Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fat Dad: Baking for Love-- The World's Best Brownie


 

Fat Dad: Baking for Lov

Photo
Dawn Lerman in pigtails, before her makeover.Credit
Fat Dad
FAT DAD
Dawn Lerman writes about growing up with a fat dad.
My grandmother Beauty always told me that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach, and by the look of pure delight on my dad’s face when he ate a piece of warm, homemade chocolate cake, or bit into a just-baked crispy cookie, I grew to believe this was true. I had no doubt that when the time came, and I liked a boy, that a batch of my gooey, rich, chocolatey brownies would cast him under a magic spell, and we would live happily ever.
But when Hank Thomas walked into Miss Seawall’s ninth grade algebra class on a rainy, September day and smiled at me with his amazing grin, long brown hair, big green eyes and Jimi Hendrix T-shirt, I was completely unprepared for the avalanche of emotions that invaded every fiber of my being. Shivers, a pounding heart, and heat overcame me when he asked if I knew the value of 1,000 to the 25th power. The only answer I could think of, as I fumbled over my words, was “love me, love me,” but I managed to blurt out “1E+75.” I wanted to come across as smart and aloof, but every time he looked at me, I started stuttering and sweating as my face turned bright red. No one had ever looked at me like that: as if he knew me, as if he knew how lost I was and how badly I needed to be loved.
Hank, who was a year older than me, was very popular and accomplished. Unlike other boys who were popular for their looks or athletic skills, Hank was smart and talented. He played piano and guitar, and composed the most beautiful classical and rock concertos that left both teachers and students in awe.
Unlike Hank, I had not quite come into my own yet. I was shy, had raggedy messy hair that I tied back into braids, and my clothes were far from stylish. My mother and sister had been on the road touring for the past year with the Broadway show “Annie.” My sister had been cast as a principal orphan, and I stayed home with my dad to attend high school. My dad was always busy with work and martini dinners that lasted late into the night. I spent most of my evenings at home alone baking and making care packages for my sister instead of coercing my parents to buy me the latest selection of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans — the rich colored bluejeans with the swan stitched on the back pocket that you had to lie on your bed to zip up. It was the icon of cool for the popular and pretty girls. I was neither, but Hank picked me to be his math partner anyway.
With every equation we solved, my love for Hank became more desperate. After several months of exchanging smiles, I decided to make Hank a batch of my chocolate brownies for Valentine’s Day — the brownies that my dad said were like his own personal nirvana. My dad named them “closet” brownies, because when I was a little girl and used to make them for the family, he said that as soon as he smelled them coming out of the oven, he could imagine dashing away with them into the closet and devouring the whole batch.
After debating for hours if I should make the brownies with walnuts or chips, or fill the centers with peanut butter or caramel, I got to work. I had made brownies hundreds of times before, but this time felt different. With each ingredient I carefully stirred into the bowl, my heart began beating harder. I felt like I was going to burst from excitement. Surely, after Hank tasted these, he would love me as much as I loved him. I was not just making him brownies. I was showing him who I was, and what mattered to me. After the brownies cooled, I sprinkled them with a touch of powdered sugar and wrapped them with foil and red tissue paper. The next day I placed them in Hank’s locker, with a note saying, “Call me.”
Photo
Dawn Lerman at a high school party.Credit
After seven excruciating days with no call, some smiles and the usual small talk in math class, I conjured up the nerve to ask Hank if he liked my brownies.
“The brownies were from you?” he asked. “They were delicious.”
Then Hank invited me to a party at his house the following weekend. Without hesitation, I responded that I would love to come. I pleaded with my friend Sarah to accompany me.
As the day grew closer, I made my grandmother Beauty’s homemade fudge — the chocolate fudge she made for Papa the night before he proposed to her. Stirring the milk, butter and sugar together eased my nerves. I had never been to a high school party before, and I didn’t know what to expect. Sarah advised me to ditch the braids as she styled my hair, used a violet eyeliner and lent me her favorite V-neck sweater and a pair of her best Gloria Vanderbilt jeans.
When we walked in the door, fudge in hand, Hank was nowhere to be found. Thinking I had made a mistake for coming and getting ready to leave, I felt a hand on my back. It was Hank’s. He hugged me and told me he was glad I finally arrived. When Hank put his arm around me, nothing else existed. With a little help from Cupid or the magic of Beauty’s recipes, I found love.

Photo
CreditAndrew Scrivani for The New York Times
Fat Dad’s ‘Closet’ Brownies
These brownies are more like fudge than cake and contain a fraction of the flour found in traditional brownie recipes. My father called them “closet” brownies, because when he smelled them coming out of the oven he could imagine hiding in the closet to eat the whole batch. I baked them in the ninth grade for a boy that I had a crush on, and they were more effective than Cupid’s arrow at winning his heart.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs at room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Fresh berries or powdered sugar for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.
3. In a double boiler, melt chocolate. Then add butter, melt and stir to blend. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, eggs and vanilla and mix well.
4. Add flour. Mix well until very smooth. Add chopped walnuts if desired. Pour batter into greased baking pan.
5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until set and barely firm in the middle. Allow to cool on a rack before removing from pan. Optional: garnish with powdered sugar, or berries, or both.
Yield: 16 brownies

Dawn Lerman is a New York-based health and nutrition consultant and founder of Magnificent Mommies, which provides school lectures, cooking classes and workshops. Her series on growing up with a fat father appears occasionally on Well.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Snowballs That Won’t Give You The Chills!



