Trick or treat? … or better yet, how about a batch of pumpkin spice larabars?
No October is ever complete without a trip to the pumpkin patch. And like any other month of the year, October has 4 weekends so there are pretty much only four choices when it comes to choosing a date where everyone is able to take the day-off to pick the perfect pumpkins. While arranging a weekend date with your immediate family is easy as (pumpkin) pie, trying to sync 6 people at different stages of our lives can be very tricky because our schedules always fail to align, so planning anything with all 6 of us in one place can take two months of planning ahead.
Since going to the pumpkin patch is our “castle family” tradition (which began only a year ago hahaha it’s a very young tradition), we really make the effort to find a weekend date where we can all go to the farm together and carve pumpkins afterwards. When we finally found a day where everybody could (more or less) make it for most of the day, we were all super excited… until the morning of when one of us got sick so it turned out only 5/6 of us went. But that’s okay; we had a fun time spending a fall day together nonetheless and it made a really funny photoshopped pumpkin patch family photo (cause our missing friend had to be photoshopped in).
We are so lucky that we get to experience all four seasons here in Vancouver, and that we get to enjoy squash and pumpkins grown locally and harvested right from the farm. Autumn is a great transition from summer to just slow down, get cozied up, and eat more warming foods. The spice rack is back in action in my kitchen, and my club sized pack of cinnamon is quickly disappearing at an alarming rate. Since work and school schedules have picked up, I find it really important to always have a healthy satisfying treat in the fridge for the days you just need a pick-me-up, but also don’t want to spend over $2 for a prepackaged bar from the store.
Sometimes, I still do buy larabars when they go on sale because it’s always nice to have bars lying in a cupboard for desperate times when I actually do not have time to grocery shop and prepare anything before the havoc of the school/work week begins. Sometimes life happens and we just need other people to help us make our bars, ya know? But I have to say that homemade ones are so much more satisfying and they probably cost a fraction of the price you pay for at the store. Plus, you’re also saving a lot of packaging from the landfills, so it’s pretty much a win-win-win situation, other than that they take a little more effort than just standing in a grocery store line-up. But that’s barely a trade-off cause these only took us 10 minutes to whip up, and we were already taking our sweet old time adding a bunch of add-ons to make the bars as extra (and delicious) as possible.
I’ll definitely be making more of these this weekend in time for Halloween next week. Since it lands on a Tuesday, I’ll be on campus all day and won’t really have any fancy plans, so I think having one of these bars between lectures will be the highlight of my day! But knowing Leung and I, we’ll probably make chips & dip, pumpkin sticky toffee pudding, watch a cute festive movie, and call it a party after my long day of class. What are you doing this Halloween?
- 2 c. almonds, toasted
- ½ c. oats
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. ginger
- 18 dates, pitted
- 3 tbsp. pumpkin puree
- TO GARNISH
- Melted dark chocolate
- Almond butter
- Extra nuts
- Line a regular loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, add in almonds, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Pulse until mixture resembles a crumble.
- Add in the dates and pumpkin puree to the dry ingredients and pulse some more until mixture begins sticking together. The mixture should be dry enough so that it doesn't stick to your hands when you touch it, but wet enough that it comes together like a dough.
- Transfer the bars into the loaf pan and chill in the fridge until firm.
- Once firm, cut into bars and drizzle with melted chocolate and almond butter. Top with additional nuts and cinnamon if desired.
- Store bars in the fridge for up to 1 week.