Monday, June 25, 2012

The Raw Brownie and Aunt Kellie


We have company!! My Aunt Kellie is staying with me! She is the best, and a very clean eater, plus a blood analysis expert, which means she knows how bad food effects your blood, which in turn, starts disease, which I'll admit is a-scary. It also means that when you want an iced coffee during the day, you completely hide that fact from your Aunt. It doesn't matter that she herself bought a cookie at the restaurant earlier and you did in her book is a HUGE no-no. So I smuggle my lidded cup to the kitchen, wait till she walks upstairs until I fill it with coffee, add a smidge of stevia and coconut milk and a dash of cream, then hide the cup in the cabinet until she leaves the house. That's the thing with my Aunt. It doesn't matter what she chooses to "cheat" with, yours is always worse. I love her to death, but our eating philosophies don't completely get along. Close, but no cigar.

My beautiful Aunt Kellie. She's 50. Can you believe that?!

1) I don't monitor my fruit intake like she does because I believe whole heartedly in whole organic foods and the abundant antioxidant properties contained in them which shouldn't be limited. She'll agree but with some stipulations, which I'm sure I'll hear after she reads this post. :)

2) I also eat whole grains. She's scared of them. Something about mold.

3) She avoids mushrooms and blue cheese for the same reason. I eat mushrooms and when I had them on my salad the other night she was repulsed. Did you catch that? I was eating -not nachos or tacos- but a salad, people! And blue cheese is delicious, but I have no argument for it being good for you. It's not. Boo!

4) She won't touch bottled salad dressings, soy sauce, vinegar, or anything besides vegenaise basically. And while I generally make my own salad dressings, I'm not above ordering one from a restaurant. It's for my own sanity.

5) She only drinks alkaline water. Only. Alkaline. Water. This means she carries a water bottle with her into every restaurant and literally shutters to think about drinking what they serve from tap. She will literally go thirsty if she has forgotten her bottle, which she doesn't. Ever. I drink alkaline water at home because I have a filter, but I drink regular water when out or at other peoples houses.

6) She doesn't drink wine very often, but is fine with a strong vodka martini because it's low calories and no sugar. I get it, but I still argue since there are antioxidants in red wine and actually health benefits if enjoyed in moderation. It doesn't matter. The sulfates are poison or something like that and will cause imminent death. Vodka is pure and clear and beautiful and perfect and doesn't damage the liver at all. I'm being snarky.

"He was being very snarky with me. Yeah, snarky. Its a word, google it." 
-Dane Cook

So it goes, and I chuckle. Not because I'm convinced I'm right, but I do my research and I'm pretty educated about such things. I need to come up with the right choices for me without hating my life and having to sneak almond chips into Mexican restaurants since apparently, corn chips are like the devil and must be avoided at all costs...much, MUCH more so than the toffee-carmel-chocolate square my Aunt ate after dinner. I didn't have dessert, for the record, since I had already "picked my poison" in chip form. And margarita form. And mushroom form. In fact, I might die tonight.

Aunt Kellie with her son Harrison and my kidlins last year. Yes, Olivia's hand is in her pants. Charming, I know.

My Aunt and I spend a lot of time talking about what the other has to say about food because it's our favorite topic. Except, no one actually gets mad because we love each other. So we have that going for us. This very real dialogue that took place between us this morning:

Aunt Kellie: One of my clients gave me a great roasted vegetable recipe. It has a little cheese in it, but it's okay because you get spinach, zucchini, broccoli, red peppers...I mean it's unbelieveable.

Me: You should try Gwyneth Paltrow's broccoli and cheese soup, it's delicious and loaded with broccoli, arugula and onions with the tiniest bit of pecorino romano cheese.

Aunt Kellie: Oh, I don't eat cheese

Me: but, you just said...

