Black Bean Walnut Brownies with Avocado Frosting

brownies31

Would you believe these brownies have absolutely no sugar, no dairy, no eggs, no flour, no gluten, and not drenched in oil?! Its true! These plant based brownies are actually very healthy and full of fiber and heart healthy ingredients! Contrary to what most people believe about the vegan diet, this dessert proves there are infinite possibilities in being plant based.

Transitioning from the usual “boxed” desserts found at the store filled with processed ingredients doesn’t have to be hard and certainly not tasteless. Making brownies from scratch using plant based ingredients is so easy. Avocado frosting may not sound appealing at first but honestly, you won’t even taste it. This frosting is simply amazing and powers up these heart healthy brownies with an ultimate chocolate rich flavor! I used the pineapple to keep the mix moist and for added sweetness. The cranberries give another dimension of tart and sweet. Black pepper brings out the flavor of chocolate.

Ingredients for Brownies

  • 1 can organic black beans, drained and lightly rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pitted soaked dates
  • 1/3 cup carob chips (or vegan chocolate chips)
  • 1/3 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 2 heaping tablespoons carob powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Ingredients for Frosting

  • 1 fully ripened medium avocado
  • 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup (or raw honey if you prefer)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon carob powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil

Instructions for Brownies

  1. Preheat the oven at 375 degrees. Start by soaking the dates in water for about 10 minutes. Medjool dates are softer and would be ideal, otherwise drain the water and chop dates into little pieces for easier blending.
  2. In the mean time, drain and lightly rinse the beans but don’t soak them. Gently shake out the water from a filter bowl.
  3. In a high powered blender, add beans, pineapple, cranberries or cherries, dates, carob powder, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, lemon zest, baking powder, pepper and salt. Everything EXCEPT the carob chips and only 1/4 cup of the walnuts. Pulse blend until everything is fully incorporated. Push down ingredients sticking to the sides as needed. Mix should turn out sticky, chopped and well blended.
  4. Next, remove the blade and fold in the carob chips and the remaining walnuts.
  5. Spray some olive oil in a square glass baking dish to lightly cover the sides and bottom. Spread and press down the batter into the pan evenly. Spray the top with a light mist of olive oil to keep from getting too dry.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. Sides should be toasty and slightly dark. A knife should come out mostly clean.

Instructions for Frosting

  1. Add and mix all ingredients for the avocado frosting into a mixing bowl with a fork.
  2. Then, with a hand mixer, blend all ingredients thoroughly for a minimum of 5 minutes. The hand mixer works to fluff up the frosting more generously than using your hand.

avocado chocolate frostingfrosted brownies

After the brownies have cooled, spread the frosting on top. The coconut oil in the frosting gives your brownies a beautiful sheen and keeps the frosting from becoming too runny. Serves a minimum of 9 people.

ready-to-eat

Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Pumpkin Granola Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Granola Cookies

If your looking for ideas on using that pumpkin, here is a great recipe for fall! These cookies have got it all, oatmeal, figs, almonds, coconut, and the best fall flavor of all, pumpkin! Their very healthy and packed with satisfying taste, fiber, loads of nutrients and is a great snack for taking on hikes for sustained energy! Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3-4 minced dried figs
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour or other gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup wide sliced coconut shreds
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup vegan carob chips (or if you prefer, cacao chips)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, smash and whisk bananas until as smooth as possible. Add and stir in stack of cookiespumpkin puree, baking powder, vanilla, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, and brown rice flour until fully blended.
  2. Next, mix in rolled oats, coconut shreds, almonds, figs, and carob or chocolate chips.
  3. On a cookie sheet, drop and form cookies with about 2 tablespoons worth of batter for each cookie.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. Edges should be golden brown.

Makes about 14 cookies.

cookie batter

`baked batch

by Lupita Ronquillo, holistic nutrition writer

Fat Burning Energy Boosting Beet Juice

sweetburningbett

Need an energy boost? Look no further! This juice has all that you need to put that “pep” in your step, boost your workout, or if your an athlete, provide that last needed bit of competitive edge. Beets have actually become the new secret weapon among athletes. A study showed cyclists who drank a large serving of beet juice rode 20% longer! Beets are so under appreciated but they shouldn’t be. If you don’t like the taste of beets, I encourage you to try this juice recipe because it really does taste amazing!

Excellent health benefits of beets:

Lower high blood pressure
Oxygenate and strengthen the blood
Improves circulation
Prevents and fights cancer with betaine
Supports detoxification
Fights inflammation
High in immune boosting vitamins A, B, and C
High in many minerals such as Potassium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Iron
Improves mental health with tryptophan
Boosts muscle power in heart patients

Check out my ingredients below…

INGREDIENTS 4 JUICE

Once everything is juiced, filter it for a smoother taste.
Optional: add in 1/2 teaspoon Maca powder for an extra boost of energy

Other ingredients in this juice that support weight loss and boost energy…

COCONUT WATER: Hydrating the body has been scientifically proven to help with weight loss because a dehydrated body slows the metabolism. Hydrating the body fights fatigue and can suppress the appetite, increasing the body’s ability to metabolize stored fat.

