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

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Homemade Graham Crackers

My mom sent me a blog post from Food Renegade about doing a homemade cracker challenge and the giveaway was a top of the line grain grinder, which for the past couple of months has been a *want* for me but they are over $500 for a good one. So I decided to try making some graham crackers and for an entry.

They used a flour I honestly had never heard of (einkorn) so I decided to use spelt flour instead.

  • 2 cups spelt flour (8 ounces)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 5 Tbsp coconut oil (defumed if you have it)
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 5 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp coarse sugar for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon for sprinkling

Heat oven to 350F

Mix flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in your stand mixer with the paddle. Add oil, honey and milk until well combined.

Should be a really wet dough but hold together if you made a ball. Scrape it out of the bowl and onto a sheet of parchment paper on a smooth, hard surface.

Put another piece of parchment paper on top and roll until 1/8 inch thick.

I was a little shy about rolling it too thin, so this turned out to be too thick but the crackers were still YUMMMM!


Take the top piece of parchment paper off and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Score with a pizza cutter into 1 inch by 1 inch squares.
I then slid the parchment paper onto a round pizza cooking sheet that has holes in the bottom. My hopes were that it’s help crisp up the crackers more.

Bake for 18 minutes. Turning halfway if you don’t have an even cooking oven like myself.

Slide the crackers off the pan and onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely and then break along the lines.

Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

 

Nutritional Info per 1 square (11 g):

  • Calories: 53.6
  • Fat: 2.2 g
  • Carbs: 7.5g
  • Protein: 0.9g

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 🙂

 

Added:

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

Homemade Nutella

I have had this recipe on my “to try” list for a long, long time from Katherine and it’s so so so so good. If you’ve ever had store bought Nutella, obviously this isn’t going to be as creamy as the stuff made in a factory, but it tastes just as good and it’s so much cheaper and better to make at home! Plus my food processor isn’t the best and I have to stand there with my finger on “pulse” and I was getting sick of standing there to be honest….and was really anxious to just try it 🙂

Ingredients (makes a half pint, 16 tablespoons, 8 servings):

  • 6 oz of raw hazelnuts
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1- 1.5 Tbsp coconut oil (melted)

Preheat oven to 350F. Place nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, stirring the nuts halfway through. Remove from oven.
Raw hazelnuts will come with the skins on, which apparently can be bitter. I just dumped the nuts into a kitchen towel and folded the towel over them and rubbed them around on the counter. Not all of the skin will come off, but getting most of it off should be fine. Place nuts back on the baking sheet and bake for another 5 minutes (to heat them back up). Remove and pour nuts into food processor.

Grind, grind, grind. Once you’ve got a powder, add the rest of the ingredients, except only 1 tbsp. of the oil. It will first become a powder but it will eventually start getting creamy. This is where I lost my patience with just holding the “pulse” button on my mini food processor.

Keep grinding the nuts. The heat from the friction will release the natural oils and it WILL become creamier. If you want, slowly drizzle in more oil, and grind, grind, grind.

Place in a plastic container with a lid or a glass canning jar with a lid. This needs to be kept in the refrigerator because there are no preservatives.

Next time I would like to try to add some sort of dairy in it to just try, like non-fat half and half, just to see what I get in terms of it maybe being creamier?

Nutritional Info (2 Tbsp):

Calories: 167

Fat: 15.7g

Carbs: 5.7g

Protein: 3.4 g

Roasted Chick Peas

Probably one of the most delicious snacks I’ve made. I cannot say how much I absolutely love these. If you like corn nuts, pretzels, chips or anything salty and crunchy, these are for you. I plan on flavoring them a lot of different ways. I made TWO CANS worth of them and my kids and I ate them ALL within 15 minutes.

I got the instructions from Steamy Kitchen. This batch I made from canned chick peas but they varied in such size and some not even being whole that I bought 2 pounds of dried chick peas in bulk yesterday and those peas are more uniform in shape and size to ensure even baking. Honestly, it’s like an eight of the price. Just let them soak overnight. I let these bake 30 minutes, next time I’ll up it to 32 minutes. Some were crunchy, but some were still soft but still tasted so good!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups chick peas (re-hydrated if using dried or drained and rinsed if using canned)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt
  • seasonings of choice (I used just seasoning salt on this batch)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Drain the can of garbanzo beans in a strainer and rinse with water for a few seconds to clean off the beans. Shake and tap the strainer to rid of excess water. Lay paper towel on a baking sheet, and spread the beans over. Use another paper towel to gently press and absorb the water on the beans. Roll the beans around with the paper towel to also remove the thin skin from any of the beans. Discard the skins and the paper towels.

