Easy Meal-Teriyaki Salmon Supper

…simple joy by simpler living

Sometimes you just don’t know what to make for dinner. Sometimes what you throw together is a hodge-podge of good enough. But other times your throw-together is fabulous! Today I am posting about a recent accidentally fabulous meal. Fabulously simple! Fabulously healthy! Fabulously delicious!

All cooking in my house is simple. Difficult cooking doesn’t fit into my lifestyle. I just don’t have the time or physical condition for difficult cooking. Cooking in my house is always healthy too. This isn’t to say I never eat anything unhealthy. It just means that if I am going to put in all the effort to cook, I want it to be the best. I know whenever I eat out it is not as healthy so I save my occasional treats for eating out.

Today I am sharing an easy meal that anyone can make that tasted fabulous, is healthy, and presents a pretty picture. It truly is so good that I would eat it for breakfast- if someone else cooked it for me😀.

Teriyaki salmon, fresh summer asparagus, crispy baked potatoes & onions

The prep is so easy that I don’t even have a recipe for everything. Here’s how to make it:

Simple Teriyaki Salmon

I have two shortcut marinades I buy and for this I used my favorite teriyaki marinade. I suggest everyone get a few healthy shortcut staples like pre-made marinades for those days when cooking completely from scratch is just too much. Teriyaki marinade seems to make every food delicious. I have used it on chicken, beef, and salmon with wonderful results each time. My teenage son who has been a picky eater says this is his favorite no matter what I cook with it. I marinaded the salmon for a few hours then baked it in the oven. There have been times when I don’t have time to marinade and the results are still great. Teriyaki sauce is so tasty! This teriyaki salmon was so good that everyone raved about it and couldn’t get enough! Super simple, super delicious!

Fresh Summer Asparagus

Fresh summer vegetables are so flavorful and satisfying. I love this time of year when they are readily available in gardens and farm markets. .Although any green vegetable would go with this meal, I happened to have 5 pounds of asparagus from a friend’s farm on hand so that was the veggie of choice. Fresh, in-season vegetables are always better than store bought counterparrs that aren’t as fresh and this was no exception. Roasted vegetables taste the best to me and are also so easy so I do that often. I just drizzle a little olive oil on a baking sheet and roast the fresh vegetables at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until lightly brown, sometimesturning them halfway through. After done, I sprinkle a little salt on them, That’s it. So easy and so tasty!

Irresistible Crispy Potatoes and Onions

Onion rings had been a favorite in my family for the last few years. So much so that I searched long and hard for the healthiest ones available. During recent price hikes and food shortages, they not only got very expensive but also went out of stock. It had been on my list to figure out a way to make them from scratch anyway so when they were completely unavailable I was forced to try to find a replacement. The truth is I still haven’t gotten around to making onon rings because I discovered a cheaper, healthier and utterly delicious replacement!

I start with slicing potatoes and onions thinly. Then I spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet with olive oil. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, flipping every 7-10 minutes until golden brown. When done I sprinkle with salt. The repeated flipping is a bit tedious but gives it such a nice golden brown crispiness that is oh so good! My family devours these to the point we need to ration out portions to make sure everyone gets a fair share. They are so good we really can’t get enough; and so easy that I am never tempted to put in the effort to make onion rings.

1. Drizzle olive oil

2. Slice

3. Cook

So that’s it! A quick, very easy meal that rivals a fancy restaurant in taste and presentation. But this is much healthier knowing each ingredient and much, much cheaper. Happy simple cooking!

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Easiest Chicken Bone Broth Recipe

…simple joy by simpler living

Jump to Recipe

Chicken bone broth has amazing healing properties. Back in our grandparents or great- grandparents day it was a staple especially during cold season. Often, it would be cooking from morning till evening, simmering and filling the house with delicious homemade aromas. They served it medicinally and were convinced it helped heal. Over the years, as our modern society became busy and fast food restaurants become plentiful, cooking food from scratch became a rarity, especially bone broths. Also, eating for healing has become an unknown concept to recent generations. It is all coming full circle now, though, that scientific studies are proving that what our grandmothers did was not just old wives’ tales.

Nutritious!

Bone broth not only helps common colds and coughs but also many other ailments. It contains collagen along with a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. This abundant combination of nutrients is why broth is much more nutritious than a supplement that contains just one or two nutrients. Sally Fallon Morell has much more information in her book Nourishing Traditions. I highly recommend this book as one of your core cookbooks and nutritional guidebooks.

Base for Many Foods

Although you could drink a bowl of broth each day to get all the health benefits, most people do not do that. There are however, many other ways to eat or drink bone broth to reap the benefits. Bone broth can be used as a base to many foods. One of the easiest ways to incorporate broth is as a substitute for water in recipes. It adds a good amount of flavor to staples such as rice or quinoa. You can cook vegetables in it. You can even add some to spaghetti sauce or gravies. There are many, many possibilites to enhance flavor and increase nutrients!

Easy!

Here is a very easy recipe anyone can follow to get the great health benefits of homemade broth. I use a slow cooker because it is safe to keep cooking if I leave my house or when cooking over night. This can also be made in a pot on the stove cooked on low. Here is the slow cooker I have used reliably for many years. It is so easy and safe. And here is the brand new multi-slow cooker I just bought. This new one has a metal pot which can easily go from the fridge to cooker if food is prepared the night before and you just want to pop in in to cook in the morning.

