A family's quest to reduce their plastic usage

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Yummy Homemade Chocolate Frozen Yoghurt

Chocolate Frozen YoghurtChocolate ice cream is such a treat! This was my next little test to create a waste free version of this household favourite. One of the main ingredients in normal ice-cream is….well….cream. In inner west Melbourne, local farms have long gone so unless you are prepared to pay an extortionate amount for organic cream, you will have to settle for cream in plastic bottles.

I couldn’t accept the possibility of not eating ice-cream at home again. There had to be an alternative! Thankfully the answer was already in my fridge…. yoghurt!  I have come up with a recipe that mixes ingredients from Nigella Lawson’s No Churn ice-cream and this recipe from All recipes. The chocolate, coco and cornstarch can be bought in cardboard or paper packaging, while vanilla essence comes in a glass bottle. I hope you enjoy it. Photos coming soon.


1 serve of homemade condensed milk

1 Tablespoon of cornstarch

1 block of milk or dark chocolate

3 Tablespoons of coco powder

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

1 1/2 cups of homemade yoghurt



1. In a heavy bottom pot, slowly melt the block of chocolate and condensed milk over a low heat.

2. Slowly mix the coco powder, and cornstarch into the chocolate mixture until well combined.

3. Remove from heat and mix in the vanilla essence and yoghurt until well combined.

4. Place in refrigerator to chill.

5. Once chilled, place in ice-cream maker and let it work its magic.


This will give you a gorgeously rich chocolate frozen yoghurt that I argue equals any store bought chocolate ice-cream out there. At first I was against buying an expensive ice-cream maker, but I was so surprised at how cheaply they can be bought 2nd hand I quickly changed my mind. Eventually  I picked one up for the princely sum of $11.40. I can now happily report our ice-cream drought has ended.



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Slow Cooker Yoghurt

homemade yoghurt


My family could live on yoghurt. It’s our breakfast alternative, afternoon tea, dinner accompaniment, dessert and late night snack. We go through 2 litres a week and would go through more if I bought it.  Not only does all that yoghurt amount to a lot of packaging, but also potentially a lot of sugar and other unknowns. Time to try making homemade yoghurt.

There are a lot of recipes out there for homemade yoghurt but I eventually settled for this one using a slow cooker. This is definitely an overnight job!

What you need

  • slow cooker
  • small bowl
  • blanket or large towel
  • large Bowl
  • colander or sieve
  • muslin cloth


  • 2 litres of full cream milk
  • 1/2 cup of natural yoghurt

Basic Instructions

  1. Turn your slow cooker onto low and pour your milk in. Cover with a lid and leave it alone for 2 hours or until it reaches between 170⁰ – 180⁰ F (77 – 82 C).
  2. Turn your slow cooker off. Take you 1/2 cup of yoghurt out of the fridge and place in the small bowl. Leave the slow cooker alone and the yoghurt out of the fridge for 3 hours.
  3. After 3 hours, remove 2 cups of milk and place in the small bowl with your yoghurt. Gently stir to combine. Return milky yoghurty mixture to the slow cooker and replace the lid.  Cover your slow cooker with the blanket so it is fully insulated.
  4. Leave for 8 hours.
  5. After 8 hours, place the muslin cloth in your sieve over the large bowl. Ladle your yoghurt into the cloth covered sieve cover and place in the fridge for as long as you are happy with the thickness.
  6. At this point you can add flavourings and sweeteners but your basic yoghurt is ready! Remember to save 1/2 cup of this yoghurt to use as your next starter culture.



Firstly you will have to play around with this depending on your slow cooker. My first couple of batches had 3 problems:

Quite watery – I realised that on the times I had forgotten to leave the yoghurt out to bring it to room temperature, my yoghurt had turned out more watery. Making sure you starter culture is a room temperature is crucial!

 It tasted grainy – Eventually I’ve learnt that my slow cooker is bringing my milk up to the required temperature too quickly. This seems to make it grainy. What I now do is place something between the lid and the pot so that the lid is slightly edgar. It takes a little longer to get to the right temperature but the result is smooth yoghurt.

Yoghurt skin – the kids didn’t like the yoghurt skin through their yoghurt understandably. I now use a fork after the 3 hour cool down stage and carerfully skim the skin off the top of the milk before adding the milky/yoghurty mixture.


If you have other issues with your homemade yoghurt, I found this website really useful.

I now double this recipe using half to for our weekly yoghurt and half for homemade yoghurt icecream. In terms of waste, I do use cardboard cartons of milk because of expense, however I make all my milk cartons into boxes so thankfully I haven’t thrown one out yet. Here is a great website with other ways to use your cardboard cartons.


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Homemade Condensed Milk

1171089_1419960074938857_486035536_sIn an attempt to satisfy the sweet tooths in the family,  I was going to try Nigella Lawson’s Breakfast bar recipe which uses condensed milk. In my search of a waste free version of Nigella’s recipe, I had to find a condensed milk alternative to canned versions in stores.  There are  versions such as Just as Delish’s version which requires a bit of time….but time is not something I have in abundance. So when I found  this recipe by  Elizabeth LaBau I just had to try it!


1 cup of instant skim milk powder

2/3 cup of sugar

1/3 to 1/2 cup of boiling water

1/4 cup of melter butter



1. Place the 1/3 cup of boiling water, melted butter, milk powder and sugar in a blender in that order. I found my blender just didn’t mix the ingredients properly if I put the dry ingredients in first.

2. Blend until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides

And that’s it!. If your condensed milk is too think, then you can add a little more boiling water until you get the consistency you need. Elizabeth states on her site that this can be stored in “an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days” though given how fast it takes to make it, I’ve never needed to do this.