Friday, July 23, 2010

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Bars

These bars are so good, I really have to use self control not to go crazy consuming them. Maybe you've gathered by now that we are a little crazy about chocolate and peanut butter!

Limiting sweets is a constant struggle at my house. But I'm rather self conscious about bringing up the topic. Those of you who know me are rolling your eyes. For those of you who don't know us personally, lets just say that neither Ed or I have ever been told that we need to lose weight.

But fast metabolisms and skinny genes are no excuses for reckless calorie intake. And, sorry to rain on the picnic, but if I'm going to share yummy recipes (and this one is REALLY good) then maybe I need to give a balance by talking about moderation.

My head aches when I try to sort out all the conflicting nutritional information out there.  But in the last 50 years, despite all the diets, calorie counting, low-fat, skim fads, and whatnot - heart disease, obesity, and Type-2 diabetes are skyrocketing in our country. We are killing ourselves with food. And that scares me.

While I wish I could suddenly wake up and never want to eat chocolate and ice cream again, until that miracle happens, I've decided balance is my only option. My biggest concern is to help my children build wise food habits.

Some of the deliberate steps I've made are...
  • Choosing healthier dessert options. (Hence adapting some favorite recipes.)
  • Cut desserts into smaller serving portions.
  • Pass the dessert around the table once and immediately remove the plate from the table.

This last one is a biggie to me. I can always justify another helping since it is small/made with whole wheat/been a hard day/fill in the blank!

I recently enjoyed Michael Pollan's Food Rules. One of his rules is "the banquet is in the first bite". The first bite is wonderful, the next less so, but we eat another brownie, and another, because we remember how good that first bite was.

Wouldn't it be better to serve up a small portion of dessert, put the serving plate away so we are not distracted with considering "do I want another piece", and slowly savor a few delectable bites?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you find balance in our sugar-loaded society.

And now, for a really GOOD brownie!

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Bars

Adapted from Go Lightly Gourmet

1 cup butter
2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup natural peanut butter
2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar together. Blend in eggs and peanut butter. Stir in flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Mix half of chips in dough.

Spread dough in greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle remaining chips on top. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

You could up the peanut factor by using peanut butter chips instead of chocolate and adding a cup of chopped peanuts.

Linked at Tasty Tuesday

6 comments :

  1. I think too that moderation is a big key... we keep the desserts limited here to one each. But in our case, a few of us are plenty thick around the middle!
    I'll have to try this recipe. Your enthusiasm is hard to ignore! ~Starla

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  2. This post is right up my alley, of course! Thanks for putting it all in proper perspective.
    Enjoy those brownies... they look incredibly tasty!

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  3. Mmmm. Looks good. I might have to do this one this week.

    We pass the dessert around once, or I dip the plates and then put the dessert up.

    Now, on birthday cake, they get a slice and the next morning they can eat cake and scrambled eggs for breakfast with a big ol' glass of milk! That is a treat and a big family tradition at our house.

    On Sunday, they are allowed to have 2 desserts and no more. I watch them like a hawk.

    Me, I don't eat dessert usually. I don't eat a lot of sugar. I can't handle it. I am "pre-diabetic" and don't like to even touch the stuff due to the low blood sugar stuff that happens when it wears off.

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  4. Oh, looking around it looks like you have a lot of yummy WW recipes. I have tons in my food storage and these recipes would be great.

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  5. Gina, I have been thinking about this question for a few days and trying to formulate an answer. Here's what I came up with.

    I don’t routinely serve dessert with meals (anymore -- years ago, I did). For me, dessert is pretty much something I only eat when we have guests or are eating at someone’s home or a church potluck. Mr. T keeps ice cream in the freezer and I often have a tin or two of cookies stashed in there too, so he has his dessert in the form of a bedtime snack! Our granddaughters and my dad are all here frequently on weekends, and their favorite dessert is ice cream, so that's what they have.

    I think if I had a houseful of cookie- and brownie-loving children as you do, I would probably be doing just as you are and simply trying to make those sweets more nutritious and limit the size and number of servings. I don't know if you have read The Taming of the C.A.N.D.Y. Monster, by Vicki Lansky, but this book has some good ideas for making sweets less sugary and more nutritious. It doesn't go overboard.

    I almost always cut down the amount of sugar called for in a cookie or dessert recipe. (I wouldn’t dare do this in a layer cake, though -- except maybe a carrot cake -- because I think I’ve read that cutting down the sugar too much would cause the layers not to rise enough.) I believe one can cut the sugar in a cookie or dessert recipe down by 1/3 and no harm will be done. But if you don’t want to mess around with figuring this out, just don’t fill your measuring cup all the way with sugar. Fill it about 3/4 full -- that’s what I do and it works out fine.

    I really appreciate all the delicious-looking whole wheat recipes you've been sharing. You ought to write a cookbook and illustrate it with your photos. They are absolutely mouth-watering!

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  6. Thanks so much to all of you for your kind comments and ideas!

    Gina

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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