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same, but not

Recipe: oat milk

Colorado ski resorts are closed for the season, Rocky Mountain National Park is closed, all restaurant dining is closed, schools and universities are closed, and a stay-at-home order is in place for the state in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We have been self-isolating since March 12, which does not feel too different from our normal lives with some limitations. It’s not that way for many who have lost jobs, are staring at financial uncertainty, are already vulnerable, are sick, or are working for the good of the community. And let’s face it: the majority of those essential workers DO NOT get paid what they are worth nor enough for what they are risking for the rest of us. If you have the means, now is a particularly good time to contribute to your local food banks, shelters for people and animals, and maybe purchase some gift cards from small businesses – especially restaurants – that may not make it to the other side of this pandemic without your support. I hope you and yours are safe and well right now.

I’ve been checking in on my parents regularly to see how they are and to make sure they aren’t doing anything to put themselves or others at greater risk. So far, so good. Jeremy is working from home 100% and the dogs seem to think this is a great idea. Last Friday was Neva’s fifth birthday, so I managed a little celebration of sorts from what was on hand.


birthday plate of beef meatballs, apple, cheddar, and homemade dog treats

such good girls



We are not combating boredom over here, but making the most of the time not spent driving anywhere, meeting in person, or traveling. This coincides with my ongoing Spring Cleaning goals. You know, the ones that I started in the fall… of 2018. Time to put a dent in that To Do list as well as chip away at our freezer(s) inventory!

baking a sextuple batch of dog treats

sewed two cushions to replace those unsightly piles of old blankets

assessing what size our next backpacking tent should be (we got this one pre-Yuki)



Despite all of the ski hill closures, the snow keeps falling in between those sunny spells because it’s Colorado and it’s springtime in the Rockies. The stay-at-home order makes a few exceptions, including getting outside for exercise in your own backyard/town. Flatlanders flocking to mountain towns has been problematic because mountain communities don’t have the capacity to handle the COVID-19 outbreak let alone any boneheads that get caught in an avalanche and require scarce rescue resources. We’ve been playing it safe on our local low-risk terrain for cardio workouts in fresh air. The turns can wait.

yuki loves that smell of freshly fallen snow

social distancing is how we roll

the girls get to ski tour, too

one day at a time



One thing I’ve noticed on our weekly trips to the grocery stores are the sections of empty shelves. Flour, rice, beans, bread, milk, eggs, chicken, toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer. As we gathered the items from my grocery list last week, Jeremy pointed to a couple lonely cartons of oat milk and asked if I needed any. I shook my head, because I make my own oat milk. Months ago when I first tried oat milk, I figured this was the solution to my lactose-intolerant needs. I sought out organic oat milk, which is not only hard to find (for me), it’s expensive. Around the same time, a reader (Yvonne) had also written to me about glyphosate levels in oat milk. Glyphosate is an herbicide, the main active ingredient in Roundup. Another push for me to just make my own oat milk. As longtime readers already know, I like making food from scratch which gives me greater control over the quality of what I’m eating.

water, salt, steel-cut oats



You can use rolled oats or steel-cut oats. The difference is that the steel-cut oats require a 12-hour soak in water the night before. I had a giant bag of organic steel-cut oats intended for breakfasts but admittedly neglected because I don’t actually like to eat breakfast. The perfect excuse to use them for oat milk! And if you need this to be gluten-free, just make sure that the oats you are using are certified as such. The salt is for enhancing the flavor of the oat milk. You can make sweetened or flavored versions (sugar, honey, soak a dried date with the oats, maple syrup, vanilla extract, etc.), but I like my milk to be neutral.

soak steel-cut oats overnight



The biggest issue with making oat milk appears to be the slime factor. Oats soaked in water produce a slimy component that we want to minimize. So the first step is to rinse the oats after they have soaked. I placed mine in a sieve and ran cold water over them several times. The next step is to blender the soaked steel-cut oats (or unsoaked rolled oats) with fresh water, but not to blender too much. 10-30 seconds in a Vitamix should work. We’re looking to blend the oats, but overblending increases your slime factor.

