Pumpkin Spice Granola

Pumpkin Spice Granola #autumn #pumpkineverything Granola claims a colorful and circuitous history, strangely intertwined with religion, health nuts, and hippies. Odd, but familiar bedfellows, indeed. Starting with Sylvester Graham (yes, of graham cracker fame), ending up with the hippies of the ’60s, and continuing on to the modern nutrition-conscious housewives of today, it satisfies the need for a quick and healthy breakfast for bleary-eyed mornings. Pumpkin Spice Granola #autumn #pumpkineverything

There are many wonderful things about granola, not the least if which is its adaptability to the contents of your pantry, your dietary needs and desires, and even to the season and its produce. Using a background of a variety of grains and seeds, the fruits of the season can shine in their limelight and create a wide variety of pleasing tastes and textures.

And, of course, pumpkin is the star of the harvest season, and deserves its chance to hog the spotlight. When combined with the usual spices, and some honey, it creates the perfect dressing for granola, made even better by the addition of dried cranberries and apples. Autumn in a delicious handful.

Pumpkin Spice Granola #autumn #pumpkineverything

Pumpkin Spice Granola #autumn #pumpkineverything


Oatmeal Crepes {Can be Gluten-Free!} #BakingMyHeritage

Oatmeal Crepes #bakingmyheritage #glutenfreeI continue to explore recipes from my little gem of a cookbook called The Finnish Cookbook, a nod to my heritage, and to a largely ignored but delicious cuisine. The more I cook from this cookbook the more convinced I am that people should explore Finnish cuisine for themselves! 

This particular recipe is one I have now made more times than I can count; it’s that good. Cuz trust me honey. I almost never make the same thing twice. And if I make it more than twice, you know it’s a good recipe.

So here we go: Oatmeal Crepes, using only oat for the flour, so they can easily be made gluten-free by using gluten-free oats.

Oatmeal Crepes #bakingmyheritage #glutenfree

Traditionally, these Finnish crepes are served together with a bowl of cream and a bowl of cinnamon sugar: you dip the crepe in the sugar and then in the cream. I haven’t actually tried that, although it sounds absolutely fabulous. No, I usually just drizzle mine with maple syrup, fruit sauce, or fresh fruit, and then top with yogurt or whipped cream. Pretty heavenly that way, too!

For more posts in this series, see:

French Toast Casserole with Streusel Topping

French Toast Casserole with Streusel Topping #breakfast #wholefoods #nutfree

Delicious Breakfast – French Toast Casserole with Streusel Topping

On holidays and weekends, one of my favorite things to do is fix my family a slightly more involved breakfast than usual (read: something besides toast and a smoothie). It’s a plus if said breakfast is deliciously decadent without really being decadent. And it’s a total plus if said deliciously decadent breakfast is made with the leftover bread that accumulates over time in my freezer.

This breakfast is all of these and more. My DH even called it “epic” and he’s not one to effuse over his food. I’m thinking the cinnamon syrup is what pushed him over the edge this time.

French Toast Casserole with Oatmeal Streusel #breakfast #nutfree #wholefoods

Delicious French Toast Casserole with Oatmeal Streusel Topping and Cinnamon Syrup

If you don’t keep your bread ends in your freezer… well, you should! You can make a lot of things with leftover bits and pieces of bread, and this recipe is one of them. Other recipes include:

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Bread Crumbs

Easy Peasy Cheese Ball

Chicken Zucchini Stuffing Casserole
French Toast Casserole with Oatmeal Streusel #breakfast #wholefoods #nutfree

Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Donuts

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Donuts You know that super simple, super quick “donut” recipe that’s been going around for a while? The one where you open a can of biscuits, poke a hole in the middle, then fry it up and call it a donut?

Well, this is kind of like that. Except we don’t do canned biscuits around here, so the biscuit dough is fresh from scratch. (SO easy!) Oh  yes, and it’s flavored with pumpkin and pumpkin spices so it’s perfect for fall weather. 

Think you like the sound of that? (I know I do!) Then head on over to Baking Whole Grains to get the recipe for my Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Donuts

5 Vegan Breakfast Ideas

For the average person, breakfast typically consists of something along the lines of eggs & bacon, cereal and milk, or maybe a donut/muffin from the bakery on a really hectic day.  But for someone who is trying to stick to the VB6 plan of eating, all 3 of those options are totally out of the question. VB6, after all, means no animal products, no processed food, no sugar and only whole grains from wake-up time to dinner time.

Since launching my own experimentation with VB6 (which, by the way, has been rather successful: I’ve gotten closer to my goal weight than I have in a year!), I quickly found that it was easy to get into a vegetarian groove for breakfast. I had worried that it might not be filling enough to last me until lunch time, but most days, I don’t even have a faint hunger pang until after the clock informs me it’s lunch time. (I also should note that I do consume some probiotic grass-fed dairy products during the day because I believe their nutritional benefits are worth it.)