(** For full disclosure, I receive a small affiliate fee through the Amazon links. Although, I only recommend products I actually use and believe in.**)

Simple Way to Store Broth

Pour then freeze

Remove from mold and store in bag

Neatly freeze

After I make a batch of broth, I usually freeze at least part of it to keep it fresh for when I need it. I found two containers to store it in that have proven to be the most convenient. For a larger amount to make a soup later, I freeze in these Rubbermaid plastic containers. For smaller amounts to add to rice or other foods, I found these Souper Cubes are perfect. After pouring in broth and freezing, I pop the frozen broth out and store in freezer bags. It makes it so organized in my freezer and easy to grab to add to meals.

Simple Cooking Routine

Making broth and storing can become so easy once you get into the routine. Then adding it to recipes is quick and easy! It is a very simple way to greatly enhance the nutrition in your home-cooked meals!

Homemade Chicken Bone Broth

Super easy, super nutritious bone broth
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Total Time 10 days 18 hours 30 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 38 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Slow cooker/Pot on stove
  • 1 Spoon
  • 1 Knife

Ingredients
  

  • 1 whole Chicken – using bones (Previously cooked, meat removed)
  • 3 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • Water (Enough to cover bones)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup Thyme
  • 1/4 cup Parsley
  • 2 Onions
  • 1 head Garlic
  • 4 Carrots
  • 4 Stalks Celery

Instructions
 

  • Put chicken bones in a slow cooker/pot.
  • Pour apple cider vinegar over bones and let sit 30 min..
  • Add enough water to cover bones.
  • Add remaining ingredients.
  • Cook on low for 12-24 hours.
  • Let cool so it is not scalding then drain broth. I sit a colander in my largest bowl and pour it all through to drain.
  • Use right away or store in refrigerator or freezer.
Keyword broth, soup

List of Broth Cooking Ideas

Bone broth can be one of a few main staples in cooking, simplifying menus and providing a foundation of nutrition upon which to build a meals. To inspire you (and me), I have made a list of some of the many foods that broth can be added to below. I will also be including broth as a base for future recipes posted here too! Leave a comment below with any other ways you have found to enhance foods with nourishing broth!

  • Substitute for water when making rice
  • Base for soups
  • Base for sauces to put over meat or vegetables
  • In spaghetti sauce
  • As a drink with spices and herbs
  • In homemade salad dressing

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Boosting Collagen Production

…simple joy by simpler living

There’s a lot of talk these days about wanting to boost collagen production because as we age our bodies produce less and less of this protein.  Collagen is the most plentiful protein in our bodies and it is needed to strengthen and support connective tissues all over our bodies including:  bones, tendons, muscles, skin and even blood vessels.  So a decrease in it can obviously affect many areas throughout our bodies. 

Many lifestyle choices also cause a decrease in collagen production.  Spending too much time in the sun, drinking a lot of alcohol, smoking, not getting enough sleep or exercise are some of these collagen decreasing activities.  You have probably noticed excess wrinkles in people who do these things more than the average.  A few years ago I met a woman who owned a pool and was extremely tanned and wrinkled for her age.  It was a warning to me as I bought a house with a pool not to overly indulge in sun tanning as I enjoy the great blessing of a pool in my own backyard.

Many companies produce their own varieties of collagen peptides claiming to counter the effects of aging by replacing the collagen with dietary supplements. A lot of these products appeal to those wanting to reduce wrinkles in our aging skin. According to research, however, dietary collagen supplements have not been shown to have much effect on increasing collagen production in our bodies. So the question we are left with is, “Is there a way to increase collagen production in our bodies and therefore decrease some of the effects of aging?”

I am not a scientist but a Health Educator seeking to help others simplify eating & lifesyles for maximum health.  So I read scientific research and find simple ways to implement things that are healthy. For this collagen project, I researched and found what nutrients help our bodies need to produce collagen then found foods that contain those nutrients. This way we can aid and not hinder our bodies to heal and grow strong. Our bodies naturally produce collagen, so I have sought out ways to help boost that process along to hopefully counteract some of the natural decline that happens as we age.

According to my research there are several vitamins that help our bodies create collagen:   vitamin C, vitamin B12, zinc, copper and manganese.  Any supplement in excess or deficiency can be detrimental, so be sure to check with a functional doctor or nutritionist and get your blood levels periodically checked if supplementing with high-dose vitamin pills.  I prefer to get vitamins and nutrients primarily through foods I eat then strategically add a few supplements. It would be very hard to get too much of a good thing through food because our stomachs can only eat so much food.  Also, food as a primary source of nutrition is more nutritious and delicious!

I haven’t done enough research on copper and manganese but do know too much copper can cause problems so I am going to focus on vitamin C, vitamin B12, and zinc. These vitamins are also very helpful to the immune system. Vitamin C has been found to help with many things and is water soluble so it would be hard to take too much yet benefits are found with higher doses. For that vitamin, I supplement with a powder. I found a mostly tasteless powder that doesn’t affect the flavor of food and also is easy on the stomach. I typically have stomach pain if I take too many supplements or even spicy foods, but this vitamin C powder does not bother me at all.

