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Sweet Treats with Nutritional Boosts

As some of you may be aware, I am a volunteer Community Food Advisor for London and Middlesex County.  We go out into the community to speak about healthier eating, feeding families on a budget, cooking for one or two, the challenges of encouraging children to eat healthy food and so on.  It has been a wonderful experience so far and along with the benefits of being able to give back to my community, I have learned how to improve my own eating habits – a real plus when you have a disease like Crohns’ which greatly interferes with your ability to take in enough nutrients.

Most of the presentations I’ve been giving have been, because of my experience working with children, based on feeding children healthy foods that they will eat.  In the process, I have used some of my own recipes in which I’ve enhanced the nutrient values with added fruits, vegetables and proteins but I’ve also learned about the books by Jessica Seinfeld (Deceptively Delicious and Double Delicious) as well as The Sneaky Chef series by Missy Chase Lapine.  The recipes in these books add extra nutrients usually in the form of purees so that if you have picky eaters, they aren’t likely to notice the additions.  I’ve tried several of the recipes and let others sample them with great results.  I’ve also started playing around with adapting some of my family favourites this way.  The following are two recipes I have taken to some of the presentations I’ve given and they’ve gone over very well.  Note that the second recipe is gluten free, dairy free, and soy free.

Now, I know to some these may not sound appealing – black beans?  In brownies?  Really???  But I promise you, not only did I like them but they passed the picky taste tests of not only the children and adults in attendance at these presentations but also of my very own picky eater, my daughter.  I encourage you to give them a try!

Veggie Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup of pureed veggies (carrots, sweet potatoes, or squash or a combination of these; today I used sweet potatoes and carrots) – If you like more of a carrot cake type taste to them, you can use some grated carrot in place of some of the puree

1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

¾ cup brown sugar

1 egg

½ tsp. vanilla

Beat the above ingredients together. In a separate bowl combine:

1 1/3 cups flour (I used half white and half whole wheat)

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

Add the dry ingredients to the carrot mixture and stir until moistened through. Drop dough by spoonfuls (about a tablespoon) onto a greased (I used cooking spray) cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes until golden brown.

Note: if you want them to resemble carrot cake more, you can add a bit of cinnamon to the dough. Additions like pineapple chunks and raisins are also very good in these.

Black Bean Brownies

Note: this recipe is gluten free, dairy free, and soy free

Ingredients:

1 15.5 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

3 eggs

3 T. vegetable oil

¼ cup cocoa powder

1 pinch salt

1 tsp. vanilla

¾ cup sugar

(Optional: can add 1 tsp. instant coffee to the batter. I didn’t do this.)

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Lightly grease a 8 by 8 inch baking pan (I used cooking spray) and pour the batter into the pan. If desired, sprinkle some chocolate chips over the top. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 mins. The top of the brownies should look dry and the edges of them should begin to pull away slightly from the pan when they are done.

The other recipes that I used for my presentations with great success were free sample recipes from The Sneaky Chef website.  The brownies, Sneakerdoodles (her version of Snickerdoodles), and S’mores Cookies were all delicious!

Brownies http://www.thesneakychef.com/free_recipe_brawny_brownies.php

Sneakerdoodles http://www.thesneakychef.com/free-recipes-motts-medleys01.php

S’mores Cookies http://www.thesneakychef.com/free-recipe-sneaky-smores.php

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