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Pumpkin Peanut Butter Bars

3 Oct

The other night we had a pumpkin night.  Pumpkin streusel pancakes and pumpkin smoothies for dinner.    I had a bit of pureed pumpkin left-over so I decided to try these bars.  All the other ingredients I had on hand. They are currently in the oven but the batter is AMAZING!  I could’ve eaten it just plain without baking it.  The recipe also suggests the bars be topped with  frosting or caramel. I want to wait and see how they taste before I decide which topping will be the best.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars 


(Vegan, Gluten-Free)

1/2 c peanut butter

1 c pumpkin puree (i.e. Libby’sin a can and if you don’t have pumpkin puree in your market, use sweet potato puree either canned or sweet potatoes that you boil/puree yourself)

2 c oats (whole rolled, not quick cook)

1 c brown sugar, packed

1/2 c white sugar

1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (reduce/increase to taste)

1 tsp cinnamon (reduce/increase to taste)

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Optional: Add raisins, nuts, chocolate/white/peanut butter chips to the mixture.  Start with 1/3 to 1/2 c and going from there based on taste preference.

Optional frosting ideas

Cream Cheese Frosting; add a pinch of pumpkin pie spice + cinnamon if you’d like

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

Caramel Sauce, either jarred or homemade Dark Rum Caramel Sauce

Directions: Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir by hand.  Spread batter (it will be pretty moist) into a foil-lined and spayed 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan.

Bake at 350F for 22-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  The bars may still look underdone, but that’s ok because they will continue to set up as they cool.  Allow to cool very well before slicing (yeah, right. I don’t think I’ve ever done that!).

Notes: All measurements are approximate and if you love peanut butter or pumpkin puree, add a bit more of either.

Reduce the sugar amounts if you wish or even attempt a sugar-free version by making with stevia, stevia “baking blends” or try other powdered forms of nonsugar sweeteners.


****I added Chocolate chips and thought that made the bars sweet enough.  No frosting or caramel required.  I think that would be too sweet!

Tomorrow morning is our next appointment with the OB!!!

Happy Birthday Sherri!


Baby Shopping in Germany and Korean BBQ

2 Oct

Saturday we made the one hour drive to Konstanz, Germany to do a bit of baby shopping.  Everything in Germany is about 1/3 the price it is in Switzerland so if you need to buy a lot of stuff, head across the border! I was hoping to get much more checked off my list but we were fairly successful in purchasing some of the more pricier items we’ll need.

First and most importantly, Our car seat/carrier!  I love the colors!

Here’s a close up to see it has green dots on it

Before I picked out the car seat, I picked out these toys to be attached to the car seat/ carrier and they match perfectly!

The electronic baby swings/bouncers are almost non-existent here so we got a baby bjorn bouncer. The baby makes the bouncer rock with its own movements. It is supposed to help develop motor skills and it has great reviews.

We were lucky enough to get a Moby Wrap from Sherri! Which should be great to carry Hazel for the first few months but after that I’ve been told an Ergo carrier is great. So we bought one. I think it will be perfect for going on hikes.

I also bought a Medela breast pump, a changing pad and a Diaper Champ but I don’t think we need photos of those 😉

These little birdies I made are for a mobile in the nursery.

And last but definitely not least! A recipe EVERYONE must try. I must be honest. I’ve never had Korean BBQ so I can’t tell you how ‘authentic’ this recipe is and I don’t know how it compares to others, but this recipe is one of the BEST I’ve ever made.

Crockpot Korean Beef Tacos



Yield: 6-8 servingsPrep Time: 15 minutesCook Time: 8 hoursTotal Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
Makes  EXCELLENT leftovers!

