Thursday, December 2, 2010

Toddler Time ~ Yogurt Cups

In an effort to be more Earth Friendly, sometimes you give up luxuries that bother other members of your family. Last year, we got some yogurt cups while on vacation, and Logan LOVED them! But when we got home, I quickly realized that the waste involved, as well as the cost of the tiny cups, was not worth it. Logan has missed them ever since. He asks for them every time we are at the store, and I always tell him no.

Last week, I discovered that my sweet buddy liked them because he could get them himself! He didn't have to wait to have someone help him get a bowl and spoon the yogurt into it. He didn't have to wait for anything. And as the earliest riser in our family and the biggest breakfast fan, that made a lot of sense. It was just a small step from there to this project.

Single Serving Yogurt cups... the light-plastic, earth friendly way!

You need:

6 1/2 pint wide mouth mason jars
6 wide mouth lids
a quart of vanilla yogurt
various jams and jelly's that your children like

First, I placed the yogurt into the mason jars. 1 Quart is perfect to fill up 6 1/2 pints at a time. (If your kids are really little, the 4 oz jelly jars may be better for your family. Then, also cut the amount of jelly in half.)

Because variety is also a selling point for those tiny yogurts, I tried to bring in that aspect too. I picked out three of Logan's favorite jams that I made this year, and he now has the pick of Strawberry, Apple Pie, and Blueberry yogurt.

Add a heaping teaspoon of jelly or jam to each yogurt cup.

I placed it in the fridge on the bottom shelf for him and he gets to pick the one he wants each morning. He also gets the added bonus of being able to mix the jelly into the yogurt and watch it turn pretty colors!

You can also add tiny cups of granola or grape nuts, or perhaps raisins or cranberries... the possibilities are endless (and YUMMY!).

(Logan was napping when I was done with this batch, so Cyan got first pick. ;) )

Tip: Pick a variety of vanilla yogurt that isn't loaded with sugar. I have found that Nancy's organic tastes too strong and too sweet to have the flavors of the jelly add much to it, so we have been using Mountain High brand instead. I choose the vanilla over the plain due to the tang that most plain yogurts have. Trader Joe's also has a vanilla variety that I like a lot, and it's organic.

I have thought about making my own yogurt in those tiny cups, but have not made yogurt in a very long time. If anyone tries this, please let me know how it works! I would love to make this even MORE earth friendly!




Patzi said...

Hi Val,

making Yogurt is really easy and tastes so much better than store bought!

I usually make yogurt out of a gallon of milk, but you might want to try less for the first couple of times, till you get the hang of it.
Heat the milk to 170 F and then let it cool down to 120 F. It's important, that this is not warmer, it will kill the yogurt bacteries otherwise.
Than put about a cup of good store bought yogurt in it, important, that it has cultures!
Fill it in empty, clean jars (I use small jars where I had my preserves in) and then either you put it in the oven with just the oven light on, that will generate just the right amount of warm, the bacteria culture needs to grow.
Or you put it in a cooler and put bottles with hot water in it.
I tried both, works well, but I tend to do the oven thing, it's just easier for me.
It takes about 6 hours. But you might want to check after 4 hours. Since every oven is different :-)

You can reuse your own yoghurt for culteres for about 4-5 times, but then it's better to go out and buy a new one, since it doesn't work as well anymore.

The yoghurt is not as thick as store bought, if you don't like that, you can add one or two cups of milk powder in the milk at the same time, you put the yoghurt in. That thickens the yoghurt nicely.

One cup of yogurt for bacteria culture is enough, it's not, that the joghurt generates faster or thicker, if you put more yoghurt in .

you can also add cream to the milk, then you end up with joghurt and cream on the top, special treat.

I tried to put the jam in the glasses right away, and 'breed' the joghurt and the jam together, but that doesn't work with me :-( The yoghurt gets all runny then. But it works if I put in cocoa powder and some sugar for chocolate yogurt, that is very, very yummie and a very special treat in our house :-)

Email me for questions, since I'm not sure I follow up here.

Patzi @ lostentry dot org

Kelly said...

What a great idea!!!

You're brave for showing photos of the inside of your refrigerator! j/k. It's so much cleaner than mine. I guess I'd be the brave one if I did it!

Anonymous said...

Yep, great idea! Ive been doing it with my kids for about 2 years now. I use the little jars that I get from small candles and I just put a cloth wrap over them while they are in the fridge. They get eaten up so fast around here. I too use the vanilla yogurt and not the plain. I puree alot of fruits and blend them into our yogurt. The kids love it and can help me prepare them too.

Rebecca K. said...

its hillarious that i saw this because i was JUST reading my monthly Molly subscription and the first thing was step by step directions how to make yogurt.

Jen said...

Apple pie jam? That sounds great! Got a recipe?

Val in the Rose Garden said...

@Patzi - Thank you! I will have to try that again soon. I have made it before, but it has been many years.

@ Jen -

Seriously, the best jelly EVER! And I did it for free because it was the peels from the apple pie filling last year. ;)



Erin said...

What a GREAT idea to add some preserves to it! Both of my guys would jump all over that. We make our own yogurt always (and if you buy a nice culture it is just as thick as store-bought) but never thought of culturing it in individual containers with preserves in the bottom. Genius! Thanks!! :)

Frannie said...

just whipped up a few of these this morning. I used to do this but got lazy. Now with the hubby on graveyards it will be nice to pop them in his lunch box...and for the boys to grab.
FYI--I made your apple pie jelly this yr. for the first time and my whole family LOVES it. I like when that happens!

NatchraLeigh said...

Val - my kids favorite flavor is Key Lime so we add lime juice & honey to the yogurt cups we do. They LOVE it... well, so do I. It's so nummy!

Sewn Together said...

Just found this post and this is a fantastic idea! My boy serves his own but I think the this would make him happy to see and would be more user friendly. Especially when we're at the end of the tub and he has trouble getting stuff from the bottom.

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