The weather in Victoria has been absolutely amazing this month: nothing but sunshine! The pictures below are from our team swim at Thetis lake this past Sunday. We are rarely able to continue with open water swimming after the first week of September, so this has been very useful for my athletes who have late season races coming up. The lake was unbelievably quiet, beautiful and peaceful, the water looking like glass. I am very glad I brought my camera with me!

That said, fall is fast approaching… My least favorite things about fall are the cold mornings/evenings and the fact that the days are getting shorter… On the other hand, my favorite things about fall are the colorful leaves and squash, especially pumpkin! I am pretty sure it will take me a while to get sick of pumpkin, so I plan on cooking and baking with it very often. These pumpkin pie crumble bars are the first pumpkin recipe of the fall!

Here are 5 reasons you should eat more pumpkin and/or interesting facts:

  1. Fantastic source of vitamin A (a fat soluble vitamin), which is important for immune function, vision, forming and maintaining healthy skin and skeletal and soft tissue.
  2. Pumpkin is also a good source of vitamin C, which is needed for biosynthesis of collagen and L-carnitine, which is involved in fatty acid metabolism for energy. Also, when vitamin C is consumed with foods that are high in iron, it will help iron absorption.
  3. Antioxidant support – A great source of carotenoid antioxidants, most notably including alpha-carotene and beta-carotene and lutein. These carotenes have been linked to protection from developing type 2 diabetes and protection from various cancers (mainly lung). Beta carotene is absorbed from the intestine and converted into vitamin A. All winter squash provide these benefits, but the darker the flesh (pumpkin and acorn squash), the better.
  4. There are small amounts of omega 3′s in pumpkin. Not much when compared with others high omega 3 rich plant based foods (Walnuts, for example), but pretty good amounts for a food that is low in fat.
  5. Good amount of B Vitamins (B1, B3, B6, pantothenic acid and folate), which is great because most B vitamins are co-factors for metabolic reactions that produce energy. Also, blood sugar regulation is closely tied to our overall supply of B vitamins.

Pumpkin pie crumble bars

Prep Time: 10 hours

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 70 minutes

Yield: 12 squares

Ingredients

    Crust
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • Filling
  • 1/2 cup plan Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2.5 tsp pumpkin spice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper
  2. Place almond and sorghum flours in a food processor. Add coconut sugar, almond butter and butter
  3. Reserve ~1/4-1/3 cup of the crust to be used as toppings
  4. Pulse until combined and looking like little little pearls
  5. Press well into the pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned
  6. Set to slightly cool while you make the filling
  7. In a bowl, mix all the filling ingredients well and pour on top of the crust
  8. Sprinkle the reserved crust on top of the filling
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 degrees, depending on your oven settings, or until the top is golden brown and the filling has set
  10. Let cool before removing from the pan and cutting into squares
  11. Store in the fridge
http://fuelingenduranceperformance.com/pumpkin-pie-crumble-bars/

You can roast a pumpkin in advance, or you can use canned pumpkin, which always seems like cheating to me… However, Farmer’s Marked Foods now has organic pumpkin canned in BPA free lined cans, so it is an OK alternative when time is tight (Just do not get the pumpkin pie one…).

I personally think these bars are much better cold, but decide for yourself!

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