Fear God and Brownies

We started a new series with our Life Group yesterday by Frances Chan called “Basic.”  Actually, it is not new and most of people in our group have done some or all of this series before, but it is gives so much great insights into the foundations of Christian living that we thought it was the right time for us to dive into it again.

The first topic is “Fear God.”  You can watch the short film and hear from Frances about this topic below.

You may be wondering what this has to do with Brownies… Well you will have to keep reading!

 

This week I was able to share my story (as some call- my testimony) with our missional community.  It was an amazing opportunity for me to share how Jesus has worked in my life over the past 22 years since I accepted Jesus as my savior.  We then watched this video and discussed what it means to us, particularly in the context of the scripture passage presented.

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Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.  Proverbs 1:7

Frances says that the church today has taken the word “fear” and explained it as a healthy respect and reverence for God. But that is not how it is described in the Bible.  Those people who encounter God were afraid.  They didn’t just have an awe for him. They were afraid when they were in His presence.

BUT God also tells us that we do not need to be afraid.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you, Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41: 10.

Watch the video.  Frances Chan can explain it and teach is so much better and more clearly than I could ever hope to do.

But I truly love this topic.  It is so easy for us to say that God is loving, and gracious, because He is. He has forgiven me even though I don’t deserve it and am not worthy.  But don’t we often walk through life just living and not thinking about how important that grace through His son- Jesus Christ is to our lives. We don’t deserve it and we have been given this huge sacrifice by God.  Think of how powerful He is.  We should fear God. We should think about Him and His almighty power every single day- including the fact that He loved us enough to sacrifice His son so we could go on living these lives of ours with the knowledge that we will have eternity in heaven. We should be grateful for that and show it in our actions and rely on God to lead our lives.

So now on to the brownie topic.

I prayed to God (and still do) that He would allow me to conquer the enemy that I face with food. I turn to it when I am stressed, angry, upset, lonely, excited, and more. I felt controlled by food. God lead me to a meal plan and fitness program that I believe changed my life. I still love food. I love to eat. I love sweets, carbs, and so much more, but now I don’t indulge as much as I used to on the “bad” stuff and when I do indulge, I still try to make smarter choices.  Enter- Clean Eating boards on Pinterest!

After adding more and more recipes to my board that called for coconut products, I decided I needed to stock up.

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I will say that I was very skeptical at first because I have NEVER liked coconut.  You know, the sweet white stuff people put on cakes and cookies.  But I wanted to try it. So about 9 months ago I started using coconut oil in some of my baking and cooking.  I stocked up this weekend with even more ingredients and made my first baked goods using coconut flour.  I even got some unsweetened coconut chips because someone fixed a really delicious trail mix at my chiropractor’s office that tasted nothing like the coconut that I always think of.

I tell you all this, because when our Life Group gets together on Sundays, we eat together and share desserts together. I have been so blessed to be able to host this group in my home and share my love for baking with them.

So next time you are looking for something chocolatey and delicious but that isn’t going to wreck your clean eating or otherwise healthy eating, try this

Chocolate Coconut Flour Brownie (adapted from this recipe)

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 TBS. organic Coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 TBS. honey
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup minus 1 TBS. (50 g) coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped raw pecans
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (I used Everyday life brand)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line an 8″x8″ glass baking pan with parchment so two edges hang over the side of the pan.(for easy removal and cutting) Spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In glass measuring cup, melt coconut oil in microwave. In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder and the melted coconut oil, and eggs with an electric mixer until combined. Add in the agave (or honey) and vanilla extract. Mix again until combined. Add in the coconut flour and salt and mix again until the batter is thoroughly combined.
  3. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips. Spread into prepared pan evenly.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack and once cooled to room temperature, remove from pan and cut into 16 squares. You can either refrigerate the brownies or leave them at room temperature in an airtight container.

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They were a huge hit and I hope you love them too!

Homemade Chocolate Popsicles

Every week when I plan and prepare my meals for the week, I try to do one thing new.  Before starting my Clean Eating lifestyle, I used to eat one sugar free fudge pop a day.  I now know that although it is only 20 calories, it is probably not the healthiest choice.  But I have been missing that little treat at night. So I decided to make my own.

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So I set out on Pinterest to find a recipe and found this Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Banana Yogurt Pop

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk or milk of choice
  • 3/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 large ripe bananas
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon raw or organic honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

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  • Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze for 30 minutes before inserting the popsicle sticks.

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  • Freeze the popsicles until they are frozen solid, about 4 hours.

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I followed the instructions explicitly.  But when I tried to remove the popsicle, they would NOT come out.  So my husband gave it a try and broke the whole mold right off!

