Pumpkin Spice Granola

I have often wanted to make granola but always thought the stuff from the store is good enough, why bother. Well now I get it. Before I even tasted the granola, I was won over while the granola was baking by the heavenly smells of the pumpkin spices, roasting nuts, and oats permeating through my house. This was enough to convince me that I will never buy packaged granola again! Give it a try and feel free to substitute types of nuts/dried fruit that you prefer and spices that you prefer or that are seasonal. Thank you to Jen Jones of Sweet Green Kitchen for the recipe. I only made very minor adjustments.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

  • Servings: 5 cups of granola
  • Difficulty: easy
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Healthy and savory homemade granola with pumpkin spice.


  • 3 Tablespoons of safflower or canola oil
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar (or honey, I like the flavor of honey but I have read that the delicate enzymes will be destroyed by the heat)
  • 1/2 cup of no sugar added, 100% fruit jam (apricot or strawberry is recommended)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups of rolled oats (I like thick old fashioned rolled oats)
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw pistachios
  • 1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds, shelled)
  • 1/8 cup flax seeds
  • 1/8 cup ground flax
  • 1/8 cup psyllium husk (ground)
  • 1/8 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 -2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 1/4 teaspoon ginger or just 2 teaspoons cinnamon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried fruit-sweetened dried cranberries


  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Line a large 12″x17″ rimmed baking pan with parchment paper (or grease the pan). Set aside.
  3. Mix the coconut oil, sugar and jam in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until well combined.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and water, stir and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Mix all the dry ingredients (oats through salt) in a large bowl.
  5. Pour the wet ingredient mixture into the dry mixture. Stir until the dry ingredients are fully mixed with the wet. Add a little water if necessary.
  6. Press granola mixture into the pan, press mixture down so it all sticks together. Press hard (with a back of a measuring cup for example).
  7. Bake the granola in the oven for 15 minutes. Stir the granola and re-press into pan. Cook for 10 more minutes and stir again adding the chopped cranberries and re-press into pan. Place back into the oven for 15 more minutes, but make sure not to let it burn, granola can be perfect one minute and burned the next!
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the pan. It may cook a little longer after you take it out. When cool store in a large airtight container. Enjoy!

Notes: updated 2/6/19

  • I don’t use coconut oil anymore. It has a great flavor but is very high in saturated fat and I haven’t seen any actual research that says it is beneficial (and may be harmful but the jury is out), so I now use safflower or canola oil, something light and with a neutral flavor. 
  • Don’t add dried fruit right away, it tends to burn (harden). I have had more success adding it in the last 15 minutes of cooking, although a lot of recipes say add it after cooking, but then it won’t stick to the granola and I like my granola chunky. I have has some success soaking the dried fruit in hot water for 15 minutes or so and draining the fruit and adding it with the rest of the ingredients.
  • I have tried both cooking the wet ingredients and not cooking them and I see the logic in cooking them, the ingredients emulsify that way, but I am not sure the end result is any different. I re-wrote the recipe to include the cooking of the wet ingredients step, but I am still on the fence about this.
  • Overall cooking granola is pretty tricky! I am finding that it can burn very quickly, so cooking it low and slow is my mantra. I have experimented with cooking it at 280 degrees, but maybe that is too conservative, seems a little raw, so I think 300 is better.


October 30, 2017, updated 2/6/19


Granola before baking
Granola after baking
Finished product in my storage jar.

Healthy Banana Blueberry Muffins

Updated April 28, 2019. Today I had three perfectly ripe bananas. I haven’t made banana muffins in a long time, so I thought I would make some today. I revisited this recipe and ended up modifying it with terrific results. First I used three bananas instead of two. Because I used more banana I needed to use less wet ingredients, so I left out the coconut oil since I now believe it is not a healthy fat and the bananas and yogurt should be plenty of moisture for the muffins. I also used less sugar (about 3/4 of a cup) because of the addition of the third banana. Lastly, I didn’t have any buckwheat flour or almond flour so I used what I had which was teff flour and garbanzo bean flour. The teff flour gave the muffins the same nuttiness as the buckwheat flour and the garbanzo bean flour provided some creaminess and sweetness similar to the almond flour. The takeaway is that the type of flours you use is flexible, use what you have.

