Recipe: Pumpkin Pantry Bars

By the time this posts, I will have already had a pumpkin pantry bar for breakfast. (With some coffee that isn’t Starbucks because I have to break that habit.)

Pantry bars are my version of granola bars, a recipe I adapted from granola bar bites à la Witty in the City that I first pinned, I don’t know, 2 years ago?

So why do I call them pantry bars? Well, I discovered something magic: So long as you keep the ratio of oats:banana:usually applesauce (we’ll get to this in a moment) the same, you can pretty much get away with anything else you have in your pantry. In this case, I substituted canned pumpkin for applesauce because I don’t care how over pumpkin all of you are, I’m not.

So, let’s get this pumpkin party started:

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup crushed nuts*
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried coconut

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Peel your bananas, pop them in a mixer with your canned pumpkin, and start a-mixin’. Don’t have a mixer? I suppose you can mash them in a mixing bowl, but I’m just going to keep it real: I am literally in love with my Kitchenaid. Some people, before they have children, have pets; and they love them like children. I had a Kitchenaid. Like Charlie, she also has a family name: Gladys. Let me introduce you…

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I still love you, Gladys.

Step 3: Add your spices, salt, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and brown sugar. Mix until well combined, brown sugar has dissolved.

Step 4: Add the oats, combine, then add the rest of your ingredients. *For chopped nuts, the recipe usually calls for slivered almonds. However, I only had a 1/4 cup so I used another 1/4 cup of chopped pecans to complete the 1/2 cup. This was especially appropriate for pumpkin, keeping the flavor seasonal.

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Step 5: Prepare a muffin tin with baking spray. Witty in the City suggests a mini muffin tin, but that’s just silliness. 1. I eat these for breakfast and a mini muffin just would not suffice. 2. There are chocolate chips involved which necessitates the largest portion size I can reasonably get away with.

Step 6: Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop the mixture into a greased muffin tin circle. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the circle like so:

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Step 7: Bake for ~20 minutes until the edges are browned, let sit for 5 minutes, finish cooling on a rack. (Repeat! I get a little more than 2 dozen.)

Another reason I love this recipe: Sounds strange, but they’re actually best cold. Witty in the City says the same thing. Once they’re cooled, I pop them all into a gallon size freezer bag and just grab one for breakfast on the go.

Now, go raid your pantry and get your pumpkin on.

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Addy Shedd reminded me of Tuesdays with Morrie today, which of course reminded me of this:

“The tension of opposites: Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn’t. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted.

A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle.”

-Morrie Schwartz

7 Months with CharlieJust one sentence: Oh what fun it is to hear you giggle, to get a hug and a kiss, and to see you smile when we sing!Charlie loves: Rolling as far as he can before a wall or furniture gets in his way, watching Sesame Street while mom drinks her morning coffee, and running errands, sitting in the cart like a big boy.We love: How Charlie thinks coughing is the height of comedy, the way he lunges for toys in the bath, and engaging him in our meal when we’re out to eat.Charlie objects to: Warm purees (they have to be cold), cold bottles (they have to be warm), having his nose wiped, and putting on pajamas.Something I want to remember: So many things, but this has to be the most special moment yet. It was obvious at Auntie Morgan’s wedding that you missed your mom. The next morning I brought you into bed. As soon as I laid you down, you grabbed my cheeks, pulled me toward you, and wouldn’t let me go until I gave you a kiss. At first I thought it was a fluke. Then you did it a half dozen times! I loved those first kisses, I love you, and I’m glad you feel the same way.Love,Your Mom

7 Months with Charlie

Just one sentence: Oh what fun it is to hear you giggle, to get a hug and a kiss, and to see you smile when we sing!

Charlie loves: Rolling as far as he can before a wall or furniture gets in his way, watching Sesame Street while mom drinks her morning coffee, and running errands, sitting in the cart like a big boy.

We love: How Charlie thinks coughing is the height of comedy, the way he lunges for toys in the bath, and engaging him in our meal when we’re out to eat.

Charlie objects to: Warm purees (they have to be cold), cold bottles (they have to be warm), having his nose wiped, and putting on pajamas.

Something I want to remember: So many things, but this has to be the most special moment yet. It was obvious at Auntie Morgan’s wedding that you missed your mom. The next morning I brought you into bed. As soon as I laid you down, you grabbed my cheeks, pulled me toward you, and wouldn’t let me go until I gave you a kiss. At first I thought it was a fluke. Then you did it a half dozen times! I loved those first kisses, I love you, and I’m glad you feel the same way.

Love,
Your Mom

Another letter to you, at 7 months…

I knew that you would teach me things, but I guess I thought I’d have an opportunity to teach you a couple first.

So long as I can recall, I have suffered from the same fatal flaw. With little understanding or appreciation for God’s will, I held tight to what I thought was right. How I should look, how clean my house should be, and most dangerously, how others might perceive me.

I have always known that I needed to learn to “bloom where I was planted” and to embrace my life right now with all of its blessings. But instead I found myself doing what we all do… Worrying about how to reach the next goal, pushing myself to cross once more task off my list.

