Brownies, Chocolate, Clean Eats, Dairy-Free

Peanut Butter Swirl Black Bean Brownies

October 1, 2016

Peanut Butter Swirl Black Bean Brownies //

Peanut Butter Swirl Black Bean Brownies //

Peanut Butter Swirl Black Bean Brownies //

It’s October 1st! A month of tricks, and lots of treats.

I’m trying to decide whether or not it’s too soon to start putting out halloween decorations. I’m secretly hoping it’s not. 

I’m ashamed to say I’ve already purchase a few halloween items. I’m even more ashamed to say said items were purchased in August. Hey, it’s not my fault. Stores are putting out decorations earlier and earlier each year. The dollar store already has christmas items popping up. Christmas! Let’s just get through Halloween and Thanksgiving first people – ok?

September came and went in a blur. Between school starting, setting up a new classroom and three, yes three, weddings it was a busy month. In total we had six weddings this year. It was fun, but I’m secretly happy we don’t have anymore weekends out of town or weddings to attend. This weekend will be our first weekend home, for the whole weekend, in a month and a half. Our house was a little neglected, and it’s time to get some things organized and cleaned up for fall. October means slow lazy days, lots of cuddling up and reading (Adam and I are both re-reading the entire Harry Potter Series, along with our friend. #HarryPotterBookClub), candles, and of course baking. Confession, I’ve never read Harry Potter. I think I started one of the books a long time ago, but never actually finished it. Needles to say, we’ve rectified the situation and bought the entire Harry Potter book series at Costco. Heck ya. 

While it’s officially fall, and October, it’s also politically correct to include pumpkin in literally everything. However, i’m throwing a curveball and starting with these Peanut Butter Swirl Black Bean Brownies. 

Black bean brownies have quickly replaced my usual brownie recipe. For one, they couldn’t be simpler. Toss all ingredients in a blender and pour into the pan. Much easier than separating dry and wet ingredients and making a mess of every bowl on hand (As Adam says, I use every dish in the house). Plus, they yield a dense, fudgey chocolate-y brownie that can rival other butter and wheat-laden brownies out there. I’ve served them a few times at parties and get togethers, and friends agree they’re delicious. 

Peanut Butter Swirl Black Bean Brownies //

You can find the basic Black Bean Brownie recipe here. This time, I’ve swirled the tops with natural peanut butter, and made them in a muffin tin for a two-bite brownie style treat. These also freeze extremely well. I popped a batch in the freezer and then grabbed one for snacking on later, they thaw great. Perfect for lunches, and after school/work treats. 

Peanut Butter Black Bean Brownies
A rich, fudgey black bean brownie swirled with peanut butter in a two-bite treat. A perfect mid-day snack or after school snack.
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  1. 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  2. 1/2 cup dark cocoa
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1 tsp. vanilla
  5. 1/2 cup sugar (coconut, or regular)
  6. 2 Tbsp. almond milk OR non-dairy milk of choice
  7. 1 tsp. baking powder
  8. ¼ cup melted coconut oil, OR butter
  9. 3-4 Tbs. all natural peanut butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray or grease a standard-sized muffin tin. You can also use muffin liners if you wish.
  3. Combine all ingredients except peanut butter, in a blender or food processor, and mix until silky smooth.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan - I like to use an ice-cream scoop or cookie-scoop to get the perfect amount in each.
  5. If your peanut butter is hard, microwave it for a minute until soft. I love Trade Joe's natural peanut butter, and I find that it always stays drippy!
  6. Using a spoon, spoon a tsp. at a time on to the top of the muffin. Use a butter knife to 'cut' it into the batter and swirl it about.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until baked. Do not over-bake.
  8. Remove from the oven and let it rest in the pan before lifting out. I found they came out easily with a fork.
  1. These freeze very well! I pop them into the freezer in a ziplock, then into a lunch kit for a snack or an after-work snack.
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Banana, Berries, Smoothie

Raspberry Banana Smoothie

September 27, 2016



Back to school (work) means back to routine. Thanks to the “build a better smoothie” campaign with Silk® and Vega One™ it’s been easier to transition. 

Every morning before I run out the door I make sure I have my smoothie. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost forgotten it on the counter. The worst is when I go to reach for it in the car on the way to work and realize it’s not there – oops. 

I’m one of those people who wakes up with exactly the amount of time needed to get ready and go. Unlike my husband, that likes to make his coffee and sit and enjoy his breakfast before going to work. Me, I’d rather have those extra 10 minutes of sleep and skip the leisurely thing. 