Original post: As I was making my son breakfast I noticed that I had two perfectly ripe bananas that were too ripe for eating but perfect for baking, so I whipped up a quick batch of banana muffins. Yum! These are so delicious and quite healthy too with the whole wheat flour, buckwheat flour and almond meal, only a cup of sugar and wholesome bananas, eggs and yogurt. Try it for a quick breakfast with some fruit or a healthy snack.


Healthy Banana Blueberry Muffins

  • Servings: 15 large muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Rich, fragrant and healthy banana-blueberry muffins.


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour (or teff flour)
  • 1/4 cup almond meal/flour (or garbanzo bean flour)
  • 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (I use non-fat, but use what you prefer)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh) – In the past I have used dried cranberries, juice sweetened or unsweetened (watch out, these can have a lot of sugar added)
  • 1/4 cup nuts of choice (walnuts, pistachios, or pumpkin seeds for example)
  • parchment paper muffin liners


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Combine flours and next 7 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk.
  3. In a small bowl mix with a whisk the yogurt, egg, banana and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the blueberries and nuts. Stir gently.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, stirring just until moist. Will be pretty thick.
  5. Spoon the batter into a muffin tin lined with parchment paper muffin liners. The parchment liners don’t require any oil, they are non-stick and are an incredible find! If you don’t have these then lightly spray your muffin tins with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean.
  6. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. I usually freeze half the batch to put in a lunch box or enjoy at a later date.


May 16, 2017, Updated April 28, 2019

Mixing the dry ingredients
Mixing the wet ingredients
All ingredients mixed together


Spinach and Mushroom Frittata

When my kids were younger I would make this in a mini muffin pan and call them “mini frittatas,” and they loved them and was a great way to get a lot of vegetables in them at the start of the day. Now that my kids are older and the fact that I find muffin pans really frustrating to clean, I make this in a regular skillet and everyone in my house still loves it (although it is not nearly as “cute” anymore). Today I made this my standard way with spinach, mushrooms, veggie sausage and cheddar, but sometimes I add different vegetables or different types of cheese, it just depends on what is in the fridge at the time. I really like it with broccoli, but it seems my family is used to it this way and that is what they prefer. Leftovers also heat up well the next day. The ingredient amounts are approximate as I don’t measure. If you want to serve more people just add two more eggs/person and a little more of each ingredient per person.  Enjoy!


Spinach and Mushroom Frittata

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Large oven baked omelette chock full of vegetables and a great healthy way to start a weekend morning.


  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet onion (about a quarter of an onion)
  • 12 oz bag of fresh spinach
  • 2 large mushrooms
  • 2 pieces of breakfast sausage (today I used Morningstar Farms breakfast sausage patties, other times I use a chicken sausage or turkey sausage).
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 eggs (or 8 if you have more than 4 people or like bigger servings
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Put a medium-sized oven-proof skillet in the oven to heat up.
  2. Finely chop the onion.
  3. Chop mushrooms.
  4. Microwave the spinach for one minute. Squeeze out water and chop. (or sauté, I am just saving a few calories here).
  5. Sauté the onions and mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil. Cook the sausage (I microwaved them) and then chop.
  6. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add dill, oregano and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add cheese. Add cooked vegetables and sausage. Stir well with a spoon.
  7. Remove skillet from oven and spray with cooking spray.
  8. Pour mixture into the hot and lightly greased skillet. Cook in pre-heated oven (350 degrees) for 15 or 20 min, depending on amount of eggs and oven.
  9. Enjoy! Leftovers make for a quick breakfast or lunch the next day.


November 9, 2016


Pumpkin Oat Granola Bars

I am on a slight pumpkin kick today. I started with pumpkin waffles, because we were out of my supply of homemade frozen waffles (I make a batch and freeze some for the weekdays). Then I was staring at the half-full can of pumpkin (feeling optimistic today) and decided to make pumpkin bread and then still had a little left so I make these granola bars. These are totally made-up, so I had no idea if they would turn out edible, but they are actually pretty decent. They are a soft granola bar, maybe if I cooked it longer it would be crunchier? The other thing is I might leave out the coconut and add more nuts next time? Not sure. I am hoping people give them a try and give me some feedback.


Pumpkin Oat Granola Bars

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Simple soft granola bars with Autumn spices.