Foods to Eat

So on to some foods we can eat to help our bodies naturally produce more collagen…

Vitamin C Foods:  Citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, bell peppers, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), tomatoes, strawberries, kiwifruit, guavas, avocado

Zinc:  turkey, chicken leg, beef, milk, yogurt, pumpkin seeds, beans, oatmeal, shitake mushrooms, almonds, edamame, oysters, spinach, broccoli, kale, garlic

Vitamin B12:  seafood (clams, trout, salmon, tuna), dairy products (yogurt, milk,…), beef, eggs, chicken breast

Chicken Bone Broth

Now, I mentioned that collagen pills/powders have not been found to increase collagen in your body much. One dietary source of collagen I do recommend, however, is chicken bone broth. It contains gelatinous collagen but also many collagen-producing nutrients. In addition, it has a multitude of other health benefits. Chicken bone broth has long been known to heal colds and coughs, among other ailments. Once a staple in homes across across America, it has now become a rare find because of our busy lives and easy access to faster foods. This may contribute to the increase in health disorders in our modern society. In her book, Nourishing Broth, Sally Fallon Morell gives research, history and recipes to integrate bone broth into your regular diet. The beginning of the book is a fascinating read and inspires me to use what many of our grandmothers knew was liquid gold of nutrition. Food made from scratch is always healthier than processed food but doesn’t have to be hard to make. See my broth recipe for an extremely easy way to make this yourself!

Just One Healthy Change

This blog is all about making healthy living made easy.  I always recommend just making one change at time and only doing that one thing until it becomes easy.  Then add another.  It is what my favorite writing teacher, Andrew Pudewa, calls “easy plus one”.  It works great for kids’ writing class, and it works great for life!  So let’s try to pick one thing, just one, that we can implement in our eating this week to improve our health.

My Simple Collagen Boosting Routine

I want to share the primary way I boost collagen that is SO easy to implement. I add vitamin C powder to my morning yogurt or smoothie. That’s it. Easy! Just 1/4 teaspoon has 1000 mg of vitamin C so it’s easy to get 2000+ in your diet. That boosts collagen production. Now that I have gotten into an easy routine of making my own yogurt, which is super healthy in itself, adding the vitamin C powder enriches it even more. If you don’t make your own yogurt, you can buy plain yogurt with probiotics, add your own local honey, fruit, and mix in vitamin C to make a delicious healthy treat too! Then you will have a Collagen Boosting Bowl of Yogurt!

Since I already have my yogurt routine down and it has become easy, I am ready to implement one more healthy habit in my family’s diet.  I make bone broth but need to find more ways to use it regularly. After doing all this research, I am going to integrate broth more regularly into our weekly menu.    Comment below with any ways you have success in increasing collagen-boosting foods in your diet! 

(** For full disclosure, I receive a small affiliate fee through the Amazon links. Although, I only recommend products I actually use and believe in.**)

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Homemade Mac & Cheese: Simple, Delicious

…simple joy by simpler living

It is that time of year again where BBQs and pot lucks are coming into full swing.  This Homemade Mac & Cheese recipe is one that I get rave reviews of every time I make it.  It is also very filling and easy to make so perfect for a crowd! 

What Makes It So Delicious

This recipe is not too different than other mac & cheese recipes (I mean how different can they really be with being mainly macaroni and cheese) so the key is getting very good quality cheeses.  That’s basically it.  Good cheese makes good mac & cheese. 

Why You Will Love It

Simple – Few ingredients, easy to make.  Shredding the cheese is the only somewhat time consuming part if you are making the recipe for a crowd.  To shorten prep time, you could shred the cheese a day ahead or have other family members pitch in and help with that part.

Healthy – Real, from scratch ingredients are always healthier.  You know exactly what is in this dish as you make it from scratch.  It does contain a bit of fat so it is not to be an everyday dish but from scratch real foods are healthier than any processed dish that lowers fat by replacing with artificial ingredients.

Filling – It is a great side dish for a crowd and fills everyone up!

Delicious – I know I always say this for my recipes but I only post the most delicious ones!

Great for Make Ahead Meals

This recipe is perfect to make a day or two ahead of when you need it.  Then when you need it, remove from the refrigerator and let the dish warm up a bit (if it is glass) before heating it in the oven.  Another alternative to making the whole dish ahead of time is to partially prepare it ahead of time.  Sometimes I shred the cheese and cook the pasta and store separately until just before cooking.  On the day I need it cooked, I can prep the remaining ingredients in less than 10 minutes, pop it in the oven, and it is done in 30 minutes. It is also quite adaptable and can be put in a slow cooker also. Instead of cooking in the oven for 30 minutes, it can be cooked in the crock pot for 3 hours on low. I usually do whatever fits best in my schedule.

Ingredients

Dried pasta – Any will do but I typically get elbow macaroni or penne pasta.  Somewhat small pasta seems to be better.

