Pumpkin Spice Granola

Well I needed something to go with all that yogurt I just made, right?? And ’tis the season for making everything pumpkin, right? Well, I got my googling fingers going and came across Healthy Food for Living blog and the recipe I have linked. Granola is something is so cheap to make at home but wicked expensive to buy in the store (pulled out my Mainer there budday).

I followed the recipe word for word, so you can jump over to her blog to see the recipe. I used chopped walnuts and sunflower seeds (raw) for the nuts and raisins for the fruit.

I do, however, I have the nutritional info for you! Granola calories can sometimes make your heart stop when you see how dense they are but this one isn’t too bad!

Serving Size 1/2 cup, makes 12 servings:

Calories: 152

Fat: 6.3 g

Carbs: 24.7 g

Protein: 3.3 g


Homemade Yogurt Continued…

So I had some people ask me if what I made the day before was thick and creamy like Greek yogurt and my answer was no. In order to have thick Greek yogurt, you need to strain it. To do this you just take a mesh strainer and lay either cheese cloth, coffee filters or a paper towel in it and then dump your yogurt on top and let it sit overnight in the fridge.

I happened to have an actual yogurt strainer in my cupboard of appliances….along with an actual yogurt maker.

Just place the strainer in the container and then dump the yogurt in the strainer.

Cover and put in the fridge overnight.

This is what I had in the morning. Greek yogurt on the left and whey on the right. As you might be able to see, there is a little bit of yogurt in the whey, so maybe a coffee filter would be a little better with the strainer than just the strainer alone. I have no idea. I’ve never done this before.

There is the yogurt. I ran my finger through it to see how thick it is.

Here is a comparison between the strained yogurt (on top) and then regular yogurt straight out of the crock pot (on bottom)

Yumm!! Apparently, if you keep letting the yogurt strain you will get cream cheese. Will have to test this some time….

So here is the whey. So I looked online to see what to do with this other than put it in smoothies. One of the things I found was to use it in making bread instead of whatever liquid is in the recipe. So now I have whole wheat herbed pizza dough rising downstairs. As always, a recipe will follow 🙂



If you are looking for the nutritional information of the liquid whey, well you have come to the right place since I looked to the end of the interwebz to find this info:

Serving size: 1 cup

Calories: 59

Fat: 0.2 g

Carbs: 12.6 g

Protein: 1.9 g

This is what is dripping out of your yogurt (or settling on top if you aren’t straining it on purpose).


Now you can use this to calculate nutritional info for stuff when you sub in liquid whey for other things.

Homemade Yogurt

I was always against plain yogurt. Gross. I tried everything to sweeten it from honey to sugar free Torani syrups to stevia drops. I never liked it. Then I started adding a teaspoon of homemade jam to it and then I actually started liking it. Now I’m at the point where I can just eat it plain and eat a lot of it. At Costco I think I pay about $5.99 for a quart of Fage Greek yogurt and I easily eat it within the week. My mom has always bugged me about making my own but it’s always scared me. I’ve randomly googled how to make it in a crockpot since I “overheard” on facebook that you could make it that way but I was still to scared. Once I realized that even if it was a flop, I only wasted about $2, I decided to take the plunge and I’m glad I did! I’ve made it twice now, the first time was a total failure but I figured out what my mistake was and the second time was a total success. I’ll share both things with you so hopefully you can get it right the first time!

So on clearance I found a half gallon of organic milk for $2.99 and 1 cup of organic plain yogurt for $0.49. This will make a half gallon of organic yogurt for $3.48 compared to $3.99 for a quart of organic (so x2 would be $7.98 for a half gallon for a savings of $4.50).

First, get out your crock pot and turn it on low and put the lid on so the stone can warm up. It takes about 30 minutes but it will also take about 30 minutes for the milk to be ready to put in it.

Next, pour however much milk you want to make into yogurt into a saucepan and warm it on medium (stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn) until the temperature reaches 185 degrees F. I just used a digital meat thermometer but word on the street is that you can get candy thermometers for less than $10.

While the milk is warming on the stove, take 1/4 cup of already made yogurt per every quart of milk you are making into yogurt and put it in a medium bowl. It’s best to let this warm up a bit so it doesn’t cool the milk down in the second to last step. So I’m making a half gallon so I used 1/2 cup of yogurt for the 1/2 gallon (2 quarts) of milk. Tip: After this batch is done and you are putting it into containers, save however much yogurt you need for the next batch from the batch you just made.

