Black Bean Brownies

Black beans in brownies?? YES!

This trend has been around for a few years now. The first time I made black bean brownies was in 2015…I was getting ready to pack up my car and move to California to attend Loma Linda University to become a registered dietitian.  Before I left for school, I made my family a special treat…and I didn’t tell them what was in it…

Now, I am going to give you a little background on my childhood…when I was a little girl, maybe 6 or 7, I LOVED “playing” in my mom’s kitchen experimenting with foods…that could be why I decided to become a dietitian and do recipe development professionally!

I can remember making a jello dessert and putting what I thought was orange zest in it for a little extra flavor…turns out I was zesting too much and ended up putting the orange peeling in it instead…and my brothers never let me forget it! They’re always kind of afraid to try new foods I make despite the fact that I’ve gotten wayyyyy better at recipe development.

Back to before I moved away, I made a special dessert for my last night in North Carolina…I made black bean brownies. After everyone took a bite and decided they tasted good, I had them guess what they thought was in it…no one knew!

“Black beans!” Course, we grew up eating beans so my brothers weren’t too put off…but my sister-in-law was like “Ew, gross” and decided they were not fit to eat. However, everyone else LOVED them, and you will to!

 

I’ve adapted my recipe over the years. Today I am using black beans and sweet potato in this recipe and I guarantee you will love it! Fudgey, smooth, and perfect for a warm, brownie sundae!

Black Bean Brownies

  • Servings: 16 squares
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

1 can black beans

1/2 c almond flour

1/2 c sweet potato

1/2 c unsweetened apple sauce

1/4+ 2 tbs maple syrup

2 T cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 T vanilla

1/2 c dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Drain and rinse black beans very well.
  3. Add to high powered blender or food processor.
  4. Add almond flour, sweet potato, unsweetened applesauce, maple syrup, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and vanilla to blender/food processor.
  5. Blend until smooth.
  6. Add to mixing bowl and fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Pour mixture into greased baking dish.
  8. Sprinkle more chocolate chips on top.
  9. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes.
  10. If brownies are still goopy, bake for additional 5-10 minutes and let cool. The batter will thicken as it cools.
  11. Enjoy!!!

Have you ever tried black bean brownies ??

Until next time,

Happy Chewing!

Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Follow me one social media!

@livebetterwithkatdetter

 

 

Garlicky Spinach Dip

Who loves spinach dip?? 🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️

What if I told you I’ve got a healthy spinach dip recipe?? Using tons of fresh spinach and garlic and instead of mayo or sour cream (like traditional spinach dip), I use nonfat Greek yogurt.

Greek yogurt is packed with protein which makes this appetizer more nutrient dense than traditional spinach dip.

For even more creaminess, I use Neufchâtel cheese. Essentially, it’s low fat cream cheese…I choose to use low fat animal products because they are lower in saturated fat. While our body needs fat, saturated fat (found in animal products) may increase total body cholesterol.

See full printable recipe details below, and be sure to tag @livebetterwithkatdetter in your creations!

Healthy Spinach Dip

  • Servings: 8 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1-8 ounce block of Neufchâtel cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Additional add ins: fresh broccoli and artichokes work well in the recipe too!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add spinach, garlic, Greek yogurt, Neufchâtel cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, onion powder, garlic salt, and Italian seasoning.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Add to baking dish and top with more cheese.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for one hour or until bubbly. Let dip “rest” to thicken up.
  6. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips and fresh veggies!
  7. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite type of dip?

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!

Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Connect with me on social media!

FB & Pinterest: Live Better with Kat Detter

IG: @livebetterwithkatdetter

Kale Shakshuka

You guys, I’ve been wanting to try this “shakshuka” thing for a while…

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Shakshuka is a traditional African dish of poached eggs in a simmering tomato sauce…however, thanks to Molly Yeh, I was inspired to try the kale shakshuka version.

 

See Molly Yeh’s original recipe here– my recipe is adapted from hers.

