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.
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.
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!
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
- 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
- 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.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 55 minutes
Don’t forget to check out all the other Sunday Supper dishes!
Breakfasts and Breads
- Maple Butternut Squash Donuts from Mess Makes Food
- Pumpkin Sweet Rolls from Basic N Delicious
- Vegan Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing from Killer Bunnies, Inc
Appetizers, Starters, and Condiments
- Butternut Squash and Couscous Patties-Indian Inspired from Soni’s Food
- Pumpkin Hummus with Spiced Lamb from girlichef
- Quick Pumpkin Butter from Shockingly Delicious
Soups, Sandwiches, and Salads
- Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili from Supper for a Steal
- Black Bean Pumpkin Soup from What Smells So Good?
- Butternut Squash and Bacon Grilled Cheese from Ruffles & Truffles
- Butternut Squash Soup from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Hearty Quinoa Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash from Citronlimette
- Roasted Buttercup Squash and Black Bean Soup (Dairy free) from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
- Roasted Butternut Squash and Vegetable Soup from Kudos Kitchen By Renee
- Roasted Squash and Mexican Black Bean Salad from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Roasted Squash and Sesame Noodle Salad from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Butternut Squash and Spinach Quesadillas from The Dinner-Mom
- Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Balsamic Brown Butter from Crazy Foodie Stunts
- Butternut Squash Lasagna from Hip Foodie Mom
- Butternut Squash-Sage Cream Sauce with Sausage Spaghetti from Daily Dish Recipes
- Carnival Squash with Maple Sausage Stuffing from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Chorizo-Stuffed Acorn Squash from Small Wallet Big Appetite
- Butternut Squash with Spicy Wild Rice and Queso Fresco from Vintage Kitchen Notes
- Pumpkin Alfredo from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Pumpkin Enchiladas from La Cocina de Leslie
- Pumpkin Risotto with Bacon, Goat Cheese, and Pecans from The Weekend Gourmet
- Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprout Pizza from Curious Cuisiniere
- Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash from The Messy Baker
- Spaghetti Squash in a Creamy Sausage Sauce from Cookin’ Mimi
- Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi from Pescetarian Journal
- Acorn Squash with Cinnamon and Cranberries from Noshing With The Nolands
- Butternut Squash and Apple Crumble from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Butternut Squash Gratin with Sage Pesto & Gorgonzola from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Chorizo and Craisin Stuffed Acorn Squash from Family Foodie
- Parmesan-Roasted Acorn Squash from The Urban Mrs
- Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese from Big Bear’s Wife
- Roasted Butternut Squash with Balsamic Vinegar Honey Butter from Food Lust People Love
- Roasted Butternut Squash with Wilted Kale, Mushrooms and Garlic from Take a Bite Out of Boca
- Skillet Buttercup Squash with Bacon from Magnolia Days
- Slow Cooker Squash and Apples from Mama’s Blissful Bites
- Sweet N Spicy Baked Chipotle Butternut Squash Fries from Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
- Twice Baked Pumpkin Stuffed Sweet Potatoes from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Butternut Squash Cupcakes with Browned Butter Frosting from Treats & Trinkets
- Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars from Pies and Plots
Wine Pairing Recommendations for Squashin’ Winter #SundaySupper from Enofylz Wine Blog
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