Pumpkin Spice Granola

Who else is still on a pumpkin kick? You know I am!

Y’all know I love me some granola, and if you haven’t checked out my other granola recipes, you can find them linked below:

Maple-Almond Granola

Almond Joy Granola

BUT since it’s pumpkin season, I made my version of pumpkin spice granola and honestly–it’s my favorite homemade granola recipe yet! I hope y’all love it as much as I do! Make sure you tag me in all of your creations: @livebetterwithkatdetter

Fun Pumpkin Facts: 
Did you know that pumpkin can be used to replace butter or oil in baked goods? You heard me right!
Subbing pumpkin for butter in a recipe: For 1 cup of butter, use 3/4 cup of PURE pumpkin puree
Subbing pumpkin for oil in a recipe: For 1 cup of oil, use 1 cup of PURE pumpkin puree (1:1 ratio)

Pumpkin is also high in fiber which many Americans do not consume enough of daily. Fiber aids in digestion, promotes heart health, and controls blood sugars. Make your “treats” more nourishing by using pumpkin!

Other ways to incorporate pumpkin:
Add pumpkin puree to Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey
Make pumpkin muffins or scones
Mix 1-2 Tablespoons into coffee with 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
Make a savory sauce with pumpkin + light cream + Parmesan cheese
Combine pumpkin + ricotta cheese + herbs + spices and use as a filling for lasagna
Make a pumpkin smoothie

Okay, now onto the granola!

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Pumpkin Spice Granola

  • Servings: 6 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

2 cups old fashioned oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1 T chia seeds or ground flax
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/8-1/4 cup maple syrup (depending on how sweet ya like it!)
1/2 can PURE pumpkin 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Mix oats, spices and chia/flax together. In a saucepan, heat coconut oil, maple syrup and pumpkin until melted and combined together.
  3. Mix pumpkin mixture into oats.
  4. Once well incorporated, add to a parchment paper lined baking dish.
  5. For granola clusters, spread granola evenly and firmly pack oat mixture onto baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Allow granola mixture to cool for an hour, then break into chunks.
    **NOTE: If granola is too moist, bake for an additional 10-20 minutes at 200 F to take out excess moisture.
  7. Enjoy on a top of yogurt, in a smoothie bowl, or plain!
  8. Additional/optional add ons once granola is cooled:
    Dark chocolate chips/chunks
    Pumpkin seeds
    Raisins
    Dried cranberries
    Freeze dried fruit

 

What other fall recipes would you like me to try? Let me know in the comments here or on my social media accounts!

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian
Follow me on social media!
@livebetterwithkatdetter

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…

IMG-5552

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.

IMG-5548

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

6 Tips to Choose Health Promoting Goals with Your Spouse

bobkat

Have you ever wanted to make a really colorful, nourishing recipe you found on Pinterest for you and your significant other, and then as soon as you put it on the table your spouse has a hard time choking it down? Yeah, I have been there, too. My husband and I have been married for about 2.5 years now, and we share similar health promoting behaviors, but he definitely turns his nose up to quinoa, tofu, chickpeas, avocado, and beets.

Today I am going to share some ideas on how to get your spouse involved in developing health promoting goals with you.

  1. Shop Together

Weeks get busy really fast, but if you take some time during your weekend to go grocery shopping together, it can really make a difference in what healthful meals you can both agree on. Try to make a list beforehand and while you are shopping together, ask for your significant others opinion on produce, whole grains, and proteins. Don’t buy a bag of avocados if your spouse hates them! Lesson learned: it is hard to eat a whole bag of avocados by yourself before they go rot.

  1. Purchase Plants They Like

This is one thing I do all year round! My husband is very selective when it comes to fruit and literally will not eat it unless I sit it in front of him. Fruit is one thing I like to have on hand for snacks for a mid-day energy boost. The fiber keeps me full & regular, making my body physically feel its best. For instance, Bobby likes strawberries, watermelon, and bananas. Even if they are not in season, I still buy them so he has access to fibrous foods he actually enjoys.

Luckily, it is summer time so I can get his favorite (watermelon) frequently!

  1. Cook Together

What a fun way to spend date night! It is known that if a person helps in the cooking process of a meal that they will be more likely to enjoy it. Experiment with flavors, food, and spend some quality time together in the kitchen. Put your spouse to use in washing and chopping up fresh veggies for a stir fry, or cracking eggs for a breakfast veggie omelet. Getting involved in the cooking process can also help you make sure you are cooking things you both can enjoy – a foundational part of mindful & intuitive eating!

