Fall Favorite- Pumpkin Pie Bars

Welcome to Wednesday! Today’s Fall Favorite is another sweet treat that is full of pumpkin flavor… you know what? I think that after all these delicious sweets we’re going to need a a diet plan to fight all the weight we’ll gain trying these. But then again it is the beginning of the holiday season and if I remember correctly all sweets during this time are calorie free.

Today’s Fall Favorite is pumpkin pie bars and they come to you from a great friend and blogger, Natalie!

Natalie is a wife, mom of a six year old son and four year old twin girls, wannabe foodie, lover of wine and of all things social media. She blogs at Mommy of a Monster and Twins and also works as a freelance writer and virtual assistant. You can find her tweeting as @NatalieHoage, Facebooking all day long, and pinning more recipes than she can ever possibly try.

One of my favorite things to bake during the fall season is this recipe for Pumpkin Pie Bars. The reason I love them so much is because they are so versatile – you can add nuts, cranberries, chocolate chips (or a combination of the three!)

Pumpkin Pie Bars

These Pumpkin Pie Bars can be made in just one bowl, which makes them both easy to make and to clean up. I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but I bet you already have most of them in your pantry. Enjoy!

Ingredients

8 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 light brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1-1/3 cups pumpkin puree

1-2/3 cups of flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup of chocolate chips, cranberries, or nuts, if desired.

Preheat the oven to 375. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir first 4 ingredients until combined. Whisk in the eggs and oil, then stir in the pumpkin. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined.

Spoon mixture into the baking dish. Bake for 20-23 minutes, until the top is springy. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before cutting into bars. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I hope that you’re enjoying this little series that I have put together for all of you and I would LOVE it if you’d guest post too! Just drop me an email, or tweet, or message on Facebook and I’ll get you added to the list of amazing bloggers.

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Fall Favorites – Ooey Gooey Pumpkin and Chocolate Cake

It’s Friday and we’re rounding out this week with an awesome Fall Favorite! Ooey gooey pumpkin and chocolate cake from Amber of Amber Page Writes. This cake sounds sinfully rich, delicious, and full of flavor and I’m sure that it’s something that I’d want to eat all of in one sitting if I could.  I’ve been waiting all week to share this with you… and now you have something to do on Saturday!

So who’s Amber? She is the mommy of one sweet, sassy toddler. Wife of a handsome, kind and very, very patient man. Copywriter for an ad agency. And blogger, of course. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Some foods beg to be made in front of an audience. Delicious-smelling, yeasty breads, perfectly-charred steaks, fancy cocktails… the list goes on. And then there are those that should be made in private. Not because they’re not delicious, but because you don’t want anyone to see what goes into them. The recipe I’m about to share you is one of the latter. ooey gooey pumpkin and chocolate cake How do I know? Because this was the conversation I had with my husband this evening.

“Is that a whole stick of butter?”

“Yep.”

“And a whole cake mix?”

“Uh huh.”

“And that’s just the crust?”

“Yep. Now go away.” (He didn’t)

“Oh my god. A whole package of cream cheese?”

“You better believe it.”

“And another stick of butter?”

“Didn’t I tell you to go away?”

“Tell me you didn’t just put that whole package of powdered sugar in there.” (I did)

“Are you trying to kill me?”

“…”

In other words, this cake, it’s not good for you. At all. Although it does have pumpkin it. So you know. There’s fiber. And vitamin A. And beta carotene. Oh, and calcium from the cream cheese.

Hey, it’s a regular health bonanza!

Healthy or no, it is 100 percent delicious.

This is the conversation we had after he took a bite.

“Wow.”

“Wow good, or wow bad?”

“Wow, you should take this to work so I don’t eat it all in two days.”

So there you go. Bake it in private. Share it with everyone you love (or don’t. It’s up to you).