PINEAPPLE: Fights inflammation and is a high water content food, helping you feel full and curb your appetite. It also contains an enzyme known as bromelain, which speeds up digestion and boosts the metabolism.

APPLE: Apple peels have a component known as ursolic acid, linked to a lower risk of obesity. Apples have been shown to energize you better than coffee!

CUCUMBER: Provides hydration and cleansing properties. They are a natural diuretic which can help banish water retention and bloating.

LEMON: Excellent toxin eliminators and alkalizers for the body. They can also acts as a mild diuretic helping to reduce bloat.

GINGER ROOT: Researchers at the Institute for Human Nutrition at Columbia University found enhanced thermogenesis and reduced feelings of hunger with ginger consumption. This thermogenic effect activates the metabolism.

CAYENNE: Peppers boosts the metabolism with fat burning properties and decrease the appetite. Eating spicy foods raise the body temperature. When the body temperature rises, it needs to be cooled so you burn more calories when the body goes through a cooling process.

beet rush
Love the color of this juice! I like my juices cold so I stuck my pitcher in the freezer for about an hour, excellent way to keep you going during your workout!

freezer

by Lupita Ronquillo, holistic nutrition writer

Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/heart/news/20150921/beet-juice-boosts-muscle-power-in-heart-patients
http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/research/title_145007_en.html
http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-beet-benefits-aphrodisiac-brain-booster-more.html
http://www.livescience.com/36482-apple-peel-ursolic-acid-prevents-obesity.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22538118
http://www.webmd.com/diet/20110427/cayenne-pepper-may-burn-calories-curb-appetite

Raw Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Pumpkin Cashew Frosting

cover pic

Pumpkin flavor is back and what better way to celebrate than with a pumpkin flavored carrot cake! I already stocked up my shelf with some canned pumpkin puree for smoothies but yesterday I decided to get a little more creative. I’ve made raw carrot cake before but for this one, I added cooked pumpkin and created a seasonal flavor for fall. I love carrot cake but what makes this one a lot healthier is most of the ingredients are raw! Adding pumpkin and carrots to any dessert can only maximize your intake of beta carotene and who couldn’t use that? Even the frosting was perfect and complimented the cake with just the right amount of pumpkin flavor!

Ingredients for Cake

  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups moistened dried plums
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (cooked)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried coconut
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple (fresh)
  • 2 teaspoons ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • juice of 1 lemon

Ingredients for Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree (cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice (fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder

Other Ingredients

  • raw slivered almonds
  • raw sprouted pumpkin seeds

Instructions

  1. After soaking cashews for about an hour, drain the water. Blend all the ingredients for about 2-3 minutes. Mixture should be very thick and smooth. Scrape out the frosting with a plastic spatula into a bowl, cover and chill until ready to use. The frosting will thicken up by the time your ready to frost the cake.
    frosting
    2. In a high powered blender or mixer, add lemon juice, pineapple, and pumpkin puree first. Then add the remaining ingredients. Pulse blend and stop to push down ingredients as needed until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed . Be careful not to over blend. You want to aim for a MINCED batter, not a smoothie batter.
    batter

    2. Add half the batter into a small springform cake pan. If you don’t have a springform pan, you can just use a regular cake pan and line it with wax paper. Just make sure you leave enough sticking outside of the pan to be able to pull out the cake. The wax paper helps make removing the cake easier after its frozen. Press the cake batter down firmly into the pan. Create your middle layer by adding some frosting and almonds on top. You can add fruit such as crushed pineapple instead if you choose.

raw cakefrosting layeralmonds layer
3. Now add the remaining cake batter on top of the middle layer and press down firmly smoothing out the top. Cover and freeze for about 2-3 hours.
4. Once frozen, remove side rings and frost your cake. Its much easier to frost a raw cake when its frozen. Feel free to decorate your cake as you please. I kept it simple and just added almonds and sprouted pumpkin seeds on top. Hope you enjoy! 😉

by Lupita Ronquillo, holistic nutrition writer
whole cake

coverpic2

Creamy Peppers and Mexican Squash

Cover pic squash

We should all eat more squash. For one, they are grown all over the U.S. and easy to find. We can find them at our grocery store, local farmers market, or at any roadside vegetable stand. Second, they contain a litany of health benefits. They’re low in calories supporting weight loss, and provide a good source of vitamin A & C, folate, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. They’re also high in fiber. Best of all, they’re easy to cook or “uncook” since we can eat them raw too! Among the many ways of preparing squash, this dish was easy to make and creamy delicious taste! Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients

  • 3 Mexican squash, cut into 1 inch thick pieces
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut the same way
  • 1/2 red onion, cut long and somewhat thin
  • 1 cup Daiya mozzarella shreds
  • 3 tablespoons Tofutti sour cream or plain vegan yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • salt, pepper, onion powder to taste

Instructions

1. Start by spraying olive oil in a hot skillet on medium heat. Cook the squash, peppers, and onions until 90% softened, about 10 minutes.
2. Add spices, salt, and garlic and cook another 3 minutes.
3. Lower heat and stir in vegan sour cream until all the veggies are coated
4. Top with vegan cheese shreds and cover. Remove from heat and allow the steam to melt the cheese. Serves 4-6 persons.

by Lupita Ronquillo, holistic nutrition writer

squash