  1. Incorporate Plants into Your Dishes

This is something we do a lot in my kitchen because sometimes you are just not in the mood for plain veggies on the side. There are many different opportunities to add plants to your meals. For example, when we make rice, I add 1 cup of riced cauliflower to 1 cup of cooked rice providing extra fiber and nutrients to the dish–and Bobby loves it! Let’s say your spouse only likes iceberg lettuce in salads. One option is to mix in some freshly chopped spinach to the iceberg to give more texture, flavor and micro-nutrients to the salad.

  1. Presentation is Key

It is so easy to get in the habit of using paper plates-it is a faster cleanup! However, food looks way better on a pretty plate! Once the food is cooked, plate the entree and sides on your fine china and garnish with your favorite herb. It will be appealing to the eye and increase meal satisfaction. To add some more pizzazz during your mealtime, light a candle and dim the lights. The ambiance with make your at-home dining experience more enjoyable.

  1. Move Together

You know that one couple in the gym that are so stinking cute that it is almost nauseating? THAT COULD BE YOU! Working out together in the gym, at the park, or even in the home can help you both physically feel your best. Do something you both can enjoy. Bobby and I go biking, hiking, and play tennis together a few times per week. Think about it: you are bonded by law to have a lifelong accountability partner. Embrace that bondage by getting sweaty together.

Challenge for the week: Choose at least one of these tips with your spouse to help one another live your best life.

Download my FREE 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here.

Until Next Time,


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

5 New Ideas for Summer Crops

watermelon

It is officially summer, if you couldn’t tell by the sweltering heat and humidity (if you are on the east coast), which means our gardens will be spitting out fresh produce for us once again. I have to be honest, I get excited about summer produce initially, but by the end of the season, I am sick of corn and zucchini! Have no fear! I have chosen 5 popular summer crops to research the history, nutrition, and cooking ideas to beat the boredom this season.


…Summer Squash


Fun fact: Did you know that all squash in general are native crops of North America? The Wampanoag Indians cultivated winter and summer varieties in the early stages of America. Summer squash such as yellow squash and zucchini are relatives of winter squash such as butternut, acorn, and pumpkin.


Nutritionally, summer squash are rich in Vitamin C, an antioxidant which aids in collagen production, wound healing and iron absorption. In just one ½ cup serving, squash contains 15% of the daily recommendation for vitamin C. In addition to that, summer squash contains 1 gram of fiber per ½ cup serving.  Fiber aids in digestion and helps you have a healthy colon. 


Make no mistake, I love some squash, but I get tired of eating it sautéed for 2 months straight. You can grate squash and add to your baked goods or salads for some extra nutrition and flavor. Or, you can boil, microwave, sauté, roast, and of course-fry this delectable veggie. Most recently, my favorite way is grilled, thanks to my husband.


Directions: First, prep your veggies. Wash the squash and cut the ends off. DO NOT PEEL! Most of the nutrition is in the skin. Chop your squash in whatever form you like best. I prefer circles. Second, grab some aluminum foil and make a “foil packet” as shown above. Add another sheet of aluminum foil to the top forming a pouch to enclose the veggies. Add in your chopped veggies with a little drizzle of canola, grape-seed, or avocado oil. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the top. If you want to get a little creative, add herb of choice: rosemary, oregano or basil would be good options for a burst of flavor. Third, place foil pack on your grill for about 20 minutes or until tender. You will be AMAZED with how delicious this is. I could eat a mountain of grilled summer squash!

…Basil


An herb used in many Italian and Thai dishes, basil is another fun summer plant.  The origination is debatable as the plant has been cultivated in many different areas for many years, but it is thought to originate in India6. Oddly enough, in ancient Egypt times, basil was used as an embalming agent and has been found in tombs and mummies since then.
With virtually no calories, basil is a great addition to foods to achieve flavor without extra sodium.  Adding fresh basil to soups, pastas, curries, and even fruit can add a burst of flavor. Below is my take on basil pesto.

green leaf plant on brown wooden surface
Photo by monicore on Pexels.com

Directions: Gather your fresh, clean basil (1 cup) and add to food processor or blender. Add: ¼ cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons of walnuts or pine nuts, a dash of parmesan cheese, and 2 fresh garlic cloves. Pulse mixture together until smooth. Serve over pasta, spread on toast or sandwiches, or use as a dip for veggies. Make a double batch to have on hand for whenever you want it!


…Watermelon

“How do you put water in a watermelon?”

“You plant it in the spring!”

(go ahead, laugh at my corny joke.)

It’s a hot summer’s day, you are chilling at the pool and want a refreshing snack.  What better way to enjoy a nice chunk of watermelon! Watermelon is the definition of summer, and quite possibly my favorite summer crop.

eat watermelon


Cultivated in South Africa, watermelon quickly made its way to Egypt, to Europe, to the Mediterranean, then to India and finally to China. Interestingly enough, China is the world’s largest producer of watermelons5. Watermelon later made its way to America through the slave trade.


