Cheers to Change + Homemade Yogurt

Happy New Year everyone! Yes, I know I am days late in wishing you my very best for the coming year, but my holiday break was pretty busy: my dad got married (yay!) and we went away to visit my husband’s family. (I also may or may not have spent a day or two in my pajamas binge-watching Drop Dead Diva but don’t tell anyone about that, ok?)

2014 has kicked off with me doing something new and completely out of my comfort zone: radio interviews to discuss my book One Simple Change: Surprisingly Easy Ways to Transform Your Life; I’ve done 6 so far. The very first one I did was LIVE and ONE HOUR LONG, with call-in participation from viewers. I was terrified beforehand and did a lot of sweating while I was on the call. The ones since then have been shorter but they are still a bit stressful for me, not going to lie.

During these radio interviews, I’ve been talking a lot about the overriding concept of my book…the idea of making one small change at a time. I’ve been talking about why it’s important to take things slow, and to become comfortable with the fact that permanent positive shifts in your health and well-being do not happen overnight. My feeling is that if I can convince one person to stop doing extreme things (such as lengthy juice cleanses, diets that eliminate carbohydrates, or exercising for hours a day) in the name of health, then I will have succeeded in what I set out to do in writing this book. Small tweaks to the way you eat, your lifestyle, and your attitude work just fine…they work better than fine, actually. Small changes can be really powerful if your goal is to have a happy, healthy life.

If you are wondering exactly what kind of information is in One Simple Change, you should know that while I do share my nutritional philosophy throughout the book, there’s much more to One Simple Change than that. I touch on many, many other things that come into play when you are approaching your health in a more natural and holistic way, such as sleep, exercise, and stress management. Some chapters are devoted to matters related to living in a more eco-conscious manner. There are also 15 nourishing recipes. My friend Kaela called it “The Self Help Book for People Who Hate Self Help Books” which made me laugh (but it’s really true).

I don’t expect everyone to love everything about the book, but I really do believe there is something for everyone in One Simple Change. I even find myself re-reading specific sections and applying them to my own life lately…this may seem ironic but I need to take my own advice sometimes!

The first printing of the book sold out but more are on the way. My publisher tells me One Simple Change should be back in stock and elsewhere next week, which is great. Once again, thank you to everyone who has purchased the book and let me know that you enjoyed it! Cheers to change! I plan to continue celebrating healthy, simple lifestyle changes on my blog throughout 2014 and I can’t wait to share many more posts with you.

As I mentioned above, there are 15 recipes in One Simple Change. These are recipes I chose to include because they are somehow related to the content of the book. This homemade yogurt recipe, for example, comes from the chapter titled “Cook More” but it’s also related to the chapter called “Get Some Culture”, which is about eating more cultured/lacto-fermented foods.

diy yogurt | healthy green kitchen

Yogurt made with live cultures is high in protein, calcium, and probiotics, which aid the digestive system. I’m a big fan of low-tech yogurt making; you don’t need any fancy equipment to make wholesome plain yogurt.

diy yogurt | healthy green kitchen

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diy yogurt | healthy green kitchen

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Recipe for Homemade Yogurt

Herbalist Susun Weed recommends consuming 1 qt/960 ml of organic yogurt each week to strengthen the immune system and prevent cancer. I eat my yogurt plain or with nuts and dried fruit or a few spoonfuls of homemade granola. And I also add it to smoothies.
You can use any kind of milk, but for the most healthful yogurt, use the most healthful milk you can find. I suggest organic, preferably raw cow’s milk, or goat’s or sheep’s milk. Full-fat milk will make the richest, thickest yogurt; the fat in yogurt helps your body assimilate the calcium and other nutrients it contains.
Servings: 1 quart


  • 4 cups/960 ml milk
  • 1 tbsp plain live-culture yogurt
  • One 1-qt/960-ml glass canning jar with a screw-top lid metal or BPA-free plastic


