Pumpkin Pie Squares

Here’s another take on those Sweet Potato pie squares I blogged a couple years ago. This one is lower in sugar and is fat-free as well. But, just as tasty! Makes 9 servings and will keep in the frig for about 5 days (if it lasts that long!).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×9″ square baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside. In a small bowl combine:

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

5 tablespoons warm water

Set aside for a few minutes to form a flax gel. In a food processor bowl, combine:

1 cup pumpkin seeds (or any seed your family likes, even walnuts or pecans if you can have them)

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, etc., whichever you prefer

1 teaspoon date sugar

Process until the mixture forms a fine crumb. Add the flax gel and blend until the mixture forms a dough, about 30 seconds. Pour into the prepared baking dish and using your fingers, a spatula, or the bottom of a measuring cup, press firmly into the pan and up the sides. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together:

4 cups pureed pumpkin (2 15-ounce cans of pumpkin puree)

1/3 cup date sugar (or maple syrup, honey or agave)

3 tablespoons arrowroot

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

dash of salt

Whisk until combined. Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan for at least one hour before cutting. I like mine really cold so I cool on the counter for an hour and then in the refrigerator for several hours before I cut into squares. But as you see in the photo, I couldn’t wait that long this time and cut it before it was fully cooled. Once cooled it does stand up like it should! Can be topped with any non-dairy topping or frozen “nice” cream.

Easy Oatmeal Granola

I don’t usually post anything about the recipes that I try that don’t turn out well but here’s one I made last night which failed in what it was supposed to be but became an inspiration for something else. I’ve always loved granola but there’s always something, often times raisins or nuts in it, that I can’t have (never mind all the sugar!). The oatcakes recipe I tried to make last night failed miserably – all it wanted to do was crumble. I thought and thought today, what can I do with this? Don’t want to throw it out, it tastes good, maybe use it as a topping for a pear brown betty. Then it hit me – it’ll make really tasty granola. So I added some pumpkin seeds, freeze dried raspberries and some small pieces of chopped dates and guess what – I was right! Oh so delicious! Here’s the basic recipe for the “oatcakes” which you can then add any number of dried fruits and nuts/seeds to for a delicious granola. Just watch out cuz it’s addictive!

Line a medium sized sheet pan with parchment paper. In a medium size bowl combine:

2 cups uncooked gluten-free oatmeal

1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup fine date sugar

In a small bowl (I used a 1 cup glass measure), combine:

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup hot water

Stir to dissolve the baking soda before adding:

1/2 cup avocado oil

Optional at this point maybe add one or two spices:

1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, mace, coriander, ginger

Stir into the dry ingredients, the mixture will be crumbly but try to bring it together as much as possible. Spread out on the sheet pan and cool in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 400 degrees about 5 minutes before the mixture is ready to bake. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool before breaking up and putting in a storage container (I used a gallon food storage bag). Add any number of ingredients such as:

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp hulls

1/4 cup of any type of nuts (if you can eat nuts) like chopped cashews, almonds, walnuts or pecans (roasted of course)

1/4 cup small pieces of chopped dates

1/4 cup freeze-dried fruit such as raspberries, strawberries, etc.

1/4 cup dried fruit like cranberries, blueberries, cherries, etc. – even raisins for those who can eat them!

I must be quite slow on the uptake – it occurred to me while I was typing this that the original recipe writer probably wanted us to use cooked oatmeal rather than uncooked! I’ll have to try it that way.

Plum Pie with Oatmeal Crust

I’m always looking for ways to make desserts that don’t contain lot of sugar and/or simple carbs. So when I found a recipe for an oatmeal pie crust, the thought hit me that this would be an interesting concept to investigate. Having more plums on hand than I could eat that were ripening rapidly, I thought it would be a tasty combination and indeed it turned out to be just that. If you’d like to make a crumb crust for the top as well, increase the crust recipe by 50%.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl combine:

1 cup rolled gluten-free oats

1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (just brown rice, sorghum, oat, etc., would also work)

1/3 cup date sugar*

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup avocado oil (or melted vegan butter or margarine)

Stir until it forms a crumbly texture. Press firmly in the bottom of a 9″ pie plate. Cover with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until crust is browned. Let cool while the plums are prepared.

