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Good Eats

I’m an avid snack eater and 5 meals a day kinda gal. I can’t go more than four hours without food or I get hangry. I’m introducing to you today five of my favorite snacks that hold me over until dinner time.

1. Almonds. I eat about 10-12 everyday around 10:30 a.m. It’s that perfect mid-morning snack that is heart healthy and will hold me over until lunch around 1 p.m.

2. 1 graham cracker with nutella and strawberries. I love this as a sweet treat after dinner. I have a big sweet tooth so balancing it out with something sweet and a little healthy is a bonus. So yummy!

3. Open face, cream cheese tomato sandwich. This one may be pretty new to most of you. My parents used to eat these all the time and it rubbed off on me. I love them. They’re great in the summer for something quick in between barbecues.

4. Veggies and peanut butter. Lets be honest. I like anything with peanut butter. I usually eat carrots for lunch and I tote a little bit of PB with me. So delicious and very healthy.

5. Yogurt, fruit and granola. I eat this a few times a week. I love finding ways to incorporate fruit into typically boring food. The photo below doesn’t have any granola. The kind I use is the pumpkin and flax seed granola from Costco. It gives the yogurt and fruit that crunch I’m always looking for. So good.

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I FINALLY accomplished black bean brownies. I say finally because if you remember the last time I attempted them, I accidentally omitted the sugar. Oops! Not good.

In my quest to find a healthy excuse to shovel chocolate down my pie hole, I came across something extraordinary. You can put beans in desserts and they give you protein! Whoa! I know. Deep breaths. On a serious note, beans are the cheapest way for someone to receive their daily protein. Plus, they’re just so darn yummy.

I grabbed my can of black beans and went to town.

I ended up with three different topping ideas for these and thought I would share them with you.

A basic brownie with yummy powdered sugar doused on top. The more the sugar, the better. C’mon guys! There are beans in these bad boys so its gotta be healthy, right? Yummy.

Mmmmm. Holla!

A la mode, anyone? Now, wipe that drool off the side of your face. You’re embarrassing me.

Brownies, caramel and candied nuts! Nothing beats it. I love the huge chunk of chocolate up in herrr. So delicious!

So, you wanna know how to make these, do ya? Well, here we go:

Ingredients:
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly (The brainchild of this recipe)
3/4 cup sugar (Don’t forget this)
1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
3 eggs
3 Tbsp Canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 blocks (half a package) of Bakers semi-sweet chocolate (roughly chopped)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray

2. In a food processor, pulse the black beans. Pulse until smooth.

3. In a large bowl, combine black beans, sugar, cocoa powder, eggs, canola oil, vanilla extract and baking powder. Stir until well combined and smooth.

*Side note: You could decrease the amount of chocolate to just 2 blocks, but I LOVE chocolate. This may have been counter productive to the health benefits of the beans. Sigh.

4. Fold in the chocolate until well combined.

5. Pour into the baking pan.

6. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Do the toothpick test to make sure the center is done. I suggest you let it cool before diving into it, but I’d be a hypocrite if I told you to wait.

Caramel Nut Topping:

You’ll need:
1/4 cup each of 3 varieties of nuts, roughly chopped (I used walnuts, pecans, and slivered almonds)
2 Tbsp of butter (melted)
2 Tbsp of sugar
2 Tbsp of brown sugar
caramel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the nuts, butter, sugar and brown sugar. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool. When you want to use it as a topping, simply mix the nut mixture and caramel together until desired consistency/quantity. Top over any dessert and enjoy.

Nom nom nom.

Review: These brownies were delicious. I thought they tasted like I had used dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet. I know other variations consist of coffee. I didn’t like that idea. These are great in small portions. I’ll be making these again. I also liked that I could avoid using flour. Let me know if you guys try them.

Remember that fresh salsa I made recently? Well, I was ready for some more Mexican food. Trying to be healthy, I made some lettuce wraps with ground turkey.

I used some homemade taco seasoning. I found the recipe here. It’s so good. I’ll never use the package taco seasoning ever again. I love when I know exactly what’s in my food.