For the Cucumber Slaw:
2 hot house cucumber (the wrapped seedless kind)
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 pinches of salt
crushed red pepper flakes to taste

For the Korean Beef:
6 1/2 pounds (roughly) beef back ribs (you can use short ribs, but they are WAY more expensive)

1 1/2 cups low sodium soy sauce
1 2/3 cups packed brown sugar
10 cloves garlic, grates
4 tablespoons grated ginger
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola oil (or other mild vegetable oil)
1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

For the tacos:
16 small flour tortillas
bean sprouts
sriracha (for some H.E.A.T.)

For the Cucumber Slaw:
Slice cucumbers as thin as you can get them (I used a mandoline slicer to help, but it’s not necessary) and place in a bowl. Add the rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and crushed red pepper; toss to combine. Set aside until ready to use. You can make these the night before if desired!

For the Korean Beef:
Spray a 7 quart slow cooker base with non-stick cooking spray and add the beef back ribs. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients until combined; pour over the ribs. Cook on low heat for 8 hours. I rotated the ribs on my lunch break and also used a turkey baster to do a quick baste on the ribs with (the majority of the ribs will be submerged in the sauce & juices). When ready to serve, take out of crockpot, remove bones, and shred.

For the tacos:

Warm taco shells in the microwave (or my personal favorite – on the grill… just a few seconds each side). Add shredded beef, cucumber slaw, bean sprouts, and cilanto. If you are feeling extra frisky, drizzle on some sriracha for a nice kick!

Almost 26 weeks and a healthy(ish) dessert

28 Sep

Tomorrow I’ll be 26 weeks.  I think my stomach shrunk a bit after coming back from California!!  I’m eating  a fraction of what I ate when I was there so I guess it’s possible.  I think the baby likes to be in very tight spaces.  I’ll lay on my left side and can feel her kicking away right where my stomach meets the bed then I’ll turn to the right and she’s moves there on the right side!   Anyway, she is just moving constantly all day long. I am at the very end of the second trimester.  Baby is the size of an eggplant; 13.6- 14.8 inches long and 1.5 – 2.5 pounds.

We really haven’t been up to much lately.  Christian’s dad and brother-in-law, Jacob, were here this last weekend and they bike some major mountain passes.  I just waited for them to come home and served them food. 🙂

Christian, Jakob, John

I’ve been busy planning my decor for the nursery.  I ordered some custom crib bedding from etsy which will be ready in about 8 weeks.  I also ordered a rug which is out of stock for about 8 weeks.   In addition to decorating the nursery, we have a crazy long list of boring things we need to do.   I used to be a procrastinator, but not anymore!  I want to do everything now!  Poor Christian, many of the things we need to do are actually things he needs to do. Haha.

I was looking for a lighter dessert (so I wouldn’t feel so guilty after I uncontrollably ate it) and this one is just what I was envisioning.  The cake itself is light and not too sweet and then you put the cream cheese frosting on top. Yum! Who doesn’t love cream cheese frosting?!!?

Carrot and Zucchini Cake Bars

From Better Homes and Gardens
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded carrot
  • medium zucchini, shredded (1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts  * I did not add because I do not like almonds in desserts
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • teaspoon vanilla
  • recipe Citrus-Cream Cheese Frosting
directions1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, ginger, and baking soda. In another large bowl stir together eggs, carrot, zucchini, brown sugar, raisins, walnuts, oil, honey, and vanilla. Add carrot mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Spread batter into an ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking pan.2.Bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Frost with Citrus-Cream Cheese Frosting. Cut into bars.3.Makes 36 bars4.Citrus-Cream Cheese Frosting: In a medium mixing bowl beat one 8-ounce package softened cream cheese and 1 cup powdered sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. If desired, stir in 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel or orange peel.

nutrition facts

  • Calories125
  • Total Fat (g)7
  • Saturated Fat (g)2,
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g)2,
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g)3,
  • Cholesterol (mg)19,
  • Sodium (mg)44,
  • Carbohydrate (g)16,
  • Total Sugar (g)11,
  • Fiber (g)1,
  • Protein (g)2,
  • Vitamin C (DV%)1,
  • Calcium (DV%)18,
  • Iron (DV%)1,
  • Other Carbohydrates (d.e.)1,
  • Fat (d.e.)1,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

The Best Homemade Chicken Enchiladas

26 Aug

I’ve tried many and this is the best.  No other chicken enchilada recipe has even come close to this one.  This should be made for guests to impress them with your mad Mexican culinary skills.

