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: Coconut Beef & Broccoli Rice Bowl

One of the better recipes we have had in a long time. Chris even used the sweet sticky rice instead of our normal stable of brown rice. It was flavorful, light, and memorable. Definitely a meal you could even make once a week. The next time we make it I want to make it with flank steak. We used skirt steak this time and we have a different flank steak recipe where the steak almost melts in your mouth. I would like to see how this recipe would compare. Oh, and it did not take us 6 hours to make.

Coconut Beef & Broccoli Rice Bowls [From Love & Olive Oil]

Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sweet sticky rice*
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 pound flank, flat iron, or skirt steak, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Thai seasoning
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 large head broccoli, cut into small florets (about 3 cups florets)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
  • fresh cilantro, for topping
  • toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Combine rice with 1 1/2 cups cold water; cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours. Pour rice and any remaining liquid into a saucepan. Stir in coconut milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer for 10 minutes, or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; keep covered and let stand for at least 5 minutes.
  2. While rice is cooking, toss sliced steak with Thai seasoning until evenly coated.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. When pan is very hot, add 1/3 of sliced beef, spreading into a thin layer. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until beef is starting to brown but still slightly pink the middle. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining beef, adding more coconut oil to the pan as needed.
  4. Return skillet to heat. If necessary, add a bit more oil, but the residual drippings from the beef should be enough. Add shallot, garlic, and ginger and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add broccoli and cook until bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Add coconut milk, soy sauce, sugar, and lime juice and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until broccoli is tender and sauce is thickened and reduced. Add beef and cook, stirring to coat evenly with sauce, until heated through.
  6. Divide rice among 4 serving bowls. Top with beef broccoli mixture, then sprinkle with fresh cilantro and sesame seeds and enjoy.
*Sold as Sho-Chiku-Bai sweet rice, or sometimes just called sweet rice, white sticky rice can be found at specialty grocers and Asian food stores. You can substitute other types of rice here if necessary (sushi rice is the closest in terms of stickiness), just follow the cooking instructions on the package, replacing 3/4 cup of the cooking water with coconut milk.

Random recipe: Three Ingredient Fudge Bites

I love finding a dessert recipe that is free of white sugar and is mostly good for you. Oh, and of course that tastes good. We recently found a recipe that has three ingredients. Chocolate chips, coconut milk and coconut oil. That is it. Hard to believe, but they are oh so good and of course rich too. With just the two of us, we split the recipe in half (below is the full recipe). Even then it took us a few days to finish them. We topped a few with shredded coconut, a few others with coarse salt, and left some plain. My favorite was the coarse salt. It added just the needed amount of salt to cut the richness.

The Easiest 3-Ingredient Fudge Bites

YIELD: 24 fudge bites
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (dairy free, if needed)
  • 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Place the chocolate chips in a large bowl.
  2. Combine the coconut milk and coconut oil in a small pan, and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally to ensure the coconut oil melts fully, and the milk warms evenly.
  3. Pour the hot coconut milk/oil mixture over the chips, and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk until totally smooth.
  4. Line a mini muffin pan with liners, and grease liberally. Fill each liner to the top (a heaping tablespoon of the chocolate).
  5. Sprinkle sea salt on top (or any of the other toppings listed below). If using caramel, drizzle 1/2 teaspoon on each fudge bite, and use a toothpick to swirl.
  6. Freeze (1 hour) or refrigerate (2-3 hours) until set.

You can store your finished fudge bites in the fridge or freezer. As you may guess, storing them in the fridge makes them a little softer, and the freezer makes them slightly firmer. They never freeze. They will melt if left out on the countertop.

The chocolate chips are key to the quality of the fudge, so use Ghirardelli or Guittard (if not vegan), or Enjoy Life (if vegan).

Optional Toppings

Let me know what you think!

Think Dirty

I have a newfound interest in the products that I put on my body. Are they worth touching my skin? What are their ingredients? Would I eat what I put on my hair or skin? With my recent venture into “no poo” I have continued to explore other natural options for skin care and even found something the other day for brushing your teeth with coconut oil. (I have not tried it, but will let you know how it works out).

Have you ever thought about the fact that your skin is the largest organ on your body, and yet we feed it with harmful chemicals every day? Between your hair shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, and styling products, to your body wash, lotion, your toothpaste, and, if you are a woman, the makeup you put on your face, you are potentially adding chemicals to your body and you might not even know it.

Bring on “Think Dirty.” An app I found last weekend that allows you to scan a product in your bathroom, at the store, your friend’s house, what have you and find out from their “Dirty Meter” how toxic the product is for you. I love this idea. I am always trying to remember which sulfates are bad (most are horrible) and which are okay. Sulfates. Parabens. The list goes on for all the ingredients you should watch for when purchasing a product. What I find more complex is that so often the ingredient list can only be understood if you can decipher the periodic table of elements. They are in another language, with names so long it is hard to really know what is good and what is bad for you.

Think Dirty is free and even has a modern and sleek interface. Just scan the barcode on the product with the scanner within the app. You can then save products to a “Dirty List” or a “Clean List” so you can remember where specific products fall when you go back to the store. There is even some wit within the app. To get you to sign up, they say, “Is your bathroom Kardashian-filthy?” Clever. I spent a bit of time scanning my products, and even my Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s “organic” products resulted in 8-10 (7-10 is considered Dirty) on their Dirty Meter. Yikes.

Be safe, clean yourself responsibly, and take the pulse of what you put on your body.