Beanie Baby Brownies

No… I’m not talking about these guys baked in brownies!

 

But all us, 90s kids, remember Beanies Babies! Oh my goodness, they were, like totally rad.

Anywho, I’m talking about these guys, hidden in a delicious brownie treat.

I know, I know. Black beans in brownies? Hmm, no thank you! But wait! These brownies actually taste rich, chocolatey, and amazing (!). Seriously, you cannot even tell there’s beans in them.

Beans are a good source of protein and fiber, so you can feel good about eating this dessert as a healthy treat.

Be adventurous and try these Beanie Baby Brownies! Yum!

beanie baby brownies

Ingredients:

1 can black beans, rinsed

1/2 cup sugar (I used brown sugar)

3 tsp water

1/2 cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 8 x 8 baking pan. Place all ingredients in a blender, Magic Bullet, or food processor and blend until completely mixed. You don’t actually want to find whole beans or bean chunks in your brownies. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until slightly firm in the center. Remove from oven and cut into squares, any size you’d like. Technically, this should make at least 8 brownies, but you can cut smaller pieces.

Now, share with all your friends and family! Bask in the goodness!

 

 

Spiced Chocolate Protein Spread

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It’s the first day of the year and what better way to start it then finding delicious ways to incorporate chocolate into your day? Oh, wait… you have New Year’s Resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more and lose weight, right? Those are the BIG goals of lots of folks and it’s no surprise, considering the state of health in America. While it’s admirable to make healthy choices, if we’re too restrictive with ourselves and eat bland foods, we are only setting ourselves up for failure. What we should try to do is make healthy stuff taste good, which is exactly what this recipe is about.

There’s a little secret ingredient in this spread: chickpeas! I know! I know! Crazy, right? But trust me on this one. Make it, take a whiff and taste it and you’ll find chocolaty goodness that is just as good as any commercially made chocolate spread. And bonus: it’s guilt-free, protein-packed and can find it’s way into any New Year’s Resolution diets.

You won’t regret it!

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Ingredients:

1 15 ounce can chickpeas

1 tablespoon peanut butter

2 tablespoons oil

1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon instant coffee powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

4-6 tablespoons water

Directions:

Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processer, starting with only 4 tablespoons of water and adding more as necessary, scraping the sides of the blender/ processor. Blend until well incorporated and the desired consistency has been reached.

Easy-peasy. Now you can spread this on apple slices, rice cakes, multigrain toasts… the sky is the limit!

Plum Berry ‘Nana Smoothie

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Are you finding it hard to get fruit into your daily diet? If so, struggle no longer! Fruit is one of the most refreshing treats to enjoy on a hot summer day and sometimes you just want to blend that fruit up into a smoothie and sip it on the the deck with a good book. Here is a recipe for a simple fruit smoothie that tasty and healthy, mmm!

Ingredients:

2 ripe plums

2-3 strawberries, hulled

1/2 banana

sugar to taste

3/4 cup milk of choice

1/2 cup ice

Directions:

Put all the ingredients in a blender, blend it up until the smoothie is a nice and smooth consistency. Serve and enjoy!

Banana-rama Pancakies

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Hmm, nothing beats a nice pancake breakfast on a weekend morning with the whole entire day to do whatever you want. No need to go to work and speak in my “I’m the friendliest person on Earth voice” to callers or to spend the whole day in an air conditioned box of a building. Now, pancakes sometimes get a bad rap especially if they are the deliciously-covered-in-syrup-and- butter type, you know the ones. On behalf of pancake lover’s everywhere I take a stand and say that pancakes can be a part of a healthy diet and you don’t have to feel icky-sticky-guilty after and don’t have to automatically initiate a gag reflex. These pancakes are banana-y, easy, delicious and if you have any monkey friends, they’ll love you if you make them this breakfast. Go ahead, try it.

 Ingredients:
5 very ripe bananas, peeled
5 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup gluten-free flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
Directions:
In a medium bowl, mash the bananas well with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk them together to make the batter as smooth as possible, a little lumpy is fine.  With a ice cream scooper, or a measuring cup in a size you like, pour batter onto a skillet with a little bit of oil. Fry on each side until golden. Repeat until all the batter is gone and pancakes have piled up high on a serving platter. Serve immediately, top with fruit and syrup, if that’s to your liking.

Veggie Sandwich – with a twist!

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Veggie sandwich? Ick, right? Soggy white bread, bland tomato, lifeless lettuce and an unhealthy slathering of mayonnaise: sound appetizing? No no no no, that’s not how it’s done. Let’s get creative here. During the summer, heavy meals sometimes are just too much on hot days. This sandwich is light, refreshing, healthy, easy to make and tasty too.

Ingredients:

1/2 cucumber

4 thin slices of tomato

1 slice deli turkey meat

1/2 wedge of Laughing Cow cheese, any flavor

mustard (optional)

Directions:

Halve the cucumber, lengthwise, scooping out the pulpy middle. Spread the cheese, dividing it for each half. add the tomato and the turkey. Squiggle a line of mustard, if you’d like. To keep the whole sandwich assembled, skewer it with a few toothpicks.

Several with a summery side dish, I enjoyed with sandwich with a tomato and roasted mushroom salad al fresco. Bon appetite!

