Honey + WW Raspberry Scones

>> Thursday, February 28, 2013

As part of our winter CSA share, we get bags of frozen berries that were plucked during the summer. I love eating fresh berries right out the carton at summer market and atop yogurt or in fruit salads, but when it comes to using them up in pies, muffins, and other goods -- I'm often uninspired.

Or maybe stumped is a better word. Anyway, I've been making an effort to use them in new + different ways. Here's my latest creation.

vegans can substitute maple syrup for honey

What you'll need . . . 

  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Method . . . 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with olive oil or Earth Balance.
  2. Place the flours, Earth Balance,  and honey in a food processor and pulse until fully combined. 
  3. Then pulse in the salt, flax, and baking soda. Pour these dry ingredients into a bowl.
  4. Add the almond milk and vanilla extract; mix until just moistened. Do not over-mix.
  5. Fold in the raspberries and coconut flakes. Let sit for a few minutes until chilled by the berries.
  6. Scoop the dough onto a clean, but well-floured work surface. Loosely shape into a circle and pat down.
  7. Cut into wedges and then place on a cookie sheet. 
  8. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until deep golden brown. Let cool before serving.

Honestly, of all the scones I've made, these are the lightest and fluffiest. Maybe it's because I usually use baking powder and -- since I'm out of that at the moment -- subbed in the baking soda. Or it could be that I fluffed the flour a bit before I put it in the mix. I tend to pack it in, which I've realized is making my baked goods ever-dense.

Whatever happened, they're delicious.

I'm sure Stephen will be thrilled to find a few waiting for him when he gets home from work today. That is, if Ada doesn't eat them all. She munched on one for breakfast and I couldn't give it to her fast enough.

Thursdays are my favorite -- how about you?!

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Food for Runners: P-E-P-P-E-R-S

>> Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I love that you guys + gals love these Food For Runners posts. I lost a bit of momentum when local produce stopped overflowing from our farmers market basket in the fall. But I figure there's no use waiting because before we know it, we'll thaw out and so many foods will be ripe and ready to eat.

If you're catching up, we've covered tomatoes, almonds, pumpkin, cucumbers, bananas, eggs, garlic, quinoa, berries, and kale -- and included our favorite recipes from across the web.

Though a sometimes controversial choice, there's no denying peppers are packed with nutrients:

"A recent study took a close look at vitamin C, vitamin E, and six carotenoids (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin) + found that two vegetables contained at least two-thirds of all nutrients. One of these foods was the sweet bell pepper." (Source)

Specifically interesting for runners: "All colors of bell pepper are high sources of potassium. This mineral helps keep your fluids and minerals balanced in your body, enhancing muscle function and regulating blood pressure." (Source)

5 main health benefits of peppers: "Burn off fat, control cholesterol, keep arthritis at bay, lower breast cancer risk, and are heart healthy/prevent stroke." (Source + more information)

If you can -- and this is the rule with most fruits + veggies -- grow your own or buy organic and/or locally. Unfortunately, peppers taste great and are good for you, but they are also on the dirty dozen.

You can find all types of peppers at the supermarket.  

"But, in fact, peppers are a seasonal vegetable, and when freshly picked they are sweeter and more intense than any hothouse variety. The skin is thinner, and the flavors are vivid. Eat the real ones often enough, and you may never return to the bland, expensive ones from the grocery store." (Source)

Here are some of our favorite recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:

Our Pepper Omelet Rings
Colleen's Roasted Red Pepper + Tomato Soup
Kelly's Tomato-Basil Bell Pepper Tartlets
Jo's Grilled Works w/ cheese, roasted peppers, and onions, etc.
Pamela's Red Pepper Sauce
Kat's Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Our Cherry Pepper Poppers
Jodi's Baked Parsnip Fries w/ Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Lisa and Anna's Roasted Poblano Salsa (like Chipotle!)
Michelle's Raisin + Couscous Stuffed Peppers
Our $5 Dinner: Veggie Stuffed Peppers
Aida's Charred Poblano Pesto Pasta
Alexandra's Red Bell Pepper Pie

The fastest/easiest way to eat them is raw -- washed well and chopped as a quick snack. But my favorite is roasting. Just set your oven to broil, rinse peppers and chop in half (remove seeds). Place face-down on baking sheet, and roast for 10-15 minutes until lightly blackened.

I then fill with cooked veggies/grains or chop up and add to omelets or top pizzas. You can also remove the skins by gently rubbing and store in olive oil -- great on sandwiches!

I can't wait till they're in season again (August and September)! For now, we'll enjoy the occasional store-bought + our CSA's locally frozen variety.

What's your favorite way to use peppers?

