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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Mega Moist Banana Blueberry Muffins

As you can see in my lack of recent posts, I haven’t cooked much as of late. Family Thanksgiving gatherings in Vancouver, training for / running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco, and business day trips out of town have somehow all gotten in the way of me and my kitchen. So when I finally had a weekend at home to sort myself out, all I was craving was the simplicity and comfort of never-fail bananas, blueberries and maybe some carbs (still trying to kick my carb addiction after running that darn half!). This recipe uses whole wheat flour, but you could easily substitute oat (for gluten-free), spelt, (dare I suggest) white or any other flour you like.

My mother used to (all the way up until I moved out of home last year) make us fresh muffins for breakfast every second day and would always put chocolate chips in mine (you’re the BEST, Mom!). But rather than crack open the Costco-size bag of Chipits in my freezer (cause once they’re open they, quite pathetically of me, become my go-t0 afterwork snack) I opted for the bag of frozen blueberries, which may have been even better than the chocolate. Okay no, who am I kidding, chocolate always wins, but the blueberries are pretty darn good.

At the very least the blueberries do cut out enough sugar and fat that these muffins only have 121 calories each, meaning you can have not one, but TWO, for breakfast and still have room left for yogurt or fruit. Or enjoy the best of both worlds and do half and half chocolate-blueberry!

INGREDIENTS

Dry

Wet

and 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

DIRECTIONS

  • In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.
  • In a medium bowl, or large liquid measuring cup (as above), mix all wet ingredients.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until dry are moistened.

  • Fold in blueberries.
  • Pour batter into muffin tin (for 12) sprayed with oil.

  • Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick pushed into the centre comes out clean.

Just look at how golden these guys come out of the oven!

  • Let cool for 10 minutes in pan before removing to cooling rack…or skip the cooling and just dive right into one!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 12 muffins.

Per muffin: 121 calories – 26 g carbs – 3 g fibre – 1 g fat – 4 g protein

Watermelon Mint Feta Salad

Who knew getting engaged would be so consuming! I can’t believe it’s been 2 weeks since it happened (meaning 2 weeks since my last post!) – it’s still setting in! Dave surprised the heck out of me with the proposal, but I couldn’t be happier or more excited to plan a wedding with the man of my dreams!

Here’s a refreshing salad my mother mentioned she’d made the other night. Perfect for a hot summer day when you’re feeling thirsty and sluggish – four ingredients and that’s it! Even more, it’s so delicious you could eat it as a healthy dessert.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 4.5 oz (130 g) light feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix together in a large bowl, chill until serving and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 6 servings of about 2.5 cups each.

Per serving: 168 calories, 29 g carbs, 4 g fat, 7 g protein, 2 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

 

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