Friday, November 8, 2013

Black Beans for dinner and dessert!

Black beans in a dinner dish isn't too weird. But, it may sound rather odd to some of you to use black beans in a dessert. Let me assure you both are delicious and healthy! I stumbled upon both of these recipes during my 3 month vegan trial. The dinner recipe is for "Vegan Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chili" and the dessert recipe is "black bean brownies." These recipes are so good that I continue to make them even though I am no longer eating strictly vegan. Honestly, I make the brownies at least once a week. No joke. 

So here is the link to the Chili recipe:

This chili is so delicious and trust me, you won't miss the beef. It is very flavorful and fills you up. And with black beans, quinoa, and sweet potatoes it is packed with nutrients, protein and fiber. Here are a few pictures of my chili simmering in the pot. If only you could smell it!

Once everything has been added to the pot, you just have to stir occasionally and wait for it to thicken.

You can let it get as thick as you want, depending on your chili consistency. You could easily top it off with some sour cream or avocado, but it so good as is, that I just eat it straight with no extra toppings.

The black bean brownies are by far my most frequently made recipe in the last 8 months. I use it as my after the kids go to bed snack. It can be made healthy enough that it is practically guilt free, while still satisfying my chocolate desires. The link to the original black bean brownie recipe can be found here:
What makes these brownies so great? Well, in my opinion it is the fact that there is no flour or white sugar.
I make these brownies a few different ways. Seriously, I make it so often that I no longer refer to the recipe and change the sweetness depending on my mood. Below, I will post two different versions of the recipe. The first version I recommend if you haven't tried very many "healthy desserts." This version is more sweet and has a better texture. My second version is a much healthier version, so it is not as sweet and has no oil in it. I'm sure most people would probably find my second version a little gross, but oh well, consider this my warning. Make version one, before you even think about trying version 2.
Here are my black beans cooking. To save money, I usually buy them dry and cook them myself, but the easiest way to go is to just buy the can.
And here is the batter after being in my food processor for a few minutes. This recipe needs a food processor for best results. When my kids hear the food processor turn on, they come running to get a spoonful of batter, don't believe me...
They chow down on this stuff! I have to quickly get it in the pan and then the oven before they eat it all on me. I forgot to take a pic of the finished product, but you definitely want to use a small pan like an 8x8 for this and line it with tin foil.

Here is version 1:

One 15oz can if black beans or 1.5 cups drained and rinsed.
1/2 cup of quick oats or ground flax
2-3 tbsp of cocoa powder
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
Optional: 1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients for a few minutes in a food processor. Line small 8x8 pan with tin foil. Spread batter in pan and place in oven bake for 18minutes. Let cool completely before eating.

Even Healthier Version -try at your own risk
1.5 cups black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup ground flax
2-3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla

Make and bake the same as version one.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Crochet infinity scarf

So after making a couple headbands, I felt inspired to make an infinity scarf. After all, it is November in the valley of the sun, so it gets a bit chilly once the sun goes down...
I set out to find an easy tutorial since I am still a novice. I found this one:

This tutorial only required me to learn one new stitch, the treble crochet stitch, so I googled it and read a tutorial and did some practice stitches. Now I know a total of 3 stitches. Woot woot!

Anyway, for the most part I stuck to the tutorial, except I did not make my scarf as wide. Mine is only about 9" wide. I had to undo and redo it a few times, but I am very happy with the end result. The yarn I used is super soft and thick.

Now I just need to wait for it to get colder.