Healthy Chocolate Pumpkin-tella Spread

chocolate spread on a knifeThought you had to give up on the guilty ecstasy of spooning smooth, naked Nutella into your mouth with eye-rolling abandon and moans of pure pleasure? 

Resist no longer.   

This healthy, raw, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, antioxidant-rich and nutrient-packed chocolate spread recipe is nut free and uses pumpkin seeds instead, which makes it equally suitable for intimate Nut(-free-)tella nights as well as kids’ schoolbag lunches.

Discover the incredible health benefits of pumpkin seeds, and learn how to roast them yourself. 

Healthy Recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Spread

 

Healthy Chocolate Pumpkin-tella Spread

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Ingredients
2 cups raw, shelled pumpkin seeds
2 1/2 cups dates, soaked overnight and drained
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup of plain hemp milk (or any milk or milk alternative of choice)

Instructions
In a powerful food processor, blend the pumpkin seeds for several minutes until they turn into a butter-like consistency (stop several times during the process to scrape down the sides and push the seed meal back into the center of the blender). Then add in all of the other ingredients and continue blending until the spread becomes smooth.

Lean On Life /



High-Protein Chickpea Nut Butterscotch Snack Bars

Peanut Butterscotch High-Protein Snack BarsThese delectable, healthy, high-protein, sugar-free, vegan, gluten-free snack bars are having a major identity crisis.    

Popping with nutrient-dense, fiber-filled and naturally energizing figs, oats and stimulating super-foods, they are the perfect energy bar.

Packed with the perfect compliment of high protein chickpeas, peanuts, seeds and extracts, they are an incredible vegan source of easy-to-absorb, muscle building protein (and a great pre-workout and post-workout meal).

With their firm and chewy texture, they make for the most convenient, satisfying, on-the-go snack bar (and a handy snack food alternative for the kids).

And each heavenly bite of sugar-free sweetness has them thinking that they are a rewarding, dessert-worthy tantalizing treat.

Whip these up and perform some much needed scarf-‘em-down psychotherapy.

A HEALTHY RECIPE FOR High-Protein Chickpea Nut Butterscotch Snack Bars

High-Protein Chickpea Nut Butterscotch Snack Bars

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Ingredients
19 ounce can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups of cooked garbanzo beans)
1 cup salt-free natural peanut butter (or use any nut butter of choice, or sesame seed butter for nut allergies)
2 cups figs (pre-soak them for an hour in water, then drain)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of mesquite powder (Optional: this is what gives these bars their “butterscotch” flavor; however, if you don’t have this on-hand or find it too difficult to locate, the bars are still delicious without it)
¼ teaspoon of sea salt
1 ½ cups uncontaminated rolled oats (Optional: replace with ground flax seeds)
1 cup of natural, flavor-less vegan protein powder (Optional: use any protein powder of choice, or none at all)
1 cup cocoa nibs or chocolate chips (Optional)

Instructions
1. In a food processor, combine the garbanzo beans, peanut butter, figs, vanilla extract, mesquite powder, salt and protein powder, until smooth.
2. Add in the oats and the cocoa nibs or chocolate chips; pulse in gradually just to distribute evenly throughout the mixture, until it becomes a thick dough. Add in more oats if the batter is too runny.
3. Oil a 13×9 pan and press mixture into it.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes.
5. Allow them to cool, and then cut into bars. Wrap each individual bar in a layer of wax paper and then saran wrap. Then place all of the wrapped bars into a large ziplock bag, for convenient storage in the fridge/freezer.
6.Refrigerate for up to five days, or freeze them for up to two month. Or make them last even longer by dehydrating them.

Notes
Now say it quickly, five times in a row…chickpeanutbutterscotch, chickpeanutbutterscotch, chickpeanutbutterscotch, chickpeanutbutterscotch, chickpeanutbutterscotch….

Lean On Life /

 



Chocolate Black Bean Brownies with Delicious Sweet Potato Frosting

Healthy Recipe for Chocolate Sweet Potato FrostingTastes like a sinfully decadent dessert…but made with sinlessly healthy fruits and vegetables…and nobody ever suspects the deception…for all you naughty chocoholics trying to be good, YOU HAVE JUST ENTERED PARADISE.

As luck would have it, Paradise contains immune-boosting sweet potatoes, fiber-filled black beans, heart-healthy nuts and seeds, antioxidant-packed dates and blood sugar-stabilizing coconut oil. Be thankful for that, because these chocolate fudge brownies are luscious morsels of pure, delirious delight that “may” have you coming back for more…and licking the pan…and frantically whipping up another batch.

Did I mention that they’re also flour-less, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, high-protein, allergy-friendly, vegan bite-fulls of brownie bliss?

