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

Glass Suncatchers

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After my little mishap on our previous DIY project, (my cracked Flower Power plate), I was excited to do another project to get over the extreme sadness I was dealing with… Alright, a tad overboard and dramatic, I’ll admit. 😉 I’m alright now.

Natasha and I spent another Sunday afternoon at the studio with my sister and her 2 young children and we all made glass sun catchers. We think they turned out so cute and they are now hanging in our living room window, shining all kinds of pretty colours into our place.

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Laura at the Studio

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My suncatcher is the one with the purple, (obvs. Purple is my fave colour).

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And here’s Natasha’s suncatcher! Lots of bright colours and orange, (her fave colour).

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We’re already brainstorming new project ideas for our next DIY… stay tuned! 🙂

Laura xo

Strawberry Pie

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By Natasha.

I made 2 strawberry pies for our family dinner on Sunday and wanted to share the recipe with you guys! This strawberry pie recipe is from my Nonna, and is a family favorite. It’s the perfect summertime pie!

Ingredients:
(makes 2 pies)
– 4 pounds of strawberries (2 pounds each pie)
– 2 pie shells
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1 tablespoon cornstarch
– 500ml whipping cream
– icing sugar

NOTE:
– This was the first time I made these pies with store-bought pie crusts. I do NOT recommend buying pie crusts for this kind of pie because the strawberries contain a lot of juice which can make it soggy if the crust is not thick enough. Definitely want to stick with homemade crusts! 🙂
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Recipe:

1. Pre-bake pie crusts. (Cooking time varies depending on which brand of crusts you buy, or if you make homemade crusts. For Tenderflake crusts, bake 8-10 minutes at 400.)
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2. Wash and drain strawberries.
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3. Chop strawberries into fairly small pieces & drain well. (draining is super important!)
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4. Divide chopped strawberries between the 2 pie crusts. (PUT ASIDE 1 CUP OF CHOPPED STRAWBERRIES. It is needed for the next step.) Sprinkle 2 (1/4 cup total) tablespoons of sugar on each pie.
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5. Mash the 1 cup of chopped strawberries. Set aside.
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6. Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in 1/2 cup cold water.
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7. Mix mashed strawberries, cornstarch/water, along with 1/2 cup sugar in double boiler. Cook until thick, mixing constantly. (approx. 30 mins)
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8. Strain strawberry sauce over pies.
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9. Beat whipped cream until fluffy, add icing sugar to your preference.
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10. Top pies with whip cream & refrigerate. (at least 3 hours)
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Enjoy! 

Pretty-in-PINK Lemonade Cupcakes

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Even though the first day of Fall is not until September 22nd, for some reason August 31st always feels like the end of Summer to me.
Right when September 1st rolls around, I feel like Summer has officially ended & Fall has begun.

As you may know from my last few baking posts, I am more than ready for Fall.
So I thought I’d make one last ‘Summer’ recipe before the blog is all things pumpkin!

I made PINK Lemonade Cupcakes, and they are every bit as tasty as they are gorgeous. I love how bright and colourful they are, (It’s a nice change from cranberries & nutmeg) and they are super moist & light. Unlike most cupcakes, the cake is fluffy, fresh, & lemony – not heavy at all, (No eggs are used).
These cupcakes are definitely a summer-must at a backyard BBQ! 

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PRETTY-IN-PINK LEMONADE CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

For the Cake – 
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch – 1/2 teaspoon of salt
zest from 1 lemon
1 3/4 cup water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar
juice from 1 lemon

For the Frosting – 
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2-3 cups icing sugar
juice from 1 lemon
a few drops of red food colouring (to your preference to create the perfect PINK colour!)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients – Flour, Sugar, Baking Soda, Salt, & the Lemon Zest. Set Aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix the wet ingredients – Water, Oil, Vanilla Extract, Vinegar & Lemon Juice. Combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients & stir slowly until ingredients are evenly combined & no lumps appear in the batter. Do not overmix.

3. Pour the batter (The batter will be extremely wet!) into lined baking pans, about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean.

Frosting:

1. Using your electric stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar slowly, (scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed) to your preference of sweetness. Add the lemon juice & a few drops of red food colouring – mix until you get the perfect fluffy frosting!

Happy Baking!

Natasha xo