Cheese – The most important ingredient.  I usually get three types of cheeses and combine them.  I use  mostly cheddar, then less of asiago and parmesan.  Again, getting a very good quality cheese that you shred yourself is the most important thing.  If you skimp on this, it will be a very different dish.  I used to buy the preshredded for ease of preparing but after reading Real Food, Fake Food by Larry Olmsted I will never eat that again.  This book examines different foods and found that shredded cheese you buy in grocery stores is often not all made of cheese.  These bags also contain other by products: preservatives, stabilizers and in some cases SAWDUST!  Yes, you read that correctly.  Even if you did not know that, you can tell by the taste that a block of cheese that you shred yourself has a far better taste and texture than any you buy pre-shredded.  I have found that the more expensive the cheese, the better taste it has.  I am all for bargain shopping so what I do is stock up when my favorite cheeses go on sale. 

Milk – We limit dairy in our house but this dish is one of our exceptions because it tastes so good!  We also use A2/A2 milk from a local farm which doesn’t have the same inflammation and stomach irritation that other milk has.   Sometimes, to limit the lactose I use a milk substitute.  I like oat milk the best.  It seems to have the most neutral taste of all the milk substitutes and still makes a delicious mac & cheese.  There is no doubt, however, that when made with real milk it tastes better.

Flour – Any flour will do, just a little is needed.  I only use freshly ground wheat in my house for full health benefits and flavor.   

Butter – Any butter or margarine that you can cook on the stove will do.

Recipe

2 lbs. small pasta (elbow macaroni, penne,…)

5 tablespoons butter/margarine

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

½ teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

6 cups freshly shredded cheese (cheddar alone or mix with asiago, parmesan,…)

  1. Boil pasta until al dente. Drain then put in casserole dish.
  2. In a separate pan, melt butter over medium heat.
  3. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly on medium, for about 3 minutes until smooth & thick.
  4. Whisk in milk, stirring constantly on medium-high for about 3-5 minutes until thick & bubbly.
  5. Add cheese to milk, stirring until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
  6. Add salt and pepper.
  7. Combine pasta and cheese sauce in a casserole dish. 
  8. Sprinkle a little more shredded cheese on top.
  9. It just needs to be heated & browned on top so here are 3 options:
    • Broil in oven for 5 minutes or until golden brown.
    • Bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 30 minutes until top is golden brown.
    • Put in slow cooker on low for up to 3 hours.

Serve and enjoy!  You are bound to get compliments for this one!!

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Simple, Energizing Breakfast Smoothie

…simple joy by simpler living

What is simpler than a breakfast smoothie! Quick, delicious, and an instant energy booster! We don’t need caffeine in our house, just a fruit smoothie to give a boost to start our day. I simplify our routine by making either a smoothie or a bowl of fresh yogurt every morning as our ” first breakfast”. (Yes, very Hobbit-like!) Here is the simple, fast way we make our smoothies …

Why You Will Love It

You can whip this up in 5 minutes and have a “first breakfast” for everyone or at least fill bellies up enough that they can wait an hour for the rest of their morning food. Smoothies are a great way to add in extra nutrients while still tasting delicious. This recipe is high in protein, calcium and antioxidants. With the extra vitamin C added, we are also boosting immunity first thing in the morning. And did I mention it is so delicious!

Basic Smoothie

The key to a great tasting smoothie is having a basic recipe that tastes great then adding extras that don’t overpower the base taste. My basic recipe is made of a mango or peach juice (no sugar or water added, just 100% fruit juice), bananas, frozen fruit, and unsweetened Greek yogurt.

I use Greek yogurt because even those who are lactose intolerant can drink it. I thought about making my own yogurt last summer after inflation raised yogurt prices very high and I finally did it when it became out-of-stock for a long time. It is so easy to make and incredibly delicious when made with local farm milk that I will never buy store yogurt again. But that’s another blog recipe😀.

Adding enough frozen fruit to your smoothie eliminates the need for ice or additional sweeteners. I usually use half tropical fruit and half berry/kale mixed frozen fruit. Frozen berries are key. Both blueberries and strawberries not only make it taste very good but give it a nice pink color. You can get away with adding some kale if it doesn’t change the whole thing green. Although, some may like green smoothies, but it wouldn’t go very far in my house. Lastly, bananas are a must for making it extra creamy and smooth.

Extras

I like to “sneak” a few additional healthy things in our smoothies that we can’t taste and don’t get enough of elsewhere in our diets. The kale in the frozen fruit mix is one thing that actually makes it in every time because it is tasteless. I’ve also used a little fresh spinach at times. Powdered vitamin C is an easy thing to add. I put in 2000 mg per person without it affecting the flavor. I also have started to add quercetin to help with spring allergies. This is a quick and easy way to get basic vitamins without me having to pester everyone to take their vitamin pills. I like to put collagen powder in just my smoothie, so I add this after I serve the rest of the family. I used to add honey to give it a little extra natural sweeteness but forgot a few times and realized it tastes good without it. There are a variety of extras you can add but I suggest doing a taste test as you add each item because there is a point at which the healthy extra dominates the whole smoothie and it goes from delicious to disgusting. Then you’ll get a bad rep as the smoothie maker and no one will want to drink your smoothies. I made this mistake when my son was young, thinking I could just keep adding whatever I wanted. I thought it was a great idea to add broccoli. The result: he wouldn’t drink my smoothies again for a year! Whatever you add, make sure it is still delicious. Some things, like broccoll, taste better as a dinner side dish!

