Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Flourless Black Bean Avocado Brownies

We were first introduced to black bean brownies about a year ago (thanks Skinny taste!), and they quickly became our go-to brownie. So mind-blowingly fudgy, so delicious, so healthy! Just so. much. to. love. So when I found this healthier version (that has one of my all time favorite ingredients--avocado--yum!), I had high hopes that these too, would be amazing. And, you guys. They are even better than I hoped they would be! I indulged (if you can even say that about something so healthy) and had three after making them yesterday, and couldn't stop thinking about them the rest of the day. They are just SO STINKIN GOOD! Try them! I'm sure you'll love them as much as I do!

Healthy Flourless Black Bean Avocado Brownies {vegan and gluten free}
From the Ambitious Kitchen (which offers lots of yummy recipes!)
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 12
  • Serving size: 1 brownie
  • Calories: 136
  • Fat: 4.4g
  • Carbohydrates: 23.4g
  • Sugar: 11g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 4g
Recipe type: Brownie, Vegan, Gluten Free, Healthy
Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  

  • 1 large flax egg
  • 1 - 15oz can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 medium to large ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (we subbed 1/3 cup agave nectar)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda (we plan to double this next time to make them a little thicker)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder (again, plan to double next time)
  • 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling (next time I will mix these with 1/2 tsp coconut oil and drizzle them on top)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 8×8 inch baking pan.
  2. Place flax egg, black bean, avocado, vanilla, and brown sugar and process in a food processor until smooth. Add in cocoa powder, coconut oil, baking soda, and baking powder and process again until smooth. Batter will be thick. If batter is way too thick and won't process, you can add in a tablespoon or two of almond milk. This batter needs to be very thick in order to produce fudgy brownies. Fold in chocolate chip or sprinkle onto batter then transfer to prepared pan and use a spatula to spread evenly to sides. Sprinkle top of batter with 2 tablespoons of remaining chocolate chips.
  3. Bake for 22-30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out somewhat clean. We don't want these to dry out, but we also don't want them completely raw either! The top of the batter should be completely set and no longer jiggle. Cool pan completely on wire rack then cut into 12 bars.
You may be able to sub the brown sugar for honey, agave or maple syrup. I would reduce to 1/3 cup though.

The brownies are best went made in a food processor so that beans can blend together better.

The brownies are best when served at room temperature or cold. They should be stored in the fridge. I love eating mine chilled.

You can also freeze these and thaw out for an easy treat.

Recipe adapted from my Black Bean Avocado Chocolate Chip Fudge Brownies

Monday, August 17, 2015

Healthy Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Oat Breakfast Bars

We LOVE these delicious breakfast bars! Perfect for breakfast, or as a snack or treat!
Healthy Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Oat Breakfast Bars {vegan & gluten free}
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 16
  • Serving size: 1 bar
  • Calories: 116
  • Fat: 2.9g
  • Carbohydrates: 21.8g
  • Sugar: 10.8g
  • Fiber: 2.2g
  • Protein: 1.7g
Recipe type: Vegan, Gluten Free, Breakfast, Healthy, Bars
Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
From The Ambitious Kitchen
  • 2 1/4 cups gluten free oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 medium ripe bananas
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (gluten free, if desired)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey (agave nectar if vegan)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (vegan, if desired. We used mini semi-sweet)
  • For chocolate drizzle:
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips (vegan, if desired. We used mini semi-sweet)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9x9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. To make oat flour: Place oats into blender or food processor and blend for 1-2 minutes until oatmeal resembles flour. You may need to stop blender and stir oats a couple of times to ensure that all oats have been blended. Transfer oat flour medium bowl; whisk in baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; set aside.
  3. Place bananas, vanilla, applesauce, and honey into blender; blend 1-2 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Add to oat flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  4. Gently fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly with rubber spatula. Bake for 15 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Cool 10-15 minutes on wire rack.
  5. Prepare drizzle by adding 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips and coconut oil in microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high 30 seconds; stir well to combine then drizzle over the top of bars. Cut bars into 16 squares and enjoy!
Bars can be frozen. Simply bake, cool, cut; store in ziploc bag. Reheat individually for 30 seconds in microwave.

Make sure you read all ingredients and nutrition info to ensure recipe is gluten free/vegan, if that is what you desire.

