Monday, June 16, 2008

Pumpkin-carrot Snack Bars

I have been experimenting with healthy but delicious recipes lately. I've been craving something sweet but am trying to cut back/out refined sugars (which contribute to diabetes and overweight). That's hard because there is high fructose corn syrup in so many things--things you wouldn't think of. Go and read labels of things in your cabinets, pantry, bread box, and fridge then come back and tell me how amazed you are. It's so hard to find whole wheat bread that does not have fructose in it. I finally found Nature's Own 100% whole wheat bread and it uses brown sugar. Also, it doesn't have artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors and it still tastes good! I know I could make bread and not have these concerns but I haven't quite gotten that far yet. One of these days I'll break out the bread machine and tackle bread making.

Anyways, back to finding a healthy snack. Last year I bought a book called The Sugar Solution which is not a diet but a change in lifestyle. There are many, many diabetics in my family and I want to try to keep from having it or stave it off as long as possible. I'm trying to change what I and my family eat. It's going to be a little at a time as old habits are hard to break. We are eating a lot more whole grains, more fresh fruit and veggies, and less meat. Neal is having the hardest time with less meat. He is a meat and potatoes man but I'm trying to find veggies he really likes so that he can eat more of those. I forget he grew up on a farm and ate a lot of veggies where as I grew up in a family that did not eat a wide variety of veggies. I keep finding things he has ate and likes so we are eating a lot of different things now. I love to try new recipes and finding something I haven't ever tried. I recently purchased the cookbook to go along with The Sugar Solution called The Sugar Solution Cookbook. I have found a lot of recipes that I want to or have tried. I was really excited when I saw the recipe for Pumpkin-Carrot Snack Bars. I made them this weekend and they are WONDERFUL!! These bars are loaded with fiber and have a lot of vitamins with all the fruit and veggies in them.

from The Sugar Solution Cookbook

1 c canned solid pack pumpkin ***
1 c shredded carrot
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c dried cranberries or raisins, chopped
1/4 c canola oil
2 large eggs
1 c whole wheat pastry flour*
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c shelled pumpkin seeds or chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13" x 9" x 2" baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, carrot, sugar, cranberries or raisins, oil, and eggs. Stir until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Mix until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds or walnuts, if using. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the top springs back when pressed lightly. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Makes 16

per bar: 99 calories, 2 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 1 g
dietary fiber diet exchange: 1/2 bread, 1 fat
carb choices: 1

* I used regular whole wheat flour instead of pastry flour and they turned out ok.
** I added 2tbs ground flax seed for extra fiber and omega-3s
***Just realized I used the whole can of pumpkin instead 1 cup. They are really moist and cake-like instead of "bars". I'm not sure how this will skew the calorie/fat count.

by the way, I would suggest these two books to anyone interested in cutting out/back on refined sugars. There are a lot of really good recipes and ideas. The Sugar Solution was very eye opening for me. I fell better and am thinking clearer since starting to eat better. I don't feel so tired all the time. I'm rarely hungry like I was before--always craving sweet things. I would also suggest Betty Crocker's Healthy New Choices cookbook. There are lots of flavorful healthy recipes in it.

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