Friday, June 24, 2016

Black Bean Brownies.

This version included walnuts!

If you've never had black bean brownies, now is the time to try them.  Like many people, I was skeptical at first, but since trying them, I can't make any other kind of brownie.  I've been making these non-stop for six months now.  These are deliciously fudgy, chocolatey, and satisfying.  I've brought them to many events and they always ellicit rave reviews!  These are great if you're new to gluten-free baking and just need a brownie recipe that works, without having to buy a bunch of gluten-free flours.

Black Bean Brownies.
    makes one 8x8 pan

    2 cans (15 oz x 2)  black beans  (make sure you get the unseasoned versions)
    1/4-1/2 cup  sugar  (or 1/3 cup is a good middle)
    1/4 cup  coconut oil, melted
    2  eggs,  large or medium sized
    1 cup  unsweetened cocoa - mine favorite is mixture of dutched and non-dutched
    1 cup  unsweetened almond milk OR milk of choice
    1/2 tsp  baking soda
    ~9 oz  dark chocolate chips, this is 3/4 of one choc chip bag
    2 tsp-1 Tbsp  vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp  real salt

  1)  Un-can the black beans into a fine mesh strainer. Strain and run under cold water x1 minute or until water over the beans runs clear.
  2)  Place all ingredients, except chocolate chips, into Vitamix blender (or equivalent) and blend for about 30 seconds to 1 minute OR until all ingredients are incorporated, and the mixture is smooth and homogenous. Stir in chocolate chips with a soft spatula.
  3)  Pour into one greased or parchment paper lined 8x8 pan. Bake at 350 degrees non-convection for 40-45 minutes. Brownies are done when slightly pulling away from the sides of the pan, and the middle is slightly set. Bake longer to be slighly less fudgy. Let cool on counter. Store in fridge for best results.

I personally love how easy they are to make! You can have awesome brownies ready in under an hour. These are best the next day, however, after they've had some time to set. I love them straight from the fridge. GREAT with any kind of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Note on substitutions: I've made these with melted butter and water before, with coconut milk, with almond milk, and ALL versions have come out extremely yummy.

Nothing like a new brownie recipe to rock all summer long!

P.S. I'm all graduated from medical school now (Dr. Meg has finally arrived!). Maybe you'll be seeing more recipes on this space again! And my apologies for the poor photo - this was quickly snapped in clinic when I brought brownies for the whole shift.

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Most Awesome Massaged Kale Salad.

A few months after getting on the "I love kale" band-wagon, I discovered just how great massaged kale salads taste. Also, they are incredibly easy to make. The massaging process only takes a few minutes, but is sufficient to break down the cellulose and other fibers in the kale, making the leaves more digestible and less chewy when eating. This version is super simple, and very customizable. I like to add parmesan cheese for a salty kick and an off-set to the slight bitterness of the kale leaf. But if dairy isn't your thing, feel free to leave it out.

The Most Awesome Massaged Kale Salad.
    serves 4-6 depending on your kale-love-level

    2 heads dino kale, stems removed, and cut into 1/4”-1/2” ribbons
    1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
    2 Tbsp tahini
    juice of one lemon
    1 Tbsp olive oil / drizzle of olive oil
    3 dashes nutmeg
    2 dashes cayenne pepper
    1 dash smoked hot paprika
    1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    salt and pepper to taste

  1)  Place kale in large bowl, add lemon juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Massage with bare hands for 3-5 minutes, until kale decreases in size by half and is soft and looks dark green.
  2)  Add parmesan, tahini, and spices. Mix thoroughly.
  3)  EAT and enjoy! This is even better the second or third day, but I doubt it will last you that long!

Feel free to add more heads of kale if you want to make a bigger portion, but you may have to adjust the amount of cheese and tahini; however, I've made this with 3 heads of kale and didn't add any more ingredients. It's that forgiving! The photos here are of the salad made with regular green kale, but I much prefer the dino kale, but both work and are equally delicious.

Possibly vegan, gluten-free, nutrient rich and delicious. Share it with all your family and friends. They’ll gobble it up! My family, friends and I surely did.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Benefits of Coconut Flour.

Many of you readers (hello! long time no see!) know how much I loooove coconut flour.  Coconut flour has been such a great option for me, for many reasons, and I know many of you have learned the ins and outs of baking with coconut flour too and love it just as much as I do.

For those of you who are still on the fence, or just haven't hopped on the coconut train (it's a serious train that's been chugging very strong for several years now) then I'm here to convince you to give coconut flour a try.

My journey with coconut products began several years ago when I first learned about the paleo way of eating. Focusing on the paleo / primal template for my food choices was a great option for me, and during this time I discovered the awesomeness of coconut flour.

What makes coconut flour so awesome is mostly its nutrition stats, its affordability and its versatility. Today I'm here to tell you about why coconut flour is a healthy choice, so that will be my main focus, but I'll also touch on the other two points near the end.

Disclaimer - While I do have extensive training in nutrition, I am not a doctor, nutritionist or registered dietitian, so implement this information with your own discretion.

  Why I Love Coconut Flour 101

1) Contain healthy fats
- Healthy fats are so important for our bodies.  We need fat in order to make healthy skin, hair, and nails.  Fat is an essential part of our brains, as well as ALL our cell membranes which are basically a double stack of fat molecules, called a phospholipid bilayer.  Many sources of fat also contain cholesterol, which is an essential building block of almost all hormones.  Pregnant women need a higher intake of essential fatty acids (EFAs) in order to make the babies brain (most importantly).
- Coconut flour contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) aka medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). You've probably heard about these before. What's great about MCTs is that they are metabolized very quickly by the body and so are used as an energy source right away, in contrast to LCFAs (long chain fatty acids) which need a more involved process in order to be broken down and utilized. MCTs are also very antimicrobial.
- Coconut flour is also rich in a type of fat called lauric acid, which along with MCTs, are very antimicrobial. Both together can help contribute to a healthy balance of body flora, on our skin and in our gut.
- In less than one ounce of coconut flour, it contains about 3 grams of saturated fat.
- It is also worth mentioning that coconut flour is low carb, which makes it a great alternative for those who medically need to choose a low carb diet, and for others who eat low carb diets by choice.
- Fats also contribute to feeling satisfied with the food you're eating, so you are more likely to stop eating and be satisfied with how much you've eaten, when you are feeling full.

2) Fiber content
- Many baking flours on the market are devoid of certain nutrients, and other properties like fiber, but coconut flour is NOT one of them! Coconut flour is rich in fiber, and if you've ever worked with coconut flour before you know that if not used properly, it will suck up all the liquid in your recipes and the end product will be very dry! That's because of all the fiber.
- In less than 1 ounce of coconut flour, there is 11 grams of fiber.
- Fiber is necessary in our diets because it is needed to detoxify hormones, to help move our bowels, and to feed the bacteria in our colons.

3) Protein
- Most flour products contain little or NO protein, but coconut flour actually does!
- In less than 1 ounce of coconut flour, there is 4.5 grams of protein.
- Both the fat, fiber, and protein contents of coconut flour make it very nourishing and satisfying at the same time. Making brownies or cookies or waffles with coconut flour will keep you full for hours, instead of lifting your blood sugar and crashing you down 2 hours later. Say good-bye to the blood sugar roller coaster. ;)

Many of my recipes use coconut flour - but these are some of my absolute favorites. They're also all grain-free! All the photos in this post feature recipes I've created using coconut flour.

I hope you all found this post to be useful, informative, and inspiring! Get baking ;)

Love to you all,

I am wrote this post for because they are passionate about sharing information about healthy food!  It was good opportunity to join forces in order to spread information about making healthy choices.