Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars ~ Gluten-Free

As I was reading some blogs over the past couple of weeks as I recovered, I came across a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars/Squares. I am a sucker for pumpkin and add chocolate to that, look out! My sister, Kelly, likes to poke fun at me and says I need a pumpkin intervention. Now, just for kicks, I send her a new pumpkin recipe via email each day. ;) Love ya, Kel! I knew as soon as I read this recipe that I was going to have to modify it to be gluten-free and give it a try. This recipe is amazing. The bars are so moist and light. They taste like pumpkin pie, in a cake form, with chocolate chips added, all melty. What can be better??

Bars before baking:

After baking:

My serving (see the chocolatey goodness?):

I found this recipe on Kath’s blog, Kath Eats Real Food. She has some amazing recipes, and they are healthy too!

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Squares ~ Gluten-Free

**From Martha Stewart Everyday Food

2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled (I used Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix)
1 T. pumpkin-pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 ¼ cups sugar (I used 1 cup)
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini chips)

Preheat oven to 350. Line bottom and sides of 9 x 13 inch baking pan with foil

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

Sheer heaven. These would be good topped with Cool Whip or Ice Cream, perhaps a pumpkin ice cream like Edy’s Slow-Churned Pumpkin or Vanilla would work too.

Okay, off to the gym I go to work off some of these pumpkin bars!

Product Review: Boomi Bars & Lara Bars

I tried another wonderful gluten-free product from my care package on Sunday. I needed a portable snack to eat after I went to the gym and was watching Jon’s hockey game. I brought a Apricot Cashew Boomi Bar. What a nice treat! :) I am a huge fan of Lara Bars, so I figured that I would like the Boomi Bar as well. The Boomi Bar has whole cashew nuts in it, dried apricots, honey dates, crisped rice, amaranth, apples, natural apricot flavor & salt. It was really, really good. I gave my mother-in-law a bite and she was also pleased with the taste and texture. Not only are these bars gluten-free, but they are vegetarian too!

I would give these bars 5 stars. They are tasty and filling. I was intending on having a latte along with this and would call it breakfast since I was in a hurry, but ran out of time to grab my latte. I was satisfied for a few hours on just the bar! Great product. You can buy them online at Divine Foods, by the case (24) for $38.40 or at Amazon for $1.75/bar.

While I am on the subject of bars, let me sing the praises of my love, the Lara Bar. I can’t say enough good things about these bars. I have many favorites, but I think that Peanut Butter Cookie & Pecan Pie are tied for first place. I have yet to try the Chocolate Cherry or Chocolate Hazelnut, they are brand spankin’ new, but I can’t wait!!! YUM!!

Lara Bars ~ my favorites
1. Peanut Butter Cookie & Pecan Pie
2. Chocolate Coffee
3. Gingersnap
4. Cinnamon Roll
5. Chocolate

Rumor has it that Lara Bar is making a new bar, Jamfraka. I saw them a couple of times on other blogs, but couldn’t find any info on Lara Bars site. I hope to find them soon, as they are GF too!!!

The ABC’s of Me

I saw this fun information game on Sugar & Spice and my Gluten-Free Life and thought it would be fun to participate. So, here are my responses.

The ABC’s of ME

A – Age: 35 (almost 36)

B – Band listening to right now: Foo Fighters

C – Career future: something creative, that’s for sure

D – Dad’s name: Phil

E – Easiest person to talk to: my sister, she just listens and I love her for that.

F – Favorite type of shoe: my Ugg slippers..comfy!

G – Grapes or Grapefruit: grapes, never been a fan of grapefruit. Maybe I should give it another chance now that I am an adult, I banned it as a child, probably not very fair to the grapefruit.

H – Hometown: born in Newport, RI; I consider Columbus, Ohio my hometown, though.

I – Instrumental talent: not so much ;)

J – Juice of choice: OJ or Welch’s Grape

K – Koala Bear or Panda Bear: koala

L – Longest car ride ever: Texas to NJ as a child when we moved

M – Middle name: Lynn

N – Number of jobs you’ve had: way too many too count, but let’s try…PB& Y, TCBY, Chi Chi’s, Bob Evans, Max & Erma’s, James Tavern, Dalt’s, Pockets, Temp Agency, Bent Tree Apts, Meadow View Apts, SAHM

O- OCD traits: should I really be going there??

P – Phobia[s]: heights, flying

Q – Quote: “Life isn’t about how to survive the storm
but how to dance in the rain.”

R – Reason to smile: I feel better today than I have in 12 days!

T – Time you wake up: 4:20 AM on weekdays

U – Unknown fact about me: If I told you, it wouldn’t be unknown ;)

V – Vegetable you hate: I really can’t think of one

W – Worst habit: Being a control freak

X – X-rays you’ve had: teeth, ankles, chest, fingers on right hand

Y – Yummiest food my belly likes: chocolate

Z – Zodiac sign: Capricorn

Now it’s YOUR turn! Answer one of these questions in the comments or share your ABCs on your blog!

