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Brownies… made with black beans? Yes, they’re tasty!

Sneak those veggies into your food and make it taste good, too! As part of National Nutrition Month, here’s a Q and A with Nutrition Services Program Coordinator at Marion County Public Health Departmen, Denise Ferguson.1. What is your role at the health department?

I am the Nutrition Services Program Coordinator. I work with a wonderful staff and we teach a wide range of nutrition education programs to all age groups. We have the Fruits and Veggies More Matters and The Little Farmers Market programs.for very young children and school age, adult programming on healthy eating and even programs for seniors.

What is National Nutrition Month and why is it important?

National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information campaign created every year in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Its main focus is to show the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating and physical activity habits. Every year there is some sort of theme that the Marion County Public Health Department, Nutrition Services team displays.2. What is the theme this year for National Nutrition Month?

The theme this year for National Nutrition Month is “Put your best fork forward”, which encourages everyone to take time to enjoy food traditions, different cultural foods and appreciate the pleasures, great flavors and social experiences food can add to our lives. How, when, why and where we eat are just as important as what we eat. We want to develop a mindful eating pattern that includes nutritious and flavorful foods, while also taking the time to enjoy everything that a healthful and tasty meal brings with it.

3. What are some ways to add vegetables to other foods?

1. When serving a spaghetti sauce, add spinach, zucchini, or shredded carrots

2. Add vegetables to desserts!! Here is the black bean brownie recipe. Just add a can of black beans to a brownie mix for a rich chocolate taste and no one will guess you have added beans to this delicious dessert.

3. Instead of heavy starches such as mac and cheese or mashed potatoes, substitute massed cauliflower instead.

4. Add some beets to your favorite chocolate cookie. They will add a rich red-velvet effect while adding powerful antioxidants to your diet and a healthy dose of vitamin A

5. It helps you to better nourish your body. Proper nourishment is what we’re after when we’re planning what to eat or it should be. Paying better attention to what you’re eating and planning ahead can be beneficial when it comes to providing more nutrients to your body.4. Are there any health benefits to adding vegetables to more foods?

There are many health benefits to eating vegetables. Most people love to eat fruits but struggle to eat vegetables. Vegetables contain valuable minerals such as magnesium, potassium and iron, and contain large amounts of vitamins A and C. This magic nutrient mix helps with a host of chronic diseases. Lowering your sodium intake has many positive health benefits like lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol, but you can also achieve improvement by raising the amount of high potassium foods in your diet.

Vitamins C and A are known for being helpful to protect against infections, and aiding in muscle pain and stiffness.

Ginger is best known for its aid with our GI system. It helps with nausea, bloating, and stomach cramps. It also works as an anti-inflammatory.

Minerals like iron and manganese can help boost our immune system, lower blood pressure, and improve circulation.

Fiber can help protect against colon cancer and also help lower our cholesterol.5. What other programs does the health department offer that helps us learn more about cooking and enjoying our food?

Nutrition Services is currently offering three classes with the Indianapolis Public Libraries. “Cooking with Heart” focuses on steps you can take to prepare foods at home for better health. And the “Freezer-to- Crock” class focuses on the basics of how to pack and freeze meals in advance to use in a slow cooker to produce tasty family meals.

For more information on what Nutrition Services has to offer please call 317-221-7403 or visit Mix-Black Bean Brownies


1 (15 oz) can black beans rinsed, and drained

1 cup water

1 package brownie mix

1 cup chocolate chips, divided

Serves: 24

Nutritional Value:

Calories:150 Total Fat:5.6g

Protein: 2.3 g Sugar:3.8g

Carbohydrate: 25 g Sodium:139 mgInstructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish

Blend black beans and water together in a blender until smooth; pour into a bowl. Stir brownie mix into black bean mixture until batter is smooth; fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips over batter.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted 2 inches from the side of the pan comes out clean, 25 to 27 minutes. Cool brownies completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

Source: allrecipes.comGarlic Mashed Cauliflower


1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

1 tbs olive oil

1 clove garlic, smashed

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tbsp reduced-fat cream cheese

½ tsp. kosher salt

1/8 freshly ground black pepper

Serves: 4

Serving Size: half cupNutritional Value:

Calories: 98 Total Fat:5.7 g

Protein: 5.2 g Sugar: 3.5 g

Carbohydrate: 8.4 g Sodium: 372mgInstructions

Place a steamer insert into a saucepan and fill with water to just below the bottom of the steamer. Bring water to a boil. Add cauliflower, cover, and steam until tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat; cook and stir garlic until softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat

Transfer half the cauliflower to a food processor; cover and blend on high. Add remaining cauliflower florets, one at a time, until vegetables are creamy. Blend in garlic, Parmesan cheese, cream cheese, salt, and black pepper.

Source: allrecipes.comIngredients

3/4 cup beet puree (about 2 medium beets)

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 (12 ounce) bag white chocolate chips

Serves: 5 ½ dozen

Nutritional Value:

Calories: 98 Total Fat: 5.2 g

Protein:1.3 g Sugar:7.8 g

Carbohydrate: 11 g Sodium: 123mgInstructions

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Cook the beets in boiling water until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Test a beet by poking it with a fork, if it comes out easily, the beet’s done. Peel the beets while they are still warm. Roughly chop them and puree in a blender with buttermilk until smooth. Cool completely

In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter with sugars. Add the cooled beet puree, cocoa powder, vanilla, vinegar, salt, and egg and mix to blend. Add the flour and baking soda and mix as little as possible to fully incorporate them. Fold in the white chocolate chips.

Using a 1 ¼ inch ice-cream scoopr or a tsp, form 1 ¼ balls of dough and place them on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Bake at 350 for approximately 10 to 12 minutes; cool the cookies on cooling rake for at least 10 minutes before serving.