Weight Loss

The 45 Second Single-Serve Vegan Chocolate Brownie -with a Gluten-Free Option + Loads of Variations

Chocolate Brownie

I had one of those days last week, where at the end of the day, ALL I WANTED WAS A DANG BROWNIE! It was the kind of day, that if  I’d had access to a full pan of brownies, I might have eaten them all (and very possibly not felt guilty about it). Fortunately, knowing I needed to master a bit more self-control whilst still really yearning for that brownie, I came up with this little beauty.

The 45 second, single serve chocolate brownie. It was everything I needed it to be, gooey, moist, decadent and intensely chocolatey, all while being ridiculously simple and delicious.

top view

The 45 Second, Single-Serve Vegan Chocolate Brownie


  • 3 tablespoons Whole Wheat Pastry Flour or for gluten-free, use a Gluten-Free Flour Blend (I use this one)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Sucanat, Coconut Sugar, Maple Sugar, Raw Sugar or other dry unrefined sweetener
  • 1/8th teaspoon Powdered Stevia or 5 drops liquid stevia OR 1 packet Truvia Sweetener
  • 1/8th teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tiny pinch sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground golden flax-seed
  • 1 teaspoon Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (or other vegan mini chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil (optional, if you’re oil free, leave it out, but it will make a denser moister brownie if you leave it in. Oil free peeps could also use 1 teaspoon almond or peanut butter cut in with the dry ingredients with the tines of a fork instead of the olive oil)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Method: Whisk together the dry ingredients in a small bowl (the first 8 ingredients). Next, add all the wet ingredients and stir together with a fork until just combined. Scoop the brownie batter into a lightly oiled mini 1/2 cup sized ramekin, small mug or tea-cup. Microwave on high for 30-45 seconds, or until the brownie springs back when touched.


Nutty Brownie: add 1 tablespoon of your favorite chopped nuts to the brownie with the dry ingredients.

Mint, Almond or Orange Chocolate Brownie: add 1/8 teaspoon mint, almond or orange extract to the wet ingredients.

Peanut Butter Brownie: swirl 1 t. melted peanut butter into the top of the brownie before cooking

Double Chocolate: increase chocolate chips to 1 tablespoon, sprinkle even more on top when the brownie is cooked.

Mocha Brownie: stir in 1 t. instant coffee substitute or instant coffee granules into the dry ingredients.

Chocolate Iced Brownie: after cooking, let cool slightly and frost with 2 T. powdered sugar, 1 t. cocoa powder and 1 t. vegan butter mixed.

Salted Caramel Brownie: drench it in this stuff, just cooked for a shorter period of time so it doesn’t thicken too much.

You could also add: vegan white chocolate chips, dried fruit (I think goji berries or cranberries would be awesome!), cacao nibs, cinnamon + cayenne (mayan chocolate), top with a vegan marshmallow and nuke for a few seconds more, etc! Get creative!

Notes: for the non-microwave peeps: place your ramekin on a baking sheet and bake at 350º for 15-20 minutes. For the non-stevia peeps: use 1 slightly heaped tablespoon unrefined dry sweetener or 1 T. unrefined liquid sweetener as a total replacement for the amount of sweetener in the recipe.

The brownie that is photographed here is made using GF flour, I’ve also made it with the whole wheat pastry flour and it is amazing either way.


This brownie may just be the solution to all our government issues, world peace, personal stresses and sorrows  for just over 150 calories, since we will not have to eat the whole pan of brownies…


Fit Quickies 5-Minute Targeted Body-Shaping Workouts by Lani Muelrath. Review and Giveaway!

cover photo

In a bit of an exercise rut? Can’t find the time to fit it all in? Well, you and me both!

When Lani Muelrath sent me her book, Fit Quickies 5-Minute Targeted Body-Shaping Workouts to review on my site, her timing was perfect! The only exercises I have been doing as of late is some light (but awesome) yoga. Still, I haven’t been strength training because, well, I find it hard to fit it all in at the moment with my crazy schedule. So this gem of a book came just at the right moment. It offers quick and effective workouts that anyone can fit in to build muscle, define and tone and shrink the problem areas. She shows you the correct posture, the right lifting methods and more to optimize your results without spending hours in the gym! In fact all of the exercises can be done in the privacy of your own home.

