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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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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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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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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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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Simply Count It All Joy!

…simple joy by simpler living

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds… James 1:2 ESV

In a world where things seem to be getting increasingly complicated, it takes intentional effort to keep our priorities straight. We all know that trials are a part of life, but it took me years to understand how I could have joy during the inevitable trials and difficultes life brings. Along the journey, a big lesson I have learned is that by simplifying my life and keeping the main things the main things, peace and joy result.

Hi! My name is Karen and this blog is about my journey of getting back to the basics of simple joy by simpler living.

After packing and moving many times over my life, I have come to appreciate having less “stuff “. Recent downsizing of homes has made me really see that the less stuff you have, the easier it is to manage your home life. I know, very obvious. But the not-so-obvious side benefit to me was that the more I let go of earthly treasures, the more I could focus on heavenly treasures and be a better steward of this life that I have been given.

This revelation, along with a little more time in my schedule, has allowed me to use my natural gifting of organization to create a more joy-filled home by simpler living. Simple food. Simple home. Simple faith.

Simple food. My path of healthy living started many years ago by earning a B.S. in Health Education and Promotion. It wasn’t until the last few years, however, that I have truly understood what nutritious food really is. It all starts with cooking real food from scratch. Despite the fact that it sounds like more work, cooking from scratch can be very easy and very delicious! I have physical limitations so for me, it has to be easy. To make it easy, I simplify by buying a few key things in bulk, and cooking a variety of things from these core items. Not only does it save time and money but my family has found that it is much more delicious, satisfying, and healthy! The first benefit I saw to my new way of eating was an immediate decrease in inflammation and pain. I then started to explore deeper into the nutrients I was eating to find out why. In the process, I discovered scientific studies detailing benefits of various nutrients. After learning a lot over the past few years about vitamins and natural illness remedies, I have turned my focus to getting more of these nutrients from foods we eat leading to better health. I am on a journey to learn more and more about eating for optimal health and healing. My motivation is not purely for self interests, though, but primarily to be the best steward of the life I have been given. Come join me as we learn together how simple food can be a part of a joy-filled life!

Simple home. Having a few home systems and routines in place saves me a lot of time during our busy weeks. This takes just a little bit of planning but pays off by freeing up even more time later on. I have meal planning, efficient home organization and cleaning practices to share that are quick and easy. This investment on the front end allows more free time later. Let’s journey together in making our simplified homes more peace-filled and joyful!

Simple faith. Religion can get very complicated with rules and traditions. I keep this area of my life simple too by keeping the main thing the main thing. Whether you share my simple faith in Jesus or you have another belief system, I invite you to this area of my blog to see the freedom and joy that comes from simple faith.

I am excited to start this journey with others who desire to get back to the basics of simple joy by simpler living!

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