Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownies (gluten free, dairy free)

Well, I finally did it! I cracked open my blog to start writing recipes. They’re good and I’m invigorated. This one involves chocolate, so who couldn’t like it? Like many of my recipes, these Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownies are gluten free and dairy free. They’re still made with plenty of healthy fat, so the flavor is absolutely there.

One of the reasons I like to use sweet potatoes, other than I just love sweet potatoes, is because they’re naturally sweet. Not kill-your-tastebuds-sweet, rather a pleasant won’t-make-your-blood-sugar-go-crazy-sweet. It’s the kind of sweet we should all know and love.

The funny thing about sugar is the more you eat, or the more sugar a food contains, the more primed your taste buds are to expect sweetness. Let’s say you drink a big glass of store-bought orange juice every single morning. Then one morning, you have a moment of awakening and think, “I bet starting my morning off with pure sugar isn’t good.” Your genius and absolute correctness prompts you to wake up the next morning and cut your usual tall glass of OJ in half, mixing the balance with water. Even though there is still a lot of sugar in your watered down version, it tastes less sweet. Eventually, you’ll adapt to the healthier OJ/water combo. But it will take a couple days.

Why the rant on sugary orange juice? Nothing personal against orange juice, per se, rather all overly sugary foods – including cakes, cookies and brownies…which leads me to my Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownies. Despite that “sweet” is in the title of the recipe does not mean they’re overly sweet. In fact, they’re not. I used maple syrup to bring up some more natural sweetness, but other than that, a far cry less than what you’d expect to taste if you were to buy a brownie in a bakery. And that’s ok. Especially if you love your pancreas (the master controller of insulin).

If you ever go to the store and buy sweet potatoes, but then wonder if you’ll ever really use them, this recipe will solve that conundrum. The biggest time saver for me was baking my sweet potatoes the night before I made these brownies. FYI – I had two small’ish sweet potatoes.

I usually like to make the base of all recipes from scratch, but I found a much simpler solution in Bob’s Red Mill One-to-One Baking Flour. I don’t use a lot in this recipe, but it has all the ingredients I need to make a gluten free pasty. And that makes me happy.

You came here for a recipe, so I’ll give you a recipe.

Sweet Potato Chocolate Brownies
Yields: 24 Brownies

Ingredients

1 1/2 C baked sweet potato* (about 2 small sweet potatoes)
1 1/2 C Bob’s Red Mill One-to-One Baking Flour
1/2 C coconut oil, melted
1/2 C maple syrup
2 eggs, whisked
1/4 C + 3 T unsweetened cocoa powder (7 tablespoons)
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

*Note: if you haven’t pre-baked your sweet potatoes, carve out about 60 minutes to bake them at 400 degrees. It will take about 40 minutes to bake, and 20 minutes to cool.

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line a 9×13 baking pan in parchment paper, or grease with a good oil (like coconut or butter).
  3. In an upright mixer, or large bowl, combine coconut oil, maple syrup and eggs until blended (about 30 seconds).
  4. Add in the baked sweet potatoes, and continue to mix until blended.
  5. Slowly add the baking flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt to the mix. The mixture should be spreadable, but not liquid.
  6. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes, or until your brownies pass the toothpick test.
  7. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Detoxifying Ginger Infused Turkey Chili with Quinoa

It just makes sense. Adding healthy, detoxifying herbs and spices to already healthy foods creates a powerful combination. So is the case with my Ginger Infused Turkey Chili with Quinoa. Somewhere along the line, ginger became a staple in my kitchen. Whether I use it to make a tea by steeping a few fresh slices in hot water, or add it to my favorite vegetable dish or entree, it always turns out great.

Ginger: anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory

Even though ginger can be very strong, depending how much you use, it’s hugely beneficial. Most people know that ginger has pretty terrific anti-nausea properties, but it’s also anti-inflammatory, too, thanks to a compound called gingerol. People with some forms of arthritis, infection, or even the common cold can benefit.

Alkalizing Herbs & Spices

In addition to all of the great things about ginger, it’s also alkalizing in our body. In terms of our blood’s pH, the opposite of alkaline is acid. If our blood swings too far in either direction, we’re in pretty bad shape. That said, our blood should sit somewhere between 7.0 to 7.5 – making in somewhat alkaline. If your blood pH starts heading south, toward 6.5 or below, you’re becoming too acidic. Chances are, if you’re overly acidic, you’re not well as many diseases are associated with an overly acidic body.