My favorite vegan (or vegetarian) breakfast options are:

1. Smoothie & Toast

Vegan smoothie options galore exist! If you’re really wanting to avoid the animal products completely, almost all smoothie recipes can be made vegan with a simple swap of non-dairy products for any dairy.

Some of my favorite smoothies are:

Now, I’m of the opinion that toast is mostly a vehicle for butter. I love me a slice of toast dripping with melted butter… mmmm! Delicious! However, I don’t currently have cultured butter, so that’s not part of my VB6 plan. Instead, I spread some coconut oil on my toast (made with my Super Simple Sourdough Bread), and surprisingly, it gives me the same satisfaction as butter. I also love to spread a little homemade almond butter on my toast.

2. Oatmeal

Once again, the options are endless: there is no reason to be bored when you have such versatile menu items available! Here’s some fresh new oatmeal inspiration for you:

the easiest breakfast you'll ever make

3. Muesli

I *love* muesli, and so do The Boys.  The base is the same every time: oats and yogurt. But I just top it with whatever fruits (dried or fresh, doesn’t matter!) and nuts or seeds I have on hand. For a special treat, The Boys like a few chocolate chips sprinkled on top…. and I admit… so do I! Here’s my Better-Than-Oatmeal Muesli recipe to get you started in the right direction.

oat muffins in the tin 4. Vegan Oat Muffins

These Vegan Oat Muffins, which happen to be one of the most popular recipes on the blog, whip up quickly and can be transformed into just about anything you want with some simple ingredient swaps or additions. I like to make a batch whenever I have the time, and freeze the extras for a super-fast breakfast on the go.

5. Pancakes

Since I allow myself to eat the occasional egg during the day even on VB6 (once again, I feel it’s nutritionally worth it), I don’t bother to veganize my favorite pancake recipes unless I’m low on eggs or some other reason. But since I made vegan pancakes for quite a few years, due to My Certain Little Someone’s egg and dairy allergies, I am no stranger to the concept! In fact, there are a few recipes I got used to during his allergic days that I still make pretty regularly, and one of them is the oatmeal pancake recipe I used in this recipe for Pancake Apples. With or without the apples, it’s a delicious pancake everyone will love, no matter the diet! But I have to admit my most favorite pancake recipe is this one: The Best Pancakes.

Strawberry Quinoa Muffins {Secret Recipe Club}

This month’s Secret Recipe Club entry comes from the beautiful blog Delishhh, written by Ewa (pronounced “Eva”), who has a  decidedly international flair which is probably the result of being born Swedish and raised in Asia (now residing in the United States in case you’re curious). She also, like me, loves to eat healthy, whole foods, and is an advocate of GMO labeling and enjoying organic foods. I definitely recommend you browse through her blog and check out her gorgeous photos and delicious recipes.

I’ve had her Pumpkin Energy Bar pinned for ages, and still fully intend to make it, but I never seem to have all the ingredients at the same time. I’m working on it, though: I’ve got everything except the pumpkin and I plan to get that this week so I can give her recipe a whirl, and after that, I’ll try some variations using the same framework she used.

I also want to try her White Bean Puree to use as a dip or spread – me and The Boys enjoy our beans, so this will be a nice addition to the bean recipe repertoire!

But what I made this time around was her Blueberry Pecan Quinoa Muffins. I love that Ewa increased the health factor of a not-super-healthy breakfast favorite by filling it with high-protein quinoa and fruits and nuts. Score! I didn’t, however, have any blueberries, and we don’t eat tree nuts around here, so my version turned into Strawberry Quinoa Muffins. We heartily enjoyed it for breakfast, and I have a few more in the freezer to pull out later this week. Can’t beat fast and healthy on a crazy school morning!

A note about the quinoa flour: It’s super easy to grind whole quinoa into flour using a grain mill like the one I have below (Wonder Mill) – just remember to pour in the grains a little bit at a time (maybe a tablespoon or two). You can hear when the grains have gone through the mill and then you can add more. Once you have the feel of it, you can keep a constant stream of grains heading down the hopper into the mill to make your flour. You can also buy a small grain attachment that will feed the quinoa for you. 

Alternatively, as Ewa suggests, you can grind the quinoa in small amounts in a spice mill or perhaps a coffee grinder.

Intrigued by the Secret Recipe Club? Find out more and join here.

Mango Coconut Muffins {Secret Recipe Club}

Mango Coconut Muffins This month’s Secret Recipe Club finds me in the middle of a move. As in, the kind where you pack up every blessed thing you own into a box and drag it across the country only to unpack it all moments later. Only in my case, we’re not quite moving across the country – just about an hour south of where we are now. So no big deal, right?!

Ha! I wish it was no big deal! I kept telling myself all month long, “You’d better make your SRC recipe and write up the blog post before you’re so crazy busy you don’t have time to do it!”. Wise words, yes? Sadly, I did not listen to my own wise words, and so ended up searching for a recipe on Edesia’s Notebook with only a few moments to spare… and not a lot in my pantry.

