Easy Hard White Wheat Bread

…simple joy by simpler living

Freshly milled grains make delicious and nutritious bread! This recipe uses only hard white wheat so is my go-to easiest bread!

This bread is so easy, it is my travel bread. It is easy to pack these ingredients to make at homes I visit. And everyone loves it! So much so that I am writing this post for the friends and relatives I just visited who asked for this recipe😀.

Although you can make this by hand, what makes it super easy is a bread machine. Any bread machine will do but I love the Zojirushi bread machine because of the large capacity, custom settings, and extra heating element on top that bakes the bread so evenly. The loaves turn out consistently good.

Why You Will Like this Recipe

Guilt-Free

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 are 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“.

Easy

This bread uses only one grain unlike the mix I use at home that is my favorite fluffy blend. With a little additional yeast, it rises well giving it a not too dense loaf.

Multi-purpose

This loaf can be used for sandwiches, a side to dinners, or simply a snack. While traveling, it served many purposes and fed many!

Delicious

This is so delicious that it was hard to keep a loaf around for a meal unless I put a sign on it to save it. It was hard to resist when the smell of it cooking penetrated the air so pungently. Truly mouth-watering!

Extra Large

This loaf uses 5 cups so it feeds a crowd! Under normal circumstances, this large loaf will last a while. If you are feeding a crowd, it may only last one meal but you will have many happy bellies!

Equipment

**I make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase through the links below**

Here are the grain mill and bread machine I have. They have been very reliable with never one problem with either. They make the best bread!! I travel with them whenever I can and they are durable as well.

 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.

Ingredients

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

Flour – I suggest buying through Azure Standard. They have a large variety of high quality, organic products. This recipe uses hard white wheat berries.

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.

Olive Oil – High quality olive oil can be bought from Azure Standard or other local sources.

RECIPE:

Hard White Wheat Bread

Freshly milled hard white wheat makes a delicious loaf of bread for sandwiches oras a side to dinner
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Course Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 15
Calories 110 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 5 cups freshly milled hard white wheat
  • 1 1/2 tbsp instant yeast

Instructions
 

  • Add ingredients in order listed to bread machine, adding yeast at end to top, keeping away from wet ingredients.
  • Set bread machine to "wheat bread" or the following custom settings:
    Rest: 25 minutes
    Knead: 20 minutes
    Rise 1: 45 minutes
    Rise 2: 35 minutes
    Bake: 1 hour
    Keep Warm: Off
Keyword bread, freshly milled, hard white wheat, high protein, low gluten

How To Eat

This bread is great for sandwiches or as a side for dinners: plain, with butter, or honey.

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The Best Oatmeal Cookies with Freshly Milled Flour

…simple joy by simpler living

Jump to Recipe

Soft, delicious and super healthy too! These cookies are so nutritious they can be eaten for breakfast or a healthy snack. The kids will love them and you will feel good knowing that they are not only great tasting but great for you!

Having homemade cookies in my cookie jar makes for a happy kitchen! Not only does it look pretty but is so tasty and provides an alternative to unhealthy snacks for my family. How is it healthy, you ask? By using freshly ground grains, unprocessed sweeteners and other healthy real ingredients, these are great for you. They are filled with lots of vitamins, minerals, and heart -healthy fiber.

You can make any cookie recipe healthier by substituting store bought flour with freshly milled wheat. Freshly milled grains are the most nutrient-dense food so using them in cookies actually can make them a good souce of nutrition. What better way to increase your nutrition than with delicious cookies!

I often make and even eat these with my homemade yogurt for breakfast. The freshly milled wheat fills you up with sustained energy so you are not hungry for snacks. I eat these instead of granola to mix things up. They are also great on their own with a nice cold drink!

How the Ingredients are Healthy

There are many ways to transform regular cookies into a heathy treat filled with nutrients. The trick is to substitute unhealthy ingredients. Here are the healthy ingredients used in this cookie:

  • Freshly milled soft white wheat and/or spelt: Grains that you grind yourself are chock full of nutrients. Replacing store bought flour with your own freshly ground grains changes it dramatically from a health detriment to a healing food. And if it is done right, it will taster dramatically better too! I use soft white wheat or spelt, often a combo of both. Soft white wheat does not require yeast to rise so it is used often in baked goods. This is what I primarily use. Spelt is a lighter, fluffier grain that gives an extra rise to baked goods. I like to add it to cookies so they don’t come out as flat. The pictured cookies were made with all spelt so they are extra thick.
  • Sucanat sugar: This is an unprocessed sugar high in molasses from the sugarcane plant. Because it is close to its natural state, it retains a good amount of vitamins and minerals. You gotta like a sugar that is nutritious!
  • Butter: I primarily use my “yogurt butter”, that is the top layer of fat that rises to to top of my homemade yogurt when it is done cooking. I just scrape it off and save for later. You can use any butter or margarine for cookie recipes. It is trial and error to see which ones bake better. Newer research is showing that natural animal fats are overall healthier in moderation than a lot of the “low fat” margarines that became popular in the 80s. This ingredient of butter or margarine can be personalized to individual preference.
  • Raisins: Dried fruit is “God’s Candy”. Natural sweeteness straight from the plant with lots of healthy nutrients! Raisins are high in antioxidants, and a good source of iron, potassium, copper, vitamin B6, manganese and boron.
  • Oats: Oats are well-known to contain heart-healthy soluble fiber and these cookies have a lot of oats. Oats also contain a good amount of vitamins and minerals making it a great food to improve your health!

Where to Buy Healthy Ingredients

My number one recommendation for where to buy healthy foods is Azure Standard. I love the prices, variety of food, and the organization of buying monthly in bulk. The ease of their online ordering makes it a quick and easy way to shop!

Equipment Needed

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

This recipe doesn’t require any fancy equipment but I have a few favorite products below that simplify and make cooking easier. I’m all for cooking in the simplest, easiest way possible.

  • Electric Mixer: I mostly use my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer these days. It allows you to easily multitask and mix hands-free. I also have a hand-held electric mixer that used to be my full time mixer. Kitchen Aid is the only brand I recommend. After many, many breaking on me, I was told Kitchen Aid mixers have a MUCH better motor, and found it is so true. I have used these two for over 20 years on thick doughs and it has never broken. Kitchen Aid motors are really in a league of their own!
  • Cookie Scooper: This makes scooping the dough and putting it on your cookie sheet so quick and easy with no mess. It also makes each cookie the same size, if that’s important to you🙂.
  • Baking Sheet: I started using an insulated cookie sheet years ago and never turned back. Cookies never get overcooked on the bottom.
  • Silicone Spatula
  • Stainless Steel Fish Spatula: Sounds weird that it’s called a fish spatula, but trust me, it is great for cookies, eggs, and anything else on a metal pan. I bought this two years ago upon a big recommendation that it was way better than other ones. I didn’t fully believe it but needed one so bought it. Now here I am to tell you that this is the BEST spatula to use for cooking. It is actually the only one I use now so I bought two!
  • Cooling Rack: I like these better than the low ones because they cool faster by allowing air on all sides. They are used often in my house!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Scrumptious and very healthy oatmeal raisin cookies 🍪
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 30 Cookies
Calories 65 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Mixer with bowl
  • 1 Cookie scooper or large spoon
  • 1 Baking sheet
  • 1 Spatula
  • 1 Cooking rack

Ingredients
  

  • 3/4 cup Butter (200 grams)
  • 1 1/4 cup Sucanat (or other sugar) (210 grams)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups Flour (190 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 3 cups Oats (270 grams)
  • 1/2 cup Raisins (75 grams)

Instructions
 

  • Whip butter and sugar together with electric mixer.
  • Continue whipping while adding eggs and vanilla.
  • Mix in flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  • Add oats until well mixed.
  • Add raisins.
  • Scoop balls of dough onto baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
  • Cool on rack.
  • Store for 3 days at room temperature or freeze for later.
Keyword breakfast, cookies, freshly ground wheat, heart healthy

Hope you enjoy this guilt-free treat!

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Simple Meal Planning – 3 Step Meal Prep

…simple joy by simpler living

Cooking at home is almost always healthier than restaurant eating. When eating out, you do not know all the ingredients and there usually are some very unhealthy things added to make the food taste better. So my goal is to mostly cook and eat at home. This can be difficult though. Today I am sharing ways I simplify this process to make it achievable! No matter what your job, stage of life, or disability is, there are some easy ways to simplify cooking at home. So here is my simple 3-step meal planning routine…

1. Buy in Bulk

This is the main and most important step. It involves buying ahead of time. It doesn’t really require much effort beyond that, though, because you do not have to plan meals at this point. This step is all about stocking up on good quality food at a good price. If you buy in bulk you can really save money and afford better quality food. I have just a few items that I buy in bulk that really save me money and time later. See this post for more details about what to buy in bulk.

Where to buy in bulk??

