Pumpkin Bars and Jesus
There’s nothing quite like the aroma of freshly baked pumpkin bars cooling on my kitchen counter. For my family, this is the smell of Christmas…
It all started before my husband of almost 10 years (eek...how did 10 years pass by so quickly) and I had our three children. My husband is on staff at our church, so the Christmas season is one of his busiest times of the year. Since I am a teacher, I always get two weeks off for Christmas break. Nothing like having opposite schedules! Because I was always home during the day the week before Christmas, I would bake like crazy.
The first few years we were married I baked all of my favorite goodies my mom used to make when I was a kid...pumpkin bars, coconut balls, peanut butter balls, scotcharoos, sugar cookies, chocolate crinkles, etc. As a kid, my mom would bake throughout the whole month of December and put the treats in the garage freezer to take out when we would go to Christmas gatherings (except she always discovered that her frozen stash decreased quickly as my brother and I snuck in the garage to eat a few treats each day...sorry mom)! As I began “adulting” in my young 20’s, making my mom’s Christmas goodies made me feel grown up, and it was reminiscent of my childhood. Although I still love all of the treats listed above, now I just stick to making pumpkin bars, and this has become a Mitchell family tradition.
Although my mom’s pumpkin bars are delicious, there is more to pumpkin bars than the taste. Each year, our family bakes several batches to deliver to our neighbors, friends, family, and even our mailman! The purpose behind the pumpkin bars is to shine the light of Jesus to those in our community and teach our children to be generous with what they have by finding ways to bless other people. They look forward to knocking on our neighbors’ doors, telling them “Merry Christmas,” and handing them a plate of goodies.
Last Saturday our family spent the day going from house to house in our old neighborhood. I’d like to say it was all our idea to pass out the 20 plates of pumpkin bars, but one of the neighborhood kids reminded us before we moved in September that Christmas would not be the same without this treat. When we arrived to our old neighborhood, we went to that little girl’s house first. You should have seen the smile on her face. Her parents invited us into their home, and we stayed for almost an hour catching up on life. Pumpkin bars are more than just a treat our family enjoys...they are something that we gather around.
Before we handed out our plates of goodies this year, our family spent time praying that Jesus would fill the recipients’ hearts with His hope, love, and peace this Christmas. Stevie believes in gathering to create an atmosphere that encourages others, brings life, inspires purpose, cultivates laughter, shows love, and builds memories, and the heart behind our pumpkin bars is to do just that! Pumpkin bars do not last forever, but the gift of Jesus is eternal! Our hope is that people get a glimpse of Jesus through something as simple as a small plate of pumpkin bars.
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup oil
- Beat above ingredients well, then add:
- 2 cups cooked pumpkin
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Pour into a greased and floured 10x15x1 1/2 cookie sheet. Bake 350 for 20-25 minutes. Cool.
Combine 1 (3 oz) package cream cheese, 4 tablespoons butter, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix until smooth, then spread over bars. Don’t forget the Christmas sprinkles!