W

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My drink of choice? Water, water, water. It’s so refreshing and good for your health. I make a point to drink plenty of it throughout the day, especially during these hot day of summer. I am fortunate to live in the Northwest and be able to drink water straight from the tap because the water is so clean and doesn’t taste funky, so not the case in Southern California (sorry, Californians!). But you know what, sometimes water is just so… so…. watery and you need something more flavorful. I’ve got just the thing to satisfy: fruit infused water. And the best part, you get to eat the tasty fruit afterwards! There are so many different variations of this drink that you could make and I’m sure each would be tasty in their own way.

Ingredients:

a ripe, juicy plum

an orange

a squirt of lemon juice

water

Directions:

Cut up the fruit, however you’d like, and place in a mason jar or something that has a lid. Add filtered water or tap water if you are able. Cover your jar and allow the water and fruit to sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Then, drink up! Cin-cin!

Mishti Doi Style Ice Cream

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My two absolute favorite summer time things are reading for fun (no homework!) and ice cream. Recently, I’ve read two novels by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni: The Mistress of Spices and Queen of Dreams. Of the two, the latter was my favorite. There was a passage where one of the main characters, Rakhi, is speaking to her father about his life in India and he is listing off all these desserts that he used to make at a small snack job as a teenager. I looked up some of the desserts and came across a dessert called Mishti Doi and I wanted to find out more about what this is. Mishti Doi is a sweet yogurt-like Bengali dessert and it’s traditionally made in an Earthenware pot. Unfortunately, I don’t have an Earthenware pot but I didn’t let that stop me! I think the use of a non-Earthenware pot lead to less than satisfactory results at first (too watery), so I put on my thinking cap and thought… and thought… and then eureka! I could use the yogurty mixture to make ice cream! It turned out to be delicious and creamy, a perfect summertime treat. Enjoy! Continue reading

C

carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots carrots

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Carrots are the vegetable arch enemy number 1! At least in my book they are. I don’t like them, but you know what? I’m trying to change that by being creative with the things. How do I get inspired? Pinterest, of course! So I was on there searching for carrot recipes, particularly carrots in drinks. I know that carrots are added in juices for their sweetness and I was intrigued when I came across a Jamaican juice recipe. Naturally, I decided that I would try it out and then post the recipe on here.

The drink was incredibly simple to make, and surprisingly tasty. Sweet and not too carroty. If only I had found this recipe early, maybe drinking more carrots as a child would have prevented me from getting glasses… oh well. Be adventurous with your carrot consumption and try it out! I dare you 🙂

Ingredients for one serving (or two small servings):

1 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

dash of cinnamon

Directions:

Add the carrots and liquids into a blender and blend well, about a minute. Strain the mixture, discarding all the carrot pulp. Wash out the blender cup and then pour the carrot juice mixture back in. Add in the remaining ingredients and blend until well mixed. Pour into a glass (or two if sharing) with ice. Enjoy!

Have your cake and veggies too!

It’s no secret, I’m a self proclaimed carrot hater. There’s just something about them that I don’t like, the only carrots I semi-like are baby carrots but once they hit adulthood… which might be one of the reasons I wear glasses, but oh well. In a effort to perhaps come to tolerate carrots, I started searching recipes using carrots that seemed interesting. I’d already discovered that shredding carrots and “hiding” them in my food was acceptable but I wanted something more interesting to make. When I found a recipe for a carrot cake milkshake I was very intrigued and also a bit worried, carrots in a milkshake? Yes, carrots in a milkshake and guess what? It was pretty darn tasty! Couldn’t really even taste the carrot much! Try it and be pleasantly surprised, it’s sweet and you’ll only feel like you’re having a really indulgent treat. It really is like having your cake and veggies too!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup milk

1 ripe frozen banana

sugar, to taste

1 medium steamed carrot, cooled

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend it until smooth, you can add ice if you want to make this colder or thicker, or you can add more milk to thin it out. Pour in a cool glass ( I used a mason jar) and add some whipped topping, pop a straw in there and you’ve got yourself a yummy drink. And you can say “Look ma! I’m drinking my carrots!” Won’t she be proud!

Happy Father’s Day Breakfast

Happy Father’s day to all the papas, daddies, pops, fathers, pas and papi’s out there. This morning I woke up early, went to my quiet and peaceful kitchen and started whipping up some waffles for my Papi. He’s the one that does the cooking for us and today I decided that a nice breakfast would be a kind gesture to someone who has done so much for me. Here’s the recipe, make it for your dad or for a loved one that deserves a special start to the day!

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Tropical Waffles

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups flour ( I used a combination of GF Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose and Whole Wheat All-Purpose)

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

1 13.5 ounce can of lite coconut milk

1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 banana, mashed

dash of salt

Directions:

Preheat the waffle maker. Whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients. Whisk in the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix well, until pourable.

Working in batches, ladle about 1/4 cup of batter into the preheat waffle maker and cook according to the instructions of your waffle maker. You can plate these immediately or you can put them in a preheated oven until ready to serve.

If you don’t have a waffle maker, well gosh darn, but you can still make this recipe! You can simply make pancakes instead, still yummy and filling. Mmm Mmm tasty!