To Drink or Not to Drink?

I was driving home from my personal training session (gaining weight :)) at the gym after realizing I forgot my protein shake at home and was heading to University afterwards. I recalled a friend mentioning drinking a protein smoothie at Starbucks, and kept debating in my head whether to grab one or not. I passed by Starbucks and decided I’d give it a shot. They had two flavors, strawberry and orange mango. I’m a fan of anything that has to do with mango, and decided I’d give it a shot. I grabbed my usual dry roasted almonds for an extra protein punch. She handed over my drink as she finished writing my name on it. “What’s inside the cup is not so personalized“, I thought.

I took a sip of the drink and found it to be very, very sweet. Is this really a protein drink? Yikes. I knew they didn’t stick in real fresh mangoes, except the half banana she peeled and tossed in at the end. It tasted like sugary melted ice cream to me. I ended up sticking with the almonds and thought I’ll rather lack my protein shake than drink this stuff.

Starbucks "protein" smoothie

Starbucks “protein” smoothie

I was very thankful later that day after doing research and learning that this protein smoothie was nothing but a chemical based powder they use, with milk, half a banana and deception.

So I usually have regular protein powder with organic grass-fed milk or unsweetened almond milk. At times I spice things up and make a specialty.

Here I had organic frozen raspberries, RAW protein powder, a dash of chia seeds, flax seeds, and yes, raw walnuts for omega-3 , fiber, and protein boost. Of course, I had to add frozen organic mango chunks. I love mangoes!

Mangos <3

Mangos ❤

Here I had frozen organic berries, flaxseeds, and milk along with the RAW protein powder.

Organic frozen berries & RAW protein

Organic frozen berries & RAW protein

What’s up with my RAW Meal protein powder you may ask? Well, let’s begin with saying not everyone will like the taste. One friend told me it smells like cattle food grass and wouldn’t bother tasting it. More for me. Well, check out the label and you’ll see exactly why.

=) My friend calls this "cattle food" because of it's grassy color, smell, etc. Yeah, it's organic!

=) My friend calls this “cattle food” because of it’s grassy color, smell, etc. Yeah, it’s organic!

Now you know why she calls it cattle food? RAW sprouts...

Now you know why she calls it cattle food? RAW sprouts…

My Specialty Protein Drinks 

3/4-1 cup Organic/grass-fed milk or unsweetened almond milk (or coconut)*

1 cup frozen organic berries

1/4 cup frozen organic mango chunks

2 scoops RAW MEAL (Or any protein powder if you can’t handle RAW)

1 tablespoon freshly ground organic whole flaxseeds

1 teaspoon raw chia seeds

1 teaspooon organic hemp seeds

Optional: top with chunks of raw walnuts/seeds/ or chunks of fruit (organic mango, organic raspberries, etc)

Place all your ingredients in the hand blender cup (or a blender if you don’t have a hand blender and cup) and blend until smooth and well mixed. Enjoy! I like mine thick and try putting less milk* so it’s not too watery. It tastes better than ice cream!!

Raw meal w/ organic berries blend and raw walnuts...My specialty.

Raw meal w/ organic berries blend, mango chunks, and raw walnuts…My specialty.

Yeah I was using super mass :)

Yeah I was using super mass to gain weight. I bought the RAW as an alternative though.

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Chockfull of Ingredients in Your Chocolate Ice Cream

Children scream for ice cream, and adults simply reach for it without sound. As a child I loved ice cream, until I realized what I was being fed. Turning over the container merely scares me, especially with the paragraph comprised of ingredients I can’t pronounce. So what’s in ice cream that’s a hazard to our health? Simply, too many things for me to cover, but I’ll give you a taste of it.

Carrageenan is found in almost every ice cream or frozen yogurt brand out there. It’s used as a thickening agent to make your treat nice and thick, but can also cause harmful effects on your body including cancer.  Is it worth it? Not when you can make an alternative, which I will share below.

Many frozen treats have coloring, including red 40, blue lake 1, yellow lake 5. As I’ve stated numerously, this sounds like I’m in an art classroom, not in the kitchen eating dessert. Food colorings are proven to be harmful by the FDA and have proven to cause ADHD in children.  According to labelwatch.com the CSPI, Center for Science in the Public Interest, recommends avoiding all artificial food coloring.