In a medium bowl combine:

3-4 cups (depending on how full you like your pie) diced plums (skins on is fine as long as they’re organic)

1/4 cup date sugar*

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour

2 tablespoons avocado oil (or melted vegan butter or margarine)

zest of 1 small lemon and juice from 1/2 the lemon

Stir to combine ingredients before spooning into the pie crust. If desired, cover with more crust mixture before baking for 45-60 minutes (depending on how full the pie is). Cool completely before cutting. Serve with a non-dairy whipped topping or, vanilla or lemon sauce (see recipes under sauces).

*To lower the glycemic index value of the dessert even more, substitute 1/4 teaspoon of monk fruit powder in the plums and 1/3 teaspoon in the crust. If you choose this alternative, start with 1/4 cup of oil and add by tablespoons until the mixture is a crumbly consistency.

Easy No Bake Tiramisu Cookies

I remember as a child my mother would give us mocha in place of cocoa or coffee. Of course, back then, decaffeinated coffee didn’t exist and parents were told caffeine was bad for growing children. Thankfully, it didn’t occur to her that chocolate has as much caffeine as coffee! So she would put a little instant coffee into our cocoa. I must admit to this day, I much prefer mocha to plain cocoa. Now that chocolate is no longer on my menu, I’ve substituted carob in it’s place and I think it works just fine. These are more like a flat fudgy truffle than a cookie. Very quick and easy to make using a food processor. These are the perfect “cookies” to make during the summer when no one wants to turn on their oven.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine:

1 generous cup gluten-free rolled oats

1 tablespoon carob powder (of course you could also use cocoa powder)

1 tablespoon instant coffee or expresso

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup protein powder

2 tablespoons date sugar

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds*

1/4 cup seed or nut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla powder

Blend until the mixture is slightly crumbly and most of the oats are ground along with the whole pumpkin seeds. Slowly pour in the non-dairy milk, about 1-2 tablespoons at a time, until the mixture forms a dough. It should be a little sticky but mostly dry. Scoop out about 1 to 2 tablespoons, depending on how large you’d like the “cookies”, roll into a ball and then flatten in your palm. Place on a sheet of waxed or parchment paper after coating each cookie with a mixture of:

1 tablespoon carob powder

1 tablespoon crushed instant coffee or expresso powder

1 tablespoon date sugar

I mixed the above in a small bowl and then coated each side with the carob mixture by putting the cookie flat into the bowl and then turning it over. The mixture stuck just fine without any pressure. Makes 10-12 depending on size. Remove to a large plate or small baking dish and refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Store in zip-lock bags in the refrigerator.

*I used pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed butter but any type of seed or nut will work – sunflower seed butter and sunflower seeds would be just as good.

Easy Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

I don’t eat a lot of oatmeal since I became diabetic but I do enjoy it now and then. Here’s a twist on the standard bowl of oatmeal or the now in vogue baked oatmeal bowls. This is another instance where you can get creative and use whatever fruit sauce or jam you’d like to flavor the oatmeal such as apple, banana, strawberry, etc. Very easy to make; the food processor does all the work, especially if you buy pre-shredded carrots. And of course, feel free to adjust the spices to your families taste – nutmeg, coriander, etc.

First preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9″ baking pan with parchment paper, overhanging on two sides so that the bars can be lifted out of the pan when cooled. In the bowl of the food processor add:

2 cups rolled oat

Pulse until it’s a coarse texture then add:

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup pitted dates (softer the better so if they are hard, soak in hot water for 5 minutes)

2 tablespoons avocado oil

1 1/2 cups fruit sauce or jam

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1 generous teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pulse to combine before adding:

2 cups shredded carrots

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)

Pulse to combine and break down the carrots. Spoon into prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes depending on how your oven runs. Cool in pan before lifting using the overhanging parchment paper and cut into squares. Store in airtight container or in the refrigerator. Can be frozen.

