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

Mediterranean Omelette

This is by far my new favorite way to eat eggs. I had had this for breakfast while on vacation last week and couldn’t wait to get home to make it in my own kitchen. Since Dave and I always eat the same thing for breakfast, I had to make them for dinner, which was a great excuse to whip up some kale tabbouleh on the side.

I used 4 whole eggs and about 4 egg whites, but you can swing the ratios to suit your calorie fat cholesterol protein profile.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 roma tomato, cut into eighths
  • 1/4 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 egg whites (1/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp crumbled light feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  • Heat olive oil in medium pan over medium heat.
  • Toss in tomato, red pepper, onion and garlic and stir until onion softens, about 3 minutes.
  • Crack eggs into pan and pour egg whites around edges and to fill in gaps.
  • Turn heat to low-medium, cover and let cook until eggs cook through to medium (or as long as desired), about 5 minutes. Toss in feta, mint and pepper 2 minutes before eggs are done.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 265 calories, 8 g carbs, 15 g fat, 24 g protein, 1 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

Fruity Fibre Optics

Post run, this smoothie was a great way to tie us over until we finished making dinner, which turned out to be shredded wheat, berries and soy milk… Figured we’d treat ourselves for the sweat. Actually, we just got lazy after preparing our yogurt snacks and lunches (chicken, broccoli, sweet potato, quinoa and white cheddar) for work today.

Packed with tons of fruit (and therefore mega antioxidants and fibre), with a touch of undetectable spinach for an iron boost, it was so sweetly delicious you could probably have it for dessert. The banana and Greek yogurt really give it the perfect level of creaminess to leave you satisfied.

Fruity Fibre Optics is what Dave would call this creation if he owned a smoothie stand.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups frozen mixed fruit
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple
  • 100 g nonfat Greek yogurt

DIRECTIONS

  • Throw it all in a blender and let er rip!

I have a Vitamix, like they have at Booster Juice or any commercial smoothie joint, that works like a charm. They aren’t exactly cheap, but do come with a 7-year warranty and grind through frozen fruit, ice, avocado pits, flax seeds, etc. like nothing else. I highly recommend this machine for anyone serious about smoothies.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 270 calories, 57 g carbs, 1 g fat, 12 g protein, 12 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

THE BEST BREAKFAST: Steel Cut Oats and a Side of Egg Whites

I can’t tell you how excited I am to make this post! This recipe is held very dear to me as it’s what Dave and I eat without fail every morning for breakfast.

I often hear people say they just don’t have time to do a hot breakfast in the morning, but the trick is to make everything the night before so that breakfast makes itself while you get ready for the day with literally a flick of a switch and a couple of stirs.

With such little hassle there’s no reason not to take advantage of a hot and healthy breakfast. A big bowl of oats is such a comforting way to start off your day (we all deserve a little spoiling) and with all that water, fibre and protein pumping through you, you’re sure to stay full well into late morning. Oatmeal (plain instant or large flake) itself is a super healthy breakfast option as a whole grain packed with heart-helping fibre, but I find the steel cut variety, being the least processed of them all, also offers a thick, hearty, chewy texture that’s truly hard to beat.

And what’s a bowl of oats without a super sidekick of protein!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 granny smith apple, chopped
  • 1 very ripe banana, sliced
  • 3/4 cup blueberries (I keep a bag of frozen on-hand at all times)
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 plain low fat yogurt
  • 3/4 cup (366 g) egg whites

DIRECTIONS

  • Assemble all ingredients but yogurt and egg whites, in a medium pot, mix well, cover and let soak over night. The soaking isn’t necessary, but it sure beats chopping and measuring in the early morning!)
  • Pour egg whites into a microwave-safe dish. Store in fridge over night.
  • First thing when you wake up in the morning, take egg whites from fridge and place into microwave.
  • Stir oats and cook at temperature 3 (low-medium). Go hop in the shower and get ready for the day!
  • Stir once after 30 minutes and let cook for 1o more minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low to keep warm until you’re ready to serve.
  • Microwave eggs on high for 4-5 minutes, depending on your microwave.
  • Use a fork to release egg from edges of dish. Turn dish upside down onto plate and divide into servings.
  • Crack a whole lot of pepper on the eggs for flavour, or explore your spice cupboard.
  • Place oats in serving dishes and top with yogurt.
  • Serve and enjoy the best way to start the day!

 

 

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Makes 4 servings (of which Dave eats 3!).

Oats & Yogurt

Per serving: 249 calories, 47 g carbs (11 g sugars), 3 g fat, 7 g protein, 8 g fibre

Egg Whites

Per serving:  43 calories, 10 g protein and that’s it!