What’s Hiding in Your Meatloaf?
Ever have liver laced meatloaf? I have, apparently. My Mom recently confessed to sneaking liver into our meatloaf when we were little. No one detected it for a long while. Not until she got greedy, she says. Greedy with the satisfaction of knowing she was sneaking some iron rich nutrition into our meal and wanting to see just how far she could push it. She kept adding a little more and a little more each time until eventually it was detected and subsequently rejected. Once the cat was out of the bag we were all a little skeptical of her meals, “What did you slip into this dish, Mom?”
Now that I’m the Mom, I completely understand where she was coming from. I want my kids to eat the healthy foods that they’re not always eager to. So I buy pasta that says it has a whole serving of veggies in it and I slip some whole-wheat flour and ground flaxseed into whatever I’m baking. I put chopped spinach in my lasagna filling and I purée veggies for my marinara sauce. The concept is not novel, many people slip a little extra goodness into the meals they serve their loved ones. There have even been several cookbooks written on the subject. Not that long ago, I was on the playground and another mom told me about some brownies she made that her kids liked. They had a puréed can of black beans in them. Hmm, sounded pretty clever to me and not nearly as devious as covert liver.
So over the past few years, I have developed a recipe for breakfast bars with lentils and, most recently, a cookie featuring puréed cannellini beans. The lentil bars have become so popular with my family and friends that I have since made vegan and gluten free varieties to accommodate special requests. The added legumes in these recipes provide bonus protein, fiber and nutrition without any detectable bean taste. No offense to beans, as I’m a big fan of them, taste and all. But a little extra nutrition worked into a delicious baked good is a good thing and I know my Mom would agree!
I call these “breakfast” bars and cookies as they make a tasty, satisfying and nutritious way to start your day. I make a batch on the weekend, then wrap and freeze them individually. If you have a rushed morning, they are handy to grab and take with you. They thaw out quickly, so you can just toss one in your bag frozen and it’ll be ready to eat when you reach your destination. But they are not just for breakfast, they make a great on-the-go snack whenever you are hungry and in a hurry. I plan on loading up my freezer with them as we edge into this holiday season. Having one of these in my bag when I’m out and about will help me avoid those regrettable mall food choices, road trip fast food stops and pricey airline snack packs.
A link for the three “Peace, Love & Lentil Breakfast Bars” are below. Also, check out my new recipe for, “Cool Beans Breakfast Cookies.” These cookies are filled with super healthy ingredients and are so moist and delicious, you won’t even remember they’re good for you! I hope you enjoy these recipes. Keep some balance in your eats.
For additional healthy bar recipes, look for, POWER HUNGRY: The Ultimate Energy Bar Cookbook, written by Bryn Mawr College graduate, Camilla V. Saulsbury. Her recipes are amazing! Check out her blog, power-hungry.com.
Recipe: Cool Beans Breakfast Cookies
Makes about 24 cookies
¼ cup coconut oil (in solid form)
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup apple butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup flaxseed meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups oats (old-fashioned)
½ cup almonds, chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, minced
¾ cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two large baking sheets.
(I use regular shiny silver baking sheets. If using the dark non-stick variety, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.)
In food processor, pulse together coconut oil and brown sugar until well combined. Pour into large mixing bowl. Add egg to sugar mixture and beat until smooth and light tan in color.
Add beans, apple butter and vanilla to food processor and process until smooth. Mix the bean mixture into the sugar mixture.
In a small bowl, whisk together flours, flaxseed meal, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Stir in the oats, almonds, cranberries, ginger and chocolate chips.
Use a 1½-ounce cookie scoop or scoop 3-tablespoon portions onto prepared baking sheets. Gently flatten each mound to about 3/4”.
Bake for about 20 minutes (rotate pans halfway through) or until lightly browned on the edges. Remove to cooling rack.
Thanks for spending some time in the cloud with me! I hope you enjoy my column and recipe! ( : Tina