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Blackberry Muffins, Brownie Cake Squares & health benefits of raw cacao!

Hope everyone is having a great week!! I wanted to share my latest healthy recipes I made for my mom’s birthday!  Who doesn’t love brownies & muffins?!  😉 Spring/summer is a great time to get fresh berries for the muffins, especially if you pick them yourself….also a cheap way to stock up on some organic fruit! (make sure you ask if pesticides are used where you go berry picking!) I also included some awesome benefits of raw CHOCOLATE & reasons why to include it into your daily diet below…

Fresh Blackberry Muffins

1/4 cup unsweetened organic applesauce

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 1/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute (I did half coconut sugar,  half baking stevia)

2 cups flour of choice (I always prefer sprouted grain flours such as spelt – you could do organic wheat, oat, spelt ect…I get all of my sprouted flours from www.bluemountainorganics.com )

1/2 cup liquid organic egg whites

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)

2 cups fresh blackberries (blueberries, strawberries, or other fruits would work as well!

Mix all the dry ingredients, add the wet then fold in berries.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.

 

Brownie Cake Squares

1 1/2 cup flour of choice (gluten free, whole wheat, oat, spelt, ect- I used a mixture of sprouted spelt and organic unbleached white wheat)

1/2 cup sugar (I used stevia for baking)

1/3 cup raw cacao powder (unsweetened cocoa powder would work too- I just love the many health benefits of cacao! See below!)

1/2 tsp baking sodabrownie

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 cup vanilla low fat or fat free yogurt of choice (I used regular organic fat free vanilla yogurt from Trader Joe’s…soy, coconut or almond yogurt would work to make this vegan!)

2 TBSP Coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

 

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or cow or coconut milk)

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used the Enjoy Life vegan brand)

Mix all the dry ingredients, then add the wet.  Pour into a greased small square pan & bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

Health benefits of raw CHOCOLATE- AKA Cacao 😉 …

Cacao beans are rich in natural antioxidant compounds with many health benefits.   They contain natural chemicals called flavonoids, a type of antioxidant compound that promotes general health and might lower your risk of several diseases. Research has compared the antioxidant capacity of black tea, green tea, red wine and cocoa, concluding that cocoa has the highest antioxidant activity among the four products and the greatest potential for health benefits.

Minimally processed raw chocolate contains many vital vitamins and minerals such as:

  • Magnesium, and other essential minerals such as calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
  • Polyphenols, antioxidant rich flavonoids
  • Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, C, E
  • Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat
  • Protein
  • Fiber

 

A few health benefits raw cacao can provide include…


1) Raw Cacao can help lower blood pressure & improve circulation

Flavanols, theobromine, and other components found in cacao may lower blood pressure and enhance circulation by promoting dilation, strength, and health of blood vessels


2) Cacao promotes cardiovascular function & health

The antioxidant power of flavonoids and essential minerals and vitamins found in cacao can support healthy heart functioning by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow, lowering LDL cholesterol, and reducing plaque buildup on artery walls.


3) Neutralize free radicals!

High levels of antioxidants protect the body from a buildup of free radicals from many environmental factors we come in contact with on a daily basis. Free radicals may damage healthy body tissue giving rise to cancer and cardiovascular disease. Our bodies need antioxidants to get rid of free radicals that can damage our cells.


4)Raw Cacao can improve digestion

Cacao has a ton of fiber and it also stimulates the body’s production of digestive enzymes.


5) Cacao can improve physical and mental well-being

There are many components of cacao including alkaloids, proteins, beta-carotene, leucine, linoleic, lipase, lysine, and theobromine, that all work together to improve physical and mental health. For example,it can help  to stimulate the central nervous system, relax smooth muscles, and dilate blood vessels, giving the body a boost of energy.Cacao can also  help improve mood and fight depression.

SO how can I add raw chocolate to my daily diet?!  EASY!!! One of my favorite ways is adding 1 TBSP to my smoothies- I normally will blend 1 BIG handful of spinach with 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 TBSP cacao powder (NO COCOA powder which is processed cacao) 1/2 to 1 scoop of Blue Bonnet whey isolate protein powder, 1 cup frozen berries & a bit of extra water/ice! Sometimes I will throw in 1/2 TBSP cacao nibs as well.. YUM!

You can also stir in cacao powder to your oats, sprinkle over yogurt, fruit, ect.. Use it in place of cocoa powder!

Don’t forget to eat your chocolate today!! ;))

XO!
T

 

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