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Kale Shakshuka

  • Servings: 2 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves fresh Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups fresh Kale, washed & chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • Feta Cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a cast iron skillet, add oil and saute garlic. Add kale.
  3. Allow kale to cook down. Once slightly wilted, add vegetable broth.
  4. Salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Once cooked down, make 2 wells in kale mixture and crack eggs into wells.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-20 minutes (depending on how you like the yolk)
  7. Serve with crusty bread, roasted potatoes, or any other favorite breakfast side dish.

 

Enjoy!

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Follow me on social media!
Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube: Live Better with Kat Detter

Instagram: @betterwithkatdetter_rd

4 Grocery Shopping Tips

“It’s that time of the week again: No food in the fridge. I feel like I just went to the store! Has it really been a whole week?”

Do you all ever feel this way? You’re out of all your fresh produce and proteins and feel like there is nothing in the house to eat. I totally get that feeling.

Today I am going to give you an idea of how I tackle grocery shopping. Call me crazy, but I LOVE grocery shopping. I find enjoyment in taking my time to go through the store, look at the sales, and score some trendy food-finds.

Ø  Make a list.

This step is 100% necessary for me because nothing is worse than coming home to cook dinner and realizing you are missing an ingredient. Not only that, but you want to also make sure you have all the food you need for the week. With my husband and I both working full time jobs, the last thing we want to do after a long day is go to the store.

Ø  Know what to put on that list.

I am not a “meal prepper”, but I am a “meal planner”.  I try to get an idea of what we are going to eat throughout the week for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. I also like to have quick go-to ingredients on hand in case of emergencies. Neither one of us are big on snacking, but sometimes I need something nutritiously satisfying to get me through the afternoon before my workout. I also think about if we will be dining out any that week, in which case I will not have to plan as many meals.

Ø  Check sales.

Being recently married and paying for all of my own stuff, this is something I never take lightly! I love to save money where I can. Most grocery stores list their weekly sales online, so take a look. Otherwise, grab that pamphlet with all the deals as you walk inside the store. It takes an extra minute, but you will be happy you checked.

Ø  Do not go shopping while hungry.

You. Will. Regret. It. Take it from a person who gets hangry, shopping while hungry never turns out well. A few things can happen. On the one hand, you could potentially stock up more on foods you typically would never buy because they “sound good”. News flash: Everything sounds good when you’re hungry. On the other hand, if you get hangry like me, chances are your grocery shopping experience will result in aggravation, irritation, moodiness-and quite possibly may ruin your day.

Those are some key things I keep in mind before going shopping. Now let me tell you what a typical shopping trip looks like for me!

*~*

What are some of your go-to items at the grocery store? Do you have any tips you’d like to share?

Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!

Until Next Time

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Follow me on social media!

“DIET”…It’s a bad word

woman measuring her waist
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

How many of you have gone on a diet?  To be honest, who hasn’t?  In the past, I have definitely tried different fad diets. When I was a young teenager, I told myself I would only eat fruit to lose weight. As I got older, I thought restricting my calorie intake through skipping meals, only eating almonds and carrot sticks for lunch, and exercising all the time would make me lose weight.   Do you want to know what the outcome of all these “diets” were?  I lost weight! But, as soon as I lost the weight and started eating real foods again, I gained it all back. You see, the problem was not that I was eating ‘bad foods’–it was that I did not know how to eat.  I did not understand how the body works and why it needs energy.

Let’s look at some popular diets and see what they all have in common.  In general, when people “diet” they are on a special food plan and usually restrict certain food items solely to lose weight.  Diets like Atkins, NutriSystem, and Jenny Craig are specific, planned out meals that are sent to the consumer ready to eat (with minimal preparation involved).  These programs are carefully thought out by their inventors generally based on calories—calories in, calories out.  These programs for sure can help you lose weight, but when we stop purchasing these products, we don’t know how to eat for ourselves. People get in the routine of the prepackaged meal that when it comes down to a free-range way of eating, we don’t know where to begin.

Weight Watchers is one of those diets where you kind of have free range in what you eat as long as you keep up with the points system. This diet does give you ‘free range’ to choose what you want – but what happens when you’re out of points for the day and you’re hungry? You restrict until morning. We can get so preoccupied on that point system to where we become obsessed with food but not in a healthy way. It is a constant battle of “oh this has 10 points, and I am only allotted 23 in one day” or “fruits are free! I can eat as much as I want to”.

