Monday, November 19, 2012

pumpkin pie bars

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one of the best things about autumn and the holidays are the countless treats that fill our home with warm smells of all things good. i am not a big fan of pumpkin pie, however i am a huge lover of anything that resembles the smell of pumpkin. for me, one of the best feelings is to come in from the cold and walk into a warm kitchen filled with smells of cinnamon & spice or a warm soup simmering away.
it reminds me of my mom & gram - the sweet smell wraps around you like a big hug. childhood memories of the fall always included heading in from a chilly day of playing and being welcomed by a sweet treat, mug of cocoa or a big bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup.

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lately i have been struggling with achieving balance in my life.
when i start a new project, hobby or activity i give 110% of myself - i strive to achieve perfection.
if it isn't perfect i have a tendency to start feeling guilty and end up putting too much pressure on myself.

often times if it isn't perfect i feel like i have failed.

perfect can mean a lot of things to different people.
perfect for me is giving it my all, completing it to the best of my ability with visible improvement.

finding balance between blogging, gym classes, work & down time is what i am working on.
i will be honest, it is hard - i toyed with the idea of taking the month of november off from blogging.
i tried, for like 1 week. the fact is i love creating & styling beautiful food and sharing it with you.

so my goal is to blog without out so much self pressure, workout for health & enjoyment and not like it's my second job and remember that its okay to take a nap on the couch in the middle of the afternoon.
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these pumpkin pie bars are perfect to slowdown with along side a mug of piping hot tea.
they are filled with warm spices and pumpkin goodness.
the bottom layer of the bar is made up of pecans, dates & gluten free oats.
within the pumpkin layer you will be greeted with cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg and maple.
the top layer, well the top layer is my favorite; oats, molasses, coconut sugar, vegan butter & cinnamon create a crunchy top layer that is hard to resist sneaking bits and pieces of after it comes out of the oven.
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like i mentioned before, pumpkin pie isn't on my "top 10 list of pies heather loves" however this will definitely be going on my top ten list of awesome pie bars!
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if you do not have the need or ingredients to make these gluten free, feel free to use regular rolled oats and a different flour in place of the ap gf flour and gf oats.
if you plan on enjoying these bars throughout the week i would recommend storing them in the fridge.
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do you find yourself over committing during the holidays or seeking perfection in all you do?
how do you find balance between work, home & all things you love and are passionate about?
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take a moment this month to slow down and be thankful for all the beauty and good in your life.
make your day even better with a cup of tea and these beautiful pumpkin pie bars
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Pumpkin Pie Bars
makes 1 8x8 pan - 12 servings

you will need:

for the base
1 cup gluten free oats
1 cup pecans
10 medoj dates - pitted
1 tbsp coconut oil - softened (room temp)
1 tbsp pure maple syrup

for the pumpkin layer
1 - 15oz can of pure pumpkin
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp all spice
5 tbsp all purpose gluten free flour

for the topping
1/2 cup gluten free oats
1/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar or demera sugar
1 tbsp black strap molasses
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp vegan butter

assembly:
*pre heat oven to 350*

line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper allowing a little over hang on the sides

in a food processor fitted with an s blade, process oats & pecans until roughly ground. add pitted dates and process until mixture begins to bind. transfer mix into a medium mixing bowl - add softened coconut oil and maple syrup and mix well. empty oat pecan mixture into the parchment lined baking dish pressing evenly to distribute the mix which will create your base layer.

in the same mixing bowl add pumpkin through flour and mix well. evenly spread the pumpkin mixture over the base layer.

for the topping, using the same mixing bowl combine oats through cinnamon stirring well.
with your fingers work in the 3 tbsp of vegan butter - you are looking to work in all the dry mix into the butter creating marble size clumps. evenly sprinkle the topping over the pumpkin layer.

bake in your pre heated oven for 30 minutes. remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes prior to cutting & serving.

can be stored at room temp for 2 days or in the fridge for up to a week.

enjoy!





22 comments:

  1. These are beautiful Heather! They look so gooey and perfect :)

    By the way, I love your mug and cosy in the background!

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  2. I love your little mug !! This looks delicious...:) I have to give it a try

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  3. Oh dear, this looks Amazing! Would love to try this ;)
    You are awesome Heather ;) xo
    beautiful photos as always too.
    Ella

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  4. Yum, I want these. I love all things pumpkin. I used to feel like things needed to be perfect too (and ok, maybe sometimes I still do) but sometimes enjoying the "just good enough" is pretty nice - it's hard to be perfect at anything, but it can be pretty fulfilling to be good at lots of things if we let ourselves take credit for it.
    Of course, your blog posts do always look perfect though!!

