Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

A friend sent this to me and it looks positively intriguing!  With how much our family and friends love the black bean cupcakes, I have no doubt that this could be another great healthy go-to treat.

Serves: 6
Preparation Time: 15 minutes (active prep time)


2 cups cooked or canned no-salt-added or low-sodium black beans, drained
10 pitted medjool dates or 1 1/4 cups domestic dates
2 tablespoons raw almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup natural, non-alkalized cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground chia seed


Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Combine the black beans, dates, almond butter and vanilla in a food processor or high-powered blender. Blend until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend again. Spread into a very lightly oiled 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Cool completely and apply topping if desired. Cut into small squares.

Store in a covered container in the refrigerator up to one week.

Optional Topping:

1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup of water
4 tablespoons natural, non-alkalized unsweetened cocoa powder
5 medjool dates
Splash vanilla extract

Blend topping ingredients in a high powered blender.


Banana Oat Cookies

Banana CookiesI haven’t tried this yet, but I wanted to keep the recipe handy so I can soon.  It looks so easy and fun!

2 large old bananas

1 cup of quick oats (I’ll just blend up the old-fashioned oats I have on-hand, so they’ll cook faster)

Chocolate chips, coconut, or nuts, optional

Bake at 350º F for 15 minutes.


Interesting Bread Recipe

In a post on Rodale.com that I happened upon just now, I saw an interesting bread recipe.  I wanted to save it here to try out at a future time. Rodale was quoting from The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home:

Add 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of untreated, nonchlorinated spring water to a large bowl and mix well. Add a little more flour and water every day for about 2 weeks. (The sour smell means it’s working.) Add about 2 cups of the mixture to 1 cup of water and enough flour to make a moist dough. Then, add 1 tablespoon of sea salt and knead thoroughly for about 15 minutes.

Cover in a bowl and let sit for 2 hours, then knock down and form into a round ball. The dough will take 8 to 14 hours to rise (overnight is ideal). When you’re ready to bake, crank up your conventional oven to 550° F and splash water inside to create steam. If you’re baking the bread free-form (without a loaf pot or pan), slash the loaf several times on top. Bake until brown and crusty. Let cool.

Pumpkin Muffins

Here’s a delicious gluten-free fall treat!  A friend passed this recipe to me, so I don’t know its origins.  Since I have altered it a bit, I don’t feel completely bad for posting it without the source listed.

Either grease muffin pan(s) well or use liners.  I prefer to skip the liners whenever possible.  It saves money and allows hungry people to get right into the goodness rather than having to deal with drooling on themselves while trying to remove the paper.  🙂

This recipe will make 24 muffins.

In a small bowl, mix:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

In a larger bowl, place:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 12 eggs, mixing well with puree after adding each egg
  • 8 Tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Add flour mixture to egg mixture and blend well until floury lumps have disappeared.

If desired, you can gently fold in:

  • 1 cup (or to preference) chocolate chips

With a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the batter into the muffin pans.  Bake for 20 minutes.

And voila! A lovely fall treat for the whole family.  🙂

African Meat Curry

As I mentioned in this post, we’ve been studying countries and cultures.  In conjunction with our study of Kenya, we made a dinner from the book, Cooking the African Way.

Though I didn’t have everything in the precise form the recipe requested, it still turned out great. In fact, my dad said we should bottle and sell the sauce.  I wouldn’t go quite that far, but we definitely saved the leftover sauce for later use.

In a large frying pan, heat for 1 minute:

  • 1/2 cup  vegetable oil

Add and stir:

  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger root, cut in half
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed (I used ground cumin)
  • 4 whole cardamom seeds (I didn’t have this, so I skipped it)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (I used a teaspoon or so of ground cinnamon)
  • 4 whole cloves (I used a few dashes of ground cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Stir in and cook about 10 minutes:

  • 6 oz tomato paste


  • 4-6 pieces chicken (I used both drumsticks and boneless breasts)

Reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer for 35 minutes.