AND DID I MENTION THAT THEY ARE 100% CHOCOLATE?!

Sigh…

Chocolate Black Bean Brownies with Delicious Sweet Potato Frosting
Serves 6

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Prep Time
15 min

Cook Time
25 min

Total Time
40 min

Prep Time
15 min

Cook Time
25 min

Total Time
40 min

Ingredients

For the Brownies
19 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed, OR about 1 1/2 cups of freshly cooked black beans
2 tbsp. almond butter (for nut allergies, sesame seed butter or sunflower seed butter also work well)
2 cups of pitted dates, soaked for an hour and drained
1 cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 tsp. sea salt
chopped nuts (optional)

For the Frosting
2/3 cup baked sweet potato (just bake a sweet potato in the oven or microwave until very soft, let it cool, cut it in half and scoop out the potato from the skin)
1/2 cup pitted dates, soaked for an hour and drained
1/4 cup cocoa powder
4 tbsp. almond butter (for nut allergies, sesame seed butter or sunflower seed butter also work well)
1/2 cup coconut milk or almond milk
1 tsp. of pure vanilla extract

Directions

For the Brownies
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and oil a 9×9 baking pan.
Throw all of the ingredients into a powerful food processor or blender. Blend until it makes a smooth, thick batter.
Add chopped nuts and pulse a few times, just so that they are distributed through the batter (optional)
Spoon the batter evenly into the pan.
Bake for 25 minutes, and then let it cool completely before you add the frosting.

For the Frosting
In a food processor or blender, blend milk, dates, almond butter and vanilla extract, until smooth.
Add sweet potato and cocoa powder; blend until smooth and fluffy.
Use a spatula to spread the chocolate frosting on to the cooled brownies.
Ensure no one is looking, and proceed to lick the remainder of the frosting off of the spatula.
Sprinkle the frosted brownies with chopped nuts (optional).

Lean On Life /

 

Related Reading: Naturally Sweetened Banana Bread



Review of the Vegan Before Six Diet

lentil stewImagine a diet that could deliver great results, despite granting you complete freedom every evening. Mark Bittman, an American food journalist and author of How to Cook Everything, has designed one with just such a light at the end of the tunnel. Bittman coined his catchy dietary slogan a few years ago, but his book VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 P.M. to Lose Weight and Restore your Health…For Good is set to come out this year.

Overview of the VB6 Diet

The Vegan Before Six Diet has only one rule: until dinnertime, follow a strict vegan diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, etc. At the magical hour of 6pm, you may resume eating “normal” fare for the remainder of the day, including meat, seafood, poultry and animal by-products such as honey, eggs and dairy products. Bittman asserts that limiting his consumption of animal products has improved his overall health and lowered his grocery bills. His decreased support of industrialised livestock production is a source of great pride for Bittman; he now feels that he is doing his part to reduce greenhouse gases and fight global climate change. Let’s take a closer look.

PROS OF THE VB6 DIET

The best attribute of this diet is that its key tenet is simplicity. It takes the vague premise that at least “the majority” of your diet should be plant-based and defines it in unambiguous terms. Additionally, it is a realistic plan based on compromise, rather than extremes and deprivation. It does not have a long list of radical rules that will forever outlaw your favourite meal and cause you to cheat, or worse, quit. And, since no food is permanently forbidden, the Vegan Before Six plan still enables you to get the full range of health benefits associated with a diet rich in diversity. There is no calorie counting, food logging or changing tiers or phases to it. As for results, Bittman declares that by adopting this part-time vegan approach he quickly lost 35 pounds, normalized his cholesterol and blood sugar levels, cured his sleep apnea and now spends less money on food.

CONS OF THE VB6 DIET

It will be interesting to see if Bittman makes any stipulations in his book regarding portion control, overeating late into the night or “unhealthy” foods which can still fly under the vegan radar, such as sugary, high-fat desserts. Also, while he’s hailed for bringing awareness to polluting cattle farming practices and environmental foot printing, we can’t pretend that the importation of popular non-native vegan foods such as quinoa and soy from across the world doesn’t create its fair share of greenhouse gas emissions. Bittman also strays away from discussion about organic versus non-organic farming practices. But that’s probably to stay true to his promise of lowering your grocery bills.

OUR LEAN ON THE VB6 DIET

While the “after 6” prescription could be interpreted by people as a free pass to overindulge in unhealthy foods well beyond recommended meal times, VB6 also manages to successfully offer a great way to commit oneself to a cause that doesn’t ask people to make hard and fast choices before they may be ready to.  Mark Bittman offers up a moderate approach in a personal way that worked for his own health and conscience. Following the footsteps of the successful Meatless Mondays movement, a VB6 lifestyle may become its very own on-the-median movement in the making.