Tag Archives: chocolate

Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Bars


It’s that time of year – the weather is starting to cool down (then warms up again just when you think it’s time to pull out the sweaters).  Around this time of year, I start thinking, dreaming, of the leaves turning.  I joyfully browse the Oriental Trading Co. catalog for Halloween goodies, and get excited to see pumpkin everything!

Yes, I am one of those people who could drink a PSL (pumpkin spice latte) year round, but don’t.  Because that is something to look forward to.  Fall is my favorite season.  I love making warm soup, baking fresh bread, and experimenting with fall recipes.

I ran across a recipe from Modern Parents Messy Kids for Super Powered Oatmeal Bars.  While my kids can down an entire banana in about 30 seconds (which is pretty impressive when you only have 7 teeth), I am not much of a banana fan.  So, I decided to modify the recipe to replace bananas with pumpkin.  I also added pumpkin pie spice, a drizzle of molasses, and chocolate.  Well, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are one of the BEST.  And breakfast can’t be too healthy all the time.  Plus, chocolate comes from a bean so its basically a vegetable anyway.  Right?

The bars made from this recipe are dense, soft and chewy.  Plus, they really fill you up, and you can eat them on the go!

Hope you are looking forward to the fall season.  🙂

Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

  • 1 large can (29 oz.) pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup raisins or craisins
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 1/2 cup flax seeds, ground
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (optional)
  • 2 cups pecans (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line 2 – 9″x13″ pans with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well mixed.
  3. Divide mixture in half, and place half in each pan.  Smooth into an even layer with a rubber spatula.
  4. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until the middle is done (check with a toothpick to make sure it isn’t too goopy).
  5. Lift the bars out by the parchment, and let cool completely.  Cut each  pan into 18-20 bars.  Wrap each in plastic wrap, then in a ziptop freezer bag, and freeze, if desired.

Chocolate Raspberry Brownies


My goodness.  Isn’t that gorgeous?  Makes you want to grab a glass of milk and a fork, doesn’t it?

This is my Grandma Doris’ brownies recipe, with the addition of raspberries.  These brownies are RICH, so you’ll definitely need to be sure there is some milk to go along with.  Seriously.  Almost too much chocolate to handle.  Almost…

I loved my Grandma Doris.  She was a wonderful lady who loved to laugh.  Once, she made a pan of brownies and sent them home with us when we went to visit one weekend.  I think I was about 12 years old.  When we got home, we discovered she forgot to put in the flour and we actually had chocolate soup!  You really couldn’t tell because of the frosting on top.  Silly grandma!  Still makes me smile. 😀

Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, salted
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 Tbsp seedless raspberry jam, melted
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1-1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries


  • 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam, melted


  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), salted
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9″ x 13″ pan and set aside.
  2. Beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition.  Add cocoa, vanilla, milk and raspberry jam.  Beat well.
  3. Add salt and baking powder.  Mix in flour and stir just until combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan, using a rubber spatula to even it out on top.  Sprinkle with raspberries.
  5. Bake about 30 minutes, or until center is set and no longer jiggles.
  6. Remove to a wire rack to cool.


  1. Warm the 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam in a microwave safe bowl until melted.  Drizzle over cooled brownies, using a rubber spatula or pastry brush to spread it on top evenly.  Let cool.


  1. Bring butter, milk and sugar to a full boil, then take off the heat.  Add vanilla and chocolate chips.  Stir with a whisk until smooth.
  2. Pour over cooled and glazed brownies.  Refrigerate an hour or so to set.
  3. Cut into squares with a sharp knife and serve.


Christmas Day Hot Chocolate Bar

We had a great time with Tyson’s family on Christmas day.  I got lots of cute pictures of the nieces and nephews, but the SD card we had in the camera malfunctioned and erased them all.  So sad!  That means you’ll have to do with the recipe for Hot Chocolate and no photos.  Darn!

My nieces and nephews LOVED this hot chocolate.  I hope you do, too! I’ll include amounts for both a small batch of hot chocolate and for a large batch.  The instructions are the same for both.  I adapted the recipe from a recipe found here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Creamy-Hot-Cocoa/Detail.aspx, but I altered the sugar content and the preparation instructions.  Enjoy!

Hot Chocolate (Small Batch)
1/3 cup unsweetened Cocoa (I used Dutch Processed)
1/2 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup boiling water
3-1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup half and half

Hot Chocolate for a Crowd
1-2/3 cups unsweetened Cocoa (I used Dutch Processed)
2-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1-2/3 cups boiling water
1 gallon  milk (I used 2%)
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp vanilla
4 cups (2 pints) half and half

1.  Combine cocoa, sugar and salt in a saucepan with a whisk.  Stir in the water and cook on low.  Bring to a boil and boil 1 minute.  (For your own chocolate milk sauce like Hershey’s, stop here and refrigerate the syrup in an airtight container.  It will last for a few weeks.)

2.  Slowly stir in the milk and cook on medium, stirring constantly.  Cook until very hot, but not boiling.  It is important to constantly stir the milk to prevent it from burning on the bottom of the pan.

3.  Remove pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and half and half.  The half and half should cool the mixture down to the perfect drinking temperature.  Serve in heat-proof cups.

We served this hot chocolate with several toppings.  I got the idea from my friend Tamra Dobler.  She serves her hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream, crushed peppermint pieces, toffee pieces, caramel bits, mini chocolate chips, marshmallows, etc.  Just line the cups of a jumbo cupcake pan with tissue and fill each cup with a different topping.  The kids and adults had lots of fun customizing their cocoa.  Hope you do too!

As mentioned in step 1, you can cook the cocoa, sugar, salt and water, then cool it and put it in a clean bottle in the fridge.  This syrup can be used to make chocolate milk, served on ice cream, etc.  Basically, it can replace the good ‘ole Hershey’s syrup.  I was thinking of trying to make it with Splenda or Truvia because the sugar free versions of chocolate syrup you can buy in the store are kinda gross.  I’ll let you know how it turns out!

My mom made a new recipe this year called Pecan Brittle.  I’ll post that recipe soon!