You, Charlie, have taught me how to show myself grace.

In things big and small, whether it’s working toward our next home or getting one more load of laundry done at the end of a long day, I have learned how to smile in my current circumstances because I know all too well now how fast the time goes.

And it’s all because of you. Watching your littlest days pass so quickly, I have been given the gift of perspective. I now know that no matter what we have or don’t have, what we’ve done or still have yet to do, today is so short.

Most days, just after dinner, I have two choices: I can start getting ready for tomorrow, or I can spend another hour with you.

Every time, I choose you… And I know I will forever be grateful that I did.

My Charlie,

These are the days I’m going to want to remember. You woke up at 9 a.m. ready to play with a smile on your face. We sat next to each other on the couch and you talked to me about the news, I watched you learn and discover in your exersaucer while I had my morning coffee. We spread out your toys and laid down on your playmat. I helped you reach your favorites and tickled your back. You laughed and I smiled. Then, just a short hour later, you started getting tired eyes. I scooped you up and carried you upstairs while you twisted to see everything around you. I changed your diaper, put you into something warm, and fed you a bottle while we rocked in the dark on this cloudy day. When the bottle was finished, your eyes were closed, and I thought about how perfect your little face is. When I laid you down, you didn’t even move or make a noise. You were already asleep, safe and sound.

I LOVE being your mom.

Goose-n Morgen.

If nothing else, these kinds of situational comedies that seem to happen to me on the daily might just keep my blog alive…

So this morning, I drop Charlie off at his grandma’s per usual. I give him his kiss goodbye and exit through the garage. As I get out of the garage and walk toward my Jeep, I hear a noise. I literally jumped up because it definitely sounded like wildlife.

At first I decided to disregard, then, it happened again and it sounded closer. Panic set in. I started to think about what might be making this noise, decided it must be a goose, and prepared to meet my match on the driver’s side of my Jeep.

As I’m about to turn that corner, AGAIN, just to my right… Was my back windshield wiper, scraping across the dry window, sounding exactly like an angry goose.

6 Month Family Photos by Grandma Becky.

Half a Year with CharlieJust one sentence: We love to watch you learn and it seems your dad and I end every day saying “we’re so proud of you!”Charlie loves: Sleeping on his tummy, eating green vegetables, and splashing in the bathtub.We love: Sneaking into Charlie’s room for late night cuddles in the glider, the smile on his face when we he wakes up from nap time, and dressing him in fall clothes.Charlie objects to: Fruits for the most part, falling over from a seated position, and staying up past bedtime.Something I want to remember: For the first time since you were newborn you slept with your head on our shoulders this month. I cannot imagine anything sweeter than a baby on your chest, breathing his tiny breaths into your neck.Love,Your Mom

Half a Year with Charlie

Just one sentence: We love to watch you learn and it seems your dad and I end every day saying “we’re so proud of you!”

Charlie loves: Sleeping on his tummy, eating green vegetables, and splashing in the bathtub.

We love: Sneaking into Charlie’s room for late night cuddles in the glider, the smile on his face when we he wakes up from nap time, and dressing him in fall clothes.

Charlie objects to: Fruits for the most part, falling over from a seated position, and staying up past bedtime.

Something I want to remember: For the first time since you were newborn you slept with your head on our shoulders this month. I cannot imagine anything sweeter than a baby on your chest, breathing his tiny breaths into your neck.

Love,
Your Mom

Note to myself at 1 p.m. on a Friday…

Remember how sweet it is when everyone else in the house is napping, you can have a cup of tea with the windows open, and fall is blowing in.

5 Months with CharlieJust one sentence: Now that Charlie has a tooth and can roll, we are in a state of non-stop movement punctuated by quick cuddles and big laughs.Charlie loves: Patty Cake and The Itsy Bitsy Spider, being out and about, and playing with his BFF Noah.We love: Watching him learn in his exersaucer, hearing him laugh when we tickle his chunky thighs, and that Charlie has embraced naptime.Charlie objects to: His playmat even though it used to be his favorite, getting too warm, and anyone who refuses to share their food.Something I want to remember: The look on your face the first time you were able to stand for more than a couple seconds. It was like you had found freedom and you realized that maybe you would be big someday, too… But for now stay little, ok?Love,Your Mom

5 Months with Charlie

Just one sentence: Now that Charlie has a tooth and can roll, we are in a state of non-stop movement punctuated by quick cuddles and big laughs.

Charlie loves: Patty Cake and The Itsy Bitsy Spider, being out and about, and playing with his BFF Noah.

We love: Watching him learn in his exersaucer, hearing him laugh when we tickle his chunky thighs, and that Charlie has embraced naptime.

Charlie objects to: His playmat even though it used to be his favorite, getting too warm, and anyone who refuses to share their food.

Something I want to remember: The look on your face the first time you were able to stand for more than a couple seconds. It was like you had found freedom and you realized that maybe you would be big someday, too… But for now stay little, ok?

Love,
Your Mom