Chocolate Coconut Black Bean Brownies

This is a treat I’ve been wanting to bake for the longest time. With last-minute dinner plan changes last week, I found myself with an extra can of low sodium black beans, so I figured I’d give it a go! I am so happy with the results; they are coconutty, chocolatey, super moist and don’t taste the slightest bit like beans! It really is astonishing how perfect they are as a brownie, not at all a pretty-good-healthy-substitute. I really hope you try to make these for yourself, or for any gluten-free/dairy-free guests you may have!

I wanted to keep these brownies as healthy and low calorie (only 68 cals per brownie) as possible, so they really aren’t very sweet, but if you’re craving more sugar, then mix some chocolate chips into the batter or sprinkle a handful over the top.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 – 540mL (19 fl oz) can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 tsp stevia
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

DIRECTIONS

  • Blend all ingredients well in a food processor or high-powered blender (LOVE my Vitamix!).
  • Pour batter into an 8″x8″ brownie pan sprayed with oil.
  • Bake at 35o degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 16 brownies.

Per brownie: 68 calories – 11 g carbs – 2 g fibre – 2 g fat – 3 g protein

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Jicama & Mango Salad

Dave and I had dinner at my cousin Karen and her husband Shaun’s place a few weeks ago in Vancouver. They prepared an unbelievable dinner for us including this light crunchy tangy sweet salad. Who knew 4 ingredients could make such a delightful dish! Make it as a side dish or throw in some chicken, shrimp or fish and make it a meal.

Dave and I were even thinking it’d even make a great popcorn substitute if we cut the jicama and mango a little larger, and if we ever get around to watching a movie…

I had never cooked with jicama (a.k.a. yambean) before and I’m really sorry I’ve been missing out! This stuff is awesome! I’d call the texture a cross between a raw potato and an apple – though more like an apple in terms of water content. It’s ever so slightly sweet and PACKED with fibre. Here’s how it stacks up to 120g each of apples and potatoes:

Jicama   Apple       Potato

Calories                  46             62             83

Carbs                   10.6g       17.2g       18.9g

Sugars                   2.2g        13.3g         1.2g

Fibre                      5.9g          3.9g         2.0g

Protein                  0.9g             0g          2.2g

Most people have trouble getting enough fibre into their diets, but this salad contains nearly all of your recommended daily intake (25 g in a 2,000 calorie diet) in one serving. For sure a new staple in my house!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 mangos, julienned
  • 2 large jicama, julienned
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix in a large salad bowl, serve and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 203 calories, 48 g carbs, 1 g fat, 3 g protein, 21 g fibre

Chocolate Coconut Clusters

Here’s another treat I made for the baby shower last weekend. Love that these are no-bake and totally remind me of chewy chocolate puffed-wheat squares, but coconutty and with a little more fibre. With only 69 calories per cluster, you can have a couple without feeling the least bit guilty.

I used sweetened coconut flakes, but I think you could get away with the unsweetened variety – these clusters were sweet enough!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups coconut palm sugar
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup 2% evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (I like butter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix sugar, cocoa powder, milk, butter and vanilla in a medium pot.
  • Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly.Bring to a boil for 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat and stir in oats and coconut.
  • Use a 1 1/2 tbsp to spoon clusters onto a baking sheet lined in parchment. Leave as messy clusters or shape to your desire.
  • Let cool in the fridge for 30 minutes and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes about 50 clusters.

Per cluster: 69 calories, 12 g carbs, 2 g fat, 1 g protein, 1 g fibre

Chocolate Covered Fruit Pops

On Saturday we celebrated the soon-to-be motherhood of one of my best friends. In preparation for the 53 confirmed guests, we got started cooking on Friday night and basically didn’t stop until 3 PM the next day (my feet were killing me from the kitchen tile)! With six pairs of hands we managed to pull of decorations, goodie bags, and 17 menu items! So expect a few finger-food posts this week.

