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 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 🙂



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

Apple Picking 2012

Saturday we went apple picking at Draper Girls Orchards in Mt. Hood Parkdale, OR.

Hood River is packed with pear and apple orchards and wine vineyards. Must be good soil, eh? This place is really neat and I like how they run business. We made this trip for two reasons, one being so our kids would learn where apples *really* came from…which is NOT the grocery store and two being I have 30 empty quart jars at home that need filling.

Parking is bit hard and be warned: it is really dusty. Parking is probably a bit more available when they lot isn’t filled up with hundreds of crates to ship out their pre-picked apples to stores.

So after you find a parking space, there is a check in desk where one person in your party signs in and then you write down the numbers on the buckets that they give you to pick with. You even leave your phone number on the sign in sheet because I bet they call your butt when a bucket you signed out doesn’t make it back to the desk.

Price for the apples is per bucket. Filled to the rim = $20. Filled just over the rim = $25. Overflowing buckets with you left carrying some in your hands = $30. Here is the other great part, once you sign in and grab your buckets, someone leads you out in the orchard. You better bring your listening ears because his person is going to tell you what all the rows of trees are. If you aren’t good at listening (or remembering) don’t fret, the first tree in each row has a ribbon with the apple name on it. You still waiting for the great part? Okay, here it is. The place is literally a free-for-all. Meaning, you load your buckets with whatever type of apple you want and they even have pears!! They all go in the same bucket! This is PRIME for applesauce or even if you just want a variety of apples. Now, one catch is Honeycrisp apples. I know, I had all my PNW’s thinking they could get Honeycrisp’s for dirt real cheap 🙂 You need to keep a separate bucket for Honeycrisp apples. Prices were $30, $35 and $40 for the fill levels. If you pick and do a good enough job keeping the stems on, these apples will last 2-3 months in a refrigerator. I asked about the pears (because I’m saucing those too) and they are going to take 1-2 months to ripen, so if we move, my friends can come take all these pears!

I’m sorry to report that I have no photos of the actual apple picking because I simply cannot carry a camera, two buckets and keep track of my boys. From the photos I took, you’d think we took them pumpkin picking…whoops! That’s next Tuesday 🙂

If you don’t even want to pick, they have bins upon bins of apples.

They also sell their own unpasteurized pear cider, apple cider and pear/apple cider. They also had gourds and pumpkins.

I totally recommend this place. I’m all about easy instruction and plentiful picking, so this is the place! Maybe this is how all apple orchards work, but I haven’t been to one since fall 2010 and in Maine they don’t have 10 million variety of apples like this place did. I can’t wait to see how my applesauce turns out!

Crockpot Beef Enchilada Soup

This is one of Jen’s free recipes on Jen’s Fit Playground and is really good! Make sure you have cooked brown rice ahead of time and I know buying canned roast beef sounds weird but you’ll rinse all the gravy stuff off of it. Of if  you have left over beef that you can shred, you could use that too. Or chicken! I didn’t have great northern beans so I just used white kidney beans and black beans.  My kids ate this like I had not fed them in two days.

Makes 4 servings (approximately 2 cups each)


  • 12 oz. canned roast beef, rinsed well, drained, and shredded
  • 2 cups canned corn, rinsed well and drained or 2 cups frozen
  • 1 cup petite dice tomatoes
  • 1 cup enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup fat-free refried beans
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 4 green onions cut in to 1″ segments
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp mince garlic
  • sea salt and pepper to taste


Thoroughly rinse and drain beef, corn, and beans. Break beef up with a fork and add to the crockpot. Add all remaining ingredients and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for up to 6 hours. Stir thoroughly before serving to ensure refried beans have mixed in.


  • Calories 281
  • Total Fat 3.68g
  • Sodium 1887.24mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 36.85g
  • Dietary Fiber 9.17g
  • Protein 24.23g

*Cut out some of the sodium by cooking your own white beans and using fresh corn.