Another somewhat recent diet immersion is the keto diet. I scroll through Facebook and Pinterest and see keto recipes and products that made me wonder…are people really putting their bodies in ketosis to lose weight?

Ketosis is a metabolic state characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies in body tissues.  This is usually the result of a diet that is very, very low in carbohydrates.

In my profession, the keto diet is primarily used in children who are diagnosed with epilepsy. The thought behind the keto diet for epilepsy and some other nervous system diseases is to utilize ketone bodies (made from fat) instead of glucose (from carbohydrates) to help reduce seizures. Typically, our bodies utilize glucose to make energy,  but when we restrict glucose (and I mean truly restrict carbohydrate intake), our bodies go into a mode of starvation-ketosis. Scientists are still researching exactly how it can help seizures, but statistics show that the keto diet truly only benefits about 1/3 of people who have epilepsy.

Below is a diagram of what a true keto diet for epilepsy consists of.

photo found at https://medium.com/@beepucsd/sports-performance-altered-by-ketogenic-diet-4d04898b3afe

This diet is majorly fat, little bit of protein, and even less carbohydrates. Though this may benefit someone with a nervous system disease, for the average American, this diet may not be the answer.

Many people on a true keto diet may struggle with constipation because the diet is heavily fats and extremely low in carbohydrates, meaning fiber is difficult to get unless supplemented.

Sources of fiber: fruits, grains, vegetables which brings me to my next point.

10-Important-Tips-for-Digestive-Health
photo found at https://www.medicalindiatourism.com/blog/tips-digestive-health.html

Many of us know what foods contain carbs. Grains and fruits contain about 15 grams of carbohydrate per serving.  In the keto diet, 1 serving of carbs is about all you would be eating daily. However, people generally do not think about vegetables containing carbs. Vegetables contain about 5 grams of carbs per serving.  One half a cup of cooked broccoli contains 5 grams of carbs, but let’s be real…who only eats 1 serving of cooked broccoli?  I know I eat at least 1 full cup which would contain 10 grams of carbs…but that is okay. There are so many other vital nutrients in vegetables (and fruits) that our body truly needs!  Fiber, vitamins, minerals, CARBOHYDRATES.

Carbs are the body’s main source of energy, and when you restrict carbs to lose weight, it can hinder the metabolic process. Take it from me. I have restricted, and I have lost weight, but it was not until I found mindful & intuitive eating that I was finally able to find my body’s natural ‘happy weight’- or set point weight. You see, the more a person restricts, the harder it gets for the body’s metabolism to work the way God intended it to.  The older we get, the slower our metabolism is, especially if we have spent our lifetime restricting vital nutrients.

A GREAT BOOST FOR YOUR METABOLISM
photo found at https://thecalorieninja.com/tag/weight-loss

Many of you may be thinking, “how do I make this lifestyle change when we live in a world that promotes dieting?”

 You see, the reason I hate the word “diet” is because I constantly hear people say “oh, I am starting my diet tomorrow” or “I’m trying to lose weight…I should go on a diet”, but we really shouldn’t be.  One of the most enjoyable parts of life is enjoying what we eat. I hear all the time “eating healthy just isn’t as good as the real stuff”, but the beauty of food is that we can be creative and make it taste good!  Making a lifestyle change instead of going on a fad diet can do a multitude of things for us. This will help our bodies stabilize at the weight it function best and help us develop a healthy relationship with food.

My challenge for you is to not promote any diet but to promote mindful & intuitive eating. By doing so, you’ll say “buh bye” to diet culture, food rules, and weight stigma and finally be at peace with your body, mind and food choices.

Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Follow me on social media!

References:
  1. Ketogenic Diet. Epilepsy Society. https://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/ketogenic-diet. Published March 1, 2018. Accessed June 13, 2018.
  2. Precision Nutrition (2018). The Ketogenic Diet: Does it live up to the hype? The pros, cons, and the facts about the no-so-new diet craze. [online] Available at https://www.precisionnutrition.com/ketogenic-diet. Accessed June 13, 2018.
  3. Popsci.com. (2018): Consent Form | Popular Science. [online] Available at: https://www.popsci.com/not-in-ketosis. Accessed June 13, 2018.

