Tis’ the season for pumpkin treats,
fall fall fall fall fall, fall fall fall fall.
Last weekend, I flew back to California for a few days for my grandpa’s 100th birthday party. A century old! This guy lived through two world wars! My grandpa is one of the coolest guys I know. He is loved by everyone who knows him.What’s his secret for getting to 100? Well he shared three tips at his party. Exercise, socialize, and be happy. I can say I’ve nailed the last two.
This was a very exciting week. On Wednesday, two of my roommates, Neville & Rebecca, got married! I was so honored they wanted me to be at their ceremony. It was short and incredibly sweet. On the way there, Brian, my other roommate, asked me if I usually cry at weddings, and I truthfully answered no. But halfway through the ceremony, the plumbing in my eyes wouldn’t shut off.
After the ceremony, I went to work and quickly fell back into my routine. I love being here right now because the weather is perfect. The sun doesn’t set until 7pm or so. I can’t wait to see the beautiful New England fall foliage and go apple picking. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons! However, it is tied with winter, spring, and summer. Soon, it’ll be Thanksgiving, then Christmas! There is just never a dull moment once autumn starts.
I can’t get the warm, fall flavors out of my mind, like pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and apple. To celebrate the start of fall, I made (relatively) healthy pumpkin bars with a (relatively) healthy cream cheese frosting. Like my 100-year-old grandpa, these bars are amazing! I didn’t use a drop of oil or butter. Instead, I mixed in plain yogurt and applesauce as subs. For the cream cheese frosting, I used yogurt instead of butter. Believe it or not, this cream cheese frosting is so much better sans butter. I don’t think I can ever go back to the old ways.
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 15 ounce can pumpkin
- 2 cups sifted whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 8 ounces cream cheese, soften
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then grease a 9x13 baking pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, apple sauce and pumpkin on medium speed until smooth.
- In a small bowl, mix together the baking soda and yogurt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
- On medium speed and working in batches, slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture.
- On low speed, mix in the yogurt and baking soda mixture until just incorporated.
- Bake for 50 - 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow it to cool completely before slicing and frosting.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cream cheese, yogurt, and vanilla extract on medium speed until smooth.
- Working in batches, add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and fluffy.
- Spread over the cooled pumpkin bars.