You bake, they donate: Help me raise money for breast cancer research

Bake It Happen - pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Honest mamas! How are you? Today I have a special post for you that involves two things dear to my heart: food and advocacy. Specifically pumpkin-flavored food because I LOVE PUMPKIN, as you may know from my fave pumpkin recipes post.

Now hold on, pumpkin haters! Don’t leave! There’s stuff for you too! I promise. Just read on…

Today I baked delicious pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for my kiddos — not just because they, too, have the pumpkin-loving gene — but because by baking these cookies and sharing them on social media, I’m raising money for metastatic breast cancer research with Bake It Happen.

Bake It Happen - pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
tbh these are too pretty to be the cookies I baked

First: What is metastatic breast cancer? MBC is stage 4 cancer, which is when breast cancer spreads outside the breast to other parts of the body. As of January 2017 there are nearly 155,000 women living with MBC in the United States alone, and about 25 percent of them were diagnosed at stage 4 from the beginning; the other 75 percent progressed to stage 4 from an initial earlier diagnosis. 30% of those diagnosed with early stage breast cancer will eventually be re-diagnosed with MBC.

MBC is currently incurable and the average prognosis is 2-3 years. That’s it. If you are told you have MBC, you know you will die from it. And think about this: MBC is responsible for the deaths of nearly everyone who dies from breast cancer. So why aren’t we focusing on research that cures MBC?

MBC research is drastically underfunded — the huge majority of breast cancer research funds go to prevention, early detection, and early-stage cures, and not curing MBC patients. I know people dying from MBC right now, and that’s why I’m passionate about helping raise money for its research.

So here’s where the baked goods come in.

Bake It Happen cookies
so mine aren’t totally Pinterest-pretty, but they’re DELICIOUS

During the month of October, if you bake one of Bake It Happen’s recipes and share a pic of your deliciousness on Facebook and/or Instagram, Bake It Happen donates $5 for each pic you share to The Cancer Couch Foundation, founded by Dr. Rebecca Timlin-Scalera. Rebecca has raised over $500K in just 6 months — and all while she has gone through 11 surgeries, chemo, etc., from her own Stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis.

100% of the money TCCF raises goes to MBC research AND every institution they fund commits to matching donated funds, dollar for dollar.

Bake and share — that’s it! By just spending the money on some baking ingredients and posting on social media, you’re donating to MBC research and filling your kids’ bellies with yumminess!

And don’t worry, pumpkin haters: You can choose from banana bread, “compost” cookies, black-bottom cupcakes, or the cookies I made. YUM. They’re all original recipes by Judy Levin, whom Bake It Happen was founded in honor of.

#BakeItHappen recipes
those cupcakes are next on my list

Be sure to tag @ubakeithappen on Facebook and @bakeithappen00 on Instagram, and use the hashtag #bakeithappen so the Bake It Happen people can count your shares! If you’re not on social media, just email your pic to

If giving to cancer research is a priority for you, or you just don’t want to bake, you can give directly to Bake It Happen or The Cancer Couch Foundation. TCCF is currently funding research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Read about the research they do with TCCF funds — it’s pretty amazing!

Now go forth and bake, my friends. Let’s help metastatic breast cancer research get the money it deserves.


Pumpkin chocolate chip bars! (and other great pumpkin recipes)

I am obsessed with pumpkin. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin spice lattes … I love it all.

Today I got my tall, nonfat, 2-pump, pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks (who me, high-maintenance?) and somehow resisted the deliciousness that is the Starbucks pumpkin cream cheese muffin. I think I deserve a medal for that.

From browsing Pinterest over the last few days, I’m guessing I’m not the only one obsessed with pumpkin. So I thought I’d share with you two recipes that are in heavy rotation in my house at this time of the year, plus one other one I’m going to try really soon.

Embrace the pumpkin, my friends. It is a good thing.

Super-Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars (can be made gluten-free!)

My kids adore these. Annie and Gracie can devour half a pan in one sitting. They are that good.

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1 can pumpkin (Love that it uses a whole can!)
1 cup whole wheat flour (I use 1 cup Sugar & Spice Gluten Free All Purpose Flour)
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (Not instant – use gluten-free oats if baking GF)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (Sometimes I use a tad more. Okay, more than a tad. More than sometimes.)
Shredded coconut (optional)


– Mix sugar, applesauce, egg, and pumpkin until well blended.
– Stir in flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.
– Fold in chocolate chips.
– Pour into a 13 x 9 inch pan that has been sprayed with spray oil. Spread batter evenly with a spatula. Dust with shredded coconut (optional).
– Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.
– Cool in pan completely before cutting into 20 pieces.

Only 66 calories per piece! YAY!

Original recipe and photo: Megan’s Munchies.

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

I always make these after carving a jack-o-lantern. They are so delicious. Even picky-pants Annie likes them.

1 medium pumpkin
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil (I use veggie oil)


Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. After you carve your pumpkin, pick out the seeds. You should have about 1 cup of seeds. Spread seeds on parchment in an even layer. Bake until dry, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Let cool.

In a medium bowl, combine 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne. Heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Cook until sugar melts and pumpkin seeds begin to caramelize, about 45 to 60 seconds. Transfer to bowl with spices, and stir well to coat. Let cool. These may be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Original recipe: Martha Stewart.

Pumpkin French Toast

My favorite way to get some protein and veggies into my veggie-adverse, brunch-loving girls!

3 eggs
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1-3 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 slices bread
**optional – for sweetness, add 1-2 tbsp of brown sugar

Suggested toppings: Chopped pecans, maple syrup, powdered sugar for dusting, and/or butter


In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Place the slices of bread into the egg mixture and let soak while the pan heats up [3-5minutes].

Spray skillet with non-stick spray in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place all 4 slices of the bread into the pan and cook until golden brown on 1 side, approx. 2-3 minutes. Turn the slices over and cook until golden brown, 2-3 minutes longer. Remove and place two slices on each plate, top with toppings and enjoy! Serves 2.

Original recipe: With Style and Grace.


Have you seen these other recipes on the blog?

Yummy, healthy pancakes (no butter, no oil)

Healthy and delicious pumpkin chocolate chip bread (no butter, no oil)