Healthy Living 101

This post may seem super basic to some of you, but it never hurts to have a refresher of what our bodies need to feel its best.  Before I go into the basics for the average person, remember that every body is different and has different needs.  What works for me may not work for my best friend, but these reminders are the absolute basics.

  1. Eat fruits and vegetables.

This one seems so simple yet many of Americans are not getting enough of them!  Fruits and veggies are packed with tons of vitamins, minerals, water, and fiber.  We need all these nutrients for the metabolic processes in our bodies, and the fiber helps our digestion.  Fiber keeps us “regular”, if ya know  what I mean.  This is very important as it can help prevent diverticular disease.  Interesting fact: Diverticular disease generally begins with diverticulosis, which is essentially pouches in your intestines. It then can become inflamed from non-fibrous foods getting stuck in the pouches leading to diverticulitis.  Untreated diverticulitis can lead to a number of things, including colon cancer, which is the #3 cancer found in both men and women.  Eating fiber can help push your food though the intestines quickly so minimal residue gets stuck in those pouches.

food salad healthy summer
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Have a hard time eating fruits and veggies and want a tip?  Eat the ones you like! It is as simple as that.  If you can only tolerate broccoli with cheese sauce, then add cheese to your dish! Only like carrot sticks with ranch dressing?  Go ahead and use it. Try to get at least 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

  1. Include 100% Whole Grains

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that half of your daily whole grain intake be 100% whole grain.  How do we know if we are eating 100% whole grain?  Read the nutrition label.  The thing to keep an eye out for should be “100% whole grain” as the first ingredient.

close up of wheat
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Whole grains are important because they contain a lot of B vitamins, which are essential for many metabolic pathways in the body.  They also contain fiber, which I mentioned before being great for digestion.  I challenge you to try and make half of you grain servings whole grain today.  The dietary  guidelines recommend women get 3-6 servings of whole grains daily.  For  men, it is recommended to consume 4-8 servings of whole grain.

  1. Add in some healthy fats.

But wait, fat makes you fat!  WRONG!! This could not be more far from the truth.  Our bodies need fat for producing hormones, transporting fat-soluble vitamins, and helping the brain function—just to name a few.  The body needs 2 essential fatty acids: linoleic acid and linolenic acid.

Linoleic acid is more commonly known as omega-6 fats which is found in vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.  Linolenic acid is omega-3 fats and is found in fish, walnuts, flaxseed, canola oil, and soybean oils.  These are polyunsaturated fats.

avocado blur close up focus
Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

Monounsaturated fats are great for the body too.  These fats are found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts.  Try to incorporate these into your meals and snacks in moderation.  Fatty foods are high in calories so we do not need to eat as many of them because they provide satiety.

  1. Exercise.

Ah, yes.  This is one of my favorite things to emphasize!  I believe diet is just as important, especially since I am a registered dietitian and spent many years studying nutrition.  However, you cannot do one without the other!  Americans are known for living sedentary lifestyles and developing heart disease and diabetes.  Guess what?  These diseases can be prevented by diet and exercise.

How can we make it a part of our lifestyle?  The biggest tip I can give you is do something you enjoy and can stick with it.  It can become hard in the craziness of life, but it can be done.  Scheduling time for exercise is the best way to meet your goals.  It takes 21 days to build a habit, so try it and see how it works!  Check out my blog on “Being Active with a Busy Schedule” for more tips.

run
  1. Drink Water.

After all, our bodies are at least 60% water.  It is important that we replenish our bodies with water because we lose a lot of it when we use the bathroom, sweat, and breathe.  Drinking 64 ounces every day can help ensure we are getting enough water.

If you are a coffee drinker, make sure you bump up your water intake.  Coffee acts as a dehydrator for our body, so drink extra water if you do choose coffee.

clean clear cold drink
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Having said all of this, I am also an avid believer in enjoying life, and one of those pleasures is food.  Enjoy FUN foods–it is ok!  Your body can handle it.  Just make sure that you incorporate nutrient dense options on the regular.

