Tag Archives: pumpkin

Cranberry Apple Pumpkin Bars

So, I was completely trying to make something else when I made these. I had this idea that they were going to be shortbread bars.

But then, as I was creating the recipe, I cut down on both the butter and the sugar.

In case you didn’t know, that’s kind of what makes shortbread… shortbread.

The good news is that these bars are kind of like little pie bars. They taste like pie. And they’re healthier. Slightly less healthy when you top them with ice cream, but that definitely is how I suggest you eat them.


Cranberry Apple Pumpkin Bars

makes 12-18 bars (depending on how you slice them) — one 9 x 13 pan

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (at room temp)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup cranberry apple butter*
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces

*Note: If you don’t have access to a Trader Joes, which is where I found cranberry apple butter, I think any old apple butter would do just fine.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9×13 pan or dish.

Using an electric mixer, blend the butter, sugar and maple syrup. Add the eggs and pumpkin puree and blend until evenly mixed.

Sift together flour, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Add dry mix to wet mix and blend thoroughly.

Spread half of the dough on the bottom of the pan. Spread the cranberry apple butter evenly across the dough. Press pieces of the rest of the dough across the top of the dish. You won’t evenly cover it, but you will come close. See below.

Press walnut pieces into the top of the dish. This will spread the dough on top slightly. Again, see below.

(In case you can’t tell, that’s after it’s baked.)

I really liked these. I didn’t think I would at first, when they didn’t turn out as planned, but they really grew on me when I realized they were just something different than I’d thought they were. Served warm and topped with vanilla ice cream, these are to die for!


Sometimes, you’ve just got to be a little flexible. πŸ™‚

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Orange You Glad…

Yesterday was the day of orange. I knew it would be from the beginning. I like to think of it as a day with a sunny outlook. Anyway, because I saw the theme coming from a mile away, I decided to document it.

I started my day out with orange juice and pumpkin yogurt.

The orange juice is pretty self-explanatory, but as for the pumpkin yogurt…

Into the mix went:

  • Vanilla 0% Chobani
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • Nut Granola
  • a sprinkle of Kashi Go Lean! Crunch
  • dash of nutmeg
  • a few shakes of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin butter

It’s funny — both times I’ve had pumpkin yogurt, I thought it had a weird texture for the first couple of bites and then got totally addicted to it.

I’m weird.

But seriously, it’s like pumpkin mousse. You have to try it. Just give it a few bites.

I also had some Pumpkin Spice coffee, which I purposefully served in my orange mug.

You can call it cheating. I call it “working with what I’ve got.”

Lunch was a blogger favorite.

That’s half of a (huge!) sweet potato (which I’d baked the night before at 400 degrees for about an hour), topped with about a serving and a half of baked beans.

This combination is fantastic. I love it.

See?

It’s even (c’mon, be imaginative) sooooort of in the shape of a heart! Plus, it could not be easier to prepare.

The only problem was that it was quite hot out yesterday and I wasn’t all about the hot lunch. Oh well. There are worse problems to have.

I went out for tea (well, we went out for coffee, but I got tea) with my friend Amy after work. I stuck with the theme. I also cheated worked with my circumstances again for the sake of the orange theme.

That’s vanilla rooibos tea, which was lovely.

Funny thing about dinner — I’d planned on eating another orange dinner, but then I came home to this:

… and a note from Mark telling me to help myself.

I have the best roommate, ever. Hands down.

And, I mean, it was fate that there were orange tomatoes on it.

And yes, I did choose my piece accordingly.

The things I do for love blogging.

By the way, in case any of you were wondering, I pushed my surgery to next week. So, no, I’m not going under the knife today. The surgery is now scheduled for next Wednesday, the 19th. Cross your fingers for me that it actually goes according to plan this time?

I actually think I’m more prepared for it now and I’m glad it was pushed. In fact, I am absolutely convinced that the reason I got sick was because I was so nervous and worked up about the surgery. I wasn’t ready yet. I (think I) am now.

What do you think? Can you make yourself sick from worry? Have you ever done that?

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Pumpkin Mocha Breakfast Bars

Sometimes, when I’m stressed out, I bake.

When I’m extra-stressed out, I “can’t get all of the dough out of the bowl and have to use a smaller spoon to clean it out and eat that dough.”

Don’t worry about it. It’s basically science.

Anyway, as I mentioned yesterday, I’m supposed to get surgery next week.Β  So, when I got home and was kind of feeling like crying because the reality of getting surgery had started setting in, I decided I needed to distract myself by creating a new recipe.