These fruit pops were a total party hit! I saw them go by on Pinterest (where would we be without it) and thought they’d be a fun little treat for the guests. Plus the fruit and dark chocolate has got to make them kind of healthy… right? I’m actually thinking of making a chocolate-free version as an everyday frozen treat.

They’re really easy to make, but do require about an hour with all the fruit chopping, chocolate melting and pop freezing.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 bananas, each cut into 12 pieces
  • 12 medium strawberries, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 pineapple, cut into 24 bite-size pieces
  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 2 tsp coconut oil, though any oil will work
  • 24 toothpicks
  • 2 tbsp each flaked coconut and chopped almonds for topping

DIRECTIONS

  • Skewer a piece of strawberry (on top), banana and pineapple (on bottom) onto each toothpick.
  • Arrange all pops on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for at least 30 minutes. I had left them over night to break up prep time for these.
  • Melt chocolate with coconut oil using a double boiler. You can also do this in the microwave, but use short 20 second burst to avoid burning the chocolate.
  • Remove pops from freezer and dip half of each piece in chocolate, press in topping (coconut or almond separately, or both together!) and return to baking sheet, standing them up on their side.
  • Return tray to freezer. Remove 5 minutes before serving to let soften and then enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 24 pops.

Per pop (not including toppings): 50 calories, 8 g carbs, 2 g fat, <1 g protein, 1 g fibre

 

Miso-Glazed Salmon

I came across a package of miso in the grocery store a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t leave without it. Miso is one of my favorite restaurant flavours, plus it benefits from various enzymes, probiotics and vitamins, so I figure I had better explore its wonders in my own kitchen.

This salmon came out perfectly and was so easy to make that I would do it every night from now on but sadly that wouldn’t do much for this blog…

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb (450 g) wild salmon
  • 2 tbsp light miso paste
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger root
  • 1.5 tsp sesame oil
  • 5 drops hot pepper sauce
  • pepper to taste
  • pinch sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS

  • Place salmon fillet on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Mix remaining ingredients, except sesame seeds, in a small bowl.
  • Brush salmon with light layer of glaze.
  • Broil on high for 8 minutes.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds, serve with rice and steamed Chinese broccoli or bok choy, and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 200 calories, 4 g carbs, 9 g fat (the healthy kind!), 23 g protein, 1 g fibre

Shrimp & Tofu Red Thai Curry

When I see a thai curry on a menu I just can’t help but indulge myself, though I cringe to think of the hidden fats and salts seeping into me. Needless to say, this has been a dish that’s been on my learn-to-make-healthy list for a while. Using lite coconut milk and drastically cutting the fish sauce, this curry is actually really healthy and totally satisfying!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can lite coconut milk
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves or bay leaves
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 6 spears asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1/2 large zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 1 small can sliced bamboo shoots
  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • 40 jumbo shrimp (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • red chili flakes to taste

Curry Paste

  • 1 shallot
  • 3 tbsp minced lemongrass
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar (or brown/white sugar)
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 lime, juiced

DIRECTIONS

  • Place all curry paste ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Bring coconut milk, leaves and curry paste to a boil in a large pot.
  • Add in all vegetables, tofu and shrimp, cover and let simmer until shrimp are no longer pink, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat, serve over steamed rice and garnish with red chili flakes and cilantro. Enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 351 calories, 20 g carbs (8.5 g sugars), 16 g fat, 32 g protein, 4 g fibre

Chicken Feta Fajita Salad

Hot summer days call for light summer salads! We were totally craving Mexican food yesterday to go along with all the heat, but figured we’d replace the carbs from the fajita tortilla shells with a couple of Coronas 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 chicken breasts (450 g)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 10 drops tabasco sauce
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup sliced white mushrooms
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • 1 medium avocado, sliced
  • 60 g light feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime

DIRECTIONS

  • Slice chicken into long strips.
  • Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large frying pan.
  • Add chicken strips and stir until all sides are cooked, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, add in chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, oregano, cayenne, pepper and tabasco.
  • Add bell pepper, onion and mushrooms. Stir and cook until vegetables soften. Remove from heat.
  • Divide baby spinach among serving plates and top with chicken and veggies, followed by avocado, feta and cilantro.
  • Serve with lime wedge on the side and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 386 calories, 18 g carbs (4 g sugar), 14 g fat, 43 g protein, 8 g fibre , 334 mg sodium

Jerk Chicken Mango Salad

I went over to my girlfriend Afshaan’s last night to plan her baby shower (baby due late August!) but naturally we ended up more focused on the food we were going to eat right then than the party we should have been planning… guess we’ll just have to get together for another girls night!

Afshaan mentioned she had had an awesome jerk chicken salad with mango and coconut at a restaurant in the city, so we took that as inspiration for this spicy and coconutty-sweet salad.

All I knew about jerk spice was that it was made up of a plethora of spices, so we just threw whatever sounded good into a bowl with a little white vinegar and olive oil and voila, jerk spice! It actually turned out REALLY tasty. I must say, we impressed ourselves.

The salad dressing was even more delicious and simply coconut milk, lemon juice, chives, red chili flakes, salt and pepper. Easy to whip up and only 30 calories per tbsp!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups spring mix salad greens (or spinach would be great too!)
  • 12 baby carrots, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 tbs crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 tbsp craisins
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 small mango, cut into bitesize pieces

Jerk Sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried chopped chives
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cardamon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Salad Dressing

  • 2 tsp coconut milk
  • 1/4 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp dried chives
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix all jerk spice ingredients together in a small bowl. Lay 1 tsp of sauce on baking sheet and place chicken breast over top. Pour remaining jerk sauce over chicken. Bake for 28 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Mix all salad dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Lay lettuce mix over serving plates followed by carrots, craisins, mango and feta. Top with salad dressing.
  • Remove cooked chicken from oven. Slice, lay over salad, serve and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 395 calories, 36 g carbs, 15 g fat, 36 g protein, 7 g fibre

Zucchini Pizza

Yesterday I biked ALL the way to the grocery store (okay, it was only 15 minutes) to find they didn’t have the large whole wheat pitas I was excited to use as pizza crust. So what’s a health nut to do? Not compromise with white flour pitas, that’s for sure! Nope, they actually got a whole lot healthier and lower calorie (only 100 per piece) with zucchini!

I had remembered seeing a zucchini pizza go by on my pinterest feed, so I figured it was a good time to check it out. The verdict is: total winner!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 4 sticks turkey pepperoni (120 g)
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 120 g light mozzarella, shredded
  • red pepper flakes, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  • Cut zucchinis lengthwise into four slabs.
  • Place on baking sheet covered in parchment paper and spray lightly with olive oil.
  • Broil on high until they just start to brown, about 8 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cover with toppings.
  • Broil on high until cheese browns.
  • Sprinkle on red pepper flakes, serve and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 8 “slices”.

Per slice: 100 calories, 8 g carbs, 5 g fat, 8 g protein, 2 g fibre

Pork Tenderloin Gumbo

Gumbo is pretty healthy as it is, with all those onions, tomatos and other stewed veggies, but I figured why not make it even healthier?! So I cut the sausage and substituted it for some lean pork tenderloin! Though one serving is only 337 calories, I couldn’t even finish my plate with all the spice, super filling veggies and lean protein. Super comforting and super healthy – this is my kind of meal.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb pork tenderloin, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 cups sliced white mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 large (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 cups cubed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro

DIRECTIONS

  • Heat olive oil in large pot. Add pork and stir until cooked on all sides, about 8 minutes.
  • Add mushrooms, celery, onions and garlic. Stir until veggies soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, tomato paste, ginger, cumin, oregano, chilis, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add sweet potatoes and zucchini and simmer another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Once sweet potatoes are soft, remove from heat, stir in cilantro and serve hot. Enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 337 calories, 39 g carbs, 6 g fat, 32 g protein, 8 g fibre