Watch out for the famous high fructose corn syrup, I don’t even want to get into this. I don’t believe that all sugar is created equally, and if you believe so, well read on. In no way, shape, or form do I consider that Organic Raw Honey or even dates can be on the same scale as high fructose corn syrup. While honey and dates are natural, and have plenty of health benefits, high fructose corn syrup comes from GMO ingredients. What’s to compare?

So as a treat I’ve transformed my regular frozen banana ice cream into “chocolate” banana ice cream using carob powder instead of cocoa powder for a few added health benefits. The texture is merely the same as the store bought chocolate ice cream, but the after-feeling is incomparable. This is dairy free, gluten free, soy free, additive free, added-sugar free, and most importantly guilt free. Oh and don’t forget, this has only 3 ingredients, while the majority of store-bought ice cream has a minimum of  15.

Top with organic berries, raw walnuts, carob chips, etc.

Top with organic berries, raw walnuts, carob chips, etc.

Ingredients:

4-5 frozen bananas peeled and pre-sliced *

½ cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk, the fat adds to the creaminess)

1/3-1/2 cup carob powder (you can use this amazing raw cocoa powder)

Directions: (can’t get easier than this!)

STEP 1:

Place your frozen bananas, carob powder and almond milk in the food processor and pulse until creamy.

You may need to stop and scrap the sides a few times with a spatula (please, unplug the machine while doing so, you don’t want to accidently turn it on).

Unsweetened almond milk, frozen bananas, and carob powder.

Unsweetened almond milk, frozen bananas, and carob powder.

Place frozen bananas,  milk, and carob powder in food processor. 

Place frozen bananas, milk, and carob powder in food processor.

Yes, it's nice and creamy.

Yes, it’s nice and creamy.

Thick and creamy texture.

Thick and creamy texture.

STEP 2:

Serve in desired bowls. Top with fresh berries, mango, or other fruit, and if you’re a nut-a-holic like me, pile on raw walnuts, pistachios, or cashews. Toppings are unlimited, there are no rules. 😉

:) Yummy taste, and no damage to your health.

🙂 Yummy taste, and no damage to your health.

*The best way to have your frozen bananas is this: every time you have over-ripe bananas in your fruit plate peel them, slice them, and place them single layered in a tuber ware. Freeze them and whenever you’re in the mood for ice cream take them out and use them for such recipe.

Now, that’s ice cream to scream for. 😉

Mini Anise Date Bites

 

So I took my mother’s popular anise date bars and turned them into mini tart-lets, with no gluten, added sugar, eggs, or dairy. So this is a perfect recipe with people who have intolerance or allergies.

My FAVORITE part about this recipe- you simply toss everything in the food processor- just like my famous black bean brownies. Speaking of brownies, next post up: mini brownie tart-lets with a unique specialty topping.

For now, back to the date bites. 

Almost every ingredient has wonderful benefits, yes, including the pink salt. It’s the only salt I use, close to nature, full of nutrients, and wonderful in taste.

 

Yansoon (anise) Cookie Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Almond Flour
1/4 cup Organic RAW honey
1/4 cup Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
Dash of Himalayan Pink Salt or Unrefined Sea Salt
2 tablespoons Organic flax seed (ground or whole)
1 tablespoon Anise Seed
1 tablespoon ground anise (I grind the seeds fresh)

Date Sauce Ingredients:

1 pack fresh dates ground (pureed without pits)
Cup  fresh squeezed orange juice (or coconut milk/almond milk) 

Walnuts to top

 

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.  Grease your mini muffin tin with coconut oil.

Place all yansoon cookie ingredients in the food processor until dough like.

Place all yansoon cookie ingredients in the food processor until dough like.

Place cookie dough evenly into each muffin tin in a cup formation, keeping the center a bit open.

Place cookie dough evenly into each muffin tin in a cup formation, keeping the center a bit open.

BAKE for 6-7 minutes

On your stove-top in a small sauce pan melt together your date filling ingredients.

On your stove-top in a small sauce pan melt together your date filling ingredients.

Remove cookies and fill with the date sauce. Top with a half raw walnut. Back for additional 2 minutes.

Remove cookies and fill with the date sauce. Top with a half raw walnut. Back for additional 2 minutes.

:)

Allow to cool and serve. 🙂

Yum.

Yum.

 

Noor’s Natural Element, Guilt-Free, Finger-Licking Blackberry Cheesecake

It’s no wonder why cheesecake always has the bad rep; it begins with a crust full of partially hydrogenated oils, bleached flour, and some sugar too. It ends with a sugary topping we misinterpret for “fruit”. Let’s not forget that culpable feeling after eating such a treat.