Now, I’ll be honest. When I created the recipe, I originally intended for the bars to be more of a dessert.

They weren’t. They’re not very sweet.

Let’s call it a happy accident.

Personally, I think they’re best served warm, either as a part of a yogurt bowl (this morning, I topped two small warmed bars with vanilla yogurt and blueberries — and it was amazeballs) or spread with cream cheese.

Pumpkin Mocha Breakfast Bars


makes one 9×13 pan’s worth — cut them however you want

Ingredients:

  • 6 heaping tbs ground pumpkin spice coffee (I used the kind from TJ’s — if you can’t find any, it’s okay to just use regular coffee)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2Β  tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temp.
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make coffee with ground coffee and water — yes, it is extra strong! Let the coffee cool.

Mix all dry ingredients other than sugars (AP flour, WW flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cocoa powder) together. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, blend sugars, butter, pumpkin, eggs and vanilla. Add coffee and mix again.

Add dry ingredients. Mix everything together until you have a smooth batter.

Grease a 9×13-inch pan and pour batter into it.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool and cut bars. I cut mine pretty small because they’re so dense.


For the record, if you did want to have them as dessert, I bet they’d be really good topped with vanilla ice cream. Or, if you were trying to maintain the healthy theme of these bars, you could totally do vanilla frozen yogurt.

But don’t blame me if you’re up late from the caffeine. πŸ™‚

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Pumpkin Apple Bread & Muffins

This recipe comes straight from my mom. For once, I didn’t play with or change anything about the recipe. You see, this bread tastes like my childhood and I didn’t want to tamper with a thing.

I wouldn’t exactly call it low-sugar (it really just… isn’t), but… well, just make them.

Some things should just be left alone.

Because, honestly, this recipe is perfect as is.

The only thing I did differently is that I used half of the batter for a loaf of bread and half of the batter to make a dozen muffins.

Of course, this recipe can also be used to make either 2 loaves of bread or two dozen muffins. Just pay attention to the difference in baking time.

Pumpkin Apple Bread & Muffins

makes 2 loaves of bread or 2 dozen muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (I would not recommend whole wheat here, but if you must, still only use half whole wheat and half all-purpose)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp allspice (if you don’t have any, sub in ginger)
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled & chopped

For the topping:

  • 1 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 5 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbs butter, softened

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease your baking pans/ muffin tins.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice (or ginger).

In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, canola oil, sugar and eggs.

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and combine. Fold in apples.

Distribute the batter evenly across your baking pans/ muffin tins.

In another bowl, combine all topping ingredients (flour, sugar, cinnamon, butter) until crumbly.

Sprinkle the topping across the batter in the loaf pans/ muffin tins.

For the muffins: Bake for 25-30 min.

For the bread: Bake for 50-55 min.

They’re done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry.

Let cool (if you can wait) and enjoy.

I only tasted one muffin, and that was at the party! That I didn’t even do any taste-testing shows a lot of faith in the recipe.

I do know what the muffins and bread taste like, though.

Like happiness! And childhood! And fall. πŸ™‚

Oh, and this recipe is pretty perfect for Thanksgiving.

Just FYI.

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Happy November 1st!

You guys.

It’s NOVEMBER.

Does that seem crazy to anybody else? Didn’t it just turn October? Scratch that, didn’t it just turn September? Time flies.

I’m so deeply into the holiday season that… well, I should probably warn you that my holiday spirit starts now. I’ll probably be getting into Christmas stuff before most of the rest of you do. Consider it your preparation for the holiday season.

I may or may not have hung my first holiday decoration item today.

May or may not. You never know. I could have taken that picture last year.

(I didn’t).

I figured it was non-Christmas-specific enough that it would be appropriate for Thanksgiving, too.

This morning, though, still in an October food mood, I still managed to start with some pumpkin. Then again, pumpkin is a Thanksgiving thing, too, so I figure I’ve got some mileage in it. Plus, the overlapping of holidays will probably make my Christmas obsession easier for you all to handle.

Oh, wait! Let me back up a little bit before I get to my breakfast.

Last night, after a day full of headaches, dehydration, and a desire to do nothing but lie in bed and eat french fries and pizza (which I did not eat, but man, did I want to), I decided to trick myself into thinking I was getting to eat greasy, salty food I was craving for dinner.

So, using Trader Joe’s Flaxseed chips, low fat shredded cheese, sauteed onions, tomatoes, and avocado, I made some healthy nachos.

