Fruity Pebbles Granola Bars

Fruity Pebbles Granola Bars - Gluten Free, No Bake

I’m always hot.  No, not that kind of hot.  I’m talking temperature hot.  I have no idea why, but I’ve always become overheated very easily.  Even in this icy cold winter, I’m warm.  Put me outside and I turn into a human icicle instantly, but inside with the oven on and the heat running, sometimes my face is flush and my body craving a cool breeze.

Some of the heat waves are triggered by stress, others an intense workout, and some have no cause that I can pinpoint, though I do find the heat to be very irritating.  When it comes on I feel like I’m being strangled and find myself willing it to go off.

Fruity Pebbles Granola Bars - Gluten Free, No Bake

In fact, the heat never gets turned up higher than 68 during the day, and at night things dip down to a chilly 59.  It is worth noting I can’t give up blankets when I’m sitting and chilling or sleeping, so that probably has something to do with my being warm.  My parents are always cold.  But they can bundle up.  What am I supposed to do?  Walk around naked?  I’m not Lena Dunham!

This phenomenon must run in my family, as my aunt keeps her heat on 62 all day.  That’s too cold even for me!

Fruity Pebbles Granola Bars - Gluten Free, No Bake

You might wonder why I love summer and want to move to a warmer climate.  Summer brings a different kind of heat that rarely bothers me.  In fact, I crave it on a daily basis.  Plus, I love when the air conditioning comes on, the ceiling fan is always on high, and I have a little tabletop fan that blows cooling air right at me, Beyoncé style.

These Fruity Pebbles Granola Bars were a hot commodity in my house.  Mom, Dad, and I all loved them.  I know I just posted Breakfast Bars, but these no bake, gluten free beauties could not wait!  The hearty, chewy oats, the crunchy almonds, the sweet raisins, and that classic Fruity Pebbles flavor make these totally irresistible.  Plus, those bright Pebbles make me smile!  I know these bars will make you smile too :)

Fruity Pebbles Granola Bars - Gluten Free, No Bake

Fruity Pebbles Granola Bars

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Yield: 12 bars

Ingredients

2 ½ cups quick cooking oats

1 ½ cups Fruity Pebbles

¾ cup creamy peanut butter

½ cup honey

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup almonds, chopped

½ cup raisins

Instructions

Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment, leaving overhang for easy removal later.

In a large bowl, stir together oats and Pebbles. In a medium microwave safe bowl, stir together peanut butter and honey. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and microwave on high for an additional minute. The mixture should then be bubbling. If it is not, microwave it an additional 30 seconds. Stir in vanilla extract

Pour peanut butter mixture over oat mixture and stir until fully combined. Add almonds and raisins and stir until all ingredients are evenly distributed and a cohesive mixture is formed.

Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth into an even layer, then press mixture down firmly with your hands. Refrigerate for about 2 hours to allow bars to firm before cutting. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about 1 hour.

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Vegan, Gluten Free Breakfast Bars

Vegan Gluten Free Breakfast Bars

Up until a few years ago, dinner without meat was pretty much unthinkable.  Whether beef, chicken, or pork, my dinner plate was a balance of meat, starch, and vegetables.  Then my taste buds changed and my horizons broadened dramatically.

I realized I don’t even really like chicken, beef and pork taste a lot better when eaten less frequently, and even fish doesn’t need to be on the plate every night.  Some of my favorite dinners are not only meatless, but also vegan.  Quinoa salads, chickpea salads, guacamole, pureed vegetable soups.  I crave these foods regularly.  My ten year old self would be shocked at my current food preferences.

Vegan Gluten Free Breakfast Bars

Because this is primarily a baking blog, almost everything I make is meatless.  So for this meatless Sunday Supper, I wanted to challenge myself and make something vegan.  I can whip up a gluten free recipe in a heartbeat, but vegan recipes are much more difficult.  A lot of recipes just need eggs and/or butter.

Rest assured neither is present in these Vegan, Gluten Free Breakfast Bars.  These are an awesome on the go breakfast or snack.  Though they fell apart a little, their irresistible flavor and soft texture make them a recipe I’ll make again and again.  The almond butter and maple syrup shine through, but the orange juice soaked prunes and apricots are the real stars.  They are little flavor explosions in your mouth!  I’ll be starting many more days with these healthy bars.