Azure Standard is the best place I have found for quality and cost. They have a great variety of organic products at some of the best prices around. I order about once every few months. Great products at great prices! Butcherbox is my go-to for meat. We also scope out some local sources for certain items. Read here for more detailed tips!

2. Decide Meals based upon Food Already Bought in Bulk

As I wind down on my typically relaxing Sunday evenings, I head to my freezer and choose a variety of meat to defrost for the week. Since I already invested time in getting the meat, this only takes about 5 minutes to think through the different nights I need to cook and pick out a variety of meats. I have found that the top or bottom of a large turkey roasting pan is the perfect size to put large meat packs in to defrost. It is large enough to hold most of the meat I need for the week, has high sides to catch any juices that may leak, and fits nicely on a shelf in my refrigerator so I can grab what is needed easily each night I cook.

Sometime on Monday, I sit down and decide what to cook with each meat defrosted. With so much on hand from buying in bulk, I typically just need to add a few vegetables so my weekly shopping lists are rather small. I start out the plan by looking at my calendar and figuring out which days everyone will be home together and which days we will not be. On some days where everyone is going in different directions, I intentionally plan to have leftovers. It might be because sports practice is too early for me to make a meal or it may be that I am too busy certain days. Whatever it may be, I plan the days I need to cook, the days I cook double so I have l will have leftovers and the days I give myself the night off of cooking by eating those leftovers. Sometimes I also just cook extra meat to have in fridge because I have found that teenage boys eat A LOT! So finding food that tastes good as leftovers is a regular part of my meal planning. One day per week, on a relaxed evening, I usually plan something new and special.

The slow cooker is my best friend for dinners. Every meat turns out flavorful and tender. The best part for me, however, is that all the work and cleanup is done in the morning. By the time dinner rolls around, I am usually tired and busy so all that is needed is to make the sides. It is also SO nice to come home after being out of the house and smell a delicious meal cooking. I am always excited that the wafting aromas are coming from MY house😃.

The whole planning process doesn’t take me more than 10-20 minutes. I usually list the days of the week with the meal next to it. This helps so I can easily do step 3 – and satisfies curious minds! Even though I usually make a general plan, I am always open to changing it, as necessary. Sometimes we have more leftovers than planned and can skip an extra day of cooking. Sometimes appointments take longer than expected, or sometimes I am just too tired to cook. So sometimes we eat out. I have a few healthy restaurant options that we have in our back pocket for these occasions. My motto is flexibility within structure. Have a plan but be willing to flex, as needed, in life.

3. Get fresh veggies or extras needed

I love summer cooking. Fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs are available in abundance from home gardens and local farm markets. Adding any of these fresh items can complete a meal easily. The easiest thing is when I have these at home but my reality is that I usually don’t have everything I need. I do, however, have a few garden veggies, my favorite farm stands and grocery stores to pick up the complements to my meals.

Summer salads are always quick and easy. Fresh corn on the cob, green beans and potatoes found at a farm stand are a delicious and simple way to complement any grilled meat. Adding fresh basil to salads, rosemary to roasted potatoes or cilantro to fajitas can turn an ordinary entrée into a flavorful feast! Freshly made wheat bread or corn bread adds a delicious addition to fill up hungry eaters. Whatever you choose to add at this step, having a few easy regular rotations in meals and easy places to get these items make a world of difference.

An easy way I plan meals is to cook double of my main dish. When we have it for leftovers and I have extra time, I add a homemade side such as cornbread or homemade salsa to a Mexican meal. This enhances the meal and makes it slightly different than the first time to freshen it up.

Anything from scratch will always be healthier and more delicious than pre-packaged food. This can be very complicated with a long recipe, or can be very simple by roasting vegetables then simply salting or sprinkling with a fresh herb. I usually start with fresh veggies & keep the menu simple, adding only one new recipe per week. This way simple cooking can be healthy and a simple delight!

Cooking Meals

When it comes time to cook meals, it is very easy because all ingredients are on hand and I have a plan. No last minute rushing to the store in addition to cooking is needed! This saves me a lot of time and energy making it easier to accomplish cooking from scratch at home for maximum nutrition and healing! Praying you find this easy 3- step meal prep leads to you finding simple joy by simpler living too!

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Blueberry Banana Sourdough Muffins

…simple joy by simpler living

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Tender and moist with just enough sweetness, these blueberry banana muffins satisfy a snack craving yet are healthy enough to eat for a nutritious breakfast.  They are so easy to whip up quickly, and so tasty that you will want to make them often!

