Super Moist Pumpkin Bars

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Pumpkins are the eternal symbol of fall and a healthy food, but they’re often transformed into not-so-healthy desserts. New York magazine declared Pumpkin is the New Bacon in their headline several years ago. Aargh! That’s because the minimal amount of pumpkin used (if any) in some of these processed products is usually wrapped in layers of saturated fat (butter), refined carbs (white flour) and sugar.

However, after much ‘tinkering’ in my kitchen, you can enjoy this nutritional all-star. These pumpkin treats are not only quick and easy to make, they’re extremely moist and light in texture (yes, despite being ‘whole grain’). I’ve skimped on the fat and sugar, but not the flavor. Best of all, my cardiac patients and family gave them a huge thumbs up! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (117 grams) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I use Vietnamese cinnamon)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 2 large eggs (omega-3 fortified)
  • 1 1/3 cups (176 grams) light brown sugar
  • 2 cups (488 grams) pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup (113.5 grams) nonfat milk
  • 1/4 cup (56 grams) Earth Balance® (Original) natural buttery spread, melted
  • 1/4 cup (63.8 grams) unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I use Mexican vanilla bean extract)
  • Date sugar (optional)

Directions:   

Continue reading “Super Moist Pumpkin Bars”

Brownie Makeover

Flaxseed can replace oil in many recipes
Flaxseed can replace oil in many recipes

The next time you have an inextinguishable craving for brownies — make them with dark chocolate for the extra flavonoids (antioxidants). But did you know that you can substitute flax seeds for part of the oil in the recipe? Give it a try — you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Flax seeds are powered packed with omega-3 fats and there’s strong evidence that these essential fats reduce your risk for heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. Your body needs them to control brain and immune functions as well as for blood clotting, lubricating joints, decreasing inflammation, and cell growth. They’re also the components of cell membranes. For this reason, omega-3’s are also great for your skin! A sign that you’re deficient in this fat is dry skin.   Continue reading “Brownie Makeover”