Low-Carb, Super Healthy Pumpkin Bars

IMG_1797Hi! I cooked these up tonight, since I was in the mood for the amazing flavor and health benefits of the mighty squash- the pumpkin. Who says it’s only a Fall phenomenon? Psssh! These are not only decadent and delicious, but also LOW-CARB. You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, sure, one or two out of three ain’t bad, whatcha got?” BUT you’re wrong. They really ARE good, in all ways.

So, you have to get a can of regular pumpkin, not the pie mix. The pie mix has already been sweetened.

Basic Recipe: 1 can pumpkin puree or such.

2 cups almond flour (See pic, I like Bob’s.

1/3 cup flaxmeal, also Bob’s Red Mill

total 1 cup TRUVIA, but it goes to different places (Stevia and Ethryritol Blend- a sugar alcohol that tastes REAL, and has not upset my stomach AT ALL)

1 egg

2-3 tbsp. butter

a teaspoon salt

cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. I like lots. ( I used 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and about 1/2 teas. nutmeg

CRUST; These bars are two -layer. Layer one, on the bottom of your 8×8″ pan, is the almond flax layer. 1/4 of that cup of Truvia.

I cut in about two tblsp. butter to my 2 cups almond meal and flax.

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I pressed this into the pan, and cooked at 375f for 20-22 minutes, to keep it from sogging later.

Meanwhile, while that cooked, I prepared my pumpkin with an egg, 3/4  C. Truvia, nutmeg, cinnamon, and about a cup and a half of whipped topping, which I THOUGHT was real whipped CREAM at the store, but whatever. It worked.

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THIS gives it a light and fluffy texture, that’s why. And when I made regular pumpkin pies, I always mixed in the same, or Cool-Whip. Some folks prefer evaporated or condensed sweetened milk. That adds richness but not fluff. I like fluff. Besides, there’s not a lot of sugar per- the- ounce in Whipping cream or Cool-Whip, but there IS in either of the other choices.

Ok, so now your pumpkin delight is ready to ladle atop the crust you’ve prepared. Do that, and cook it at 375f for a while..ha ha. Don’t ya’ love non-specificity? It was like, for a while, at some temp, until I liked the way it smelled and looked. Really. But to help you out, I think it was 375 for what felt like an eternity….(25-30 minutes)

Once done, I took MORE whipped topping in a can, and played decorator, as you can see in the pic. It’s yummy, and I liked it warm, but I am gonna LOVE it cold. That’s just how I roll. Image

Carbs? I am not a scientist with measurement devices lying around the house, however- I do know that the entire CAN of pumpkin has a net of 24.5 grams carbs. The flax negates it’s 4 gr. carb with 4 gr. FIBER. The almond flour is about 3 grams per 1/4 cup. I used 2 cups per the recipe. So, 24 for the entire recipe- but they ARE nutty carbs…so, there’s that. The whipped cream on top is optional. I cut mine into 9 large portions. 49.5 PLUS the Truvia. Well, let’s look at the carb count for that. Ok, well…darn. It’s higher than I would like. 48 for the whole recipe. Shoot. This is turning into more of a REAL treat than I had imagined. Let’s do some math. Ok, so, if you cut it into 9th’s , you get about 11 grams carbs per the piece. Ideas: cut the pieces smaller, or omit the 1/4 Truvia in the crust, and use the 3/4 cup Truvia in the pumpkin alone, and nix the 2 grams for whipped topping, and you could get it down to about 6 net grams of carbs. Still not so bad, considering how yummy it is. 🙂 Besides, let’s look at the health benefits of flax, pumpkin, and almonds!

Pumpkin nutrition facts

Pumpkin fruit is one of the widely grown vegetables that is incredibly rich in vital antioxidants, and vitamins. This humble backyard low calorie vegetable contains vitamin A, flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as leutin, xanthin, and carotenes in abundance . SOURCE:  www.nutrition-and-you.com/pumpkin.html

Flax benefits:  NUMEROUS 🙂

(slow connection speed to pertinent articles driving me mad) Finally, beloved, the benefits of being able to have some sort of ‘treat’ when you spend 360 days of the year adhering to ABSTINENCE from foods that can somehow bring a truly satisfied smile to your face- is a great thing. Oh, sure, I smile like crazy when I am eating raw broccoli…and kale…and yet another rendition of “how can I make THIS egg seem more special?”. And believe me, I keep searching for the holy grail of egg recipes, but…yeah. I’m a whipped cream, chocolate mousse, nachos with cheese kinda woman, trying to stay in the corral of lean meats and veggies. Ok, not so lean meats at times…Help me out! Just ordered Quest bars. They are Truvia and Stevia blends, with like 3 grams carbs and 20 gr. protein. I am So excited to see these arrive in the mail! I will be reviewing them for YOU! I really hope you guys know that I am working HARD to get in shape, eat right, innovate and create recipes for us ALL, so that I can shed light on the fact that it IS possible to eat right AND still enjoy it . I have learned so much from people like George Stella, Low Carb Confidential, (see his blog here, he rocks!), and so many more. Thank you for your support. I REALLY crave feedback, questions, and comments. Please give ME some ideas!! Thank you!

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Low carb Cinnamon Delight!

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1. Low carb tortilla- 6 gr. net carb
2. TruVia / butter cinnamon Spread

Fry tortilla til golden on both sides. Add salt. Spread your premixed cinnamon/ Truvia/ butter blend on while hot. Delicious snack with no regrets!! In case it isn’t clear, just dump about 3 tbls. TruVia into a bowl, sprinkle in about 2 teasp. cinnamon, blend it into about a tablespoon butter. Spread that on the tortilla. See, you have to forgive me, but something like this isn’t about precise measurements, it just happens.