Vegan Gluten Free Breakfast Bars

Vegan Gluten Free Breakfast Bars

Vegan, Gluten Free Breakfast Bars

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 12 bars

Ingredients

Zest and juice of one orange

½ cup dried apricots, chopped

½ cup prunes, chopped

1 cup almonds, chopped

2 cups quick cooking oats

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ cup almond butter

¼ cup canola oil

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment, leaving overhang for easy removal later.

Place the orange zest in a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together orange juice, apricots, and prunes. Set aside to soak while you prepare the rest of the recipe.

In a large bowl, stir together almonds, oats, and cinnamon.

In the same bowl as the orange zest, add almond butter, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir until fully combined.

Pour the orange zest mixture over the oats, and add the dried fruit, leaving excess orange juice in the bowl. Stir until ingredients are evenly distributed and the mixture comes together. Press it into an even layer in the prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, until lightly golden brown and set. Cool completely in the pan before slicing and enjoying. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag. Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Notes

Recipe adapted from The Bojon Gourmet

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Don’t forget to check out all the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Salads, Soups, Stews and Starters

“Meat”balls

Pastas, Pizzas and Casseroles

Burgers

Tacos & Everything Wrapped

Other Main and Side Dishes

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Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday!
 We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

 

Pecan Bars #SundaySupper

 Pecan Bars

First of all thank you so much for voting for Pies and Plots in The Kitchn’s The Homies Best Sweets and Baking Blog Contest!  Your support means so much to me <3  I finished in fourth place.  While I didn’t technically win, I feel like a winner thanks to all of you.  I mean who would have thought this little blog could compete with all the others out there?!?  I can already tell this is going to be an awesome year!

Here in the Detroit area Fat Tuesday is also known as Paczki Day.  If you are unfamiliar with them, paczki are big, yeast doughnuts typically filled with jelly or custard and coated with glaze or sugar.  They are buttery, dense, soft, and pillowy.  The best jelly doughnut you’ll ever have.  At least that’s what people say and what I remember from being a kid.

Pecan Bars

Last year, Mom, Dad, and I went to Hamtramck, the paczki capital, to pick up some super authentic and sure to be delicious paczki from one of the best bakeries that make the time consuming treats.  It was a cold, snowy day, but it was gonna be so worth it to sink our teeth into these glorious goodies.

The bakery wasn’t that crowded since we went the weekend before Paczki Day, as wait times on the actual day routinely exceed an hour.  It smelled intoxicating and they looked great.  I could barely wait until after dinner for my treat.

Pecan Bars

But wait I did, and when I took that first bite . . . I was not impressed.  They were hard and chewy, almost like bread.  There wasn’t enough glaze.  Or was there any at all?  And the jam tasted like nothing.  I tore open almost all of the paczki, hoping one of them would be good, but they just weren’t.  How could this be possible?  Even the guys at Dad’s work were unimpressed when he took in the leftovers. 

This year, I figured I’d stick to my own treats (though Brown Eyed Baker’s Paczki are on my list for next year!), so I made Pecan Bars and I am so glad I did.  These are the best Fat Tuesday treat ever!  The crust is so buttery and crumbly, and then there’s that filling.  Gooey and caramel-y with tons of toasty pecans.  I kept taking little tastes of these bars just to make sure they were good ;)   Plus, I found these really easy to make.  I think Paczki Day just became Pecan Bar Day!

Pecan Bars

Pecan Bars

Pecan Bars #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 18 bars

Ingredients

Crust

1 ½ sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons cold water

Filling

1 stick unsalted butter, very soft, almost melted

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup light corn syrup

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

¼ cup all-purpose flour

3 cups pecans

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch pan and line with parchment. Butter the parchment.

Make the crust. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers or a pastry cutter until it is in pea sized pieces. Add the water and continue working the dough until it comes together when pressed. Firmly press the dough in an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes.

While the crust bakes, make the filling. In a large bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, and vanilla until fully combined and all streaks of butter are gone. Stir in flour until just incorporated. Stir in the pecans until fully coated.

