Tag Archives | sugar free

Easy-Peasy Bean Burger

I have a pretty serious hoarding problem. It’s present in pretty much every room of my house.

The good thing is that my obsession has to do with recipes. Not yarn balls, old comic books, plastic flower arrangements or kittens.

I scour newspapers, magazines, my favorite food blogs (TheKitchen and 101Cookbooks are two fantastic ones!) and Pinterest for recipe ideas. A file folder in my kitchen is overflowing with recipes that I’ve collected for several years now. There is a stack of cookbooks next to the bed that I like to leaf through for inspiration before going to bed. (Yes, I read cookbooks at night while other people read Danielle Steele). And, my desk always has a pile of freshly printed recipes waiting just to be whisked off into the kitchen.

While I love “recipe hunting,” it’s always a special treat when someone passes a tried and true recipe on to me. It’s the recipes you pick up along the way from family, friends and acquaintances you meet at pot luck dinners that always have special memories attached to them – who they came from, how we came about them, and why we’re so fond of them. And, when we make these recipes it’s impossible to not remember the person who shared it with us.

Making and eating food together is such a powerful way of connecting across generations, continents, coasts and cultures.

This week I want to share a recipe from my dear friend Gordon in San Francisco. Gordon and I completed our therapeutic nutrition certifications together and when I’m in his neighborhood he always invites me over for tea. We spend an hour or two catching up, discussing our latest nutrition discoveries and he ALWAYS shares one of his latest recipes with me. I saw him late April and he told me about a new bean burger recipe he had perfected that his clients were going totally crazy over. I thought, “yeah, yeah, I’ve seen a million bean burger recipes. They are messy and always fall apart.” I was skeptical but I promised to try the recipe when I got home.

Turns out, Gordon shared the ultimate secret to making a fool-proof bean burger with me! Chill it!

When Gordon walked me through the recipe he made a pretty big deal about needing to chill the burgers first. I’m not a fan of following directions very closely but I also didn’t want to mess up his recipe. I put my ego aside and followed his instructions. They turned out great! (Note to self….follow directions!)

I took the liberty of making a few little tweaks to his recipe and want to share it with you today. And, when you make these burgers think of me and my friend Gordon in San Francisco!

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In the comments below tell me what treasured recipe you’ve received that has some wonderful memories attached to it.

Easy-Peasy Spiced Bean Burger
Serves 4-5

1 can black beans (kidney beans work as well), drained and rinsed with hot water. The hot water helps to remove the metallic taste from the can. (Eden Organic brand recommended)
½ cup cooked brown rice or quinoa
½ cup old fashioned oats
1 tablespoon Tamari (San-J brand preferred)
2 tablespoons tomato paste or salsa
1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander, smoked paprika (you can use your own mix of preferred spices)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon coconut or olive oil


  1. Place rinsed beans in a large bowl and mash with a fork or a potato masher. An immersion blender is great for this process. Adding a splash of hot water can help break up the beans
  2. Stir in the rice, oats, tamari, tomato paste, spices, salt and pepper and mix until well combined. If the mixture is a bit wet you can add a bit more oats. If it’s too dry add a splash of water.
  3. You can divide the mixture into 4 large balls or 5 medium sized ones. Shape into 1 inch patties and place them on a plate and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. This is a crucial step as it will help keep the burgers together!
  4. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Grill the patties until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes on each side. Carefully flip the burgers so they don’t fall apart.

You can serve this alongside a shredded cabbage slaw, potato salad or with a fried egg on top for breakfast.

Comments { 1 } · Posted on May 15, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

Banana Almond Muffins

If your idea of morning breakfast is a cup of coffee and a morning pastry then I’m willing to guess that you’re ready for a snooze come noon. Our morning staples of caffeine, carbs and sugar get us out the door but leave us fried, frazzled and searching for the office candy bowl before lunchtime. Sound familiar?

What you nourish your body with first thing in the morning will determine your mood, focus and energy for the rest of the day. When you wake up in the morning you haven’t eating for at least 8-10 hours or more. Your body has been fasting and needs some good quality protein, complex carbs and healthy fats to get the engine running and humming until lunchtime.

