Got Milk? Make Yogurt

I’ve got a confession to make.

I have a habit.

It’s a daily habit…

It’s an obsession…

It’s not something I’m going to stop doing any time soon…

I eat yogurt for breakfast every day!

I do!

Yeah, okay.  Not earth shattering.  Not even worth all the suspense.

But it’s big for me.  It’s something I’ve incorporated into my healthy eating routine that keeps my gut healthy, which I believe helps to keep my inflammatory response issues subdued.

This daily habit means that I consume a half cup or more of yogurt every morning.  I use it instead of milk with my homemade granola, often tossing in whatever fresh fruit I have on hand.  It’s my favorite food start of each day.

It’s become a costly habit.  I’m very particular about the type of yogurt I eat, and my favorite brand is only available in the next town.  At almost $4 per container, add the time and gas for travel – it adds up quickly.

For a while, I’ve felt that I should make my own.  But it intimidated me.

It’s been about two years now and I finally got up the nerve to make my own.  I can’t believe I’ve waited so long!

When I first thought I might attempt homemade yogurt, I was hooked on the nonfat vanilla variety.  Now, I eat plain whole milk yogurt or none at all.  That made it especially easy for me.

I read several recipes and then did what I usually do – improvised.  I didn’t change ingredients, but I did incorporate methods from three different recipes to attempt my first batch.  It was a resounding success!

I like my yogurt thick, almost as thick as the Greek style yogurt, so my focus was on reaching that consistency.

The basic method to make yogurt is to heat milk to 185 degrees, then cool it down to 115 degrees.  That creates the culture medium.  The yogurt starter is added once the milk has cooled, then the mix is placed in a warm location for the cultures to set.

Here’s my method:

1/2 gallon whole milk – raw milk would be best

1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt with active cultures – the best type is that with six active cultures (I used Stonyfield)

Preheat a crockpot by filling it 1/3 full with hot tap water, place the lid on and set it on high heat for 15 minutes or so.

Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat to 185 degrees over medium heat, stirring frequently.  I didn’t have a candy thermometer, so I used a meat thermometer.  It’s not as handy, but it works.

Check the water in the crockpot by dipping a finger in it – if it’s too hot to leave your finger in, turn off the crockpot with the lid still on and allow the water to sit while your pan of milk rises to temperature.  Once the milk is at 160 degrees, take the lid off of the crock of water to allow it to cool to about 115 degrees.

Once the milk has reached temperature, turn off the burner and set the milk away from the stove to cool.  The milk won’t take long to cool once it’s removed from the heat source.

While the milk is cooling, pour out the water in the crock and put the lid back on to hold the heat.

When the milk has cooled to 115 degrees, add the yogurt to the milk and stir well.

Pour the milk mix into the warmed crock.

Cover the crock with a clean towel, leaving the lid off.

Set the towel covered crock into the oven and turn the oven light on.

Leave the crock for eight hours.  Check the consistency by poking a clean finger into the yogurt.  Mine was not quite as thick as I’d like, so I let it set for another hour and it was perfect!

Spoon the yogurt into clean jars and refrigerate or freeze.

Oh!  Don’t forget to enjoy your batch of homemade yogurt!

Super Yummy Healthy Granola

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals.  It’s the time of the day when I have time, and I usually only have to worry about feeding myself for breakfast.  I like quick and easy most of the time, and it does not bother me one bit to eat the same thing every day for months on end.

That is, if it’s something that I enjoy!

Granola.  I really enjoy granola.  Add yogurt to it and I’m just fine.

I hedged at paying for good boxed granola, and looked for alternatives.  An internet recipe search led me to a few recipes, but the word “healthy” was just not bringing in what I wanted to see.

Drop the healthy search term and see what we find:  Super Yummy!  That sounds more like it!

So, I borrowed this recipe from Tasty Kitchen, and modified it to fit me.

Super Yummy Healthy Granola

Super Yummy Healthy Granola


• Approximately 13 cups rolled Oats (this is a whole carton of old fashion oats, but I only use organic rolled oats, so I fill a bag at the bulk goods and use what I’ve got)
• 1-2 cups Chopped Nuts (1/2 walnuts, 1/2 Almonds – make this fit you, more or less nuts and your favorite nuts)
• 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
• 2 Tablespoon organic Cinnamon
• 1-2 Tablespoon organic pure Vanilla Extract
• 1 cup local raw unfiltered Honey
• 1/4 cup raw Sugar – optional
• 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 1 small package unsweetened dried Cranberries – save for the end mix

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 300°

In a large bowl (it’s a large mix, so I use a large granite-ware roaster) combine the old-fashioned oats and the chopped nuts.  You can also add 1 cup of Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds if you like – the way I see it, the more nuts, the better.

In a medium sized pan, combine the remaining ingredients except the cranberries.  Heat this mixture on medium/low just until it mixes well, stirring frequently.  Pour the pan mixture over the oat mixture, stirring the whole mix really well until all of the oats are coated nicely.

Now spread the goods on two large baking sheets (lined with parchment paper if you have it) – or leave it in the roaster (I just love easy methods and less cleanup!) and place into a preheated 300° oven for 45 minutes.

At each 15 minute point switch the pans top to bottom (if you’ve used them) and be certain to give the granola a good stir.

Remove from the oven when the time is up, and allow the mixture to cool on a rack – stirring every 10-15 minutes to keep the mix from clumping.

When the mix has cooled enough to handle with bare hands, add in the dried cranberries and mix well.

Once completely cooled, store the mix for regular use.

Granola stock

This granola is especially delicious when accompanied by plain yogurt (look for those live cultures!) and blueberries or bananas.  YUMMY!

cranberry nuts and oats oh my

Now you know my secret, special, super yummy, healthy breakfast treat.  :)


Dreamin’ Girl