ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites

When Todd and I first decided to do an elimination diet to try to help alleviate his Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), gluten was the first thing to go. We wanted so badly for gluten to be a sort of scapegoat for his flare-ups. At the suggestion of a co-worker, we had high hopes that eliminating it would really help. However, the lack of gluten didn't make a different from him at all. Regardless, I am eternally grateful for that trial period. That's what really got us to look into diet and how it can affect RA.  What followed the gluten trial was the elimination of meat and dairy, two of the biggest dietary triggers for RA. Google "Rheumatoid Arthritis and diet" and that's what you'll find. Avoid meat and dairy. So, that's what we did. And boy did it help. Then, I discovered and I cannot tell you how instrumental that website was to our vegan journey and still is! I researched eggs, as essentially that was the only animal product we were consuming at that time. I had no idea how inflammatory they were and we eliminated them from our diet immediately. Being completely vegan relieved his worst RA symptoms incredibly. We were both so surprised at how substantially diet impacted him, with regards to the arthritis.

I became very interested in a vegan diet due to the benefits that myself and especially Todd experienced, that I began to research nutrition and food every free minute I had. That's when I really discovered the horrors that are inflicted upon animals, the environment, and surprisingly our own bodies with implementation of an omnivorous diet. I was shocked. 

*Reader Discretion Advised - Strong Language and The Truth* What scares me the most is how our food animal friends come to be on our plates. I can't even really admit that I turned a blind eye to it all, I just simply didn't have all the facts. I suspect that's how most people go through their dietary life and that's very upsetting. The meat and dairy industries work tirelessly to hide their transgressions. Plus, don't you know how hipster bacon is you guys!? I'm not sure about you, but I (along with the rest of the world) yearn for fried, decaying pig carcass strips on EVERYTHING.

At least try to make the connection. Or, read this story on how dead piglets are ground up into a "smoothie" and fed to their mothers. If you still want bacon armed with that little piece of knowledge gold...that's f*cked up. That's a blind eye. Hey, sometimes even I have to get all serious and bitchy up in here.

People! That's really happening. That's not vegan propaganda. Pigs are held in such monstrously, horrible conditions because of our insane demand for bacon and pork, that this is now what has to be implemented to keep other pigs from getting sick. If that completely disgusts you gastronomically (and hopefully ethically), sign the petition at the bottom of this post. Great, now I ruined my day. 

Anyways, I bet you're asking what in the hell my angry little story has to do with these brownie bites. Well, they are made with coconut flour. Which is gluten free. Yes, we're back to the very top of the post now. I can hear my dad now, "Get to the point, Katie." I tend to feel the need to explain everything. You see, the fact that gluten never bothered Todd, means that we have an abundance of different gluten free flours and coconut flour is just one of them. I absolutely refuse to waste them! So, I decided to set out on a coconut flour brownie adventure! 

Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites

I'm not even going to try and hide it, when I pulled these bad boys out of the oven and saw that they were all sunken...I was mighty sad. Then I thought...wait a minute...I just made strawberry jam a few days ago and these have bananas in them. Omg, I'm going to fill those sunken bits with jam! And the rest is brownie history. These super gooey brownie bites are made with coconut flour and no oil! Filled with your favorite jam, they delight! 

ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites 

Makes 11

Notes: These brownies are very gooey. That's just how coconut flour is, in my experience. 

  • Flax Egg:
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. water
  • Dry:
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp. vegan sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • Wet:
  • 2 ripe medium bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup cartoned plain coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 3 Tbsp. vegan chocolate chips
  • Topping:
  • jam, of choice (I used homemade strawberry - recipe below)

In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax and water. Allow to rest in fridge until ready to use. 

In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. 

Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a medium bowl, mash the sliced bananas very well with a fork. Add the remaining wet ingredients except the chocolate chips and stir until well combined. 

Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites

Add the wet ingredients and the flax egg to the dry mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. 

Coat a muffin pan with a nonstick cooking spray. Divide the batter evenly, until the cups are about 3/4 full. My batter resulted in 11 brownie bites. 

Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites

Bake for 60 minutes at 375 F. Allow to rest in pan for 10 minutes after baking, then remove from pan and transfer to a cooling rack to rest another 10 minutes. 

Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites

Pour jam into the top of the brownie bites before serving. 

Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites Listening to: Ok Sweetheart – Traitor

German Word of The Day: Flour --> Mehl (pronounced: mell or meel) I didn't know that one!