Pour the pecan mixture over the baked crust and spread into an even layer. Return to the oven and bake for about 30 additional minutes. Cool bars completely in the pan. Once cool, cut bars and store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Bars may also be frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Claire Robinson

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Don’t forget to check out all the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Cocktails & Other Beverages:

Appetizers:

Main Dishes:

Side Dishes:

Desserts:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Caramel Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars #SundaySupper

Caramel Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars - Gluten Free

Today is a big day!  I’m celebrating two birthdays: Dad’s and Sunday Supper’s.  I’m so excited!  Some celebrations are just what this dreary January needs.  Clearly, Dad’s birthday is a big deal; it’s even a milestone birthday . . . I won’t say which one.  His present is waiting to be opened and he’s already devoured his birthday treat (ah, the life of a blogger), but I’ll make sure he has plenty of tasty food today.

He is such an important part of my life.  I don’t know what I’d do without him.  I cherish our conversations and one on one time together.  I love when he, Mom, and I do something fun together.  He never stops fighting for me and my dreams, even when we all grow a little frustrated and discouraged.  He is my faithful taste tester, errand runner, and flower planter, and is an invaluable part of my everyday life.  The three of us go together like peanut butter, jelly, and caramel :)   Happy Birthday, Dad!  Here’s to an amazing year, and many more to follow.

Caramel Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars - Gluten Free

Caramel Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars - Gluten Free

It’s also Sunday Supper’s birthday!  Sunday Supper is one of the most important parts of my blog life.  It’s no secret I often struggle with my blog and its failure to live up to my lofty expectations.  Sunday Supper has helped my blog grow leaps and bounds, which I really appreciate, but more than that, it’s introduced me to so many other bloggers.  I am part of a community with Sunday Supper.

I look forward to seeing the themes each week.  And then I bound to my computer on Sunday to interact with my blog friends and see what they created.  It has opened up a new world for me and made me feel like I’m a part of something for the first time EVER!  So thank you Isabel and the Sunday Supper team for creating this movement and allowing me to be a part of it.

Caramel Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars - Gluten Free

To celebrate these birthdays, I needed a seriously awesome treat, and these Caramel Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars did not disappoint.  I knew Dad would love these and I was right.  He still can’t stop talking about them.  I love them too with the peanut butter-oat crust and topping that is a little soft, a little chewy, and sturdy enough to support the fabulous filling of cherry preserves (though you can use whatever flavor you like) and caramel sauce.  I happened to have a jar of Jeni’s Salty Caramel Sauce that was calling my name and it was perfect in these bars.  Plus, they are gluten free and you would NEVER know it!  Though I have a giant sweet tooth, I did find these to be a little too sweet.  I cut down the amount of sugar in the recipe below to combat that.  In addition, a thin layer of peanut butter under the jelly and/or a few peanuts in the topping would be a great twist to add a little more complexity.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love these bars and know you will too.  I think Dad will be requesting them every year for his birthday!

Caramel Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars - Gluten Free

 

Caramel Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars #SundaySupper

Prep Time:

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 9 bars

Ingredients

½ stick unsalted butter

¾ cup creamy peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural)

1 cup packed light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free)

½ cup jam/jelly/preserves, whatever flavor you like (I used American Spoon Cherry Spoon Fruit)

¼ cup salted caramel sauce (I used Jeni’s)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 inch square pan and line it with parchment. Lightly butter the parchment.

In a large microwave safe bowl, microwave butter until melted, 60-75 seconds. Add the peanut butter and microwave for an additional 45 seconds. Stir the butter and peanut butter together before adding sugars, cinnamon, and vanilla. Stir until fully combined. Add the oats and stir until a thick dough is formed.

Press about ¾ of the peanut butter-oat mixture into the prepared pan very firmly. Spread the preserves in an even layer over the crust. Spread the caramel in an even layer over the preserves. Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the caramel.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no crumbs (it will have preserves and caramel on it), the top is golden brown, and the caramel is bubbling. Cool completely in pan.

Bars may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature about an hour or in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Averie Cooks

To add more peanut flavor to the bars, spread ¼ cup peanut butter on the crust before the preserves and caramel and/or add ¼ cup peanuts to the dough reserved for the topping.

