In honour of Valentine's Day--and her birthday--today I would like to feature my best friend's mom: Brita Housez. Brita is the type of woman we all aspire to be. She is a well-rounded, well dressed, elegant woman who manages to be an excellent home-maker, a successful entrepreneur and a talented, creative artist. And she makes it all look easy! She does not shy away from life; rather, she meets it head on. I have not met a more talented woman, and as the matriarch, her creativity has been passed along to her two beautiful daughters.
Brita has let life inspire and guide her career decisions. After living through a loved-one's fight with cancer, she became inspired to learn more about how to prevent the disease through food. During her research, she became aware of and interested in the disease fighting components of soy. Through scientific studies, it is concluded that soy can help fight diseases such as breast cancer, kidney disease, and osteoporosis; but it can also help with menopausal issues like night sweats and hot flashes. It is soy's naturally occurring phytochemicals that make it a potent health promoter(Housez 4).
As a result of life experience and a want to inspire others to heatlh, Brita created her first cook book: Tofu Mania. Because of its versatility, Brita chose to focus her first cookbook on tofu, as it is a readily available and versatile food. Her main message is that soy needs to be integrated into most cooking in order for it to be effective at preventing disease. She shows us how easy and tasty tofu can be. The recipes are multicultural and, while they all contain tofu, they also consist of other healthy, tasty ingredients that are readily available at the local grocer.
So, without further ado, I am going to share with you my absolute favourite Brita Housez recipe. I was introduced to it four years ago, and have made it a staple in my cooking ever since. It is a perfect Valentine's Day treat, and is absolutely guilt free. (Also, if you've read my previous posts about diet and weight loss, you know that any dessert that contains protein--such as soy--stabilizes blood sugar, which helps prevent weight gain).
This brownie is the most guilt free, moist,and chocolately treat you may ever encounter. Even my husband, who is anti anything resembling 'heath food' LOVES this treat:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup soft tofu
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius)
With electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and tofu until smotth. Beat in buttermilk, eggs and vaniulla. Gradually mix in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. When smooth, fold in pecans.
Spread batter evenly in a lightly greased 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Bake about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on wire rack.
Spread frosting over brownies with a spatula while brownies are still a bit warm. Cool completely; cut into 24 squares.
Makes 24 brownies.
1 cup icing (confectioner's) sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tbsp butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp soft tofu, mashed
Cream all ingredients together in a bowl.
Per Frosted Brownie: 170 calories, 2 g protein, 24 g carbohydrate, 8 g total fat (3 g saturated, 3 g mono, 1 g poly fat), 31 mg cholesterol, .4 g fiber, 67 RE vitamin A, 6 mcg folate, 1 mg vitamin C, 124 mg sodium, 52 mg potassium, .4 mg iron, 30 mg calcium.
Brita's recipes are accessible and they are delicious. This is a great one to start with, but I do recommend taking a look at, if not buying and trying your hand at her health promoting, easy and creative recipes from Tofu Mania, The Joy of Soy, or Pleasures Pure and Simple. Enjoy!
**p.s. this brownie tastes really good with the featured wine from yesterday's Thirsty Thursday: McManis. Oh Heaven.