That is why I love these Banana Almond Muffins for breakfast. The almonds are a great source of protein and heart healthy fats and the bananas provide powerful potassium, which is important for your cardiovascular system. Cinnamon helps to balance blood sugar, which is crucially important first thing in the morning. Paired with some natural peanut butter or honey these muffins make the perfect breakfast or late morning snack. They also happen to be gluten free. If that is something you are interested in experimenting with then these are a great way to start.

Banana Almond Muffins

1/4 cup plain organic yogurt or milk (dairy, rice, hemp, almond and coconut milk all work as well)
1-2 TBS. honey or real maple syrup
3 eggs, beaten
3 mashed extra-ripe bananas (looking really brown and splotchy)
3 cups ground almond flour or almond meal (Bob’s Red Mill is a good brand)
Pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice
1 tsp baking soda
½ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place 12 cupcake liners into a muffin tin.
  2. Mix together yogurt, eggs, and bananas in large bowl and stir until well combined. Mix almond flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and walnuts into the wet ingredients.
  3. Pour batter the lined muffin tin and bake 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the tin. Place muffins on a wire rack and let cool completely.
Comments { 1 } · Posted on May 4, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

Let them eat truffles!

“Do You Eat Brownies???”

Last week I attended a women’s business conference and this question came up when the person learned that I work in the nutrition field. I get this question pretty regularly in different forms….”do you eat chocolate? Do your clients have to give up sweets? Can you tell me how to say no to chocolate chip cookies? Please tell me you eat dessert!”

So, I’m going to declare it right here. I, Tanya McCausland eat dessert!

Sweets and treats are part of exploring and savoring amazing food. When we deprive ourselves of the occasional piece of chocolate we’re setting ourselves up to inhale the entire bar. Yeah, we’ve all been there!

This week I’ve been in San Francisco visiting with some of my dearest friends. One of our favorite things to do is cook and enjoy a meal together. There is something absolutely magical about roasting potatoes, chopping herbs and grilling fresh sausages and is amazingly heartwarming and soothing – especially when you’re doing it in a tiny but bright San Francisco apartment kitchen! Alas, no meal is complete without a sweet treat at the end. The other evening we shared some amazing dark chocolate with almonds and dried cherries while we finished our wine and laughed late into the night. It was fantastic in every way possible!

So yes, this girl DOES eat dessert. But, I have standards that make eating it enjoyable instead of totally shameful.

How to Eat Dessert

1) Spot Cravings: How do you feel when you go scouting out the office candy bowl? Are you angry, frustrated, stressed, sad, tired? We tend to reach for the treats when things aren’t going our way. But, guess what? After you inhale the Snickers Bar you’ll still be angry, frustrated, sad and tired. Weird how that works, right? Instead, address your feelings with an appropriate action like taking a 10 minute walk outside, talking it out with a colleague, taking three cleansing breaths or even looking up cute kitty pictures on Pinterest. Or, do all three!

2) Splurge: There is a ton of cheap, crappy candy out there. Don’t fall for $2 bags of mini chocolate bars or 2 for 1 deal. Your body is not a garbage disposal so don’t treat it like one by feeding it junk. Your body deserves only the best and that includes the best chocolate you can find! Go for quality, not quantity. Spend the extra couple bucks on the “fancy” organic dark chocolate bar or the macaroon from a local coffee shop. Then, move on to step 3.

3) Savor: Now with your treat in hand take time to really enjoy it instead of inhaling it in mere seconds. That little piece of luxury deserves full attention! Sit down, and deeply inhale the deliciousness you’re about to eat (yes, I said smell your food!) and then take a bite. Close your eyes and thoroughly enjoy the taste and texture of this amazing treat you just took the time to savor.

4) Share: Eating is a communal activity and that includes dessert! It’s much more satisfying, enjoyable and profoundly feeds the soul when we can share food with another person. Cut your muffin in half and offer it to your office mate, share dessert with your love (one spoon only!) and crack open that bar of chocolate when the girls come over for dinner.

