Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pumpkin Bars with White Chocolate and Dried Cranberries

Thanksgiving is next week!  Have you planned your menu yet?  I have several lists already. I have to make a To Do list everyday, otherwise I forget forget half of the things that I wanted,or needed to do. Lists are the only thing that I'm anal about, and well maybe putting the ornaments on my Christmas tree, too.  Other than those, I'm not a perfectionist, far from it.  Sometimes I think I should be more of perfectionist in some areas. but change is not easy.  I did have these Pumpkin Bars with White Chocolate and Dried Cranberries on my To do list though.

About these Pumpkin Bars with White Chocolate and Dried Cranberries, I made them to take to a friend's birthday celebration. The  bars are not your traditional Pumpkin Bars, loaded with fat and calories.  These bars have Greek yogurt and pumpkin adjust the puree, which add a lot of flavor and moistness, and not a lot of calories. I like milder pumpkin spices, so I didn't go crazy with the spices.  You can adjust  them to your preferences.  I have made these before, but decided to add the white chocolate chips in addition to the dried cranberries to make them more festive.  I skipped the cream cheese frosting and opted for a lighter Vanilla Drizzle. I couldn't stop nibbling on these cuties.  I didn't miss the extra fat and calories at all.

Add a batch of these bars to your To Do list  for another pumpkin dessert for your Thanksgiving dessert table.  Your family and friends will love them, and Shhhh!  don't tell them that they are lighter.

Pumpkin Bars with White Chocolate and Dried Cranberries
 Adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens

Ingredients :
½ cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1  cups canned pumpkin puree
3/4 cup low fat or non fat vanilla yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans( I didn’t add)
1 cup. dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions :
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Using butter or nonstick cooking spray, grease a 15x10x1 baking pan, or a 9x13 baking pan (note: you will add approximately 5 to 10 minutes to your baking time using a 9x13 pan). I used a 15x10x1 pan.
3. Using an upright mixer or a hand mixer beat the butter for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, beating until the mixture becomes fluffy, approximately 1 minute.
4. Add the eggs, pumpkin, yogurt, and vanilla,cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger beating until combined, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Slowly add the  flour, beating until combined.
6. Using a spatula, fold in white chocolate and dried cranberries
7. Spread the mixture evenly into a greased baking pan and back for about 25 minutes (for the 15x10x1 pan), or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on rack. Drizzle vanilla glaze, when cool.

Vanilla Drizzle

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp butter, room temp
2-3 tbsp mllk  I used Almond Milk

Combine powdered sugar and butter.  Beat until combined.  Add in milk, more or less, until desired consistency.  Drizzle over cooled bars..

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #145

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pumpkin Brownies

There are so many pumpkin recipes that I want to make, and so little time.  Turkey Day is fast approaching, and I have many cans of pumpkin in the pantry calling my name.  Do I want to make Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin cookies, Pumpkin bars, Pumpkin brownies, or Pumpkin Nutella muffins?  I  decided to make these Pumpkin Brownies   because we were having company over the weekend.  I had made these brownies several years ago, and sort of forgotten about them. Time to update the pictures and make these amazing brownies again, but I will be making those Pumpkin Nutella  muffins this coming  week.

The Pumpkin Brownies  have a rich,  moist chocolate brownie base swirled with  pumpkin and warm pumpkin spices. I cut back little bit on the nutmeg, and cloves, because I didn't want the spices to overpower the chocolate. I still added the cinnamon, which is the warm, homey, spice to me. These brownies are over the top amazing, especially with Vanilla Ice Cream, pure comfort food. I  added melted chocolate chips on top for are another layer of flavor.  They are addicting, even better warm. I couldn't stop eating them. One bite is chocolate, the next bite is pumpkin, and the next bite is a combination of the chocolate and pumpkin, so good. If you are looking for another dessert for your Thankgiving dessert table, definitely add these pumpkin brownies. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Brownies Adapted from Anecdotes and Apples
3/4 cup of flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks of butter (melted)
1 ½ cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup walnuts (chopped) (I didn't use)
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves  (I used 1/4 tsp.)
½ teaspoon nutmeg (used 1/4 tsp.)

Chocolate Glaze
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8 inch baking dish with aluminum foil. Lightly grease the foil. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
2. In a separate bowl mix together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs (one at a time). Add in the flour mixture, a little at a time and stir until the batter is evenly moistened. Divide the batter in half evenly into 2 separate bowls.
3. In one of the bowls blend in the cocoa powder and chocolate chips. In the second bowl of batter stir in pumpkin puree, walnuts, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
4. Spread ½ of the chocolate batter mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Pour ½ of the pumpkin batter mixture over that. Repeat the layers, ending with a pumpkin layer. Drag a kitchen knife or spatula through the layers in a swirling motion creating a marble appearance.  
5. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool and cut into squares

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #144

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki

I can't believe that it's November already.  Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here with Christmas not far behind.  Your calendar is filling up quickly with many Holiday events.  Your slow cooker will now be your friend.  You can get all of the ingredients in the slow cooker the night before,  refrigerate, and plug it in, first thing in the morning, and dinner will be ready when you come home. The Slow Cooker will free up you time to go shopping, wrap packages, or go to school events, and many more.

I made this Chicken Teriyaki in the slow cooker, cooked some frozen stir fry vegetables and rice, and Voila, dinner was ready.  I will be making this dish again soon. Tender chunks of chicken covered in a slightly sweet, and tangy sauce, on top of cooked rice with and stir stir fry veggies. The recipe called for low sodium soy sauce, but I used half low sodium soy sauce and half low sodium Teriyaki sauce.  Low sodium Teriyaki sauce has only 320 mg of sodium  and 3 g  of sugar compared to  over 500 mg of sodium in low sodium soy sauce, saving at least 180 mg of sodium.  If you are on  a low sodium diet, that's a lot.  Because the Teriyaki sauce has 3 gr of sugar, I only used 1/4 cup sugar in the sauce, and it was wonderful. So, dust off your slow cooker, and make this wonderful dish. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken
1 to 1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup granulated sugar ( I used 1/4 c sugar)
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce (I used 1/4 c low sodium soy sauce and 1/4 c low sodium Teriyaki sauce)
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 clove minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water
4 cups hot cooked white or brown rice
Sesame seeds and chopped scallions, optional( I didn't use)
In your slow cooker, stir together sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic and pepper. Place chicken in slow cooker and coat well in soy mixture. Cook on low for 3-4 hours*, turning chicken occasionally.
Once cooked, carefully remove chicken from slow cooker, chop into bite-sized chunks; set aside.
Pour liquid into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch and water until combined. Slowly add cornstarch mixture to boiling liquid and reduce to a simmer. Allow sauce to thicken for 2-3 minutes then add chicken to the saucepan. Coat chicken with sauce and let heat through.
Serve over cooked rice. Garnish with scallions and/or sesame seeds, if desired. and stir fry vegetables.
****I used 1 1/2 lbs. of chicken, which was fully cooked in 3 hours.
Adapted from The Comfort of Cooking

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #143

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