I added some leftover corn and a can of black beans. I simply browned the meat and assembled everything on the lettuce. Everything being ground turkey, black beans, corn and homemade salsa. So yummy! I realized I’m not very good at tearing lettuce to the right size I want for wraps, but they still turned out awesome. Joe had his on a tortilla with shredded cheese. I guess I was being the healthy one.

On another note: I’ve been spending my free time daydreaming of my trip to Europe in April, exactly three weeks from today. My mind is swarming with London pubs, Paris excursions and Amsterdam bike tours. I’m putting together lists, to-do lists and organizational lists. I like making lists. I’ll post more details about my trip within the next week or so.

Okay, “killed” may be a little strong. Perhaps, “this crazy salsa almost left me with only nine fingers” works better. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go back and read this. It’s a doozy of a blog post.

I’ll wait…

Now, check out what I accomplished!

BAM!

Only days after I sliced my finger open from attempting homemade salsa, I officially kicked this salsa where the sun don’t shine. This salsa is so fresh and definitely beats out any Picante brand salsa. The great thing about salsa is it can be made so many different ways. I must say though, my version is pretty good.

You’ll need:

1 large onion
1 green pepper
2 tomatoes
I can diced tomatoes (I used Hunts with basil, garlic and oregano)
1 can green chilies
3-4 green onion stalks/bushels (chopped)
2 garlic cloves
1 heaping tablespoon cilantro
1 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 of a lime
salt and pepper to taste

Roughly chop the onion and green pepper. Combine the onion, green pepper, green chilies, green onions, garlic cloves and red pepper flakes in a food processor. Chop for a rough 5 seconds. I did this in batches and mixed everything in a large bowl. Once these ingredients are chopped and added to the bowl, add the garlic powder. Roughly chop the two tomatoes. In the food processor add the two tomatoes and can of diced tomatoes and chop for a few seconds. Add to the bowl and mix well. Roughly chop the cilantro and add to the salsa. Squeeze the lime and add salt and pepper to taste. Grab some chips and chow down!

I didn’t make it spicy. I was really going for the freshness. I definitely succeed on that. You can always add cayenne pepper, jalapenos or hot sauce to spice things up.

P.S. I get my stitches taken out today! So ready to be done with this debauchery of a healing finger process. Got that? Debauchery I tell ya!

I hope you all are having a wonderful, green St. Patrick’s Day.

In honor of today, I wanted to make this:

{Photo courtesy: Kaitlin of Whisk Kid}

Who can resist an awesome rainbow cake?

Kaitlin from the Whisk Kid made this a while back. It was so much of a hit that Kaitlin got to make this cake with Martha Stewart on her show! Whoa!

I pinned this on pinterest and I knew I needed to try it out.

It’s pretty simple to make. Make the cake batter. Separate batter six ways. Color the batter with food coloring gel. Bake for 12 minutes in a 9 inch spring form pan. Let the cake layers cool. Make the frosting. Construct the cake.

My only problem with this cake was the construction. I filled about three layers and had to take a trip to Walmart for some butter. I ran out of frosting. I wanted to get the look just right, so a lot of frosting was necessary. As I was completing the construction, I noticed the cake layers were sliding off center. I placed the cake in the refrigerator. It helped, but when I went back to check on the cake the next day, it was lopsided. So that’s why the layers aren’t entirely even in the photo above. It turned out looking pretty good.

It’s a white cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. Truthfully, it’s better to look at than eat. I think it’s WAY too sweet probably because of the frosting.

Anyway, I’m glad I tried this. Go check out the full recipe on Kaitlin’s blog, Whisk Kid.

I was supposed to run the Dash Down Greenville 5K this morning, but last night I had a terrible migraine. My migraines consist of nausea, light and sound sensitivity, and extreme head pain usually throughout my entire head from front to back. It knocks me out of any activity I’m wanting to do. Since I needed to be up by five this morning, I knew I needed to cancel and really get a good nights sleep. And I did. I didn’t get out of bed until 11:30.

I’m not sure how I’ll spend the rest of this holiday, but hopefully yours doesn’t consist of headaches.