Peanut Butter “Better” Brownies

Thank you, Giada De Laurentiis, for brownies I can feel GOOD about eating!  If my kids knew there was a can of black beans in this recipe they would FREAK!  Ssshhhh…don’t tell them, I know I never will!  Oh, and by the way, they ate the whole pan of them and thought they were awesome!  I have to admit, when I saw the ingredient list containing black beans I was a bit taken aback myself, but being a big fan of Giada’s recipes, I gave her the benefit of the doubt and went ahead and tried this.  Boy am I glad I did!  Not a lot of sugar, no flour, no butter, beans and oatmeal up the health quotient…you really need to give these babies a try!  Recipe from Giada’s Happy Cooking Cookbook.


Vegetable oil for coating pan
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed well and drained
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed so it is liquid
1 cup peanut butter chips


Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Coat an 8 x 8 inch pan with vegetable oil.  Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan.  The oil will help the parchment paper adhere to the pan.  Set aside.

In a food processor, place the black beans, cocoa powder, oats, salt, brown sugar, vanilla, baking powder, egg, and egg yolk.  Puree to combine.  With the motor running, drizzle int he coconut oil and puree until smooth, about 3o seconds.  Sprinkle 1/2 of the peanut butter chips on the bottom of prepared pan.  Spread the batter over the chips.  Sprinkle the remaining chips over the top.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or w/ just a few moist crumbs.  Do not overcook as the brownies will be dry.  If your oven tends to run hot, you may want to check a bit before the 20 minute mark.  Allow brownies to cool to room temperature.  Enjoy!!!

*Giada calls these Espresso-Peanut Butter “Better” Brownies and adds 1 Tbsp espresso powder to the food processor with the other ingredients.  We do not car for the expresso flavor so I omit this ingredient.



Marshmallow Popcorn Treats

Quick and easy, this is a great treat to whip up when you need something sweet fast!

Recipe from


10 cups salt and oil free popped popcorn
10 oz. marshmallows
1 tbsp. butter
1/8 tsp. salt
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped or I use bittersweet chocolate chips…no chopping!

Spray 8 inch square baking pan with cooking spray, if you don’t have cooking spray on hand use some oil on a paper towel and coat pan or use the paper from the stick of butter and grease the pan.

Combine marshmallows, butter and salt in a dutch over/pot and cook over medium heat, stirring often until smooth and melted.  Add popcorn and stir to coat.  Add to baking pan and press and spread flat.  I end up using my hands because it is too sticky to use utensils for this.

Melt chocolate in a microwave…usually about a minute or 2 until chocolate is melted and pourable.  Drizzle over popcorn mixture.  You can refrigerate for 5 minutes if you’re really in a hurry or let cool at room temperature and the chocolate will set and harden.

Cut into bars and enjoy!  My boys enjoy this for dessert in their school lunches.


Chocolate Chip Coffe Cake :)
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This is a delicious recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen.  I stumbled across this book when the kids and I were visiting the book store on a no school “snow day” in February of 2015.  It was the perfect thing to warm us up and we came home and made one of the great main dish recipes.  This book is filled with delicious desserts too, like this coffee cake!  This is definitely not just for breakfast or brunch; this makes a great dessert too!


Ingredients ~ Topping:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour ***the author includes gluten free option in her book
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter melted

Ingredients ~ Cake:

1 cup all-purpose flour ***
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup soy, almond, or rice milk (I used almond)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp white or apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips

Directions ~ Topping:

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Add butter and toss with 2 forks as if you were tossing a salad, until it appears crumbly.  The crumbs should be lumpy, about the size of peas.

IMG_7803/chocolate chip coffee cake

Directions ~ Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9-inch round or square cake pan.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  In another bowl, whisk milk, oil, and vinegar.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until just combined.  Do not overmix.  Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

IMG_7805/chocolate chip coffee cake

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the topping.  Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out dry with a few crumbs clinging to it.  Let cool and slice.  Try to eat just one piece! 🙂



IMG_7823/chocolate coffee cake


Sweet Potato Brownies! :)

IMG_5736On a recent trip to my local library I went to my favorite section…cooking!  I came across a real gem of a cookbook and hurried home to try some of the recipes.  I fell in love with the Sweet Potato Brownie recipe and knew I wanted to share it on my blog!  The book it is from is titled, Deliciously Ella, by Ella Woodward, who in addition to being a wonderful cookbook author is also a blogger and founder of the site,    I am definitely a new fan and follower and was so impressed and inspired with her story and how she overcame a rare illness by IMG_5716changing to a whole foods plant-based, gluten free diet.  Check out all her deliciousness by clicking on her blog site or cookbook above!  I know I will be a frequent visitor and I’m sure this will not be the only recipe from Ella’s cookbooks I incorporate into my recipe arsenal.

Over the last year or so my family and I have tried so many “healthy” dessert recipes in hopes of finding one that we love.  We haven’t always been successful.  So many of them just really don’t taste like a treat at all.  We did come up w/ a healthier recipe for chocolate chip cookies, that I have posted in my Favorite Things section, which we love, but beyond that we haven’t come across anything IMG_5733that really WOW-ed us.  That is until now!  Now I know my kids were a little freaked out about the whole vegetable in my dessert concept at first, but these brownies had us all oohing and ahhing, and there wasn’t a brownie to spare the night we made our first batch!  We have since made some and because we have some major sweet tooths in the house, we added 1 cup of dark chocolate chips.IMG_5742  These were equally delicious and depending on what you like, the brownies were absolutely fabulous both ways.  I was totally blown away by how rich and moist these brownies were due to the sweet potato.  These will without a doubt become a dessert staple at our house.  Give them a try and don’t forget to check out!  Here is the recipe from her site Sweet Potato Brownies from Deliciously Ella and it’s also in the cookbook previously mentioned.  All this talk of these delicious brownies, I think I will go grab one now!  Enjoy!