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup juice-sweetened cranberries
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 tablespoons honey (this created just a slightly sweet product, add more honey if you like sweeter granola)
  • 2 tablespoons canned pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash of salt
  • cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a medium bowl mix all the ingredients. Keep mixing until everything is coated and sticks together slightly.
  3. Press mixture into a lightly greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Press it down so it all seems stuck together pretty well.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, until browning slightly. Cool on a metal rack in the pan for 10 minutes, then gently remove and continue to cool on the metal rack. Cut into 6 bars (or 12 small squares) and enjoy.


November 5, 2016




Whole Wheat Waffles

I have been making these waffles since my 16 year old was a toddler. The recipe is based on a Cooking Light recipe Waffles with Two-Berry Syrup. I don’t eat syrup, so I have always left that part out. My kids have always eaten these with a little butter and fresh fruit spread on top of it. I think people eat whatever they are used to, so I think if you introduce waffles at an early age with fruit instead of maple syrup, then that is what the person equates with waffles. Healthy habits begin young!

Regarding the flavor of the waffle, I always add fruit, depending on what I have handy and the time of the year. I made these last weekend with mashed banana and frozen blueberries as shown. Yesterday I made them again with some leftover pumpkin I had from the pumpkin banana bread I made earlier in the week. So yummy on a cool fall morning! So any fruit will work, be creative and use what you have. I hope you enjoy these as much as my family has over the years.

Whole Wheat Waffles

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Healthy whole grain waffles that can be customized with various add-ins such as banana, blueberry, pumpkin, etc to suit the season and what you have handy.


  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed
  • ¼ cup of toasted wheat germ
  •  2 tablespoons sugar or honey
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt (I use non-fat)
  • 1 cup fat free milk (or whatever type of milk you prefer)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a whisk
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (with the yogurt in there you can leave this out)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
  • Cooking spray


  1. Pre-heat waffle iron
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl — flour, flaxseed, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. Stir with a whisk. If using honey, add it to the wet ingredients instead.
  3. Combine all the wet ingredients in a small bowl — yogurt, milk, eggs, banana, canola oil, vanilla, stirring with a whisk. Add blueberries and stir with a spoon. — note: If they are frozen they will turn everything purple, which actually lends a fun touch to the waffles. If the color bothers you, you can thaw the blueberries if frozen and lightly dust them with flour before you fold them in the batter. Fresh blueberries shouldn’t be a problem.
  4. Gently fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture, stirring with a spoon just until moist, don’t over-stir.
  5. Coat a waffle iron with cooking spray. Cook waffles according to your waffle iron instructions.
  6. Top waffles with butter if desired and fresh banana slices and/or fresh blueberries, strawberries or whatever you have handy. Enjoy!


mixing the dry ingredients
banana ready to mash
the combined batter


finished waffle

Whole Wheat Pancakes

img_3151Whole Wheat Pancakes

This is my basic “blank slate” pancake recipe, and depending on the season and what I have on hand I add some sort of fruit to the batter. My basic recipe began with Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes from Cooking Light, but I almost never have buttermilk on hand so I have substituted non-fat Greek plain yogurt, and over the years I have changed several other things. Today we are up in the mountains and it is a brisk fall morning and I have a bunch of Fuji and Honey Crisp apples on hand so I made apple spice pancakes. They were really fluffy and with the apples and spices they reminded me of going to the cider mill in the fall while growing up in Michigan. Mmmm! Other variations I make are Pumpkin and dried (fruit juice sweetened) cranberries, banana, banana and blueberry, blueberry, etc… The possibilities are endless.

Shredded apple

Whole Wheat Pancakes

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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My basic blank slate pancake recipe that can have a multitude of add-ins to make them personal and seasonal.


  • 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar (white, brown, coconut palm sugar, honey – they all work, use what you prefer)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I often add more or use 1-2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon and nutmeg)
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of non-fat milk (or whatever milk you prefer – coconut, almond, whole cow milk, etc)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Add Fruit of your choice. Options can be:
    • 1 banana mashed
    • 1 banana mashed and 1 cup of blueberries
    • 1 cup of canned pure pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, dried cranberries
    • 1 large apple grated (I keep the skin on), extra cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
    • 1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)


  1. In a large bowl add flour, flaxseed, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir with a whisk.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the yogurt, eggs, milk and vanilla. Stir with a whisk. Add any fruit and stir.
  3. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and gently combine. Don’t over mix.
  4. Spoon batter onto a heated griddle that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Cook a couple more minutes on side two.
  5. Top with butter if desired and abundant fresh fruit


Mixing the ingredients



So fluffy!