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  5. Girl! You better quit it before I eat myself into a food coma! I literally cannot resist these!! As soon as I'm done moving and have a kitchen again, I'm making these :)

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  6. Heather this post just stopped me in my tracks. I do exactly the same thing, setting high standards and goals for myself and then getting way too overwhelmed. The funny thing is, I'm not a perfectionist about other people, only myself. I feel like I think things through a lot (over-think, perhaps) and then expect everything to turn out exactly as I picture it, but of course, that's rarely the case.
    I've also been struggling with balancing the blog and real life - it takes time, and energy, and for some unknown reason I set all kinds of imaginary deadlines for myself that I always end up falling short on. I keep reminding myself to breathe - to take time and relax - and remember what's most important to me.
    Oh, and of course, those pumpkin pie bars sound to-die-for. I am a huge fan of pumpkin pie, and pumpkin anything for that matter (you're right, it's those warm spices!) and love that you made these gluten-free. I'd need a whole tray of them to myself, you know... to unwind with! ;)

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  7. These look so great! I struggle with that balance a lot as well. It's a really tricky thing to pin point.

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  8. These are gorgeous! So impressive :)

    I can definitely relate to giving something your all....but putting WAY too much pressure on yourself. I am the exact same way. I always have these standards that I compare myself to and never feel good enough. I keep thinking I should quit blogging, because I give myself anxiety over not "being perfect". Last night I nearly burst into tears doing a post because I thought it sucked. *hah* First world problems, hey? LOL. Naw, I totally get what you are saying. Balance is very difficult to achieve - especially when you expect so much from yourself. I wish I had some good suggestions to get over these feelings, as I am not too sure how to fix it myself. I think it's important to do what you love and to just learn to enjoy the process (and not judge yourself in the process). I personally think you are GREAT and you should give yourself a lot of credit. *hugs* And if you need to take some time from blogging....know that all your readers adore you and will be back ready to read all your wonderful posts the second you are ready to return. *HUGS*

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  9. Gosh these look amazing!!

    I totally get the perfectionism thing. You are an incredibly talented woman.... give yourself the time and space you need in order to keep that creativity flowing!!!

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  10. i heart the mug :) and these bars are a solution perfect for me! i am not into Pies, so i will just make these bars!
    i think we all fall in the same category. i constantly try to let go of the pressure and self imposed expectations.. its a work in progress:)

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  11. These bars look absolutely perfect my friend :D
    And please do not put pressure on yourself - you are awesome :)

    Cheers
    CCU

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  12. Heather, while I think every post you create is perfect I understand your need to back off and slow down. Why are we so hard on ourselves? I get so overwhelmed sometimes that I just check out (which is why you haven't seen me around). Here's to better balance for the both of us, and a wonderful plate of pumpkin pie bars!

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  13. i'm in love with these bars. they look PERFECT. the middle looks so gooey and pumpkiny. and the topping looks like its own dessert.

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  14. I am not a big fan of pumpkin pie either, but I do like other pumpkin things and these bars look delicious! I totally feel you on over committing to things and having so much going on at once...I am always like that. :) Love that you are working in some downtime! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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  15. These look incredible! The pumpkin almost looks like a thick caramel!!!

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  16. Yum, gooey pumpkin bars! Pumpkin pie would definitely be at or near the top of my list of favourite pies! Love the addition of molasses in the topping too. Glad you're able to find a good balance - I get worried about keeping up regular blog posts, especially when I travel, but I have to tell myself it's not the end of the world if I go a week or more without posting, and if you need a break, the readers will understand!

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  17. I really had to think about this post... I set high standards for myself as well, and then when things get too difficult to maintain and balance with everything else I usually just drop it. I've been keeping up with blogging even though I can't give it 100%. It bothers me, but I certainly don't want to give it up either! I understand the pressure, but don't worry. No pressure from your readers, we're just here to enjoy :D And your pumpkin pie bars look amazing!

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  18. These look delicious! I have struggled with many of those same things myself. It's so nice to know that others do too. I finally settled on quality over quantity where blog posts are concerned. In the end I'm so much happier with them. Have a wonderful weekend Heather!

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  19. oh my gosh these are positively perfect!! anything pumpkin...sign me up! these would definitely disappear within hours at my house! haha hope you're having a great weekend!

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  20. Trying to "blog without self pressure" over here, too. I haven't posted in two weeks (although I do have a post lined up) and I can't tell you how much relief I feel without the pressure. Hope you find some balance, lady ;) These pie bars look great.

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  21. It's like you and I share the same brain. I swear, I've been telling myself the same things lately: I don't need to kill myself with every workout- it's okay if I have an easy day. It's okay for me to take a lunch break- I don't need to work until everything is finished. It's okay if that post doesn't get out tomorrow, if it means more time cuddling with the puppies. If only we lived closer so we could hold each other accountable for such balance! And so I could pop over and have some of these bars. Holy cow!

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