 So instead of eating that and having to remorse, I created what I call the Natural Element Blackberry Cheesecake, full of natural ingredients, or “elements” our bodies can digest normally.  

This is a NO-BAKE recipe and the only tools you need is your food processor, a medium bowl, hand blender, and a spatula.

 

 

Crust Ingredients:

1 cup pitted dates (soaked is better for your food processor!)

1 cup raw cashews

¼ cup raw almonds or raw walnuts 

3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

2-4 tablespoons hot water

 

Filling Ingredients:
2 packs Organic cream cheese (or my popular coconut “no dairy-cheese” recipe to come later)

½ cup unsweetened almond milk (or any type of milk)

1/8 cup Organic Raw Honey or Organic Coconut Palm Sugar

2 packs (about 1 ½ cups) fresh blackberries*

 

*You can substitute blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, mango, etc 

Directions:

STEP 1

Place all “can’t get healthier crust” ingredients into your food processor and blend well until dough like (the crust would look better w/ chunks of nuts/dates showing but not too coarse). PRESS into a pie pan using a spatula or back of a spoon.

Noor's Nut Crust

Noor’s Nut Crust

STEP 2

In a medium bowl hand blend the cream cheese, almond milk, and Raw Honey/Coconut Palm Sugar. Blend on medium-high until very creamy and no chunks remain.

Image

Hand blend cream cheese, almond milk, and Raw Honey/Coconut Palm Sugar.

STEP 3

Cut a few blackberries in half, toss in all berries and fold with a spatula.

Fold in blackberries.

Fold in blackberries.

STEP 4

Scoop into the pie crust keeping the crust showing on the edges. Cover with wrap and freeze several hours or overnight.

Ta-da

Ta-da

Yum

Yum

*When ready to serve slice and top with fresh blackberries or make a quick blackberry sauce (smashed fresh blackberries). 

Side view.

Side view.

I Scream For… Bananas!

Let’s take a break from brownies.

“I screamed for ice cream” as a child, but eventually learned it may not be the best for me.

Just a few months ago I converted frozen bananas into… yes, ice cream, or at least something that tastes as delectable as ice cream, satisfies your sweet tooth, has that creamy texture, and best of all, is good for you! So you get the remarkable taste and texture, and leave behind the unwanted 40+ ingredients in most brands!

I made this the first time only with bananas and my siblings thought the taste of banana was overpowering, so tossing in berries not only covers up the banana flavor, but it adds a nice color too.

 

Ingredients: 

4 Frozen bananas peeled and pre-sliced

½ cup milk (I used almond milk or canned organic coconut milk the fat adds to the creaminess)

1 cup blackberries (or any other fruit, get creative!)

Optional toppings: raw walnuts, antioxidant and benefit full goji berries, or raw cacao nibs

Directions: (can’t get easier than this!)

STEP 1:

Place your frozen bananas and almond milk in the food processor and blend on high until creamy.

You may need to stop, turn off the machine, and scrape the sides a few times with a spatula.

Frozen bananas

Frozen bananas

Stopping to scrape sides down...

Stopping to scrape sides down…

STEP 2:

Add the blackberries (or other fruit) and blend until well mixed and smooth. 

Add blackberries (or fruit)!

Add blackberries (or fruit)!

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

STEP 3:

Serve in desired bowls. Top with fresh berries, mango, or other fruit, and if you’re a nut-a-holic like me, pile on raw walnuts, pistachios, or cashews. Toppings are unlimited, there are no rules. 😉 

 

Fresh mango slice.

Fresh mango slice.

I pile on raw walnuts and pistachios.

I pile on raw walnuts and pistachios.

 Now tell me, what’s better… going to the store and grabbing a bucket of junk-full ice cream, or enjoying a plate of this?

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Disclaimer

©2014 Noor Salem- All rights reserved. This information on this blog, blackbeanbrownies.wordpress.com is provided for educational and informational purposes only, and not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease, or any other physical or mental ailment of the human body. ALWAYS seek consultation from your physician or health care provider for any medical related questions, or before initiating any diet or health program, trying a new food product, dietary change, supplement, or exercise. All content and images on blackbeanbrownies.wordpress.com may not be reproduced or distributed unless permitted in writing. Noor Salem and blackbeanbrownies.wordpress.com disclaim liability for any misinterpretation or misuse of any information provided here or from any injury, sickness, or damage from the use of any recommended products. This information is not provided to replace seeking a licensed physician or health care provider.