Good Deed of The Day: I shouldn't have to convince you to head on over to Care2 and sign the petition to ask the USDA to stop feeding dead piglets to their mothers. It only takes 5 seconds and you'll see me there!LiRecipe Card

[yumprint-recipe id='106']See the post on the Strawberry Basil Jam/Sauce, here.Produce On Parade - ChocoCoco Strawberry-Banana Brownie Bites

Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce

Wondering what to do with one pound of sad strawberries and a bunch of basil that's seen better days? Don't throw it away! Make this jam. Of course, I'd prefer if you used, errrr, fresher ingredients. But hey, I do what I can with what I have...and what I have had was some less than stellar produce awaiting judgement day in the fridge. Except the basil. Never put fresh basil in the fridge.  Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce I love strawberry jam. However, we never have any on hand. I buy that Kirkland signature strawberry puree from Costco that's totally amazeballs. Yet, I eat it all up too quick.  Like freakishly quick, and it's a massive jar. Anyway, Costco is about an hour away so we don't go on a regular basis. In addition, I flat out refuse to buy any jam at the regular grocery store because, well, to put it lightly...I'm a jam snob.

Growing up, my grandparents had a hugely vast vegetable & fruit farm garden full of fresh currents, rows upon rows of an assortment of raspberries, and gobs of plump strawberries. Believe me when I tell you, and this is very important...there is nothing like the taste of a freshly picked strawberry from a real ass garden. You don't know life if you haven't had one, so if that's the case get yourself to a U-Pick farm. Right now! There's no time to waste! Anywho, we used to make oodles upon oodles upon oodles of perfect jam with these home grown berries. And that's why I'm a jam snob. I'm ruined, essentially. 

I tried to make chia seed jam not too long ago (while in a state of panic due to our lack of jam). I didn't post the recipe because...I did not enjoy it. It had an odd texture (surprise!) and it wasn't sweet enough and it was just a plain insult to jams everywhere. It's still in my fridge and is made with Alaskan-mountain blueberries picked by yours truly last fall. It's all yours. So gross. 

I've been talking a lot about jam. This is because I simply refuse to acknowledge the existence of jelly. OMG, don't even get me started on that crap. Preserves, yeah, they're okay but I don't like my jam chunky, you know? But, live and let live. So, jam it is for me. NEVER JELLY.

Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce

If you're try to impress someone or just up your jam game, this is the one for you. It's a delicious, no-canning necessary strawberry jam infused with fresh basil, vanilla and cinnamon. I couldn't stop licking the spoon. 

Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce

Makes about 8 oz. 

Notes: For more of a sauce, blend the strawberry mixture until smooth. If you'd like more of a jam, blend less. 

  • 1 lb. strawberries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegan sugar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped and packed
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 

In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients over low heat. Produce On Parade - Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce Continuously stir until the sugar has dissolved and it looks like the strawberries are floating in water.  Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce   Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth for a sauce-like consistency or leave a bit chunky for a more jam-like texture. Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce Transfer back to the pan and over high heat, stir continuously until it reaches the mixture reaches 220 degrees (about 5 minutes). Once it's reached 220 degrees, stir continuously for another 5 minutes. Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce If you don't have a candy thermometer, that's okay. Once the mixture is transferred from the blender back to the pot, it should cook on high from start to finish for about 10 minutes total.  Pour into a jar and allow to rest at least 15 minutes before covering and placing in the fridge to chill. Chill overnight. Store in the fridge and consume within one week.  Strawberry Basil Jam or SauceOh, that's what I'm talking about.  Strawberry Basil Jam or SauceYes, I always match my nails to my jam. Also, there was a little bit that didn't fit in the jar...and...well, I ate it all. Straight up. Treat yo' self! Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce[soundcloud url="" params="color=73a89a&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

German Word of The Day: Jam --> Marmelade (pronounced: marma-lawd-eh) I know about orange marmalade, but who knew?!

Good Deed of The Day: All I have to say is WTF. Please sign this petition to stop a live bull from being set on fire for the entertainment of people. Grotesque animal cruelty shouldn't be tolerated, regardless of any culture it's involved in. Period. It only takes 5 seconds. You'll see my signature there! 