3. Drizzle the olive oil over the beans and use your hands or a spatula to toss around and coat. Roast for 30-40 minutes until the beans are a deep golden brown and crunchy. Make sure that the beans do not burn.

4. Season with salt and spice blend.

 

I want to try lemon pepper, honey roasted, soy & ginger or paprika & garlic next

Nutritional Info (1 serving = half of batch):

Calories: 184

Fat: 3.8 g

Carbs: 27 g

Fiber: 9 g

Protein: 9 g

 

 

“Clean” Blondies

This recipe is from DAMY. I wasn’t too too impressed but I think there are things that I could have done differently to make this a success. First, I’m not a fan of almond butter but I have a jar of it that I needed to go through. I think if I had used peanut butter (huge fan of that! who isn’t??) these would have been less “blah” to me. Second, about a month ago I slam dunked my blender into the trash can after I got fed up with the piece of junk and I only have a 3 cup food processor so I processed the chic peas alone, which is dry and so they didn’t come out as smooth as I think they would have it I was able to blend everything at the same time. <—wow run on sentence, glad you made it to the end. I will be making these again, hopefully with a new blender or food processor.

Yield: Makes 12 Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/2 Cup Natural Nut Butter (Almond or Peanut Butter)
  • 1/3 Cup Honey (Agave, Maple or Stevia)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Egg Whites
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 Cup Chickpeas
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (or more – to taste) Cinnamon

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place all Blondie ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth (stopping to scrape down the sides).
  3. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with a healthy, non-stick oil.
  4. Spread blondie batter evenly in dish.
  5. Sprinkle with cinnamon if you want.
  6. Using a knife swirl cinnamon.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let sit in the baking dish for 10 minutes.
  9. Cut into brownie size pieces.
  10. Place on a cooling rack and enjoy!
  11. Storage tip – Place these brownies in a sealed-tight container and store in the refrigerator.

In the photo, I topped it with 1 tsp of sugar free caramel topping but I also plan on eating them with some chocolate PB2 and some natural peanut butter since they were a little “blah” for me liking.

Nutritional Info (1 square):

Calories: 138

Fat: 6.5 g

Carbs: 16 g

Protein: 5.8

 

If you add the caramel topping (1 tsp) add another 45 calories.

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!

Protein Pumpkin Bars

These are from Jaime Eason and I made them for my mom’s group Tuesday and I only heard good things! Here is the original post 🙂

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 (or if baking with honey, preheat to 325).
  2. Spray a 9 X 13 Pyrex dish with non-stick spray.
  3. Combine first 11 ingredients and mix well.
  4. Add the final 3 ingredients (4, if adding walnuts), and mix until incorporated. Spread batter into the Pyrex dish and bake for 30 min.
  5. Makes 24 squares.

Nutritional Info:

Xylitol with walnuts: 1 square = 63 calories, 2.3 g fat, 8 g carbs, 4 g protein

Xylitol without walnuts: 1 square = 47 calories, .7 g fat, 8 g carbs, 3.7 g protein

Honey with walnuts: 1 square = 74 calories, 2.3 g fat, 12 g carbs, 4 g protein

Honey without walnuts: 1 square = 58 calories, 2.3 g fat, 12 carbs, 4 g protein

 

So basically you have added 11 more calories and 4 more carbs if you chose honey, which is a great natural alternative if xylitol does a number on your stomach. I actually thought it would be A LOT more calories and carbs until I calculated out the difference.

I usually eat two of these with either PB2, peanut butter or almond butter on top. I know the ladies were also dipping into our fresh 1 gallon tubs of organic & local honey and putting it on top 🙂

 

Cucumber Dill Salad

This is a variation from something my great grandmother used to make as a kid (minus the full fat sour cream, plus dill). I remember like it was yesterday tossing all the contents in an empty (clean) cool whip container and then eating the whole thing 🙂

Servings: ONE <—seriously, eat the entire batch! I dare you 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks OR sliced thinly
  • 1/2 of a large sweet onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp white balsamic vinaigrette (or use white wine or just plain white vinegar but balsamic is the best)
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill or 2 tsp fresh
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Chop peel and chop cucumber and onion.

Toss everything in a bowl.

Stir.

Eat the ENTIRE batch 🙂 Yes, the whole thing!

Nutritional Info:

Calories: 134.9

Fat: 0.6 grams

Carbs: 21.9 grams

Protein: 11.1 grams