Archive of ‘Desert’ category

Tasteful Banana Nut Muffins

image1(22) Bryee Shepard, M.S., R.D. | Tasteful Wisdom

Ok so here we are, almost at the end of January. And look, we survived the New Year’s resolution craze! … While most of us have probably ditched that resolution by now, this is the perfect time to consider making healthy choices and cooking/baking delicious things on the regular. Let’s forget about that extreme makeover, impossible expectation, set-up for major disappointment plan, and think about how we can take it easy and simply nourish ourselves to the best of our ability. (more…)

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Stop Drinking Your Smoothies!

Smoothie Bowl Resized

Super Smoothie bowls better    As we know, the “health trend” of the smoothie is absolutely out of control. I outlined in my previous post the unhealthy truths behind these drinks. I also gave tips to turn your smoothies into health elixirs, and I will share two recipes here. You will notice that these are not your average smoothie…they are in a bowl…and you will eat these with a spoon. Why? Because it is a better! Let me explain. There are two main reasons why you should “EAT” your smoothies, instead of “DRINKING” them:

  1. More complete digestion and absorption. Believe it or not, digestion starts in our mouths. Amylase, a digestive enzyme used to break down complex carbohydrates into more easily absorbed molecules, is produced in our salivary glands (and pancreas-but that’s another story). It is released into our saliva as we chew our food to kick off the digestive process. By starting digestion at this early stage, food is broken down and absorbed more easily as digestion progresses. When we blend up our healthy smoothies, we are obviously aiming for optimal absorption. This cannot be achieved if we completely bypass our mouths by gulping it down. Rather than gulping, we should be chewing. Weird? Yes…but the whole point of making smoothies rich in nutrients is to reap the benefits of the nutrient absorption. By eating your smoothies with a spoon and permitting your saliva to mix with the nutrient-rich elixir, you will allow for more complete absorption and digestion, and thus receive the full benefits from your smoothie. This will also cut down on the common complaint of bloating after drinking a smoothie. So CHEW your smoothies!
  2. Mind tricks. This may sound all too simple, but guess what- it works. Typically, we blend up our smoothie concoction, throw it into a glass or an environmentally-friendly plastic cup with a straw, and gulp (or chug) it down as we frantically run out the door or around the house like a crazy. There are definitely occasions for this type of ludicrous behavior, but this should NEVER be the norm. When you guzzle a smoothie, all it becomes is a drink….a thirst quencher. Not a meal. However, as I discussed in my prior post, there are quite often enough calories and macronutrients to call this “drink” a meal. So now you have successfully downed 400-500 calories without even noticing that you just ate breakfast. What happens next? You will be actively seeking out breakfast in 45 minutes to an hour at the office, or worse, contemplating the drive thru on your way in. Don’t do it. Slow down and eat your smoothie with a utensil. This is a meal! Treat it like one, and you will be surprised how far it gets you. Not to mention, straws have an evil side effect of eventual upper lip wrinkles (smoker’s lines around the mouth), as my mother-in-law so graciously brought to my attention. Since then I have effectively destroyed all environmentally-friendly straws in my possession-and I suggest you do too.

Here are two absolutely delicious, healthy, dietitian-approved smoothie bowls to start your day off right!

Classic Strawberry Banana

1 Banana, reserve ¼ for garnish

1 Cup Frozen Strawberries, reserve ¼ cup for garnish

¼ Cup Sunflower Seeds, reserve 1 Tablespoon for garnish  

2 Cups Baby Spinach

1 1/2 Cups Water

½ cup Ice

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Blend up banana, strawberry, sunflower seeds, spinach and water until smooth and creamy. Add ice and blend until incorporated. Pour into a bowl, top with reserved ingredients and enjoy!



3/4 Cup Frozen Mango Chunks, reserve ¼ cup for garnish

3/4 Cup Frozen Blueberries, reserve ¼ cup for garnish

½ Banana, garnish optional

2 Tablespoons Cup Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas), reserve 1 Teaspoon for garnish

3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Coconut Flakes, reserve 1 Teaspoon for garnish

2 Cups Chopped Kale

1 1/2 Cups Water

½ cup Ice


Blend up mango, blueberries, banana, pumpkin seeds, coconut, kale, and water until smooth and creamy. Add ice and blend until incorporated. Pour into a bowl, top with reserved ingredients and enjoy!