He suggested running it under water, so I gave it a try.  Just about 5 seconds under slightly luke warm water did the trick and the popsicles came right out.

Macon enjoyed his for about 3 minutes then gave it up.  Jonathan and I really enjoyed our little ice cream treat.  The flavor was good but it did taste a little more yogurt-y than chocolate-y so I may need to adjust the amounts of some of the ingredients next time.  But all in all, this is a great replacement to my nightly fudge pop!

Lasagna Boats

When I was searching for different recipe ideas to prepare for this week’s meals, I stumbled upon a Zucchini Lasagna Boat recipe that looked delicious.  I decided to give it a try.  We had this cleaned up and healthier comfort food for dinner last night and it was a HIT!  My husband made it a point to tell me that he thought it was delicious.

Here is my recipe for Lasagna Boats adapted from the original:

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 medium zucchini (2 1/2 lbs), sliced into halves through the length*
  • 1 cup (8.6 oz) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 oz lean ground turkey
  • 4 tsp olive oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3/4 cup clean tomato sauce (I used this clean 21 Day Fix Approved Tomato Sauce)

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a spoon, scoop centers from zucchini while leaving a 1/4-inch rim to create boats. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl stir together ricotta cheese, egg and 1 1/2 Tbsp of the parsley. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese.  The original recipe also called for 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese but I completely forgot it!.  Set aside.
  • Heat 2 tsp of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble turkey into pan, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up when stirring, until browned. Stir in tomato sauce and ;let simmer for a few minutes, remove from heat.
  • To assemble boats, brush both sides of of zucchini lightly with remaining 2 tsp olive oil and place in two baking pans (I used a 13 by 9 and a 9 by 9). Divide cheese mixture among zucchini spooning about 2 1/2 Tbsp into each, then spread cheese mixture into and even layer. Divide sauce among zucchini adding a few heaping spoonfuls to each. Cover baking dishes with foil and place in oven side by side and bake in preheated oven 30 minutes.

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  • Remove from oven, sprinkle tops with remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella (again, cooking too quickly, I mixed the mozzarella cheese into the cheese mixture and cooked all together instead of adding it at the end, still delish!), return to oven and bake until cheese has melted and zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes.

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Next time you’re in the mood for some warm and delicious comfort food but want to keep it healthy, try this recipe out and let me know what you think!

Taco Tuesday

My husband and I love Mexican food. We usually go out to eat it probably once a week then I fix some version of Southwest or Mexican another 2-3 times a week.

I did a survey on Facebook last week asking what is the favorite- Pizza or Mexican.  Mexican won by a landslide. Earlier this week, I gave you a healthier alternative to pizza with my Healthy Pizza full of veggies and NO carbs!   Now I want to share with you one of my favorite quick Mexican dishes.

I typically cook most of my meals for the week on Sundays.  Some weeks I have more time than others.  On the weeks when I don’t have quite as much time, I will cook a bunch of grilled chicken then heat it up and add to it later in the week.  This week, I knew I wanted tacos so I fixed ground turkey taco meat.  Last night I wanted chicken too!  So I diced some of the pre-cooked grilled chicken, warmed in pan and added taco sauce and spices and you would have never known that it was just plain ole chicken a few minutes before!

I also LOVE fresh guacamole!  Several years ago, I went to New York with a friend and we wandered into Dos Caminos Mexican Cantina.  I had never had guacamole before then but I fell in love with it. They had magnetic recipes that you could take home and I have been making a version of that recipe since!  My husband and I went to New York on vacation in May, so we just had to go by Dos Caminos and get more guacamole!  Now I will say that my food is no where near as fancy as theirs, but it is good, clean, and home cooked!

Misty’s Tacos with Fresh Guacamole:

Ingredients:

  • Lean Ground Turkey and/or Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Mexican taco sauce
  • Ground chili powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Fresh ground salt and pepper
  • Reduced fat mexican cheese
  • Corn or whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 Avocados
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • Olive oil

Directions

  • Drizzle a little olive oil in your pan.  Brown your ground turkey or chicken. Or if you want both, use two pans.  You can grill your chicken in advance then dice up, add a little oil to pan, then continue from here.
  • Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder and cumin (to taste).  We like it spicy.
  • Add Mexican taco sauce and a little water.  Mix well and turn down to medium low and let simmer.

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  • Scoop out the avocado into a bowl and mash with potato masher or fork.

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  • Add juice from 1 fresh squeeze lime
  • Add diced Roma tomato
  • Add cumin, chili powder, and salt to taste
  • Finley chop fresh cilantro and add.
  • Mix together.  Flavor combines if you let sit in fridge for about 30 minutes.