I hope my take on “Healthy Living 101” helps some of you as you begin your mindful eating journey.

Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Follow me on social media!

5 Tips on Staying Active with a Busy Schedule

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What is your view on exercise?

I’ve been exercising regularly for nearly a decade, but my relationship with movement wasn’t always the best.

I thought if I wanted to be “healthy” that I needed to workout every single day, only do cardio (you know, because it burns the most calories), sweat profusely, and be in physical pain. I thought a workout needed to push me to exhaustion…and if I couldn’t sit on the toilet the next day without being in pain, then I didn’t work out hard enough.

After finding a life of food freedom using mindful & intuitive eating, I am so happy to say that I have found joyful movement – moving my body in a way that physically feels good. I’m not working out 2+ hours a day anymore, leaving my body exhausted. But, I am realistic in that joyful movement makes my days better. I get that endorphin release that sets a tone for my day. So, I make it my goal every morning to get my workout in – to physically feel good.

Here are tips I use to find time in my busy life for joyful movement.

Tip 1: Build time in your schedule.

The great thing about having a busy schedule is that you are in control of it!  Find time in your day that works well for you. It can be as simple as getting out your calendar and penciling in your workout regimen. 

Tip 2:  Pick an exercise plan that you will love.

Personally, I love all types of exercise, but I have grown to appreciate them.  I used to hate lifting weights, but now I love it and do it at least 3 times per week.  The point is that you will be more likely to stick to your exercise plan if you choose something you enjoy doing.  Of course, I am a promoter of dance style workouts (my personal gateway to fitness), but that is because I am a dance instructor, and I love it!  I have a story with dance fitness, but it is not for everybody.  I really do not like biking, so guess what?  I do not bike…not now anyway.  Find what you enjoy doing, and set goals for yourself. When you do something you love, it will not seem like “exercise” at all, and you will be looking forward to it.  This will be a great tool for you so you can move your body in an enjoyable way.

Tip 3:  Get an accountability partner.

In other words, get a workout buddy!  This is someone who can encourage you to keep it up.  Find time a few times a week to exercise with this person. This person can help motivate you to make time for exercising with them. I have had several accountability partners for many different things.  For instance, the picture below shows my cousin and I completing a half marathon.  She helped me through my first half, and encouraged me when I did my second.

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Tip 4:  Take recovery days.

This is so important.  Give your muscles a break.  When I first began my exercise journey, I was obsessed with getting fit-fast that I never let my muscles rest.  Because of that, I put some permanent damage on my knee and had physical therapy help me strengthen it back.  Taking a recovery day is vital to your muscles as they repair from your workouts.  You can still be lightly active on these days (think walking, swimming, etc), but be careful to allow enough time for healing.

Tip 5: Stay hydrated and fueled.

Of course, I had to give my dietitian tip.  In order to be privileged to move your body, ya gotta eat and drink…there is just now way out of it.  Without food and water, you will be sluggish and tired and not motivated to workout, which hinders that “endorphin release” (aka, happy hormone) to make your body feel good.  Trust me.  I have been there.  Drink a few bottles of water before and after your workout that way you will be nice and energized for your workout. Drink your water.  Eat your nutrient dense, whole grains, fruits, and veggies throughout the day, and if you are lifting heavy loads in the gym, you may want to look into adding a little more protein to your diet.

cold cool drink field
Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. on Pexels.com

There you have it–five simple, yet easy ways to add exercise into your busy schedule.  Make it a part of your life, not just an accessory you try on from time to time.  You can pick one tip to try, or go the extra mile and do all five.  Let me know if any of these helped you!

Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!

Until Next Time,
Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Follow me on social media!

Benefits of Blueberries

Who else loves blueberries??

blueberries

When I think summer, I think “summer harvest” including squash, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, and even okra…but, blueberries definitely steal the show for me when it comes to summer produce.  Why, you may ask?  How could such a simple berry they have all year long be my favorite?  Well, I grew up on a small-scale farm with over 20 blueberry bushes, so I spend every summer picking gallons upon gallons of blueberries.  Today, I am going to share the nutrition benefits of blueberries with you and give you some FUN ways to enjoy these beauties.