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Frozen Chocolate Covered Banana Sandwiches

banana pops framed

banana pops

Here in Florida, while the rest of the country is celebrating the ice melting, we are preparing for summer. With temperatures in the 90’s for the past two weeks, it is apparent that the heat index is going nowhere but up.  Growing up in Florida, this warm breeze meant school was coming to an end and the fun was about to begin! Summers were full of sunshine and sun showers, pool parties and long days at the beach. It brings a certain smell to the air. A familiar smell, that reminds me of firecrackers and barbecues and chlorine drenched hands picking up sandwiches and snacks before taking another jump in the pool. There is no better smell in the world.
As we rejoice in the heat, why not find solace with a cool frozen treat –  but rather than downing a frozen sugary juice, let’s  indulge in a cold snack that has protein, fiber, sweetness, and is filling enough to satisfy in one or two bites. Behold, Frozen Chocolate Covered Banana Sandwiches! These little babies are great to make for kids and adults alike. A healthy helping of almond butter sandwiched between two slices of bananas then covered in chocolate… How can you go wrong!? They are simple, fun, and the perfect sweet snack to cool off under the sun.
20140427-132447.jpg Make your banana sandwiches by placing roughly a teaspoon of almond butter in between two slices of banana. To skewer or not to skewer….I prefer to add a skewer to the sandwiches before freezing them. A Popsicle stick would work just fine, but it may be a bit on the large side. I purchased mini wood skewers and cut them down with a pair of craft scissors to about 4 inches. You can choose not to skewer and I promise they will be just as delicious! 20140427-132438.jpg
After assembling the sandwiches, place in the freezer for at least 2 hours (but no more than 12 hours to avoid freezer taste). Before taking them out of the freezer, prepare the chocolate. I like to use dark chocolate baking chips to up the antioxidant potential and decrease the cloying sweetness that semi-sweet chips can bring. Melting chocolate can be tricky because heating just a few seconds too long,  will leave you with a burnt mess. This is one of the few occasions that I prefer the microwave. I have burned chocolate one too many times in a double boiler and have never had a problem in the microwave. Add chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl and place in the microwave for 30 seconds. You will notice they have become slightly shiny as the melting has just begun. Give them a stir and place back in the microwave for 20 seconds. Again, remove and stir. Repeat this process usually about one or two more times until the chocolate is almost all melted. The heat from the bowl will melt the remaining chocolate as you stir. This will keep the chocolate from seizing. When the chocolate is smooth and creamy, dip each banana sandwich one by one. Use the back of a spoon or a small spatula to ensure that the chocolate completely coats the bananas. Place back in the freezer for an hour, and they are ready to serve! After the bananas are completely frozen, store them in a freezer bag to guarantee freshness for up to one month. Enjoy!
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Sweet Corn Bread

corn bread without writing

corn bread

After multiple posts on collard greens, I was craving something sweet to drown out the veggie coma I had slipped into. With collards on my mind, I could not think of a more perfect accompaniment to good ole southern collards than some warm and crumbly corn bread. Corn bread traditionally has loads of butter and is very often cooked in a cast iron skillet lined with bacon fat. Although I am not against the skillet, I do avoid excess bacon fat! The corn meal is often mixed with flour to create a more appealing texture. However, I have found that it is simpler and quite delicious to use 100% cornmeal (non-GMO of course!-I’ll get to this later). Using cornmeal alone allows for a gluten-free recipe as well. All of the fat in this recipe comes from natural sources-not processed oils or even butter.

Why zucchini, you ask…why take a perfectly good sweet recipe and ruin it with a vegetable!? Well…Why not! First of all, gives this bread a moist and
delicious texture. Using zucchini adds high quality fiber, Vitamin A and C, magnesium, folic acid and minerals. You will never even know it’s there! I got this one by my husband without an ounce of suspicion!

The most important point I will stress with this recipe is to use good ingredients. It is important to purchase high-quality corn meal to avoid without GMO’s. Genetically modified organisms, or GMO’s, are animals or plants whose genes have been manipulated through human engineering. Whether it be to create more fruit production in shorter period of time using plants that utilize less space per cubic inch, or creating a kernel that repels pest naturally, the goal of genetic modification is usually the same- to increase profits. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The problem is, the process of genetic modification is fairly new, and became popular only in the mid-1990’s. Therefore, researchers still don’t know the effects this will have on our bodies in the long run.  For this reason, myself and many others believe that they should be avoided. Foods commonly known to have GMO’s are: Corn, soy, papaya, rice, potatoes, rBGH found in milk, and canola oil. Bob’s Red Mill is an outstanding company that dedicated itself to providing grain products that are GMO free. I used their fine grind cornmeal for this recipe. 20140413-144152.jpg