“Fit Quickies is one exercise book that understands that you don’t have to exercise like a maniac once you get the food right. Highly recommended.” ~ John Robbins

before&afterLani knows just what she’s talking about. She’s been through her own personal 50 pound weight loss journey and has maintained the loss for more than a decade. She figured out that a McDougall like plant based eating plan solved her yo-yo diet scenario and enabled her to achieve the body she desired when she added the right amount of exercise.

LaniDoesn’t she look amazing?!?

More about award winning Lani Muelrath: M.A., CGFI, CPBN, FNS – The Plant-Based Fitness Expert – specializes in helping people who struggle with health, weight and energy levels transform their bodies – and their lives – without going hungry or grueling, excessive exercise. She is also a presenter and celebrity coach for the 21-Day PCRM Vegan Kickstart and VegRun Programs and is the Fitness Adviser for the Dr. John McDougall Health and Medical Center Discussion Boards. She presents regularly for the Complete Health Improvement Project (CHIP). In addition, she is the Health and fitness expert for Vegan Mainstream and Plant-Based Fitness and Healthy Living Examiner at for Examiner.com.

Lani has been a Guest Lecturer in Kinesiology at San Francisco State University and is an Associate Professor in Kinesiology at Butte College. She has a Master’s degree and several teaching credentials in Physical Education, and holds multiple fitness certifications including Fitness Instructor from the American Council on Exercise, Yoga, and Pilates-based instruction from the PhysicalMind Institute.

For a preview of her book, watch the video below:


Buy Fit Quickies on Amazon here, or get a signed copy from Lani here.

For a chance to win a copy of this amazing book, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants in the USA and Canada onlyYou must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Monday the 23rd of September to enter!  I will notify the winner by email on Wednesday the 25th of September. GO!!

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Food Over Medicine: The Conversation That Could Save Your Life. A Candid Interview with Dr. Pamela Popper, a Delicious Salad Recipe, Review and Giveaway

Big Green Salad

Food Over Medicine is a book made up entirely of a conversation between Dr. Pamela A. Popper, PhD, ND (Executive Director of The Wellness Forum) and Glen Merzer (Co-Author of Mad Cowboy, No More Bull, Unprocessed and Better Than Vegan) about how the food we eat may be the biggest way we can impact our health in a positive way. It reads easily and is thoroughly engaging from start to finish. The subtitle of the book “The Conversation That Could Save Your Life” is as serious as a heart attack. If you have health issues, I’m pleading with you to read this book. I was moved and touched deeply, it never fails to amaze me that people can completely change their health simply by changing what they put into their mouths. So many of Pam’s patients have had health recoveries similar or more profound than my own.

One of her biggest success stories, is that of Chef Del Sroufe, who was 475 pounds and a very unhealthy vegan when they first met. He’s now lost more than 225 pounds, is the author of  “Forks Over Knives- The Cookbook” and “Better Than Vegan.” He is a partner in The Wellness Forum and is also the Executive Chef on staff at the facility. This book includes 25 of his delicious recipes. I’ve photographed some of them for you to view here.

pamela popper

Now for the best bit: Pamela Popper agreed to an interview for this post. Listen up, it’s good stuff.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Somer McCowan: So, I’ve had my Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Ulcerative Colitis) in remission since I adopted a plant based diet over 18 months ago. However, I feel like it’s dormant, like a bear in hibernation and that if I were to re-introduce animal foods into my diet, that the disease would reappear in full force. Why do animal foods trigger auto-immune diseases like mine?

Dr. Pamela Popper: You are correct – your condition is in remission and it will remain so as long as you are compliant on the right diet.  However, it is not necessary to adhere to a vegan diet in order to keep it in remission. In fact, our protocol for stopping the progression of IBD and reversing it allows people to consume organic animal foods or wild-caught fish 2-3 times per week*, and it works for those who are compliant.  The important issues are absolutely no dairy, no high gluten foods (barley, rye, oats, wheat), very low fat, low sugar, and to be mindful of foods that seem to trigger gassiness and diarrhea, which vary from person to person and sometimes are more related to portion size rather than food type. For example, an IBD patient may find that more than ½ cup of beans in one serving causes issues; those of us without IBD don’t have to worry about this.

