It's been a while since I've last blogged. Life has thrown so many changes our way that my head spins thinking how different life was last spring. All exciting and positive changes, too. In a nutshell:
- We bought a gorgeous but dilapidated home built in 1904 that we had gutted in the city of St. Louis in April (and moved in November)
- Son Connor took his first professional position as the general manager of a small restaurant in Denver in August, running its charcuterie making operation, and is currently back in the kitchen as the sous chef
- I took a new job, same employer, closer to sales and customers that involves some travel and getting dressed out of yoga pants in October
- We sold our big suburban house in November
- Hubby Craig retired from the corporate world after 34 years, also in November
- We became grandparents to a beautiful baby girl in February
All the while, I cooked but just didn't write about it. We may have eaten soup, fish tacos, and homemade pizza week after week for a while, but these are tasty, brainless, and easy. Luckily, we're past that.
Fast forward to my favorite time of the year, autumn, that officially started yesterday. Fall passed by in a blink of an eye last year, and I'm committed to fully enjoying every day of the season. This includes changing our menus and the foods we eat. Since everyone and everything is pumpkin crazy, I made these decently, rich, fudgey pumpkin brownies to jump start the season. The ingredient list is surprisingly easy on the waistline - gluten free too, no wheat - but the taste is rich and slightly spicy.
Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
Modified from sally's baking addiction
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk (I use almond milk)
2 egg whites - save yolks for cheesecake swirl
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl
1/2 cup pumpkin puree - not pumpkin pie filling
4 tablespoons reduced fat cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 egg yolks - reserved from the brownies
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment. Set aside.
Grind the oats in a food processor or blender to produce a powdery flour.
Add the oat flour and the rest of the brownie ingredients into a blender. Depending on the power of your blender, it may be easier to blend by placing the liquids in the blender first; I use a Vitamix and powdered the oats first and then added the rest of the ingredients.
Blend until mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides a few times. Batter will be very thin. Pour batter into prepared baking dish.
Using a mixer, prepare the pumpkin swirl by beating the pumpkin puree and cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, egg yolks, and the spices. Beat until combined and creamy. Drop pumpkin mixture by spoonfuls onto the batter, swirling gently with a knife to create a marbled effect.
Bake for 22-25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Brownies will be quite fudgy; wait until they are completely cooled before cutting.