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Don’t forget to check out all the other celebration Sunday Supper dishes!

Brilliant Breads and Breakfast Fare:

 

Amazing Appetizers and Cocktails:

 

Spectacular Soups and Salads:

 

Enticing Entrees:

 

Decadent Desserts:

 

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

 

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy! You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

SundaySupper

 

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts #SundaySupper

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts

Sweet and spicy.  That’s how I would describe 2013.  Some of it was pretty great.  I feel like I’m doing the best writing of my life (2014 will show if I’m right), I spent a lot of quality time with my parents doing fun things like shopping, going out to dinner with friends, and seeing plays, musicals, and even a concert.  My blog has started to grow, though it is still not where I’d like it to be, and I made some rather tasty food.  But my struggles with trying to get my dreams to become reality, frustrations over blogging, fears about what the future holds, and a few other things I didn’t talk about here on the blog, made it a tough year.

Isn’t that how most of us feel about the years?  That they were good and bad, sweet and spicy.  We look back and think of the things that didn’t go right, the things that didn’t get done, the regrets we have.  And then a decade down the line, when we look back, those mostly little things have hopefully vanished and we only remember the good parts.  Life is always a series of ups and downs, and hopefully in the end, there are more ups than downs.

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts

2013 wasn’t my favorite year.  I wanted it to be better.  I hoped it would be better.  And now I’m looking to 2014, hoping, wishing that it has some good things in store.  Only time will tell.  For now, I sit, thinking about this year, and all the things that occurred during it.  Reliving the good bits, and trying to forget the bad ones. 

Regardless of my feelings about the year, it certainly went quickly.  Thinking back, it seems like January was just yesterday, like 2013 just commenced, like I want it back, to do over again, to use my time better.  I was just filled with that nostalgia for 2012, pleading with it to come back; now here I am again.  This time, I’m not asking 2013 to come back.  I don’t want it back.  I’m proud of a lot of the things I accomplished.  And this time, I’m really looking forward to 2014, because I think it has great things in store for me.  I think it’s going to work out.  So, 2014, here’s to you; may you be far more sweet than spicy.

Speaking of sweet and spicy, these Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts are just that.  Okay, so these are definitely more sweet than spicy, but two heaping tablespoons of cinnamon bring that warm, comforting heat, I crave this time of year.  I thought these would be dense and chewy like a blondies, but instead they baked up soft and moist, a dense, cake-like bar that I fell in love with after one bite.  I’m much happier they’re cakey instead of chewy.  The crunchy walnuts are the perfect complement to the cinnamon cake and the vanilla glaze is quite literally the icing on top.  If 2014 is anything like these bars, I think we’ll all be just fine!

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts

 

Glazed Snickerdoodle Bars with Walnuts #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 18 bars

Ingredients

Bars

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups packed light brown sugar

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups walnuts

Topping

4 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Glaze

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

¼ cup water

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, line it with parchment and lightly butter the parchment.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cream of tartar, and salt.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer will work too. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat until once again light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the walnuts until evenly distributed.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spread into an even layer. In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon and sugar for topping. Sprinkle the topping into an even layer over the batter. Use it all.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in pan.

Once the bars are cool, make the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, water, and vanilla until a thick, but spreadable glaze forms. Add more water to make it thinner or sugar to make it thicker as necessary. Immediately spread glaze evenly over bars. Cut into pieces and serve. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in pieces in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about 2 hours.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Recipe Girl Cookbook via Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

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Don’t forget to check out the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Breakfast

Appetizers & Snacks

Main Dishes & Sides

Desserts & Drinks

Sunday Supper Movement Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our#SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy! You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

 

Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars #SundaySupper

Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars #SundaySupper

Everyone has problems.  That’s what my seventh grade science teacher once told Mom.  I was pretty smart, a straight A student, but socially, I didn’t fit in.  I pretty much never chatted with my peers.  Instead I minded my own business, moving quickly from class to class, sitting silently, being ignored at lunch and standing alone at recess, contemplating life’s big issues . . . or my weekend plans, unless Mom was there helping out, in which case, I happily talked to her.

