Bourbon Pumpkin Caramel Sauce – Pour This on Everything!

Bourbon Pumpkin Caramel SauceI hope you’re wearing floaties — if you’re anything like me, you’ll be jumping headfirst into this Bourbon Pumpkin Caramel Sauce and eating your way out. This super easy recipe is a life-saver for last-minute fall holiday entertaining and any and every day when you just want to pack in a little extra pumpkin (hello antioxidents and fiber), it can literally be made in 5 minutes and served a zillion different ways.

Pin this Bourbon Pumpkin Caramel Sauce, it’s a keeper!

Bourbon Pumpkin Caramel is a fall season treat that is delicious on everything from fruit slices, pound cake, and other desserts and autumn and thanksgiving treats.

Serve on apple slices for the ultimate healthy fall treat.

Bourbon Pumpkin Caramel Sauce om apples

Or, serve on pound cake . . . . or on ice cream, yogurt, in a smoothie, on a pie, by the spoon. You get the idea.

Bourbon Pumpkin Caramel Sauce

freshsummitThis is one of the half-dozen recipes I’ll be dishing up on behalf of Litehouse Foods at the Produce Marketing Associations Fresh Summit Convention & Expo in Atlanta, GA this weekend.

Stay tuned for more yumminess!
Sugar Free Pumpkin Protein Donuts with Cinnamon Frosting

 

If you need more pumpkin love, don’t forget about my Sugar Free Pumpkin Spice Donuts . . .

Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte

 

 

 

 

. . .and Not-So-Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, you can always check out all the comfy, goodness in Cooking Light’s collection of pumpkin bread recipes.  Feel free to pour my Bourbon Pumpkin Caramel Sauce over any of these!
Pumpkin Bread and Muffin REcipes

What would you pour this sauce on? What is your favorite pumpkin treat of the fall? Are you sick of pumpkin yet? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Bourbon Pumpkin Caramel Sauce
Bourbon Pumpkin Caramel Sauce
Print Recipe
Bourbon Pumpkin Caramel Sauce
Bourbon Pumpkin Caramel Sauce
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Add water and bourbon and bring to boil over medium high heat. Boil for one minute to cook off alcohol.
  2. Lower heat and add caramel and stir until dissolved. Stir in pumpkin until combined.
  3. Serve warm. Keep in in fridge for up to a week.
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

Rock a Lunchbox |Caramel Banana Protein Cereal Bars

Even though I try to eat with my health in mind, I don’t always say “no” to sweets – but I do try to clean them up a bit. For example, instead of a bowl full of cold, creamy ice cream topped with crumbled cookies, I eat plain Greek yogurt that I’ve sweetened with stevia and topped with a crunch protein-based chocolate cereal (Power Os from Love Grown Foods). I also top that with mini-chocolate chips, it’s my go-to bedtime snack – it’s still sweet, but more balanced with protein to boost my workout recovery and make muscles while I sleep!

Caramel Banana Protein Cereal Bars make a healthier lunch box treat.

I also like to implement my “protein-hacks” in my kid’s lunchbox desserts as well. A study has shown that children ages two to 18 years old get 40 percent of their daily calories from junk foods like sugary sodas and fruit drinks, cookies, donut, candy, fried foods and more – that’s unconscionable. Kids of all ages want sweets, I get it – believe me I GET IT! I would try and trade the raisins my health-nut mom would pack in my lunch for a friend’s Hostess Cupcake – she never would trade, but started bringing me an extra cupcake on the sly.

So, as a parent myself now for more than 18 years, I’ve allowed my kids to eat sweets so that they don’t feel deprived but talked about limits and the effects of eating too much “less than quality food” – but that a small amount also be fine occasionally in the context of an overall healthy lifestyle. I also like to make our cookies and cakes at home, so I know exactly what is going into the recipe and into our bodies – choosing more nutritious alternatives when possible. Like heart healthy fats, sugar swaps, no chemicals or preservatives, organic when possible – you get the drift.

Caramel Banana Mighty Cereal Bars made with Love Grown Mighty Flakes make a healthier lunch box treat.

