We had a snow day yesterday and it gave me the opportunity to experiment with the green banana flour I bought a few weeks ago. I’ve known about green banana flour for a while, but kept forgetting to order some. Then, I conveniently stumbled upon it at the grocery store. Score!
So far, I am pretty impressed with the flour. It worked well in this recipe and did not yield a strong or sweet banana flavor. It’s actually rather subtle. All in all, the bites turned out intensely chocolatey, subtly sweet, and slightly crunchy. In addition to the wonderful flavor, you get a dose of antioxidants, healthy fats, and resistant starch in these decadent bites. Perfect little treat.
Also, if you’re wondering, resistant starch actually, “resists digestion” and feeds the healthy bacteria in the gut. This can lead to improved blood fats, better insulin sensitivity, increased satiety, improved digestion, and more. Cold cooked white potatoes, fresh green bananas, and green plantains are other great sources. If you want to learn more about resistant starch, visit HERE.
It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without something chocolatey, right? To be honest, I don’t even really celebrate Valentine’s Day, but still like to have a little chocolate or sweet treat. So, I guess I celebrate a tiny bit. But, if you ask me, any reason is a good reason to eat chocolate. Valentine’s Day is the chocolate holiday though.
Meanwhile, melted dark chocolate, coconut butter, and freeze-dried strawberries come together in this combo to create a decadent, satisfying, and pretty sweet treat. Can’t beat the touch of pink for Valentine’s Day either! Use your favorite dark chocolate bar and adjust accordingly if you want the cups more or less sweet. Personally, I like really dark chocolate, but know that the darker stuff can be too bitter for some people.
Cheers and enjoy!
4-4.5 oz good-quality dark chocolate (I used a mix of 100% and 85%)
1/4 cup coconut butter, melted (I used this brand)
Extra ground freeze-dried strawberries for garnish, optional
Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners and set aside. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat, being careful not to get any moisture in the chocolate.
Remove from heat and spoon about 1 tsp of the melted chocolate into each liner. Place muffin tin in the refrigerator for chocolate to set. Meanwhile, place chocolate bowl back over pot of hot water to stay warm over low heat.
While chocolate is setting, prepare the filling. In a small bowl, mix together the melted coconut butter and 2 Tbsp of ground freeze-dried strawberries. It will look crumbly, but keep mixing and smushing mixture down with a fork to work in the strawberry powder. Eventually, it smooths out some and is no longer crumbly. Know that it will not be drizzly and melty though.
Remove muffin tin from fridge and scoop about 1 tsp worth of coconut mixture into each liner. Flatten mixture slightly with hands or back of spoon. Lastly, remove melted chocolate from heat and top with about 1 tsp more of melted chocolate. Place in fridge to set. After a few minutes or so, while chocolate is still tacky, garnish with extra freeze-dried strawberries, if desired. Place back in fridge to finish setting.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Traditionally, chocolate mousse is made with whipping cream, sugar, some form of chocolate (chocolate chips or cocoa powder), and egg yolks or egg whites — I’ve seen both. Not totally sure which came first. The mixture is also heated on the stove.
However, my variation is dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and couldn’t be any easier. No stovetop needed and everything mixes together in the blender. I added sunflower seed butter too, so the final product tastes a bit like a peanut butter cup. It is so decadent and heavenly! Of course, there are no peanuts, but sunflower seed butter mimics a peanutty flavor, in my opinion. If you want a quick, easy and painless Valentine’s Day dessert, make this recipe!
Also, if you really want to go all out, make homemade coconut milk whipped cream (or dairy-based whipped cream, if tolerated) and top each serving with a dollop or two. Add fresh berries, fresh grated chocolate or a sprinkling of cacao nibs, if desired.
And, one last thing…I will be making this recipe LIVE on KATU Afternoon Live today, so tune in if you like (show is from 3-4 PST). I will share the replay clip afterward though, so you can catch it that way too. UPDATE: watch the replay of my segment HERE!
