Black Bean Brownies


I am a chocoholic.

There, I said it!

I would skip dinner and head straight to dessert if that were socially acceptable.

I am trying to make better eating choices for me and the family. Let’s be honest, they really don’t have much of a choice. Ssshhh, don’t tell them that.

But back to my dessert dilemma. I love sweets. I love chocolate. I love cupcakes. I love cookies.

You get the picture.

I came across this recipe from The Farm at Eastman’s Corner (more on that place later). It is a simple, cooking for kids book and since Nina shares my adoration of baked goods and chocolate, we decided to give this recipe a try.

I’ve seen many recipes that swap out ingredients for something healthier, but the thought of black beans in a dessert just never really made me want to run out and try it.

But in an attempt to nourish our body and feed the chocolate beast, we gave it a shot.

I am so glad we did. It was easy and really unbelievably delicious. We actually licked the bowl. Just being real.

You can not taste even a smidgen of bean and the texture, although not like a true brownie, was dense and fudgy and super rich and chocolaty.

Now if I’m being truly honest. These aren’t the brownies I would bring to a party for oohs and aaahs (although loaded with beans, you never know what kind of noises you’ll get from the crowd) but for a healthier option to stave off a chocolate attack, I am totally a fan. The fact that Nina actually wanted to pack them in her lunch is saying something.

Warmer weather is coming. And that means swimsuits and shorts people. But chocolate is just part of life. You can have it all!

Give these a try. You will be amazed.

Black Bean Brownies

2 c. canned black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs
2 1/4 Tbls coconut oil
1/3 c cocoa powder
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 c chocolate chips (I used mini, they’re so cute!)

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease an 8×8″ baking dish

Puree beans in a food processor until smooth

Add all remaining ingredients, except for chocolate chips and blend until smooth.

Pour batter into baking dish and sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake at 350F for 40 minutes or until firm in the center.

Let cool and enjoy!

store wrapped in the refrigerator

White Chocolate Spritz Cookies

white chocolate spritz valentine cookies

So after being stuck in the house for days, thank you Juno. I was feeling a little blah. I started thinking about being isolated and lonely and thought, “I think I need to brighten someone’s day!”.

So, I made these cookies. Any recipe where I can shoot a cookie out of a gun is alright in my book. Just sayin.

I love Spritz cookies. They are just the right size for a small treat and are so cute. The cream cheese in the dough gave them a bit of tang which is balanced out beautifully by the sweetness of the white chocolate. They were decorated nicely by Nina who desperately needed to participate in something other than shoveling for awhile. You can customize the shape and color for any holiday or theme.

After they were decorated and set, I packaged them up all pretty, so as not to shove them in my face all day and today I put them in the mail.

I sent them to a couple of people I don’t get to see very often who may also be stuck at home and may need a little something to brighten their day.

After participating in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap in December, I realized that getting cookies in the mail is pretty much one of the nicest surprises EVAH! So, I have decided to incorporate it into my routine. Whenever I make some cookies, I put aside a dozen and send it to someone I love.

Do you need some love? Let me know where you are (privately of course) and maybe you’ll find a sweet little package in your mailbox.

Oh yeah, here is the recipe for these little cuties. If you don’t have a cookie press, you can use a pastry bag and large star tip to make a rosette or any shape of your choice.

White Chocolate Spritz Cookies
8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
3 oz. cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
11-1/4 ounces (2-1/2 cups) all-purpose flour, sifted
1 egg white, lightly beaten (optional if using sprinkles or sugar instead of dipping in chocolate)
Colored sugars or other decorations for sprinkling (optional)
8 oz. white chocolate, melted

Heat the oven to 375°F. With a stand mixer (use the paddle attachment) or a hand mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, and sugar in a large bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and beat again until blended. Add the flour and mix on low speed until blended.

Fit a cookie press with a die plate (I used the flower). Fill the barrel of the press with dough. You can create a “log” of dough and slide it into the barrel or just stuff it in (like I do). Press the cookies directly onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Brush the tops with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with colored sugar if using. If dipping in chocolate do not brush with egg white.

Bake until the cookies are just golden around the edges, approximately 10 minutes (it’s best to bake one sheet at a time). Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet on a rack for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. Be sure the baking sheet is cool before spritzing more cookies.

If dipping, melt chocolate in either a double boiler or simply microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each, until melted. Be careful not to burn. Once melted, dip the top of the cookie and place on a cooling sheet and sprinkle with jimmies and sugar before chocolate sets.

You can also use different color melting wafers and milk and dark chocolate as well as white. Whatever floats your boat.


Recipe adapted from here

Chocolate Linzers with Berry Wine Jam

chocolate linzers

Today I am sharing a recipe link to a new friend, Amanda at A Cookie Named Desire.

I received these gorgeous cookies in the mail a couple of weeks ago and I honestly have to say, this was the most decadent, grown up cookie I have ever tasted. The chocolate cookie was dark and firm, not crumbly at all and the star shaped window gave you a glimpse of the tempting berry jam sandwiched inside.

I am so glad to have gotten to know Amanda. She is so sweet and super talented and I am so happy to now call her a friend. If you have a moment (you’ll need more, trust me) click on the picture and check her out. Please tell her I sent you.

National Brownie Day: It's In The Mix! Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownies


So today is National Brownie Day.

For me there is nothing like a warm, dense, fudgy, dark chocolate brownie. Nuts or no nuts, whatever! Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream, and I’m in heaven! Hooray for chocolate overload!

I have made homemade brownies, and don’t get me wrong, they rock. One day I picked up a box of this mix and the husband told me I had to post them on my blog. I had hid my shame in the trash can and totally lied when asked if this was a new recipe. I finally came clean and decided since I do have some favorite mixes, that I’d share this one.

It truly makes a perfect brownie. Actually better. It takes but a minute to mix it all together and since good quality chocolate is costly, this is much less expensive.

I keep a box of this mix in the house at all times. I can’t tell you how many times it has come to my rescue for that bake sale that no one told me about, or spur of the moment dinner guests. It can really be your salvation.

Honestly, this mix easily rivals a homemade brownie. Leave them as is, or top with toasted walnuts (which I always do), top them with peppermint patties or frost with a rich ganache if you want to get all fancy schmancy. Not to mention cheaper. Good quality chocolate comes with a price, you know.

Pick some up at your local grocery store. Trust me, you’ll be in brownie love!

Happy Brownie Day!

Click here for some homemade recipes

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Chocolate Chia Pudding

I am craving chocolate. Like, really craving chocolate. Like, I would tackle my own child for a bite of her KitKat kind of craving. And since I have that little issue of dieting going on right now, I could be in a real pickle.

Mmmmmmmm pickle.

Sorry. I’ve got issues.

So, back to the chocolate dilemma. We all know a little chocolate is good for us, but let me be straight with you. An ounce or two just isn’t gonna cut it. I need something chocolaty and substantial. Something that is going to satisfy my taste buds and also fill me up, so I won’t continue to search for something else to stuff in my face afterwards.

This pudding does all that and takes almost no effort, which you know I’m all about. The downside…you do have to wait awhile to eat it. I typically make a couple of these and stick them in the fridge and wait patiently so they are readily available when a craving strikes. Sometimes I make them and take one to work with me and it’s ready for an afternoon snack.

These babies only have two ingredients. Yes, I said two! They also do not use a bowl or a mixer, only a simple mason jar. You can add whatever you want to it, fresh berries or shredded coconut, but I typically use just chocolate. I may add some dark chocolate chips or some sliced almonds on top along with a squirt of whipped cream. You have to have whipped cream! I’m okay with an extra 15 calories for 2 tablespoons. They should really post the serving size as mouthfulls not tablespoons. You know what I mean.

All you do is take a clean mason jar, add 1 cup of Chocolate Almond Milk and 2 1/2 Tablespoons of chia seeds. Put the cover on and shake it. During the next 20 minutes, give it a couple more shakes then place in the fridge to set. It will take several hours to set thoroughly and it won’t be quite as thick as regular pudding, but still delicious. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, cocoa powder, sliced almonds or fresh berries and you have a totally crave-worthy chocolate dessert that won’t bust your diet.

You can thank me later.

Pi(e) Day Chocolate Cream Pie

chocolate creamHappy Pi(e) Day everyone.

I don’t make a lot of pie around here. I don’t know why. I mean come on, it’s pie. Delicious, pretty, sweet, delicious pie. Did I mention it’s delicious?

I’m not quite sure why I don’t make it more often, probably because I’d eat it until it was gone and my jeans would hate me for it.

I explained why it’s Pi Day (March 14 3.14) to the family and they didn’t really care, except for the fact that there would be pie. As my husband says “Nerdy and delicious”.

I’ve got to be honest, all the chocolate cream pies I’ve made in the past have been chocolate pudding in a graham cracker crust with some cool whip on top. Don’t judge me. I can be shoving pie in my face in 10 minutes flat. But for a little more effort this pie was much more satisfying. It is silky and dark and rich, but still lightened up a bit.

So, give your family a treat for Pi(e) day and treat them with a little slice of yumminess.

Check out my Pie board on Pinterest for some delicious pies.

Chocolate Cream Pie
40 graham crackers (10 full cracker sheets)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, melted
1 large egg white
Cooking spray

2 cups fat-free milk, divided
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed
3/4 teaspoon grated semisweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare crust, place crackers in a food processor; process until crumbly. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, butter, and egg white; pulse 6 times or just until moist. Press crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes; cool on a wire rack 15 minutes.

To prepare filling, combine 1/2 cup milk, 2/3 cup sugar, and next 4 ingredients (2/3 cup sugar through egg) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Heat 1 1/2 cups milk in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Remove from heat. Gradually add hot milk to sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return milk mixture to pan. Add chopped chocolate; cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 5 minutes), stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared crust; cover surface of filling with plastic wrap. Chill 3 hours or until cold. Remove plastic wrap; spread whipped topping evenly over filling. Sprinkle with grated chocolate.

Recipe from Cooking Light

28 Days to a Healthy Heart: Day 6

Today is a NO SALT day! Good thing for me, I am not a big fan of salt. I rarely use it on my food. Gordon Ramsey would call me some sort of “muppet” and tell me to “season”. But I can go without or at the least very little. But sodium is hidden everywhere. Some of the biggest culprits are canned soups, canned tomatoes, baking soda, baking powder, deli meats, cheese, salad dressings, pickled foods, and of course processed snack foods.

The current percent daily value for sodium is 2400mg, however, the American Heart Association recommends that people with high blood pressure eat less that 1500mg per day, or less than 3/4 of a table spoon of salt. That really isn’t a whole lot, if you think about it.

Today I am making a point to log in my food journal. I love the food journal on at is easy and has pretty much every name brand and type of food available, which makes it really quick to log in your daily food intake. I have used this in the past, but then put it aside. Today I’m logging back in. I am curious as to how much sodium I’m actually getting. As I said, I typically don’t use a lot of salt. So, I am interested to see if whatever food choices I am making during the day are still too high. Anyone with me?

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here are some articles for some tips on reducing your sodium intake.

How to Reduce Salt and Retain Flavor
High Sodium Foods and Ways to Reduce Sodium

And if you have a sweet tooth like me, I wanted to share this recipe for Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies and fantastic post from an amazing blogger. Dorothy at Crazy for Crust can relate first hand to women and heart disease. Go check her out.

And don’t forget, tomorrow is National Wear Red Day started by the American Heart Association to bring awareness of the severity of heart diesase in women. More often than not, a heart attack doesn't present itself like it does in the movies. You know the dramatic clutching of the chest, falling to the floor. Especially in women.
Some of the signs include:
■Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
■Back pain
■Jaw pain
■Nausea, breaking out in a cold sweat, or lightheadedness
■Pain or discomfort in one or both arms
■Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.