It was easy to look at the popular kids and think they led perfect lives, but they didn’t.  I’m not sure why this didn’t dawn on me until that teacher said this.  It was like a revelation.  It didn’t make us all best friends, far from it, but it made me understand that I was not the only one struggling in some way.  I may not have known the issues they dealt with, but they were there.  Whether they couldn’t make the grades, didn’t earn a spot on a sports team, or had issues outside of school, no one was immune.

Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars

The same is true today.  I am constantly guilty of looking at others and assuming their lives must be absolutely fantastic, but everyone has issues.  Maybe I’m wishing I was a fearless traveler like a family friend.  Perhaps I’m admiring the fame, fashion, and friends of my favorite celebrity.  Or even just wanting the career of a fellow food blogger.  But all those people, they have issues too.  We always think the grass is greener on the other side, when in fact that probably isn’t the case.

It’s important to remember that anyone can suffer; anyone can want to curl into a ball and cry the day away; no one’s life is perfect.  Because if you’re anything like me, you’ve looked at other people’s lives and believed them to be perfect, when in reality you’re only seeing the surface.  We need to take time to appreciate the perfect and imperfect parts of our lives and find happiness with what we have and work to change the things we aren’t happy with.

Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars

If anything is perfect, it’s these Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars.  Seriously, I may never eat pumpkin pie again – these are that good.  The bottom shortbread crust is super firm and crunchy with a deep, complex, caramelized flavor.  Then there’s the filling.  It’s just like pumpkin pie filling with tons of warm spices.  The only way I’d improve it is to add a little bourbon because bourbon makes everything better!  And then there’s the crumb topping, crunchy in spots, soft in others.  The individual components are rock stars, but together – OMG!  This is irresistible!  This must be on your Thanksgiving table!

Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars

 Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars

Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 9 bars

Ingredients

Crust and Crumb

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 ¼ cups quick cooking oats

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed light brown sugar

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Filling

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 ¼ cups pumpkin puree (I used homemade, but canned will work)

1/3 cup heavy cream

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 inch square pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, oats, salt, baking soda, and sugars until fully combined. Add butter and vanilla and stir until all ingredients are moistened. Press half of the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking, make the filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, egg, egg yolk, vanilla, pumpkin, and cream until a homogeneous mixture is formed. Pour filling over baked crust and return to the oven to bake for 15 minutes more.

After the filling has baked, remove it from the oven and sprinkle remaining crust mixture over the top, breaking it into crumbs of various sizes. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until the crumbs are golden brown and the center is still slightly jiggly. Cool at room temperature for 1 hour and then cool in the refrigerator for at least 1 additional hour before carefully cutting (the bottom crust is tough to cut through) and serving. Bars may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or frozen, individually wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy

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Don’t forget to check out all the other Sunday Supper dishes!

Breakfasts and Breads

 

Appetizers, Starters, and Condiments

 

Soups, Sandwiches, and Salads

 

Main Dishes

 

Side Dishes

 

Desserts

Wine Pairing Recommendations for Squashin’ Winter #SundaySupper from Enofylz Wine Blog

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars

No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars

I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging lately.  I thought it would be a lot different than it is.  I thought it would come easier.  Not easy perhaps, but easier.  The whole if you build it, they will come thing.  Well, I built it, but they (whomever they happen to be) haven’t come.  It does come easy to some and the fact that it hasn’t for me and I can’t figure out why drives me crazy.

I had a lot to learn in the beginning but now my pictures are better, I leave comments on tons of other blogs constantly, I pin with reckless abandon, and I use hashtags.  But it hasn’t helped.

I put everything I have into this blog and it takes up most of my time.  From baking to photographing to posting to submitting to Foodgawker and the like to social media to supporting other blogs, the work never ends.  Not a single day goes by when I don’t work on the blog in some capacity.  I keep at it and I hope, and slowly it’s become less and less fun.

No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars

And over time, I’ve grown tired.  Tired of crying over traffic numbers and social media followings.  Tired of leaving blog comments for people who never return the favor (one of the cardinal rules of blogging based on anything and everything you read on the topic).  Tired of days passing without working on my writing.  Tired of hoping.

