Thursday, March 28, 2013

Healthy Black Bean Brownies

My coworker's birthday was on Tuesday and I made her these Healthy Black Bean Brownies.  It was a hit!  What I love about these brownies is how moist, fudgey and chocolatey they are - you barely know the brownie is made with beans.  My coworker has been demanding that I post the recipe for the brownies ASAP!  Your welcome :)  I am so glad she enjoyed the brownies and we had a great time celebrating her birthday by going to a Capitals hockey game - lets go Caps!  Unfortunately the Caps lost by 1, but it was still a fun game to watch.  I actually have made black bean brownies before but with a box mix if you are short on time.  But I recommend this recipe instead because its even healthier since you know the exact ingredients.  Enjoy these Healthy Black Bean Brownies!

Healthy Black Bean Brownies

15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ cup oats
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup agave
2 packets of Truvia natural sweetener (or 2 tablespoons sugar)
¼ cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   Spray a 9x9 inch (for thinner brownies) or 8x8 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. 

Place black beans, cocoa powder, oats, baking powder, salt, agave, Truvia, coconut oil and vanilla in a food processor.   Pulse until everything is combined and well blended.  

Stir in chocolate chips.  

Pour brownie mix into prepared baking pan.  

Top with a few extra chocolate chips.

Bake for 18 minutes.  Allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes before cutting.  

Serves 8 to 10.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Simple Sausage Gravy

This Simple Sausage Gravy is so easy to make.  I have never made this type of gravy before but I've always known it was a "diner" classic.  I used a hot pork sausage which gives a nice kick to the gravy.  If you aren't into spicy, then use a mild or maple sausage instead.  This gravy goes great with my whole wheat biscuits.  Go bake up some whole wheat biscuits and make this simple sausage gravy and you won't be sorry!  I promise!

Simple Sausage Gravy

16 ounce package of hot pork sausage
¼ cup flour (I used whole wheat flour.)
2 ½ cups milk (I used low fat milk.)
salt and pepper to taste


In a dutch oven or large pan, over medium-high heat, cook sausage until browned and no longer pink.

Stir in flour.

Slowly stir in milk.  Continue to stir and cook until mixture comes to a boil and thickens.  

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serve over your favorite biscuits.  (I served them over my whole wheat biscuits.)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Whole Wheat Biscuits

I was feeling southern comfort food after watching an episode of Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.   Guy was eating some biscuits and gravy at one of the diners he was visiting and it looked so good!  I figured I could easily make them myself and voila I did!  I baked up some Whole Wheat Biscuits and while baking, I also made a Simple Sausage Gravy.  I'll try to post the gravy recipe soon, but this is my birthday week and I'm going to be super busy with a bunch of fun activities!  Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Biscuits

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup milk


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

In a stand mixer, combine flour mixture and shortening until crumbly.

Slowly stir in milk until dough comes together and pulls away from the side of the bowl.

Place dough onto a flour surface.  Roll out dough to 1 inch thick.  Cut biscuits with a biscuit cutter or a glass dipped in flour.

Place biscuit onto ungreased baking pan.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until edges begin to brown.  (Note:  I used my pampered chef large bar pan so it took me longer to bake about to 18 minutes.)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Everything Oatmeal Cookies

It was my baby brother's birthday this month and he initially wanted me to make cake pops.  So of course I asked my sister-in-law what type of cake I should make but she suggested I make him cookies instead.  Apparently he had liked the oatmeal cookies that I made for my sister-in-law post-baby last month and had asked her to make him cookies recently.  She has no time to bake cookies with a new baby and suggested I do it for him instead haha.  Since I am such a great big sister, I made these Everything Oatmeal Cookies because I figured he likes almost everything!  I added dried cranberries, chocolate chips and walnuts in these oatmeal cookies.  I even included plain greek yogurt just because I have been including it in all my baked goods lately.  Overall I think these Everything Oatmeal Cookies were awesome.  I think my brother and sister-in-law both scarfed up these cookies quickly too LOL!  

