Light Pumpkin Spice Cake Bars

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Guess who’s back? Back again.
Pumpkin’s back. Tell a friend.
(Yes, I just used Eminem’s song lyrics & put the word pumpkin in it 😉 )

I just couldn’t stay away from baking with pumpkin for very long… After contemplating for a good 20 minutes on what to bake today, I decided to bake some Light Pumpkin Spice Cake Bars!

I wanted to make something a little healthier than I normally bake and thought bars are always easy, but tasty!

To skinny-tize these Pumpkin Bars, I used a half cup all-purpose flour, and a half cup of whole wheat flour. The whole wheat adds nutrients & goodness, and the all-purpose gives the bars a nice light texture. Whereas when we just use whole wheat flour in recipes, the baked goods tend to be pretty heavy & thick.
I think the combo of the two flours make it the perfect consistency.
We also reduce the amount of butter & eggs in this recipe which makes the bars healthier.

These pumpkin bars are super moist, and have a cake-like consistency.
Although these bars are delicious on their own, feel free to add some walnuts, white, milk or dark chocolate chips, or even some whipped cream to the top! NUM!

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Ingredients:
(makes 9 bars)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of allspice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch – 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/4 cup milk (plain, fat-free, soy, or almond)
1/4 cup butter (melted in the microwave)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 8 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients until evenly combined. Set aside.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar & pumpkin until combined. Add in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract and stir until just combined. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients & mix until evenly combined. Do not over mix.
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool completely, than cut into 9 squares.

Notes: Bars stay fresh for up to one week stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Happy Baking!
Natasha xo

Sunday Family Dinner

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Tonight we had my grandparents over for dinner & my mom and I made Chili with an Eggnog & Rum Coffee Cake for dessert. We usually have Sunday dinners at my Grandparents house, but we wanted to switch things up a bit and make dinner for them instead. They always make the most delicious meals, so we had our work cut out for us!

My mom’s famous chili is sooo good. SoSooooo good that I actually ended my 2-year stint of Vegetarianism tonight and ate meat. Yup, that’s right. After 2 years of not eating any meat, I ate the chili tonight and it. was. delicious. No regrets whatsoever!

The meal turned out great, but the company was even better. We love spending quality time with family and always look forward to our Sunday family dinners.

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imageWatching the Vancouver Canucks game.. typical Canadians & proud of it! (this is the only photo I could get of my grandparents tonight. they hate the camera, i had to sneak this one!)

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Lame-o IPhone selfie

Image Reppin’ my Jason Mraz concert tee.

Random fact: I cried like a baby for a good 3 songs during his concert. What can I say, music makes me emotional, can’t help it.

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My mom’s a babe. She makes holding a tub of sour cream look good.

ImageMmmm, chili.

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The meal that ended my Vegetarianism!

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ImageZeus Photo Take # 1.

Image Zeus. Photo Take # 2. He was so not down with the photo-taking. Such a little grump tonight haha.

Xo Natasha & Laura

Perfectly Pumpkin Cake Bars

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Pumpkin + Milk Chocolate Chips + Pecans = Perfection!

I love making dessert bars for many reasons… Let me count thee ways:

1) They’re super easy to make. Just throw the ingredients together, and pop it in a pan.
2) They almost always turn out moist & delicious.
3) anddd they usually taste even better the next day!

These Pumpkin Cake Bars are definitely no exception. They are moist, full of flavour, & are quick and easy to make.
While they are pretty cakey & fluffy fresh out of the oven, by the next day they almost have a nice chewy, blondie texture to them. They’re the best of both worlds!

I chose to use milk chocolate chips & pecans, but feel free to use whichever extra goodies you prefer.. from walnuts to any kind of chocolate chips.

This is one of my favorite Pumpkin recipes for Fall. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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Pumpkin final

Perfectly Pumpkin Cake Bars Recipe

Ingredients:

2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin
1 1/2 – 2 cups milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup pecans, chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9″x13″ inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, baking soda & salt. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter & sugars together on medium/high speed until smooth. Beat in egg, & vanilla until combined. Beat in the pumpkin.

4. Reduce speed to low, & mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips & pecans with a wooden spoon of spatula.

5. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in pan.

Notes:

– Bars stay fresh for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
– Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.

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Enjoy!
Xo Natasha

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate & Cranberries

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The last two days have been filled with everything baking and a lot of trial and error.

I had been looking forward to trying out zucchini bread, as I’d made zucchini muffins and cookies previously and they both turned out great. So yesterday I got to it & baked my very first zucchini bread loaf! What a let-down… it was the nastiest zucchini bread I’ve ever tasted. It was my first time making zucchini bread and I think it may be my last. That’s how bad it was. It turned me right off, and I doubt I’ll be baking with zucchini for awhile now.

Since my love affair with zucchini died – today I’d decided I had waited long enough and it was time to start baking pumpkin goodies!

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YAY for PUMPKIN! Move over zucchini – there’s a new vegetable in town.
(Is pumpkin a fruit or vegetable?! I will admit, I had to google it – apparently it is technically a fruit, but is accepted by many as a vegetable. I’m just going to go with vegetable. It just seems more veggie-ish.)

My mom had told me to wait until October to start baking with pumpkin but I just couldn’t wait. (October! Who can wait till October to start baking with pumpkin? Definitely not I. Sorry Mom!) 

Like many bakers, I have a massive crush on pumpkin.
Pumpkin = Moist, Healthy, Sweet & Spicy Goodness. Who can resist?
I adore the flavor and will literally eat anything with pumpkin in it. (Anyone tried homemade pumpkin pasta or ravioli and know of a good recipe? I’m thinking about trying it out soon!)

For my first pumpkin recipe of the year, I decided to bake Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate & Cranberries – and they most definitely did not disappoint.
Besides the minor setback of almost burning the house down (yes, that happened – don’t ask. 😉 ), the cookies turned out perfect and my pumpkin craze has now officially started. (Be prepared for lots of posts on pumpkin-flavored baked goods!)
Bring on the Fall! 

If you’re looking for the ultimate chewy, moist, pumpkin-spiced, oatmeal cookies – this is the recipe for you! The pumpkin combined with the oatmeal, plus the addition of the white chocolate chips & cranberries give this cookie amazing texture, and tons of flavor. It is definitely one of my favorite pumpkin recipes!

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate & Cranberries

Ingredients:
(yield: 48-52 cookies)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pure pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.

2. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice & salt in medium bowl.

3. Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract; mix well. Add the flour mixture and combine until all ingredients are incorporated.
Fold in the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

4. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets.

5. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for approx. 2 minutes than remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Note: Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Happy Start-of-the-Pumpkin-Season Baking!
I’m looking forward to seeing all the pumpkin recipes start to pop up.

Natasha xo

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This is Zeus, aka Zeusie, Zeusie-Zoo, Zeuser, Doodie-doo, Dooder, Mr.Z, Poopie-Poo, Baby, Little Man. (He’s a dog of many names)
He’s our 13 year old fur-baby and the love of our lives. We just got a new DSLR camera and of course the first thing I do is shoot some photos of Zeusie. It was late at night and he was sleepy but I couldn’t resist, I had to sneak a couple photos. He was just looking too cute. Adorable ain’t he? 😉