Ingredients

ooey gooey pumpkin and chocolate cake ingredients Crust:

1 chocolate cake mix

1 stick of butter (melted)

1 egg

Filling:

1 15 oz. can of pumpkin (plain, not the pie mix)

1 8 oz. package of cream cheese (room temperature)

1 stick of butter (melted)

3 eggs

1 tbsp. vanilla

Pumpkin pie spice (to taste)

1 16 oz. package of powdered sugar (about 4 cups or so)

.5 cup of chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Crust:

  1. Dump cake mix, melted butter and egg in a bowl
  2. Mix until well combined
  3. Empty into 9 X 13 pan and press down until it forms a smooth crust along the bottom and sides of pan
  4. Set aside

Filling:

  1. Cream together the pumpkin and cream cheese
  2. Add butter, eggs, vanilla and spice, then mix until well-combined
  3. Slowly add powdered sugar (while you continue to mix) until it’s all combined
  4. Pour on top of crust and smooth it out
  5. Top with chocolate chips (optional)

Bake for 45-50 minutes. The sides should be set, but the middle will look more like pudding (it is a gooey cake, after all).

Enjoy!

Monday Menu – Super Simple Jello Salad

It’s been a long time since I shared a recipe with you guys. I suppose that’s because I haven’t been baking or making anything all that exciting lately and that’s because I’ve been trying to cut back on the sweets and stick with a more healthy diet.  You know… that whole lifestyle change thing as opposed to a diet.

But I consider this to be a sweet treat and someone what healthy at the same time. My super simple jello salad is so easy that your kids can make this one all by themselves!

super simple jello sald

Next to the jello salad that I make with Vernors (a Michigan favorite) and cream cheese this one is at the top of my favorite jello salad list! As you can see from the picture the ingredient list is easy… cottage cheese, jello, and whipped topping. Can it get any easier than this?

Super Simple Jello Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lb container of cottage cheese - use any kind you want
  • 1 (3oz) box of jello - any flavor
  • 1 C whipped topping
  • 1 (4oz) can of well drained, crushed pineapple - I left this out because not everyone likes this at my house.

Instructions

  1. *Mix the ingredients together in the order given in the list of ingredients.
  2. *Chill 2 hours.
  3. *Enjoy!
http://www.withjustabitofmagic.com/monday-menu-super-simple-jello-salad

Now, I used the sugar-free version of jello and I think that because of that mine turned out a little more runny than it has in the past. So I’d recommend using the regular jello instead of trying to save those few extra calories. Besides… it’s just jello salad and delicious and mostly healthy anyway. You can mix it up with various flavors of jello, tossing in some coconut, using the crushed pineapple, or mandarin oranges.

This is perfect for every day, potlucks, and picnics. I plan on making it for the next picnic that we go to because I really want to use the chiller bowls that I have and want to see how well they work.

What’s your super simple go-to dish?

Monday Menu – Pumpkin Cheesecake

I love baking and I think that if I had a choice I would open a bakery. All day I would make delicious pies, cakes, cookies, and all sorts of other delicious treats! But for now I will settle for making all of those things in moderation for my friends and family.

Fall and winter are the perfect times to bake because those warms smells of fresh baked good fill your house and fill you with joy…. Maybe that’s just me. As soon as the cold weather hits I start baking again in full force.

This year I was tasked with bringing dessert for Thanksgiving and one thing that I knew for sure was that it had to include pumpkin. There are a couple reasons for that too. First because it is one of my favorite fall foods and second because it simply is not Thanksgiving without it.