The mix of blueberries with bananas and sourdough plus sweeteners gives them bursting flavors to satisfy hungry mouths. 

This recipe is a great way to use up your sourdough discard but can also be used with active sourdough starter.   If using freshly ground wheat, you will not only make it low-gluten but also high protein and nutrient-dense.  This provides great healing and energy to start the day or for that afternoon slump when you need a healthy pick-me-up! 

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

Stand mixer

Tools recommended:

Stand mixer or whisk –  I love using a stand mixer because it allows me to multi-task and makes mixing incredibly easy. 

Muffin tin – I recently discovered a real time-saver:  a 24 muffin tin.  This saves so much time because you only have to cook half as much as a 12 muffin tin.  I realized that I stayed away from making muffins because of the time and work of having to repeat the cooking process 2-4 times, depending on how much you are making.  This has been hugely valuable in my kitchen because I always have several things I am making at once and it makes muffin making a super quick process.

Pot holders – These are my favorites.  I got them because my husband wanted bigger ones that fit his hands and my arm got burnt from shorter ones.  These are now the favorites for the whole family.

Muffin liners

Spatula

Measuring spoons

Measuring cups

Fresh summer blueberries

Ingredients:

Quality ingredients make the difference between fine and fabulous. I always stock up on quality ingredients, often buying in bulk, to save money.

Flour – I grind my own wheat to get a myriad of nutrients for healing.  For this recipe I use soft white wheat or spelt. Spelt gives a lighter, more fluffy texture. You could also use another flour that you have.

Butter – For baked goods, I mostly use what I call “yogurt butter”.  It is the top layer of fat from my homemade yogurt.  After the yogurt is finished, I scrape off the top layer and save it for baked goods.  This way I save money on buying it and I also know it is the healthiest butter I could use.  When I do not have that on hand I prefer homemade butter bought at my local Amish market.  Homemade really tastes so much better.  I have also used Earth’s Balance margarine with good baking success when dairy-free is needed. 

Bananas – Overripe bananas are the best for baking.  The natural sweetness and flavor, which I don’t like as much if eating directly, gives baked goods the best flavor.  It is hard to time baking for when bananas get to this stage so I often freeze bananas right in their peels when they become overripe.  They are very easy to defrost and work well in muffins when the day comes that they are needed.

Blueberries – I have used fresh or small frozen blueberries for this recipe.  Fresh summer blueberries are my favorite!  Large frozen blueberries should be partially defrosted or the muffin may end up too mushy.

Sourdough starter – This is a very easy way to use up discard or use an active starter.  Either way, it boosts digestibility and adds a great complement flavor to the sweet ingredients.

Honey – Local, raw honey is my preferred sweetener.  Natural sweeteners are much healthier and once you taste real, local honey you will never prefer the cheaper less healthy white sugar again!  It can be expensive so is one of my staples that I buy in bulk.

Sucanat sugar – This is my second favorite sweetener.  It is an unrefined, natural cane sugar.  Other sugars can be used in place of sucanat with unrefined sugars being the best choices.  I use this sugar in place of brown sugar in recipes.  It has a rich flavor because of molassas in it and is similar to brown sugar.

Blueberry Banana Sourdough Muffins

Bananas and blueberries, sourdough and honey give these muffins bountiful flavor and moistness. Satisfying enough for a snack, nutritious enough for breakfast, easy enough for any day!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 24 muffins

Equipment

  • 1 Stand mixer (preferred) (A hand mixer or whisk can also be used.)
  • 1 Muffin tin (A 24 muffin tin is a big time-saver, although any will do.)
  • 24 Muffin liners
  • 1 Spatula
  • 1 measuring spoons
  • 1 Measuring cups
  • 2 Pot holders

Ingredients
  

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened (169 g)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup sucanat or other unrefined sugar (85 g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sourdough starter or discard (150 g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 overripe bananas, mashed (about 400 g)
  • 3 1/2 cups flour (360 g) (I use freshly ground soft white to make it very healthy.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup blueberries (145 g) Fresh, small frozen, or large defrosted

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Put muffin liners in muffin pan or lightly grease with butter.
  • Put all ingredients in stand mixer in the order listed, stirring on low in between each.
  • Spoon into muffin tin.
  • Cook at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
  • Cool on cooling rack.
  • Serve as is or with butter and a drizzling of honey for even more flavor.
Keyword bananas, blueberries, breakfast, easy recipe, freshly ground wheat, heart healthy, snack

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

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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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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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