Caramel Banana Cereal Bar Today I’m sharing a healthier version of classic crispy yet chewy cereal bars. They are perfect for lunch boxes, backpacks, after school snacks, picnics, and pot lucks and bake sales! I used less butter and marshmallows than the traditional “crispie” recipe and supplemented with a reduced-sugar caramel and dried fruit for sweetness. For long-lasting energy, I threw in some nuts and a bean-based cereal for extra protein. Enjoy!
Caramel Banana Cereal Bars using Reduced Fat Caramel from Litehouse Foods makes a healthier lunch box treat.

What was your favorite treat to find inside your lunchbox as a kid . . . or today? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Caramel Banana Cereal Bar
Caramel Banana Protein Cereal Bars
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
18 servings 15 min
Cook Time
0 min
Servings Prep Time
18 servings 15 min
Cook Time
0 min
Caramel Banana Cereal Bar
Caramel Banana Protein Cereal Bars
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
18 servings 15 min
Cook Time
0 min
Servings Prep Time
18 servings 15 min
Cook Time
0 min
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Add banana chips and walnuts to medium bowl and lightly break up into coarse chunks with mallet or back of spoon.
  2. Add cereals to bowl with banana walnut mixture; toss to combine. Set aside. In large microwave-safe bowl, add marshmallows, caramel dip and butter. Microwave on 50% power for one minute, stir until creamy. Return to microwave and cook at 50% power for additional 1 minute; stir until creamy. If marshmallows aren’t completely incorporated, continue and stir in 20 second blasts.
  3. Add dry cereal mixture to caramel mixture and stir with spatula until everything well coated.
  4. Line 8” x 8” baking pan with wax paper or spray with oil.
  5. Press mixture down firmly into pan. Let cool for 5 minutes and then cut into 9 bars, or size of your preference.
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

{Slow Cooker} Salted Caramel Chocolate Crunch Holiday Gift Recipe

Slow Cooker Salted Caramel Chocolate Crunch - TheFitFork.com

I would be thrilled if you would head over to Love Grown Food’s Facebook and/or Pinterest page and vote for my holiday recipe creation (by “liking” or pinning) – {Slow Cooker} Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Crunch! This scrumptious salty-sweet snack couldn’t be easier to make in the slow cooker . . . . yes, Crock Pot power! Just dump in everything but the chocolate and let it mingle and caramelize together while you tend to other holiday tasks like wrapping gifts, addressing cards and hauling out the holly. Chocolate chips are melted in at the end and then it just cools for a bit on parchment paper. By using Power O’s, a crunchy cereal made from a blend of beans that adds protein, I’m able to bring a little balance to this sweet snack mix.

If you don’t gobble up the entire recipe at once, this Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Crunch makes a nice addition to any holiday party snack lineup or can be packaged up in jars with pretty ribbon for gift-giving.  Remember to go vote through the Facebook or Pinterest links, it’s really easy.  Thank you.

Slow Cooker Salted Caramel Chocolate Crunch - TheFitFork.com

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Crunch Recipe

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups “O’s” cereal like Cheerios or Love Grown Power O’s
  • 2 cups mini pretzels
  • 2 cups oyster crackers
  • 2 cups toasted almonds
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt

1. Melt butter in a saucepan.
2. Stir in sugar and vanilla until well blended.
3. In a large slow cooker, combine cereal, pretzels, almonds and crackers. Pour in melted butter mixture and stir to coat.
4. Cook on high for 2-3 hours with the LID OFF, stirring occasionally. Mixture will be done when sugar caramelizes to create a glaze over ingredients. Please keep an eye on ingredients, as slow  cooker temperatures can vary from model to model or with age of the appliance.
5. Turn heat to low and stir in chocolate chips. Put lid on slow cooker and let chocolate soften for about 5 minutes.
6. Remove lid and stir mixture to distribute melted chocolate.
7. Spread mixture on parchment paper and immediately sprinkle with coarse sea salt. After mixture has cooled and hardened, store in an airtight container.

Makes about 10 to 12 cups.