Recipe

I blend the whole family’s smoothies all together in my Ninja Blender. This recipe makes three 16 ounce smoothies or six 8 ounce smoothies. I put the frozen fruit in last and softer ingredients first so it doesn’t jam the blender blade. I measure with the blender container as I put ingredients in to make it very simple.

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces of juice (mango or peach are my favorites)
  • 16 ounces of plain yogurt (I use unsweetened, Greek yogurt)
  • 3 bananas
  • 2 cups frozen fruit (variety but always with lots of berries)

Optional Extras

  • Vitamin C powder
  • Quercetin
  • Collagen
  • Kale
  • Fresh spinach
  • Honey

Mix in blender and serve to the delight of family and yourself!

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Easy Cinnamon & Maple Oatmeal

…simple joy by simpler living

Oatmeal is one of those foods that I have tried to like my whole life but just can’t get past the pasty texture.  The taste is good but the sticky, pasty way it feels in my mouth repels me. Then I discovered… steel cut oats!  FINALLY, an oatmeal that both tastes good and doesn’t repel my senses!  Another problem then became evident after I made it several times.  It is very difficult to get it just right.  More times than not it overflowed while cooking on the stove creating a huge mess that took me longer to clean up than cooking it.  So it was shelved again in my house until I discovered the EASIEST way to make steel cut breakfast oats.

Enter the Instant Pot! I resisted for years buying this appliance because I do not want it to make dinners. I would much prefer a slow cooker and do all the work and clean up early in the day and allow dinner time to be a relaxing with minimal work. But then one day a friend told me about how quick and easy some breakfasts can be in the instant pot. I was sold! Now I’ve had it for two years and use it constantly for breakfasts and yogurt making. I’m sure I’ll venture to more things later but even for these things it was worth the investment. Now back to steel cut oats in the instant pot…

**This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.**

How It Is Healthy

Oats – These are high in soluble fiber and have been found to lower cholesterol.  They also contains a good amount of vitamins including:  B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.  The amino acid glutamine is also found in abundance in oats.  Glutamine is good for cerebral function, intestinal tract lining to absorb nutrients, and muscle maintenance and growth.

Zinc – This is another nutrient found in oats, Zinc is very good for our immune systems among other things. See this article for lots more information on the benefits of zinc.

Sucanat – We limit sugar on our house and use natural sugars when we sweeten things.  For this recipe I use sucanat, which is a type of cane sugar that is the least refined.  If you do not have this, you can substitute brown sugar for it or any unprocessed sugar such as cane sugar.

Maple Syrup – Using maple syrup in this recipe gives a nice rich flavor.  Real, pure maple syrup is a guiltless way to sweeten things up.  On top of being delicious, it has many positive health benefits including: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-mutagenic. It has even been shown to lower blood sugar for diabetics! This recipe is very flexible so you could use all maple syrup or another sweetener, if you want.

Cinnamon is a spice that not only tastes good but has a multitude of health benefits. It is an antioxidant helping improve heart health, decrease inflammation, and decrease blood sugar levels among other things. This recipe is a tasty way to get a dose of cinnamon on a daily basis!

Why You Will Love It

This recipe is quick and easy.  It also tastes good and the texture is always perfect!  You combine all the ingredients in less than five minutes, set the Instant Pot to cook, and come back in 20-30 minutes and it will be all done.  Simple, quick, easy.  I’ve never had an overflow, a burn, or any mess like I did when hand cooking it on the stove.  The only cleanup is the pot and lid.  If you are low on milk, you can also use half milk and half water and the oatmeal will taste just as good! Very easy recipe!

Simplifies Breakfast Time

It is also a great “make ahead breakfast”. This oatmeal tastes even better as leftovers. One batch lasts several days in my house. To make it super easy, I store in individual covered mini-bowls. For the days after my initial cooking, family members can just grab a bowl to take to school, work, or eat at home. Just reheat and enjoy!

Recipe:

Instant Pot Oatmeal

This quick and easy recipe turns out perfectly each time with no spillovers ever😀.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Warm up/Cool down 20 minutes
Total Time 29 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings

Equipment

  • 1 Pressure Cooker
  • 1 Spoon

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups milk Dairy-free works great too! I use oat milk.
  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sucanat (or brown sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Instructions
 

  • Put all ingredients in the pressurecooker and mix with spoon.
  • Cook on HIGH pressure for 4 minutes.
  • Let it natural pressure release for 10-20 minutes (or longer if you are not ready for it), then quick release.
  • Enjoy!
Keyword breakfast, heart healthy, oats

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Homemade Yogurt the Easy Way!

…simple joy by simpler living

Why would you ever want to make your own yogurt when you can buy it at practically any grocery store?  Probably for the same reasons why I started:  extreme price increases and low stock everywhere.  When inflation hit our groceries hard last year, I started looking at the things I bought the highest quantities of and searched for ways to save money on these items.  In my house, yogurt was one of the most often purchased items.  Yogurt had almost doubled in price so I knew something had to change.  When the stores completely sold out of the kind I bought, the time had come to be done depending on store bought yogurt. 

I decided to try making my own.  I saw on my instant pot that it had a yogurt button so pursued that method first.  After discovering how easy it was, and how delicious it was, I will never turn back to store bought!

