not your average brownie

Well.  I never thought I would say this. But.

I made a batch of black bean brownies.  And I ate one.  And I liked it.

I don’t know where this idea first originated.  I mean, who puts beans in their brownies?

I honestly don’t know, but I figured that while I was at it, I may as well just throw some pumpkin in there too.  May as well.

For better or worse, into the oven you go…

The kitchen smelled like chocolate.

The brownies looked like chocolate.

These brownies are chocolate.  No doubts about that, the flavor is all there.  No off putting beany flavors, whatsoever (phew!)

I don’t know what it is that came over me tonight.  All I know is that I have but one can of pumpkin left.  I’ve eaten my weight in almond butter this week.  And after this shenanigan, I imagine that my kitchen will end up living in a state of shock for just a while.

But that’s okay.  It was all well worth it.  I think you’ll agree.

Black Bean Brownies

These are brownies with health benefits, thanks to the filling fiber from the pumpkin and the fiber/protein combo from the beans.  And while I wouldn’t try to claim that these are going to be your new “go-to” recipe for brownies, I think they make a fun new twist as a healthier dessert for during the week.

These brownies are moist—fudge like!—and soft and filled with sweet chocolate.  I highly recommend adding the walnuts, chocolate chips and coffee, as these ingredients will really help to intensify the richness.  Smear these babies with almond butter, raspberry jam or sprinkle with shredded coconut and enjoy with a tall glass of ice cold milk.  Enjoy!

  • 2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder + 2 Tbsp.
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1-2 tsp instant coffee
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a blender, combine black beans, eggs, pumpkin, cocoa powder, sea salt, vanilla extract, sugar, and coffee until smooth.  Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.  Transfer to prepared baking dish.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes.  Brownies are ready when the top appears dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides.  Serve warm with a smear of your favorite nut butter or fruit jam.  ENJOY!

QUESTION: What is the most unusual ingredient you have ever cooked with?


chilly days

Brrr…take out your boots, hats, gloves.  I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but it was well under 60 degrees when I went out for my morning walk.

(FYI, I refuse to wear winter boots before November…call it my feeble attempt to hold on to that last bit of summer :mrgreen: )

Despite the chilly, breezy, thick-sock-only kind of weather, I bowled up some cold “un”overnight oats (see breakfast page for recipe.)  A frozen banana and some almond butter made this extra creamy.  Extra delicious. 😀

I was pretty excited going into the highschool today (just finished my second week there! time flies!)  The regional registered dietitian was coming in to do an audit on the menus’, making sure that they were all up to the government’s expectations, ensuring that all the meals being served were of good quality, and seeing if my preceptor (the food service director) had any issues, questions, concerns.

The RD was super nice, and I like the way she managed to stick to her nutrition roots and beliefs, while still listening to the food service director.  She understood the business side of things and was open for conversation.  And she was very much for promoting whole, natural foods rather then focusing solely on the nutrition label (i.e., just because something is high in fat, doesn’t necessarily make it a bad choice.)  I really enjoyed talking with her and seeing what her job was all about. 

Twas a good day. 😀

Last night, I doubled up on my salad that I had for dinner, and used it as today’s lunch.  Easy peazy. 

  • mixed red and green leaf lettuce
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small tomato
  • black olives, sliced
  • 1/4 avocado
  • olive oil + sea salt

And some kashi crackers + an apple.  I’m working at finishing up these pink ladies before diving into the new bag of local macs.

I also packed…

…drum roll please…

The new Larabar flavor for a morning snack!!  Okay, okay.  Maybe this isn’t *new* new, but it certainly is to me. 😀

The price was a bit steep and the calorie count was a bit high for such a small snack.  I could have easily eaten two of these things and still been hungry. 😉  But the flavor was delicious, and it was studded with rich, chocolate chips.  I’m totally glad I tried it this once, but I don’t know that I would actually buy it again.  Well.  Maybe for a special treat now and then when my wallet allows it. 😉

All together now!

Afternoon Snack: whipped 1% cottage cheese and Natures Path Heritage Flakes

I really like this cereal.  The first ingredient is Kamut Wheat Flour, and there’s organic wheat bran, barley, millet and quinoa following not far after.  It’s nice and crunchy too. 😀

Beans are fabulous in so many dishes.

From salads, to hummus or bean dips, to chilis, to taco fillings.  Anywhere meat belongs, beans can usually follow suit.  And they don’t necessarily need to be a replacement, but they can definitely enhance your meal with flavor and nutrients and fiber. 

One of my favorite ways to use up some nutrient rich beans: Homemade Black Bean Burgers!  Served on a whole wheat bun with some tomato, lettuce and ketchup.

