I would like my family to eat more plant based as don't want to make TWO meals (one for me and one for them) AND I would like to keep my grocery expenditures down - after all, plant based protein is A LOT cheaper than meat, fish and poultry. In a perfect world, getting my family to willingly eat more lentils, beans and tofu would ROCK! This is easier said than done. Normally, I have to hide plant based protein.
Sadly, most of my completely plant based meals are not successful. Sometimes, no matter how I pitch them, they are not well received and the result is "don't make that again"! Ah, the trials and tribulations of a mom dragging her family along the eat more plant-based path!
I have had to turn to subterfuge, creativity and my secret strategy of choice... "hidden healthy". Hidden healthy has been the most successful means to sneak in plant based protein since I'm not really allowed to cook much with lentils or beans; sadly the fam is just not feeling the love!
On the flip side, I shouldn't feel too badly. I have always tried to make sure veggies were part of our meals. I know we eat way more veggies now than we did before, so that in itself is a plus! I have managed to increase some plant based protein too, now that I have come to terms with the fact that I have to hide it. Slowly, I am learning how far I can go, shhhhhhhh! We are eating a lot more greens and more regularly (some of us not so willingly, right daughter #2?) and veggies generally cover at least half our plates.
I have had good success with reducing dairy in general, finding dairy alternatives, and when we do have dairy, I have tried to keep the the quality standards high. Because of better store bought choices and more made at home options, I have been able to reduce the preservatives and mystery chemicals in our meals. I have even managed to successfully prepare more "better for you" desserts which have been very well received; I've even cleaned up some of my traditional ones too.
When I actually think about all the WINS vs the losses, we aren't doing too badly after all. I need to revel in my successes and accept that my journey to eat better has gone pretty well over the last two years, even while dragging the non-believers along for the ride. For every not so well received meal, I need to remember those that were. There have even been a few that have achieved "Family Favourite Status"! I am a Wellness Warrior, and the war was not won in a day!
No matter your goals... trying to eat better, eat more plant based, to drink more water, consume less sugar, eat fewer processed foods, to eat more ethically or with fewer chemicals, or even just eat more home cooked meals, remember it is a process and positive changes take time, effort and practice. You can't change it all over night and there is always that crazy learning curve!
To celebrate the changes I have made and the changes you have made or are planning to make, I think we all deserve a treat. Best of all, it's guilt free and the perfect way to incorporate some plant based protein in your loved ones diets!
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Bake at 350°F. for 30 to 35 minutes or until skewer or toothpick comes out clean.
From what I remember, I used the following proportions to make my chocolate topping:
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp. cocoa
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of pink Himalayan salt
Combine these ingredients over a low heat and whisk to combine and create a smooth chocolate sauce. Let cool to room temperature before you drizzle or cover your brownies.
* I believe you can substitute a good quality vanilla extract, but I think you would need about 1 – 2 tablespoons for the intensity of the vanilla in this recipe.
In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder whisk to combine. Set aside.
Place rinsed and drained beans into your blender. Add the all the ingredients except the flour mixture and nuts. Blend on high until the batter is super smooth.
Pour into a medium sized bowl making sure to scrape out as much of the chocolatey goodness as possible.
Add the flour mixture and the walnuts. Stir to combine well.
Scrape the batter into the prepared 9" x 9" baking pan and smooth with an offset spatula or knife.
Bake at 350° F. for 30 to 35 minutes or until skewer or toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool on a wire rack in in the pan for about 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely. I use the parchment paper as handles.
Serve these brownies naked or add the chocolate topping. Chill in the fridge until the chocolate topping is hard. Cut into squares an enjoy. I kept my brownies in the fridge so the chocolate topping did not melt.