Cooking Light Carrot-Cake Bars

The idea of baking lighter treats appeals to me, and there was a time many years ago, when I was in the habit of using egg whites and applesauce every time that I would bake a cake, quick breads, etc.

My how times have changed… 

While shopping my most favorite thrift store recently, I stumbled across a Cooking Light cookbook for a quarter.  I know, what a bargain! This cookbook has every recipe from the year 1999 that was featured in the Cooking Light magazine so I snatched it up and figured maybe it’s time I get back on the light wagon. 

The recipe for Carrot-Cake Bars is one of many that caught my eye in my new used cookbook.

These bars turned out moist, tender, definitely not oil laden, and delicious.  Yea!  I did make a few slight changes to the original recipe.  First, I used all-purpose flour in place of the whole-wheat flour the recipe called for.  I also used 3/4 cup of sour milk (made with skim milk) instead of the buttermilk, and I skipped adding the raisins.  I think not adding the raisins was a mistake.  While I am not a raisin lover, I do think they add a nice subtle flavor to your treats.  And lastly, I used only 1 cup of old-fashioned oatmeal which I think this was a good move.  Below I’m sharing the original recipe with you.  So feel free to go with it, or make your own modifications.

Carrot-Cake Bars from Cooking Light (Original Recipe)

2/3 c. packed brown sugar

2 tbsp. margarine or butter, softened

3/4 c. low-fat buttermilk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 large egg whites

3/4 c. whole wheat flour

1 1/2 c. regular oats

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 c. shredded carrots

1/2 c. raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 11×7 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Beat sugar and margarine until blended.  Add buttermilk, vanilla, and egg whites; beat well.  Add flour and next 5 ingredients; mixing until combined.  Stir in carrots and raisins.  Pour batter into a prepared baking dish.  Bake for approximately 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.  Cool in pan and serve.

According to the Cooking Light Cookbook, these bars (original recipe) have 121 calories, 2.3 grams of fat, 3.1 grams of protein, 23.3 carbs, 2 grams of fiber, and 138 mg of sodium.   I added a few calories to my bars because I drizzled a thin buttercream icing on top.  Shame on me I know.  But look at the calories I saved elsewhere.

Do you like baking and cooking light?  Or do you say –  Ah, what’s the sense?

Summer Vegetable Bake

We have a small garden and some things grow successfully (like our cucumbers and radishes), and some things don’t grow well, or at all.  This year there is no sign of the green peppers we planted, or the brussel sprouts that I got all excited about growing.    So when our neighbor came over bearing yellow squash, zucchini, red onions and green bell peppers I graciously accepted them.         

      

I don’t think I’ve ever made anything with zucchini other than breads, or a chocolate zucchini cake.  This year I decided it was about time to live on the edge.  Maybe, I should actually use the vegetable in a vegetable dish – a novel idea.  And here it is – Summer Vegetable Bake.      

1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash and some baby carrots cubed – (approx 1 large) onion, diced – 1 green bell pepper – 1 tsp. Italian seasoning – fresh garlic, crushed -1/2 c. margarine -1 can of diced tomatoes – grated Parmesan cheese      

Bring the squash and carrots to a boil for 3 minutes in salt water and then drain.  Melt margarine in skillet.  Add onion, green pepper and garlic and simmer until soft.  Add diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning and squash to skillet.  Cook until mixed well, and tomatoes start to soften.  Pour into a greased baking pan and cover liberally with parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes (veggies should be tender but not mushy)       

Squash and carrots after bringing to boil

 

Onions, peppers and garlic cooking in skillet

 

All the veggies in the skillet

 

In the pan ready for the oven

 

Out of the oven

 

Served and ready to eat!

 

With all said and done I would have to say this is one light and tasty summer vegetable dish.  I’m not a vegetarian but with a dish like this I might change my mind.  No disappointments here.  Enjoy!
 

Change and Watermelon Ice

I’ve spent a good share of tonight trying to perfect my blog.  Needless to say, I’m still not satisfied.  I searched through all the photo’s I’ve taken and tried to narrow it down to some of my favorites so I could use one in the heading.  After picking a photo I had to decide what theme it worked the best with – this is all very time-consuming .  I’m sure you all know exactly what I’m talking about.   If you continue to notice changes on my site – please consider it my creativity hard at work and hang in there.

On a positive note, I did make a great a very refreshing dessert (Watermelon Ice) that we had as an after dinner treat .  It’s  a nice complement to a heavy dinner. 

The recipe:

6 cups of cubed (seedless) watermelon

1 tbls of lemon juice

3 tbls of confectioners’ sugar

1/4 tsp salt

Puree’ all ingredients in blender.  Pour into freezer safe dish and freeze solid.  Take out of the freezer about 10 minutes before serving.  I garnished mine with a fresh strawberry and a wedge of lemon that you can spritz on the ice for a little extra kick.