What is a Challenge Group?

Until five weeks ago, I had never heard of a fitness challenge group. Then, reading through Runner’s World, I learned about fitness groups that live in the same area, getting together to run and workout. The article talked about the success that resulted from being accountable to one another, and encouraging each other.

But an online challenge group is a bit different. We all meet together at http://www.facebook.com/leeschallengegroup  to share our concerns, struggles, and triumphs, without actually being together. Our friends and family may be two miles away, or two time-zones, and we can’t see what we’re all doing or not doing, and we are not actually getting to share a light lunch at the local diner after our runs. I definitely see a value to that person-to-person camaraderie that Facebook can’t match. But, for those of us who are too far apart to fellowship, it’s still a good forum to explore. We share articles on fitness, and advice from pros on everything from proper stretching to clean eating. We commit to follow the program and eat right, and to document our photos, weight loss or gain, and general notes about our shared experience.

Words can lie, but pictures cannot…

And since I see the benefits of a personal challenge group among peers, I am considering starting a local group as well.

What is your experience with challenge groups? Share your stories and advice with me! 

 

AND, if you’d like to know more about my Focus T-25 Challenge group, please comment below, or visit my Facebook page, or order yours today at http://www.teambeachbody.com/leemackenzie and choose me as your coach. My ID# 327883.

The Five Pound Bobber

That damned five pounds that goes up and down and leaves you elated one day and bummed three days later. It’s ridiculous. Why? It’s a five pound bobber because it’s the weight that seems to fluctuate up and down based on body rhythms and what you’ve consumed recently, and what of it you’ve eliminated- or not .

So, today it’s 134. And, I’m just about ready to not give a rat’s ass. I am staying low-carb, drinking a lot of water, diligent to drink my superfood shakeology, and I am working out five days per week. T-25 is not easy. I am also aware that my body is in repair mode a lot right now, as I continue to put micro-tears in my muscle fibers. Repair, in a biological engine like humans have, requires water.  

Meanwhile…I continue to chat up my Challenge group on Facebook. I have one member, and she’s awesome. She has already lost 9 pounds. She’s in the Coast Guard and was super-fit. Having a baby kind of set her back a bit in terms of having a super hard body. She is working hard, though, and is very young. She will be in great shape in no time. It doesn’t happen through wishing and planning. Fitness requires action. 

Everything worth doing requires more effort than you might expect or wish to expend. I like to think in terms of lift and drag. Getting airborne takes monumental effort, but once lift overcomes drag, you’re flying. Life is like that. 

I’ve spent way too much of my life crying over the effort required to fly instead of actually doing to the work to get up there. That has stopped now. I will no longer be content with merely hopping up and down pretending I am moments from flight. I have to back up, make an amazing run, putting everything I have into reaching my goal, and without stopping to be afraid of the height or wondering what I will do when I get up there, race full speed ahead into it. 

When it comes to fitness and weight loss, I know that my way is not the only way. Certainly not. It’s just the best way for me. Lots of others, too. But we are all different in what we enjoy, what we will and will not work hard at. 

Not everyone is going to want to be a coach with me. I will be lucky to find people who are intrepid, adventuring sorts who won’t let a couple of hundred dollars get between them and where they could be. Not everyone has a vision. Not everyone is an entrepreneur, or can see the value of being in business for way less than the price of two Katy Perry concert tickets. 

Most of all, not everybody wants to work hard. It’s just that simple. 

I was that person once. 

Not anymore. 

I will succeed. 

Come with me.

Flatter Me With Cash and Fame, or…Something that Feels Like That

I really love all the attention my blog has been getting lately. I’d love to tell you it’s from my amazing poetry and short-stories, but it seems like diet and fitness are still the big draws to my blog.

I’m available to write for any number of genres, for any number of publications, and while I am certainly not cheap, I am quite reasonable. Contact me any time!

From 136 to 132- It’s Progress!

So, it’s not a lot. But it’s a lot in a relatively short time. Two -and-a-half weeks I believe. I like that. Today started with Shakeology, into which I mixed fresh raspberries and just half a banana. Total carb count- about 16 grams. I am allowing myself 30 now, due to dramatically increased exercise. It seems to be working. Thank you for checking out my blog site, and I invite your feedback and comments! 

Another Pound DOWN ! Thanks Focus T-25!

So, here I am, still low-carbing it, but now I’ve added a new daily routine. It’s T-25. by Shaun T., creator of Insanity and Asylum. He’s inspirational, and a good coach. I am also a coach now, and so I am thrilled to be seeing results! My ketone strip showed moderate today, from a usual trace or low, and that’s also inspiring. My Shakeology drinks are really curbing my appetite, especially when combined with low-carb. So, actual amounts consumed now are 1100-1300 daily, with a very low amount of carbs, Those come mostly from the Shakeology itself, veggies, and fruit. I am still not eating things like couscous and quinoa, corn, rice, or any flour products, really, with the exception of the occasional low-carb tortilla. I’m trying to stay away from Atkin’s bars, but I do still use them a few times a week. I just feel like they are too lab-generated. I have developed a sensitivity or allergy to something in my life, though, and I am worried it might be something that is completely healthy and natural in my Shakeology, but that I personally might be sensitive to. I have developed strange rashes and bumps and reactions lately to I don’t-know-what. I hope it’s not the shakes, because they are full of good things. I just wonder if I am allergic to the mushrooms, or something?? But, all is well and the workout is INTENSE and amazing! Join me on my fitness quest, join my challenge, and get your own challenge pack and take your fitness to a whole new level!