Caramel Crunch Apple Nachos & The Running Revolution

caramel granola apple dessert

Looking for a delicious dessert that celebrates some of the fall season’s favorite flavors without making your clean-eating conscience scream in horror?  My recipe for Caramel Crunch Apple Nachos is an easy-to-make, fun-to-eat sweet treat that is perfect for a Halloween party, harvest hoedown or any autumn-themed entertaining. I’m planning on making this no-cook recipe again soon as a sensible snack for movie night – since it’s October, I’m planning a classic horror movie marathon with my three teenage boys.  With so many apple choices at the market this time of year, this recipe is the perfect time to try that new variety – use just one type of apple or as many kinds of apples as you like in this fruit recipe.

apples granola caramel chocolate

Caramel Crunch Apple Nachos Recipe

  • 4 large apples, any variety (about 2 pounds)
  • 8 oz. light caramel dip from produce section (I used Litehouse brand)
  • 1 cup favorite granola (with or without nuts)
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips

 Directions

1. Cut apples crosswise into ¼” slices. Remove seeds and core from center with paring knife.

2. In microwave safe bowl, heat caramel until warmed and easier to drizzle, about 30 – 45 seconds from room temperature.

3. Layer half of apples on a plate and drizzle with 4 oz. of caramel dip. Sprinkle on ½ cup granola and 2 tablespoons chocolate chips.

4. Layer remaining apple slices on top of caramel-granola-chocolate mixture and then add on remaining toppings.

running revolution text I also wanted to share with you a book that I’ve been reading – in fact, my running testimonial is featured! The just-published book is called The Running Revolution (How to Run Faster and Farther for Life) and is written by Dr. Nicholas Romanov, a two-time Olympic coach and world-renowned sports scientist known for the Pose Method.  When applied to running, the Pose Method® marries gravity, key body position (pose), body weight, support, and change of support into a comprehensive technique that maximizes natural body mechanics, increases performance and reduces risk for injury. I’ve blogged a bit before about what Pose Method has done for me in the last five years and I’m admittedly lucky to have Dr. Romanov’s coaching protégé, Valerie Hunt, as my long-time running partner.  I’d chomping at the bits to share more about foot strike, pulling not pushing, “falling” and more, but I also want you to check out the book and come to your own conclusions.

Paperback Version:

Kindle Version:

What is your favorite fall time dessert? 

Are you a heel-striker, mid-foot striker  or forefoot striker when it comes to running?

 

Oat Yeah! Caramel Cashew Energy Bars & OatWorks Smoothie Giveaway

The holidays aren’t over just because December has come and gone. January is National Oatmeal Month and that’s 31 days of whole grain goodness to celebrate.  Now, before I get all mushy about oatmeal, I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of the stuff porridge-style — except when it is dressed up with nuts and honey and fruit. Okay, okay, I love it! I also love to use oatmeal in many of my healthy recipes, everything from granola (oh, you know there will be a granola-palooza post next week) to grinding it up and using it as a “flour” in all sorts of baking and crusting.

Cashew Caramel Chewy Energy Granola Bars

I recently created this super easy, super yummy recipe for Tropical Caramel Cashew Energy Bars for Litehouse Food. Dried mango and pineapple along with cashews are tossed with a hearty pile of old-fashioned oatmeal (and shelled hemp seed for extra protein) and then coated with a packaged light caramel sauce.  Baked into chewy perfection, these bars have less than 190 calories per serving, 5 grams of protein and 2 grams of dietary fiber. Easy to wrap ‘em up and tuck into a lunch box or gym bag, ready to provide sensible, satisfying relief when hunger strikes.

oatmeal dried fruit nuts in bowl

So, what’s so great about oatmeal? There have been numerous research studies that link the consumption of oatmeal with a host of positive health benefits. You can read about these perks in detail at the Whole Grains Council, but here are the bullet points:

  • Oats may reduce asthma in children
  • Oats may boost nutrition profile of gluten-free diets
  • Oats increase appetite-control hormones.
  • Oat Beta Glucans improve immune system defenses.
  • Oats help cut the use of laxatives.
  • Oats may help reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Oats may improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Oats lower bad cholesterol.
  • Oats help control blood pressure.
  • Oats #3 overall, #1 for breakfast in overall satiety index.

did you drink your oatsDid you also know that you can drink your oats? Yup, just throw a handful (approx. ¼ cup) into the blender when making a smoothie. In order to keep your smoothie from being lumpy and clumpy; It works best to grind the oats in the blender before you add the liquid ingredients.

