Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

photo 4-23Happy third day of Fall! I totally planned on getting this post out on the first day of fall however, my last two weeks have been just slightly crazy with traveling and work, which has left me with little time to cook, eat or sleep for that matter!  I just returned from a week in New York City which was a blast and very busy! I got to see some friends and family between the work I was doing there. I also got to eat at some fun new restaurants! Two of my favorites were The Meatball Shop, where I stuffed my face with an espresso ice cream and chocolate chip cookie sandwich (drool) and Artichoke Basille’s with their classic artichoke pizza which was so rich and decedent I was only able to eat one piece (drool again)! If you’re in New York in the near future I highly recommend you check them out! Anyways, I got back to Utah and it was full on on FALL here.

Yellow and Orange leaves, a chill in the air and that overall feeling and smell of fall. It got me thinking I wanted some delicious pumpkin treats! I tweaked this recipe from another one I found by substituting coconut oil for butter, I was so pleased with the result! photo 5-15Rich and moist with just a hint of pumpkin and sweetness from the chocolate chips. The coconut oil gave it a wonderful texture and kept them from getting to dry! If you’d prefer to use butter you can easily substitute it back in, (if you must!) its a 1:1 ratio so you’ll use 1 cup of butter instead of oil. Coconut oil is a great vegan baking substitute and I love the flavor and texture it brings to my baked goods! Cheers to you, enjoy! photo-609

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars (click for printer friendly version)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted (put the coconut oil in the microwave for 10-15 seconds until it becomes liquid and easy to pour.
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. set aside.
  2. With a standing or hand mixer beat coconut oil and sugar on medium speed until fully incorporated. Mix in egg and vanilla. Add pumpkin puree and mix well. (if you are using butter don’t worry if the mixture looks a little curdled.)
  3. Reduce speed to low and slowly mix in dry ingredients until fully incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips with a spatula.
  4. Spread batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake the bars for 35-40 minutes or until the top and edges are brown. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with a few moist crumbs on it.
  5. This is the hardest part.. WAIT until the bars are almost fully cooled before cutting them. I obviously did not wait and they were very difficult to get out of the pan in once piece! Enjoy!

Recipe slightly adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

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Crock-pot BBQ Pulled Pork with Slaw

photo 4-21I was feeling very festive with the start of NFL regular season this weekend. I got up early on Sunday morning to get all the ingredients to make this crock-pot pork for Sunday night football. I also made one of my other favorite recipes for the afternoon football games, Buffalo Chicken Dip, which is super easy and delicious! Crock-pots are the best inventions in the world!

You throw a bunch of stuff together, set the cooker and let it do its thing. I turned this pork on at 10am Sunday morning and by 6pm that night we had the most delicious, tender and finger licking good BBQ pulled pork and I didn’t spend my day in the kitchen! Best part is this recipe feeds a crowd and is great for hungry football fans or a large group of hungry people. And the left overs are amazing too.

Pulled pork tacos, pulled pork nachos and sandwiches, the options are endless! Top your pork off with this crunchy cabbage slaw and you’ve got yourself a crowd pleasing meal.

BBQ Pulled Pork and Slaw (Click for printer friendly version)

(Serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium garlic gloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (4-1/2 to 5-1/2 pound) boneless or bone-in Boston pork butt, twince or netting removed
  • 2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce, plus more for serving (such as Sweet Baby Rays or any other sweet and smokey BBQ sauce… I used Motherload which I purchased from Whole Foods)
  • 8-10 potato or white hamburger buns

Cabbage Slaw

  • 4 cups shredded cabbage and carrot coleslaw
  • 1/2 cup plain Vegenaise or mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons pickle juice (or white vinegar)
  • large pinch of sugar
  • large pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Place the onions and garlic in an even layer in the slow cooker and pour in the chicken stock.
  2. In a small bowl, combine sugar, chili powder, salt, cumin and cinnamon. Pat the pork dry with paper towels before rubbing the spice mixture all over the pork. Place the meat on top of the onions and garlic. Cover and cook until the pork if fork tender, about 7-8 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low.
  3. Meanwhile combine all the ingredients for the slaw in a large bowl, mix well to combined and refrigerate while pork cooks.
  4. Turn off the slow cooker and remove the pork to a cutting board. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl, pour onion mixture from the slow cooker. Return onions back to the slow cooker and discard strained liquid.
  5. Using two forks, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker, add the barbecue sauce and mix to combine.
  6. Serve on a hamburger bun topped with extra BBQ sauce (if desired) and loaded with cabbage slaw… ENJOY!

Slightly adapted from CHOW.com

Tzatziki Dip

photo-606I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend! We had gorgeous weather in Park City, which was a welcomed change from all the rain and gloomy weather we’ve been having here. I keep telling myself that all this rain now… means LOTS of snow this winter, right? I kicked off my long weekend with a BBQ with some friends, like I am sure many of you did as well. I was looking for a different appetizer to bring to the BBQ than the usual hummus and carrots or veggie platter which are so over done!

We have been getting a lot of cucumbers in our CSA lately so I thought it would be perfect to use some of them up. This recipe for Tzatziki is super light and refreshing- it uses about half the amount of sour cream that most recipes call for, making this the perfect dip or condiment! I also love putting this Tzatziki on my Greek chicken gryo’s (recipe to come!) Serve this dip with some pita chips and enjoy!!

Greek Tzatziki Dip

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced or pressed using a garlic press
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • 4-5 turns of fresh pepper
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced (smaller is better)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill (I use freeze dried sometimes too)

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix to combine, set aside.
  2. Peel cucumbers and slice them lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop the seeds from the flesh and discard them. Diced the cucumber into small bite size cubes.
  3. In another medium bowl, use a whisk to blend yogurt with sour cream.
  4. Add the olive oil mixture to the yogurt mixture and stir until none of the oil remains.
  5. Fold in cucumber and dill until fully incorporated. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.
  6. Serve with pita chips