Strawberry Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal cookies are my favorites. I like other cookies but I LOVE oatmeal cookies. Here’s a quick and easy recipe that makes about a dozen and takes 3 times longer to bake then it does to mix together. Delicious, almost like eating a nut butter and jam sandwich on oat bread but even better! Use whatever nut or seed butter your family likes and feel free to use whatever sugar-free jam you have on hand as well. I had strawberry jam so that’s what I used. You can find numerous types of free-dried fruits now on-line or at the grocery store.

In a medium (8 cup bowl) combine:

1 1/2 cups sprouted rolled oats

1/4 cup oat flour

2 1/2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Stir to combine. In a second 3-4 cup small bowl whisk together:

3 tablespoons avocado oil

1/4 cut nut or seed butter (I used tahini)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar-free or low-sugar strawberry jam

1/4 to 1/2 cup crushed freeze-dried strawberries (save some whole ones to press on top of the cookies before baking)

3 tablespoons date syrup (or agave, coconut nectar, maple syrup, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Stir whisked wet ingredients into dry ingredients and fold together until mixture is moistened and well mixed. Using a medium (or small for smaller cookies), scoop and drop cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, spaced about 1/2 inch apart and flatten each one with either the back of the scoop or a fork. Press a piece of dried strawberry into the top of each cookie. Bake 10-17 minutes depending on size (cookies should be firm to the touch). Cool for 10-15 minutes before removing cookies to a cooling rack. Cool completely before storing in an air-tight container. They will keep for about a week (not in my household!). They will also freeze in a vacuum sealed bag for up to 3 months. Using my large scoop, I made 10 cookies.

Alternatives:

Use 1/2 cup pear sauce, 1/4 cup cranberries or raisins, and add 1/4 cup date sugar

Use 1/2 cup applesauce, 1/4-1/2 cup crushed dried apples and add 1/4 cup date sugar

Use 1/2 cup peach jam, 1/4-1/2 cup crushed dried peaches

Use 1/2 cup plum jam, 1/4 cup diced dried prunes

Use 1/2 cup of any jam and 1/2 cup carob chips

Use 1/2 cup pineapple jam and 1/4 cup crushed dried bananas or pineapple

Really just about any combination of sauce or jam with dried fruit or chips will work in this recipe. Just be sure to add the extra sweetener if using sauce rather than jam.

Sweet Potato Pie Squares

I ate only one little slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and its one of my favorites so I thought about the pie squares that were so popular in the 70s and 80s, especially those lemon and pumpkin ones and decided to see if I could make an allergy free alternative. Low and behold, no pumpkin in the cupboard but sweet potato puree in excess. And they turned out sooooooo good! Creamy and delicious. I topped the pan with roasted pumpkin seeds which added a nice contrast of textures to the dessert. If desired, of course, pumpkin could be substituted but probably you’d want to add more sweetener and I’d recommend using coconut or date sugar rather than additional liquid.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse until combined into a crumbly texture:

1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup date sugar

1/2 cup vegan margarine or cold olive or avocado oil (it will get thick and turn white when frozen or chilled for a day or two)

When crumbly, press into the bottom of a 9×13″ baking pan. Mix in a medium bowl:

1 can sweet potato puree or 2 cups of mashed sweet potatoes

1/4 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup non-dairy milk (any except soy)

1 tablespoon avocado oil

2 tablespoons corn starch or arrowroot

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/3 cup pumpkin seed protein or any protein powder you have on hand

1/4 to 1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

Whisk together until combined and smooth. Pour into the prepared pan, sprinkle with the seeds if desired, and bake for 25-30 minutes until set. Chill thoroughly before cutting. Top with a non-dairy whip if desired.