By the way, I love that one can of black beans makes four burgers.  There were three people eating tonight which—of course—means (did you guess??) my lunch is made for tomorrow.  Gotta love it. 😀

A side salad with Newmans Own Balsamic Viniagrette Dressing.

And chilled grapes for an antioxidant rich dessert. 😀

Normally I have Fridays off, but tomorrow I have a seminar to meet up with my fellow dietetic interns and dietetic director.  I have to give a short blurp on whether non-food related rewards work well for long term weight loss.  According to studies and research done, they don’t.  But honestly, I think it depends on the person.  I know for me, personally, a little reward like taking a bubble bath or splurging on a good magazine/book would be a fun reward.  It wouldn’t necessarily aid in the weight loss per say, but it could definitely add to the motivation in keeping me going.  Especially if there are other motivational factors besides.

I don’t know.  What do you think?

Boston Baked Beans

I haven’t been craving hot oats as much this past week.  The recent hot weather has brought on a whole new “cold cereal” kind of feeling. 

  • 1-1/2 c. kashi heart to heart
  • 6-oz. plain yogurt mixed with 1 chopped Braeburn apple
  • scoop of Teddy peanut butter

Cold and oh-so-refreshing for a warm summer morning.  😀

I went out for a quick 3-mile morning walk before the heat of the day had a chance to come out.  When I came home I was still dripping with sweat.  In heat like this, everything feels like a major workout. 😉

Morning Snack: handful of almonds and an ice cold orange

I can still remember that very first time that I ate tempeh.  It was more of an experiment than an actual, “I’m going to like this” sort of thing.  Lo and behold, however, I fell in love. 😉 

Tempeh is very, very different than tofu or other soy products.  It has a nice firm—meaty almost!—texture to it.  And it really does take on whatever flavor you want it to have.  For lunch, I simply sprayed a cooking pan with spray, heated the pan, threw in 1/4 a block of tempeh, and let it sizzle and fry.  Then I added 1/2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce to each side.  This causes the pan to spazz a little, but it also causes the tempeh to take on a whole new level.  I opted to add pepper jack cheese, alfalfa sprouts and tomato to my whole wheat roll-up.  But for the optimum sandwich, try this tempeh with avocado and pineapple slices.  I kid you not.  It’s wonderful. 😀

On the side I baked a huge batch of kale chips with ketchup.  I have a massive bunch of organic kale sitting in the fridge and I’ve been desparately trying to finish it up this week. 😉

+ some after lunch sweetness

Some more Thursday refrigerator clean-out duty took place when I scraped out the last of my Friendship Whipped Cottage Cheese and topped it with sunflower seeds and chopped dates.  It made for a fun little afternoon snack!

Let’s move on to the boston baked beans, shall we?

Boston Baked Beans–memere’s recipe, taken from AJRHODES3 on Allrecipe

(p.s. I tweaked the recipe by taking out the bacon and taking out some brown sugar)

  • 2 c. navy beans
  • 1-2 onions, finely diced
  • 3 T. molasses
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T. packed brown sugar
  1. Soak beans overnight in cold water.  Simmer beans in same water until tender, approximately 1 to 2 hrs.  Drain and reserve liquid. (keep in mind that you don’t want the beans sooo tender that they’re falling apart on you…they should be a little firm)
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  3. Arrange the beans in a 2 quart bean pot or casserole dish and top with onions.
  4. In a saucepan, combine rest of ingredients.  Bring mixture to a bowl and pour over beans.  Pour in just enough of reserved bean water to cover the beans.  Stir gently with rubber spatula and cover dish with lid or aluminum foil.
  5. Bake for 3 to 4 hrs in preheated oven.  Stir at least every hour.
  6. ENJOY! 😀

A photo journey…

Cooked beans layered with onions.

Sauce mixture being brought to a boil.

Sauce mixture being doused on top of the beans and onions.

Just enough cooking water being poured on top to cover the beans before being placed in the oven.

Beans being enjoyed. :mrgreen:

You could also serve them with cornbread and a side salad, Al Fresco chicken sausages and a side salad, or just eat them like that with a slice of really good dipping bread.  Some people enjoy boston baked beans with a sharp cheddar cheese as well. 

Love, love, love this bean recipe and I highly recommend it.  It’s super easy despite how long it takes.  You just need to make sure that you’re home for the day so that you can stir it at every hour.  But it’s a lot of hands-off preparation.  😀

On the side I had a large salad topped with the last of the sauteed bell peppers and vidalia onions, and drizzled with one of my favorite poppyseed dressings. 

Well, I have a super busy day planned for today so I had better get started!

Question: How do you like to eat your baked beans?  I like eating mine over sweet potatoes or served with a hunk of whole grain bread for dipping and a large salad.  Mmm…