Running in the Kitchen: Spring Reset Carrot Cake Bars
Spring is here and has me thinking, “How the heck did we get to April already?!” For many people, spring is a time to refresh, reset, rejuvenate and look ahead. Spring cleaning happens mentally and physically, and an “out with the old and in with the new” mindset takes over. For some, that includes looking at their eating habits and setting new intentions. I often hear people ask about ways to include more vegetables and fruits into their daily routine. Allow me to introduce my Spring Reset Carrot “Cake” Bars! This recipe gives you servings of both fruits and veggies, along with heart-healthy nuts and has no artificial sweeteners or preservatives. I promise, you won’t miss the sugar! This recipe is loaded with flavor and the combination of ingredients enhances it.
Interest peaked but still on the edge? Here’s a quick rundown of the nutrients your body and brain will thank you for after eating a bar:
Carrots- These orange beauties are chock full of beta-carotene and vitamin A: important for eye and skin health and supports liver function.
Apples- The adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” has a lot of truth to it: apples have a positive effect in lowering LDL cholesterol along with lung, breast, colon and liver cancer-fighting properties.
Walnuts- Rich in omega-3’s, studies show that walnuts are linked to improved bone health, heart function and metabolism.
Coconut- The key here is unsweetened coconut! Shredded coconut contains important minerals like iron, manganese and selenium which are antioxidant packed and help support nerve, thyroid and metabolic functions, not to mention are a good source of healthy fats.
Oats- We all know whole grains are good for us and oats really showcase why. Loaded with fiber, protein and carbohydrates, oats also contain a handful of key minerals like zinc, iron, folate, magnesium, and B vitamins.
Ginger and Cinnamon- These spices have high anti-inflammatory compounds and help with pain relief, blood sugar regulation and lower LDL cholesterol.
Inspired by my family’s favorite spring time treat, this twist on the traditional carrot cake includes all of the tastes we love about the desert, without the added sugar and processed ingredients. Great for breakfast, snack or healthy dessert. Vegan, gluten-free adaptable, and naturally fruit-sweetened. To make them more reminiscent of carrot cake, I opted to bake them in a pan and cut into bars, but I think these could work well as cookies too. They won’t rise or spread like a traditional cookie.
How are you enjoying and embracing spring? Let me know in the comments below. If you make this or one of my other recipes, please post a picture on social media and tag #runninginthekitchen and #lifelongendurance so we can see how they turned out for you!
Spring Reset Carrot “Cake” Bars
1 c raw unsalted walnuts
1 c rolled oats
1 c raisins
1/2 c whole wheat or flour of choice
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
2 carrots, grated
1 apple, grated
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 c apple or orange juice
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Prepare a 9” x 12” baking pan with no stick-spray or rub with oil
Combine walnuts, oats and raisins in a food processor and pulse until finely ground.
Transfer to a bowl and stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger. Add carrots, apple, bananas and juice and stir until combined. If batter is still fairly moist, add another 1/4 cup of flour. You want a batter that is a little sticky but not dry. Err on the side of wet than dry and hard. Next, transfer your batter into the prepared baking pan.
Use a spatula or wax paper to smooth the bars into the pan. Bake until tops and sides are lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow pan to cool then cut into 16-24 bars. I typically make 18 from a batch. Store in air-tight containers in the fridge up to a week or freezer and best if eaten within a couple of months.
Who is Running in the Kitchen?
Malia Crouse, Foodie/ Athlete/Adventurist
Malia is a Lifelong Endurance Scholarship Athlete who has a passion for cooking, baking, and making delicious and healthy treats for family and friends. Running in the Kitchen started with some encouragement from Coach Andrew and the LLE team. I hope you enjoy the recipes I’ll share with you here and find them as beneficial in your own training and daily life as I do. Feel free to reach out to or follow me on Instagram @maliacrouse or Twitter @maliainmotion . If you love these recipes and make on featured here use hashtags: #lifelongendurance , #runninginthekitchen
~Live Aloha, Malia