I wanted to change things up though and instead of the traditional pumpkin pie I decided on a pumpkin cheesecake. The mere thought of the creamy cheesecake mixed with the spicy pumpkin pie had my mouth watering.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Monday Menu – Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients

    Crust
  • • 1 package of Biscoff (http://www.biscoff.com/) Cookies (You can use gingersnaps or a regular graham crust if you want)
  • • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • • Nonstick cooking spray, for the sides of the pan
  • Cheesecake
  • • 4 8-ounce bars cream cheese, at room temperature
  • • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • • 3 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the cookies until fine crumbs form. Add the butter and pulse to combine. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (preferably nonstick), using a straight-sided dry measuring cup to help. Spray the sides of the pan lightly with the cooking spray.
  3. Now, you can use a water bath for this cheesecake if you want but it isn’t absolutely necessary. If you choose to then you will need to wrap the springform pan in a double layer of heavy-duty foil. This will prevent water from getting into your cheesecake and ruining it.
  4. Place the springform pan on a cookie sheet if you are not using a water bath.
  5. If you are using a water bath place the springform pan in a large baking dish.
  6. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar on medium until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and then beat to combine. Add the pumpkin and beat to combine again.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  8. Pour hot water into the baking dish (if you use a water bath) so it comes up about 1 inch on the sides.
  9. Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. You want the cheesecake to be set but still a bit wiggly in the middle. If the top starts to get to dark while baking cover it loosely with foil.
  10. Let the cheesecake cool completely in the pan, and then refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
  11. When you’re ready to serve run a knife around the outside edge to loosen it from the pan.
http://www.withjustabitofmagic.com/pumpkin-cheesecake

Serve with whipped topping!

I will tell you that this is very rich and creamy, but so delicious. You should be able to get at least 12 slices out of this cheesecake and the calories on this one simply don’t count!

pumpkin cheesecake

When I started out pondering this recipe I knew that I didn’t want the traditional graham cracker crust. It would not do a pumpkin cheesecake justice so the next thought that I had after that was to make the crust with gingersnaps.

Gingersnaps are a bit spicy to me and I knew that all of my kids would not like it and that led me to one of our favorite cookies, Biscoff. The best way that I can describe them is that they are like a cross between graham crackers and gingersnaps. Regardless, they are very good and I knew they would make the perfect crust.

Now, I am one of those people who really like pumpkin so I see no reason why you couldn’t service this anytime of the year.

What about you? Pumpkin anytime of the year or not?

 

Monday Menu ~ Oreo Surprise Cupcakes

A few weeks ago I entered to win the Oreo Play Up Dessert challenge set forth by A Nut in a Nutshell (I didn’t win by the way) and put together a very tasty dessert.

So here’s a riddle for you… what do you get when you put together a tasty cookie and a moist delicious cupcake and then top it with creamy vanilla frosting?

Awesomeness! Pure bliss… Oreo Surprise Cupcakes.

My family wasn’t sure what to think since I haven’t been making a whole lot of desserts lately but that didn’t stop them from enjoying every last cupcake that we had in the house. I was surprised that they lasted more than two days!

oreo surprise cupcakes

Such a delicious dessert is beyond easy to make and is really only one more step than regular cupcakes!

Ingredients

1 cake mix – any flavor made according to the directions
1 box of instant pudding – vanilla for a yellow cake and chocolate for chocolate
Oreos – your choice of flavor
Frosting – your choice

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and put cupcake papers in a regular sized cupcake pan.

Make the cake according to the package and then stir the dry pudding into the cake batter…. trust me, this is delicious and adds a lot of moisture to your cake or cupcakes.

oreo surprise cupcakes

Place approximately 1 tablespoon of batter into the cupcake liner, place a Oreo on top, and then top with more batter making sure that the cookie is fully covered.

Bake for about 15 – 18 minutes. When you can handle the cupcakes (about 5 minutes or so) take them out of the pan and let them cool on a rack.

Frost & top with crushed Oreo’s if you like.

To crush the Oreo’s throw some into the food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs or put them in a ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin. The latter is a great way to take out some stress too!

I should let you know that there is nothing low calorie… low fat… or healthy about these at all! But I didn’t have to tell you that though… so that means that just one Oreo surprise cupcake won’t hurt your New Year’s resolution.