Why You Will Love It:

Easy – It basically only has 4 main steps: heat milk to 180 degrees, cool to 110 degrees, whisk in starter/probiotics, put back in Instant Pot incubate 8-24 hours.  You just need some milk and a starter and you can make this easily at your convenience.  Once made, the yogurt lasts for weeks.

Immune boosting – Made with just milk and a starter, this yogurt is so much healthier than storebought with added sugars and many other ingredients.  You can incubate for 8-24 hours.  The longer you incubate, the more probiotics in your yogurt. I use a probiotic pill plus starter (3 tablespoons of yogurt) and incubate 24 hours for maximum probiotic cultures. More probiotics mean better gut health for everyone who eats it.  Gut health is known to be the center of your immune system. Having a lot of good bacteria in your gut (prebiotics & probiotics) help your body have the ability to fight off bad bacteria (viruses, germs…) when they come your way. (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-health-benefits-of-probiotics#indigestion) What better way to increase your immunity than with great tasting homemade yogurt! Brief testimony… My family has been eating this delicious yogurt everyday for breakfast since last summer and has not gotten sick since. Even when very exposed to illnesses where others got bronchitis and pneumonia, we just got very slight symptoms for a day or two, showing we did have it in our systems, but then it went away. Not a scientific study but we are pretty amazed our whole family just made it through the entire winter with not one cold, fever or other illness.

Delicious – There is no comparison to the taste of homemade versus store bought with all their added ingredients.  Top it with your own fresh ingredients and yogurt has never tasted better!  Even my pickiest eater asks for it first thing every morning. It is so good you may just want to serve it as a dessert!

Tools Needed:

(** For full disclosure, I receive a small affiliate fee through the Amazon links. Although, I only recommend products I actually use and believe in.**)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Gallon Milk – Any milk will do but I use A2/A2 milk from a local dairy farm.  This milk comes from Jersey cows and is creamier, more easily digested and contains omega 3s, higher protein, beta carotene and more.  To top it off it is SO much more delicious!  I get it delivered within a day of milking so that also makes a big difference.  BUT…. any milk will do.  You can get good results with any fresh milk. 
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Yogurt Starter or Probiotics– This can be something sold as “yogurt starter” or a regular milk yogurt that has live/active cultures. Read the labels to find one at your local stores. One brand recommended that I have had success with is Yoplait OUI Yogurt. I has live cultures and minimal other ingredients. You could also use yogurt cultures or probiotics. What I use is 2-3 tablespoons of my latest batch of yogurt AND a probiotic capsule (I open capsule and whisk probiotic powder in with the starter.) This gives me a thick, creamy yogurt each time. Only certain strains of probiotics culture to make yogurt. You can buy some specifically labeled for yogurt but I tried my daily probiotic pill because it contained many of the proper yogurt strains probiotics and it worked. It worked so well that I keep doing it with great success!

Recipe:

Homemade Yogurt in Instant Pot

simplycountitalljoy
Delicious, creamy homemade yogurt full of healthy probiotics
Prep Time 20 minutes
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 100 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Instant Pot with yogurt function
  • 1 Whisk
  • 1 Food Thermometer

Ingredients
  

  • 1 gallon Milk
  • 3 tbsp Yogurt
  • 1 capsule Probiotic pill (optional

Instructions
 

  • Pour 1 gallon of milk into Instant Pot & cover (don’t need pressure lid because it is not pressure cooked).
  • Push the “Yogurt” button until it says “boil”.
  • When the Instant Pot beeps, check the temperature to make sure it is 180 degrees.  (I find it is always at that temperature unless I have removed the lid during heating up.) (If it is not hot enough, you can turn to saute mode and whisk the milk until it gets up to 180 degrees).
  • Remove the metal liner with milk to let milk cool down to 110 degrees.  You can do this by letting it sit on your cool stove top for a while or setting the metal liner in a big bowl of ice water. 
  • Remove 1 cup of milk to a separate bowl and whisk in 2-3 tablespoons of a yogurt starter.  When this is smooth add back to the rest of the milk in the metal liner and whisk all until smooth.
  • Return the metal liner to the Instant Pot. Cover.
  • Push the “Yogurt” button again until it says 8-24 hours.  You choose how long you want it to incubate.  (The longer you incubate, the more beneficial probiotics it creates.  I always choose 24 hours and decide the following day when I need to take it out, depending on my schedule of when I will be home.)
  • After 8-24 hours remove the liner with yogurt and your yogurt is done!
  • Optional last step: strain yogurt in a yogurt strainer to make Greek yogurt.  Great option if you are lactose intolerant as the lactose is drained out.  I usually let it cool in refrigerator first. Enjoy!
Keyword breakfast, snack, yogurt

Ways to Serve:

Fresh bowl of yogurt – We love it best with some local honey, fresh berries, sliced banana and granola on top.  You will probably want to add some sweetener so the most natural, unprocessed sweetener the better.

Smoothies – This tastes great in smoothies. See my smoothie recipe: https://simplycountitalljoy.com/2023/04/28/simple-energizing-breakfast-smoothie/

Sour Cream – If you do not sweeten, this can be a substitute for sour cream.  Much healthier than regular sour cream.  This is a good alternative if you are lactose intolerant and can’t eat regular sour cream.

