Tuesday, August 3, 2010

♫ Go, Ashley, it's your birthday . . . ♫

Yup, today was "my day." Interesting day. I woke at 4:30 this morning to a sick child. He swallowed pool water. He got a nasty intestinal bug. Not so much fun . . . for him or for me.

However, all-in-all it was not a bad day. My friend, Marianna, took me to a new restaurant--Picazzo's Organic Italian Kitchen. SO YUMMY!!! I had the Avocado Delish: (cue music and smooth announcer's voice) "Light and flavorful, Gobetti with pan-seared organic tomatoes, black olives, garlic and lemon zest are topped with fresh sliced avocado. (free-range chicken, added)." As an added bonus, I now have a new restaurant to add to my very short list of restaurants where I like to dine.

Then, if that wasn't enough--Orange Leaf Yogurt. I am in love with their completely sugar-free, no artificial sweetener added, vanilla cinnamon yogurt. Yummy in my tummy!

So, when I got home, I needed to spend some time with Pea Picker. He and I made brownies. Not just any brownies, however. There were a couple of recipes I had been wanting to try and they are non-traditional. The first one, Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies comes from Finding Joy in my Kitchen. The second, Fudge Brownies, is from Jillian Michaels. I saw it on "Losing it with Jillian," and couldn't rest until I tried it.

I give you fair warning: these are not traditional brownies. My kids were a little taken aback by the ingredients, but I told them, "Hey, it's my birthday. On your birthday I make the cake you want. This is what I want."

Gluten Free Black Bean Brownies

1 can (15.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 eggs
3 T olive oil
1/4 C cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8x8 inch glass pan.

2) Using a blender or food processor, combine the beans, eggs and olive oil. Then, puree the mixture.

3) Then, add in the cocoa, sugar, baking powder, pinch of salt and vanilla and puree until smooth.

4) Pour the brownies into the pan.

5) Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the brownies.

6) Pop the brownies into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. As the brownies bake, they will pull away from the edge of the pan... that's a clue they're getting close to done. Check with a toothpick to make sure the batter is done. The brownies will be moist, but not gooey.

7) Cool, then slice. Enjoy! If they stick around, you can keep them on the counter for up to 2 days... then pop them in the fridge to keep for another day or so. These brownies are almost melt-in-your mouth due to the fine texture, and they are quite moist, so they will not keep as long as "regular" brownies.

Fudge Brownies


Olive oil spray

2/3 cup mild honey, such as clover or orange blossom

1/3 cup natural, unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

1/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large egg, at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8" square pan with olive oil. Set aside.

Place the honey in a large glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until the honey is runny and just bubbling, 45 to 60 seconds. Add the cocoa and stir with a fork until well combined. Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined.

In a large bowl, combine the applesauce, oil, egg and vanilla. Whisk together until well blended. Add the honey and cocoa mixture, then whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and stir until no traces of flour remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until the surface looks dry around the edges of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, about 25 minutes. Do not overbake. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing into 16 two-inch squares. Store the brownies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Results: I added extra salt to the black bean brownies because I had cooked the black beans and hadn't added salt, so I was worried they would be a little flat. I shouldn't have done that. They were a little too salty. The texture is a little weird. Once the fudge brownies cooled, they kind-of rocked. Of the two, I will probably make the fudge brownies again.

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