Brownies with Black Beans!

Posted by on Oct 23, 2010 in Cooking at Home, Recipes | 0 comments

I recently was giving a talk at a local company about health & wellness topics. In the process of our fun discussions, one of the attendees mentioned that he’d recently tried brownies made with black beans instead of white flour. In the same breath, he also said they were surprisingly delicious.

So as a curious Health Coach, I thought there would be some major upsides to finding a good recipe for Black Bean Brownies. First, many different nutritional approaches agree on the potential health dangers of overdoing white flour and white sugar. Any chance to reduce those ingredients (with delicious results) is a plus by me.

Next I looked at 10-15 recipes (thank you search engines!), and found one that also eliminated white sugar. Might as well go for the healthier options out there … right? In this recipe, the white or brown refined sugars are replaced by agave nectar. According to some sources, agave nectar has advantages – including less processing which makes it more natural and more appropriate for kids. (But be aware there are dissenting opinions too!) And please understand that this recipe not a low-calorie alternative – plenty of butter is included along with the agave and beans, etc.

Baking with agave takes a little knowledge, but thankfully this recipe makes it easy. Perhaps because of the agave, the brownie texture is very fudgy. If you like a more cake-like texture, these may not be for you. And they are more solid after cooling completely, or even a few hours of refrigeration.

I also decided to see if my family figured out that these were a healthier brownie alternative … so I kept the details a secret. So far, no one has guessed! And we all like the taste and texture.

Here’s the recipe! Try it and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Amazing Black Bean Brownies

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Roasted Root Vegetables Recipe

Posted by on Oct 12, 2010 in Cooking at Home, Recipes | 1 comment

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25-35 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings

1 sweet potato
2 parsnips
2 carrots
2 turnips or 1 large rutabaga
1 daikon radish (or substitute/add in your favorites, like squash)
olive oil
salt and pepper
herbs: rosemary, thyme or sage (fresh if possible)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Wash and chop all vegetables into large bite-sized pieces.
3. Place in a large baking dish with sides.
4. Drizzle with olive oil; mix well to coat each vegetable lightly with oil.
5. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs.
6. Bake uncovered for 25-35 minutes until vegetables are tender and golden brown, checking every 10 minutes to stir and make sure veggies are not sticking.

Note: Any combination of vegetables will work. Roasting only one kind of vegetable also makes a nice side dish.

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Healthy, Happy and Yummy Vegetable Pie

Posted by on Sep 2, 2010 in Cooking at Home, Recipes | 2 comments

Can't you just taste the deliciousness?!!

At this point in the year, I’m looking for great ways to use the large quantities of delicious veggies I have in the kitchen. Last weekend, I found a fabulous recipe for Farmland Vegetable Pie at Epicurious. This has long been one of my favorite online recipe sources. Most of the time the reviews are helpful and serve to suggest ways to make the recipe better. Some recipes are definitely geared toward excess, and others towards moderation and health. So taking a little care when choosing will benefit your health goals – while still giving you great ideas!

But let me tell you about this pie! It was absolutely fantastic … no really, fantastic! I got to use about five ingredients from local farms. And it’s so vegetable-oriented – not focused on gobs of cheese sauce like many vegetarian recipes. The crust is like having a thin, savory slice of cornbread with every bite. The grated cheese & hard-boiled eggs (no sauce ingredients!) adds just enough protein to be hearty without overdoing the saturated fats. And they are saturated fats, so use caution or make substitutions if you watch your cholesterol.

The first night we had just the pie and bit of salad for dinner. And we were stuffed. Another night we had a smaller slice of the veggie pie as a side dish. And it also served as several lunches. After 4 days the crust was still crispy and the filling got more flavorful as it went along.

This would make a great dish for a party or a pack-your-own lunch day!

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Marinated Kale Salad

Posted by on Aug 11, 2010 in Recipes | 0 comments

Recently a friend was discussing a kale soup recipe she had tried. Keeping in mind that she was making soup in August … it wasn’t a rewarding as she had hoped for. Adding kale to soup is a terrific was to use it, and to learn to love its flavor profile. One of my favorites is a kale and white bean soup, which I generally modify to include whatever related veggies are in my kitchen. But I think I’ll save that for fall and winter … in the meantime, here’s my favorite summertime way to use kale.

Kale is one of the sweetest greens, and a good place to start if you are trying to add more greens to your diet. This salad is easy to make, delicious and will keep well in the refrigerator. So much richer in minerals than your typical salad, and more satisfying too!

Can be modified with a variety of ingredients based on what you have on hand.


1 bunch kale (dinosaur or curly types both work), stems removed and ripped into bite sized pieces
Onions: red onion, very thinly sliced – or chives, shallots or green onions
Vegetables: zucchini, yellow squash or whatever fresh choices on hand
Fruit: especially good with gala or other sweet apples, in small chunks
Beans: lentils or garbanzo beans go especially well with kale
Avocados, to taste and in small chunks


3/4 cup olive or flax oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. Celtic sea salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (add after massaging the salad)
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)

Pour the olive or flax oil right onto the torn kale leaves, and sprinkle with the sea salt. Use your hands to massage and squeeze the kale. This will work the salt and oil in and help to make the kale tender. Continue to knead the salad until it begins to soften.

Just before serving, add the lemon juice, diced vegetables, fruit, avocado, beans, cayenne, and garlic. Do not add the lemon ahead of time, as it will change the kale from “fresh green” to an “army green.” Mix well and serve. 
This salad gets better as it sits. It will last for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator.

The salad that inspired journey with this recipe

(Adapted From Elaina’s Pure Joy Kitchen Recipe Book)

© 2010 Bodyworks Integrative Health, LLC

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Watermelon-infused Gazpacho

Posted by on Aug 5, 2010 in Cooking at Home, Recipes | 0 comments

Gazpacho is one of my favorite summer soups. Several years ago, I had a bowl at the wonderful restaurant where my brother-in-law works. It was hands down the best gazpacho I’ve ever had, and while I’m unlikely to duplicate their recipe, I’ve tried to incorporate some of the flavors in my own recipe.

The primary difference is the use of watermelon juice to balance the acidity of the tomatoes in the broth. And the restaurant also had a wonderful presentation — offering the diner a bowl with the finely diced vegetables and then adding the broth table side. While I can’t always follow the presentation, I do keep the broth separate from the vegetables until serving. This helps to keep the veggies crisp and fresh, which is such an advantage!

Here’s my recipe:

2 cups tomato juice
2 cups watermelon juice
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 T Happy Hal’s Jalapeno Relish
1 medium sweet onion (candy, Texas sweet or Vidalia)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 medium sweet onion (candy, Texas sweet or Vidalia)
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
Celtic sea salt, to taste

Fresh-juiced tomato and watermelon is best. Whole watermelons will liquefy in most blenders if you don’t have a juicer available. Bottled tomato juice is your best substitute.

Mix together the juices, garlic, Happy Hal’s, onion, vinegar, oil and sea salt in the blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

Mix remaining ingredients together in a bowl. If you like a less chunky soup, run ingredients through blender or food processor until just slightly chunky.

Recommend making both parts of this recipe ahead at least four hours to let flavors combine. Vegetables can be stored separate from broth so that they stay crisper.

Optional garnishes: finely diced fresh avocado; small spoonful of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

© 2010 Bodyworks Integrative Health, LLC

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