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Blueberries have been a huge part of America’s agriculture from the beginning days when Native Americans cropped the land.  They used blueberries not only because they tasted good, but also for medicinal purposes as well as fabric dyes.  Interestingly enough, North Carolina (my home state) is one of the prime locations for blueberry cultivation.  This explains why my father has so many bushes!

blueberrys

 Health Benefits of Blueberries

First off, blueberries are rich with vitamin C, vitamin K, and the mineral manganese.  Vitamin C is great for immunity and skin while vitamin K promotes healthy gut bacteria flora.  My personal favorite nutrient in blueberries is fiber.  Fiber not only promotes satiety (the feeling of fullness after consumption), but also helps ya poo!  There is also a lot of research that shows blueberries as having anti-aging affects and antioxidants to help with cancer prevention.

FUN Ways to Enjoy Blueberries

Blueberries are super versatile and can be enjoyed in many ways.

Ø  Add ½ cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen) into your oatmeal

Ø Blend 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries in smoothies

Ø  Sprinkle on top of salads

Ø  Bake with them! See recipe below

Blueberry-licous Muffins

muffins

Recipe yields 12 muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs, preferably room temperature
  • 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup of honey or maple syrup
  • ¼ cup of canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (or more if you like the flavor)
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour (you could use AP flour, I just like the added nutrients of WW flour)
  • 2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup of roughly chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  You can line muffin tin with cupcake liners or use baking spray.  Set aside.
  2. In your mixer (or large bowl), add eggs, salt, vanilla, baking powder, and baking soda ensuring that everything has dissolved.  Once all is dissolved, add in your flour and gently fold.  Once flour is gently folded, fold in the blueberries, cinnamon, and walnuts. Do not over mix! *Cooking fact: If you over mix the muffin batter, the muffins could present tunneling, which is small tunnels in the cooked product.
  1. Scoop your batter into the greased muffin tins with a large ice cream scoop.  Bake for 22-25 minutes, checking with a toothpick to ensure they have been cooked all the way through.  Once out of oven, let the muffins rest for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Recipe yields 12 muffins.  Enjoy!

Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Follow me on social media!

References
USDA Harvard Study:
https://www.ars.usda.gov/plains-area/gfnd/gfhnrc/docs/news-2014/blueberries-and-health/

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies–With a Twist!

Guess what?  It’s February!  Which means it’s the month of love.  Now, this isn’t going to be a sappy blog post about how much I am in love—although I am!  And in 248 days I will get to marry the love of my life!  But that is beside the point.

When I think about February, I think of Valentine’s Day.  Not only Valentine’s Day, but also all the chocolate and treats associated with it.  It is a tradition for significant others and secret admirers to get gifts for “their person”.  In addition to that, many Valentine’s parties happen.  One thing I remember from my childhood is thumbprint cookies—you know, the ones made out of shortbread with the gooey jam-filling inside.  Well, in celebration of a childhood memory, I created my version of these thumbprint cookies.

Now, these aren’t just any thumbprint cookies, these cookies have a secret ingredient.  Can you guess by looking at them?

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I have gotten raspberries (obviously), coconut oil, dark chocolate—but one person did indeed guess the secret ingredient.  While these delicate goodies do contain raspberries and dark chocolate, those are not the secret.  My secret ingredient in these cookies is—BLACK BEANS!

I know right?  Weird.  For the past few years, black beans have made an appearance in the dessert world.  I first heard of them in black bean brownies, which I have made a few times.  However, I have not seen many black bean cookie recipes around, much less a thumbprint black bean cookie recipe, so I decided to create one that was similar to my childhood cookie.

The beauty of this cookie is that it contains black beans, which are very high in fiber, which is great for your gut.  Instead of grabbing those fiber one bars and supplements, opt for these nutrient dense cookies!

This is also my first attempt at making thumbprint cookies!  However, I am quite pleased with how they turned out.  I will now show you a step-by-step process in creating this divine dessert.  At the bottom of the blog is the recipe and procedure.