This high protein treat is actually a super star snack. It is loaded with protein, omega three fatty acids and antioxidants. Looks like candy but filled with filled with brain boosting nutrition. Perfect for a cold weather snack.

Yield 8-10






Ingredients:

1 cup of almond butter
2 Tablespoons of honey
1/2 cup of coco powder
1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
1 teaspoon of Sea Salt
¼ teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup coconut flakes

Directions:
Combine all ingredients except coconut in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Form into balls. Refrigerate for ten minutes. When chilled, roll in the coconut flakes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Power of Super Foods—Fall Pumpkin Treats



The Power of Pumpkin

Pumpkins- Are not only fun to carve into scary shapes but they are nutritional powerhouses. The flesh of the pumpkin is loaded with many anti-oxidants--vitamin A, C and E. And the seeds are loaded with the important immune boosting mineral zinc. So if you are looking to fight the flu naturally this season try adding pumpkin seeds, pumpkin muffins and all kinds of pumkin purees into your fall diet.

Pumpkin Chip Muffins



Ingredients:
3/4 cups pumpkin puree
8 ounces dates, finely chopped
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 tablespoons maple syrup, grade B
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cups finely ground walnuts
1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 teaspoon ground flax seeds


Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a high-speed blender combine, pumpkin puree, dates, vanilla, coconut oil and maple syrup until creamy. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the oats, ground walnuts, coconut, cinnamon, flax seeds, salt and baking powder until well combined. Stir in the pumpkin mixture, then fold in the chocolate chips.
Spoon dough into balls and flatten with a back of a fork. Bake for 15 minutes or until they are brown. Let cool before serving

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Super Minerals For Super Health





Minerals are essential for a variety of bodily functions including strong bones, teeth, blood, skin, hair, nerve function and metabolic processes that turn the food we eat into energy. But due to depleted soils, fast foods and picky eaters, many kids and moms are not getting the minerals they need, which means the vitamins they are eating are not being absorbed because minerals are the carrier of nutrients to our cells. 

If our cells are fed the right nutrients our immune systems are supercharged and our bodies function at its optimal capacity.


Some minerals to include in your diet every day are:


 Iron-- You need iron to carry oxygen throughout your body. Without it, you may end up feeling tired and even have trouble thinking straight.  Some of the best sources are oysters, beef, chicken, raisins, spinach and fortified cereals, chickpeas and  prunes

 Potassium-- Potassium helps regulate blood pressure by offsetting the blood pressure-raising effects of sodium. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine revealed that a diet high in sodium and low in potassium doubles a person's risk of death from heart disease. Some of the best sources are bananas, baked potatoes, raisins, tomatoes and artichokes, avocados, cantaloupe.

Calcium: Calcium is needed to build strong bones and teeth, but it also helps regulate your heart beat and helps prevent PMS Like potassium, calcium helps regulate blood pressure . Some of the best sources are organic milk, yogurt, cottage cheese spinach, beans, broccoli and dark leafy greens

 Magnesium: One of the most underrated minerals, magnesium is involved in over 300 chemical reactions in your body. Magnesium provides energy, helps keep your cells healthy and strong and enables your cells to communicate with one another and enhance optimal functioning. Magnesium also helps regulate blood pressure, keeps your bones strong and prevents insulin resistance and migraine headaches.
Some of the best sources are bran cereal, brown rice, almonds, Swiss chard and molasses.

 Zinc: Zinc is critical for keeping your immune system strong. It fights infection, making you less likely to catch a cold or the flu. It also helps wounds heal and  helps women have healthier pregnancies. Some of the best sources are oysters, crab, beef and pork and almond butter, oatmeal, wheat germ and eggs.

If you  feel you are not getting enough minerals through the food you are eating or you are low energy or your kids are having trouble focusing in school, consider adding a mineral supplement. My favorite one is Hu minerals. It carries over 79 major & trace  minerals, every mineral the body requires in one supplement. And they have it in different forms.  Www.humineral.com. Since I have turned so many clients onto it they have given me a special prom code. Call 888-765-0087 and ask for moms minerals special.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Who says nutritious can't be delicious? Healthiest back to school cookies



Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Makes 18 medium cookies


Are you looking for an easy lunch box treat or healthy after school snack? These protein packed cookies are flourless and guilt free. Yes nutritious can be delicious!