If you are familiar with cornmeal, you know that it is very hard and does not easily absorb liquids. For this reason, corn bread needs a good amount of moisture and fat to make up for its dryness. I use full-fat canned coconut milk, eggs, and maple syrup to give the finished product a moist texture. The zucchini helps a lot as well. Coconut milk offers many great benefits and is naturally high in fat. It has such a beautiful fragrence but is truly undectable in the finished cornbread. This will substitute dairy and oil in our recipe. I love using real maple syrup in recipes as it is minimally processed and adds such a deeply rich flavor. The great thing about using a natural sweetener like maple syrup is the added benefit of minerals such as zinc, iron, calcium, potassium and manganese, as well as polyphenols (antioxidants). Try finding that in white sugar!

This recipe is super easy! Just toss everything into the food processor, give it a whir and bake! It can be divided into 12 or 16 squares. Of course, I like bigger pieces so 12 is my choice, and with only 189 calories per square- the bigger the better!

Sweet Corn Bread

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 12 Squares


  • 1 Large Zucchini, Peeled
  • ½ Cup Full-Fat Coconut Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • ¾ Cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 1/4 Cup Organic Cornmeal
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease an 8 x 8 inch square pan with coconut oil
  3. Add zucchini to food processor, and puree.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth
  5. Pour batter into greased pan, and bake for 25 minutes
  6. Allow to cool before serving. Enjoy!


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Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies

Blurred Tea with Stacked browines

Tea Blurred Brownies Stacked

You read right… Black Bean Brownies that are absolutely divine. I first must give credit to as this is where the recipe originated. I first tasted these babies through a fellow dietitian who brought in a sample to work. They were absolutely dreamy. I found the recipe and, of course, had to tweak it slightly to my taste. To appeal to my vegan friends, I removed the eggs and actually substituted them with a little ground flaxseed and water trick. I added some walnuts and pumpkin seeds because I love a little crunch in my brownies. I used a little less cane sugar and added in some coconut sugar for a deep brown sugar-like flavor. After a few tries, I found perfection. Surprisingly, the original recipe called for a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. I tried the recipe both with and without the vinegar and found the texture to be slightly more to my liking WITH it. The vinegar is undetectable by taste, so use it.  Stacked Brownied

Now this is not my first go at black beans in brownies…in fact, I have made them on multiple occasions. However, none of the recipes tasted as amazing as these. They have earned themselves a little spotlight in the blogosphere (and Gina from has as well of course!).

So not only are they rich and delicious little gems filled with fiber and protein, they are also astonishingly easy! You basically throw all ingredients except for the nuts and chocolate chips into a food processor and presto chango, you have transformed canned black beans into pure decadence!


Instead of the two eggs that the original recipe called for, I used 8 tablespoons of water blended together with 2 tablespoons of flax seeds to create an egg substitute rich in omegas. You are welcome to use the two eggs that are called for if you so choose.


 I also cut down the cane sugar and added some coconut sugar in lieu. Found in most health food stores, coconut crystals are basically just the sap from a coconut plant dried to form sugar-like crystals. Although there are many health claims swirling about this product, I am not so certain that they are all true. However, this form of sugar does have some minerals remaining from its originator and its taste is deep and- rich similar to brown-sugar. I love coconut crystals mostly for the flavor.


If you do not want to go through the trouble of finding coconut crystals, just use the original 3/4 cup cane sugar. Process all ingredients except for the chocolate chips, nuts, and seeds. Then stir them into the batter, spread into an 8 x 8 inch pan, and bake!

Brownie Batter in Pan

What you are left with is nothing short of heavenly. Enjoy!

Single Brownie with tea

Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies


  • 1 14-ounce Can Black Beans, Drained and Rinsed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons Whole Flax Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Cane Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Crystals
  • 1 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup Vegan Chocolate Chips or Carob Chips
  • 1/2 Cup Walnuts
  • 1/2 Cup Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Blend 1/2 cup water with flax seeds until smooth to make egg substitute.
  3. Add egg substitute along with remaining ingredients, except for chocolate chips, walnuts, and pepitas, to a food processor.
  4. Process until very smooth.
  5. Transfer into mixing bowl and stir in chocolate chips, walnuts, and pepitas.
  6. Spread into greased 8 x 8 inch pan and bake for 28-31 minutes.
  7. Let brownies cool completely before cutting and serving.

For the original recipe at click here.


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