For the cookies, you will need one can of black beans, 2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour, 2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter (or nut butter substitute), 4 tablespoons of milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk), 4 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, ½ teaspoon of salt, and 3 tablespoons of chopped dark chocolate (70%).

ingredients

To blend up the drained and rinsed black beans, I recommend using a food processor.  I used a NutriBullet blender because that is what I have in my college apartment—I have to be a minimalist baker while I am here.  Blend up the drained and rinsed black beans with the 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and 4 tablespoons of milk.

black beans

In a separate bowl, mix the whole-wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt well.  Add the chopped 70% dark chocolate.

dry ingredients

**Nutrition fact**  I used 70% dark chocolate because it is rich in antioxidants which can help prevent a free radical build-up damaging the cells in your body.  That topic is for a later blog coming this month.

Now the fun begins!  Combine the black bean puree with the dry ingredients.  Mix well together (I had to use my hands), and form a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.  This will help the dough become firm enough to form little thumbprint cookies.

cookie dough 2

Once the dough has chilled for at least 3 hours, it is time to form into the traditional thumbprint design!  I cut the dough into small squares and then shaped them in ball form, and created a dip in the middle to hold raspberry jam.

cookie dough

Now it is time for the jam!  Now, you could definitely use your favorite brand of raspberry jam, but I made my own!  It was more of a raspberry sauce that I thickened with corn starch, but it is a simple recipe.  Start with a ½ cup of fresh (or frozen) raspberries, blend up with 1/3 cup of water.  Add to a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Dissolve ½ tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water, and slowly pour into the raspberry mixture while stirring.  Make sure you continuously stir so the cornstarch does not gelatinize.

raspberry compote

Allow the “jam” to cool.  Once cooled, spoon into the little dips of the cookies and bake at 350-degree oven for 14-18 minutes.

cookies 2

Allow the cookies to cool.  The next part is optional.  I combined 1 tablespoon of almond milk to 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar to create a simple glaze.  Drizzle on top of the cookies, but make sure they are cool or else the glaze will melt.

cookies 3

And there you have it!  My version of Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies for Valentine’s Day!  Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook or Instagram (@betterwithkatdetter) if you tried the recipe!  See the recipe and directions below.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Cookie Dough

1 can Black Beans (drained and rinsed)

2 tablespoons of Creamy Peanut Butter*

2 tablespoons of Milk**

2 tablespoons of Whole Wheat Flour

4 tablespoons of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 tablespoon of Baking Powder

1/3 Cup Brown Sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

½ teaspoon of salt

4 tablespoons of 70% Dark Chocolate, chopped

Raspberry Sauce

½ cup fresh (or frozen) Raspberries

1/3 cup of Water

½ tablespoon of Cornstarch + 1 tablespoon of water, dissolved

Basic Decorative Glaze (optional)

2 tablespoons of powdered sugar

1 tablespoon of milk

*I used natural peanut butter, but you could use whatever you have, or a nut butter substitute.

**Any kind of milk will work.  I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Thumbprint Cookies

Directions:

  1. In a blender or food processor, blend up drained & rinsed black beans, peanut butter, and milk until creamy.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, and chopped dark chocolate.
  3. Mix black bean mixture with dry ingredients until well incorporated.  Shape into a ball and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  4. Shape dough into little “thumbprint” cookies.
  5. Fill with raspberry sauce or store bought jam.
  6. Bake at 350 degree oven for 14-18 minutes.
  7. Let cool.
  8. Decorate with vanilla glaze (optional).

Directions for Raspberry Sauce:

  1. Blend raspberries and water.  Pour into a saucepan.
  2. Under medium heat, bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in the cornstarch mixture.
  4. Boil and stir vigorously for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool.

Directions for Glaze:

  1. Mix powdered sugar and milk together.
  2. If it is too runny, add more powdered sugar.
  3. Drizzle on cooled cookies.

 

 

Snack Smart

Snacking has become very popular in today’s society–so popular that people snack all day long to “increase their metabolism” to lose weight.  Now, the whole topic on food increasing your metabolism is a whole different topic for another day, but in short, food cannot boost your metabolism.  The only thing that can speed up your metabolism is exercising.  Again, we will save those details for another post.