5) Stir up Your Own: While I have a serious weakness for a good bar of dark chocolate, I do love stirring up my own sweet treats. Unfortunately (well, fortunately) I’m not much of a baker so my oven doesn’t see much cookie or cake action. But, I do make one tasty truffle! My Chocolate Chia Truffles are delicious and super simple. If you can push the button on your food processor you’ve got what it takes to make truffles. By the way, this recipe presents a great opportunity to invite your kids into the kitchen with you. Just beware of those messy fingers!

Chocolate Chia Seed Truffles

1 ½ cups pitted dates, chopped
¼ cup unsweetened raw cacao or cocoa powder
½ cup whole chia seeds
½ teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
1 cup raw slivered almonds (can also use raw cashews, pistachios or walnuts)
½ cup shredded coconut for dusting


  • Soak chopped dates in hot water for about 10 minutes
  • Strain dates (reserve water) and puree in food processor until thick paste forms
  • Add cocoa powder, chia seeds and vanilla extract. Pulse until combined.
  • Add reserved liquid if needed. Add only a very small amount at a time so mixture doesn’t get too soft
  • Add almonds; pulse until well distributed throughout mixture
  • Form mixture into small balls and roll in shredded coconut
  • Place on wax paper in single layer and chill in refrigerator for about one hour. Place them in containers with lids. These will keep for about a week in the fridge.
Comments { 0 } · Posted on May 2, 2013 in Healthy Recipes

Holy Granola (Bar)!

I’ve been getting back into running and am in the middle of training for a 5K. It’s been quite an adjustment with the east coast weather but, Sky and I have been braving the cold. I sport my neon blue running shoes and she looks styling in her blue harness. We’re quite the pair!

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The one thing that gets me out of bed on a 30 degree morning is getting to eat one of these granola bars before we hit the road. Combined with half an apple dotted and a smidge of peanut butter, they make the perfect pre-run snack. They also satisfy Mr. Wes‘ crunchy cravings and are the perfect snack for him to take to work. He’s shared them with some of the other guys at work and they’ve gotten rave reviews!

I can guarantee that dad’s, kids, burley mechanics and other picky eaters will dig right in.

What I really love is that these are free of crappy oils, processed sugars and all those icky preservatives which the store-bought versions are loaded with. If you are looking for a gluten free bar then be sure to use gluten free oats (Bob’s Red Mill is a good choice).

I know you’re probably wondering why I’ve called them “Holy Granola Bars.” Well, I try to make time on Sunday evenings to prep a few meals or snacks for the week. Lately this means cooking some sort of big stew or chili and making granola bars. Hence the name. Plus, when Mr. Wes eats one he says “holy cow these are good!”

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Holy Granola Bars


6 cups old fashioned or rolled oats (they are the same thing)
1/4  cup unrefined coconut oil, melted. Plus more for greasing the pan (Spectrum brand is a good choice)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup honey or grade B maple syrup
1/4 cup water or apple juice
1/4 cup molasses
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups puffed rice (you can find this in the cereal aisle or natural foods section. Be sure you get the unsweetened kind)
1 cup freshly ground flaxseed
1 cup roughly chopped nuts (any combination of pecans, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts works)
1/4 cup raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. In a large bowl toss the oats with the melted coconut oil and salt until all the oats are coated. Spread the mixture on 2 baking sheets and toast in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Stir the oats every 5 minutes or so to ensure even toasting and prevent burning. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile in a medium saucepan, combine the coconut sugar, honey, water and molasses. Heat the mixture slowly over low heat, stirring until all combined the the sugar has melted. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. In the large bowl toss together the toasted oats, puffed rice, ground flaxseed, nuts and raisins. Pour in the coconut sugar, honey, molasses mixture stirring the dry ingredients as you pour. Stir with a wooden spoon until everything is totally coated with the sticky mixture.
  5. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil. Press mixture into the the baking sheet. It helps to use a piece of wax paper to do this so you don’t get half of the mixture stuck to your fingers.
  6. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.  Cut into pieces with a sharp knife and pack into individual granola bars.

Notes: This is a totally flexible recipes. Experiment with different nuts, seeds or dried fruit such as chopped apricots, cherries or goji berries.

Be sure to snack on all the delicious crumbs that are left over from cutting up the bars!

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Comments { 5 } · Posted on March 25, 2013 in Healthy Recipes