Thursday, November 17, 2011

Brownies (Black Bean)

What? There are black beans in these brownies? Yep a whole can! Gross?! No... in fact if you blend them well, no one can tell. We brought some to the neighbors and had them try to guess the secret ingredient and they had no clue. Since then they have made them multiple times and have people in their family with gluten issues who love them! I will not lie and say that I've never had better, but yes they are good and even better the next day after being refrigerated. I am just trying to work out the texture issue... they're a bit spongy, but James likes them that way and swears they are great! Try them... low cal, low fat, and packed with protein and nutrients. Now that is worth a try, right!?

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1½ cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder (I used postum or pero)
  • ¾ cup egg substitute (or 3 eggs)
  • 2 tablespoons low-calorie sugar-free chocolate syrup (or just the real stuff!)
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 24 packets (84 g) Truvia or 8 tablespoons granulated Splenda (or 1/2 cup to 1 cup sugar*)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a handful of dark chocolate chips or cocoa nibs... (adds a few extra calories, but so good.)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spray an 8×8-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the beans, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and egg substitute in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl halfway through.
  3. Add the chocolate syrup, sour cream, butter, Truvia, and vanilla. Process until all of the ingredients are combined, about 1 minute. Add the chocolate chips if desired.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, turning the dish halfway through the baking time. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out with soft batter clinging to it.
  5. Let the brownies cool completely in the baking dish on a wire rack. Then cut into 12 squares and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.
* I do not feel good about giving little kids artificial sweeteners like Splenda and we have no diabetics in our family, so I go for the real stuff. The reason why I say 1/2 cup to 1 cup sugar is because I only put 8 Tbsp.=1/2 cup of sugar in but found it wasn't very sweet. James said it was great and so did the neighbors, but after further research I discovered I was right! Artificial sweeteners are 200% sweeter than regular sugar. So if you want the same sweetness that Splenda would give, you will have to put in twice the amount of real sugar. Or just leave it less sweet. It's up to you.

The "Now Eat This" Challenge

"150 of America's Favorite Foods All Under 350 Calories"

For my 30th birthday my grandma sent me this book as a gift. She said that she loves it and that my aunt and uncle, who introduced it to her have already lost 15 lbs and eat recipes only from it. Now you have to have some thick skin to not be offended when someone sends you a weight loss recipe book for your birthday... but I know she was only being kind & loving by it.
So since September I have made a goal to cook at least 2 or 3 recipes from this book a week until I have cooked them all. After cooking them all, I will then be able to say which ones are good, great, or hardly edible. If you'd like to join me in my healthy eating journey, please join in. I will test them out for you, and let you know which ones you have to try and which ones to not waste y our time & energy on. I know... I haven't blogged about my cooking in ages. But here's to a fresh start. If I'm the only one left still reading this blog, that's OK. At least our little of family of 4 will be all the healthier & more delicious for it. Wish me luck! We're about to find out if healthy really can taste good, I mean "comfort food good"!

Disclaimer: By the looks of things, this cook book contains ingredients that are not always "cheap" like my blog address proclaims. However, there is a little Italian proverb that says, "You either pay the farmer or the doctor." So as I grumble about the extra produce I have to buy, I will remind myself that they're cheaper than a box of Oreos and definitely cheaper than a new heart or kidney. :) I also may throw in a few random recipes from time to time that are not from this book that I insist you must try and can't wait till this challenge is over to share them with you.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Yummy Thin Crust Pizza

I decided I needed to put more family friendly, fast recipes that people could use weekly or monthly. Something reliable & loved by many. So I turned to my sister Mary, mother of 5 who makes this every "Friday Pizza Night". It is so fast,good, & cheap. She triples the recipe but for a family of 3 we did it exactly as written & it worked great!

1 package yeast (1 Tbsp.)
1/4 tsp. sugar
3/4 c. hot water
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 500 degrees (I didn't know my oven went that high- but it does!) Dissolve yeast and sugar in the hot water and allow to rest for 8 min. Combine flour and salt in a separate bowl. Add yeast mixture to flour mixture.
Mix and knead. (I just stick it in my kitchenaid with the dough hook for about 5 min.) Top with sauce, cheese, & toppings.
Bake for 10 min. (The little pizza's bake for 8-10 min.)
Makes one pizza or 6 small pizzas.

Frosted Ginger Snaps

These are cheap, but not guilt free! However they are so soft & delicious that I just had to make the recipe accessible to you. They aren't too spicy or strong, but they have lots of yummy flavor and I think the frosting adds the perfect touch. Enjoy!

1/2 c. butter softened
1/4 c. canola oil
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. molasses
2 c. + 2 T. flour
1/2 t. salt
2 t. baking soda
1 t. ginger
2 t. cinnamon

Cream together butter, oil, sugar, egg & molasses. Sift together flour, salt, baking soday, ginger, & cinnamon in a separate bowl. Combine. Roll into 1 inch balls & roll in additional sugar if you do not plan on frosting them. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes.
*If you make a large pizza size cookie bake 6 min. Cover the edges with foil & bake an additional 8 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 c. butter (half stick)
1/2 pkg. cream cheese
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
Whip the softened butter & cream cheese. Mix in powdered sugar & vanilla.