I found it humorous that the recipe I chose to make from Edesia’s Notebook was one that Lisa, the blogger, had found when she was searching for a fruity muffin recipe… but only had mangos to work with. Oddly enough, I, too, had a mango in my fridge despite the fact that my kitchen cupboards were getting rather bare due to our impending move. So Mango Muffins it was!

(If I’d had the ingredients on hand, I would have gone for one of her delicious sounding egg dishes – Butternut Garlic Quiche, Eggs Benedict Casserole, or Summer Vegetable Frittata. Or maybe her Breakfast Meatballs, which sound fan-tab-u-lous!)

I did not change the recipe significantly, but since I had some coconut ingredients on hand, and since coconut and mango were born for each other, I added a little coconut to the mix. Plus, I didn’t have any ginger, so I experimented with cinnamon and cardamom.  Tropical deliciousness!

Find out how you can join the Secret Recipe Club here.

Maple Cream Scones {Secret Recipe Club}

Can you believe I have never made scones before? (Oh, wait. I take that back. I did make them once, about 5 or 6 years ago. As I recall, they were really quite good, but for some reason I have never made them since.)

Until just recently. I was inspired to give them a try again after browsing through PheMOMenon, my assignment for the Secret Recipe Club this month (If you’re a food blogger, find out how to join here – it’s so much fun to cook and bake from other blogs!). Holly, PheMOMenon herself, writes about her family and her kitchen adventures as she “conquers the world one recipe at a time”.

I had some trouble figuring out which of her recipes I wanted to conquer myself, so I pinned a few recipes to try later. Her Super Almond Granola is at the top of that to-try list, and I promise will be made in the very near future. Since I’ve been on a bit of a mug cake kick lately, I also want to try her Chocolate Mousse Mug Cake, which sounds divine and has only four ingredients! And these Cinnamon Roll Waffles look like they’d be great for a decadent weekend or day-off breakfast, don’t you think?

But what I actually made was her Maple Pecan Scones – I love the maple flavor, and I was interested in trying my hand at scones for the first time in years.

Unfortunately, my scones did not turn out very scone-like, but that was 100% completely my fault. Although I did fiddle with the ingredients, my biggest mistake was cramming the triangles into too small of a pan so that they smooshed together, making them look more like a coffee cake or something than actual scones. Next time, I’ll know, and will use a bigger pan! But otherwise, they turned out quite delicious in my opinion, and I’m going to be adding scones to my regular breakfast repertoire.

I used freshly ground white wheat flour, made in my WonderMill grain mill from soft white wheat berries, and you would never know these scones were made with whole grains. Delicious with a tender crumb… yum!

Banana Oatmeal Donuts

I just love it when I find a recipe that is so delicious I can’t resist it, and yet is healthy enough that I don’t feel the least bit guilty indulging. This is just such a recipe! These tasty and healthy donuts are made from whole grains, fruit, and healthy fats, with no refined sugars. They’re also egg-free, wheat-free and dairy-free if you’re on a limited diet. And they don’t taste like any of that! They just taste like yummy. Want the recipe? Get it at the Grain Mill Wagon: Banana Oatmeal Donuts.

I’ve got one more delicious grain mill recipe coming up for you next week – you’re going to love it! Another healthified indulgence, my favorite.

This post was made possible by the Grain Mill Challenge.

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Grandma’s Biscuits – With Spelt!

I’ve talked about Grandma’s biscuits here on the blog before, but today I want to share with you my latest favorite version. This time, I experimented with freshly ground spelt flour instead of the usual whole wheat flour. Dee.Lish.Us. Ya gotta try it.

Now, I know that spelt is a little harder to find than plain old whole wheat or wheat berries, and it’s a little more expensive. But if you have sensitivities or allergies to wheat, spelt can be a great substitute. It’s similar to wheat (kind of like wheat’s cousin), so it behaves a lot like wheat when baking, and it tastes very much like wheat. It’s got just a bit of a more nutty flavor, but unlike other wheat-free flours (like buckwheat, for example), it’s a pleasant improvement in the taste, not a detraction.

For a long time, I avoided baking with spelt because I didn’t want to spend the extra money merely as a replacement for wheat which my DH, myself, and Baby Boy can all eat just fine. And I was nervous about using it to replace wheat for My Certain Little Someone, whose allergies are quite intense and cause him to react to foods with similar proteins (like goat milk and cow’s milk, for example, or wheat and rye). Now that he’s almost 4 years old and has outgrown some of his allergens, I felt a little more confident introducing spelt.

And thankfully, I met with success! I’m so thrilled that I have a workable, reliable wheat substitute that I can use when baking for the whole family. No more different sets of pancakes or muffins or cookies. One batch will be safe for everybody. (And the angels rejoice!)

To get the new-and-improved version of Grandma’s biscuits, go to the Grain Mill Challenge Blog.

This post was made possible by WonderMill and the Grain Mill Challenge.

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