Monthly Archives: October 2012

Pumpkin Caramel Pretzel Bars

Since fall is in the air and that means pumpkin time, I decided to make a delicious pumpkin dessert.  Now that I am thinking about it, I think this would be a hit anytime of the year.  It is a pumpkin shortbread cookie with a homemade caramel glaze.  Then to top it off with the crushed pretzels, oh….yes.  It’s sweet and salty.  So, go ahead and indulge, your guaranteed to fall in love. 


For the pumpkin cookie layer:

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 Tablespoon pumpkin puree
  • 10 Tablespoons butter, cut into 1″ pieces

For the caramel layer:

  • 12 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 Tablespoons agave nectar

For the topping:

  • 1 cup crushed salted pretzels


For the pumpkin cookie layer:

  1. Preheat oven to 325° and spray 8″ square baking dish with cooking spray and line the bottom of the dish with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin and butter.  Pulse on low until thoroughly combined.
  3. Remove and press into prepared baking dish.

4.  Pierce batter with a fork and bake for 5 minutes.   Then lower the temperature to 300° and bake for another 30-35 minutes or until batter is light golden brown.

5.  Place pan on wire rack and allow to cool completely.

For Carmel Topping:

  1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt measured butter.  Stir in condensed milk and agave nectar, whisk together until combined.   Heat in microwave for about 6 minutes.  Make sure to stir the mixture every 30 seconds, the mixture will be boiling.  The caramel is ready when it is a light golden brown color and a thicker consistency.  Make sure to keep a close eye on caramel while microwaving, it can easily boil over.

2.  Pour the hot caramel mixture over the cooled cookie layer.

The Finishing Touch:

1.  Sprinkle crushed pretzels over caramel layer while warm. Allow the bars to cool completely.

2.  Once bars are completely cooled, cut bars into serving size pieces.  Store in refrigerator and serve straight from there.

Adapted from sugarcrafter

Words of Wisdom

It’s not what you say or do that people remember, it is how you made them feel.
~ unknown ~
          This is my dog, Biza, the day we picked her up as a puppy in California.  Too cute for words, she makes me smile everyday, even 5 years later.

Cauliflower Poppers

I am usually a fan of vegetables in their raw form, but this recipe for cauliflower poppers could change my mind.  These could be used as a side dish or a delicious guilt-free snack, combining great texture and spice.  Cauliflower is my favorite  go to low-carb alternative.  I use cauliflower for making healthy mashed potatoes and now these poppers could be a substitute for chips or fries at any gathering.   I made this as a side dish for a football Sunday BBQ.  Nothing beats a beautiful Colorado afternoon (Go Broncos!), the air filled with the smell of ribs grilling on the BBQ.  As, I ate the messy ribs, licking my fingers clean, the cauliflower was a perfect fit.  This meal needed no spoons or forks, it was a full on finger food extravaganza.


  • 1 medium sized head uncooked cauliflower
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray


1.  Preheat oven to 400°.  Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
2.  Wash cauliflower and cut florets into bite-sized pieces.  Place in medium sized bowl.

3.  Place cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt and black pepper in small bowl.  Mix well.

4.  Sprinkle spice mix onto cauliflower.  Toss well to coat.

5.  Spread cauliflower onto prepared cookie sheet in single layer.
6.  Bake cauliflower for 10-12 minutes, or until desired tenderness is reached.   Stir mixture halfway through cooking time.

Minestrone Soup


Minestrone soup is absolutely one of my favorite soups.  It’s a thick soup filed with healthy, low-fat vegetables and an addition of yummy pasta.  I used chicken broth in this recipe, but it can easily be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth.  This is a great light lunch or dinner option, serve with a side salad and you have a fabulous healthy meal.  Go ahead and add different veggies or take some out.  This is such an easy recipe to customize to your own taste.


  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning.
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups small-shaped whole-wheat pasta
  • 2 cups cauliflower cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh green beans, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
  • grated Parmesan when serving
  • salt and pepper to taste

1.  Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook 3 minutes, until onion is soft.

2.  Add thyme, bay leaves, Italian seasoning and black pepper to pot.   Stir to coat.

3.  Then add beans, broth and tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil.  Once boiling, add pasta and cook for 7 minutes.

4.  Next add vegetables and pesto, partially cover pot, cook 5 more minutes, or until pasta is tender.

5.  Place into serving bowls, sprinkle with Parmesan and enjoy.

Pumpkin No-Bake Energy Bites

Tis the season for pumpkin.   I was inspired to make this recipe when on the search for a quick healthy post workout snack.   They remind me of some of my favorite energy bars, but a smaller version.  I like the concept of the bites, so when you need a quick energy boost you can just pop one in your mouth and your not committed to eating an entire bar.  They are very easy to make, packed with protein and super delicious.  You can also easily adapt this recipe by adding different ingredients to cater to your own taste.  Try adding chocolate chips,
chia seeds or cinnamon chips.  Cheers, here’s to fall.


  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats (dry, not cooked)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)


1.  Combine dates, agave nectar, pumpkin puree, flax seeds, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a food processor.  Pulse until thoroughly combined.

2.  Placed date mixture into large mixing bowl.  Stir in oats, coconut, and pepitas until combined.  Cover and place in refrigerator for 1 hour.

3.  After an hour, use a spoon or cookie scoop to shape mixture into desired size for energy bites.  I made mine about 1″ in diameter.

**Store in a airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.  Storing them in the refrigerator helps the bites to keep their shape.

Adapted from: gimmesomeoven

Words of Wisdom

Yesterday I went for the most beautiful drive through the mountains. There is nothing like winding mountain roads and the fall colors in the trees to make you feel alive. Thanks Colorado for being so beautiful.
Love life and life will love you back. Love people and they will love you back.
~Arthur Rubinstein~