Oatmeal Cookies

My husband’s favorite cookie was oatmeal raisin. These are very easy to make (if you have a food processor) and very tasty. And they don’t have very many ingredients, also a pretty good thing. If you have dried dates which most of us do since fresh dates are not always available, soak them in boiling water for 5-10 minutes to soften them before using them in this recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread a medium size cookie sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of a food processor, add:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free old fashioned oats, preferably organic

1/2 cup seed butter like sunflower or pumpkin butter or tahini

10-12 softened dates, medium sized

1/4 cup date syrup (or if you don’t have date syrup, use some of the water from soaking the dates just increase the number of dates if you want a sweeter cookie)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Blend until combined and the oatmeal is partly ground and a dough forms. This should take only about a minute. Remove from the food processor to a bowl and stir in:

1/2 cup carob chips (optional)

1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)

Scoop out several tablespoons (to a 1/4 cup depending on how large you’d like the cookies) of the dough and form into a flat, round disc. Repeat with the remaining dough. The recipe should make approximately 12 cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the baking sheet.

Coffee Energy Bites

In a medium to large bowl combine:

Ever look for something, not much, you just need a little something to lift you up in the middle or towards the end of your day? These will work – full of energy (and carbs), these bites will get you going and the whole grain oats and flax will sustain your energy for awhile. Easy to make, variable by your taste, and chock full of flavor, can’t beat the combination!

1 cup whole grain gluten-free oats (organic if possible)

1/2 cup ground flax

1 tablespoon instant coffee granules*

1/4 cup dried berries (small pieces work best but not powder)

1/4 cup carob chips (or chocolate if you can have them)

Mix to combine evenly. In a small bowl stir together:

1/2 cup tahini (slightly thick better than runny)**

1/4 cup honey, agave or coconut nectar, or maple syrup depending on taste

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl with the oat mixture and stir with a large fork to combine. Mixture will be slightly sticky but shouldn’t be too sticky. It should easily stick together when pressed into your hand. With DRY hands, form into roughly 1″ balls. I found I had to rinse off my hands every 2-3 balls to keep the mixture from sticking to me instead of itself! Should make 20-24 balls. Store in airtight container.

*I used 2 tablespoons of instant coffee granules and after eating several of these bites, I’ve decided it was a little too much coffee – they taste a little bitter to me so depending on your love for coffee, add 1 or 2 tablespoons.

**I used tahini because of my nut allergy but feel free to use any seed or nut butter you like. But if you use a really thick butter, add a little water or liquid sweetener to it to thin it slightly. If your tahini is too thin, add a little more of the dry ingredients.

Raspberry Crumble Bars

Well, after my fall, I’m recovering nicely and can finally stand on my bad leg for more than 10-15 minutes without it starting to throb. So, of course, the first thing I had to do was COOK! I haven’t cooked anything in almost 2 weeks and I was going crazy! I know I put up a recipe for raspberry bars a few months ago but I saw this one and it’s a lot healthier without all the fat or quite as many carbs as the other recipe. Hope you enjoy it as much I do.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare an 8×8 baking pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and then lining with parchment paper (spraying the pan allows the paper to stick and makes pressing the crust layer into the pan much easier, especially since the paper should be one solid piece because we’ll use it to lift the finished product out of the pan to slice).

For the crust, in the bowl of a food processor combine:

1 1/4 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup millet flour (or sorghum flour)

1/2 cup date sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients before adding:

1/4 cup honey (or agave or coconut nectar)

1/2 cup seed or nut butter (I used pumpkin seed butter but tahini, almond, etc., would work)

1/4 cup ground seeds or nuts (or hemp hulls) **OPTIONAL

Pulse to combine. If mixture is too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of water. We want a mixture that sticks to itself, at least a little bit when squeezed together. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. In a medium bowl mix:

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries*

2 tablespoons lemon juice (about half a lemon)

2 tablespoons date sugar

2 teaspoons corn starch (or arrowroot)

Stir to combine. Spread over the crust covering it completely and try to make the raspberry filling as even as possible. Top with the remaining 1/3 of the crust mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until top is golden brown. It’s very important to cool the bars completely before cutting. I cooled mine on the counter for several hours and then put it in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours.

*While I used raspberries, any fruit can be used for the filling – blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, apples, pears, peaches, etc. If using fresh fruit, reduce the corn starch (or arrowroot) to 1 teaspoon.