Cannellini Bean Brownies

If you have spent any time with me at all, you know that I LOVE chocolate.  In particular, I LOVE brownies, they hold a special place in my heart (but that is another story).  I needed a healthier option than the boxed brownies you can pick up at the store – but it still had to be easy.  This recipe actually has some nutrients, can be made with stuff I keep in my pantry, and takes care of my brownie cravings. You may recognize this recipe from the Dessert Competition.  A version of this recipe submitted by Upstate BirthNetwork, from Chocolate Covered Katie, tied for second place.  I found out by necessity (my craving for brownies crept up on me) that you can swap out the black beans for cannellini beans with nearly identical results.  So here, you go brownie lovers! Ingredients: 1 1/2C cannellini beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well) (250g after draining) 2T cocoa powder- dutch or regular (10g) (add a little extra if desired) 1/2C quick oats (40g) 1/4t salt 1/3C pure maple syrup or agave (Honey will work, but not for strict vegans.) (75g) 2 nunaturals stevia packs or 2 tbsp sugar (or omit and increase maple syrup to 1/2 cup) 1/4C coconut or vegetable oil (40g) 2t pure vanilla extract 1/2t baking powder 1/2C to 2/3C chocolate chips (115-140g) (Not optional. Omit at your own risk.) Optional: more chips, for presentation Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well. (A blender can work if you absolutely must, but the texture—and even the taste—will be much better in a food processor.) Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top. Cook 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. Makes 9-12 GLUTEN-FREE brownies. Notes: The original recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie, and the one that earned second place in the Dessert Competition calls for black beans rather than cannellini beans.  I didn’t have enough black beans to make black bean burgers for dinner AND make the brownies last week so I had to substitute cannellini beans in the brownies.  Terrific results! I have used rolled oats when I didn’t have any quick oats.  You will probably not get as smooth of...
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Nourishing your Body Series: Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Living

This week we have another installment of the Nourishing your Body series.  Our last post, by Norah, focused on gluten-free living.  This post continues to expand on gluten-free living, but also adds in a new component – casein-free living.  The Gluten-free, Casein-free (GFCF) diet has many wonderful benefits, especially for those with autism.  Before we go any further let me introduce Rachel, our guest blogger this week.  Rachel is married and has one son. After having success with the GFCF Diet, she started GoGFCF.com, a website dedicated to making it easier to start and succeed with the GFCF Diet. She is also the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Recipe Expert atStockpilingmoms.com. In addition to these endeavors, Rachel recently became certified as a L.E.A.N. Health Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute and offers a 6-week, online nutrition course that is tailored to the GFCF Diet. Finally, as a mom concerned about her family’s nutrition she is a distributor for Juice Plus (http://www.gogfcf.juiceplus.com), a whole food supplement that bridges the gap between our actual daily intake of fruits and vegetables and the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables. I hope you will read below for more information on eating a gluten-free, casein-free diet, the benefits and challenges Rachel and her family have experienced, and check out the recipe that has become one of her favorites. Can you describe what it means to be gluten-free, casein-free for those readers unfamiliar with it? Glutens are plant proteins in the subclass monocotyledonae, found in wheat, semolina, bulgur, couscous, wheat berries, graham flour, whole meal flour, groats, malt, oats, barley, rye, triticale, and possibly spelt and kamut. Gluten is elastic and provides the stretchiness necessary in making yeast and non-yeast breads. Gluten-containing grains are the most common ingredients in breads, pastas, crackers, cookies, cakes, pretzels, matzah, Passover flour, farfel, cream sauces, thickening agents, and breading. Gluten derivatives are also found in malt, modified food starches, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), textured vegetable proteins (TVPs), and dextrin, and they are used in the following, unless labeled ‘gluten-free’: soy sauce, flavorings, instant coffee, some ketchups, mustards, commercial mixes, caked decorations, marshmallow creme, canned soups, deli meats, sausage, and hot dogs. Products labeled as corn bread or rice pasta may contain glutens unless otherwise labeled. Gluten is also found in some of the binders and fillers found in vitamins and medications, and even pastes and glues on envelope flaps....
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Nourishing your Body: Gluten-Free Living

This week starts off a series of posts written by friends, fellow L.E.A.N. Health Coaches, and children of friends.  There are a lot of ways to nourish your body through food.  Everywhere we turn there is a different “diet”, “meal plan”, or gimmick.  I wish I could say that one thing will work for everyone, but that simply isn’t true.  Some can’t eat dairy, some can’t consume animal products, some individuals are intolerant to gluten, and some are just looking for a way to be as healthy as possible in their busy lives.  Although there are a lot of gimmicks out there, there are also some really terrific focused diets that allow each person to find a personalized way to nourish their body, mind, and soul with food. This first post comes from Norah.  Over the last year I have gotten to spend some time talking with this adventurous, thoughtful, and really really knowledgeable 7-year-old.  She wants to be a dolphin trainer when she grows up, and you know what?  I think she would be a terrific dolphin trainer!  When you ask Norah about herself she will tell you that she has already lost 8 teeth, likes brussel sprouts, and loves art and music classes.  Norah made the decision to go gluten-free several weeks ago and has really been pleased with the results.  Read below for more information on eating a gluten-free diet, the benefits and challenges Norah has experienced, and check out the recipe that has become one of her favorites. Can you describe what it means to be gluten-free for those readers unfamiliar with it? It means you can’t eat wheat.  Sometimes lots of artificial foods have hidden gluten in them. What made you choose the gluten-free “diet” in particular?  Well, I had dark circles under my eyes and bumpy skin on my arms and legs.  Also, my stomach felt yucky a lot. What surprised you most about being gluten-free? I started feeling better right away.  My circles went away and my skin is getting smoother. What do you think would be most surprising to someone just starting out on a gluten-free diet? I was surprised that my gluten free bread tasted better than my old whole wheat bread. What are your favorite resources/sources of information on gluten-free (how did you learn about it)?  I use an app called Fooducate for Allergies.  You can scan the barcode...
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