DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have heard about the nationwide baby formula shortage and I’m wondering why parents aren’t making their own formula like we used to do 60 years ago. My four babies thrived on a formula made with evaporated milk, water, and a small amount of Karo syrup. There are very specific directions how to make it on Google. Is this okay to do? —Jeanne, Lewiston

ANSWER: I understand your concern and your desire to be helpful. There are a few things I want to be sure to point out when it comes to an infant’s nutrition: Do not attempt to make your own baby formula or even change the brand without consulting your child’s pediatrician. Also, you should never water down your baby’s formula or give them cow’s milk or any other kind of milk without asking the doctor, especially if they are under one year old, and do not purchase formula produced in other countries.

When you do find the infant formula you need, please refrain from hoarding it. I know it may be difficult to resist, especially if your baby needs a very specific type, but remember that parents across the country are all in the same boat right now due to this shortage caused by supply chain issues and product recalls.

Read this helpful interview on NPR with Dr. Magna Dias, a pediatrician and associate professor at Yale School of Medicine.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Do you or one of your readers have a recipe for pecan pie made with vanilla pudding? I had a recipe but cannot find it. I want to make this pie as I liked it very much and it was easy. Thank you for your help. —Shirley, no town

ANSWER: I looked this recipe up for you and it sounds so good I’m going to make it myself. Pecan pie is one of my favorites! This recipe will make a filling that is a bit less sweet and creamier than the traditional version. Readers, if you have other pecan pie recipes you want to share, I’d be very interested and I bet Sun Spotters would be, too.


I’ll add that I have sometimes made a pie with walnuts instead of pecans because they are quite a bit cheaper. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Pecan Pie: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9-inch pie pan with a prepared pie crust. In a mixing bowl, whisk together 1 (3.5 oz) package Jell-o Cook & Serve dry vanilla pudding mix and 1 cup light corn syrup. Gradually add 3/4 cup evaporated milk and 1 lightly-beaten egg, whisking to fully incorporate after each addition. Stir in 1 cup chopped pecans.

Pour pecan mixture into the prepared crust. Place 1/4 cup pecan halves on top of the pie filling, distributing them evenly across the pie.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until filling is set, golden brown, and just beginning to crack. Cool on a rack.

Cover and chill at least 3 hours before serving. This pie will serve 8. Don’t forget the whipped cream! Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

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