Pumpkin Chocolate Oat Bars

Today is definitely Monday… the WiFi is out at our apartment, and my work email was hacked…but who cares because today is the first day of October! In my mind it’s officially Fall and I’m ready to bake pumpkin everything. Trader Joe’s is my pumpkin dealer of choice, and whenever I’m there I make sure to pick up a [few] bag[s] of their chocolate chunks because they’re better than regular old chocolate chips in so many ways.

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These pumpkin chocolate oat bars are on my Favorite Recipes list because they are gluten-free, low in fat, perfect for breakfast on the go, and full of pumpkin spice goodness. These bars are also nut-free (s/o to Abby and Lia), but you can include pecans or almonds if you choose. If you’d like to make them vegan, all you have to swap out is the chocolate chips- either omit entirely or make sure to use vegan chips.

Whatever your dietary restrictions/level of pumpkin fanaticism, these bars are proven to make any Monday better, so give them a try and let me know how they turn out!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Oat Bars

makes about 12 servings

3 1/2 C old fashioned rolled oats

2 1/2 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1 3/4 t pumpkin pie spice

1/2 t cinnamon

1 14 oz can (or 1 1/2 C) canned pumpkin puree

1/2 C pure maple syrup

1/4 C honey

2 t vanilla extract

1/4 C unsweetened applesauce

1 T coconut oil or avocado oil

1/2 C chocolate chunks, plus more to sprinkle on top

Method:

Preheat oven to 350° and grease 9″ x 13″ pan.

Make oat flour! I use my Vitamix for this because it’s a quick and easy clean up, but you can also pulse in your food processor or just buy oat flour at the grocery store. 3 1/2 C of regular oats makes about 3 cups of oat flour if you’re making at home.

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In a large bowl, combine oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Whisk dry ingredients together. Next, add all wet ingredients- canned pumpkin, maple syrup, honey, vanilla extract, apple sauce, and oil. Fold together until combined and add chocolate chunks last. Spoon into prepared pan and sprinkle some more chocolate chunks on top. Don’t skimp 😉

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool partially before cutting into squares and serve warm. Enjoy!

*Tip: I like to store some squares in the freezer in ziplock bags for breakfast on weekday mornings. Just heat back up in the microwave on a plate or napkin for 20 seconds.

Banana Bread

Banana bread is a recipe that took me a long time to get right, but now that I know what works, I make it all the time. It’s my go-to when I need a favor from someone, something to bring to a brunch, or when I’m leaving my husband for 4 days on a work trip. He won’t miss me if there’s banana bread in the fridge. I’d venture to say that this banana bread is the BEST, especially considering it’s dairy-free and all combinations of flour I’ve tried work well. There is nothing better than a house that smells like banana bread, and not feeling guilty when you need a second (or third) piece.

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Banana bread

makes 1 loaf or 12 muffins

3-4 medium over ripe bananas

2 eggs

1/4 C melted coconut oil (avocado oil or vegetable oil can be substituted)

1/4 C unsweetened applesauce

1/4 C milk of choice (I use almond)

1/3 C honey or pure maple syrup

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1 1/2 t vanilla

3/4 t ground cinnamon

3/4 C almond flour*

1 C unbleached all-purpose flour

Any mix-ins work here! Chocolate chips, walnuts, almonds, etc. Add these at the end 🙂

*Tip: If you have a nut allergy or don’t have almond flour on hand, using 1 3/4 C all-purpose flour will give you good results. You can also use whole wheat flour, or a combo of both.

Method:

Preheat oven to 325° and grease 9″ x 5″ loaf pan (I line mine with parchment paper to ensure banana bread comes out easily). If making muffins, grease or line muffin tin.

In mixing bowl, combine bananas, eggs, oil, and applesauce. Add milk and honey/maple syrup and mix until well-combined. Add baking soda, salt, vanilla, cinnamon and mix until combined.

Add flour and mix until incorporated but do not over mix! If you get too mix-happy, you’ll end up with large air tunnels in your bread. Restrain yourself; I believe in you. If you’re including mix-ins such as chocolate chips or nuts, throw these in now.

Bake at 325° for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out relatively clean.

**Note: the more bananas you add, the longer it will take to bake. I included 4 bananas in this last loaf, and it took a solid hour before it was fully set.

Store in fridge if you won’t finish it in 3 sittings like my husband does. Freezes well. Enjoy!

Farmer’s Market Crustless Quiche

Have I mentioned breakfast is my favorite? I love making this quiche on Sunday morning after collecting lots of fresh vegetables and herbs at the Farmer’s Market. Despite my efforts to grocery plan, I usually I end up with way more vegetables than 2 people can reasonably consume before they go bad, and this is a great alternative to freezing whatever I can’t use.

This quiche is another customize-able recipe, where vegetables can be substituted for whatever you have on hand, and meat can be omitted. I consider this recipe a real keeper because I can also make it Whole 30 by using compliant sausage and coconut milk. This recipe is dairy-free because as much as I love it, it does not love me. However, cheese would be really good mixed in the egg mixture, so include your favorite kind if you’d like.

Regardless of the veggies you choose, sauteing them before baking the quiche ensures that they are fully cooked and not too al dente in your finished product. The last plug I’ll give this yummy breakfast is that you can make it on the weekend and have something ready to go for busy weekday mornings.

Crustless Quiche

Farmer’s Market Crustless Quiche

Time: 20 minutes active, 45 minutes baking

Makes 6 servings

1/2 lb. sausage of choice

1 T avocado or olive oil

1/2 C butternut squash (I used Trader Joe’s zig-zags from the refrigerated section)

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1/2 red bell pepper

1 small yellow onion

6 free-range eggs

3/4 C milk of choice (I used full-fat coconut milk)

1 T garlic powder

1 t smoked paprika

Salt & pepper to taste

Fresh parsley for serving

Method:

Preheat oven to 350° and grease glass pie pan

Brown sausage (if using) in skillet over medium heat until cooked through, drain fat, and set aside. Using same pan, add oil and veggies and cook for 4-5 minutes or until onion is translucent and veggies are partially cooked and starting to brown. Combine with cooked sausage and add mixture to greased pie pan.

Beat eggs in large mixing bowl and add milk of choice, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper. *This is when you’d add cheese if using. Whisk together and pour slowly over meat and veggies in pie pan.

Bake on middle rack of oven for about 40 – 45 minutes, or until middle of quiche is set and toothpick comes out clean.

Top with chopped fresh parsley and serve warm. Enjoy!

Overnight Oats

Breakfast makes me happy. I don’t trust people who don’t eat breakfast. Oh- you don’t wake up hungry? You’re lying.

Today’s reason to get out of bed was pumpkin overnight oats. Overnight oats is one of the most versatile breakfast recipes ever, and most importantly, my husband approves.

Pumpkin Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats (4 servings)

2 C Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats

1 T chia seeds

3 C Milk (I use unsweetened almond)

2 T honey

Optional: 1/2 C pumpkin puree or greek yogurt, pumpkin pie spice, pretty fruit on top

Method

Mix ingredients together and refrigerate covered, overnight. Thank yourself the next morning.

*Pumpkin Pie Oats pictured above made with pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, fresh figs, and dehydrated coconut