I’ve learned blogging isn’t my passion, writing is.  That’s what I want to be.  A writer.  Five years, no, one year from now, I see my writing having taken off.  I’m currently working on a novel, a screenplay, and a teleplay, and I feel like I’m doing my best writing ever.  It needs to be my priority.  I want it to be my priority.  Of course, blogging would probably be more fun if I felt like it was successful.

No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars

No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars

So from now on, I will only be posting two times a week.  This will take some of the pressure off of me and allow me to focus on things other than my blog.  I am still so thankful to those of you who read my blog.  You are the best!  I will still be posting amazing recipes, restaurant, bakery, and product reviews, and my fashion favorites.  The posts will just be a little less frequent.  I also have some fantastic guest posts coming up and a giveaway you do not want to miss.  I’ve been thinking about this change for awhile and I hope you understand and continue to read my blog.

I have another great recipe for you today.  Quaker Chewy granola bars were what I survived on through high school, so I was excited to try a homemade version.  They are so much better than the store bought and I so wish I would have lived on these instead of those processed ones.  Plus, these are crazy easy to make, gluten free, and vegan!  I have given them to friends a couple of times and gotten rave reviews.  Feel free to use whatever mix-ins you like, but I love the crunch of the almonds and the sweetness of the raisins.  Thanks again for reading!

 No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars

No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 7 minutes

12 bars

Ingredients

2/3 cup light corn syrup

½ cup creamy peanut butter

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups quick cooking oats (gluten free if you like)

2 cups Rice Krispies (gluten free if you like)

½ cup raisins

½ cup coarsely chopped almonds

Instructions

Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment, leaving overhang for easy removal later.

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine corn syrup, peanut butter, and brown sugar. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir the mixture, then microwave on high for an additional minute.

Add vanilla and cinnamon to the syrup mixture and stir. Stir in the oats and Rice Krispies until fully coated. Add the raisins and almonds and stir until they are evenly distributed. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, smooth into an even layer, and pack down firmly with your hands. Refrigerate for at least two hours to firm up before cutting into bars. They are quite difficult to cut, and I find a serrated knife and a bit of muscle does the best job.

Bars may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or frozen, wrapped individually in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Averie Cooks

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Vegan Blackberry Coconut Bars

Vegan Blackberry Coconut Bars

I am near-sighted.  I started having trouble seeing in fifth grade.  Most people would say this isn’t a big deal, and it’s not in the scheme of things.  But I didn’t want to wear glasses; they weren’t for me.  So for two years, I didn’t wear glasses to school.  When I was at home I wore them in increasing amounts until I became comfortable with them, but I didn’t wear them to school.  It wasn’t easy, but I managed to swing it.  After those two years, I got tired of having to go sit in front of the chalkboard to copy down notes or read the day’s assignments, so I started wearing them to school.  I’d take them off at lunch or when I didn’t need to see, but I got over it and wore them.

However, to this day, I still don’t wear my glasses in public.  Crazy, I know, but I don’t like how I look in glasses.  When I picture myself, it never involves glasses.  When I’m shopping or out to eat, I keep them in my purse for emergencies.  When I go see a play, I often put them on after the lights go down.  So if you see me at the mall and wave and I don’t wave back, it’s only because I can’t see you.

Vegan Blackberry Coconut Bars

Vegan Blackberry Coconut Bars

I can kind of see and make do quite well.  I also have prescription sunglasses I sometimes leave on when I’m grocery shopping or the like.  It’s not ‘cause I think I’m cool.  I know I’m not cool.

I have tried contact lenses before and it didn’t work out.  The discomfort and thought of touching my eye were simply too much for me to handle.  I’ve also considered Lasik, but that sounds pretty freakin’ scary.  So for now I make do with sunglasses and squinting.  Really, it’s served me pretty well so far.

Vegan Blackberry Coconut Bars

It’s not hard to see why these Vegan Blackberry Coconut Bars are delicious.  You’ll never know they are vegan with a firm, crunchy oat and coconut topping and crust, surrounding sweet blackberries.  Even though summer is over :( , you can probably still find them in the stores.  I also think frozen, thawed, and drained blackberries would probably work.  The filling might be a little juicer, but I think that would be a good addition.  Make these bars and see how good they are for yourself!