Animal foods are only part of the cause of autoimmune diseases, including IBD.  People who develop autoimmune diseases are genetically predisposed, diet contributes, and there is usually a “precipitating event”, which can include vaccinations, infections, viruses, allergies, asthma, hormonal changes, including pregnancy, or long periods of sustained stress.  Women are much more likely to develop most autoimmune diseases than men.

(Important Note: Both Dr. Pamela Popper and Glen Merzer follow a strictly plant based diet themselves, meaning, neither of them consume animal products of any kind.)

BBQ Tofu

Somer McCowan: What other health conditions/diseases can be reversed or “put into remission” through plant based eating?

Dr. Pamela Popper: Any condition that is chronic or degenerative can be stopped or reversed for most people with a well-structured plant-based diet.  The exception is sometimes cancer, in which the results vary a lot based on the type of cancer, stage, age of the person, co-morbidity, and other factors.

Even conditions that are not chronic and degenerative can be made better with better diet. For example, an injured person (car or skiing accident, for example) will heal faster while eating a plant-based diet than someone who consumes a diet rich in fat, animal protein and junk foods.

Somer McCowan: Do your clients ever say to you: “It’s too hard to be on a low-fat, whole foods/plant-based diet” i.e.: that they would prefer to live their previous lifestyle while staying sick and continuing to take prescription medications?

Dr. Pamela Popper: Our clients who think that this is hard are not following our directions; we make conversion to this diet very easy, helping people to avoid trial and error and preventing them from making mistakes like the ones I made when I made the conversion on my own many years ago.

However, there are two types of people we cannot help.  We can’t do much for people who just won’t listen – they trust Western medicine and do not believe that diet is part of their problem.  And we cannot help people who do not want to get well and there are some.  There are many reasons, including the fact that some people are so used to being sick that they don’t know how not to be sick, or illness is the way they get attention.  The right type of therapy can help these people to want to get better, and to get over the fear of getting better.

Fruit Crisp

Somer McCowan: Why do you think traditional Doctors tell their patients that diet has nothing to do with disease?

Dr. Pamela Popper: It is so unfortunate, but doctors are not given much education about nutrition in medical school – most of the time only a few classroom hours.  They are not told that diet is a major contributing factor to developing degenerative diseases, or that diet can cure them.  Furthermore, they are not taught to cure anyone using other means either.  Medical training consists of teaching docs how to mitigate symptoms with drugs and procedures, and how to use diagnostic tests, most of which are useless and harmful, to detect disease at earlier stages.

Somer McCowan: How quickly can people expect to see improved health once they commit and fully make the switch to a low-fat, whole foods plant-based diet?

Dr. Pamela Popper: Improvement begins almost immediately.  Overweight people who are compliant will lose 2-3 pounds per week until they reach their ideal weight; and the changes in health status take place so quickly for type 2 diabetics and hypertensive patients that they have to be monitored carefully since their medication needs drop really quickly.  It can take some time to completely resolve some issues, and some people have developed health issues as a result of taking medications for their diseases that have to be addressed, but the progress is quick enough that they are encouraged to stick with the diet.

Somer McCowan: What would you say to those who are hesitant to change their diet plan, but are living with some form of disease or illness?

Dr. Pamela Popper: Try it! If you decide after a few weeks or months that you miss being a diabetic you can always eat your way back into your prior condition!

Lentil Cakes

Somer McCowan: Can you explain the difference between a vegan diet and a low fat, whole foods plant based diet?

Dr. Pamela Popper: A vegan diet means absolutely no animal foods, and the interpretation of this diet for some even excludes honey.  It’s important to note that simply adopting a vegan diet does not mean that one is eating a health-promoting diet.  There are lots of people who don’t eat animal foods but eat a lot of vegan junk food, highly processed foods, and fat.  Most of these people are not much better off from a health perspective than the meat eaters.

A whole foods plant-based diet may or may not be vegan, but focuses on eating whole foods and some minimally processed foods.  It is low in fat, high in fiber, and the primary food groups are fruit, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

Somer McCowan: What do you eat in the course of a normal day?