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Easiest & Healthiest Homemade Bread

…simple joy by simpler living

The smell of fresh bread wafting through your home is a welcome treat no matter where you are!

I have three criteria if I am going to put forth the time and energy to cook. The food must be: super simple, super nutritious, and super delicious. This recipe is a core staple in my house and meets all three criteria with flying colors. It is a staple because it is a very nutrient-dense, delicious food that everybody loves and there are so many things that can be made from this delicious bread: croutons, french toast, sandwiches, scrambled egg with bread cubes…

Making homemade bread can be easy and delicious with a bread machine! It is also extremely healthy and more delicious when made with freshly ground wheat . Chock full of nutrition and melt-in-your-mouth flavor, I like it best with a little butter and a drizzling of honey.

No Guilt!

Freshly ground wheat is the key! It makes a world of difference to grind your own wheat. Freshly ground grains contain a wealth of nutrition not found in such abundance in other foods. This used to be the norm in society until “white bread” became popular. It was at that time in food history that more diseases and inflammation entered societies. Most of the problems people have with gluten is because of the nutritionally stripped wheat used to make almost everything in stores and not with the whole grain of the wheat kernel itself. For more info see “The Truth about Wheat“.

It sounds so primitive since this generation doesn’t know about it but grinding your own grains is so easy. All it takes is a grain grinder and then the doors to an avalanche of nutrients come falling your way. This bread is low-gluten, high protein, high fiber and flooded with vitamins and minerals. The evidence is how good you feel after you eat it. High, sustained energy and a full-feeling keep you from craving snacks between meals. I was literally the queen of snacking prior to eating this bread. Then I started eating this bread with an egg for breakfast and it filled me up so much that I wouldn’t want snacks or even be hungry for lunch until about 2pm. Good nutrition is what our bodies crave. Even if we get enough calories, we will continue to crave more and more food until the nutrients our bodies need are eaten. Good nutrition is also the best way to keep our weight in check. Filling up on on nutritious food first is a sure way to keep us healthier because our stomachs will be satisfied and our cravings will get under control.

SIMPLE

To make it simple, I keep the ingredients on hand so it is super easy to whip up a loaf of bread at a moment’s notice. I have invested in a bread machine and wheat grinder. I didn’t do it all at once but got a bread machine first and used a friend’s grinder. After I made sure it was something I wanted to do long term, I then investedin a grinder. I have never looked back or regretted the investment! I am going on 7 years of this homemade bread journey and have continued to enjoy all the many health benefits. It literally takes me less than 5 minutes to put all the ingredients in the machine. Then 3 hours later, a delicious loaf of bread is baked and filling my home with a mouth-watering aroma!

Economical

There is an initial investment of the grain mill and bread machine but the cost of the wheat berries to grind is so much cheaper than store bought flour, bread, cookies, muffins,… that you immediately start saving on the cost of groceries. This quickly offsets the cost of the grinder.

Ingredients

Fresh, high quality ingredients are key! I try to buy as much local as I can and it really makes a difference.

Flour – A variety of freshly ground wheat berries can be used but my favorite is a mix of: 2 cups hard white wheat, 2 cups hard red wheat and 1 cup of spelt. All hard white or half hard white wheat and half hard red wheat. Spelt gives a lighter, fluffier loaf. I have made loaves with all spelt and it rises more but is a little too light & airy for me. I think the rise and texture is perfect when adding 1 cup of spelt to 3-4 cups of wheat. The bread machine settings in the recipe work best for me when the wheat is chilled first. I have tweaked the settings over the years and what is listed guarantees a great loaf every time for me. It is SO easy to make! Humidity and altitude affect the rise so it may need to be tweaked for different locations.

Honey – Since honey is one of the most counterfeited foods sold in grocery stores, I only buy local honey. The taste is so delicious, that we often take a spoonful instead of a less healthy treat to satisfy sweet cravings. I buy in bulk to get the best deal from a local honey farm. It adds delicious flavor in this recipe and especially when drizzled on a steaming hot piece of fresh bread!

Salt – I used “Real Salt” from Azure Standard. It can also be bought on Amazon. It is unrefined and natural and good for all cooking and baking. Again, I buy in bulk to get the best price so I can afford this high quality salt.

**For Amazon links, I make a small commission at no additional cost to you for buying through these links. I ONLY recommend products I really believe in.**

Equipment

 Grain mill  I highly recommend this Nutrimill grain mill. I have had this and used it a lot for almost 10 years never having one single problem with it.

I recommend it over the Wondermill for the simple reason that the Wondermill will break if you turn it off while grinding. It was a MAJOR problem when using a friend’s mill and flour was spewing all over the place so it needed to be turned off. The repair was a huge hassle and big expense. Seems to be basic Electronics 101 that you should be able to turn it off if needed without breaking the machine.

The Nutrimill grinds fine or coarse, making great bread or cookies. Therefore, my high recommendation is the Nutrimill.

Bread machine  This machine makes the best bread!! The custom settings and extra heating element in the top really makes this machine the best one that I know of.

Bread Box This is the bread box I have used for years with great success keeping the bread fresher than it does in other packaging.

