One of my favorite things to eat for breakfast is plain Greek yogurt with granola and berries. I love the fruit on the bottom Greek yogurt cups but they contain a lot of sugar so sometimes I buy the plain flavor and put fresh fruit in them instead. Crunchy granola is also a tasty snack to eat on its own, especially the kinds with nuts and seeds!
Store-bought granola is easy and delicious, but home-made granola is actually fun to make and you get to choose everything that goes into it! The granolas you buy at grocery stores can sometimes have too much added sugar and preservatives. This granola doesn’t have too much sugar in it so it is lightly sweetened, which I think is just perfect.
The pumpkin spice granola I made has a pretty complex texture since there is such a variety of ingredients in it. The main ingredient, oats, contains antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties. It also includes quinoa, a seed that acts like a grain and is full of protein. The granola also contains chia seeds that have lots of fiber to keep you full.
I made the granola for people I used to work with as a holiday gift and packaged them in cute mason jars from Michael’s. Everyone loves food gifts, especially healthy ones!
PUMPKIN SPICE GRANOLA
3 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup shredded coconut
2/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar (or light brown)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, coconut, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, chia seeds, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together until combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until well-blended. Whisk in the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vegetable oil, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth and combined. Pour into bowl with dry ingredients and mix until everything is moistened.
Spread onto two baking sheets and bake each batch for 40 minutes. Stir the granola every 10-15 minutes to prevent burning.
Allow granola to cool for 20 minutes on the baking sheets so it can get crunchy. Pour into a large bowl and add the dried cranberries.
Cover tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Over time, granola will lose its crunch.
adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
I don’t think Autumn gets as much credit as it deserves. Watching all the trees turn colors day by day while walking through campus is incredible. Even though the weather is getting chillier, the scenery is spectacular and for a moment, distracts me from the impending colder, darker days. There’s this one particular tree that I frequently pass by that is bright red; it’s color is so intense it’s hard to look away.
The Greek Yogurt Pancakes from a couple weeks back were such a big hit that I had to make pancakes again! This time I used up the rest of my can of pumpkin puree for a little bit of fall flavor (and color). These pancakes are fluffy and delicious, while also requiring very little effort.
Pancakes aren’t exactly the healthiest breakfast, but I made them healthier by substituting some of the flour with whole wheat flour. The texture is a bit rougher but I like it! Feel free to add some chopped nuts like I did.
EASY PUMPKIN PANCAKES
(makes about 6)
1 3/4 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin puree, egg and oil.
In another large bowl, stir the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin spice mix and salt until well blended.
Slowly add the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture until just blended; try not to over mix the batter.
Heat a pan over low-medium heat. Add about a ¼ cup of batter for one pancake onto the griddle. Brown on both sides and serve hot with maple syrup.
Until this year, I have been completely oblivious to the craze for pumpkin recipes in Autumn. Have I been hiding under a rock or something?! Suddenly this year, I see pumpkin everywhere. The most pumpkin I’ve had was traditional pumpkin pie which was why I was blown away by all the different foods you can put pumpkin in. I wanted to make a pumpkin recipe so what better food to put pumpkin in than…muffins.
It was a perfect opportunity to test out my brand new toaster oven muffin tin! If you had told me in the beginning of the year that I could make muffins in a toaster oven, I would have laughed and totally dismiss that idea. Toaster ovens have not been known to be the best method for baking since the temperature is very variable. I guess I’m either super lucky or have a magical toaster oven because my muffins came out great!
These pumpkin chocolate chip muffins were very moist and had a subtle pumpkin flavor. I was more than pleasantly surprised. What’s even better than successful muffins is successful healthy muffins. These were made using whole-wheat flour and Greek yogurt. Pumpkins are awesome because they are rich in fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins A, C, and E.
As my suitemates can probably tell you, I was so excited that these muffins came out well and I’ll definitely be making more muffins in the future.
HEALTHY PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1 large egg
1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt (Chobani)
1/2 can pure pumpkin puree
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Line 6 muffin cups with paper liners and spray with nonstick spray.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and yogurt. Add the pumpkin puree and the oil, whisking to combine.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Batter will be thick.
Fold in chocolate chips.
For the topping, mix sugar with cinnamon. Spoon batter into muffin tin, filling each cup to the top. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Bake in toaster oven at 300 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in one of the muffins comes out clean. Cool in pan a few minutes, then on a wire rack. If baking in a regular oven, you should bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.