That’s where smoothies come in handy – I can throw everything I need into the blender and mix it up while packing my lunch kit, then grab it (if i don’t forget!) and go. 

My students always know I’ll have my smoothie in the morning – and it’s usually gone before attendance is done. Smoothies don’t have to be complicated, which is why they’re so great. My favourite ones consist of few ingredients, like leftover coffee + chocolate protein + banana + ice and almond milk. 

While I love strawberries, I’m not a fan of frozen strawberries. Therefore I hardly ever will use frozen strawberries in my smoothies. Instead, I’ll opt for frozen raspberries or blueberries. The classic smoothie ingredient has always been strawberry banana, but I prefer raspberry banana. Plus, raspberries are packed with antioxidants. 

I already use Vega One™, so I was happy to be included in the campaign because I feel it reflects my usual routine. I like that it has no added sugar, and helps me meet my daily nutritional needs (as someone who doesn’t eat red meat, i.e. iron) and is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Also, I drink almond milk regularly because I have a dairy intolerance. Unsweetened Almond Milk like Silk®  is my go-to for smoothies, loaded with vitamin D and calcium. 

Raspberry Banana Smoothie
An antioxidant rich smoothie full of raspberries to get you moving in the morning.
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  1. 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  2. handful of ice cubes (5-6)
  3. 1 cup Silk ® Almond Milk
  4. 1 scoop Vega One™ French Vanilla Nutritional Shake
  5. 1 medium ripe banana
  1. Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Drink immediately.
  3. Top with additional raspberries or chia seeds if desired.
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This post was created in partnership with WhiteWave Foods/Silk®/Vega™. All opinions are my own.


Cookies, Dairy-Free, Wheat Free

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies

September 1, 2016

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies //

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies //

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies //

It’s officially September – which means lots of things!

First, summer vacation is over. School starts next week, and I must go back to work. This year I’ll be teaching intermediate again, although it has yet to be decided if it is a grade four or five class, or both!

While I love the summer, I’m always happy to get back into the routine of things come September. This summer we went on our honeymoon, which was absolutely amazing. We went to Europe for three weeks, visiting Paris, Barcelona, Santorini, Mykonos and ended in Rome. It was such an awesome unforgettable holiday. 

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies //

Secondly, September is special because next week we will celebrate our one year anniversary! We were married last September the fifth. 

You may remember that I baked and made our wedding cake myself. After looking at what I had wanted, and realizing how expensive it would be to have it made and how silly and simple it really was I decided to just do it myself (as usual).

I had wanted something simple, and of course, delicious. While I’m a huge fan of peanut butter (all nut butters, for a matter of fact), Adam is actually not a big fan. He’ll eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but when it comes to plain ol’ peanut butter – well, let’s just say he wouldn’t dive spoon first into a container the same way I would. 

However, when you put peanut butter and jam together, he’s happy. 

So when I had hinted at the possibility of making a peanut butter and jelly wedding cake, he was on board. 

Since I made ours, I didn’t actually freeze any of it. I figured, I could re-create it and bonus – no freezer burn!

While I was at it, I couldn’t help but think of peanut butter and jelly cookies. The epitome of back-to-school for me is the classic sandwich. Although, now with so many food allergies peanut butter is not allowed at school. So I have to leave my beloved (peanut butter, that is) at home for an after-work treat. 

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies //

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies
A wheat-free soft peanut butter cookie baked with two-ingredient raspberry jam. Perfect for an after school treat.
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For the Cookies
  1. 1 Cup Natural Peanut Butter, Stirred
  2. 1 Egg
  3. 2 Tbs. Oat Flour (see note)
  4. 1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar
For the Jam
  1. 1/2 Frozen Raspberries
  2. 1 Tbs. Chia Seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare pan with baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl combine peanut butter, egg, coconut sugar, and oat-flour. Stir until well combined and dough forms.
  3. Place bowl in the fridge to chill,10-15 minutes.
  4. While dough is chilling, make the Jam.
  5. To make the jam, microwave raspberries in microwave-safe dish for 2-3 minutes until simmering. Remove, and and in the chia seeds stirring to set.
  6. Remove dough from fridge, using a small piece of dough at a time and roll into 1-2 inch balls. Place on the cookie sheet.
  7. Make a small indent with your thumb in each ball of cookie dough, then add a spoonful of jam in the center.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes.
  9. Can be stored on the counter or frozen.
  1. To make oat flour, simply pulse 1/2 cup gluten-free oats in blender or food processor until fine flour forms.
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