Once the milk in the pan reaches 185 degrees F, turn the stove off, remove pot from burner, cover and place the pot in a few inches of cool water (I just fill my sink up a little). This is where I screwed up the first time. Let the milk cool from 185 degrees down to 115 degrees. First time I let it cool down to 90 because I wasn’t paying attention and the blog I was following said between 90-110 and it would take about 10 minutes. Well after about 5 minutes it cooled way down. The second time I only let it cool to 115 and my yogurt came out perfectly.
After yogurt has cooled to 115, take 1 cup of the warm milk and whisk it with the yogurt in the medium bowl. Take the rest of the milk and pour it into your crockpot. Immediately turn off and unplug your crock pot and remove the stone. Then add the milk and yogurt mixture to the rest of the milk in the crockpot. Whisk together briefly.

Now there are two options of what to do with your crockpot for the next 8-12 hours. I do this at night so it’s ready in the morning. Some just wrap the crockpot in a heavy towel or blanket to keep warm (did this the first time and it wasn’t very warm in the morning) or you can put your crockpot in a TURNED OFF oven with the oven light on. I chose to do that the second time.

Shut the door and leave the light on all night. It needs to be about 70 degrees in your house for this to really stay warm, if it’s colder than that (like our house now), leave it in the oven.

So the next morning this is what I woke up to:

And I ran a spoon through it so you could see how thick it is:

I then put the whole crockpot in the fridge to cool and to thicken more (which is thickened up a little bit more after cooling).

Then I stored in mason jars, since we all know I have about 10 million of these 🙂

I’ll eat the two quarts within the week with pumpkin spice granola (recipe to come) and then the little pint is enough to start my next batch! Perfect! Saved $4.50 a week so that’s $18 a month and on top of that I now have organic yogurt!

Note added: If you want it real thick, like Greek yogurt, you need to strain it as it sits in the fridge. So take some cheesecloth, coffee filters or a paper towel and line a mesh strainer and dump the yogurt into the strainer and put something like a large bowl under it so the liquid (the whey) can drip down. You can either discard the whey or you can drink it or add it to smoothies since it’s good for your digestive system.



Continue HERE if you want to see how to make Greek yogurt now

Sweet Potato (or Pumpkin) Protein Pancakes

I was chit chatting with Katherine today and came across one of her older recipes that I had wanted to try. She originally made hers with sweet potato but I had left over pumpkin puree from making protein pumpkin bars on Tuesday so I just had to make these for dinner, yum!

So you actually get two of these massive pancakes and I ate one right then and I just ate the second one about 2 hours later.

Here is her original post, she used Torani Syrup and Stevia and I just went ahead and used honey. So I also updated the nutritional info (which added 36 carbs and 50 calories for the honey exchange. Honestly, you could get away with half a Tbsp of honey, they whey is sweetened).

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (you can make flour if you’d like)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp milk (skim, almond, soy, ect)

Put all ingredients in a bowl and combine just using a fork or a whisk. Pour half of the batter onto a sprayed skillet on medium-low heat. Flip when edges of the pancake begin to dry out. I suggest using a bigger pan because it doesn’t harden up like a regular pancake so you want to be able to get your spatula underneath it without it breaking because it’s so soft, yum! These are VERY moist, something I have been missing from protein pancakes.

She goes on to make a caramel cream, which if I would have had the SF topping, I would have made but I just topped mine with SF maple syrup.

Nutritional Info: 2 pancakes

  • Calories: 340
  • Fat: 3.3 g
  • Carbs: 77 g
  • Protein: 27 g

Thanks for giving me faith again in protein pancakes!

Sugar Free Maple Syrup

So I’ve made it pretty well known I’m a hater of just about all the low calorie (natural and artificial) sweeteners. But one thing I love it sugar free maple syrup and until I took this photo, I had no idea it was made with Splenda, which I try to keep that to a minimum (or not have it at all). Grrrr….I’ve heard that Mrs. Butterworth’s has a good sugar free syrup and it’s pretty thick like normal maple syrup. If I spot it at the store this week, I’ll pick it up and try it out…and I’ll ask her what the sweetener is 🙂

I use it on protein pancakes and in my oatmeal sometimes, well most of the time! It has 10 cals less per serving of my homemade blueberry lemon syrup that I can during the summer. But let’s be honest, I don’t use 1/4 cup of syrup on any thing! That’s a lot!!


