Random Recipe: Black Bean Avocado Chocolate Chip Fudge Brownies

Some of the oddest mixture of ingredients I have seen in a long time. Who ever thought that black beans and avocado could be put in brownies? I grew up with the cheapest brownie mix possible (do you remember Aldi?) I am always an advocate for a different kind of recipe. One that has little to no white sugar (this one does not fit that bill as it has dark brown sugar) but that also uses ingredients that are good for you, but you might not think about them going into a dessert. Chris made them last night, and they are not bad. His only complaint was that he cooked them too long. The recipe says to bake for 25-35 minutes, and he baked them for 25 minutes, and he felt they were too cakey and he should have baked for 20 minutes, so beware.

Only caveat: they are dark, almost black brownies. Most likely the black beans. Makes for an interesting conversation.

Black Bean Avocado Chocolate Chip Fudge Brownies {gluten-free & low-fat}

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 – 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 of a large extra ripe avocado
  • 1 teaspoon coconut or olive oil
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (important to use a VERY good quality powder!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips of choice, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 8×8 inch baking pan.
  2. Place all ingredients besides chocolate chips into blender or food processor. Process or puree until ingredients form a smooth batter. If the batter is WAY too thick and won’t process then add in a teaspoon or two of water. This batter needs to be very thick in order to produce fudgy brownies. Add in 1/3 cup chocolate chips and fold into batter.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of remaining chocolate chips. You can also fold in nuts or swirl in peanut butter. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out somewhat clean and top of the brownies begin to crack.
  4. Cool pan completely on wire rack then cut into 12 delicious squares.
ORIGINAL RECIPE NOTES:
_Vegan version: Use vegan chocolate chip and sub a flax egg for the egg and egg whites.
_These brownies are best once they have cooled. Try them right out of the fridge.

Random recipe: Chicken Taco Chili (Crock Pot)

It has been a full week. Heck, it has been a full month + year. Yesterday when I came home from work and walked into the house it smelled wonderful. Chris had made a new recipe: Chicken Taco Chili. It was a struggle to actually get dressed and go for my run. I even dabbled a bit and had a few bites with some lime chips before my run — I just could not resist.

In terms of the additional toppings the recipe lists below. We added the cilantro, shredded cheese, and sour cream on top. It was delicious. Although as I ate a bowl after my run (scooping up bites with my favorite — lime chips) I thought this is basically nachos. I laughed because I recently read Jim Gaffigan’s book “Food: A Love Story” and he mentions how mexican food is all the same ingredients served in different ways. Quesadillas are tacos, grilled in a pan, which are the same as enchiladas and nachos. You get the point. In any case — enjoy!

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili (The Comfort of Cooking)

Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients:

① 1 16 oz. can black beans, drained
② 1 16 oz. can kidney beans, drained
③ 2 garlic cloves, minced
④ 1 medium onion, chopped
⑤ 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
⑥ 1 green bell pepper, chopped
⑦ 10 oz. package (1 1/4 cups) frozen corn kernels
⑧ 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
⑨ 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
⑩ 1 tbsp. cumin
⑪ 1 tbsp. chili powder
⑫ 1 tsp. dried oregano
⑬ 1 tsp. kosher salt
⑭ 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, uncooked
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Optional toppings:
Additional cilantro, shredded cheese, chopped scallions, red onion, sour cream, etc.

Directions:
Combine ingredients 1 through 14 in a slow cooker*. Stir until combined. Place uncooked chicken on top and cover. Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Thirty minutes before serving, pull chicken breasts apart with two forks. Stir and continue cooking. Top with fresh cilantro or any other desired toppings.

* Tip: If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can also use an oven safe, 5 1/2 quart or larger pot. Simmer at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours.

Random recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

I am a fan of tortilla soup. After seeing the movie, Tortilla Soup, I became quickly interested in trying tortilla soup. Can you believe I had never had it before watching that movie? Now I am addicted. It has been a while since we have made some at home. For a long time we made it religiously. Recently I found a crock pot version and thought it might be even easier than the version we made in the past.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup (Cooking Classy)

2 1/2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth (4 1/2 cups)
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic crusher
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

For serving:
tortilla strips or tortilla chips
shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese
diced avocado, diced roma tomatoes, sour cream (optional)

Directions:

Pour chicken broth and diced tomatoes into a slow cooker. Add onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, coriander and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken breasts then cover with lid and cook on LOW heat 6 hours, or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken and shred, then return to slow cooker along with black beans, corn, cilantro and lime juice, stir. Allow to cook until heated through.

Serve warm with tortilla strips and cheese and other optional ingredients.

Note: We did not have raw chicken breasts, we had Trader Joes pre-cooked chicken breasts. Near the end of cooking we shredded them up and mixed in. You could probably use rotisserie chicken in the same way.

I will just say that I had two full bowls. Between Chris and I, we ate the entire crock pot. Oops. Probably too much to have in one night, but it was oh so good.

Addicted to Electricity

Yesterday I am running on the treadmill while Chris is riding the bike. I am 5.5 miles into my run and I start to shoot off the back. I realize that the lights in the garage go dark, and the tread is instantly slowing to a stop. The power went out. I go inside to see if it is just the garage or the rest of the house. It is the entire house. Chris starts to investigate if it is just our house or if others are affected. He called Portland General Electric. 60 customers had already called, and 240 were effected. In the five minutes it took to call the Electric company, 59 other individuals had already called. Amazing how fast we respond when something is taken from us.

I am dripping with sweat. I want to keep running, so I grab my phone and head outside to finish my run, hoping that when I come back it will be back on and we can proceed with our day. I come home and the house smells amazing with black beans, sausage, and eggs. I am curious how Chris made food, without the electricity. He said he lit the gas stove with a lighter, and presto, a yummy breakfast. I am still sopping wet with sweat, and want to take a shower, but do not want to use all the hot water. I begin to contemplate over breakfast what we can do today without electricity.

I tell Chris: “We could research the items on the list and just chill on the couch.” He says: “No electricity, no wi-fi.” Ugh. Bummer. I continue to mention different ideas. We could run errands, and go to the grocery, but we do not want to bring home cold items if the electricity does not come back on. We would also have to figure out how to manually open the garage door. So frustrating. Yet, it makes my mind wander.

We take so many creature comforts for granted. Electricity to power a zillion things: our computers, wi-fi, televisions, charge our phones, our refrigerators and stoves, hair dryers, air conditioning (a dream for our home), the list goes on. So I can definitely say to you today that I am addicted to electricity, and I need to appreciate it more. In the era of instant everything, we forget all that goes into getting it to our front door. It was an eye-opening reminder for me to not take it for granted.

So…I am going to show gratitude for electricity today. #thankyouelectricity