Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

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You know fall has arrived when pumpkin recipes start popping up everywhere and you get the urge to run to the nearest store, pick up a can of pumpkin and bake a delicious fall treat.  I love pumpkin and can eat it in just about anything.  I also love the combination of pumpkin and chocolate, so these bars definitely hit the spot!

These bars are quick to whip up and are a delicious treat for any fall afternoon.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart http://www.marthastewart.com/336431/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-squares


2 Cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 Cup butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 Cup sugar

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together dry ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside.  Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer.  Add vanilla and egg until mixed in.  Add pumpkin and mix until well combined.  The mixture will look lumpy.  Gradually add dry ingredients until combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Spread into 9×13 greased pan.  Bake for 35 minutes until golden brown.  Cool and cut bars after they are cool.

Makes 30 bars.

Weight Watchers Points Plus: 4




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Game Day Chili

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Chili always reminds me of Sunday fall afternoons, watching football and hanging out with friends and family.  Yesterday was the season opener for the Minnesota Vikings and my husband and I had two of our close friends over for the game and lunch.  I made this chili and it was delicious!

This recipe was adapted from http://www.momswhothink.com/easy-recipes/best-chili-recipe.html .

There are lots of different chili recipes out there but I especially liked this one as it has everything: beans, tomatoes, beef, and two special ingredients, beer and cocoa powder!


3 lb ground beef (I used 85/15)

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 Cup chopped onion

8 oz Hunt’s tomato sauce

10 oz can of kidney beans

10 oz can of pinto beans

20 oz can of diced tomatoes

1 Cup water

1 can beer 14oz

3 Tbsp chili powder

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp unsweeted cocoa powder

1/2 tsp hot sauce

Brown ground beef in a large sauce pot, drain fat.  Add chopped onions and garlic, cook until onions are tender.  Add remaining ingredients and stir.  Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer and cook for 2 hours.  Serve your favorite toppings.

Makes 20 servings

Weight Watchers Points Plus: 6

What is your favorite type of chili?

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Healthy Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

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Fall is here!  It’s so crazy that all of a sudden we hit September and fall just comes out of nowhere.  Even though it has still been warm here in Minnesota, fall is undeniably here.  The leaves outside our apartment are starting to fall, and that distinctive smell of Fall is in the air.  I love Fall, and it is a beautiful time of year here in Minnesota.  It is such a special season, filled with football, pumpkins, and crisp weather.  Today was the opening day for the Minnesota Vikings (GO VIKINGS) and we had two of our friends over for lunch and the game.  Both the lunch and our game were a success.  The Vikings won in overtime, sweet right?  And our lunch was scrumptious; even now writing this post I am still full…  For lunch we had a great chili (I’ll post that recipe later), hot spinach and artichoke dip, veggies, and zucchini brownies (also a future post).

The hot spinach and artichoke dip was to die for!  I have made other spinach and artichoke dips before but since I am lactose intolerant and trying to be somewhat healthy on game-day, it is sometimes hard to find a recipe that I can have.  I came across this recipe at ACAC (http://www.acac.com/2011/12/22/hot-spinach-and-artichoke-dip/) and thought I’d give it a try.  Let me tell you, it turned out great!  I made a couple of adaptations and it was a big hit with my husband and our friends.

This recipe uses non-fat Greek yogurt, which I love using in cooking and baking.  I also decided to make it in my crockpot so it could stay warm throughout the whole game.  Definitely put this recipe on your game-day list as it is a winner!


1/2 Cup light Miracle Whipe

1/2 Cup fat free plain Greek yogurt

1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 Cup grated Swiss cheese

1/2 Cup grated white cheddar (or your cheese of choice, lots of recipes use mozzarella, but I can’t eat it, hence the white cheddar)

3 cloves garlic, minced

ground black pepper to taste

10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

14 oz artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

Mix together all ingredients except for spinach and artichokes in crockpot.  Add spinach and artichokes and mix well.  Sprinkle extra grated Parmesan cheese on top if desired.  Heat on high for 1 hour in crockpot and then keep warm. Serve with veggies, pita chips, or crackers.

Makes 12 servings

If you do not have a crockpot you could bake it in the oven instead 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Weight Watchers Points Plus: 3 points per serving

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Freezer Ready Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

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Chocolate chip cookies are one of life’s greatest things.  They are such a classic cookie and yet they never go out of style.  I love cookies and I never turn down a chocolate chip cookie, which is part of my problem.  I used to whip up a batch of cookies and then I would have to try to not eat the whole batch in two days.  So recently I have started making a batch of cookie dough and baking only the cookies that I want for that day and freezing the rest.  This solves the problem of having too many cookies calling to me from my Tupperware on the counter, but it doesn’t solve the problem of knowing that the delicious cookie dough is lurking in the freezer; but I’ll work on figuring out that problem later.

For this recipe I use the classic Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough recipe, but you could use your own favorite recipe.


2 1/4 Cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 Cup of butter

3/4 Cup brown sugar

3/4 Cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1 1/2 Cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F.  Sift together dry ingredients in a separate bowl, set aside.  Cream together butter, sugars, and vanilla.  Add eggs and beat until well mixed.  Gradually stir in dry ingredients and stir until combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.

If you want to bake some cookies immediately, place rounded teaspoons of cookie dough onto a sprayed cookie sheet and bake for 9 minutes.

For Freezing: place bowl of cookie dough into freezer for 40 minutes.  After 40 minutes, remove from freezer and shape cookies with a spoon and place into a freezer Ziploc bag.  Once all the dough is shaped into balls place bag in freezer and use whenever the cookie cravings hit!

* If your dough is dry and not too sticky you can immediately shape it into balls and place in a Ziploc.  Mine is usually too sticky right away so that is why I freeze it for 40 minutes before shaping the dough.

I think it’s great to be able to have a fresh cookie whenever the desire hits you, and it is also very convenient when you have guests over and want to treat them with a home-baked good but don’t want to spend the whole evening in the kitchen.

What other baked goods have you frozen for easy baking later?

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