Friday, February 21, 2014

Black Bean Brownies

(from Rebecca)

 1 1/2 cups black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well) (250g after draining)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup quick oats ...
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup pure maple syrup or agave or honey
2 nunaturals stevia packs or 2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips
Black Bean Brownies Recipe: Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well. (A blender can work if you absolutely must, but the texture—and even the taste—will be much better in a food processor.) Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top. Cook the black bean brownies 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. Makes 9-12 brownies.

115 calories each

White Bean Blondies

(from Rebecca)

 1 1/2 cups chickpeas or white beans
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda...
level 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup ground flax or quick oats
1/4 cup peanut butter or Almond butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional )

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend all ingredients (except chips) until very smooth in a good food processor (not a blender). Mix in chips, and scoop into a greased (or tinfoil-lined) 8×8 pan. Bake for around 30 minutes. They’ll look a little undercooked when you take them out, but they firm up as they cool, and you don’t want them to get hard.

95 Calories a square (makes 15)

Quinoa with spinach and cranberries

Recipe from Dana

 Cook the quinoa as directed on package but substitute Coconut Juice for Water.
Add lemon zest and lemon juice just as it finishes cooking.
Stir in chopped spinach, dried cranberries and sliced almonds until evenly distributed. Add black pepper to taste, splash balsamic vinegar over dish before serving.
This is great served under grilled chicken

Asian Cabbage Salad

Asian Cabbage Salad
Recipe by Our Best Bites

**I often do about 1.5 times the amount of cucumber, celery, and snap peas in this recipe and love it a little more loaded!

1 14 oz bag coleslaw mix
1 rib celery, sliced
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1 small handful sugar snap peas (about 20 baby ones)
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1/4 of a small red onion, thinly sliced
1 T toasted sesame seeds*
1/3 C slivered or sliced almonds, toasted*
Optional: 1 1/2 C cooked, shredded or diced chicken

2 T canola oil
2 T cider vinegar
1/4 C seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 T sugar (or equivalent of sugar substitute)
1 t kosher salt
2 t soy sauce
1/4 t garlic powder, or one small garlic clove, minced
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 t sesame oil

* To toast almonds or sesame seeds, place them (not together, do one thing at a time!) in a dry skillet over medium heat. Turn constantly until golden brown. Let cool before using.
Begin by making dressing. Combine all ingredients in a sealed jar and shake shake shake. Store in the fridge until ready to use. You can definitely do this part a few days ahead of time.
Place all salad ingredients in a bowl
You need to pour on the dressing and toss to coat at least 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve. When you pour the dressing on you might think it’s not quite enough, but just wait. When it sits and marinates, it combines with the veggies and draws out liquid and there will be more than plenty of dressing after it sits. After you’ve poured on the dressing, place salad in the fridge to sit for 30-60 minutes.
Right before serving mix in toasted almonds and sesame seeds.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Chocolate-Drizzled Cherry Bars

(recipe and photo from Taste of Home)


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 teaspoon shortening


  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar and butter until
  • crumbly. Set aside 1-1/2 cups for topping. Press remaining crumb
  • mixture into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake at
  • 350° for 15-18 minutes or until edges begin to brown.
  • In a small bowl, combine pie filling and extract; carefully spread
  • over crust. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake 20-25 minutes
  • longer or until edges and topping are lightly browned.
  • In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until
  • smooth. Drizzle over warm bars. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Yield: 3 dozen.
(from Dana)

Cream Cheese Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Cream Cheese Chicken and Vegetable Soup  from Mel's Kitchen CafĂ©
Yield: Serves 4
Cream Cheese Chicken and Vegetable Soup
Note: this recipe calls for already cooked chicken. I usually cook the chicken breasts in the crockpot with a little chicken broth the morning I make this soup, but you could also go ahead and cook the chicken in the first step with the onions and other vegetables that cook together.
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots (about 2 regular carrots or a handful of baby carrots)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2-3 potatoes, peeled and finely diced (I like to leave the peels on red potatoes, if using them)
  • 1 cup milk (1% is my milk of choice)
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 (8 oz. package) regular or light cream cheese
  • 2-3 (about 1 pound) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  1. In a large pot, melt the butter and add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Saute, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes, until the veggies are slightly tender and the onions are translucent. Add the chicken broth and potatoes. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup, vigorously whisk the flour and milk together until smooth. Whisk the mixture into the soup, stirring quickly, and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until the soup begins to thicken slightly. Stir often to ensure the soup doesn’t burn.
  3. Soften the cream cheese in the microwave until it is very soft/melty. I usually place the unwrapped cream cheese on a plate and microwave it for one minute at 30% power. I like it really, really soft so it doesn’t leave lumps in the soup. Add the cream cheese to the soup in small tablespoon-size pieces. Let the pieces sit in the soup and warm through then whisk or stir the soup until the cream cheese melts and mixes in well.
  4. Add the cooked chicken and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Soft Ginger Cookies

Soft Ginger Cookies (by Cami)

(This is a double recipe.)
1 1/2 cup shortening
2 cup sugar...
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tsp ginger
4 cups flour

Mix together, form into ball and roll in sugar. Gently press each cookie. Bake 375 9-10 min.

Cinnamon Toasted Almonds

(from Taste of Home)


2 egg whites 
(However, 2 eggs is too many. 1 - 1.5 would be plenty, and i added less vanilla and more cinnamon.)
6 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups unblanched Daily Chef All Natural Whole Almonds
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • In a large bowl, beat egg whites until frothy; beat in vanilla. Add
  • almonds; stir gently to coat. Combine the sugars, salt and cinnamon;
  • add to nut mixture and stir gently to coat.
  • Spread evenly into two greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans.
  • Bake at 300° for 25-30 minutes or until almonds are crisp,
  • stirring once. Cool. Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 4
  • cups.


Key Lime Pie from America's Test Kitchen
(from Kat)

 Make filling first then prepare crust

4 large egg yolks
4 tsp grated zest plus 1/2 cup juice from 3 or 4 limes (not key limes unless you want to squeeze about 20 limes)
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Whisk the egg yolks & zest about 2 minutes, then whisk in condensed milk until smooth, then whisk in lime juice. Cover and set aside at room temp until thickened - about 30 minutes.

8 whole graham crackers, broken into 1 inch pieces
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 TBSP sugar
Oven 325
Process graham cracker pieces in food processor to fine about 30 sec. Sprinkle butter and sugar over crumb and incorporate. Put in 9 inch pie plate. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown (13-18 min)

Pour thickened filling into warm crust and bake pie (still at 325) until center is firm but jiggles slightly when shaken. (15-20 min)
Cool slightly on wire rack (1 hr), then cover loosely and refrigerate about 3 hrs

Hot Wassail

The perfect beverage during the winter to cure those sore throats!


4 c water
1 c sugar
2 sticks cinnamon...
3/4 t ground cloves
3 c pineapple juice
3 c orange juice
3 c lemonade

1. Combine water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Simmer, covered, for 30 min and let stand 1 hour. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead of time)
2. Add pineapple juice, orange juice, and lemonade. Heat and serve.