Friday, May 18, 2012

Black Bean Brownies

I heard of this on some running website, and to be honest, I was a little skeptical (I don't really like my desserts being messed with!).  But after trying recipes that incorporate garbanzo beans and noting how moist and dense the beans make the recipe, I figured I'd give it a try.  Here's what you do:

One can black beans (I used "no salt added" can)
One package of your fave brownie mix (I used Girhadelli's Dark Chocolate brownies)

Put the can's entire contents (liquid and all) into a blender or food processor.  Puree until smooth.  Then stir this in with the brownie mix until well combined.

Follow the brownie box's baking directions (and if you're like me, slightly undercook so they're gooey).

Let cool, and then enjoy a healthier alternative.  You can tell that it's slightly different, but I think they're pretty good!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Kid's Placemat

An easy do-it-yourself project: an educational placemat.  The idea came to me because I wanted more ways to expose Madeline to the alphabet and numbers.  So I went to the Dollar Tree and picked up construction paper, stickers, cut-out prints, and the key item: contact paper (which by the way is a pain to work with!).

I made a two-sided mat: alphabet on one side and numbers on the other.  The other great thing is you can use dry-erase markers on it, so if you want to just use to practice writing numbers it works for that, too.  The really great thing is this is super cheap, and it will be a great, rainy-day project for Mads when she gets older and can create her own. 
Note the perfect Spalding print

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Had seen on Pinterest a monogram made of corks and thought it was cool.  And my brother in law hooked me up with a huge bag of corks.  So voila!

I made a cardboard cut-out of "G" for Glock, and then used a crap-ton of hot glue.  Then to fill in little nooks I used some mossy stuff.  First attempt was okay.  My glue gun was not on its best behavior so I think next time it'll turn out a little better.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Granola Bars

My friend Chelsea gave me a great granola bar recipe.  It was already healthy, but I healthified it even more. 

Here's my version
1/4 c. applesauce
1/3 c. agave syrup
1/2 c. peanut butter
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/ c. brown sugar
3 1/2 c. oats
1/3 c. cranberries
handful of coconut flakes

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes....longer you bake the crunchier the bar.  I like mine chewy, so I usually bake for 15.

Here's the original recipe which is super good too:

Granola bars:
1 egg
1/3 c. agave syrup
1/2 c. peanut butter
2 tbsp. oil (I've used applesauce in place of oil sometimes too)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. brown sugar
3 1/2 c. oats
1/3 c. choc chips

Same baking time.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Apricot-Coconut Bites

Inspired by a recipe on the afore-mentioned site "Chocolate Covered Katie", I created these yummy, gluten-free and vegan (for those who are on restricted diets) treats.

-2/3 cups dried apricots
-3 T. almonds (or really any nut; I used a combo of cashews and almond)
-1 tsp. coconut oil, optional
-coconut flakes, optional

Blend everything in food processor to combine.  You want it to be a consistency that you can shape into balls, so if not sticky enough add more dried fruit.  Roll into bite size balls, and then roll in the coconut if you like.  And then eat!

The recipe I was adapting from uses dates, not apricots.  That was good, but a little too sweet for me.  Apricots are a little less sweet.  I think you could really use any dried fruit, or even a combo.  And same with nuts.  I think these would be good with a combination of any nuts....maybe even salted to give a sweet-salty kick.