Healthier Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars

It’s finally that time of the year again! That’s right, it’s Fall. And how can fall be complete without one major staple? What is it? Pumpkin, of course!

Pumpkin is not only the favored dish for cooler autumn months, but it is also very healthy for you! It provides a lot of vitamin A, which is great for eyesight (more than 200% of recommended daily intake!). With the holiday seasons approaching, we all know its difficult to keep healthy when there’s food laid out everywhere. But pumpkin is a fiber-rich food which actually helps people shed those extra pounds. Also, another benefit of pumpkin is a certain chemical called phytosterol which has been shown to reduce cholesterol and makes your heart much stronger! It also helps reduce cancer, make your skin much healthier, boost your immune system and last but not least boost your mood (produces serotonin which plays a big role with chemicals of our brains, making us happier)!

We’ve compiled three healthy recipes you can make this autumn. Whatever the occasion is; a family gathering, birthday party, upcoming holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving, these different pumpkin flavor treats are just exquisite.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars

 Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars

These can be gluten-free!
Ingredients:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 packets NuNaturals stevia (or 2 more tablespoons sugar)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
2 tablespoons milk of choice
2 tablespoons oil (coconut oil or vegetable oil will work)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine dry ingredients, then add in wet. Spread into an oiled 7×5 pan (or double the recipe for an 8×8) and cook for 14-15 minutes. Note: You can sub agave for the sugar; they’ll just be fluffier/cake-ier.

Here is a healthy option for the cream cheese:
1/2 cup silken-firm tofu (Mori-Nu is a good option)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cream cheese spread
1/2 tsp vanilla extract sweetener of choice to taste (recommend stevia or powdered sugar)
optional: dash of cinnamon

Directions:
Blend until smooth, then add the other ingredients and blend again

Post by Intern, Lynn Nguyen.  Lynn’s a student in the academy of Health Care Sciences at her school. She’s found a love for fitness, nutrition and health and wellness. 

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Even though “pumpkin” may make you think of fall, this bread is too good to be ignored during the other seasons!  We haven’t had it yet this year so we had to make it.  It’s totally delicious… oh, and the recipe is pretty easy too!

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We recommend this as your night time dessert with a nice hot cup of tea.

First, gather all the ingredients.

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1 cup flour
¾ cup wheat flour
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon ginger
2 eggs
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
15 ounces canned pumpkin

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.

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In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, and water.

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Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.

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Pour into a greased 9 by 5 inch loaf pan and bake for 80 min or until it tests done with a toothpick.  Remove from pan and cool on a wire cooling rack.  Slice and enjoy!

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A simple tip for everyone making this recipe:  the bread tends to taste better the second day, once the spices have had a chance to blend a bit!  Don’t eat the whole loaf in one day because we promise it will taste even better the next day.

Enjoy & let us know if you make this and what you think.