So, what are the pros and cons of snacking? In short, the idea behind no snacking is that it gives your digestive system a break between each meal so that when food enters again, it will be ready to easily digest.

However, sometimes you really need to listen to your body’s hunger pains.  If an average person is on a 2,000 calorie diet that would mean he or she would need to consume around 670 calories per meal.  With careful consideration, it could easily be done.  Or even if one were to eat out for every meal, those allotted calories would easily be met or probably over-met.  For the health conscious individual, 670 calories may be hard to reach at each meal.  Some people are not breakfast eaters and may only consume 300 calories in the morning, so they would need a mid-morning snack in order to make it to lunch time.  Others have very high metabolisms or are very active and need a little boost between meals.  In these cases, snacking is good!  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that for a sedentary person, snacks should be about 200 calories.  For the more active individuals and children, snacks should be between 200 and 300 calories.

appetite apple close up delicious
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It is important that we be mindful with the snacks we choose.  A problem with snacking is that a lot of pre-packaged, processed snacks contain empty calories.  Empty calories are basically calories with little to no nutrient value.  While eating is a pleasurable activity, its soul purpose is to nourish our bodies.  Our goal is to combine healthful eating with pleasure.

Now that we have established that snacking is OK if your body tells you it is hungry, what are some ways to have nourishing, smart snacks?  From the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, they suggest having pre-planned snacks.  What all does this entail?  When you get home from the grocery store, try washing, chopping, and packaging all of your produce that way it is easily accessible when you and your family need a snack on-the-go.  If you love popcorn, air-pop some in advance and portion it out into sealable bags.  Those are just a couple of ideas to make snacks easily accessible.

What are some other smart snacking ideas that are around 200 calories, tasty, and healthful?  Below is a list of “Smart Snacking” options.  One thing I try to do with my snacks is to make it a combination of carbohydrate and protein.  By doing this, your blood sugar will not spike up high and immediately fall back down.  The protein helps gradually decrease blood sugar after it has risen.

Nuts are also a great option for snacks.  They are full of healthy fats, great for our brain and cells, especially walnuts!  Keep in mind that while nuts are very nutritious and a great source of omega 3, they do contain a lot of calories for a small amount.  A rule of thumb is about a handful, or 1/4 cup, is a serving.

If you try any of the snack items listed, please comment below to tell me how you liked them!  Also, if you have any favorite, nutritious snacks, please share!

  • Ants on a Log (2 celery stalks, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of unsweetened raisins)
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite Trail Mix & 1 Clementine
  • 1 Banana with 1-2 Tablespoons Nut Butter of choice
  • 1/2 cup of baby carrots & 2 tablespoons of hummus (if you do not like hummus, you could try greek yogurt dips or low-fat salad dressing)
  • 1 slice of low-fat cheese & 6 crackers of choice
  • 1 single-serve container (about 1/2 cup) of Greek Yogurt (your flavor preference) & 1/2 cup of fresh/frozen berries

red strawberry and raspberry on white ceramic bowl
Photo by Life Of Pix on Pexels.com

  • 1 granola bar & navel orange
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter & drizzle of honey
  •  1/4 cup cashews & 5-10 fresh strawberries
  • Fresh fruit/veggie smoothie blended with skim or nut milk (added nut butter for extra protein)
  • Apple Nachos:  1 thinly sliced apple drizzled with 1 tablespoon of nut butter (may help if heated) & 1 tablespoon shredded, unsweetened coconut (want to splurge? Add 2 teaspoons of mini dark chocolate chips)

  • 1 hard boiled egg over 1 slice of 100% whole grain toast (you could also add veggies like sliced bell peppers, spinach, or cucumber for color, texture, fiber, and extra nutrients)

sliced egg on top of green salad with bread
Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com

Those are just a few of the endless smart snacking options!  Remember to plan for your snacks that way you do not reach for something that has empty calories leaving you hungrier than you were before.  Until next time, keep snacking smart!

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN









Resources:
www.eatright.org/~/media/eatright%20files/nationalnutritionmonth/handoutsandtipsheets/nutritiontipsheets/smartsnackingforadultsandteens.ashx.  Accessed January 23, 2017.