and pre soaking warm water and vinegar, I used blue and green Wilton dye. I used 1/4 tsp each in 1/2 c boiling water. I poured into a crockpot 1/3 full of water and then sprinkled with purple Kool-Aid.

I let simmer til the water was clear.

This is my favorite so far. It’s 240 yards. I brought it to work, one of my coworkers loved it so much, I gave her five yards. She used it in an art project and gave me a small assemblage. I’ll post a picture later, very sweet and, one might say, my first sale.

A funny thing happened the evening after the dyeing adventure. I went to a show with some friends, and I tried to exchange business cards with someone I didn’t know. I reached into my purse, with my dye colored hands, and pulled out a package of Kool aid rather than a card! (I prefer never to take a plastic shopping bag with my purchases so I popped the packages into my purse at the check out, I thought I had taken all of them out when I go home. I guess not.). How do you explain a package of Kool aid in your purse? If you know me well, you know I don’t.

Here’s another story from last week.

We had another big snow storm and I had just washed my favorite hat, so I couldn’t wear it outside. As I was digging through my basket of hats and mittens to wear outside, I came across this one.

My husband calls it a bed hat. It’s a slouchy hat and it does look like an old fashioned bed had. I decided to dye it with cherry and grape Kool aid.

It came out pretty well. I soaked in warm water with vinegar. Then, I dissolved each packet in a 1/2 cup hot water and simmered on the stove until the water ran clear. This time I used only the koolaid water. I have to admit, it still smells like cherry Kool aid.

Watch out world, soon everything that I own that is white will be hand dyed.


More adventures in dyeing

After my successful first dyeing adventure, I decided to try Kool Aid dyeing. I wanted to find Kool Aid Aid, Target sells a premix something in a plastic bottle. I’m always trying to skip buying needless plastic so I found packets. They were .33 at Shaw’s Supermarket, the selection wasn’t large but I left with 7 packages. Next I stopped at Walmart, the packets were .25 each, I bought 14.

Armed with lots of Kool Aid, I soaked 245 yards in warm water with a big pour of vinegar. I let it soak for 1/2 hour. I squeezed out the water and covered with the yarn with dry Kool Aid pink lemonade, cherry, tropical punch, and grape.

I covered with foil and cooked in a 350 over for 45 minutes. Once cool, I rinsed out really well.  This is my finished product, I like how it came out.  More dyeing to follow.

Dyeing yarn

I’ve been intrigued by dyeing with food dye since the day someone brought the concept up during a luncheon at work. I bought some icing dye and thought I’d give it a go. My mom made cakes when I was a kid so I have used a lot of dye to color icing. I went to Michaels and bought dye with a coupon. This dye was a little different, it’s gel and not the paste I’m used to.

We had a nor’easter on Wednesday so since I planned to be home, thought I’d dig out some old yarn and give it a try.

I wound it into a hank and let it soak in the crockpot with 1 cup vinegar for 2 hours on high. Then, I mixed the dyes with hot water. 1/16 tsp to 1/2 water.

I added the colors one and a time and cooked for 1 hr on high.

After which, I thought it was a little bland and added another cup of violet. I added 1/4 tsp to 1/2 water. Pour it in and cooked it for another hour.

I let it cool. Rinsed it, and let it dry. I’m happy with my results.

This is a worsted weight, 124 yards. It’s not a lot of yarn but I have already planned my next dying day.

What’s in a name?

I’ve always thought of myself as a tree hugger. I was strongly influenced by the “hippies” and consider myself a hippie at heart, even when I’m wearing a suit. Maybe the tie dyed (papillon) dog coat gives it away.

I think I began to reduce my carbon footprint long before this phrase was penned. I’ve always recycled, brought my own bags to the grocery store (even produce bags), purchased recycled products, and I eat a vegan diet–the amount of resources it takes to grow meat is ridiculous. Then there is the methane gas and never mind the violence of it all. I only wish I could figure out composting. So, I’m a nutshell the name was born.

I’m not really sure how long an ideal blog post so should be. I’ve always been a less is more type of person and not one to go on and on. I’m hoping to cover more in this blog over time. I plan to interview other tree huggers and vegans. I plan to talk about NHVEGFEST (which I organize), my maker life, and my Arbonne business. I hope you’ll follow me. I’m using an app to write this post and hope to get the kinks worked out so it looks nice.

Happy New Year!


I am starting a new blog in the new year. I had not written in my former blog for a while. Lately I have been having problems publishing it. So here I am, a new year with a new blog.

I have some ideas of what I’d like to write about in the coming months. I don’t like to write about all things vegan, who as with trying to I’m reduce my carbon foot print, leadership, mentoring and other things I things think about.

So today, I’m simply going to say hello. It was a very busy day as snowed lot—a nor’easter—and I spent the day at home. I amazed at the amount of work I can get done when’s I work from home as opposed to going into the office.