However, are if you are having a crazy morning or need a post-workout snack, OatWorks Oat-Powered Natural Smoothies are a fantastic, fitness-focused and flavorful option to a home-made smoothie. The company sent me some product to try out, tell you about, and share through a giveaway (read on to the bottom for entry instructions).

oatworks

Made with natural oat fiber (the soluble fiber called beta glucan) and real fruit juices, these individually- bottled beverages are vegan friendly, gluten free, dairy free, cholesterol free, non-GMO and Kosher. There is also no added sugar, artificial sweeteners or artificial anything. So what DO these OatWorks drinks have? Well, each 12-ounce bottle of Oatworks is packed with as much soluble fiber as two bowls of oatmeal, has loads of vitamins and minerals, and is naturally sweet, smooth and delicious. You also get all those oatmeal benefits that I bullet-pointed earlier!

Choose from three not-at-all lumpy flavors —Strawberry-Banana , Pomegranate-Blueberry or Peach-Mango. If you can’t find these smoothie drinks at your market, you can stock up on Amazon. Or, you may be my lucky winner who will receive 6 bottles (3 each flavor) of OatWorks Oat-Powered Natural Smoothies.

To enter, just enter through the Rafflecopter app below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Caramel Pumpkin Pie Smoothie + More Healthy Pumpkin Recipes

caramel pumpkin pie smoothie close up 2 large

With all the pumpkin mania, it was only a matter of time before I dumped some pumpkin puree in my smoothie!  Praise the gourd, holler-lu-yah! This was a fantastically flavorful idea and I’ve been making pumpkin smoothies for breakfast all last week! Check out the post I wrote for Litehouse Food’s Living Litehouse blog featuring my recipe, Caramel Pumpkin Pie Smoothies. Sugar-free caramel and pumpkin are added to almond milk and protein powder based smoothie – so insanely good, you could serve this healthy treat on a decadent Thanksgiving dessert buffet and no one would be the wiser!

living litehouse button

 

Get my recipe for Caramel Pumpkin Pie Smoothies here!

 

 

You may have seen them before, but here they are again – some of my most requested pumpkin recipes:

jennifer fisher thefitfork.com pumpkin collage

 

Pumped Up Pumpkin Muffins
Baked Pumpkin Protein Donuts
Pumpkin Beef Tostadas with Chipotle Crema
Pumpkin Black Bean Soup
Paleo Chocolate Chip Cranberry Pumpkin Bread
I have a few more ideas for canned pumpkin.  For the most part, I am not a big fan of canned vegetables; the taste and texture are weird to me – not to mention the high sodium levels. But, I have a special place in my heart (and pantry shelf) for pumpkin puree. It’s inexpensive, it’s convenient (the hours required to clean, roast and smash a fresh pumpkin have been taken out of the equation) and it’s versatile – as you can tell by the plethora of pumpkin recipes this time of year.  And, importantly, nutritionists say that canned pumpkin is just as nutritionally sound as fresh – it’s a great source of complex carbohydrates and is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, calcium, iron and other important nutrients.

canned-pumpkin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like to stock up on canned pumpkin while I can; otherwise, it can be hard to find outside the fall season. Just make sure you are buying sodium-free, sugar-free 100% pumpkin – not pumpkin pie filling!   Here are three other easy ways to incorporate more canned pumpkin into your diet:

quick healthy pumpkin recipes thefitfork.com

Pumpkin Quesadillas:  Mix 1/4 cup pumpkin with a tablespoon of your favorite smoky salsa, spread on a tortilla. Sprinkle mixture with shredded Monterrey Jack and top with another tortilla. Grill in non-stick skillet, flipping once, until cheese is melted and tortillas are turning golden brown.

Pumpkin Hummus: In a food processor, mix together one 15-oz can of drained garbanzo beans, 1/3 cup canned pumpkin, 1/3 cup almond butter, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and  2 tablespoons water. Process until smooth and transfer to serving dish; top with roasted pumpkin seeds.

Spicy Pumpkin Salad Dressing: Whisk together 3 tablespoons each of pumpkin and cider vinegar. Whisk in 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce and then 1/3 cup olive oil until well combined. Stir in 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper.