Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars


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pumpkinspicegarnolabars

Hello everyone! It's been months since I have posted. Life has been very busy, and I have been missing posting my recipes. I am back and have some Fall recipes to share with you! I don't know about you, but when the air gets cooler, and Fall seems to be creeping up, I get in the mood for anything pumpkin! Those crisp mornings where you want a hot cup of coffee and a delicious treat to go alongside it. Well I made a granola bar that is full of Fall flavors, and scents. Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars to be exact. First let's talk about pumpkin. Most people use pumpkins for pies, breads, soups, or for spooky carvings at Halloween. Did you know that pumpkin provides us with vitamins A, C and E, is rich in minerals, and has powerful antioxidants? It has a high fiber content, and can help with weight loss and lowering cholesterol too. Pumpkin seeds alone are a healthy, and nutritious snack, and add a nice nutty flavor to many dishes. Last year I bought a few pumpkins, baked them, and made my own pumpkin puree. Here is the recipe. This year, I am using canned pumpkin because the pumpkins aren't out yet! I can't wait.
This granola bar recipe is slightly chewy, full of fiber, not too sweet, but very filling. They make a great grab and go snack for the whole family, and you can feel good that you opted to make your own versus store bought granola bars loaded with unhealthy ingredients. Hope you enjoy them!

Ingredients

3 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree ( I used Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried raisins
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray such as Pam.
In a large bowl, toss together oats, ginger, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, blend your brown sugar, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and vanilla until well combined.
Pour your wet ingredients over the oats mixture, and mix well until the oats are completely moistened.
Next add your pumpkin seeds, raisins, and sunflower seeds. Press the mixture firmly into your 8x8 prepared pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown, and firm. Let your granola bars cool slightly before cutting into them, about 5-10 minutes. You may cut your bars into whatever size you prefer. You should get about 16 bars out of this recipe.

Some suggestions...You may replace raisins for cranberries, or any dried fruit you like. You may also add nuts for extra crunch and flavor. You can store your granola bars in an airtight container and keep frozen if you don't plan on eating them within a week or so.

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Chocolate Pecan Heath Bananas

chocban
So today, I was craving chocolate, but didn’t want to be sooo bad, but it ended up that way anyway! I made chocolate pecan heath bananas. When you have heath bar chips, and chocolate on hand it’s dangerous. I did opt to use bananas as a healthy addition to my afternoon craving though ;o) This is something I couldn’t share with my baby, because of the pecans..he was asleep as I made them! Good boy! This recipe is for one, but can definitely be shared with two other people because the chocolate layer is thick with the heath, and pecans, it’s just enough for a sweet craving. If you’ve never had chocolate with bananas your missing out. Try it, and you will see…

Ingredients

1 medium banana, cut in thirds
1/4 cup chocolate chips melted, any kind you like
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
2 tablespoons heath bar crunch
fun straws or wooden pop sticks

Directions

In your double boiler melt your chocolate. Set aside. Next slice your banana into 3 pieces. Place a straw, or wooden pop stick into your banana piece half way. Next in a small bowl, mix your pecans and heath bar bits. Take your banana on a stick and dip into chocolate as much as you like. Quickly roll your banana into your pecans and heath. Set aside on a flat dish. Repeat with next two pieces. Place in a container in your freezer until chocolate hardens. When ready to eat, go right ahead! Don’t wait, just do it! Enjoy!!

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Spring Salad With Avocado Cream Dressing

springsalad2
Spring is almost here! Yay! Just seven more days to go, and it’s official. It’s been a very long Winter here in New York, we are ready for longer days, birds chirping and lots of warmth! Today was a great day, the temperature was warm enough that I took the baby out to play. He was so happy to be outside…and so was I. It was a perfect day to make a healthy, light Spring salad for lunch too. A Spring salad with fruits and avocado as a dressing to be exact. I love the combination of fruit in my salads. I also love creamy dressings, but I didn’t want my dressing to be full of unhealthy ingredients. I opted to make an avocado cream dressing because I’ve seen people make them before and was curious as to how it would turn out in a dressing. Well, it’s really good! I knew an avocado would be a great addition to my salad giving it the creamy richness in a dressing that I like. I hope you can try this easy, healthy salad recipe. This can serve 2 people.

avocado cream dressing

Ingredients

3 cups mesclun salad
1/4 low fat feta cheese
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup blackberries
1/4 cup green grapes, sliced in half
1/4 cup strawberries, sliced in half

For the Avocado Cream Dressing

1/2 avocado mashed
1-2 tablespoons low fat sour cream
Juice of a small lime
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
dash of salt and pepper
1 small garlic clove minced

Directions

For Your Salad

Wash your mesclun mix well in a colander or salad spinner. Set aside. Rinse your fruits and slice your strawberries, and grapes in half. Add all fruits to a bowl. Place your mesclun on a serving plate, and top with fruits.

Avocado Cream Dressing

In your mini food processor, blender, or by hand, mix your avocado, sour cream, olive oil, minced garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper until you achieve a creamy consistency. Pour over your mesclun and fruit. Enjoy this salad with some crackers, it’s really really good!

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Tres Leches ” Three Milk Custard”

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tres leches, three milk custard

 

Tres Leches or Three Milks… ahhh so so good! I have eaten this a lot over the years because my husband introduced me to it, and I have grown to love it!  Tres Leches, is a rich, creamy, gelatin like milk flan or custard. It’s made up of only 4 ingredients, but three meaning three different types of milk products.  On my husband’s side of the family, we usually enjoy it holiday time, or at a family party, but I felt the need to make it this weekend. ;o) If you make this, I know you will love it, and it will be a big hit at your next gathering!

Ingredients

  • 2 packs plain gelatin
  • 1 cup water, boiled
  • 1- 7.6 ounce can Nestle Table Cream or Media Crema (I find this in stores that carry latin foods)
  • 1 – 14 ounce can Carnation sweetened condensed milk
  • 1- 8 ounce package Philadelphia cream cheese
  • Cinnamon for sprinkling

Directions

In a small pot boil your water , add gelatin,  and set aside to cool.  In another bowl add table cream, condensed milk, and cream cheese. Use hand mixer to combine well .  Add your gelatin to cheese mixture and blend again.  Pour into sprayed custard molds, or a cake pan. Refrigerate until set like jello. Unmold and serve. I like mine with a dash of cinnamon and fresh strawberries! Enjoy!

tres leches, three milk custard

Almond Strawberry Flax Smoothie

Today I wanted to start my morning with a healthy smoothie. I recently picked up some almond milk which is low in calories, and high in protein. I also had some leftover strawberries from Valentine’s Day, so an almond strawberry smoothie was a no brainer. I added flax seeds for an extra boost in omega 3’s and a healthy amount of fiber. I love cinnamon so I added dash, and in a few minutes my breakfast smoothie was made. I will tell you that this recipe is not sweet, so if you must add some sweetness, I recommend some organic agave nectar. Here’s how easy it was to make!

almondsmoothie2

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • 4-5 Fresh Strawberries
  • 1 Teaspoon Flax seeds
  • A Dash of Cinnamon

Directions

In a blender, or mini food processor add your milk, rinsed and hulled strawberries, flax seeds and cinnamon. Blend until smooth and pour in a large glass. Decorate with a freshly sliced strawberry. Makes one serving. Simple, and healthy! Enjoy!

`almondsmoothie

Sweet Heart Balsamic Strawberries

balsamic strawberries

Since Valentine’s Day is only 4 days away, I am trying to come up with recipes for my two sweet hearts, my husband, and my handsome little baby boy! Thought I’d make balsamic strawberries today since the market I went to had a very nice selection for this time of year. It’s the easiest thing to do with strawberries, and actually are perfect to go in a nice green salad or with a scoop of ice cream! You can choose that for yourself!

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces of strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar

Directions

In a large mixing bowl add clean, sliced strawberries, vinegar, and sugar. Mix well, and let sit for an hour.
The vinegar and sugar will eventually become a sweet syrup coating your strawberries. This recipe makes a
large enough bowl to feed at least 8 people. Hope you enjoy!

sweet heart balsamic strwaberries

Sauteed Polenta Cakes With Creamy White Corn

sautéed polenta cakes with creamy white corn

My sauteed polenta cakes topped with creamy white corn is something I put together for a quick side dish.
I bought organic polenta that you slice up which makes this recipe fast and easy. You can prepare your own polenta as well, just follow the package directions. Polenta for me is good alone, but adding a topping like cheesy corn was really good! I never grew up eating polenta, it was something I tried on my own as an adult… and loved it. Whenever I am in a super market, I pick some up!  You can make this recipe as a great little appetizer too! Hopefully you’ll like this recipe if you try it ;o)

Ingredients

  • 6 slices polenta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for sauteing.
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 1/2 cups white corn, fresh or frozen. (I used frozen)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup Monterey  Jack Cheese
  • Salt and  pepper to taste

Directions

In a medium saute pan add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Add onion, and garlic. Saute until softened. Next add your white corn. Cook on medium low until corn is soft. Add cream cheese, salt, pepper,monterey jack and scallions to pan. Stir until blended and cheese has melted. This recipe serves up to 6.

For the polenta cakes. Slice 6 polenta rounds and saute in a pan with olive oil until cooked through. At least 5-6 minutes. To put it altogether, place your polenta cakes on a plate, top with your creamy white corn.  Top with extra scallions, and cheese.

Simple as that! Enjoy!

sauteed polenta cakes with creamy white corn