  • 2 medium white potatoes, peeled and quartered

Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.


  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander (I didn’t have this, so I skipped it)

Simmer uncovered 10 minutes more.

I served the curried chicken and potatoes with steamed broccoli and sauteed asparagus.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake/Cupcakes (with a secret!)

This is such a fun recipe!  You do NOT have to be gluten-free to appreciate how tasty it is.  And moms everywhere can feel good about feeding one of these “treats” to their kids. This has been our go-to birthday/special occasion recipe for the last year or so.

I found the recipe on Lauren’s Healthy Indulgences blog, but I’m always paranoid about the original blog/site going down and the recipe being lost forever, so I’m reprinting it here for safety’s sake.  🙂

This recipe includes no flour, sugar, or dairy.

I’ll let Lauren tell you about the secret ingredient in her own words:

“The cake is made out of black beans. Beans, seriously! Even if you’re the fiercest of bean haters (like I am), you’ll fall head over heels for this moist chocolate cake. I haven’t have a flour- and sugar-based chocolate cake in a very long time, so my roommates had to confirm this cake’s rockstar status. Safe to say they agreed with me, and hungrily polished off the slices I provided for them. Served with a cold glass of almond milk, it was all the more refreshing after a day spent soaking up the Carolina sun.”

Makes a single 9” layer cake (can be halved and stacked – see above) or 12 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

If making a cake: Spray a 9″ cake pan with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray, or just grease it with a thin layer of butter. Dust cocoa all over the inside of the pan, tapping to evenly distribute. Cut a round of parchment paper and line the bottom of the pan, then spray the parchment lightly.

If making cupcakes: Put cupcake liners in pan.

In a blender, combine until liquified (no lumps!):

  • 1-15 ounce can of unseasoned black beans, rinsed (or about 2 cups)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon stevia (Note from Erika: I left this out the last time I made them. Erich and I liked the cupcakes even more without the extra sweetness, especially since the icing I often use for this is so sweet.)

In a bowl, whisk together:

  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

In another bowl, beat:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted organic butter OR extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4-1/3 cup honey

To the butter, add:

  • 2 eggs, beating for a minute after adding each one

Pour egg mixture into blender with bean batter and mix.  Add cocoa mix and blend on high for 1 minute until smooth. Scrape batter into pan and smooth the top. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles.

For Cake: Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

For Cupcakes: Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

After 10 mins, remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Once room temperature, cover in plastic wrap or overturned bowl. For best flavor, let sit overnight.  Frost immediately before serving.

Here’s another bean cake, this one made with white beans instead of black, that I intend to try soon.

Zucchini Bread (Gluten-Free!)

I have been on a roll with Elana’s recipes this week!  This is the 3rd great recipe of hers I made this week! (I’ll be posting the others later.)

This gluten-free zucchini bread from her cookbook The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook is  now my favorite zucchini bread recipe ever!  We totaled a loaf in a matter of hours.  And it probably would have been a matter of minutes if we hadn’t exercised self-control.  Deeeeelish and full of healthy protein too.  You can’t beat that!

I have plans to make another couple of loaves in the next few days.  I’ll try to snap a picture before we scarf it down.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 2 mini loaf pans with grapeseed oil and dust with almond flour.  (I used a single 7.5 by 3.5 by 2.25 inch loaf pan and only greased, didn’t dust, and it came out great. But I’ve read other comments where a single pan left the bread undercooked. So proceed with caution.)

In a large bowl, combine:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a medium bowl, whisk together:

  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 2 large eggs.

Blend the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined.  Then fold in:

  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped (Though I love them, I left them out for Erich’s sake.)
  • 1/4 cup dried currants (I left them out)

Scoop the batter into the loaf pans.

Bake for 50-60 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven, until a knife inserted into the center of the load comes out clean.  Let the bread cool in the pans for 1 hour, then serve.