 Vegan Blackberry Coconut Bars

Vegan Blackberry Coconut Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 9 bars

Ingredients

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut

¾ cup virgin coconut oil, solid

3 ½ - 4 cups blackberries

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment, leaving overhang for easy removal later.

In a medium bowl, stir together ½ cup sugar, flour, baking powder, and coconut until combined. Add coconut oil and stir until it is distributed evenly and a crumbly mixture forms. Press half of it into the pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together blackberries with remaining tablespoon sugar and lemon juice. Pour over the dough in the pan. Top with the remaining dough. Bake for 50-60 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the top is golden brown. Be sure dough is set and fully cooked on top. Cool bars completely in pan before slicing and serving. Bars may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in a 350 degrees F oven for about 15 minutes.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Yummy Mummy Kitchen

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Caramel Brownies #SundaySupper

Caramel Brownies #SundaySupper

Did you hear about the Farmers’ Almanac predictions for this winter?  It was all over the news.  I tried to shield my ears from it, but the words “biting cold” and “piercing cold” made it through, along with a prediction for a massive snowstorm Super Bowl weekend.  Sounds like this winter could be a special kind of horrible. 

Luckily, the local and national meteorologists have been questioning whether these super long range forecasts have much validity.  It’s good to hear professionals wonder if these could possibly be accurate.  I mean, most of the time, weather predictions a day or two out aren’t exactly spot on, so is it realistic for predictions several months out to be even close to what will actually happen? 

Caramel Brownies #SundaySupper

So, while I’m trying to act like I didn’t even hear the winter forecast, it has me a little on edge for what’s ahead, whether it should or not.  It is going to be winter, so it will probably be cold and snowy and yucky, unless maybe the predictions are totally wrong and it will be way warmer than normal.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  I know there’s nothing I can do about the weather, but winter’s pretty tough for me, so that fact doesn’t stop me from worrying about it.

For now, I’ll enjoy summer while it’s here.  Labor Day might be the unofficial end of summer, but the calendar says we have almost a month left.  Another month of summer?  Yes, please.  And according to the month long extended forecast I look at, the next month looks pretty warm and sunny.  Wait . . . you’re saying that might not be very accurate either?  Oh, well, at this point I’ll take what I can get.

Caramel Brownies #SundaySupper

Caramel Brownies #SundaySupper

Whether it’s summer or winter, these Caramel Brownies are high on my list of sweet treats.  They are super portable and perfect for your Labor Day picnic or cookout.  They might not be the prettiest, but they pack a flavorful punch.  The brownies themselves are super moist and fudgy, though there’s no chocolate in sight.  They have a caramelized flavor from all the dark brown sugar.  And then as if they weren’t yummy enough on their own, they are topped with a caramel frosting.  It has a wonderful, rich flavor without all the work of making caramel.  I poured it on the brownies while both the brownies and frosting were warm to make kind of a messy, molten treat, so the frosting was rather messy, but it set up nicely once it cooled.  Whatever the weather, these are sure to brighten your day.

 Caramel Brownies #SundaySupper

Caramel Brownies #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 9 brownies

Ingredients

Brownies

½ stick unsalted butter, melted

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Frosting

1/2 stick unsalted butter

½ cup packed dark brown sugar

¼ cup milk (I used almond milk)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 ½-2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

Make the brownies. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 inch square pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla until fully combined. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt until just incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and bake about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs, rotating halfway through if necessary. Cool completely in pan (or don’t, it’s up to you).

Make the frosting. In a small sauce pan, place butter, sugar, and milk over medium heat. Stirring frequently, allow the butter and sugar to melt and come together. Then bring it to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool about 5 minutes, then stir in confectioners’ sugar until desired consistency is reached. It will be rather thin, but will set up as it cools. Pour over brownies, cut, and serve. These are awesome warm, but may be stored at room temperature up to 3 days in an airtight container, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil, and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in the microwave for 30 seconds – 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Recipe Girl

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Don’t forget to check out all the other Sunday Supper posts!