Ingredients:
1 ¼ cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup natural peanut butter (make sure there is no oil) or sun butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
I teaspoon flax seeds
1-teaspoon baking powder
½ cup chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor and pulse until smooth.
3. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. With wet hands, form into 1 ½ inch balls. The mixture will be a little sticky. Then press cookies onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
5.Bake for about 10 minutes or until brown.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Impress Your Guests this Labor Day with a Healthy Festive Cake


 Butterfly Cake by Sofia 























Ingredients:

1¾ cups spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1-teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup melted coconut oil
½ milk of choice
¾ coconut sugar
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray pan with cooking spray or grease with coconut oil.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and set aside.
Mix melted coconut oil, milk, coconut sugar, and vanilla. Stir in mashed bananas and mix well.
Pour wet mixture into dry ingredients. Mix well
Fill pan. Do not overfill as the cake will rise

Monday, June 9, 2014

Why head to the ice cream truck when you can make this delicious treat at home


Vegan Chocolate Chip Peppermint Ice Cream 

4-6 servings 

 Ingredients: 
1 3⁄4 cups organic cashews or cashew pieces
 ½ milk of choice/ coconut, almond, rice, soy
1 cup of ice cubes
1/2 cup maple syrup or a couple drops of stevia
2 teaspoons alcohol-free peppermint flavor
 4 teaspoons coco powder
1/4-teaspoon spirulina powder
Chocolate chips for garnish

Directions: 
Combine the cashews, water, sweetener, peppermint flavor, spirulina and coco powder in a high-speed blender. Blend on high for at least 1 minute. Scoop out, garnish with chips and serve immediately.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Super Foods For Super Strong Bones



Children need proper nutrients to grow. The junky diet of chicken nuggets, pizza and french fries doesn’t cut it. Since kids' bodies are constantly changing and their bones are still developing, they need the right fuel to make their bones grow and move properly. Making sure your kids eat a few bone-boosting super foods everyday is an easy way to ensure your child's bone health.

These best foods include... 
Giving your kids beans, especially pinto, black, white and kidney beans, is extremely beneficial to the growth and health of their bones. Beans will give them an extra boost of magnesium and calcium.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that enables the absorption of calcium in the body. There are not too many foods that contain high amounts of vitamin D but some varieties of fish do. Eating salmon, tuna, and mackerel provides vitamin D that the body will store for future use.

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and dairy products including milk, cheese and yogurt contain very high amounts of it. Consuming enough calcium is crucial as most of it is in the bones. Eating dairy products which are so rich in calcium promote bone growth and by giving your kids dairy products consistently will keep their bones strong for life. I love organic, and raw dairy products. Many people have allergies, but there are plenty of great alternatives.

Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and swiss chard are packed with bone-building nutrients like Vitamin K and Magnesium. Vitamin K helps to form bone protein and cuts down on calcium loss. Green cocktail are great for your overall health.

Calcium and vitamin D do play a major role in the strength of our bones, but so does magnesium. Magnesium is also stored in our bone and is necessary for the storage of calcium. All seeds are great sources for Magnesium, especially pumpkin and chia seeds.


Soy is a legume that is also very rich in calcium. Soy products like soymilk, miso, tofu, edamame and tempeh are good sources and are easy to prepare or buy in the store. Eating soy foods are good for creating more bone density; denser bones equal stronger bones.

Water is great for the functioning of any part of the body including the bones. Tap water in particular contains fluoride, which is a necessary component of your bones and adds density making them stronger. I am still researching this as there is mixed research on fluoride. I do by my toothpaste with out fluoride.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A taste of nostalgia -- Matzah Brie-



Matzah Brei



Matzah Brei is one of my childhood favorites. I used to love the smell of the frying butter from my grandmothers kitchen. I have tweaked her classic recipe a tad by using whole -wheat matzah instead of plain and adding a little bit of flax seeds to the eggs mixture. I also fried it in coconut oil and topped it with homemade applesauce. The result is a soft sweet nostalgic treat



Ingredients
6 sheets of matzoh
4 eggs
¼ Boiling water
Salt and white pepper
Teaspoon of flax seeds
Homemade chunky Applesauce for garnish 
Coconut oil for frying

Directions

In a large bowl, break matzah into pieces. Sprinkle with a little boiling water to soften

While matzah is softening, beat eggs and mix in flax seeds. Pour over softened matzah,  Mix well.

Pour mixture into hot, oiled frying pan and cook over medium heat, stirring until matzah brei is dry but not crisp.  Turn whole mixture at one time. Remove form pan. Slice and top with applesauce

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring into Spring-- Healthy Easy Lunch Box Quinoa Salad




Spring Quinoa Salad

Welcome spring with this colorful salad. This dish is loaded with fiber, protein and anti -oxidants.  It is also very kid friendly, as it is both sweet and crunchy. Perfect for an afternoon snack or an easy no fuss lunch.





Ingredients:
1 medium beet shredded
2 medium carrots shredded)
1 large peeled apple shredded
1/4 cup walnut chopped
4 tablespoons of parsley
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ cup of quinoa
½ cup of chickpeas

Directions:
Place shredded beets, carrots and apple in mixing bowl and mix to combine. Add walnuts, parsley, quinoa and chickpeas on top of mixed vegetables and toss


For dressing, in small bowl whisk together lemon juice and oil.  Pour dressing over salad and mix until well combined and evenly dressed.