Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gluten Free Protein Pumpkin Bars and the Green Smoothie

Over the holidays we gave gluten free living a try. Yes, I am a scientist and sometimes I must experiment with our family. With the massive amounts of info coming out about gluten sensitivities I wanted to see if any of us showed any signs. It was actually very good for us for the holidays because it cut down on the number of cookies, sweets and junk we ate. I think it is why my husband and I both lost some weight.

After a couple of weeks of gluten free living, I unthinkingly took a half a bagel I was offered after a run. It was great, and there were no repercussions. None of our family members had any reactions when put back on gluten. In fact while being gluten free I had heartburn for the first time since I was pregnant, and my colon was not happy with the situation either. I substituted with white rice, brown rice and soy flour. I used potato and tapioca starch. I must give a thumbs up to Jules gluten free flour, which we still use because it's great. It does substitute right in for many recipes as my friend Chris says and raves about.

We did eat a lot more Southeast Asian foods. I made Pad Thai, which needs some tweaking. And I made Pho Ga, which my husband says I can make everyday. It was very good. These have been added to my Asian recipes. My husband and I took a Chinese cooking class before we were married, and we still use the recipes a dozen years later.

Overall, we will have reduced the gluten from our diet but not excluded it. We are kind of doing the same thing with meat. Moderation you know. Those fresh fruits and veggies, we love them. I have made a green smoothie almost every day for a month. I've had to make double now since the girlios love them. Our favorite is about three cups of baby spinach blended with the juice of one orange. Then add a banana and a cup of frozen strawberries. Blend smooth. It's really good. REALLY. It is bright green, but that hasn't stopped us. I'd put in a picture of today's but it already gone. Boom - 5 servings of fruits and veggies down in a sitting.

I digress. During this time I need to find a way to get some protein in my diet too. I found this recipe and have made it a couple of times. I knew that it passed the test when I put them out for a snack because it was all I had, and they were consumed greedily. And filling. The girlios didn't want lunch.
I used Jullian Michael's Vanilla Protein Powder. Overall I have not found a vanilla protein powder I like. Blaaach. Chocolate covers the whey flavor much better. I'm still on the hunt for good tasting protein powder. Her chocolate is palatable. The original recipe does not include chocolate chips. Of course I added it. I also didn't have maple extract so I added a bit of maple syrup. Tweaking again. The original recipe does have almond slivers that are pressed on top. I don't do that.

Pumpkin Protein Bars  (These were adapted from
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup oat bran (I had rice bran)
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 6 tsp stevia
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (I used number of eggs equivalent)
  • 3 scoops of vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (not in original recipe)
  • almonds to sprinkle on top (press them in a little)
1. Spray a 8x8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mix everything in bowl. I put in chocolate chips last.
3. Spread in pan and bake for 20 -25 min. Middle will look a little underdone.
(I overcooked the first batch. The top looked done but the bottom was charred. Still, didn't stop us from eating them.)
4. Remove from pan when cooled. Cut eat and enjoy.

150 cal and 14 g of protein for two squares

I still have one more favorite to post. I hope they all work as well for you as they have for me. Let me know how it goes. Pass them on.


  1. I LOVE green smoothies, but I do frozen mango (or fresh, if cheap) instead of banana. YUM!

  2. And, I'm gonna need the Pho recipe. :-D
    I had Pho here once. Turns out, where I currently live is not a hotbed of Vietnamese cuisine. Go figure.
    Great sushi, though.