Friday, February 26, 2010

Black bean fudge cakes

I am very excited: My first subscription issue of "Clean Eating" magazine arrived in the mail yesterday, and I've just about read it cover-to-cover. My only gripe: I don't know which one of the many recipes to try first. Most sound beyond appealing, and some are so unusual, I know I have to give them a try. I'm also going to share two recipes here -- one for Black Bean Fudge Cakes that have no wheat, perfect for my wheat allergy -- and the second for Chicken a la King that gets wrapped in a tortilla.

But first, it's Friday, my time to reflect. And this week, like the past few, was terrific. I'm still in control, and it didn't even bother me too much when I only lost .2 of a pound at Weight Watchers last night. I even felt great for Jack's more than 2-pound lost, which means he's lost 10 pounds in three weeks. It's OK: He needs to get healthy too!

One of the week's biggest successes was the slice of birthday cake I allowed myself Monday night, when we were celebrating our soon-to-be son-in-law, Byran's, birthday. One slice, with the emphasis on one. And that one slice didn't have me searching my pantry for other things to eat. I was satisfied. I was in control. For once, I felt like a skinny person who only ever eats one slice of anything.

I have also been trying to eat three meals a day with no snacks between meals, and have found that incredibly hard. I actually do better when I let no more than 4 hours pass without eating something, and since I always get up before 5 in the morning, and have breakfast at 6, I would have to finish eating for the day at 2.

So this week's goal is another one of Clean Eating's 13 ways to Eat Clean: Eat five to six times a day -- three meals and two to three snacks, including a lean protein, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and a complex carbohydrate with each meal, which is exactly the prescription for success that my wellness coach Heather Pierce preaches to me. The magazine says this keeps your body energized and burning calories efficiently throughout the day.

And now for the recipes.

This first one was from a reader of Clean Eating magazine, Wendy McMillan, who created it for a friend with gluten intolerance. It's unusual enough to get my attention, and after reading the ingredients, I think it might actually be terrific. She suggests eating them two ways -- cold and heated in the oven -- because each way makes for a different taste experience.

Olive oil cooking spray
1 ounce organic dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa or greater)
1 1/2 cups soft-cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
2 eggs
1 egg white
2 Tblsp. olive oil
1/4 cup heaped unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup raw organic honey
1/4 to 1/2 cup unsalted walnuts, chopped
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mist 8 individuals ramekins or an 8-inch square baking dish with the olive oil spray.
  • Melt dark chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat with 1 tablespoon water mixed in.
  • Combine chocolate with remaining ingredients -- except walnuts -- in a food processor; process until smooth. Stir in walnuts and pour mixture into prepared ramekins or baking dish.
  • Bake in oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 20 minutes for the ramekins and 30 minutes for the baking dish. Garnish each pieces with a dollop of nonfat Greek-style yogurt, if desired.
  • Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 230 calories; total fat, 12g; sat fat, 2g; carbs, 28g; fiber, 4g; sugars, 19g; protein, 5g; sodium, 120mg; cholesterol, 45mg.
Olive oil cooking spray
1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 cup white onion, diced
1 cup white mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 4 oz.)
1/2 cup fresh carrots, diced
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 Tblsp. whole wheat flour
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
4 whole-wheat tortillas, 8-inch diameter
1 to 2 Tblsp. flat-leafed parsley, chopped
  • Heat a large non-stick or cast-iron skillet over high heat for 1 minute.Reduce heat to medium-high, mist pan with cooking spray, and saute chicken about 5 minutes, until cooked through and no longer pink. Remove chicken from pan.
  • Mist same pan again with cooking spray. Add onion, mushrooms and carrots, and saute until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add peas and saute until cooked through, about 3 minutes.
  • Add chicken back to pan and stir in flour. Add stock and milk, 1/4 cup at a time. Stir constantly until sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • To serve, put 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken/vegetable mixture into each tortilla. Sprinkle with parsley and roll up tortilla.
  • Makes 4 servings. Per serving: calories, 270; total fat, 5g; sat fat, .5g; carbs, 34g; fiber, 4g; sugars, 5g; protein, 20g; sodium, 310mg; cholesterol, 30mg.


  1. I can't wait to hear about that cake!!!! Cooked beans should give it a dense, moist texture. I suppose you could use any kind of cooked bean wouldn't you think?

    I also find it incredibly difficult to eat just three meals a day. One tip I can pass on: sometimes when I make a complex carb side dish (such as farro) I refrigerate the leftovers and eat a small portion as a snack the next day. Like at 11:00 a.m. or 3:00 p.m. when I find I need something to eat. Those are prime times to eat something awful, but if I have something tasty in the fridge, something healthy from last night's dinner, it is satisfying and then I don't eat the bagel, doughnut, pretzel, popcorn, cookies or other things I love.

    Here's a recipe for couscous salad (you could make it with any grain -- wheatberries, barley, farro, quinoa. Also, sometimes I change the nuts to pistachios, almonds, etc). I use it as a side dish and then eat the leftovers for a snack.

    Couscous Salad with Macadamia Nuts

    1 cup couscous
    1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
    1 stalk broccoli, cut up, or 4-6 asparagus spears
    1 cup cut up cherry tomatoes
    5 tablespoons lemon juice
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

    Prepare couscous as directed on the package. Set it aside. Toast the nuts lightly and set them aside to cool. Steam the broccoli or asparagus, drain the pieces under cool water, drain and let cool. Chop into chunks. Combine the cooked couscous, nuts, vegetable and cut up cherry tomatoes in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, Dijon mustard and salt and mix well. Pour over the couscous. Let rest at least 30 minutes before serving. Makes 4-6 servings

  2. Don't worry about trying the recipes! I am making 4 for dinner tonight. Kim