Faux Chocolate Chip Blondies

I am tired of baking with sugar sugar sugar and white flour which is like sugar.  I found a dessert recipe with chickpeas and peanut butter and I modified it and made it for the family.  They were so-so about it but I think it is because of the peanut butter taste. Kids these days just don’t like good ol’ PB. It’s actually kind of sad.

Chick peas are a protein-carbohydrate food and they add the perfect moisture to these faux blondies. You can reduce or omit the chocolate chips altogether for a healthier version.

Nothing like home baked goodness instead of boxed processed junk. (D the Intern made these to bring to work and they were happily devoured!)

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Faux and Flourless 

Chocolate Chip Blondies

1 cup smooth natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 can of chick peas (drained and rinsed)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place all ingredients except chocolate chips into a food processor and blend until very smooth.
Put in chocolate chips and pulse a few times until mixed in.
Pour batter into an 8”x8” greased pan.
Bake for 30 minutes. 


Note: The blondies in these photos were marbled by melting the chocolate chips in a double boiler first and later stirred in. This proved more difficult than expected because the chickpea mixture is very thick. The melted chocolate didn’t marble that nicely. Either way, it ended up being delicious!

Try it and let us know how it turns out and if you liked it!

 

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Black Bean Brownies

Cooking time: 25 minutes Makes 16 squares

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Ingredients
1 can of black beans drained and rinsed
3 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
2 TBSP vanilla extract (the real stuff)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1.5 Tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips (if desired)

Cooking Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Put all ingredients in a food processor (except chocolate chips) and mix until smooth
Feed chocolate chips through the top chute with quick on and off pulses
Poor mixture into a well greased 8″ x 8″ pan

Chocolate

Valentine’s day is approaching.  It appears to me that there are more red hearts and cellophane delights than Halloween.  I guess it gives people an excuse to eat chocolate and maybe even say I love you?

The nutrition question that I get asked most in February, is chocolate good for you?  Many people wonder this.  Surf the web and numerous articles will pop up pertaining to this issue.  To put it simply chocolate that is made from 70% or more cocoa, has health benefits associated with it.  These health benefits are derived from the antioxidants found in the the cocoa solids called flavonoids.

Antioxidants are important because they fight the free radicals produced in our bodies. Free radicals can cause a plethora of health problems.  A diet rich in fruits and vegetables contain a very high source of antioxidants.  So don’t really on chocolate to do the job!

Chocolate with less than 70% cocoa usually has fewer of these antioxidants and more milk solids and fats which are not associated with health benefits.  The classic milk chocolate bar is a treat and cannot be considered a source of antioxidants (that includes the Aero Bar).  In contrast, 10 grams of dark chocolate a day contributes approximately 50 calories and packs quite a flavorful punch.

Here are some yummy chocolatey  ideas.  Jazz up plain yogurt with dark chocolate shavings. Now that is decadent.  Try sucking on a piece of dark chocolate while sipping tea.  It might become a regular ritual. Have you ever tried a nut-butter sandwich with dark chocolate shavings? Mmmmmm  A skinny latte sprinkled with dark chocolate is better than sugar!  Whip up an exotic vegetable salad and use coconut and chocolate flecks for extra flavour.  Instead of the dreaded Nutella over toast in the morning sprinkle some chocolate.

Remember, everything in moderation is the way to go.  When you have too much of something that is good for you then it often has the reverse effect. Too much dark chocolate equals too many calories.

Flavoured Milk for Kids? Are You Kidding Me?

Every year I go to the Dairy Farmer’s Symposium and I always look forward to it.  It’s a chance to re-connect with ol’ nutrition buddies from McGill and other dietitians I’ve met over the years.  It’s also free and I get points for continuing education.

The same thing happens every year.  I get there and I see my friends, we catch up and all is good.  Then the conference starts and the first speaker seems interesting. Then the next speaker starts and I start to feel uncomfortable.  Then I remember this expensive symposium is payed for in its entirety by the Dairy Farmers of Canada.  The whole point of this conference is to get dieticians across Canada recommending dairy products left, right and centre to every patient, client, friend, family member and person they come in contact with.

They do this by finding speakers who present their research with a strong bias towards dairy.  Now do not get me wrong, I am not bashing milk.  Milk has merit and we will get to that in an upcoming blog.  Today, I take serious issue when the information presented is trying to convince me to recommend flavoured milk to kids.  The American speaker presented research indicating that removing flavoured milk from some USA schools actually reduces essential nutrients.  Apparently, there is no other way to provide these essential nutrients such as  calcium, vitamin D and potassium other than through flavoured milk.  I think this is a joke. My children go to the English Montreal School Board and are provided with regular white milk 3 to 5 times a week. Never have these children been given flavoured milk at school.

Flavoured milk has its place and I do recommend it in certain situations.  But the message that was presented today was that flavoured milk is nutritious.  Flavoured milk is milk with ADDED sugar. Herein lies the problem.  As a nation, we over consume sugar.  Everyone, including myself eats too much sugar.  It is in everything,  cereals, condiments, drinks, grain products, added to coffee, candy, chocolate and many other foods.  Sugar is the enemy. It leads to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. We need to teach our children to moderate their intake of added sugars.  We need to moderate our own intake.

Instead of criticizing American schools for removing flavoured milk, why not provide serious education to the children of these schools along with their families on proper nutrition.  If regular education is part of the system perhaps the children will actually eat the foods that would provide them with the nutrients they need. Didn’t Jamie Oliver try this?  Wasn’t it effective?

The bottom line is this, if parents think that flavoured milk is nutritious then they will give it to their children.  Kids will never have the opportunity to develop a taste for plain old white milk.  As they grow, kids will always need added sugar in their milk.

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

I discovered this chocolate cake cake recipe with an interesting twist. The recipe uses beetroot as a sweetener which lowers the amount of sugar in it! I think the idea is great to use to practice reducing sugar use.

I have a list of things that I think are weird enough to be cool. (Like a platypus? How is it part duck, part frog, part beaver? That’s not the case of seals though…) Anyways, I think beetroot in cake was weird enough to be cool so I decided to try it out and see. Hope you all enjoy!

Dry Ingredients (Combine First!)
– 1½ cups self-rising flour (buy it! Or make it yourself!)
– 1/4 cup finely ground almonds
– 5 tbsps cocoa powder
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1/4 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients (Combine Second, Then add Dry Ingredients)
– 3 large eggs
– 3/4 cup sugar
– ½ cup beets, peeled and finely grated
– ½ cup buttermilk (buy it! Or make it yourself with white vinegar)
– 2 tbsps strong black coffee

For the icing, you need:
– ½ cup dark chocolate, cut into pieces (melted on a double boiler)
– 2 tbsps strong black coffee
– 2 tbsps honey

self-rising flour (can be bought pre-mixed or for every cup of flour, add 1.5 tsps of baking powder and 0.5 tsps of salt)

Notice the whole wheat flour? 😉

Make the icing in a double boiler, chocolate is really sensitive to burning.

Happy Birthday to me!

Some tips: Use an 8′ springform pan if you have one. If you don’t like really really dark chocolate, use milk chocolate in your icing! Or maybe instead of 3/4 cup sugar for the cake, use 1 1/4 cup. This cake rises a lot so it serves up to maybe 15 people or more, so it’s a lot!! And if whole wheat is too much for you, split it half whole wheat and half white flour!

Another idea: make a raspberry couli to go with the cake, all you need is fresh/frozen rapsberries, syrup/honey and a blender.

Hope the summer heat is bearable for you all and, for those of you who went out to see F1, hope you all liked it! 🙂 I love Montreal!!!!

– D the Intern

Food of the Gods

I was at the health food store the other day picking up some moisturizer and while waiting in line I spied a bag of chocolate.  I thought to myself, what can I use this for?  I’ve been baking a lot lately and thought maybe they would go well in some chocolate chips cookies.  I brought the bag to the cash and the girl asked me what I planned on doing with them.  I said maybe baking and then she warned me of their bitter taste.

Being the type of person who needs instant gratification, I got into the car and ripped the bag open.  I grabbed a few nuggets of what is supposed to be the food of the gods and tasted it.  I nearly spit it out.  I wondered how the connection was made that this stuff could be combined with other ingredients to make it heavenly.  Chocolate in it’s raw form tastes  well, ick.  However, The mouth feel of raw chocolate is exceptional.  It’s crunchy with the right amount of smoothness.  But it does taste very bitter.

Some experts believe this a superfood.  I think if you like chocolate it might be fun to experiment with raw cocoa.  I have been adding about a tablespoon to my oatmeal.  I also add frozen blueberries and cinnamon.  I find this combination very flavorful.   I also tried it in my tea.  I added about a teaspoon of the raw cocoa to my tea bag along with some very aromatic rooibos leaves.  The cocoa gave a nice subtle yet surprisingly non-bitter flavor.

Sometimes trying something new even for a short period of time has it’s benefits.   I am not sure I will re-buy this again or even put it in a cookie dough batter.  All I know is that I had to try it.  I was curious about this power food and now I know what it is like.   I am enjoying it in my oatmeal and will likely finish the bag.

Just Steal it. You are going to anyway…..

Long before I was a dietitian I was a kid who enjoyed Halloween.  It was better than any holiday known to man.  The buildup was exciting. We spent weeks planning the right costume and begging the parents to supply the other kids who came to the door with chocolate bars.  The anticipation was the best.

The night would arrive and my brother and I would head out to Trick or Treat in our neighborhood.  We hoped for an excessive amount of candy made up mostly of Caramilk, Wonderbars and  Lick-a-Maid.  Then we would get home and dump it all out and start the commerce part of the night.  I would try and trick my brother into trading my gross candy for his premium goods.  This is stuff that memories are made of.

We all know Halloween candy is bad for our us.  You don’t need a dietitian or a dentist to tell you that.  It’s made up mostly of sugar and food additives.  Is there really any point in trying to dissuade kids from eating eat?  They don’t care.  Over the years I have found a few ways to manage this problem.  My favorite way is stealing.  I like to pilfer the good stuff before they notice it’s gone.  Other methods include doling out the candy day by day until it is completely gone.  I even tried the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory method.  I encouraged them to eat as much candy as they wanted.  My oldest turned green and the exercise became futile as he soldiered on.  This year I will try the “you are responsible for your own body” technique.  Perhaps, they will use self control and limit the candy intake to a moderate amount making it easier for me to steal the chocolate bars.  I plan on saving the Wonderbars for my brother.  Richard can have those yucky candies wrapped in Halloween paper.