Monday Menu ~ Pumpkin Pecan Bars

The holiday baking season is fast approaching and this weekend I splurged and made a special treat for everyone here at my house. At first I was going to make pumpkin cookies with a cream cheese frosting and then I thought about pumpkin whoopie pies and then I finally decided to combine a couple of our favorite things. Pumpkin and pecans and then to make things even easier Pillsbury was a great help with the recipe on the side of the box!

Pillsbury pumpkin cookie mix

My husband loves pecan pie so I thought that this would be the perfect treat for him! And he wasn’t disappointed with them and neither was anyone else in my family. This one is a new favorite!

Think of this bar like a delightful combination of pumpkin pie and pecan pie…. the perfect marriage of two perfect holiday desserts.

Pumpkin Pecan Bars

I doubled the recipe so it would fit in a 13×9 pan. You can easily half it to fit in an 8×8 pan.

Crust

2 boxes of Pillsbury Pumpkin Cookie Mix

1 cup butter – melted

Topping

2 eggs

2/3 cup corn syrup – light or dark (I used light)

4 tbsp melted butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13×9 pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix the melted butter and cookie mix until it’s incorporated and press into the the pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

While the crust is in the oven mix together the rest of the ingredients. Pour over top of the crust and make sure that it’s even.

Bake for 25 minutes, let cool, cut & enjoy!

Pumpkin Pecan Bars

Mmmm.... this one is mine!

I promise that you will love these! I know that my kids didn’t take long to finish off the pan in less than 24 hours! What you see below is all that was left Sunday afternoon…. they were gone well before dinner time!

Pumpkin pecan bars

Do you have a favorite cookie or bar that you make around the holidays? If not, are you going to try this one?

The best fall treat ever ~ pumpkin s’more bars

I am doing something that I don’t normally do…. posting on a Sunday and mid day. I always take the weekends off and make sure that when I do post that it’s ready to go at 6am.

But today I am sharing a recipe that I shared in Instagram yesterday. And there was an outcry for the recipe…people falling over to get it…… drooling on their phones and computers when they saw it. Alright, so maybe that’s an exaggeration.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 can of pumpkin puree (150z)
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (the small one)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of Graham cracker crumbs (about 12 squares
  • 45 graham crackers (approximately)
  • 9 cups of mini-marshmallows (entire bag)
  • 2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (add more if you want!)

Instructions

  1. Preheat over to 450F.
  2. In a small saucepan on medium heat, combine the butter, pumpkin mix, milk, cinnamon and bring to a boil.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in Graham cracker crumbs. Place aside.
  4. Spray a 13×9 baking pan with cooking spray or  line with waxed paper.
  5. Line the pan with graham crackers – I had to cut a couple for the last row.
  6. Pour 1/3 of the pumpkin mix over crackers and spread.
  7. Top the pumpkin mix with approximately 2 – 3 cups of marshmallows.
  8. Sprinkle evenly 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips.
  9. Repeat steps 5,6,7, 8 twice giving you 3 layers.
  10. Bake for 4 minutes.
  11. Let it cool and set for 3-4 hours to firm up otherwise it will not cut well into squares. I placed mine in the fridge for a little bit.
Pumpkin S'mores fresh out of the oven

Pumpkin S'mores fresh out of the oven

Having the graham crackers in squares really helped with the cutting since I didn’t have to cut through them.

These were a lot better than I had expected them to be. They were rich, airy, and very delicious!

Pumpkin S'more

I ate this one!

Because this recipe is so awesome I am going to link up with Kludgy Mom for her Fall Food linky so I can share it with everyone!

pumpkin badge

This, that, and some extra stuff peach cobbler

I really wanted to use the nectarines that I got from the farmers market that were starting to get really soft and since I just couldn’t sit down and eat 6 of them at once and leaving them on the counter another day would have caused them to turn to complete mush weren’t options I had to bake something.