place the strained and rinsed oats in the blender with fresh water

blitz for about 30 seconds



Now it’s time to strain out the oat bits from the milk. It’s a balance between getting the fine dregs out while limiting the amount of sliminess. Pouring through a fine mesh sieve helps to remove the bulk material from the liquid. Just don’t press the solids because that forces the slime through the sieve. Likewise, a fine mesh nut milk bag or cheesecloth also works, but refrain from squeezing the liquid out. I actually do the sieve and then the bag, but use what method works best for you. The aim is to allow for passive drainage. I know this because my first attempt at oat milk was slimy (yes, I squoze the bag) and pretty unpalatable no matter how much I diluted it. Lesson learned.

pour through a fine mesh sieve

i do a second filter through a fine mesh nut milk bag

don’t squeeze!

stir in a pinch of salt to taste



The result is my own homemade organic oat milk that didn’t cost me a fortune. You can dilute the oat milk as you see fit. Shake well before using it as it can separate over time. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I’ve read it starts to smell bad past that point. I hope you all stay safe and well. xo

homemade organic oat milk


Oat Milk
[print recipe]
based on this recipe and others

1 cup steel-cut oats (organic) or rolled oats (organic)
water for soaking
3 cups water
pinch of salt

If using steel-cut oats: Place the oats in a large bowl and cover with water. Soak for 12 hours. Drain and rinse the oats several times.

For steel-cut and rolled oats: Put the oats and 3 cups of water in a blender. Blend on high speed for 10-30 seconds until combined. Don’t overblend as this increases the sliminess of the final product. Strain the oat liquid through a fine mesh sieve, fine mesh nut milk bag, or cheesecloth. Stir in pinch of salt. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Shake well before using. Makes about 3 cups.


more goodness from the use real butter archives

oat milk rice pudding kombucha (plain, ginger, huckleberry ginger) almond vanilla chia seed pudding cold brew coffee

11 nibbles at “same, but not”

  1. Diana says:

    Hello Jen,

    So happy to read your blog post about Oat Milk! I’ve just started making my own this month because I’m trying to go to the store as little as possible. I was using organic old fashioned rolled oats, but have a huge container of steel-cut oats that has been sitting in my cupboard. (not a big breakfast person either) Now I know what to do with those oats!
    Stay safe…my best to you, Jeremy, and your parents!

    Diana

  2. Kristin says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I need to share it with my kids, who use oat milk more than I do. I am lactose intolerant, but am not willing to give up my dairy!

  3. Juliann says:

    Thank you for this! We are lactose intolerant and alternative milk of any form is gone on the store shelves but there are still lots of oats.

  4. kat says:

    Glad to hear you are all doing well. Thanks for the posting.

  5. Mary Karen Euler says:

    So uplifting to hear from you and, as always, gaze upon your lovely photographs. I wonder if the pups have claimed one of those pillows for their own, or if they alternate? Their Birthday dinner looks spectacular! My 75th birthday is in a couple of weeks and I’d planned a grand trip to the Lake District in England. Now Dakini Kitty and I will be celebrating together, but not in nearly as grand a style!

  6. Michele W says:

    Thank you just perfect timing I needed some milk. I also have the extra large bag of steel cut oats. On the hunt for more recipes
    Love your blog

  7. Jill Hyde says:

    Glad you are well and social distancing. We are too. It’s hard not to hear the calls for help, but given our immune status and high risk factors, we just can’t. I just wish everyone would listen to the shelter orders. Stay well my survivor sister. xoxo, jill

  8. Jenn says:

    Happy Birthday Neva!
    Could you provide the recipe for her dog biscuits?

    Thank You : )

  9. jenyu says:

    Diana – I’m glad I’m not the only one who has trouble getting through all those steel-cut oats! :) xo

    Kristin – I used to make exceptions for certain dairy, but more and more it just isn’t worth the physical ramifications :(

    Juliann – I know! I find it fascinating what is and what isn’t getting bought out.

    kat – xo

    MK – With these two, they don’t seem to be choosy at all and swap cushions all the time. And happy 75th! xo

    Michele – You’re welcome and thank you!

    Jill – xo

    Jenn – Yes! It’s this one http://userealbutter.com/2015/11/18/chicken-sweet-potato-dog-treats-recipe/ but I use canned pumpkin (just plain, not pumpkin pie filling) instead of sweet potatoes. Hope your pup(s) enjoys!

  10. Andrea says:

    Jen,

    I feel you on active elderly Asian parents living through this crisis. Thank you for your blog and for sharing your patience!

  11. jenyu says:

    Andrea – :) xo

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