On the side, I had some roasted brussels sprouts.

Totally did the trick.

This morning, I did the other thing that makes me feel best: I worked out! Now, I’m still being really careful, but it was nice just to do something. I worked on the stationary bike for 60 minutes at a high intensity and then did a five minute cool down. I’m happy to say that I feel absolutely no worse than I did beforehand, so I think the bike is a safe bet for me.

Now, back to that breakfast….

Pumpkin Overnight Oats!


Into the mix (last night) went:

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • heaping tbs pumpkin
  • a few generous dashes pumpkin pie spice
  • dash splenda
  • 1 tsp ground blueberry flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds

On top (this morning):

  • sprinkle Nut Granola
  • handful blueberries
  • tsp pumpkin butter

My short workout this morning actually gave me some extra time, so that nut granola was made spur of the moment this morning. After all, it hardly takes a long time. This mixture, however, had smaller proportions of walnuts and almonds (I ran out) and had a bunch of sunflower seeds subbed in. Oh, I also simply forgot the coconut.

But really, no matter how you make nut granola, it’s always good.

Plus, I’m excited to have it back in my life. It’s been too long, old friend. Far too long.

Monday Morning Workout
(man, it’s good to have this section back)

65 min stationary bike (60 min high intensity + 5 min cool down)

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Happy Halloween!

I’m a little too… err… tired to feel much like posting right now, but I figured I’d bring a little holiday spirit by posting some super-cute pictures of me celebrating Halloween as an itty bitty little kiddie.

How fitting that I was a pumpkin, right?

I’ll be back tomorrow with another costume-filled post… but about this weekend. πŸ™‚

Happy Halloween!!

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Regular Programming

I have nothing to report for eats last night because a) I didn’t have any (whoops) and b) I was out with a new friend and didn’t want to freak him out by taking pictures of my beer. That’s a little weird for people that don’t know about healthy living blogs or people that don’t already know me, you know what I mean?

I can, however, tell you that I went to one of my favorite bars in LA, called The Cat & Fiddle. It’s a British-style pub with a very cool vibe and a good crowd. Big thumbs up. If you’re in the area, try it! Or, better yet, let me know you’re in the area and I’ll meet you there. πŸ˜‰

Oh, and what I got? Two pints of Kellerweizen Hefeweizen. I think the name is fun. πŸ™‚

This morning, after seeing variations of yogurt messes on Monica’s and Julie’s blogs, I decided to make one of my own.

This is pre-mess.

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Kind of pretty, right?

This is what it looks like all messed up (how I actually ate it).

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It may not look appetizing, but boy, oh, boy is it good.

Back to the pretty.

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Into the mix went:
  • ~2/3 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • ~1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • a few dashes pumpkin pie spice
  • dash Splenda
  • ~ 1 tbs pecan pieces
  • 1 tsp pumpkin butter
  • handful Go Lean Crunch! Honey Almond Flax
  • handful fresh blackberries

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Sooo many drool-worthy tastes in my mouth. (yea, yea)

Though this breakfast was good, it was not filling enough. I ended up snacking throughout the morning, which I don’t usually need or want to do. I don’t think there was enough fat in my breakfast, which would explain the hunger. It certainly can’t be blamed on a workout, since I didn’t get to do one this morning! Speaking of which, I definitely don’t think this meal would be at all filling enough after a workout.

Lunch, similarly, had a bunch of flavors going on.

I heated up one of those Green Giant microwaveable vegetable medleys and one of those Trader Joe’s veggie burgers in the microwave. I just cut the veggie burger up and distributed the pieces over the veggies.


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It hit the spot! Plus, as I’ve been aiming for, it consisted of warm veggies and was a vegetarian meal. Double score! Being a vegetarian is not only not very hard, but makes me feel pretty good. Hmm…

Snack, a few hours later (and after roughly five mini pieces of candy throughout the afternoon…) was a banana with vanilla almond butter.



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Especially now that I’m benched, I need to be extra careful about things like sneaking little pieces of candy from the candy bowl. They may seem harmless, but they add up… and I’m not able to do anything to balance them right now.
The banana & AB were good, but what are some of your favorite snack options? I generally have a sweet or salty (or both!) tooth in the afternoons. I need to keep it healthy and want to mix it up a bit. I’d love to hear all of your suggestions! As evidenced by the Vans waffles shopping trip yesterday morning, I obviously listen. πŸ™‚

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