Sweet potato brownies and the gorgeous Monica Nelson
Today I am so delighted to share you with an amazing woman I met through the Move Nourish Believe MORE campaign with Lorna Jane. Monica Nelson is a celebrity trainer, chef, accomplished athlete, model and much loved health and fitness expert based in LA. She inspires her clients to look and feel their best with her life motto: Eat Well. Stay Fit. Feel Great. One of her greatest passions is cooking and the talented Moni loves to whip up healthy and decadent meals for her readers to enjoy. On any given day you can find her training her clients, being creative in the kitchen, at the beach, out for a bike ride with her husband or catching big air on her snowboard.
Please give Mon a warm virtual welcome as she spends 5 minutes with us to chat fitness, food and style!
- What fitness activity do you schedule into your daily routine to keep healthy?
I enjoy so much! Living in Los Angeles, I try to take advantage of the perfect weather all year long. So I love outside. Since I am trainer and often in a gym however, I will do my own circuits often or hop into a spin class (great music a must!). I love being in nature, hiking, paddleboarding, bike rides, and yoga. My husband is an amazing surfer too so when I am feeling adventurous I give it a shot. Thank goodness he is patient and a great teacher! An evening stroll in our beautiful neighbor is also a daily habit. I think the key is switching it up and challenging yourself to new things all the time. Both mentally and physically.
- Describe your dream meal – what could we expect to find on your plate?
Anything fresh from the farmers market. I am so lucky to live walking distance to one of the best farmers market in the city so I am alway stocked up with amazing produce. This is why my Moni Meals tastes so good! If my plate has real and organic food on it, I am happy and so grateful. I usually end every meal with just a little something sweet (great tip so you never feel deprived yet never over do it!). I also love a good espresso. The thing that works best for me and what I teach my clients is balance. Food is love. I will always say yes to a good chocolate treat. I avoid processed food and always love a fresh homemade juice or smoothie.
3. Who’s your go to style icon – who have you always admired for their style, and why?
Anyone who knows me knows my answer is Lorna Jane Clarkson of Lorna Jane Active Wear. I became a fan the moment LJ touched down in the U.S. Her line is functionable, comfortable, and by far my favorite prints of all workout clothes. Plus I love what she stands for.
When I am not training clients and working out - I love the laid back look of Kate Hudson or even Taylor Swift! You will always find me in flowy tops and jeans. It is all about comfort.
- What’s a childhood habit or mannerism that has followed you into adulthood?
Kindness and Laughter. I also love nature and animals same as when I was a child.
I think it is also really important to make time to play! Being creative is important and just checking in with yourself. Kids are so good at this naturally. I grew up in a small town in the mountains always playing. Now I live in a very big city and still make the time to play say at the beach. It is really important to get away and reconnect. I also work on trying to not take everything so serious all the time.
- Name three things you can’t leave the house without and why?
A homemade Moni Treat, purified water, and a good affirmation (or two!) for the day
Sweet potato brownie
- 1 sweet potato – medium size, could use pumpkin instead too
- 1/4 of a banana, ripe
- 3 organic eggs at room temp, whisked
- 3 tbs coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 tbs of coconut flour, could use other flours too
- 3 tbs of coconut sugar, or Stevia or sweetener of choice
- 1 scoop of Quest chocolate protein powder
- 3 tbs of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- a pinch of Pumpkin Spice or Nutmeg if you want
- 3 tbs of mini chocolate chips for the top
OPTIONAL TOPPINGS: whipped cream, vanilla bean ice cream, or walnuts or pecans
- Preheat your oven to 400 F.
- I like to cut the sweet potato in half and use a knife or a fork to puncture before baking it for 25-30 minutes.
- Once your sweet potato is cooked all the way through, peel the skin and mash it up in a bowl. Now add the banana and mash again. Turn your oven down to 350 F.
- In a med bowl – mix the wet; vanilla, eggs, and coconut oil. Mix together well with the sweet potato/ banana mixture. Next mix all the dry in a med bowl; coconut sugar (or Stevia), coconut flour, protein powder, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and if using – a dash of pumpkin spice and/or nutmeg. Add to the wet. Mix together very well. TIP: You can’t really over mix these since they are gluten-free by using the coconut flour.
- Grease an 8×8 baking dish with coconut oil (or spray) and pour in the mixture. Now sprinkle the mini chocolate chips (or other toppings) evenly on top.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the the middle.
- Let it cool. If you want you can add a dollop of fresh whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon. Any toppings you want or plain is also just so good. Enjoy! Store in the fridge or freezer is best.
Great snack or healthier treat anytime of day. Perfect for the kids, an afternoon pick-me-up or an anytime treat!
I hope you enjoyed hanging out with us today Moni, I loved having you here. For my Team Dani community you too can make friends with Moni on Instagram, Face Book, or Twitter. Grab a recipe or two at monimeals.com before you head over for a quick workout at monicanelsonfitness.com.
Happy hump day! If you need more No Added Sugar recipe ideas, you can download my free ebook here.