Teaching myself to cook, one recipe at a time.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Healthy Black Bean Brownies

What would you say if I told you that you could make a chocolatey, fudgy brownie that was under 100 calories and only 2.5 grams of fat per 2.5 inch square? One that was high in protein and not totally overboard in carbs, either?

Yeah, I thought you might. 

Credit for this recipe goes to a lovely new friend of mine, Kate, who has been helping hubby and I create some guilt-free versions of the types of things that he and I like (which are typically horribly unhealthy, of course). 

No one in your house has to know that these brownies are healthy or what specifically goes into them. To be honest, you probably don't want to tell them. But you'll know. 

Start off with a can of black beans. Yes, black beans. Rinse those babies off and put them in a blender. These brownies aren't going to assemble like the ones you're used to.

Add 1/2 cup baking cocoa

1 single-serve container of unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup of pumpkin puree

1/4 cup (or 2 large eggs worth) egg whites. I used Egg Beaters in a carton.

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking powder

and 1/4 teaspoon of salt

And then blend it allllll up!

Once it's smooth, fold in a tablespoon of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. Or more, I won't judge.

Spread the mixture into a square pan and tap it on the counter to get the air bubbles out,

and top with more mini semi-sweet chips (I should have pushed them down into the batter a bit but I didn't think of it).

Then bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees. That's it!

After they cool completely, cut into 9 squares, and you're all set. So yummy.

Full disclosure: They're not 100% convincing. My regular brownie recipe has 2 sticks of melted butter and something like 1.5 or 2 cups of sugar, and nothing's quite going to match that sinful taste. But, these are pretty good, and if you don't tell your kids they are healthy, I doubt they'd really know. 

For those who would like to give it a try, here's the recipe.

Black Bean Brownies

1 15 oz can black beans (rinsed, drained)
1/2 c (40 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c (113 g, one single-serve container) unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c (60 g) canned pumpkin
1/4 c (60 g) egg whites (2 large)
1/4 c (40 g) whole wheat flour 
1/2 c (100 g) sugar 
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp salt 
3 tbsp mini semi-sweet choc chips

Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8x8 pan with nonstick. Put all ingredients in blender or food processor EXCEPT chips. Purée until totally smooth. Fold in 1 tbsp chocolate chips. Spread mixture in pan and bang on counter to smooth out the top. Sprinkle remaining chips on top. Bake 25-30 minutes until toothpick comes out mostly clean in center. Let cool COMPLETELY before cutting. Cut the pan into 9 pieces which makes them about 2.5 inch squares. 98 calories/serving. 2.5g fat, 22g carb, 4.5g protein.


(Thanks again, Kate!)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Greek Yogurt Pancakes


I’m baaaack!

A little background for those who aren’t familiar with this little project of mine:

I started this blog about 6 years ago to document my amateur attempts at teaching myself to cook. I posted pretty regularly, often several times a week, up through 2013, but dropped off in 2014 until I finally decided to wrap it up for a while. Our baby was born in December 2013, and I felt pretty consumed with being a mommy and trying to do everything else in my life. The baby that never wanted to be put down turned into the toddler that never wants me to leave her alone for 2 seconds because she wants me to play pretend with her. Between that, not getting a full night’s sleep until she was a year old, and work, my “cooking” consisted largely of making baby food purees, doing pre-fabbed meals or super easy ones (i.e. box of spaghetti + jar of sauce + frozen vegetables), or making the tried-and-true things I’d already blogged about. So I stopped blogging. Then I started working night shift, and that certainly hasn’t helped.

But I’m getting itch now to get back to it. I’m still not going to be constantly putting together elaborate meals or being creative like I was, but I am trying to work on eating better, and that necessarily involves trying out some new things. So here I am. Kiddo’s three now and I feel less guilty about putting her in front of Sesame Street for a little while. So here I am, sharing this morning’s breakfast with you!

*EDIT: I’ve taken two breaks from writing this so far, one to have a pretend picnic on pink plastic plates, and one to play with a Rapunzel and Belle doll (kiddo’s “sisters”). This may take a while. I’ll get started.

This morning, we had Greek Yogurt pancakes! One pancake is only 82 calories, assuming you keep them little, and they’re higher in protein (4.5 grams per pancake) than regular ones would be. I hoped this meant I wouldn’t be hungry an hour later, like I usually am with pancakes. They also didn’t make enough to feed an army, so I didn’t feel tied to the stove forever, which was nice.

I started with 2 eggs.

Then we added a small container of vanilla Greek yogurt. The pancakes get sweetness from this, so we won’t be adding any extra sugar.

 Then add 2 tablespoons of skim milk. My helper was too enthusiastic to hold off on stirring until I got a picture.

In a separate bowl, some flour and baking powder.

Then, just mix wet and dry together. I made a well in the dry ingredients, and poured in the wet.

You want pancake batter to be lumpy, but this was a little too thick, so I added 2 more tablespoons of skim milk.

Finally, melt some coconut oil in a big pan.

And then just drop the batter in the pan! If you’re anal like me and want to keep track of nutrition info, you can make sure you get 9 pancakes exactly. Or you can just wing it, like normal people would.

And flip!

For the last couple, I added some blueberries.

They turned out pretty yummy.

Toddler approved! She had two pancakes, which is more than she normally has on pancake day.

In retrospect, I’d probably skip the coconut oil and just use nonstick spray. The first few pancakes were a little greasy, which is weird. But they tasted good, and the rest came out better.
I’m sure we’ll be doing this one again!

Here is the source of the recipe, if you’re interested in trying it out. Let me know how it goes!