Watermelon is a very nutritious fruit made mostly of water (91%) with 6% sugar. This fruit is loaded with vitamin C while low in fat and sodium. Another fun nutrition bit on watermelon is that it is full of fiber! Yes, fiber which we know aids in digestion. One cup of watermelon contains about 50 calories and 1 gram of fiber.


Recipe time! One thing I think pairs well with watermelon is feta cheese-you get a little bit of salty/sweet action. Below is my recipe for Watermelon-Feta Salad.

Directions: First, prep your watermelon by cutting it in half and using a melon baller to form melon-balls. You will want to spoon out about 3-4 cups of watermelon. To the watermelon, add ¼ cup of feta cheese crumbles. Mix together.  If you want to get a little spunky, add some freshly chopped basil. This fruit salad is a great dessert option for a patriotic holiday cookout.


…Beets


Did you have that one vegetable growing up that you absolutely loathed and begged your parents not to make you eat? Yeah, beets were that vegetable for me, and of course my father made me eat at least one each time it was on the menu. They say your taste buds change every seven years-must be true because I love them now!


Originally from the Mediterranean, the actual beetroot was generally used medicinally.  That’s right, people generally ate the greens from beets before discovering the fleshy, earthy part many of us enjoy today7. Due to their strong staining effect, beets were used to dye clothing in the olden days.
Beets are highly nutritious for the fact they are good sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants are generally in substances containing vitamin C and remove potentially harmful oxidizing agents in a living organism, which potentially can decrease the amount of cancer cells8. Per 1 cup of beets, there are about 60 calories, 13 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of fiber. Beets are rich in vitamin C and potassium, which help maintain our natural acid-base balance in the body.


Beets are mostly canned or pickled, but my favorite way to cook beets is by roasting in the oven.

sliced red beets
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Directions: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel and wash your beets. Chop beets into bite sized pieces. Drizzle oil of choice-I choose one with a high smoke point like canola or grapeseed oil. Add: ½ tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, and 1 teaspoon of garlic salt. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until tender. Add to a nice spinach salad with your favorite goat cheese for some extra flavor. Roasted butternut squash or carrots would be a nice addition to that salad, as well.


…Corn


When I think back to my childhood and helping my dad in his garden, corn was always something we had an abundance of, and to be honest it was my least favorite summer crop (and still is). However, the history behind it is very neat!


Corn was actually nonexistent in the wild until it was cultivated in Central Mexico many, many years ago. Eventually when the Mexican culture migrated to America, they cultivated this crop in the Americas. Later when the Europeans came over, it was the Native Americans job to teach them how to cultivate many grains-especially corn. There are many varieties and colors of corn out there-blue corn, yellow corn, sweet corn, popcorn…which is your favorite? Corn can then be processed into many things we eat today from chips to grits (if you are a Southerner like me) or polenta.

corn kernel
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Though is does contain calories and carbs our bodies need, corn is actually one of the least nutritious grains. It contains poor quality protein (mainly because it is incomplete, as most grains are) and there is no niacin in this grain. Niacin is the precursor to tryptophan, an essential amino acid in our body. Essential amino acids are those that are not naturally made by our bodies. We have to eat foods that contain essential amino acids to make proteins in our body. Without niacin, our bodies will not make tryptophan. Corn does have some benefits though as it contains numerous vitamins and minerals to aid in processes in our bodies.

Wanna fight the boredom with this starchy grain? You can do many things with it-saute, boil on the Cobb, creamed…the recipe I am sharing with you is corn salsa. If I have to eat it, I prefer it with the Mexican flavors.


Directions: First, obviously, get to shuckin’! Once you have gotten all the silk off the corn, wash thoroughly. Next, cut corn off the Cobb and add to a bowl. Add: 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed), ½ cup of diced tomatoes (I like using Roma or grape), a bundle of finely chopped cilantro, lime juice, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Then just mix it all up!  Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to integrate. Serve with your favorite tortilla chip or top a salad with it for some extra flavor.


What’s your favorite summer crop?

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.    Horttech.ashspublications.org. (2018). [online] Available at: http://horttech.ashspublications.org/content/6/1/6.full.pdf [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
2.    National Museum of American History. (2018). From the Victory Garden: American history told through squash. [online] Available at: http://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/2011/11/from-the-victory-garden-american-history-told-through-squash.html [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
3.    Whatscooking.fns.usda.gov. (2018). [online] Available at: https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/factsheets/HHFS_SUMMERSQUASH_900151Dec2012.pdf [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
4.     Encyclopedia Britannica. (2018). Corn | History, Cultivation, Uses, & Description. [online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/plant/corn-plant [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
5.    Vegetablefacts.net. (2018). History of Watermelon – Origin of Different Types of Watermelons. [online] Available at: http://www.vegetablefacts.net/vegetable-history/history-of-watermelon/ [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
6.    The Spruce Eats. (2018). The History of Basil From Food to Medicine to Religion. [online] Available at: https://www.thespruceeats.com/the-history-of-basil-1807566 [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
7.    The Spruce Eats. (2018). With Their Earthy Flavor, Beets Fan a Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em Debate. [online] Available at: https://www.thespruceeats.com/the-history-of-beets-1807568 [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
8.    Nutritionfacts.org. (2018). beets | Health Topics | NutritionFacts.org. [online] Available at: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/beets/ [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].