RECIPE:

Healthy Homemade Bread in Bread Machine

Delicious homemade bread made super easy in a bread machine.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Course Breakfast, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 10 slices

Equipment

  • 1 Bread machine
  • 2 measuring spoons
  • 1 Measuring cups

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4-1/2 cup honey Tastes great no matter how much!
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp yeast

Instructions
 

  • Put all ingredients in the bread pan in the order above with yeast going on top of flour not touching wet ingredients.
  • Set bread machine to “wheat bread”
    or use the following settings if you have the option to customize settings on your bread machine:
    Rest: 25 minutes
    Knead: 20 min
    Rise 1: 45 minutes
    Rise 2: 35 minutes
    Bake: 1 hour
    Keep Warm: off
Keyword breakfast, snack

How To Eat

This bread is so good that you do not need anything on it but my favorite way to eat it is with a little spread of butter and a drizzling of honey. Have fun trying your own spreads on it to serve in a variety of ways!

Once you try this bread, you will realize how easy and delicious it is and you will never want store bought bread again!

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The Truth About Wheat

…simple joy by simpler living

In a world where bread has been declared a dietary evil, it was a huge revelation to me to learn that bread, when made with freshly ground wheat, is one of the most nutritious foods we can eat. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, freshly ground wheat can and should be a part of everyone’s diet unless someone truly has celiac disease.

It has become popular and trendy to go “gluten-free”, but in doing so most do not recognize that most “gluten-free” substitutes are devoid of much nutrition and can actually be detrimental to your overall health. Gluten-free diets often have an excessive amount of non-nutritious rice flour. The result is less gluten, very little nutrition and very high levels of arsenic! (https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/11/arsenic-in-your-food/index.htm) This is very similar to the low-fat diets of years past, where the “bad” food ingredient was replaced with another “bad” ingredient. In the case of the low-fat diet, foods decreased fat but massively increased refined, white sugar. The result was often an unhealthier food. Many foods such as yogurt were much healthier in the higher fat original version.

Often, those who see the benefit of going gluten-free are transitioning from bleached, nutritionally devoid white flour products made from just the endosperm part of the whole wheat. When white flour, endosperm part of wheat only, was introduced in the early 1800s, health problems and diseases became widespread. This seems to be because nutrients that are necessary in our diets were replaced by high starch flours devoid of many nutrients our body needs. For those of us sensitive to inflammation, we can literally feel our hands swell or joints get stiff when we eat too much of this white flour.

Once the chaff is removed, wheat is called wheat berries and contains three parts: endosperm, germ, and bran. These wheat berries can be bought in bulk saving A LOT of $$. The endosperm is made of mostly protein and starch. It has some amino acids but practically no vitamins, minerals, or fiber. So obviously eating white flour which contains only the endosperen will cause inflammation and a lack of nutrients. The bran part contains: fiber (both soluble and insoluble), protein, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes to help digestion. The germ is the most nutrient-dense part of the grain. It contains vitamin E, most B vitamins, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and more. Vitamin E is found higher in wheat germ than almost any other food. This helps explain why many viruses and illnesses are cured simply by eating delicious foods made from freshly ground wheat berries.

It has only been a very few generations since most American families cooked from scratch and knew exactly what was in their food. With the rise of restaurant eating, fast food, and needed shortcuts for our fast pace of life, we often do not know the ingredients of the food we eat. This has led to a multitude of health problems and our society has bought into different quick “fixes” for the inevitable problems our modern diet has caused.

For me, it has been a delight to discover that healthier foods not only taste better but can be easy to make and incorporate into our family’s diet. It has taken time to create these new routines. I am eager to share how you too can easily incorporate these things into your life too! Along the way, one of the best discoveries I made was that bread can be good for me!

Bread and wheat have gotten a bad rap because most of the wheat available in grocery stores have been stripped of the healthy parts to prevent spoilage. What is left is gluten laden and contains almost no vitamins, minerals or fiber. So yes, most wheat products available in grocery stores should be on that “bad” list. But wheat, in its whole form, is a totally different thing.

Buying whole wheat berries and grinding them yourself is extremely nutritious, easy, and very economical! Before I discovered this, I was on a gluten-free diet. I can tell you that the improvement in my energy level and how I felt overall changed dramatically after making and eating freshly, ground wheat products. This was evidence in itself for me that I was getting more nutrition. After much research, I now know there are vast amounts of nutrients contained in freshly ground wheat. Eating freshly ground wheat has actually been found to treat and cure illnesses! Historically, it has been found that many illnesses first became prevalent in our country when the nutritious part of wheat was removed and bleached, white flour took its place. What a great thing that delicious, freshly ground wheat bread is actually really, really good for us! Now that is some good nutritional news!

Grain Mill

I have this grain mill to grind my grains and love it: Nutrimill. I have had it for about 6 years and use it a few times per week and have never had a problem. It is an initial investment but you save immediately upon buying a large bag of grains quickly making up the cost.

If you would like to learn more about the fascinating facts about freshly milled grains, I highly suggest Sue Becker’s free podcast: Sue’s Healthy Minutes with Sue Becker | The Bread Beckers by Sue Becker on Audible. https://www.audible.com/pd/B09Q3PM9QS?source_code=ASSOR150021221000N

We need to get back to the basics of freshly milled wheat for maximum nutrition!

(** For full disclosure, I receive a small affiliate fee through the Amazon links. Although, I only recommend products I actually use and believe in.**)

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