  • 1. Clean the glass jar and lid in hot, soapy water, or use the hottest setting on your dishwasher.
  • 2. In a small pot, heat the milk over medium heat to a temperature
  • of 180°F/82°C.If you don’t have a kitchen thermometer, heat the milk until it is just starting to boil; don’t let it come to a rolling boil as this will be too hot. Make sure you don’t walk away from the milk and allow it to boil over, because it makes a big mess (trust me). Use a slotted spoon to remove any skin that forms on the surface of the hot milk.
  • 3. Remove from the heat and let the milk cool to 110°F/45°C, about 25 minutes. (You should be able to put a fingertip in the milk and hold it there for 10 seconds.) Put the pot into a bowlful of ice water to speed the cooling, if you’d like. Don’t let the milk cool below 110°F/45°C; it needs to be at this temperature to culture properly.
  • 4. Pour the milk into the canning jar and gently mix in the yogurt. Cap the jar tightly. Preheat your oven to 110°F/45°C. Once it reaches this temperature, turn it off. If you can’t set your oven to 110°F/45°C,
  • preheat it to the lowest setting possible (in many ovens, this is 200°F/95°C), and then turn it off and give it time to cool down until approximately 110°F/45°C.
  • 5. Wrap your jar in a thick towel (I use a big bath towel) and place
  • it in the oven on its side (remove racks as necessary so that it fits). Turn the light of your oven on (to keep it warm) and close the door.
  • 6. The towel will insulate the jar, ensuring that the milk stays warm during the culturing process. Leave it there for about 12 hours (or at least overnight). Unwrap the jar and place it in the refrigerator to cool for several hours. You now have homemade yogurt!
  • 7. If you end up with liquid (the whey) floating atop your yogurt, mix it in or, for thicker yogurt, pour it off. Don’t discard the whey, though; it contains water-soluble vitamins and minerals, as well as protein, and can be added to soups or used in other recipes. Homemade live-culture yogurt will keep for 1 to 2 weeks in the refrigerator; you can use 1 tbsp of your homemade yogurt to make another batch.

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34 thoughts on “Cheers to Change + Homemade Yogurt”

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  4. Thanks for the recipe! I’ve always wanted to try making my own yogurt.

    What are some starter live-culture yogurts would you recommend? Can it be any store-bought plain yogurt? Thanks!

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  6. Winnie, I’ll be sure to get you the recipe… it’s a delicious greek yogurt. Wow, come to think of it’s been a decade since my mom made it. Hopefully she remembers it ;)

  7. My mom has been nagging me to make homemade yogurt …. I grew up on it , my mom used to make it all the time, this is much easier than my mom’s recipe… I have no excuse now to give my family the best. Thanks.

  8. Winnie this looks simply delicious! I have not made homemade yogurt in so long; this is a great prompt to start that up again.

  9. Happy New Year! Congrats to your dad ;). I can’t wait to check out your book. Amen to one simple change…I’m a fervent believer in practicing moderation and staying away from quick-fixes so I’m on board with your message. I’m doing a dietetic intern and am currently doing a rotation at American Botanical Council. I’m learning so much about herbs, plants, and being respectful of the nature and cherishing all that it has to offer us. One simple change I’m making this year is to consume more whole foods. I can’t wait to make homemade yogurt for the first time this year! Thank you for the recipe, Winnie!

  10. I’ve had making my own yogurt on my bucket list for quite awhile now, and it’s time to do it. I eat at least 1 quart of yogurt a week, which qualifies me as a yogurtaholic. Thanks for the nudge, and many, many congrats on the success of your book. I’m so happy for you!!

  11. So thrilled for how well the book (and you!) are doing, Winnie. Not surprised, and extra kudos for powering through all the interviews, whew! Homemade yogurt has been on my list of things to try for far too long. I must finally tackle it, and soon.

    • Hey Liren,
      Thank you so much…the interviews are getting easier…hooray!
      Hope you do give homemade yogurt a go :)

  12. Congratulations on the success of the book! I read it on my kindle last week and it definitely was a good reminder of some of those better-for-you habits that I’ve let slide recently.

  13. For an even more low-tech or low-energy way to make yogurt, see the post from Kitchen Stewardship:
    A water bath with the milk in the jars eliminates having to clean the pot and eliminates any chance of a boil-over. The use of a cooler for incubation removes the uncertainty of the oven’s temperature.
    Personally, I like to cool my milk closer to 100 degrees and incubate for about 10 hours. I like the flavor better with the cooler temperature. The 1 to 2 Tablespoons of yogurt starter per quart of milk is always Greek yogurt, usually saved from a previous batch and frozen till needed. By using the whey to soak my oatmeal, my yogurt is always thick and rich.
    Happy yogurt making!

  14. I’ve been thinking about making homemade yogurt for a while, but I keep putting it off. I was just reading the recipe for homemade yogurt in Megan Gordon’s new cookbook, and now I saw this blog post. I think it’s a sign! Maddie loves yogurt, so I’ll have to make a batch for our breakfasts next week!

    • Don’t you love Megan’s book??? Let me know if you do make yogurt and I want to see a pic of Maddie eating it on facebook :)

  15. Happy New Year. Congratulations with all the wonderful success on your book. My grandmother and mother would make yogurt and it was so delicious. I haven’t ventured making it on my won as of yet. Although, you may have given me the courage to try. You seem to illustrate it all so simply, plus it’s good for you that I’m adding it to my make list.

  16. Thanks for the comment about the first printing selling out – and GOOD FOR YOU! I was unaware of that, but it explains why I’m still waiting a shipment notice from my mid-December Amazon order.