Archive | March, 2012

FlourLESS (but FlavourFUL) Black Bean Brownies

7 Mar

Although it never truly disappeared, my sweet tooth is back with a vengeance.  For the past month or so, I’ve been keeping my chocolate cravings under control by turning to frozen berries.  They’ve consistently been on sale as of late, making this otherwise expensive habit a little bit more affordable.

Tonight I had the pleasure of going out for a lovely dinner with my fellow interns and our mentors.  Naturally, the discussion revolved around food and eating– two of our favourite pastimes.  As we discussed our preferred desserts, I was overcome with the desire to bake something chocolately and delicious.  I was in the kitchen within minutes of arriving home, measuring cups in hand and cocoa powder on the counter.

Flipping through my clipped recipes, I came across a recipe for Black Bean Brownies that I had not yet attempted.  Chocolately?  Check.  Easy?  Very.  Minimal dishes to wash?  Perfect!

Last year I went through a major black bean brownie baking phase.  I had one recipe that I continually tweaked in an attempt to make it as healthy as possible.  Unfortunately, the taste suffered and the brownies were never palatable enough to share with others.  Thankfully, E claimed to enjoy said brownies and he had no problem finishing off my less-than-successful batches.  I’m pretty sure he was just saying this to make me feel better… what a good boyfriend!

Tonight’s recipe was much more successful.  The texture is hard to describe but certainly different from your typical brownie.  Moist yet crumbly (is that an oxymoron?), full of chocolately flavour, and perhaps even a TOUCH too sweet.  This brownie is definitely more nutritious than the average, although the amount of sugar in this recipe moves them to the “borderline healthy” category.  Either way, these chocolately treats are worth sharing!  (Unlike my previous attempts).

Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownie

Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies (from somewhere on the Internet…)

Make sure you wait until the brownies have fully cooled before removing them from the pan.  They tend to stick, so be sure to use a sturdy spatula!

1 can (19 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed well
3 eggs
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant coffee (optional) – I didn’t have any on hand but wished I did!
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)  – I omitted these– might have made the brownies overly sweet?

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease an 8 inch square baking pan.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine the black beans, eggs, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, vanilla, and instant coffee (if using) until smooth.
  3. Add baking powder and process briefly to combine.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.  If using, evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top.
  5. Bake until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 16 brownies.  Per brownie:  104 kcal, 4 g fat, 1.5 g fibre.

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Colourful Moroccan Quinoa Salad

4 Mar

It’s official.  I’m the worst blogger ever.  Since January of this year I’ve been averaging one post per month.  Yikes!  Common excuses that keep me away from the computer include being too busy and the fact that I should use my time to do “real” work (or clean my apartment, or watch Top Chef).  In actuality, I’ve been in a bit of a rut for most of February.  It could be the weather, being in a rotation that I don’t love, or just the time of year.  Life is not overly busy and yet I don’t feel like doing ANYTHING.  Except for sitting on the couch after a day of work and watching TV.

Despite my lack of motivation, I’ve managed to do a fair bit of cooking and baking over the past couple of months.  I made this Moroccan-spiced quinoa salad a couple of weeks ago and it was an instant lift-me-up.  It’s colourful, bright in flavour, and full of wholesome ingredients.  A bowl of sunshine on an otherwise dreary day.

On a more positive note, it’s March and I already feel like my spirits are lifting.  Next weekend is one of my favourite times of the year.  Any guesses?  Drumroll please…

Next weekend we “spring forward” for Daylight Saving Time!  I may be the only person on the planet who gets excited about turning the clocks forward.  Yes, it’s a drag to lose an hour of sleep but I firmly believe that the joy of leaving work in daylight is worth a day or two of sleep deprivation.  Spring is just around the corner…

Moroccan Quinoa Salad

 

Moroccan and Rollin’ Quinoa Salad (from The Looneyspoons Collection)

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup dried currants
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt (I omitted the salt)
1 cup canned no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I used an entire 19 oz can)
1/2 cup each finely chopped red bell pepper, grated carrot, and diced English cucumber
1/3 cup chopped green onions (I think I would use a little bit less next time)
2 tbsp olive oil (I used only 1 tbsp)
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp minced fresh mint leaves (I omitted the mint)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  1. Combine quinoa, broth, currants, curry, cumin, coriander, honey, and salt (if using) in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all liquid.  Remove from heat.  Let stand covered for 10 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and leave uncovered to cool completely.
  2. Whisk together olive oil and lemon juice in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  3. When quinoa is cool, transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Stir in all remaining ingredients, including the olive oil and lemon juice mixture.  Mix well and refrigerate for at least an hour or two before serving.  Tastes even better the next day!

Makes 6 servings.  Per serving: 231 kcal, 7.4 g fat, 5.4 g fibre, 256 mg sodium