Low Fat Pumpkin Bars

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Tis the season for stuffing our faces. Sounds pretty doesn’t it? From October 1 until January 1 is when my willpower is tested constantly.  In October I had celebrated  three years of marriage with my husband, two birthdays (next year it will be three), and Halloween. November brought three Thanksgiving dinners (eek!), now December we celebrated my SIL’s 30th birthday, and we will have a Christmas Eve dinner and three Christmas dinners. Now I wish I could say that I did not over indulge; I did however, try to eat consciously. It must have worked because the first time in a long time I am actually losing weight during this long holiday season (WOOP WOOP!).

We currently live in an apartment that does not allow for entertaining the whole family, so until I am able to host my first holiday meal, I will have to bring something to the dinner table that I know will not completely sabotage my waist line. These pumpkin bars are fabulous if I do say so myself, and they are a dessert that isn’t going to ruin your diet.  This recipe was emailed to me from Sparkpeople.com recipe of the day. These bars are delicious and moist, a great alternative to pumpkin pie. No one will know that they only have 67 calories per serving if you don’t tell them! ENJOY!

PUMPKIN BARS
serves: 48

2 cups flour
1-1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup light butter or margarine, softened (I used Smart Balance)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 large egg whites
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin pie filling
1 cup carrot, finely shredded

Cream cheese topping:
4 oz light cream cheese, softened (I used fat free)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon skim milk

DIRECTIONS
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 15 x 10 jellyroll pan.
Prepare Filling:
In small bowl: combine flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder & baking soda.
In larger bowl: Beat sugar, butter and brown sugar until crumbly. Add eggs, egg whites, pumpkin pie mix and carrots. Beat until well blended. Add flour mixture and mix until well blended. Spread onto greased pan.
Prepare Cream Cheese topping:
Mix together cream cheese, sugar and milk until thoroughly blended.
Drop teaspoonfuls of topping over pumpkin batter and swirl mixture with a butter knife.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake tester (inserted in center) comes out clean.
Cool in pan completely on wire rack before cutting into 48 squares.

NUTRITION INFO (per serving)
Calories: 67.2
Fat: 0.9 g
Carbohydrates: 13.6 g
Protein: 1.4 g

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Pineapple Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Pineapple carrot cake, sounds tasty doesn’t it? These cupcakes are a low calorie delight. My friend Jessie, from Little Calorie recommended these. These cupcakes are so flavorful and moist; you even get the cream cheese frosting. Best part is, you don’t have to feel guilty after eating one because they are almost half the calories of your traditional carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

I made these cupcakes yesterday with Sasha; she is really into helping me out.

The cupcakes are really dense, without being dry. I used only the pineapple, and left out the raisins and walnuts. The original recipe can be found here http://www.fitnessandfreebies.com/local/carrotcake.html I adapted it with the ingredients that I had on hand. The cake part was delicious, however the frosting was mediocre. I may have added too much pineapple juice to it, because it was a little runnier than I would expect frosting to be. I will most certainly make the cake recipe again, but figure out a new and better recipe for the frosting.

My husband took this photo.

PINEAPPLE CARROT CUPCAKES
(makes 12 cupcakes)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (I didn’t have any so I added a dash of ground ginger, ground cloves and ground allspice)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 c crushed pineapple in juice, drained (reserve 3 tablespoons juice for topping)
2 eggs
1/4 cup Wesson vegetable oil
1 cup shredded carrots (I used minced baby carrots)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray spray 12 cupcake liners with nonstick, vegetable cooking spray, place into muffin-tins. Dust lightly with all-purpose flour. Set aside.

Combine all cake ingredients except carrots in large mixing bowl. Beat at low speed of electric mixer just until combined. Beat at high speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl frequently. Fold in carrots. Pour batter so liners are 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

LOW CALORIE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
4 oz. American Neufchatel Cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (used a dash of ground ginger, ground cloves and ground allspice)
3 T reserved pineapple juice

In small mixing bowl, combine cheese and sugar. Mix until combined. Slowly add pineapple juice. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until smooth. Spread topping on cooled cake. Sprinkle with additional shredded carrot, if desired.