For a little comic relief on a serious subject, check out Just a little heart attack starring Elizabeth Banks. It just may save your life!

Have a healthy day!

Chocolate Covered Pretzels for Halloween

cookies fall 093

Anyone on the hook for Halloween party baking? Nina has three parties in two days. She’s been singing the “Sugar Rush” song from Wreck It Ralph for a week now. “S-U-G-A-R SUGAR RUSH! SUGAR RUSH!” I think she’s preparing me for the sugar high and the crash that will inevitably follow.

That being said. Here is a simple treat you can put together in no time for all those spooktacular parties. These are great for any kind of party, just switch up the colors and Voila!

Pretzel rods
Miscellaneous colored candy melts (I used milk chocolate, white chocolate and orange)
Pretzel bags

Melt candy melts in the microwave in separate bowls as directed.
Dip the rod halfway in the chocolate (white or milk, I did some of each) and place on a silpat lined or parchment lined baking sheet
Drizzle with additional chocolate in other colors and sprinkle with sprinkles
Let harden and place in pretzel bags and seal with curling ribbon

Easy peasy!

S'mores Pops

Smore's Pops

Smore’s Pops

Last week I volunteered to bake something for my son’s first school dance. I can’t believe my baby is old enough to go to a dance. Waaaaaaa!

So as Friday came around, my son had hockey practice and couldn’t go to the dance, so needless to say I completely forgot about the bake sale. But, I did make a promise so, off I went rummaging through the pantry to see what I could whip together on short notice. Fortunately I had the makings for these little babies. As a matter of fact, you all probably have the ingredients in your kitchen. These take about 15-20 minutes and the kids love them.

If you ever get into a jam, these are your answer. They’re cute, yummy, quick and individually wrapped, so they are perfect for a bake sale or a party.

S’mores Pops
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbls crisco
1 bag large marshmallows
1 sleeve graham crackers, crushed
lollipop sticks
cello pop bags
curling ribbon

1. Melt chips in a double boiler or in microwave, if preferred. In microwave, heat on high 1 minute then stir and heat in 30 second increments until melted. Add crisco and stir in.

2. Place graham cracker crumbs in a bowl.

3. Prepare a large cookie sheet with waxed paper or silpat

4. Place a stick in each marshmallow, swirl into chocolate and using a spoon, coat the top of marshmallow (around the stick) so it adheres. You don’t want the chocolate too thick, so wipe some of the chocolate off with your spoon before dipping in the graham crackers, or you’ll have choclate drippings in your graham cracker bowl and it will get clumpy. I hold the dipped marshmallow over the cracker bowl and sprinkle with my fingers. It helps with the clumpiness.

5. Place on a baking sheet and pop them in the fridge for 20 minutes or so to set. Then place each in a bag and tie with curling ribbon.

Voila! Easy peasy and you look like a rock star.


Candy Brownies

Candy Brownies

Looking for a quick, last-minute Halloween treat to send to school? I asked my son what he wanted for his Halloween party and he said “Brownies with Reese’s, M&Ms and Marshmallow. Can you do that?” Sometimes I think they just try to test me. Who knows? But I gave it a shot and they were excellent, or so I’ve been told (due to the diet).

These are so easy and I feel pretty confident they’ll be a hit. I know some schools do not allow peanut butter, so feel free to leave them out, but if you can keep them in, you’ll be ever so happy you did.

Candy Brownies

1 box brownie mix
1 bag Reese’s peanut butter cups (chopped into large pieces)
2 c. mini marshmallows
1 1/2 c. M&Ms

Preheat oven to 350F and prepare 9×13″ pan
Mix brownies as directed on box.
Stir in chopped Reese’s
Pour into pan. Sprinkle marshmallows and 1 c. M&Ms over the top and press lightly.
Bake as directed, approximately 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining M&Ms again pressing lightly so they have something to stick to.
Cool completely and cut into squares.