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Strawberry Vanilla Cashew Milk + Alaskan Ski Train Photos

Okay, so I know you're all wondering how The Ski Train that Todd and I went on this weekend was. I'll give synopsis.  It’s was an all-day train party ride (like a legit, real life train) that went over 130 miles one way from Anchorage (we boarded in Wasilla), past Talkeetna to Curry where it stopped and let a bunch of cool cats like myself out to ski to our hearts content, which coincidentally was about four hours. On the way up we played Apples to Apples and ate a questionably large amount of Twizzlers and Pringles. We skied and played about, took a break to eat homemade vegan breakfast burritos, then piled back on, ate a bunch of food, drank a few adult beverages (some people more than others), and enjoyed the scenery on the way back home.

Check Produce On Parade's FacebookTwitter, and/or Instagram to see some of the trip photos and a video of some Alaskan scenery. Also, there might be a video of Todd doing shotski

Here's a taste...

Highlights of the trip were:

  • The lady in the seat across from us dislocated her shoulder and exited the train in Talkeetna to seek medical care.
  • One of my coworkers was one of two people who were "confirmed missing". If you aren't on board at the appropriate time your ass gets left behind. Fo' real. A couple rescue team members stay behind with a tent and some food. Then, you pay one hefty fine for the train to come get you the next day. We were told the fee starts at $500...with an unknown limit. Yikes
  • Someone was lifeflighted. Seriously. A helicopter came and hovered right over the train all Black Hawk Down style, then landed beside the train and someone on a stretcher was boarded. Rumor has it this person broke their femur. Strongest bone in your body. I would know. Radiology and all. Bones are kinda my thing. And breasts. I can say that because I'm a Mammographer. 
  • There was a police car there too! In the middle of nowhere, because of the lifeflight thing I'm assuming. Apparently they can drive on the railroad tracks with this adjustment rail thing...omg, I had no idea. Did you know that?!

Anyways, it was a lot of fun and my first proper train ride. There were a few party cars (think passed out people in spandex), some quiet cars (I kind of wish we were on one of those) and a few middle-of-the-road cars, which we were in. If you really like being around people and that whole vibe, then I think the ski train would be outta this world amazing. I like most people in this world pretty much out of sight, hence, the blogging (it's kinda how I socialize, cue laughter). So, it was a little overwhelming for an anti-social, awkward, hermit grouch such as myself. I wish I wasn't that way, but I am. I just function better solo, or near solo.  

Honestly, I'd rather bring a picnic and ski out in the woods with just my pups, Todd and a few friends. However, I'm totally glad I did the ski train because it was a pretty incredible experience. See some trip photos at the end of the post! 

On Sunday after Todd and I recouped from our trip, I made him some delicious strawberry vanilla cashew milk. 

Produce On Parade - Strawberry Vanilla Cashew Milk

Creamy and delicious with absolutely no processed ingredients, you'll only find whole foods in this milk. No added sugar either! This beverage is sweetened only with dates and strawberries. What I really like about cashews is that you can just throw 'em in the blender and since they're so creamy, there's no need to strain them as you would with almonds or shredded coconut. I do this a lot for smoothies. I think it's better than using a storebought dairy-free milk and it's so quick and easy!

Produce On Parade - Strawberry Vanilla Cashew Milk

Strawberry Vanilla Cashew Milk

Serves 1 

Note: If you don't have a high speed blender like a Vitamix, I would suggest soaking the cashews for a few hours. 

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries (about 6 large), halved
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

In a blender combine all ingredients and blend on high until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.

Produce On Parade - Strawberry Vanilla Cashew Milk Produce On Parade - Strawberry Vanilla Cashew Milk

Serve cold.

Produce On Parade - Strawberry Vanilla Cashew Milk Produce On Parade - Strawberry Vanilla Cashew Milk

Listening to Evan McHugh – What Would You Do

"Oh and I'm takin' my time, I'm getting it right oh I try, but I'm into you still summer is over and winter is here I'm movin' so slow day's getting longer and on as we go I'm taking my time, I'm getting it right Lord knows, Lord knows I try"

German Word of The Day: Strawberry --> Erdbeere (pronounced: aired-beareh) I love this word, Erdbeere. 

Good Deed of The Day: Sign this petition to help stop fracking on national forests and wildlife refuges. Petition author is the National Resources Defense Council. 

And now, Ski Train photos! 

Produce On Parade - Ski Train

Produce On Parade - Ski Train


This was a totally non-staged photo of us decided which route we should take. Honestly! I told Todd everyone was going to think we were posing!

Produce On Parade - Ski Train

Produce On Parade - Ski Train

Produce On Parade - Ski Train

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