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)


  • 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


  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


Pumpkin Maple Protein Smoothie

photo-114It’s fall, so obviously everyone is into anything pumpkin related. I thought people were going to die of excitement when Starbucks finally released their PSL (pumpkin spice latte… who knew it was being abbreviated these days?) on September 3!! Three days past August is NOT considered fall people. So now that its October and it actually IS fall, I’m jumping on the pumpkin wagon!photo-346 I love getting my fix of pumpkin treats but if you’re not careful that casual PSL in the morning can run you close to 400 calories! I don’t know about you but that is way more than I’m willing to waist on a cup-o-joe! This protein smoothie is a great way to satisfy your pumpkin craving without killing your waistline (which is always an added bonus going into the holiday season!) photo-347I use Teras Whey protein powder that I purchase from Whole Foods but any kind of vanilla protein powder will do. Also be sure to use canned pumpkin puree and not canned pumpkin pie filling (there is a difference!)photo-348Pumpkin Maple Protein Smoothie by Ski Boots in the Kitchen


  • 8 oz vanilla almond milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 tablespoon real maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (make your own if you don’t have it)
  • hand full of ice cubes

Combine all the ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth. Enjoy! photo-349

Pumpkin, Spinach, and Tomato Gratin

It’s fall and fall means pumpkin season! Pumpkins and squash are my favorite to cook- they have great flavor and are easy to prepare. This yummy recipe is super easy and a healthy alternative to the classic potato gratin (which I also love)! I got this recipe from the Tante Marie’s Cooking School in San Francisco. Their monthly news letters always have great seasonally inspired recipes. Enjoy!

Pumpkin, Spinach, and Tomato Gratin


  • 3 lb. sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, seeded,  and cut into 1-inch wedges.
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lb. fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 28-oz. can San Marino tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 lb. cave-aged Gruyere cheese

Pre-heat oven to 400. To cook the sugar pumpkin, place it on a baking sheet, coat with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.  Roast in a 400 degree oven, until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork (about 20-30 minutes).  Turn half way through the cooking, so that it browns slightly on both sides. (I used sugar pumpkin when I made this but I would recommend using butternut squash instead).

While the pumpkin or squash is baking in the oven wilt the spinach. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Drop hand full of spinach into boiling water until wilted. Remove spinach from water with tongs and place on baking sheet lined with paper towels until all the spinach is cooked.

Next, cut tomatoes in half and set a side the juices. I used San Marino tomatoes since the fresh ones in the store didn’t look amazing. Grate cheese on large holes of box grater. I used Jarlsberg cheese, I prefer its flavor.

To assemble, line a Pyrex or ceramic baking dish (about 14 by 10 inches) with a layer of squash, cover with the spinach, then the tomatoes, cut side up.  Sprinkle with the grated cheese.  Bake in 350 oven, until the tomatoes and cheese have melted, about 30 minutes.  Serves 8.

This dish is great served with chicken, fish or enjoyed on its own. I used the leftover juices from the tomatoes to make my own version of chicken Parmesan.

Easy Chicken Parm

For the Chicken I took 4 chicken breasts and dipped them in 1 egg (whisked). I dredged them in Panko Bread crumbs and placed them in a skillet coated with olive oil on high heat. Let the chicken breast cook about 4-5 minutes on one side before flipping and turning down the heat to medium-low and covering. Let chicken cook for another 10 minutes on low before pouring remaining tomato juices and topping with grated Parmesan cheese. Cover and turn the off heat. Let chicken marinate for a couple of minutes covered on the stove. Serve with Pumpkin Gratin and Enjoy!

Fall Favorites – Stew in a Pumpkin and Baked Cayenne Pepper Pumpkin Seeds

Fall Favorites – Stew in a Pumpkin and Baked Cayenne Pepper Pumpkin Seeds

For my first blog post- I wanted to start out with one of my favorite fall recipes. I always loved when my mom made this stew because you serve it IN the pumpkin. I loved watching her scoop hearty spoonfuls of yummy stew right from the pumpkin on the table (Martha Stewart is kicking herself she didn’t invent this multifaceted meal… table decor and entree in one!) … plus you get chunks of pumpkin when you serve it! Baked pumpkin seeds are also another fall time favorite of mine. This spicy take on classic baked pumpkin seeds will have you eating the whole batch before the stew is ready (yes, I did eat them all with a little help from Jake). Although its fun to enjoy this stew out of the pumpkin- it’s not necessary to cook in the pumpkin if you want to make it once they are out of season. From my high altitude kitchen (or PomPom’s kitchen, really) to yours- Enjoy!

Stew In A Pumpkin 
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
One 8-10lb small pumpkin cut and cleaned. Rub with 1/3 cup butter, 1/3 cup brown sugar and dash of cinnamon and nutmeg and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

3 Tbls Vegetable oil
2 lbs Stew Meat
1 Onion Chopped
1 Clove Garlic
2 Cups Beef Stock
1 1/2 Cups Italian Tomatoes (Drained)
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 tsp Dried Oregano
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Grated Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 Yams, peeled and cubed
2 Potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Ears of Corn cut off the cob
1 Large Zucchini, sliced
1 Can Apricot halves
1 Cup Frozen Peas

While the pumpkin is cooking, heat vegetable oil in skillet and sear meat, browning on all sides. Remove meat and add the onion and garlic to skillet- Saute for 2 minutes just to soften.

Add stock, cooked meat, tomatoes, bay leaf, salt, dried oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper to onion and garlic saute. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Add yams, potatoes and corn, cover and cook another 10-15 minutes. Add zucchini, apricots and peas and cook another 5 minutes. Ladle stew into the pumpkin, replace lid and bake on cookie sheet for another 30 minutes or until pumpkin flesh is soft. If all the stew does not fit in the pumpkin, leave in the pot and simmer till ready to serve!

While the Stew is cooking on the stove..

Cayenne Pepper Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds from cleaned pumpkin
2 Tbls Olive Oil
Cayenne Pepper (to taste)
2 tsp Salt (may need more depending on how many seeds you have)
1 tsp Pepper

In a large bowl, toss pumpkin seeds with olive oil, salt and pepper and cayenne pepper to your taste depending on how spicy you want them (I used 2 tsp).
Place on a baking sheet covered in tinfoil and bake for 25 min at 375 degrees, mixing and tossing often with a wooden spoon.

Seeds are finished when crispy and brown (don’t let them stick and burn on the bottom!)