Monday, November 18, 2013

Pumpkin Cranberry No-Bake Granola Bars

I was inspired by my friend Deborah over at Gourmetmom in making this dish. She sent me her fantastic seed cookies last month as part of the Foodie Pen Pals program we belong to and I wanted to create something just as healthy and delicious!

Prunes come together quickly in the food processor.
I made my own pumpkin butter, added prunes, flax, chia seeds etc. My 9 year old LOVES these bars - which means, of course, there is no way in H-E-double hockey sticks that I am going to tell her there are prunes or pumpkin seeds in them because she tells me she hates both!

They are packed with nutrition with a hint of sweetness and best of all no baking involved if you buy toasted pumpkin seeds!


2 cups pitted prunes
1/2 c pumpkin butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup sweetened cranberries
3 cups oats
2 tbsp ground flax
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 tsp pumpkin spice


  1. Spray a 9 x 11 pan with baking spray and cover the bottom and 2 sides with parchment. Spray parchment again. This will make it easier to remove the bars later.
  2. Place prunes in food processor and pulse until they are well chopped and starting to look well mashed.
  3. Heat honey, maple syrup, oil and pumpkin butter over medium low heat until it is well combined and just beginning to simmer.
  4. If desired toast oats in oven at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes.
  5. Place oats, prunes, spice, flax, chia, pumpkin seeds and cranberries in bowl and combine well.
  6. Add warmed honey mixture and stir until well combined being careful not to burn yourself.
  7. Place mixture in pan and gently spread until even and about 1 inch thick.
  8. If you don't have a 9 x 11 pan you can use a 9 x 13 and just make them thinner or don't spread all the way out. The mixture is stiff enough that you can easily shape it to the length you desire.
  9. Let sit until room temperature or place in fridge for a few hours before cutting into bars. I usually make 28 small bars.

These can also be frozen.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Panda Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Isn't he cute!

My friend Anabel over at The Graceful Glutton and I may have an unhealthy obsession with pandas. Specifically the new born pandas at the Atlanta Zoo. We've been watching the panda cam since the day they were born.

So for Anabel's birthday it seemed a no brainer that these mini panda cupcakes were a perfect way to celebrate (never mind that she doesn't really like cake - I forgive her for that).

The idea for these are from Bakerella who makes the cutest creations ever.

For these panda cupcakes, I made a banana cupcake and cream cheese icing. Decorating the cupcakes is a snap. Don't skimp on the icing - a thicker blob of icing will make it easier to stick in the chocolate chips.


Makes approx 18 mini cupcakes
Based on recipe by Rose Levy Beranbaum


2  large ripe bananas (1 cup)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 teaspoons almond extract
2 cups sifted cake flour
¾ cup superfine sugar
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

10  tablespoons unsalted butter 


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a food processor, combine bananas and sour cream until smooth.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix just to blend.
  4. Combine the remaining dry ingredients in a stand mixer bowl and blend on lowest speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and half the banana mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat until well combined – about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the remaining banana and mix lightly – don’t over beat.
  5. Fill 18 mini cupcake tins about 3/4 full.
  6. Bake approximately 12-15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of a cupcake.
  7. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before removing from tins. Let cool.

Cream cheese Icing


8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla


In large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.
Add butter and beat until smooth. 
Mix in vanilla. 
Add icing sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Increase speed and beat until well combined.

To decorate you will need:

White/clear sanding sugar.
Chocolate jimmies.
Chocolate chips
Candy eyes

Bringing it all together:

Gently spread icing on a cupcake.
Place sugar in a bowl and dip iced cupcake to cover icing.
Gently stick in chocolate chips for ears, eyes and nose.
Using icing for glue, add candy eyes on top of chocolate eyes.
Gently add jimmies for mouth.
Revel in cuteness.
Repeat with other cupcakes.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Easy Caramel Pumpkin Pie

Easy Caramel Pumpkin Pie -

This dessert is as easy as pie! No, seriously, this pie is simple so even novice bakers will produce a delicious dessert. The addition of dulche de leche evaporated milk gives the pie a sweet side but also a bit of a flavour twist that my husband loved more than a traditional pumpkin pie. The kids loved it too so leftovers didn't last long!

PS - I call it caramel pumpkin pie cause dulche de leche is just too long!
Easy Caramel Pumpkin Pie -

Serving: Serves 6-8
1 can (14oz/398 mL) or 1.5 cups pure pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
1 can (300 mL)  dulce de leche flavoured sweetened condensed milk (I use Eagle Brand®)
2 eggs
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
½  tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt
whipped cream (optional)
9-inch (23 cm) unbaked pie shell (if you want to make your own try the pie crust recipe here.)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 ºF (220 ºC)
  2. In large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, and spices.
  3. Pour into unbaked pastry shell.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 350 ºF (180 ºC) and bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted two inches from edge comes out clean. If edges start to burn too early cover crust edges with foil.
  6. Cool.
  7. Store in refrigerator.
  8. If desired add whipped cream before serving.
Easy Caramel Pumpkin Pie -