Pumpkin Mania_ Kinda-healthy pumpkin pie barsThis is one of my favorite recipes ever and I am NOT a pumpkin person! ­čÖé

Caveat: this bar is a treat — it’s not necessarily a “healthy” meal.

And yes, the recipe contains real butter and sugar, but if you buy the real deal (preferably organic and hormone-free) and use them in moderation these kick butt over processed ready-made bars.

Pumpkin Pie Bars

1/2 cup quick oats
1 cup whole wheat flour (you can also use gluten-free substitutes such as almond meal)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes

2 cups skim milk
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups (or 1 15-oz can) real pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
5 scoops (equal to 125 g) vanilla protein powder
3 large organic omega 3 eggs
Splenda, to taste, as desired (I omitted)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine first three base ingredients in bowl and stir. Add the cubed butter to the other ingredients, squeezing the butter into the other ingredients to form a coarse breadcrumb-like texture. Press into a 9×13 baking pan, and bake for 12 minutes.

While that’s cooking, bring milk and spices to a boil in a saucepan. As soon as it boils, transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the pumpkin first, then the protein powder, and, finally, the eggs. If necessary, sweeten with Splenda.

When base is ready, remove it from the oven and pour the pumpkin filling mixture on top. Place back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the filling as set (it might jiggle a little in the middle, but is somewhat firm to the touch). Cool, cut into 8 pieces and store in the fridge or freezer.

Per serving, using the whole wheat flour option: 313 calories, 10 grams fat, 4 grams fiber, 34 grams carbs, 23 grams protein.