I am back in the Midwest visiting my family and today we met at my beautiful Grandmother’s house for a family gathering.  As is always the case, there was more than enough food to go around, a good portion of it from my parent’s garden.   A key component is always fresh tomatoes, which are fading out as the season lengthens, but still plenty to go around:







My aunt Becky made a beautiful chicken pot pie as the main course, which we ate with those tomatoes, some fresh green beans, sweet corn, stewed apples from the Jonathan tree, and my mom’s pumpkin pie bars, made with fresh pumpkin from the garden:

Chicken pot pie
Fresh green beans with smoked sausage and onion

For the pumpkin bars, my mom baked the squash until soft and then pureed it with an immersion blender (a food processor will work just fine).  She used two cups of the fresh pumpkin puree to make these incredibly delicious bar cookies:

These bars have a rich pumpkin flavor and they are not too sweet–here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Pie Bars

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup softened, unsalted butter
2 cups pumpkin puree
12 ounces evaporated milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and pecans and use your hands to cut the butter in until it forms coarse crumbs.  Reserve one cup of this as a topping, and press the rest into a 9 by 13 inch baking pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, whisk together the pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, and spices.  Pour the pumpkin mixture over the baked crust and bake for an additional 20 minutes.  Remove and sprinkle on the reserved topping and bake for another 15 minutes, or until filling is set.  Cool before cutting into squares.

We all ate too much and enjoyed catching up–Janet here from Florida, me from Colorado, and other relatives from close by.  Here is my lovely grandma with my dad:

Tomorrow I am heading to Indy with my chicas Ann and Julie, and we will be gazing upon the awesomeness that is Anthony Bourdain (and Eric Ripert, who is none too shabby himself).  I’ll be sure to post if we need bail money.

Thanks for reading!


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  1. There is nothing like comfort food fresh from the garden, especially when it's shared with those one loves … 🙂

  2. This looks pretty intriguing.

    And with both the pumpkin and the oats, it does have some nutritional value.

    Can you use store bought pumpkin for this is my only question?

  3. Mike, you can definitely go with store bought but I would use a dense squash like a butternut instead of a store pumpkin (unless you can find small pie pumpkins). I just checked out your blog–I heart Costco so I will be checking in!

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