Dr. Pamela Popper: One of the things I love about this diet is that I can eat whatever I want and not worry about portion control or calorie counting.  I’m really active, so I eat a lot of food.  So I’ll tell you what I had today:

Breakfast – 2 pieces of Ezekial bread toast with fat free hummus and my breakfast smoothie** (plant milk, Wellness Forum smoothie mix, brewer’s yeast, ground flax, food-grade green tea, a banana and frozen berries)

Lunch – mixed greens with Southwest pasta salad (whole wheat pasta with black beans, red peppers, cilantro, corn, tomatoes, and creamy tofu dressing)

Mid-afternoon – blackberries and apples

Dinner – BIG salad with lots of veggies and rice and steamed veggies (all given to me by friends with gardens – YUM!!)

I have a sweet tooth that flares at night and it’s about that time now so after I sign off I’m going to have some fresh peaches which I bought from a farmer last weekend.  LOVE this way of eating!

Sweet Mustard Dressing

Chef Del’s Big Green Salad with Sweet and Spicy Mustard Dressing

Recipe used with permission. -Serves 4

For the Salad:

  • 8 ounces mixed greens
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans
  • 1 cup red cabbage, grated
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • Sweet and Spicy Mustard Dressing, recipe follows

Divide the mixed greens between four dinner plates. Arrange the remaining ingredients on top of the greens and serve with Sweet and Spicy Mustard Dressing on the side.

For the Dressing:

  • 1 package silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup prepared mustard
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth and creamy.

My husband and I can’t get enough of this tasty salad or the incredible dressing, I want to put it on everything!


Buy Food Over Medicine here. Get the Kindle Edition for just $3.99 here.

Buy it on the Publisher’s Site, BenBella Books here

For a chance to win a copy of this amazing cookbook, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants in the USA and Canada onlyYou must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Friday the 9th of August to enter!  I will notify the winner by email on Monday the 12th of August. GO!!

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* excerpt from Food Over Medicine “we will help more people convert to a healthy diet if we espouse a more moderate message, if we don’t scare away people by insisting they abstain from animal foods entirely.

**Dr. Pamela Popper agreed to share her breakfast smoothie recipe with me, you can find it here. For those wishing to order ingredients from The Wellness Forum to make this smoothie, please call 614 841-7700.


Chow Down


A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Film Director Julia Grayer asking me to review her movie, “Chow Down” on my blog. It’s not often I get an email from a film director (okay, so this was the first time). I was flattered and more than happy to take the time to share this review with you.

The Usual Suspects:

Usual SuspectsProminent Authorities from the plant-based community star in this film

Dr. Caldwell EsselstynAuthor of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. Also known as the Physician that turned former President, Bill Clinton, into a vegan. 

Dr. Joel Fuhrman, The Nutritarian Doctor. His book,Eat to Livemay be the greatest weight loss book ever written.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Author ofThe China Study“, the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted in relation to diet, cancer and disease.

Dr. Neal Barnard, President and founder of the PCRM (Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine) and author of many health books.

The Story Line:

chow down families

Three very sick patients adopt a plant-based diet in order to overcome their serious health issues. I want you to watch the film, so I won’t give you the outcomes (you can guess it’s gonna be good, eh?) Let’s just say the evidence that diet can reverse disease is overwhelming to the affirmative.

The Discussion:

Here’s some obstacles to eating plant-based that are brought up by characters in the film. I don’t feel like these obstacles were adequately addressed or solved when the film finished, to the point that those who watch the film may not be willing to give a plant-based diet a try. I thought you might like to chime in with me regarding these ideas:

Chow DownDoesn’t taste good? Wrong!

1- Eating a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet is hard/doesn’t taste good/and is limiting.

I eat a greater variety of foods and prepare more flavorful meals then I have ever done in my life since adopting a plant-based diet. If it doesn’t taste good, you’re doing it wrong.

2- It costs too much.

Maybe. I admit I spend more on groceries now than I used to. However, the additional amount I’m spending costs me far less than the monthly medications I used to have to take. It also costs less than health care for cancer, heart disease or diabetes. 

3- I can’t do it because I don’t have a support system.