Refreshing Drinks

Amazing Appetizers and Sides

Enviously Good Entreés

Delicious Desserts

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here → Sunday Supper Movement.

WoCavé Mission 2 + Peach Granola Bars

 WoCave Mission 2 + Peach Granola Bars

My WoCavé is really coming along.  This month’s mission was all about fitness.  Fitness is a huge part of my life.  Exercise helps me look good and feel good.  Since I bake so much, it’s really important I balance that out by breaking a sweat.  The mental and physical benefits are unbelievable.  Once you get in the routine of working out, it’s the best habit you won’t want to break.  I’ve never finished a workout and wished I hadn’t done it.

But even I wasn’t sure if I wanted exercise to be a part of my WoCavé, which is supposed to be all about fun, and let’s be honest, exercise isn’t always exactly fun.  Then I saw my mission box.  It contained a water bottle with my name, bright pink socks, a Dick’s gift card, and a hot pink workout bag.  Plus there was a digital picture frame to keep decorating my WoCavé!  I love having lots of pictures around me to remember great times I’ve had.

 WoCave Mission 2 + Peach Granola Bars

In addition, I received three workout DVDs to help me get motivated.  I tried all three.  Dance with Julianne was the most fun.  Julianne Hough of Dancing with the Stars fame is the host.  She has a really bubbly personality and made it easy to follow along, though the workout did remind me that I’m a little uncoordinated.  The time flew by and I have since done the workout a few more times.  I’ll be a dancing pro in no time!

There was also a Jillian Michaels DVD.  I love Jillian Michaels workouts!  It was a great workout, but the time still went fast and all the moves were easy to master.  Plus, you switch moves quickly before your body becomes too fatigued.  I would happily do this DVD every day and hope it gives me muscles like Jillian’s!

WoCave Mission 2 + Peach Granola Bars

WoCave Mission 2 + Peach Granola Bars

The last DVD was Tracy Anderson’s Dance Cardio II.  I found it to be a little boring and the moves were incredibly difficult to follow.  I was kind of falling all over the place trying to replicate the moves.  I will try it again one day, as I’d still like to master it.  And now I know that exercise is a great addition to my WoCavé time, because it was sooooo much fun.  Mom even joined me for a few of the workouts, making it even better!  We will make more WoCavé workout time soon!

WoCave Mission 2 + Peach Granola Bars

As I said, my life is all about balance so after my workout, I wanted a healthy sweet treat, in addition to the Skinny Cow treats my WoCavé is always stocked with.  I used some of the granola I made and some ripe, juicy peaches and made Peach Granola Bars.  These did not disappoint one bit.  I fell in love after one bite with the chewy granola and the soft peaches, spiced with cinnamon and ginger.  Healthy or not, these are positively delicious and will make your WoCavé even better.

I’m also super excited about next month’s mission.  All the contents of my box are enclosed in an awesome ottoman that is already improving my WoCavé, and I’m going to be throwing a party for my friends.  I’m already pumped about it and can’t wait to share it with you all!

Disclaimer: I have been compensated by Nestle/Skinny Cow for my participation in this program, but all opinions, as always, are mine.

 WoCave Mission 2 + Peach Granola Bars

WoCavé Mission 2 + Peach Granola Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 18 bars

Ingredients

5 cups granola, without dried fruit or nuts

¼ cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

3 large egg whites

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons canola oil

4 cups peaches, peeled, pitted, and diced

½ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/3 cup pecans

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with parchment, leaving overhang for easy removal. Lightly oil the parchment.

In a large bowl, stir together the granola, ¼ cup flour, and salt. In a small bowl whisk together egg whites, maple syrup, and oil until frothy. Pour this mixture over the granola and stir until it is fully coated. Place about ¾ of the granola mixture in the prepared pan and press down, forming an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the crust bakes, place the peaches, sugar, remaining 2 tablespoons flour, ginger, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and stir to combine.

Pour the peach mixture into an even layer on top of the cooked crust. Add the pecans to the granola mixture left in the bowl, stir to combine and place on top of peach mixture in an even layer.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling a little and the top is golden brown. Allow to cool completely in pan before cutting into bars and enjoying. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for about an hour or in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

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