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce

adapted from Tide and Thyme, orginally from America’s Test Kitchen

  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 3 medim cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
  • 1 cup extra sharp white cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
  • cooking spray
  • salt and ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

Combine the onion, jalapeno, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and oil in a large saucepan. cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, less than 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce, water, and chopped tomato. Bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, 5 minutes.

Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through (thickest part reaches 160 degrees), about 12-20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and set aside to cool.

Strain the sauce through a strainer into a medium bowl, pressing the onion mixture to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer the onions to a large bowl and set aside. Season sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add to the onin mixture, and add 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup cheese, and the cilantro. Toss to combine.

Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap; Microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40-60 seconds. Spread the tortillas on a clean work surface, and spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each. Tightly roll each tortilla and lay seam-side down in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.

Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 7 minutes, or until the tortillas start to brown slightly (skip this step if you don’t like the crunch).

Reduce heat to 400. Remove enchiladas and pour sauce evenly on top. Top with the remaining cheese (I use a bit more ). Cover dish with foil, and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until heated through.

Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes, until cheese browns. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, additional cilantro, etc.  Sour cream is a must!!

Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter

22 Aug

I love this stuff! I eat a spoonful (for protein!)  every morning mixed in with some low-fat chocolate or mocha flavored yogurt, oats and flax seed.   We’ve only just recently bought a food processor so when I am able to make it, more on that in a second, we go through this stuff like crazy!  The almonds are first roasted in maple syrup and all the stores in Zug have been out of maple syrup for weeks now.  It’s a little strange. So we picked some up in Zurich this weekend.  I did try and make the almond butter without first roasting the almonds in maple syrup and it did NOT taste as good.

There is a weird reason why I love this nut butter so much.  I have a fake memory from my childhood – I know it’s fake because I asked my mom about it- of this cinnamon flavored peanut butter that we kept in the refrigerator.   I loved this cinnamon peanut butter so much!   Maybe it was a dream…. Anyway, this Maple Cinnamon Almond butter tastes just like my fake memory’s nut butter.  Hmmmm…..???

Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter

(From Edible Perspective)


( I double the recipe and it first perfectly in an empty peanut butter jar)

1 cup almonds

2 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees.

Measure out 2 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup and stir it into your almonds. Lay out the almonds on a non stick baking sheet, or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (no foil or wax paper!!)  Roast your almonds for 15 minutes total, but stir after every 5 minutes, making sure they don’t burn. Once 15 minutes is up, remove from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes. Ashley says you want to process the almonds when they are warm, so make sure you can make the butter after you let them cool.  After 5 minutes, place almonds into your food processor and process for the next 10-15 minutes, scraping the sides down as needed.  Keep processing past the ‘ball stage’ until very smooth.

  Measure out the cinnamon and salt and add it to the mixture. Process it for a few more seconds until it’s incorporated.

Christian is amazed out how liquidy it is  without the addition of any oil or water.

Pregnancy week 20

19 Aug

 I’m at the halfway point and hopefully my belly is halfway done growing, too. But I severely doubt it!  I’ve gained 3 kilos or 6.6 pounds which is just under the average of 10 -13 lbs but I know I’ll catch up once I’m in California 😉  The baby is the size of a cantaloupe or the length of a banana.

Ugh, I'm in the awkward stage where it looks like I've been eating sweets non-stop for a month.

I’ve spent the last few days enjoying the warmth and sunshine. Maybe there were a few other things I should’ve been doing but when the sun is shining here you must drop everything and enjoy it because it may be a month before you see it again!