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.

bush

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/

Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Valentine’s day is literally right around the corner—how are you going to celebrate?  This is such a fun holiday to celebrate because it emphasizes how much love you have for people.  Yes, we need to let people know we love them on a regular basis, but this is just another hallmark excuse for us to buy our loved ones gifts—primarily chocolate!

I LOVE chocolate. However, there was a point in time when I would restrict chocolate during the week and only allow myself to have it on the weekends…and instead of enjoying that chocolate, I’d binge eat it and end up feeling miserable physically and mentally.

With a life of food freedom, I can enjoy chocolate pretty much daily now without over-eating. But, one thing I love about a mindful & intuitive eating lifestyle is combining food freedom with gentle nutrition: foods that you enjoy, foods that physically make your body feel good, and foods that satisfy you.

Personally, I’m satisfied by eating dark chocolate – I like the taste, I like that it pairs well with fruit and peanut butter, and I like that it’s full of antioxidants!

According to the research done by Loma Linda University (shout out to my alma mater), 70 percent dark chocolate cocoa content affects regions of the brain associated with memory.  This research showed the affects of chocolate to “promote nerve cell growth, increased brain function communication, blood flow improvement, and the formation of blood vessels in the brain and sensory systems”.   The key word here in dark chocolate is “70 percent” or more.  

Dark chocolate is more bitter than milk chocolate, so it is not as desirable to just snack on. 

Here are some other fun ways to enjoy dark chocolate:
Dark chocolate chips stuffed dates
Peanut butter + banana + dark chocolate chips
Banana pops
Dark chocolate bark

 Below you will find my chocolate covered strawberry recipe! Combining the bitter dark chocolate with the sweet strawberry gives it a nice balance that is not overwhelming.  Using 70% dark chocolate will help give you those neurological benefits and offset the sweet flavors from the strawberries.

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See full ingredient list and procedure at the end of this blog.

First, you will need a small bowl, a spoon, 70% or higher dark chocolate (I used a mix of 85% and 70%), fresh strawberries, coconut oil, wax paper, a sheet pan, unsweetened coconut flakes, and red sugar crystals.  The coconut flakes and red crystals are solely for decoration purposes, and they add a little bit of pizzazz.

choc

You may be thinking—why the coconut oil?  Now, I am not on the “coconut” bandwagon where I use anything and everything coconut, but for this recipe it works—and here is why.  From my food experimentation in food science lab, I found through research that coconut oil helps harden candies and syrups when completely cooled at room temperature.  This makes sense, because coconut oil is a saturated fat, which is solid at room temperature.  This will give the strawberries a nice, hard coating. We do not need much!  Just a teaspoon or less will do the trick. Take the chocolate and coconut oil and melt them in a microwave safe bowl at 30-second intervals to make sure you do not burn the chocolate.  I have burnt chocolate many of times, and it does not taste good one bit.  Wash strawberries in a strainer.

straw

Line your baking sheet with wax paper.  Simply dip the strawberries in the chocolate and set them on the wax paper to cool.  It is that simple.  Once the strawberries are all lined on the paper, add your decorations!  Let cool for at least 1 hour and enjoy!

finished

That is literally all to it.  Very simple, yet extremely satisfying. Spice up your next date-night-in, girls-night, or bridal shower with this elegant dessert. 

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Try these decadent berries and tag me on instagram or share on Pinterest.

Ingredients:

1.5 bars of 70% or higher dark chocolate 1

1 teaspoon of coconut oil

Washed and drained fresh strawberries

Unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Red sugar crystals (optional)

Directions:

  1. Wash and drain strawberries, and allow to dry.
  2. In a small bowl, microwave chocolate and coconut oil at 30-minute intervals, stirring in between each.
  3. Dip strawberries in dark chocolate and set on wax paper lined baking sheet.
  4. Optional: Add unsweetened coconut flakes and red sugar crystals for decoration.
  5. Allow to cool for at least and hour.
  6. Enjoy!

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Until Next Time,

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

References:
Nelson J, Sun T. Loma Linda Study Reveals New Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate.  http://www.sbsun.com/health/20151018/loma-linda-study-reveals-new-health-benefits-of-dark-chocolate.  Accessed February 11, 2017.

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?

cookies 3

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.