Being from Ecuador, Thanksgiving was not a holiday I grew up with.
I went to an American school in Ecuador from K-12, and so I remember celebrating certain American holidays in school, by doing little holiday-related crafts and having fun holiday assemblies and presentations. I one hundred percent remember celebrating Halloween, as we had these huge assemblies where we would all go to dressed up and “model” our costumes. THE BEST. I was a yellow power ranger (I really wanted to be the pink one, but my grandma brought me back the yellow one from her travels), a witch, a princess, a princess, a princess, hahaha…I really loved being a princess.
Anyway, for some reason, I don’t really remember even one Thanksgiving celebration at school. Isn’t that weird?? I sure hope that it’s only my memory that’s failing me right now, and not that our American school didn’t include Thanksgiving on their teaching agenda. If anything, I feel like I should be remembering Thanksgiving more than Halloween, as I think Thanksgiving is a way more special holiday.
I have lived in the US for a little over eleven years, and so by now, I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving eleven times (this year will be my twelfth one, yay!). I absolutely love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday after Christmas. I love the spirit around it, the fact that families get together and gather around the dinner table for hours, I like the slower pace, and I especially love the giving of thanks.
Since my very first Thanksgiving, on my first year of college, I wasn’t too fond of Pumpkin Pie. I think it had to due with it’s texture and the fact that when I took my first bite, I was expecting something completely different. I love sweets, and I thought that my pumpkin pie bite was not nearly sweet enough. And Oh Em Gee, what in the world was that texture? It felt like I was eating some sort of weak pudding. Haha! Oh man, all the new foods I tried that year. I also remember trying my very first corn dog (in those days, I had no gluten or dairy sensitivities) and my very first bite of cottage cheese — I had to spit both out of my mouth. Nope, I was not into them AT ALL. Thinking of these things makes me giggle. I was not a fan of these foreign foods and could not understand what the fuss was all about.
On my first Thanksgiving with Preston, when we first started dating, I knew that if I married this man I would NEED to learn how to bake a mean pumpkin pie. The man ate it with such passion after dinner…even after eating all that food. I was mesmerized. I skipped it, of course, and he could not fathom it! One man. One woman. Totally different cultures and backgrounds, brought together by love. Even after five years of marriage, there are so many things that make us polar opposites still, but that is where the beauty of it all lies. I love my hubby and would not change a thing about him.
So anyway, needless to say, I’ve learned how to bake Pumpkin Pies and make other things with a Pumpkin Pie flavor. Like these Pumpkin Pie Paleo Soft Bars, for example.
They are not pie, they don’t have the texture of a pie, but they sure taste like Pumpkin Pie! And see, I can toooootally go for one of these…even as an afternoon snack. No need to twist my arm here. In fact, I think I’ve eaten most of these by myself…the recipe yielded nine bars, there are only two left, Preston has eaten two, and so that means I’ve devoured FIVE. Yup, all in less than a week. No shame here.
If you love Pumpkin Pie and want to enjoy it with a twist, I recommend you try these bars out. They are soft, kind’a crunchy (from the nuts) and super delicious!
- 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs
- 6 fresh dates, pitted
- 1 cup cashew meal (you can process raw cashews finely in food processor if you don’t have cashew meal available)
- ½ cup walnuts
- 2 tablespoons flax seed meal
- 1 teaspoon coconut flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Coconut oil, for greasing
- Grease pan with coconut oil and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add walnuts to food processor and pulse until finely ground. Transfer to mixing bowl, add in remaining dry ingredients (cashew meal, flax seed meal, coconut flour, pumpkin pie spice, allspice, baking soda and sea salt) and mix until combined.
- Add dates to your food processor and process until dates take the consistency of a thick paste. Add in pumpkin puree and eggs, and process until well combined.
- Pour went ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients and fold to combine.
- Pour mix into baking dish (top with nuts as decoration if desired) and bake for 30 minutes.
- Let cool, slice and enjoy!
- 9x9 inch baking dish
- Food processor
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons