It’s fall! This year I am pretty sure we all have felt it sneak up on us. There is something about going through something as a world wide world that has brought me to realize that this can unify us. While we have experienced the financial and health effects of the pandemic in different ways, one thing we all have had in common is that this has affected everyone’s life.
While I am pretty sure no one has enjoyed the effects of it, one thing for sure it is something we all can relate to it. We all have shared this common trial and have had to make adjustments.
In the midst of being told by news media outlets, and reminded how horrible this year would be, time has gone by one way or another, and with it also are slowly coming back the holidays that we hopefully be looking forward to. So I hope that even if this year has felt more slim for many than usual, that we can keep our hope for a better future bright by looking forward to better days ahead.
One thing that makes me happy is to bake. I love the color of cakes and breads, I love the texture of different desserts, I love adding a bit of chocolate chips, crunchy nuts, or coconut flakes for a tropical flavor to my cakes, and I love the smell of moist cakes, just as much as I love eating a cake fresh out of the oven.
Growing up my life was very simple. Being that my parents raised 5 children in Italy, we didn’t have a lot of things, but one thing we all enjoyed as a family was food.
I can count on one hand how many times we were able to afford eating out at a restaurant. Yet my parents made it a point to never make us feel like we went without.
When it came to food they basically learned to make anything from scratch. They would ask recipes from friends whenever they would try a new dish, and dig up secret italian recipes of even the most delicious desserts from the best local pastry shops.
If there was a fancy meal that we couldn’t afford to buy at a restaurant, they would still make it a point to make it at home. We cooked with fresh eggs from our chickens, meat and milk from my grandfather’s cow, and lots of fruits and vegetables raised in our gardens. We even had a gelato machine to make home made gelato almost daily during the summer time.
One thing I always teach my kids now is that you “will never feel deprived if you can cook anything that you desire from home.” Sure ingredients can at times cost a prohibitive amount of money, but eating at home is a very great way to save money especially when budgets are slim. If you have the power to cook anything, you will not go without a delicious palatable meal and you will eat like a king under the majority of life circumstances.
That ‘s the reason why I have challenged myself over the years to try to make an dish, even more sophisticated ones like SUSHI for example, at home. There is a sense of empowerment when you know you can make something with your own hands. That sense of independence makes you free and independent.
I have learned that in life another way to get through times is to enjoy the little things. And for me right now one little happy thing is to bake. I don’t need a fancy kitchen for that. A few good utensils and gadgets for sure, but a good meal can by whipped from the simplest of items.
Living with faith in life means hoping for a better future and trusting that God has promised that to us, while also to learning to love the good things that we have in the present, even if during hard times they may seem just a few.
I think this year many people have felt more sadness and despair than ever, but I hope you’ll be able to see some light shining through all of this right now.
During the fall season we love as a family to make recipes with Pumpkin. There is nothing more delicious than these moist cheesecake pumpkin bars.
You can print this recipe or pin it on Pinterest for your records. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did. I adapted it from a popular recipe and reduced the amount of oil and sugar to make lighter and less caloric, without taking away its original fragrance. Enjoy!
Super Moist Cheesecake Pumpkin Bars
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 10 people
The best and most amazing pumpkin bars
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp pumpkin spice (allspice is a good alternative)
- ½ tsp nutmeg (OPTIONAL)
- ¾ cup brown sugar (dark or light)
- ⅓ cup raw granulated sugar (regular will work as well)
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 15 oz. pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 cups powder sugar
- 1 tsp. of pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. of pumpkin spice puree
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- Preheat over at 350°.
- In a medium side bowl begin by combining all dry ingredients in the order listed above.
- Make a small whole in the center with a spoon. Kind of like a volcano. Add oil and eggs to the center. Start by breaking the egg yolks and gently mixing the eggs only with the oil. Next begin to gently incorporate also the dry ingredients with an electrical mixer on medium speed. You may do so by hand as well. Mixture will feel still thicky at this point and not easy to blend all together.
- Add remaining pumpkin puree, vanilla, and maple syrup. Keep on blending all ingredients until muxture is smooth and no flour remains at the bottom of the bowl.
- You may use a 9×11 inch baking dish at this point or a large rectangular baking pan. The only difference will be that if you use the smaller baking dish your baking time will take approximately an extra 10 minutes and pumpkin bars will turn out thicker.
- We used a large metal baking pan for these resulting in a thinner pumpkin bar and also more servings per person.
- Grease the pan you will choose to use with a little bit of vegetable oil.
- Pour all the batter inside your pan of choice.
- Bake for 25 to 35 minutes depending on your pan of choice. Baking time will vary depending on your own oven’s power and speed. You will know the pumpkin bars are ready when you insert a fork in the center of the batter and the fork comes out completely clean.
- Make the frosting. Then refrigerate and chill.
- Remove the pumpkin bars from the oven once ready. Allow them to cool until luke warm before coating them with the frosting.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- In a microwave safe bowl warm up cream cheese and butter for about 10 to 15 seconds until they are both soft.
- Add vanilla, salt, and pumpkin spice puree and gently fold in ingredients. Gradually add powder sugar. Incorporate all ingredients. Set aside in the refrigerator until completely chilled.
- Once the cake is baked and cooled, coat pumpkin bars with frosting by using a spatula, a non serrated knife or a spoon creating S pattern shapes along the plan. Evenly coat all pumpkin bars by using all the frosting.
Serve Right Away.