Spiralized Beets with Oranges and Blue Cheese
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Up until recently, I haven’t had beets for quite some time. Maybe the occasional beet on a salad at a restaurant or at a wedding, but I would never just make them myself. Then, a few things happened. First, my sister made spiralized beets when I went to visit in March and they were really good. I think we put balsamic and something else on them…maybe honey, and just roasted them in the oven. Then, I actually ordered roasted beets at a tapas style restaurant when my brother was here visiting, and they were amazing. It made start thinking about creating my own similar dish. Finally, I happened to find a container of pre-spiralized beets at my local publix…yes I am that lazy/busy person that likes to take an occasional shortcut. Anyways, there was now no excuse not to try my hand at a delicious beet recipe.
Spiralized Beets with Oranges and Blue Cheese
Before I give you the recipe I should probably tell you why you should eat beets. Other than the fact that they are delicious of course. The short story is that beets are a vegetable and vegetables are good for you, we all know that. But why beets specifically? One of the great things about these root veggies is their high dietary nitrate content. Nitrates are a compound made up of nitrogen and oxygen and are naturally found in our food supply. They are abundant in vegetables such as leafy greens and beets and have been shown to help lower blood pressure and enhance exercise performance. So beets are delicious and heart healthy…you definitely have to try them now!
Spiralized Beets with Oranges and Blue Cheese

Spiralized Beets with Oranges and Blue Cheese

Ingredients 
4 Cups Spiralized Beets
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar + Extra for Drizzling
1 Cup Mandarin Orange Slices
1/4 Cup Reduced Fat Blue Cheese Crumbles

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss beets with olive oil and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar in a medium roasting pan. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and toss in oranges. Mix together and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until oranges are warm and beets are to desired tenderness. Remove from oven, stir and place in serving dish. Top with blue cheese and drizzle with more balsamic vinegar if desired. Serve warm immediately or refrigerate and serve cold.
Spiralized Beets with Oranges and Blue Cheese
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Black Bean Brownies
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Replacing all purpose flour in brownie recipes with black beans can be a great start to make brownies more nutritious (less refined flour, more plant based protein and fiber), but sometimes they can turn out less than appetizing. After trying my hand at many different desserts containing beans, I have found two important rules. First, you need to mask the bean flavor with other stronger complementary flavors. Second, make sure you have enough dry ingredients.  If you don’t follow those rules, you end up with mushy bean dessert. Lucky for you, I already did all the baking and testing so you don’t have to subject yourself to some of my previous awful recipes :)

 

Black Bean BrowniesBlack Bean Brownies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you like peanut butter, you can check out my peanut butter black bean brownies here. But if coffee and cream brownies sound more your style read on…

 

 

Black Bean Brownies

I originally shunned away from the idea of using coffee in black bean brownies because I was afraid it would be an overpowering flavor and I am not a huge coffee drinker. However, coffee does have a lot of antioxidants and research suggests health benefits, including reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes and alzheimer’s disease. Additionally I received a sample of Kohana Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate from Kohana Coffee to participate in their recipe contest, so it seemed like the perfect time to give it a try. I’m really happy I did try because the coffee really amped up the chocolate flavor, masked the beans and didn’t make the brownies taste overly coffee-like. Bonus antioxidants in your dessert are always something to celebrate!

 

Coffee and Cream Brownies

Ingredients
1 Can of Reduced Sodium Black Beans- Drained and Rinsed
2 Large Eggs
3 Tablespoons Strong Coffee (I used Kohana Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate)
4 Ounces Reduced Fat Cream Cheese
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
3/4 Cups Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/3 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch glass baking pan with cooking spray. Add all ingredients except for chocolate chips into a good blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Pour into prepared glass pan and sprinkle chocolate chips over batter evenly. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool, slice and enjoy. Cover and keep refrigerated if saving for later.

***If you would like to vote for this recipe and/or my Berry Chocolate Iced Coffee recipe (it’s delicious too!) go to http://kohanacontest.com/contest/ and vote!

Black Bean Brownies
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Breakfast Quinoa
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Quinoa is a delicious whole grain that has been around since pretty much forever, but has become more popular over the past several years. It is gluten free, high in protein, high in fiber, and readily available at the grocery store. I actually prefer it to brown rice for quick weeknight meals because it cooks faster. But until recently I didn’t think that “breakfast quinoa” was a thing.

 

Over the past few days I had been craving a warm bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, but unfortunately oatmeal does not agree with me…Even gluten free oatmeal makes me feel like a giant ball of trapped gas. And I was out of buckwheat cereal. So I thought why not make quinoa for breakfast? I could use fruit and warm breakfasty spices to make it similar to oatmeal! So I went to work and made a batch adding whatever ingredients I could find. I was able to rustle up some gala apples and dried cranberries which went together perfectly with the quinoa and spices. It turned out great and I even had leftovers for the next morning! It kinda reminded me of the McDonald’s Oatmeal but with much less sugar.

Breakfast Quinoa

Because of the higher protein content than oatmeal, quinoa may even help you feel fuller for longer! I definitely will be making quinoa for breakfast again. I think I will play with the flavors and try different types of fruits/spices/milk in this recipe. You should too! Let me know in the comments what different flavors you tried…I want to know! I think next time I might try it with pears, pecans and almond milk. Or maybe a tropical fruit with coconut milk when the weather gets warmer…

 

Breakfast Quinoa with Apples and Cranberries

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups Water

1/2 Cup Uncooked Quinoa

1/2 Teaspoon Allspice

1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1 Medium Apple – Washed, Cored and Diced

2 Tablespoons Dried Cranberries

1 Teaspoon Brown Sugar

Milk of Choice (Optional for topping)

 

Directions

Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Add quinoa, allspice and cinnamon to boiling water. Stir, cover, and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Add apples, cranberries and brown sugar. Stir, recover and all to simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve. Top with milk (skim, almond, rice, soy…) if desired.

 

Breakfast Quinoa

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