Pause & Nourish: Managing Stress through Food & Lifestyle
When we are stressed, we often turn to our breath or yoga practice. Or, another mindful activity that brings us back to the present.
But what about food? Surprisingly, nutrition plays a key role in stress; and simple, intentional strategies can help you manage it better.
Join me at Downtown Yoga Shala’s Instagram TV for the series Pause & Nourish, where I offer simple ways to better nourish yourself during times of stress.
Day/Time: Every other Wednesday at 12pm PT (each chat is 30-40 minutes long).
Past & upcoming topics
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OMG. I don’t normally rush to post a recipe right after cooking, but here I am, still swooning over possibly the best brownies I’ve ever made.
Granted, my track record of brownie making aint that impressive (considering the last time I made them was two years ago).
These brownies are quite simply, to die for. They’re:
- flour-less (I’ve been baking with nut- and seed-flour lately with delicious results).
- sinfully chocolatey (with cacao powder AND chocolate chips).
- the perfect balance of bitter-sweet (with a tinge of espresso).
And they’re small-batch (perfect for that quick-hit chocolate craving).
Because the recipe only makes 8 brownies, you’ll be tempted to eat it all in one go, but try not to.
Savor these brownies. Eat them slowly. Relish the wholesome, ooey gooey textures. And if you can bear to, share them with your neighbors.
The idea for these brownies came from Ambitious Kitchen’s Small Batch Paleo Almond Flour Brownies with Raspberries. I loved the idea of a small-batch brownie recipe, and one made completely with nuts (and no weird gluten-free flour blends) seemed too good to be true.
So, I’ve been trying to find an excuse to make them this entire lock-down.
But the longer I waited, the more this recipe evolved (you know me, I can’t leave a recipe alone).
I finally decided to make them for my dad’s birthday (my dad’s a chocolate monster; and yes, he might be in a different country, but a girl can still celebrate!).
So, here are the tweaks I made.
#1. Blitzed almonds and pumpkin seeds (pepitas) instead of almond flour. I don’t normally buy almond flour and instead grind raw unsalted almonds into a fine flour-like substance. I’m also a bit stingy with my raw almonds (especially in times like these, when grocery store trips are limited), so I used an almond-pumpkin seed blend, which totally worked.
#2. Maple syrup instead of coconut sugar. The recipe uses 1/3 cup coconut sugar. I used a little less than 1/4 cup maple syrup because that’s what I had at home. I don’t love overly sweet desserts, and this quantity worked well for me, but you can adjust it if needed.
#3. Espresso instead of raspberries. Since it was my dad’s birthday, I wanted something that represented him. And if there’s anything my dad loves more than chocolate, it’s coffee. So I swapped out the berries for 1.5 tsp of a strong espresso powder. I also added chocolate chips, a handful of walnuts and garnished with more pumpkin seeds.
Et voila – here it is, a dense, moreish, nut & seed-filled caffeinated masterpiece.
Hope you love it as much as I did (and if you make it, don’t forget to share and tag me!). xo
Small-Batch Flourless Espresso Brownies
These gluten-free brownies are adapted from Ambitious Kitchen's Small Batch Paleo Almond Flour Brownies with Raspberries. They're chockful of nuts, seeds, chocolate and espresso, and make an ooey, gooey, wholesome treat!
Servings: 8 brownies
- 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg (room temperature)
- 1/3 cup raw almonds
- 1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (or raw almonds)
- 3 tbsp unsweetened cacao powder
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder
Optional (but recommended)
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds (to garnish on top)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a 8X4 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. (The original recipe provides an option to make it in two 5-inch skillets, so if you want to try that instead, refer to the Ambitious Kitchen recipe).
Place a small saucepan over low heat, add coconut oil and maple syrup and stir until the coconut oil is completely melted. The oil will be separate from the maple syrup at this point.
Set aside to cool for just a few minutes, then transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in the egg and vanilla extract until smooth.
Next, in a food processor (I used a hand-held food chopper), blitz the almonds and pumpkin seeds together until the texture resembles sand. You don't want it to become clumpy or turn into paste, so don't go crazy with this!
Add the other dry ingredients - raw cacao, baking soda, sea salt and espresso powder to the ground nut-seed mixture. Blitz once so they mix together (you ca do this in a separate bowl if you like, but why dirty another bowl?).
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly and mix with a wooden spoon. The batter should be quite thick.
Drop in the chocolate chips and walnuts, and combine gently.
Now pour the batter into the parchment-lined loaf pan. Tilt the pan so the batter is evenly spread, then garnish with the remaining pumpkin seeds.
Place in the preheated oven for 18-23 minutes, or until the edges are set. Under-bake these brownies, so they remain fudgy once they cool down.
Once you take it out of the oven, let cool for about 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool on a wire-rack, another 5-10 minutes (trust me, it's easier to cut once they cool down).
Cut into 8 brownies, and tuck right in. <3
- Almond meal is not the same as almond flour. The original calls for almond flour, and I used to mix of almond & pumpkin seed meal (blitzed). It totally works.
- I used a little less sweetener than the recipe called for. I tend to enjoy sweets that are less sweet, and in the bitter-sweet spectrum of chocolate, I gravitate towards the bitter end. The brownies was sweet enough for me (especially once you add chocolate chips). Don't knock it till you try it!