Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Delightfully Free goes to the Health Fair

This post originally appeared on May 27, 2011. Since that time, I have improved the  recipe. Here it is, better than ever, and as it will appear in the book. I know you'll love them.

Recently I had the opportunity to talk about Delightfully Free at a local health fair organized by Yorba Linda Friend's Church in Yorba Linda, CA. I came ready with some samples for everyone and plenty of information about my upcoming cookbook. And I had a blast. 

As people came and went from trying out classes featuring all sorts of topics, ranging from Yoga, Pilates, zumba, spinning, nutrition, cooking to even belly dancing, I had the privilege of talking one to one with many of them about the value of clean and healthy eating, more specifically, about eating gluten, dairy and sugar free. Frankly, there was quite a stir at my table because I was the only presenter to show up to the health fair with a large basket full of brownies—my GF, DF and sugar-free Black Bean Brownies! Like most everyone, the people I met were very interested and intrigued by the idea of eating foods that taste delicious, even indulgent, but are, in fact, extremely healthy and beneficial.

But really, the proof is in the pudding...or, in this case, “in the brownies.” Over and over again, as the attendees bit into one of my chewy chocolate brownies, their response was something like, “This brownie is delicious! I can't believe it's good for me!” Or “Oh my gosh, did you say that there is no refined sugar in this brownie?” To which, I would happily respond, “Nope, no refined sugar, but there is a can of black beans in there!”  It was at this point that many people exclaimed, “I want my friend to try one of these! She'd never guess what's in them!” It was a really fun event and it was great to meet everyone there.

So, while I can't offer a basket of samples here on my blog, I can give you this delicious recipe which, really, is an even better treat because you'll get to see how totally easy it really is to cook GF, DF, sugar-free foods like these Black Bean Brownies.  These brownies are a great example of how the GF, DF and sugar-free foods found in Delightfully Free truly taste great, are easy to prepare and, thanks to their awesome health benefits, far outshine the “traditional” versions. For example, the main ingredient found in my Black Bean Brownies really is an entire can of black beans. Next major ingredient, you ask? That would be eggs, another healthy and whole food. Instead of loading up with bleached, refined white flour (which is no longer a food, but a health hazard), these brownies have absolutely no flour of any kind. And of course with typical brownies, there is the issue of using all that refined white sugar. But my brownies don’t have that issue because I never use it. Instead, all of the recipes in my cookbook use only natural sweeteners. My brownies only have about 9g of unrefined, completely natural sugar per serving (for comparison, consider that a medium-sized apple has about 16g of natural sugar*), and unlike typical brownies, can be enjoyed without the negative effects of refined, processed sugar on the body. Also, where else will you find a brownie that delivers about 3.2g of protein and 2g of fiber while tasting as delightful as mine do? ;)

Imagine the looks on the faces of your family and friends when you put a plate full of them out and say, “Have as many as you like! They’re good for you!”

Want the recipe? Here it is:

Black Bean Brownies
Makes 24 

2   large eggs
1   15 oz can black beans, rinsed well using a wire strainer, and drained on a paper towel
1    Tbsp water
1/3  cup grapeseed oil
¼   tsp sea salt
2    tsp vanilla
¾   cup coconut palm sugar
¼   cup agave nectar
¾   tsp liquid stevia
½   tsp xanthan gum
¾   cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1    tsp baking soda
1½ tsp aluminum-free, gluten-free baking powder
 ½  cup chopped toasted almonds or walnuts
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks, optional**

Preheat oven to 350°. Brush or spray a 9x13 inch pan with grapeseed oil. In a blender or food processor, blend the eggs for 10 seconds, then add the beans and blend for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the blender with a silicone spatula as needed.
Next, add all remaining ingredients except for the chocolate chips or chunks, and nuts, if desired. Process 2-3 minutes until all is thoroughly blended. Stir in the chocolate chips or chunks and nuts, if desired. Pour the batter into the pan. Sprinkle with additional nuts, if desired, and bake 16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.


**Some options include Chocolate Dream Semi-Sweet Baking Chips, Endangered Species All-Natural Dark Chocolate Bars, Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Mini Chips, Equal Exchange Organic Very Dark Chocolate Bars, Sunspire Organic Bittersweet Chocolate Chips or Love Street Organic Coconut Crystal Chocolate Bars. The bars should be cut into small bits by using the point of a sharp knife, working on a cutting board.