I set out on a quest for a great peach cobbler recipe and sort of ended up creating my own by combining a few of the tastier looking one from Food Network. But while poking around I realized that I didn’t have enough of this or that and that I didn’t like the topping  on some of them as well. So this is what I did.

Ingredients – filling

  • Peeled & sliced 6 nectarines.
  • 1 can sliced peaches
  • 1 bag frozen peaches – thawed
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup baking mix – I used what I had. Jiffy Buttermilk pancake mix w/maple flavoring added

Note – I think that I had close to 4 or 5 cups or so of fruit and added a bit more baking mix just to be sure that it wasn’t to runny.

Mix all of it together and place in a 13×9 pan.

Ingredients – topping

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons for the top
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 stick butter, cubed and chilled
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk – I used regular milk since I didn’t have buttermilk and didn’t feel like making it
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg white, for washing – didn’t want to waste my farm eggs so I used a bit of melted butter & water

I tossed it all in the food processor except the milk and pulsed until it looked like sand. Add the vanilla to the milk and then pour it into the butter & flour mixture and pulse until it comes together. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead into a 13×9 rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.  Carefully place it on top of the peach mixture and brush on the egg white and sprinkle with sugar.

Peach cobbler - pre baking

Before the butter & sugar topping

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.

Now, I love to bake and will try just about anything once to see how it will turn out. I have to say that I was a little worried about this one since I used that Jiffy pancake mix with maple flavor and of course mixing all that different fruit. But it turned out really good and everyone seemed to love it! The only thing that would have made it better was whipped cream or ice cream.

Peach Cobbler

The finished product!

The recipes that I used for inspiration for this recipe was from the Neely’s for the topping and Paula Deen for the filling.

 

A Family Recipe ~ Carrot Cake

Every year my dad’s side of the family gets together on Memorial Day weekend, in the thumb area of Michigan, for a family reunion and it is the one time of the year that everyone gathers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandkids.

One year in particular my aunt came home from California and the holiday weekend is close to her birthday so one of my cousins made this incredible carrot cake. That year was special because it was the last time that she was going to be coming home and we made the weekend extra special sharing lots of old pictures, movies, and stories with one another.

Letting the kids put their fingers in the frosting

My Aunt showing the kids how to put their fingers in the frosting!

Now I have to say that the carrot cake is beyond amazing! There simply are not enough words to explain how good it really is, you just have to try it for yourself. Now this cake is not for those on a diet or anything like that and I wouldn’t suggest changing the recipe to make it healthier because it just wouldn’t be the same anymore.

I got the recipe from my cousin last year so I could make it for my dads birthday, and then again for my oldest daughter’s birthday as well. And now I will share it with you. I hope that you and your family enjoy it as much as we have.

Supreme Carrot Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
¾ vegetable oil
¾ buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated carrot
1 (8oz) can crushed pineapple – drained
1 (3 1/2oz) can flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
Buttermilk glaze
Cream Cheese Frosting

• Grease 3 9 inch round cake pans (I only use 2 pans)
• Preheat over to 350 degrees
• Stir together the first 4 ingredients. Beat eggs and next 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrot and next 3 ingredients. Pour into prepared pans.
• Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
• Drizzle warm buttermilk glaze evenly over the warm cake layers; cool in and on wire racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans inverting layers, invert again glaze side up. Cool completely on wire racks.
• Spread on Cream Cheese Frosting and chill several hours before slicing. Store in the refrigerator.

Buttermilk Glaze
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup butter
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil over medium heat. Boil 4 minutes, stirring constantly until glaze is golden. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla. Cool slightly.

Note – I only make ½ of the glaze recipe, as the entire thing is really sweet.

Cream Cheese Frosting
This recipe is slightly softer than traditional frosting so I add more powder sugar till it’s thick.

1 (8oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1 (3oz) package of cream cheese, softened
¾ cup butter, softened
1 (16oz) package of powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer till smooth.
Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until light and fluffy.
Stir in vanilla.