Apple Maple Oats & Eggs

This has become a regular for me and there are so many ways you can make oats and egg whites. When I mentioned this breakfast option to a group of ladies, I got kind of a cross-eyed look. Don’t worry, I thought the SAME thing when I first saw Katherine make a similar recipe. I got this recipe from Jen Grothe’s blog, here is the original post.


The egg whites make the oats fluff up into kind of a souffle type texture. On top of the added bulk to this breakfast, you get a good dose of protein too! In the photo (above) I already had mixed in the apples, don’t worry, they are in there 🙂 Here is Jen’s recipe, just cut and paste.


  • 1/2 cup (40g) old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup of water (for oats)
  • 1/2 cup Egg Whites International or 5 egg whites
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 (105g) fuji apple


Heat water to boiling in a small pan. Add a dash of sea salt if desired. I always do. I’ve learned that a little salt is actually good for my thyroid, so I salt away. When boiling, add oats. Stir, reduce heat, and cook until softened (around 3-5 minutes). Add egg whites, maple extract, and seasonings. Continue to cook over medium, stirring often, until eggs literally bake “up”. Before serving, cut in apples. Sprinkle again with cinnamon and serve with Walden Farms maple syrup. I use the Sugar Free from Maple Grove Farms and LOVE it and I generally dislike the taste of sugar free stuff.


  • Calories 267
  • Total Fat 3.43g
  • Sodium 200.71mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 41.09g
  • Dietary Fiber 6.99g
  • Sugars 13.6g
  • Protein 18.37g


Lemon & Blueberry Cheesecake Protein Muffins

Another recipe from Stephanie Fitness, click on the link to see her original post. I made these exactly how she made them but I just DO NOT like the taste of Splenda and/or Stevia no matter if I use Torani Syrups or granulated. I just do not like it. I have fallen in love with Xylitol however and I’m going to make these again because I’m determined that with the correct sweetener that tastes good to me, these would be da bomb. Once again, I cut and pasted her recipe and added in a few comments.

Serving: 12 Muffins
Prep Time: 8 Minutes
Bake Temp: 350 Degrees
Bake Time: 18 to 20 minutes

Main Ingredients
2 cups Old-Fashioned Oats
1 cup Fat Free Cottage Cheese
1/4 cup All-Natural Applesauce {no sugar added}
1 TBS Lemon Peel, grated
1/4 cup Vanilla Torani Sugar-Free Syrup <—-going to replace with 1/4 cup Xylitol next time
1 cup Egg Whites
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Lemon Extract
1 TBS Stevia {6 packets} <—–going to leave out next time
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/8 tsp Sea Salt

Separate Ingredients
1 cup Blueberries, unsweetened & frozen
4 oz Fat Free Cream Cheese
1/2 TBS Stevia {3 packets} <—–maybe use Stevia again, might use Xylitol

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 12 cup muffin tin with olive oil.

2. In a blender, mix together all of your Main Ingredients. Blend ingredients in blender until smooth and creamy. Fill up all 12 muffin cups 3/4 full with muffin mixture.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 TBS Stevia. Sprinkle frozen blueberries on top of muffins. Then using a butter knife carefully scoop cream cheese mixture and drop onto muffins.

4. Place muffins in over at 350 degrees and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. They should have a nice caramel color on their tops when they are done.

5. Remove from oven and let them cool completely before removing from muffin tin. Enjoy!


Nutrition Facts – Servings Size: 2 muffins
Calories: 186
Carbs: 26g
Proteins: 15g
Fats: 2g

Lemon & Blueberry Protein Pancakes

This recipe is from Curls & Whey and will become a regular for breakfast and snacks. Today I made two servings and could only eat one and I’m about to go eat the other (an hour later). You can see her original recipe by clicking on the link.

  •      10 g old fashion oats
  • 15 g vanilla protein powder
  • 2 egg whites
  • 35g blueberries
  • 2g sugar free fat free pudding mix (lemon, vanilla or cheesecake work great)
  • lemon zest
  • drop of lemon extract (watch out, a little goes A LONG way!)
  • 2 stevia packets

Mix all together in a small bowl and pour onto a sprayed pan on medium heat. Wait until you see that the edges are dry and then flip until browned on the other side.

I topped mine with blueberry syrup that I canned this summer. I don’t remember the recipe off the top of my head but it’s just blueberries, honey, lemon juice and lemon zest. When my grandmother and I calculated out the calories this summer it works out to 15 calories per tablespoon. Not bad!