1 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (I like and used this brand)
1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder
Pinch of sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Heaping 1/4 cup unsweetened sunflower seed butter (I like and used this brand)
*Note: experiment with a little less gelatin if you want your mousse to be a bit thinner. Also, this recipe sets up fine without “blooming” or dissolving the gelatin first, but I know I am doing it differently than the standard. If you prefer to let it “bloom” in a small amount of chilled coconut milk first and then add it to some warmed coconut milk on the stove, go for it (you’d then of course mix it with the remaining ingredients & pour into dishes). I just know it works for me without doing this step and the directions on my gelatin container even instruct it can be used this way.
*To a blender container, add the coconut milk, cocoa powder, sea salt, vanilla, sunflower seed butter and honey. Blend for several seconds or so on low or medium-low. Scrape down the sides with a spatula, if needed and briefly blend again. Then, add the gelatin and blend on low or medium-low to incorporate it into the mixture. Make sure the gelatin is thoroughly mixed in and the mixture is smooth, but don’t over-blend!
Immediately pour into small dishes or ramekins and place in the fridge to set. Allow to firm up for at least a few hours or longer, if needed.
*Note: this can be whisked in a large bowl by hand, but it’s harder to get a totally smooth texture. You have to whisk somewhat vigorously, but it works pretty well. I have done it this way too and still liked it. The texture was a little thinner too. Blending yields a smoother, thicker texture. Both are good, in my opinion! If you choose to blend the mixture, but want your mousse a littler thinner, see my note above about the gelatin.
I’m sure most of you are familiar with Bulletproof® Coffee by now. You may not have tried it, but I’m sure you’ve at least heard of it. If you haven’t given it a shot yet, I highly recommend it. Honestly, there’s nothing that really compares. It’s just plain incredible and satisfying, and has become a regular part of my morning. Sometimes, I just do Bulletproof® Coffee to get my day started and other times, I have it with a few pieces of bacon or breakfast sausage. It is perfect and I look forward to it every day. I even get excited to go to bed at night, so I can wake up and drink butter coffee!
For those of you turning your nose up at the idea, I recommend giving it a try before making up your mind. Plus, do you (or did you used to) add cream to your coffee? Well, remember that butter is just cream that’s been churned anyway. If you do decide to try it, just make sure you BLEND it and don’t try to whisk it instead. Blending is key, otherwise you’re left with an oil slick on top of the cup and no foam. It is not the same! For more info about this great coffee, check out the Bulletproof® websiteto learn more.
Meanwhile, here’s how I take my Bulletproof® Coffee:
1.5 – 2 cups hot, good-quality coffee (I use homemade cold brew concentrate mixed w/ water & heated on the stove)
1 Tbsp grass-fed gelatin powder (I use this kind, which doesn’t gel)
*1 Tbsp unsalted grass-fed butter
*1 Tbsp MCT oil (start w/ 1 tsp if it’s new to you & work your way up to 1 Tbsp)
Wow, what a great weekend! Saturday, in particular, was outstanding. Before I get rolling about that, I just want to say that a Monday – Wednesday school schedule is SO much better than going through Thursday. One less day of school during the week really makes a big difference. If you’re curious, my classes this term include exercise science, fitness assessment II, and professional activities: special populations (fitness programming for older adults).
Anyway, Saturday started with another great workout at Recreate. Then, it was breakfast at home and a little downtime before heading to Whole Foods for a healthy fats presentation by my friend, Ashley, also the blogger behind Craving4more, in case you didn’t remember. The event was actually titled, “Fat is NOT the F-word!” Ashley had a great spread laid out, as usual and we had the opportunity to sample the delicious food. I tried the macadamia-crusted halibut, a fig olive walnut tapenade, roasted watermelon radishes (roasted in coconut oil), and lemon pound cake bites (grain-free and similar to a larabar). She also had an avocado chocolate mousse with port berries and spiced pecans, but I needed to opt out. I brought some home for Jesse though, and he said it was delicious. Ashley also had some freshly made grass-fed tallow and grass-fed ghee on display for participants to see.
