September 28, 2015

Skinny Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

What's better than a sweet, hearty, chocolatey, pumpkiny little bar of love?

Nothing. I know, right?! Really, there's nothing better. I feel like I want morning to hurry up so it can be an appropriate time to eat these. 3am is considered "the morning," right? ;-)

As you all know by now, I use oats all the time. In fact, this recipe doesn't differ too much from my last post! However, these bars are great in that you can heat them up or eat them at room temp and they are easily transportable for those busy mornings.

What's even better is that each bar contains a scant 103 calories and 6g of sugar. Much better than any of those store bought breakfast bars. The old fashioned oats and whole wheat flour really help keep you feeling full until lunch time. And at 100 cals each, you can snack on a few of these without any guilt.

The pumpkin spice isn't overpowering and the chocolate balances out the oaty fall flavors beautifully. If you aren't a chocolate fan or prefer to have even less sugar, you can sub any kind of nuts or even chia seeds. Oh, and did I mention you only need to dirty one bowl?

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do! Happy fall, y'all!

Skinny Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars
Makes 16 small squares in an 8x8 or 9x9 pan
Adapted from Sally

2.5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick oats)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour or gluten free)
1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use Mexican vanilla, but regular is fine)
3/4 cup pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup almond milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Lightly spray 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 square baking pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
2. Mix together oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Add in the vanilla, pumpkin, milk, egg, and maple syrup. Mix together until evenly combined. Fold in mini chocolate chips gently.
3. Pour the mixture into the pan, spread around evenly with spatula and bake for 20 minutes-30 minutes, or until baked through in the center.
4. Allow to cool and cut into bars.

Bars stay fresh for up to 5 days in a covered container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

September 13, 2015

Balsamic Roasted Zucchini, Squash, and Mushrooms


I feel like I've been neglecting my little corner of the blogosphere lately. I moved again which was a big surprise, but a very happy one. So now I'm finally settled and I'm in love with the surroundings at this place! It's like a little jungle. Perfect photo ops with beautiful natural light. I can't wait to start developing new recipes!

This is the view of our little yard from our bedroom doors.

In the meantime, I did experiment with spicing up my regular ole' roasted veggies by tossing them in an olive oil/balsamic marinade. It was light and flavorful and these veggies were a perfect side dish to some rotisserie chicken.

All you do is chop them up, whisk the marinade, pour it on, and pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes.

A simple, pretty, healthy side dish to any main course.

Balsamic Roasted Zucchini, Squash, and Mushrooms
Serves 2-4


1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
1 8oz container of sliced mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar (I use Trader Joe's brand)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick spray.
2. Slice veggies and place in a large bowl.
3. Whisk up marinade ingredients and garlic, then pour over veggies and toss to coat.
4. Spread veggies in a single layer on pan and place in oven.
5. After 10 minutes, stir veggies around.
6. Roast for 10 more minutes or until veggies are soft and starting to brown.

September 9, 2015

Healthy + Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes


Oh my.

Words are lost.

But seriously, guys, these are some of the BEST FREAKIN PANCAKES I've ever made! And I know, I know, I'm a weirdo pumpkin freak. But still. They are AMAZING. I can't even believe they are healthy. They taste like a glorious pumpkin muffin that has 500 calories. And yet... they're good for you. Whaaaaaat?! Just look at that melty chocolate and those layers of pumpkin yum.

Meteorologists said September 1st was the first day of Fall. Ok, no need to tell me twice. Here ya go! You're welcome. ;-)

Healthy + Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Makes 6-8 medium pancakes/2-3 servings (1/2 the recipe is 300 calories not including syrup or other toppings)

Wet ingredients
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, not an entire can)
1/3 cup pumpkin or vanilla flavored Greek yogurt
1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, or sub whatever milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract (Mexican vanilla highly encouraged, but you can use regular)

Dry ingredients
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup oat flour (blended oats, be sure to measure 1/2 cup after it's blended)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. In a small bowl, mix together the wet ingredients until very well combined.
2. I recommend using a pumpkin or vanilla flavored Greek yogurt (pumpkin if you can find it!), but plain yogurt will work too.
3. In another bowl (very important to separate wet and dry ingredients for this recipe), toss together all of the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
4. To make oat flour, place regular old fashioned oats or quick oats in a blender or food processor and pulse until they resemble flour. Make sure they aren't chunky and really resemble a flour. Measure after blending and not before.
5. Combine wet and dry and stir until just combined. Over-mixing the batter yields denser pancakes.
6. Grease a griddle or large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray (I use a coconut oil based spray) and heat the griddle to medium heat.
7. Place about 3-4 tablespoons (the smaller, the better these work out) on the griddle or skillet. Allow to cook about 2-4 minutes per side or until golden brown and the center is "poofy" (completely cooked through)
8. Place on a plate, cover with maple syrup or peanut butter (or whatever toppings you like on your pancakes) and enjoy immediately.
9. To keep the pancakes warm while the others are cooking, you can place them separately on a large cooling rack (stacking makes them soggy) in a 200-degree oven UNCOVERED for up to 20 minutes - after that they start to dry out.

Adapted from Chelsea's Messy Apron.

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