Bull. Even if you don’t personally know anyone else following a plant-based diet, you can get online and find support groups. Hey, I even belong to two on facebook. Dr. McDougall and Dr. Barnard also have fantastic plans for starting out.

4- My family won’t eat a plant-based diet with me.

Um, my family does. Yours can too. Start with plant-based reproductions of the meals you’re used to eating. Help to educate your family about the benefits of eating a whole foods plant-based diet.  My family begs me for green smoothies and even my youngest will eat most anything I prepare. We’re in it together and we love it. It may take some time, but your family can love it too.

Watch the Movie and Join the Conversation:

Chowdown Poster D

It’s available to watch free here on Hulu. Or you can watch it on Amazon Prime here without commercials for $2.99. It’s also available for purchase on Amazon here.

Vedged Out Calzone and a Welcome Party for George Monroy

How would you like to sink your teeth into that ooey gooey deliciousness? I’ve made some fantastic Calzones for a special welcome party today. I hope you’ll pull up a chair and join us!

Vedged Out Calzone

The No Rise Calzone Dough:

  • 2 C. whole wheat flour
  • 1 C. unbleached organic flour
  • 1 T. active dry yeast
  • 1 C. warm water (you may need up to 1/4 C. more water depending on your dough consistency)
  • 1 t. sea salt

Method: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine all ingredients in your kneading apparatus (I use my bread maker) you can also use your hands 🙂 knead dough for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Let rest for 10 minutes. Divide into 6 or 8 pieces (I did 6 pieces and it made for a thick calzone crust, next time I’ll do 8) and roll out into very thin 8 inch rounds. I stick my dough between pieces of waxed or parchment paper to keep the dough rounds from sticking to each other while I work with the other pieces.

The Calzone Sauce:

  • 1/2 C. (1 can) tomato paste
  • 1/2 C. tomato sauce
  • 1 t. garlic salt
  • 2 t. italian seasonings
  • few grounds black pepper
  • few dashes crushed red pepper (optional)

Mix all together and set aside.

The Fillings:

  • 1/2 C. chopped and de-seeded kalamata olives
  • 1 can drained and rinsed quartered artichoke hearts in brine
  • 1/4 C. dry pack sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 block of my Smoked Coconut Gouda (click for yesterday’s recipe), grated

Fill calzones like pictured above, dividing the fillings equally. Then wet the edges of the dough with a bit of water, fold over and crimp together with the tines of a fork.

Prick the top of the calzone all over with the tines of the fork to let steam escape. Scatter calzones so that they are a few inches apart on two baking trays sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Place trays in preheated oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through the baking time.

These keep and travel well for next day leftovers in school or office lunches

Now that we’re all enjoying these delicious calzones that I’ve made for this Welcome Party, please offer a hearty welcome to the newest blogger on my blogroll, George Monroy. I ‘met’ George after my Forks Over Knives Testimonial went viral (as of today, it’s still on the front page of the Forks Over Knives Website). I’ve since learned that George had a heart attack in May of 2012, just 5 short months ago. His doctor advised him to watch Forks Over Knives and adopt a plant based diet to save his life and prevent future heart attacks.

George in the Hospital following his Heart Attack with his son Caine of Caine’s Arcade Fame

Here’s George today, as you can see he’s lost a fair amount of weight, he’s also inexplicably lost all his hair and turned all “vegan cool dude” Here’s what George said to me when I asked him how his health is doing now: “My Diabetes is almost gone now. My blood pressure is normal again. I’ve lost 10 additional pounds in the last three months without even watching what I eat. So far this plant based diet is a cure for everything!!!”

George posts incredible photos of what he is eating every day on his facebook page Smart Hearts Aftermarket

I recognized an incredible food blogger in the making and asked him to join our ranks and get a blog ASAP! He is going to have the final dessert post in the Virtual Vegan Potluck on Nov. 1st! I can’t wait to see what fantastic dish he comes up with. Please join me and follow George, on his new blog:

George’s Smart Hearts

If you haven’t all ready met his son Caine, please check him out now. If you have the time, watch both videos, they will inspire the crap out of you. Warning: ladies, have tissues handy.

A plant based diet has given George a new lease on life, to watch Caine grow and succeed. I wish him all the best, I hope you will too.