Top Ten Healthiest Foods on the Planet

I get a daily email update from Mind, Body & Spirit Fitness and one of the links in the email the other day was the Top Ten Healthiest Foods on the Planet. I was pleasantly surprised to see that all of these foods were gluten-free!!! YAY!! Not only that, but these were all foods that I eat on a very regular basis. I guess I am doing something right, huh??

Easy Enchilada Bake ~ Gluten-Free

This recipe is one that was passed onto me from my sister. I think my sister got it from her sister-in-law. I made a few changes, due to foods that I can’t eat and that my family won’t eat. This is a fan favorite in our house. It is easy to put together and reheats very well.

Whole Casserole:

My serving:

Easy Enchilada Bake

1 pound ground meat (I used turkey, but beef or chicken would work fine too)
Taco seasoning for the meat
1-2 cans refried beans (I used organic black refried beans)
2 cans Hormel Chili w/Beans (With Beans is Gluten-Free, I am not sure about the others)
10 – 12 corn tortillas
Cheddar Cheese (I used almost 2 cups)

1. Brown ground meat and add taco seasoning per directions on packet or container.
2. Preheat oven to 350 and warm up your beans and chili.
3. Warm your tortillas up in micro according to pkg. directions.
4. Spread a little chili (not too much, you need to top the whole casserole with chili at the end) in the bottom of a glass pyrex dish.
5. Start to assemble your enchiladas: tortilla, beans, meat, cheese…then roll up and place seam side down in pyrex dish. Repeat until you are done. I do 6-8 length wise, then I stuff the remainder in along the side.
6. Top with remaining chili and then cheese. Cover and bake for 30 – 45 minutes or until cheese is all melty and casserole is bubbly.
7. Let cool for 5-10 minutes; cut and serve.

YUM! Enjoy! You can add in onions, olives, tomatoes, green chiles, peppers, etc. I don’t b/c my peeps won’t eat them if they spot any of the above. Top with sour cream and/or salsa. I personally like to add lots of Frank’s Red Hot. ;)

Menu Plan Monday ~ November 10, 2008

I feel like the fog has been lifted. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that I finally ditched the painkillers that I was on last week. ;) I have to say that when my dr first told me that I would be out of work for 5 days and still not feeling well for 10, I kinda laughed. I mean come on, I am in good shape, go to the gym 6 days a week…I should heal fast. Well, I shouldn’t have been so quick to laugh b/c today is day 11 post-surgery and the first day that I feel close to “normal”. So, I am bright-eyed and busy tailed, ready to start the week out with a clean bill of health and a new energy.

The Holiday season is among us. I went to Wal-Mart on Friday night after dropping Jon off at hockey and on the way I heard Christmas carols on the radio. It was November 7th. I think that is a record for the earliest I have ever heard Christmas carols on the radio. Sure, there are Christmas trees up in the stores and there have been for weeks, but the carols, already? Come on! I love, love, love my Christmas carols, but if they start playing them so early, I will be really sick of them come December 25th. I guess that means it is time to break out one of my all-time favorite Chirstmas movies, Elf. “Smiling’s my favorite!” Okay, enough about Holidays, on with the menu!

Sunday ~ Salmon, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli & carrots
Monday ~ Enchilada Bake, corn and salad (I can finally eat salad..YEAH!)
Tuesday ~ BBQ chicken breast, cheesy chili potatoes, steamed veggies & salad
Wednesday ~ Ice Skating/Hockey ~ eat out
Thursday ~ breakfast for dinner (omelets & french toast, bacon, fruit)
Friday ~ Homemade pizza, veggies & salad
Saturday ~ Pei Wei take out (if I haven’t caved and gotten it earlier in the week….we have a gift card that was given to us an we still have close to $100 left on it).

Baked Goods
I am excited to get back into baking this week. I hope to start baking for the Holidays soon and freeze some things.
Hot Soft Pretzels (Miss Roben’s Mix)
Bagels (Pamela’s Mix)
Bread (Pamela’s Mix)
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Brownies (Mix…I have several to try out)
Maybe a coffee cake, if the spirit moves me

Phew….I am ready for a nap! Just kidding. :) I am so happy to have my energy back!

Don’t forgot to check out Gluten-Free Goodness and Cheryl’s menu plan. Cheryl chose pomegranates as the ingredient of the week. I just bought my first one today! YAY! Now I need to figure out what to do with it. ;) Also, head over to Org Junkie for lots of other menu plans.

Review: Enjoy Life Mountain Mambo Nut Free Trail Mix

When I was still having a problem chewing and swallowing food the other day, I got into this trail mix that I received in my care package. It is called Mountain Mambo Nut Free Trail Mix and is made by Enjoy Life Foods. I had mixed some cereals together and tossed in a couple of handfuls of this stuff. Boy, was it good! I love the flavor combinations! It has seeds, dried fruits, dairy free chocolate…YUM! This gets 5 stars in my book. One of the best things about Enjoy Life Foods is that they are free from all allergens! No nuts, soy, dairy, gluten. Also, if you visit their home page, there are a couple of coupons on it.

I bet this would also taste good over some ice cream. I like to get creative with my food. ;) Oh, another thought, use it as an oatmeal stir-in or topper! I may have to give that a try tomorrow!

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