Recipe: Breakfast Carrot Cake Squares (Gluten Free)

I have a bit of a love for cream cheese frosting. And carrots. And warm spices. I mean, cake in general is pretty amazing, but carrot cake has vegetables in it. Vegetables. It should, by all accounts, be healthy, right? Yeah, it’s totally not. But it can be! And then you can eat it for BREAKFAST! And they’re gluten free! And to make them easy to eat on the go, the cream cheese is now inside the bars!

This recipe has all of the important notes of carrot cake:

I switched out regular cream cheese for Neufchâtel cheese and used dried egg whites for fresh, because I had it on hand. If you don’t have dried, just use 3 fresh and cut back on the water a little bit. Also, I’ve been having a discussion about dates with a close friend and I realized this recipe would be amazing sweetened with chopped dates if you don’t like sucralose. I also used brown rice flour here, since I had some I wanted to use up. That makes this recipe gluten free, but if you don’t have brown rice flour, feel free to use whole wheat flour or oat flour.

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I peeled and grated carrots until I had 1 1/2 cups of shredded carrots. I used my hand grater, which, at the time, felt like way less work than dragging out my food processor and then cleaning it. I was being lazy.

Then it’s as simple as combining all the dry ingredients and adding water. I started off with a half cup of water but had to double it to get the right consistency, so it’s okay to tweak it a bit. It’s just water anyway. But you want the batter to be thick: it shouldn’t be pourable.

The next step is to sandwich the Neufchâtel cheese between two layers of carrot mixture, so I pressed half of the mixture into a baking dish prepared with cooking spray. Then gently add the remainder of the carrot mixture on top and pat down gently and evenly. It should look like this:

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Then pop that baby in the oven! Mine took 35 minutes at 350 degrees. It never browned on top, but the surface was dry and not “squishy” when I gently prodded it with a finger. The next step is the hardest part. Wait. I’m serious. WAIT. You want this to be totally cool before you even try to slice it. If you don’t, it will fall apart when you try to pick it up, and drop molten cream cheese on your lap. (Don’t ask how I know this.)

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Once it’s cool, you can slice it and enjoy! This is much more like a dense square than a cake, so it will keep you full for quite a while. I paired mine with a banana for a breakfast around 300 calories.

I think I’ll definitely make this again using dates as a sweetener, but it was super yummy! What do you think? Do you love carrot cake as much as I do? Let me know in the comments!

Breakfast Carrot Cake Squares

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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A slightly sweet, dense carrot cake sandwiched around cream cheese for a slightly tart, warmly spiced bite.

NUTRITION PER SERVING: 197.4 cals, 8.7g fat, 292.3mg sodium, 24.4g carbs, 6.7g protein.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp dried egg whites
  • – 1/4 cup sucralose
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 oz block Neufchâtel cheese, room temperature

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients thoroughly.
  3. Stir in the water until there are no dry pockets, then fold in the carrots.
  4. Press half of the carrot mixture into a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray, pressing it into an even layer.
  5. Cut the Neufchâtel into 8 pieces and lay out in a grid on top of the bottom layer.
  6. Carefully spread the remaining carrot mixture on top of the Neufchâtel and press into an even layer.
  7. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the squares feel firm when pressed with a finger. Allow to cool completely before cutting into 8 squares.

Recipe: Lemon No Bake Cheesecake Bars

Some days you’d kill for a piece of cheesecake. But, as anyone who’s into healthy living knows, cheesecake can be dangerous. So my brain went a’stormin’ and thinking about how I could get a dessert I could enjoy on a cheesecake level without freaking out about it showing up on the scale the next day. Turns out for me that was easier done than said!

The recipe is really simple and not at all expensive to make. All you need is a pint of cottage cheese (I prefer no salt added), lemons, a packet of unflavored gelatin, sucralose and graham crackers.

Zest the lemons and juice them. You’ll need 1/4 cup of juice and about a tablespoon of zest. Pour the juice into a small bowl and sprinkle in the gelatin. Whisk with a fork then microwave for 2 minutes. This will bloom the gelatin.

Add in the sucralose and cottage cheese and blend thoroughly with a hand mixer. If you prefer a smoother texture, feel free to mix this in a blender.

Layer the graham crackers on the bottom of your loaf pan. Top with half of the cottage cheese mixture, repeat, then finish with the remaining graham crackers. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. It will sliced pretty well the next day and be firm enough to eat with the fingers.

Lemon No Bake Cheesecake Bars

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A slightly sweet, protein rich dessert that evokes all the feelings of cheesecake.

NUTRITION PER SERVING: 252 cals, 5.3g fat, 214mg sodium, 38.6g carbs, 18.6g protein.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin
  • – 1/2 cup sucralose
  • 1 pint no salt added 1% milk fat cottage cheese
  • 10 sheets of graham crackers

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and gelatin and whisk with a fork. Microwave for 2 minutes to bloom the gelatin. Add the sucralose, lemon zest and cottage cheese and combine thoroughly.
  2. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with a layer of graham crackers, then top with half the cottage cheese. Add more graham crackers, then the remainder of the cottage cheese, and finish with the remaining graham crackers.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Slice into portions and serve.

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Recipe: Healthy Banana “Split”

 

It’s in the 80s here in Philly, but as I do every year I’m resisting turning the air on. Because I’m CHEAP. *cough* Frugal. I wanted something cool for dessert but I’m all  out of ice cream, but a quick perusal of my fridge turned up everything for a banana split sans the ice cream, so I figured, why not MAKE banana soft serve, but spruce it up a bit!

 

Healthy Banana Split

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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The perfect dessert for banana split lovers, without the guilt.


Ingredients

    – 1 small banana – 1 tbsp half and half – 1 tbsp maraschino cherry juice
  • 1 tbsp light chocolate syrup
  • 1 maraschino cherry

Directions

    1. In a bowl, mash banana with half and half and maraschino cherry juice. 2. Put in the freezer for 1 hour or until firm like ice cream, stirring once or twice.
  1. Scoop into a bowl and top with chocolate syrup and a cherry.

Not bad for something I threw together with stuff I just had in my fridge, huh?! And guess what, it’s 167 calories. Giggity, giggity!

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