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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Amazing Low-Carb Chocolate & Pumpkin Muffins- Flourless/Sugarless

I was inspired by George Stella’s recipes. He uses cream cheese and egg, along with separted egg white in many of his baked goods recipes. This, I have found, gives not only thickness to a batter, but fluffiness, without flour! In various of my baking experiments without using these ingredients in the way that I did here, the results have been quite disappointing. The other change I made was to use Truvia! Ethyritol is a sugar alcohol, as is mannitol and malitol, without the stomach upset they inevitably cause me. It also tastes great, and is blended with stevia in this product.

So, I found this gem of a butter in the nutrition department of my local giant grocer. (not Walmart). It’s Called Wild Friends Chocolate Almond Butter with Sunflower seeds/oil. Not many seeds, but you can taste the oil. It lended itself remarkably well to this muffin recipe! This was just a eureka moment for me, as I had been wondering how I could it in baked goods since I first tasted it. It’s only 5 grams net carbs per 2 tablespoon serving. 

Here it is, best I can remember from creating it last night!

1/2 cup Wild Friends Chocolate almond butter

1/2 cup Truvia

1 egg and 1 egg white

3 ozs cream cheese

one heaping half cup pure pumpkin – no sugar added. 

2 Tblsp. melted butter

Whip your egg and egg white first, until well mixed, incorporate air into the mix as you whip it, whip it good. 🙂 Add the other wet ingredients above and mix well. Again, keep it infused with air as much as possible. 

Dry ingredients: 1/3 cup almond flour/meal, 1/2 teasp. baking powder, 1 teasp. baking SODA. 

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teasp. salt, a few dashes of cinnamon, and throw in a bit of vanilla- a half teap. is good. I know that’s not a dry ingredient, but I just remembered it. 🙂

mix all of that into the wet mixture, and pour into muffin liner papers, and/or muffin tin that has been “pammed”. I cooked these at 375 until they were browned and no longer gooey, but I wasn’t sure about the inside. I guess it was 16 minutes. I then turned the oven off and showered, leaving these in the oven for that time. About 20 minutes. They are SO SO good. The best tasting low-carb baked good I’ve had in a very long time. No goo, no fake sugar aftertaste. I was quite impressed. The chocolate/pumpkin combo is a total hit. Have fun with these, and don’t be afraid to play around with the ingredients, since I just came up with this last night. 

So, What’s for Breakfast? Low-carb, Delicious, Different!

I’m off of work today, and my sweetie is not.  He works 12 hour days, and so I am here alone. I like the house when it’s quiet, but it also gets lonely. The best part, if there is a best part, is that I get to have the kitchen to myself, and can get creative with meals. Since I am low-carbing it all, I get to sit here until I feel ready for breakfast, then go figure it out. What am I in the mood for? Here it is, after ten, and I have only had coffee. I don’t feel ravishingly hungry, but I know I need to eat. The idea of a salad in the morning is repulsive. Besides, I had a huge salad last night, with a hamburger patty on top. I made it Mexican style with the Mexi-cheese, sour cream, and salsa. There was at least 2 full cups of greens on that thing, and I needed them. I hadn’t had much vegetable matter the rest of the day.

Breakfast. There are always eggs. There are also five different types and varieties of sausage in there , ranging from Jimmy Dean breakfast patties to organic chicken/turkey links in 3 different styles. I get annoyed with those though- because they managed to push 4 grams of carb into each link of  those, and I am not sure how. Four grams is not a lot, granted, but I would prefer 2 or less.

I now have those low-carb tortillas, though, and my favorite thing these days is now the egg and cheese breakfast burrito, with bacon on the side. In fact, that sounds really good. I am out of frozen blueberries, though, and this saddens me . I should have bought those last night- I do work in a grocery store after all. Also, there’s a brand on a really good sale right now.

Is this a blog, or is this just me thinking in type form? How boring am I being, on a scale of 1-10 right now? I am thinking a good 8.9. If it was the Richter Scale, we’d all be shaken to destruction.

Last night I had more really weird dreams. My daughter and I were touring ‘swim shows’. These are swimming parks, (only in dreams can it be like this) where you get to suit up and swim through all manner of entertaining swimming places. Only problem was we kept ending up in swampy, dirty, snag-log infested water, wondering if we were getting ripped off or what? It was amusing. I am glad I woke up before any more of that nonsense ensued. It was fun being with Kay-tee in the dream though.

I read a really amusing blog about carpets in bathrooms. I agree that there should not BE carpet in bathrooms. At least in ours, the carpet is only in the outer area, not the toilet area. Still, it is also where the tub, shower stall, sinks and vanities are and there are challenges to keeping it clean and dry. When the blogger, who is very funny, really got into the need for plungers and giant poops, though- I had to stop reading . My stomach is tender in the morning.

OK, I guess I am going to get up and get cooking. Soon. Really. I promise. Ok, I am bored with eggs. I crave something different. So, I hopped into the shower, and mulled breakfast over. I came up with low-carb tortilla french toast, with lots of cinnamon and butter/Splenda syrup. Total carbs, about 8. That’s ok. I can do that. I sprinkled the top with slivered almonds, more cinnamon, and here you have it. These tortillas do not soak up the egg mixture well, so there was plenty of vanilla cinnamon egg left over, that got tossed after cooking. The taste test: MMmmn!! This is SO Yummy! I practically wolfed it! Only thing I would have changed would have been to slice a few strawberries over the top, and added a dollop of whipped cream. This would have added up to more like 12 carbs for a serviing (2 tortillas) but I will keep that in mind for the next phase of Atkin’s. Quite nice! The protein count here is not as high as the fiber, which is considerable- 14 grams. Keep that in mind if you like your fiber. If I still feel hungry a bit later, I will just have bacon a’ la cart.

So, I learned a new way to make breakfast today, and it turned out well. The tortillas softened perfectly, and I got to feel like I was having a real treat! I am still a bit hungry, though- so bacon is probably going to be had soon! Try this! Tell me how it goes! Make it better- add whipped cream, or leave off the almonds- perhaps add strawberries and whipped cream.