I was a little sad because I did not feel baby K moving since Saturday, even though it is completely normal to go several days without feeling anything.  Yesterday, when I was watching tv my stomach kept making these movements that felt like stronger twitches (like you get in your eye)  in different areas in my stomach,  I could even feel a few of them from the outside.  I realized that was the baby, it just got stronger  where I was looking for these little flutterings  it was making much larger movements.   Today, the little flutterings are back and very active!

For lunch today we had Manicotti. It was probably the best one I’ve ever eaten. The stuffing is ground beef, ricotta cheese and spinach, covered with white and red sauces! This manicotti has everything!

Manicotti Alla Romana


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • salt to taste
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 (12 ounce) package manicotti shells
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups spaghetti sauce, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent. Saute garlic for 1 minute and stir in ground beef. Cook until well browned and crumbled. Season with salt and set aside to cool.
  2. Cook spinach according to package directions. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add manicotti shells and parboil for half of the time recommended on the package. Drain and cover with cool water to stop the cooking process and prevent the shells from cracking.
  3. To the ground beef mixture add the cooked spinach and ricotta cheese. When the mixture is cool, add the beaten eggs. Spread 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Gently drain the manicotti shells and carefully stuff each one with the meat and cheese mixture;
  1.  place shells in prepared dish. Lightly cover the dish with plastic wrap or a clean, damp towel to prevent shells from cracking.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Prepare the white sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and chicken bouillon. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until it begins to bubble. Stir in half and half and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Pour or ladle the sauce evenly over the stuffed shells.
  3. Stir the basil into the remaining spaghetti sauce. Carefully pour or ladle spaghetti sauce over the white sauce, trying to layer the sauces without mixing.
  1. Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes more.
Next time you are craving Italian, make this!

Poppy Seed Bread

11 Aug

Poppy seed bread is and always will be one of my most favorite foods things. It is so moist and sweet, it really should be called poppy seed cake. The recipe my mother uses is most definitely the best in the world.

I am so happy my mom gave me this cookbook with the poppy seed bread recipe in it. The cookbook is an accumulation of recipes by ladies  ( I think there are  few recipes in there by men, too)  from my Grandma Hain’s Catholic church.

I’ve used this cookbook a lot. There are so many recipes in this cookbook that my mother made while I was growing up.

Unfortunately, today I could not make this recipe because I did not have any pudding mix in the house.  Or instant cake mix.  So I found a recipe  with a picture that looked very similar.

Before I  post the recipe I used, look at these bread pans I have to work with. No, I can not find the normal bread pan in Switzerland:

They are in two pieces, magically held together by who knows what.

I always wonder when they will drip batter out of the bottom. Well, today was my lucky day.  The batter leaked out and burned, leaving the oven and the whole apartment a smokey mess 😦 .  I quickly transferred one pan of batter into a cupcake tin and wrapped foil around the other.

Next time I’ll bring some proper bread pans back from the US!

Orange Glazed Poppy Seed Bread


for the bread:
3 c. flour
2-1/2 c. sugar
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 T. poppy seeds
1-1/2 c. milk
1 c. + 2 T. vegetable oil
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 tsp. almond extract

for the glaze:
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. orange juice (I like to use freshly squeezed.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray two 8-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and poppy seeds. Stir on low, just until combined.

In a separate medium bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients – the milk, vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract.

Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer on low speed, beat until incorporated. Then raise the mixer speed to medium and beat for one more minute.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pans and bake for about 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

While the bread is baking, prepare the glaze. Combine all glaze ingredients and whisk until incorporated. When the baked loaves are removed from the oven, immediately brush the glaze over the warm bread tops. It will seem like alot of glaze, but it will soak in and make the bread ultra moist and flavorful, with a bit of a sugary crust once cooled. Cool loaves about 20 minutes. Then run a knife around the edges of the pans before removing bread from pans.

This recipe definitely comes in number 2 of all time best poppy seed bread recipes!

***Warning, it is extremely difficult to stop eating poppy seed bread!***