Buddy wanted some cookies too...but I told him they were for his Uncle.  He looks a little disappointed, but I told him to wait until his 11th birthday next month!  Hopefully he will be feeling better by then, lately he hasn't been doing well on his thyroid meds so currently he is on a short trial without the meds to see if there's a change and we'll go from there...sigh...I clearly love my dogs :)

Everything Oatmeal Cookies

½ cup or 1 stick butter, room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1 ½ cup oats
½ cup walnuts, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a stand mixer, beat together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until creamy.  

Next, beat in egg, vanilla and yogurt.  

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

Slowly, stir flour mixture into butter mixture.

Next, stir in oats, dried cranberries, and walnuts.

Scoop cookies by teaspoon onto baking sheet about 2 inches apart.   (You can make them bigger but I preferred them to be bite-sized.)

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  

The cookies will be golden at the edges with a soft center.  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chinese Style Green Beans

These Chinese Style Green Beans reminds me of home.  They are a great side dish.   I blanched the green beans first but it’s not really a necessary step if you want to save time.  You would just need to sauté them longer.   I also typically like adding sliced onions to sauté with green beans but I was out of onions when making this.   I served these green beans with rice and aidells’ spicy mango and jalapeño meatballs.  I got the meatballs from Costco after tasting a sample – they always get me with the samples at Costco!  On a side note its been more difficult keeping up with this blog but I'll try to post as often as I can, life has just been more busy these days.  Having a "senior" dog with hypothyroidism and even more separation anxiety is taking a toll on me lately.  Any advice on dealing with separation anxiety, mostly constant whining/barking, will be appreciate!  Thanks!

Chinese Style Green Beans

1 pound green beans (I used french green beans.)
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (You may also use vegetable or sesame oil.)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon agave (You may use sugar or honey as your sweetner.)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce (I used light soy.)


Bring a large pot of water to boiling.  Add green beans.  Cook for about 3 minutes and drain.

In the same pot, over medium high heat, add olive oil and garlic cloves.  Add in cooked green beans.

Stir in agave, oyster sauce and soy sauce.

Saute for about 5 to 7 minutes, until green beans are tender.

Serves 4 to 6.

In case you want to see how I cooked the meatballs...just saute in a pan (they are precooked so they only need to be reheated all the way through) and add them to the leftover sauce from the green beans.  How easy is that?


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Slow Cooker Gluten-Free Beef Stew

I made this Slow Cooker Gluten Free Beef Stew for Shabbat dinner recently.  This beef stew had such amazing flavors.  You can really taste the wine, so be sure to use one you would drink or serve to guests.  I served the stew over rice to make the entire meal gluten-free.  I mostly followed the Gluten-Free Goddess Beef Stew recipe.  I googled gluten-free recipes and found the Gluten-Free Goddess and I'm a new fan!  My friend is gluten-free and I realized it wasn't that hard to serve a gluten-free meal.  I was up for a challenge but this Slow Cooker Gluten-Free Beef Stew is comforting goodness.  My apartment smelled wonderful while it was cooking too.  The beef was tender and the potatoes, carrots and celery were soft which made it really nice.  Also, any leftovers can be frozen too.  Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Gluten-Free Beef Stew

1.5 to 2 pounds stew beef (cubed beef)
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pearl onions (I used frozen.)
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 cup dry red wine (I used a malbec.)
4 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (I used a pomegranate flavor.)
1 to 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon black pepper


Salt beef cubes on all sides.  Allow salted beef to rest while you prep the vegetables.

Heat a dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high heat.  Add olive oil.  Brown beef cubes on all sides.  Add beef to slow cooker.

Sauté garlic, pearl onions, potatoes, carrots and celery for a few minutes in the same dutch oven.  Add vegetables to slow cooker.

Pour the wine and broth into the dutch oven to deglaze the pan.  

Stir wine and broth into the slow cooker with the beef and vegetables.  Add the balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, bay leaf and ground pepper.  Stir to combine.

Cover and cook on high 4 to 5 hours or low 8 to 10 hours.

Don't forget to remove the bay leaf before serving!