Ashley gave a great overview of the types of fat, which to cook with, which not to cook with (finishing oils), which to avoid, omega-3 vs. omega-6, myths and overall benefits. I knew most everything already, but it was neat to see others learn about it that did not know all these details. It was fun and I was happy to be there to support Ashley, and taste the delicious food too! Be sure to keep an eye on Ashely’s blog this week because I know she’ll be posting some of the recipes.
Then, when leaving Whole Foods, I randomly ran into two different friends, one of which I hadn’t seen in a long time (also a former lululemon co-worker). The other was one of my special yoga buddies. I love them both and was happy to see and chat with them, even if it was only for a few minutes.
Fast forward a little later in the day and I remembered that Nora Gedgaudas, author of Primal Body, Primal Mind, was giving a talk at a local bookstore about 5-10 minutes away from my house. I called to make sure there was still spots available, and lucky for me, there was, but I wasn’t sure if I’d make it in time or not. I had dinner going and realized I’d have to eat quickly and bolt, and I really detest rushing! I knew I’d regret missing it though, so I made it work.
“Dietary fat has been treated like a villain for the better part of the last century by medical authorities, the USDA and other mainstream nutritional authorities. Instead, dietary carbohydrates have been lauded as foundational to human dietary needs largely without question and now makes up the majority of mainstream dietary intake. Dietary fat is demonstrably central to our most basic energy, metabolic, neurological and physiologic needs and by restricting its intake we foster a much less healthy and unnatural dependence upon dietary sources of sugar and starch. Nora Gedgaudas is the author of the critically acclaimed international best-selling book, Primal Body, Primal Mind. She maintains a private practice in Portland, Oregon as both a Board-Certified nutritional consultant and a Board-Certified clinical Neurofeedback Specialist.”
At the event, I had the opportunity to meet a couple other Portland paleo bloggers and it was awesome to finally put a face with the name in person! I’m referring, specifically, to Holly over at The Paleo Blog of Yayand Jennifer over at Paleo Dieting. Jason Seib, my mentor and author of the book, The Paleo Coach, was also there. I grabbed a seat and Jason told me to save the seat next to him. I still feel so fortunate to have him as a friend and mentor.
Nora’s talk was 90 minutes long and I was engaged every second of it. I took notes and could have taken a lot more, but was so enthralled by her at times, that all I could do is sit and listen. She is a wealth of knowledge, as well as a fantastic speaker and presenter. I am SO glad I went.
After the talk, I chit-chatted with some others and was able to meet Nora and have her sign my book, which was such a pleasure. I didn’t get a picture with Nora, but did take one of Jason and Nora together on my phone.
Here are a few highlights from Nora’s presentation that I wrote down (note, this is not everything I wrote down):
Taking statins for high cholesterol levels is the equivalent to shooting the fireman at the fire.
Cholesterol is an indicator, not a disease marker. To know what’s really going on, you have to look under the hood.
The more we depend on fat, the longer we live.
Cell membranes require 50% saturated fat for functioning and other parts of the body, including the heart, need it to function properly as well (she listed how other parts of the body use saturated fat, but this is the one I was able to jot down in time).
Cholesterol functions as an antioxidant and acts as duct tape in our arteries.
Cholesterol — not diamonds — is a girl’s best friend.
Using ketones for fuel creates more ATP.
The brain uses >20% of the body’s total energy demands.
For human longevity, it’s best to keep protein around 25 grams per meal. (Note: this varies for some people with specific goals or needs, such as athletes or those trying to gain muscle).
Special note: go watch Allan Savory’s TED talk titled, “How to green the desert and reverse climate change.” Jason made sure I wrote this down.
On a completely different note and just because I want to share, Jesse and I get married exactly two months from today!