Aunt Kellie: I LOVE cheese, don't get me wrong, and if my neighbors go to Holland, I have them bring me back some gouda becuase they make cheese differently over there. I don't eat cheese from here. Especially gorgonzola. Very, very rarely. Tillamok is so waxy. Have you ever noticed? Do you know why? Oh, but that gorgonzola...It's mold you know.

Me: No, but all I'm trying to say is that theres only a tiny bit of cheese in the soup, just like your roasted vegetable thing.

Aunt Kellie: I know, but I don't eat cheese or broccoli cheese soup.

Me: AUNT KELLIE! You JUST said you ate a small amount of cheese in the roasted vegetable dish, didn't you?

Aunt Kellie: Yes.

Me: Okay, that's all I'm trying to say. You could make this broccoli cheese soup because it only has the tiniest bit in the whole pot with a lot of vegetables. That's all.

If it sounds like I'm complaining, I'm not. Let me be clear. My Aunt is one of my most favorite people in the world. But, it does get overwhelming when you think, contemplate, discuss or defend everything you put in your mouth that doesn't happen to be kale. This isn't even her fault most of the time, as I tend to bring it on myself, calling attention to whatever it is. Most times, I want to hear her input. And most times she's very gracious and doesn't say a word, but her expression tells all. That woman has no poker face. It's hilarious


One thing we can agree on? These brownies. They are made with omega-3 loaded nuts, antioxidant rich cacao powder which is also a superfood, sweetened by Medjool dates that taste like carmel, and these babies are raw. I've made raw brownies with an avocado base that were much creamier and fudgier. This one is chewy and mimics a dense cakey brownie and holds up very nicely. I made these the last time my Aunt came out to visit, and we kept going back all week for little fixes. They are kept in the freezer and I love them a frozen thin mint cookie. Except these are not mint. Or cookies. They are, however, rather delicious.

The Raw Brownie
adapted from My New Roots

2 cups whole walnuts
2 1/2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup raw cacao powder
1 cup raw unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Place the walnuts in a food processor and blend on high until the nuts are finely ground. Add cacao and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the dates one at a time through the feed tube of the food processor while it is running. What you should end up with is a mix that appears rather like cake crumbs, but that when pressed, will easily stick together (if the mixture does not hold together well, add more dates).

In a large bowl (or the pan you are putting the brownies in), combine the walnut-cacao mix with the chopped almonds. Press into a lined cake pan or mold. Place in freezer or fridge until ready to serve. It is also easier to cut these when they are very cold, so the freezer is best. Store in an airtight container in freezer or refrigerator.

My cousin Harrison and I would say that these brownies are "Dr. Young Approved". Dr. Young is who my Aunt studies under and where she derives most of her healthy food habits from. You don't need to know who he is (or maybe you do?), but just that he approves avocados, young coconuts, a bunch of other green/alkaline things, and these brownies.

*Disclaimer: I don't know for sure if Dr. Young approves these brownies. Dates contain sugar after all, even in their natural form. But Harrison tells my Aunt everything is "Dr. Young Approved" that he wants her to eat, from the donut he bought her a while back, to his container of (probably smuggled in) chocolate milk in the refrigerator. Harrison is snarky too.


  1. Great post... very funny, The pic of Aunt Kellie is stunning, and a little Dane Cook in any conversation is always a plus!!

  2. I love your recipe for raw brownies! I've recently found raw desserts... and love them! They're so healthy and not overly sweet! I enjoyed your recipe so much that I featured it on my blog:

  3. This might be a tad random, but I recently graduated college and am interested in health career opportunities. Reading about your interaction with your aunt I'm curious what her title is (Blood AAnalyst?) and what she does? My e-mail (as goofy as it is) is thinkofpirates @gmail.

    Also the brownies are great and a little but goes a long way as far as taste goes which is incredible for those of us with difficulty putting down the brownie...! Interestingly, but maybe not suprisingly due to how much oil they produce, I've read walnuts are acid-forming. Could theu be a harmful base or does it depend on how much you eat?

    Hope this is all okay to talk about here, please let me know if e-mail is better, best,