Serve on warm corn or whole wheat tortillas and top with cheese and guacamole!  You can even top with some greek yogurt!

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Hope you enjoy this recipe!  If you try it on your next Taco Tuesday, please comment or share!!

Healthy Mac and Cheese

My go-to casserole dish to take to picnics, covered-dish parties, holidays, and pretty much anytime someone asks me to bring something is Mac and Cheese.  I have a recipe that was from Southern Living way back when that my Mama passed to me.  I love it and so does everyone else.  I think it is by far the BEST Mac and Cheese recipe there is.

But it is definitely not the healthiest.  Sometimes you still want comfort food that is delicious and cheesy but doesn’t wreck your 80% clean eating plan!  And that recipe doesn’t include any lean protein to keep me full.

I was really in the mood for some comfort food this week and turned to Fixate, by Autumn Calabrese, the creator of 21 Day Fix and prepared her Mac and Cheese.  The only difference is I had already cooked all of my broccoli before I got to this recipe and just went without, deciding I would pair it with a salad.

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MMMMmmmm doesn’t that look delicious!  And it was!

I will include the complete, original recipe for you if you want to prepare a one dish wonder for your family.

Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli and Chicken

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 oz dry whole wheat macaroni (I used penne)
  • 4 tsp organic grass-fed butter or organic coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp unbleached whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/4 cups freshly grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups cookec chopped chicken breast, boneless, skinless
  • 6 cups chopped broccoli florets, steamed
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  • Cook macaroni according to package directions (omit salt)
  • Melt butter or coconut oil in large saucepan over medium heat
  • Add flour; cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until brown (don’t let it burn).
  • Slowly whisk in almond milk; cook, whisking constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until mixture thickens and there are no lumps.
  • Reduce heat to low. Add cheese; cook, whisking constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until melted.
  • Add chicken, broccoli, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, or until heated through.
  • Serve immediately

Serves 8. 21 Day Fix Container Equivalents: 1 green, 1 yellow, 1/2 red, 1/2 blue.

It was a hit with the littlest Anderson too!

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Secret Ingredient Brownies

If you have been following my blog, you know that I have been eating clean and following the 21 Day Fix Meal Plan since January.  I absolutely love baking but I find it hard to avoid the temptation of delectable sweets in my house. But I really wanted something ooey, gooey and chocolatey this weekend. I recently discovered Chocolate Covered Katie who believes in eating chocolate everyday.  I decided I would give her number one recipe a test, even though one of the main ingredients seemed to be a really odd fit…. black beans.  In a dessert.  Really!

And surprise, surprise, they are AWESOME!  I know, it sounds crazy. But they are really delicious.  Of course they don’t taste as sweet and delectable as full sugar, white flour, full butter, whole milk, milk chocolate brownies that we know and love.  But those brownies also don’t love us.

So next time you want a chocolate treat, give these a try!  Share this with your friends to enjoy too!

Black Bean Brownies (adapted from the original recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup quick oats (40g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

Black Bean Brownies Recipe: Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well. Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. If they still look a bit undercooked, you can place them in the fridge overnight and they will magically firm up! Makes 9-12 brownies.

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National Nutty Fudge Day

Today is National Nutty Fudge Day.  I find these “National Day” days really fun!  And really, who needs another reason to celebrate by eating fudge?!

But since I just got back from a week of vacation with tons of indulgence and desserts, I do not want to wreck my momentum as I get back on track with 21 Day Fix.

So I decided to try out this delicious looking Clean Eating Almond Butter Fudge recipe that I have had saved on my Pinterest wall for a while.  If you haven’t tried anything from Chocolate Covered Katie, stop what you are doing and go there NOW.  She has tons of awesome clean desserts that make you feel like you are having a cheat meal when they are actually healthy!

But I didn’t have any Almond butter. What to do?  Well I did have a HUGE tub of natural organic Peanut Butter and decided to go with that.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Natural Organic Peanut Butter
  • 2 1/2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp raw honey
  • a few drops maple extract (I actually used a drop or two of pure maple syrup)

Instructions

Combine the peanut butter and coconut oil, and gently warm (I used a small saucepan on medium heat) until the nut butter is easily stir-able and the coconut oil is liquid. Stir in the sweetener, then spoon into a plastic container or candy molds. Freeze a few hours until solid, and store leftovers in the freezer.

The only trick here now is to just eat ONE serving!  It is absolutely delicious!

I didn’t have candy molds so I just put it in a Tupperware container, let it freeze then broke it up.

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How will you celebrate National Nutty Fudge Day?