Fold in 1/4 cup coconut flakes or extra chocolate chips for an even sweeter treat!

Extra ripe bananas are best for this recipe.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Chocolate Zucchini Oat Brownies

A yummy chocolate brownie with a hint of peanut butter, that is gluten, dairy, and refined sugar free! A great way to use those summer zucchinis!

Chocolate Zucchini Oat Brownies
From the Ambitious Kitchen

1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey or agave nectar
1/2 cup unsweetened natural applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup old fashioned or quick oats (gluten free if desired)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups finely shredded zucchini (next time I will try pureeing it)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or mini semi sweet chocolate chips, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 8x11 or 9x9 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place oats in blender or food processor and process until finely ground (this should take a couple  of minutes). Set aside.
3. Ina large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together peanut butter, applesauce, honey, and vanilla until smooth. Add in zucchini, cocoa powder, ground oats, baking soda, and salt; mix until well combined. (Batter will be thick.) Gently fold in 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and sprinkle remaining chocolate chips over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until tooth pick inserted into middle comes out almost clean.
4. Cool brownies completely on wire rack then cut into 20 squares. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Energy Bites

These tasty cookies taste very similar to a chocolate no-bake, but are gluten, dairy, and refined sugar free! Plus, they require NO cooking, and are a snap to make!

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Energy Bites
From Gimme Some Oven

Makes about 20-25 balls

1 cup old fashioned oats (gluten free if desired)
2/3 cup (toasted) unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup peanut butter (we used natural)
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp chia seeds (optional, we prefer them without)
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least half an hour, to max the mix easier to handle and mold.
2. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like (we did a rounded tablespoon size, about 1" diameter). Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Easy Lo Mein aka Mongolian Grill

We LOVE this healthy, delicious Asian dish! It reminds us of my families favorite Mongolian Grill restaurant in Seattle that we frequented growing up. Plus, it's so easy to whip up, coming together in less than 30 minutes! And with 6-8 servings, it's great for feeding a crowd or for delicious next-day leftovers too!
Easy Lo Mein
Slightly adapted by Damn Delicious (originally from The Woks of Life)

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Yield 6-8 servings
The easiest lo mein you will ever make in 15 min from start to finish. And it's so much quicker, tastier and healthier than take-out!
  • 8 ounces lo mein egg noodles* or whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 cup snow or sugar snap peas
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 brick firm tofu, diced
  • Cooked brown rice or quinoa (6-8 servings worth)
  • For the sauce
  • 6 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce, or more, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha, or more, to taste (optional)
  • In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, ginger and Sriracha; set aside.
  • In a large pot of boiling water, cook lo mein egg noodles according to package instructions; drain well.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add garlic, mushrooms, bell pepper and carrot. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in snow peas and spinach until the spinach has wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in egg noodles and soy sauce mixture, and gently toss to combine.
  • Serve immediately over a bed of rice or quinoa.
*If lo mein egg noodles cannot be found, spaghetti can be substituted.

Our Favorite Breakfast Cookies

The first time we made these, Grace and Bethany were THRILLED (and surprised) to be having cookies for breakfast, and had at least 3 each! Kaylee and Cambree enjoyed them as well. They are a great not-too-sweet treat that you can feel good about eating any time of day, even for breakfast. ;)

Adapted From 100 Days of Real Food's "Pecan Maple Breakfast Cookies"

Makes 20 cookies

1 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup (unsweetened) applesauce
3 Tbsp maple syrup OR agave nectar
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup mashed banana
1/2 tsp vanilla
Optional add ins: 1-2 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips, 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1/4-1/2 cup craisins.

1. Preheat oven to 375 F and grease a cookie sheet.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the applesauce, maple syrup/agave, oil, banana, and vanilla.
4. While beating the mixture on a low speed, add the dry ingredients until well blended.
5. Fold in the mix-ins with a spatula.
6. Drop onto prepared cookie sheet by the tablespoon. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until they start to brown.

Spinach Tomato Tortellini Soup

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Yield4 servings
The easiest, most comforting and hearty soup ever. All you need is 5 min prep. SO EASY!
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated three cheese tortellini
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Whisk in chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tortellini, basil, oregano, bay leaf and 1 cup water; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until tortellini is cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in spinach until it begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with Parmesan.
From Damn Delicious, adapted from Cooking Classy