Note: Don’t stop eating lemons! Acidic foods, like citrus-based foods, are actually alkalizing in our body. Food for thought.

It’s okay to eat acid-forming foods (many healthy foods are, including turkey!), as long as you’re countering them with a majority of alkaline-forming foods. Still, stay away from the ridiculously unhealthy acid-forming foods, like fries, chips, pastries, excess alcohol, a diet high in dairy…you get the point.

Fortunately for you, this recipe is l-o-a-d-e-d with alkaline-forming herbs and spices, including cinnamon, cilantro, cumin, sea salt and turmeric. The only spice that’s not alkaline-forming is black pepper. But that’s ok! When you combine heat + black pepper + turmeric, you unleash the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin, thanks to the volatile oil in black pepper called pipeline.

I added carrots to this chili. I know it’s not a traditional ingredient, but this isn’t a traditional chili and I love carrots. Besides, they’re good for you!

Enjoy!

P.S. This recipe is on the bigger side. If you’re cooking for a smaller group, simply halve the recipe.

Ginger Infused Turkey Chili with Quinoa
Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients
1 pound ground turkey breast
1 pound ground turkey thigh
2 28-ounce cans of pureed tomato
1/2 cup quinoa (uncooked)
1 cup water
1 cup yellow onions, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3 inches of ginger, coarsely chopped (does not need to be finely chopped or shaved)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (more if you want some extra heat)

Preparation
1. Warm a stock pot over medium heat, then add olive oil.
2. After olive oil is warm, add onions and sauté for about three minutes.
3. Add garlic and ginger to the onions and sauté for another two minutes. Be sure heat is low enough that you don’t burn the garlic.
4. Add ground turkey and brown.
5. Add tomato puree, water and quinoa. Continue to cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until quinoa is done.
6. Add in remaining herbs and spices except for the cilantro. Mix well.
7. Ladle chili into individual bowls, garnishing with a small amount of cilantro over the top.

Quinoa Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins (Gluten Free)

When it comes to baking, muffins are always a good idea…especially these Quinoa Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins. Even with healthy food, too much of a good thing can be bad. But you’re a lot less likely to run the risk of over-serving yourself when you have a perfect portion that comes in the form of a muffin. Of course, I’m talking about muffins made with the typical homemade muffin pan, not the gigantic big-as-your-head-of-course-they’re-bad-for-you muffins that sit neatly inside coffee shop display cases, begging for you to buy one, disguised as healthy with words like grains or berries or fiber. I prefer muffins that are a little more transparent, made with fewer ingredients, a lot less unhealthy fat, and much less sugar.  

As I wrote The Belly Burn Plan, the feedback I received from the group of taste testers (aka Belly Burners) I worked  with to create better recipes was that they wanted to see more muffin. I got kind of hooked. I created several recipes that made the cut, and they happen to fall under the category of breakfast (in the book). Muffins + breakfast = another good idea. Where things go wrong is when the muffins are too high in sugar and don’t contain ingredients that do much for your body. With a few exceptions, that’s nearly every muffin outside of what you make in your kitchen.

Regardless of when you eat them, these muffins are right up there, and because they contain chocolate chips, my kids naturally love them. One ingredient I bake with almost exclusively is coconut oil. I can’t say enough about this ingredient, or how beneficial it is not only to making good food, but to your health as well. Coconut oil has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol (the good stuff), improve memory, boost athletic performance and increase overall endurance. If you don’t have this ingredient in your pantry now, make sure you pick some up.

quinoa-oat-chocolate-chip-muffins

 

Quinoa Chocolate Chip Muffins
Yields 9

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups oat flour
1 cup quinoa, prepared
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup water, lukewarm*
2 eggs, room temperature*, lightly whisked
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Line muffin pan with muffin cup, or lightly grease pan.
3. In a large bowl, combine oat flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Mix well and set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, combine whisked eggs*, coconut oil, water*, sugar and vanilla. Mix well.  Note: it’s very important that the water and eggs not be cold. If cold ingredients are mixed with melted coconut oil, the oil will solidify, making the mixture difficult to work with. 
5. Add ingredients from the small bowl to the medium bowl and continue mixing until batter is well mixed.
6. Ladle ingredients into muffin forms and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the center of the muffin has reached doneness using the toothpick test.