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 πŸ™‚

 

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 πŸ™‚

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

How To Make Applesauce…

…by the truckload. Last year I canned 300 pounds of applesauce. No I didn’t mean 30, I meant three hundred. Wanna know how much we have left? After today, 3 quarts. What in the world do we do with it all? Well, the boys eat it, literally, by the quart. Once I open one, it’s gone within 30 minutes. I also sub oil and butter out all the time for applesauce in baking and pancakes.

So we had all those apples from apple picking on Saturday but after we ate a lot and I made an apple pie, it only made 6 quarts, which, if we are lucky, would last us to Thanksgiving. Don’t worry, I have 35 pounds coming to me on Saturday πŸ™‚

Okay, so this is the setup.

Starting from the left we have my Kitchenaid Pro 600 with the meat grinder attachment and the fruit and veggie strainer attachment. You need to buy both of them in order to strain. Under the strainer is my sauce bowl and the little bowl next to that one is what I like to call the “apple poop” bowl.

This is what the strainer looks like

So eighth the apples. Don’t core them. Don’t seed them. Don’t peel them. If I had to do all that crap stuff, I would never make applesauce. Toss them into a huge pot and put enough water in the bottom to prevent sticking, like an inch. Cover and set the burner to medium to medium high. Let the apple steam until they are starting to turn a warm yellow/brown color and they are very tender. It never fails that I am to anxious and start straining the first batch of the season with rock hard apples, which is a total pain the butt and very frustrating.

Done and nice and mushy

Start ladling them into the hopper with a slotted spoon and plunge them down into the strainer. They should go down EASILY. If they don’t, you are about to learn your lesson πŸ™‚ If you look down below, you’ll see the green bowl of piping hot sauce and on the left the bowl of apple poop, which is just the peel and seeds.

Nice and freshly strained applesauce

Nice big bowl of it ready to be canned. You will not need to heat it up on the stove before filling your hot and clean jars with it. It is extremely hot. I dropped some on my foot and I have a burn mark, so don’t worry, it’s really hot straight from the strainer.

Ladle it onto hot and clean jars, place lids, screw bands on and process pints and quarts for 20 minutes.

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 πŸ™‚

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

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 πŸ™‚

  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 πŸ™‚

 

Stuffed Bell Peppers

So you can really put whatever vegetables you want in these along with brown rice and a lean ground meat of your choice, stuff it in a pepper and call it good! This is what I used for this recipe:

  • 1 lb 93/7 ground turkey
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 block of frozen spinach (this is what I had left over from a crustless quiche the night before)
  • 1 quart home canned tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce or Bragg’s amino acid
  • 1/4 cup veggie broth (or chicken) but I had a carton of veggie open in the fridge
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4-5 bell peppers, tops taken off and seeded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown the turkey with the onions and garlic over medium high heat and in a large skillet or wok. Meanwhile, defrost the spinach and squeeze the liquid out and drain the tomatoes and roughly chop.

Once turkey is browned, reduce heat to medium low and add the rice, spinach, tomatoes, garlic powder, parsley, soy sauce and broth. Let the mixture come up to a low bubble. Meanwhile, prepare your pepper.

A lot of recipes call for you to boil the pepper for 1-2 minutes but…let’s get realistic, when I have two kids hanging onto my legs and/or begging for snacks or drink and/or fighting over toys this step doesn’t get done and it comes out just fine πŸ™‚

With a tablespoon (like the kind you eat with, not measure) scoop the filling and dump it into the pepper and smash it down into the pepper. These puppies will hold A LOT of filling. Once they are all filled, put them in anΒ  8×8 baking dish and fill the bottom with a 1/2 an inch of water.

Pop ’em into the oven and bake for 40 minutes.

Nutritional Info (for 1 pepper out of a batch of 5):

Calories: 321.3

Fat: 8.8 g

Carbs: 38 g

Protein: 25.8 g