Don't forget to read up on these other healthy ingredients:

Food for Runners: T-O-M-A-T-O-E-S
Food for Runners: A-L-M-O-N-D-S
Food for Runners: P-U-M-P-K-I-N
Food for Runners: C-U-C-U-M-B-E-R-S
Food for Runners: E-G-G-S
Food for Runners: B-E-R-R-I-E-S
Food for Runners: B-A-N-A-N-A-S
Food for Runners: G-A-R-L-I-C
Food for Runners: Q-U-I-N-O-A
Food for Runners: K-A-L-E

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Half Dozen Peanut Butter Cookies

>> Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I made a delicious batch of homemade peanut butter last night. I was hurried + sloppy with my technique, pouring sugar directly from the bag into the food processor. As you can imagine, I put a bit too much sugar in the mix -- so I knew it would be best suited for baking.

Have you tried our half dozen recipes yet? Just enough of a sweet treat to enjoy without feeling like you've overindulged. I've made the Half Dozen Chocolate Chippers many times, as well as the Half Dozen Brownie Cookies.


vegan recipe

What you'll need . . . 

  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground flax meal
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes (optional) 
  • organic cane sugar for rolling (optional)

Method . . . 
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Put a few tablespoons of the cane sugar in a small dish, set aside with your baking sheet. (You don't have to roll these cookies in sugar, it's just how I like mine best. If you choose not to, lightly grease your cookie sheet.)
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, use the paddle attachment to cream the Earth Balance and peanut butter. 
  3. Add the brown sugar and flax meal plus 1 tablespoon water. Mix until fluffy. Then mix in the vanilla.
  4. Then add in the flour, salt, and coconut flakes. Mix until just combined. You may need ot add another tablespoon or so of water if your dough is dry/crumbly. It depends on the kind of peanut butter you use.
  5. Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough into your palm, roll, dip in the sugar, and then flatten onto the cookie sheet. If you have leftover dough, eat it or evenly distribute.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden on top. Let cool before devouring.

I added the coconut flakes because I have the coconut flavor coming from the oil in my homemade peanut butter. Plus, I think the two flavors in combination is dynamite. But these can be as plain and basic as you wish.

Also, you may notice in my other recipes that I use baking powder versus baking soda. I just cater to whatever ingredient I have on hand on any given day, and today we're clear out of baking powder. Here's more information about substituting the similar, yet entirely different leavening agents.

And be sure to check out the Half Dozen Chocolate Chippers and Half Dozen Brownie Cookies recipes.

What's your favorite small-batch dessert?

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Running + Kathrine Switzer

>> Monday, February 25, 2013

I rarely write about running anymore.

I'd like that to change because my training is going well. Plus, most common questions streaming into my inbox are running-related because so much of what I used to write was dedicated to miles + races. Remember that? Yeah. We have a whole Running section on our site.

So, I thought I might start a weekly update on what I'm doing for training these days, etc.

Sound good?

Here's last week's at-a-glance from Daily Mile:

M: 2 mile treadmill at 7:45/mile + kettlebells/squats
T: Off + Jillian yoga
W: 5.5 easy miles around the neighborhood
T: 4 mile treadmill run in 32:30 w/ kettlebells + squats
F: Totally off
S: 3.5 miles easy
S: 10.3 miles w/ a buddy at 8:33/mile

25 total miles for the week, which is what I'm trying to do these days. Once the weather warms, I think I'll hit 30 miles more regularly. A lot is dictated by how much ice is on the sidewalks, since I really don't love treadmill running. I didn't do as much cross-training as I'd like, so I'm hoping to get in the pool at least once.

Also looking through my archives this morning, I discovered that the vast majority of running information I heed has been written by men. And that's all fine and dandy because Hal Higdon rocks my socks off and all. But I thought it'd be nice to collect some advice and training plans written by great women runners, since I'm sure many of you reading this post right now are of the female persuasion.

There are so many, so this feature will be ongoing. Today I'm featuring Kathrine Switzer, the first women ever to enter the Boston Marathon, because I've seen her speak at the Boilermaker 15K + just recently saw her in the documentary Run For Your Life.

If you are a female runner -- no, a runner of ANY persuasion -- this photo is likely familiar:


Kathrine was born in Germany, grew up in Fairfax County, VA, and later attended Syracuse University for journalism (Source). As I mentioned above, she broke the gender barrier in the 1967 Boston Marathon -- she was also women's winner of the 1974 NYC Marathon, among many other awesome running accomplishments, and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in October 2011 for "creating positive global social change" (Source).

In her own words:

"If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” from 26.2: Marathon Stories

"There is an expression among even the most advanced runners that getting your shoes on is the hardest part of any workout”

Quick Tips:
  • Record every run; it keeps you honest and it’s motivating
  • Only have 10 minutes; That’s better than no minutes, so get going
  • Missed a workout? Don’t feel guilty, just start again
  • More . . . 

Adventures in Feministory: First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon (Bitch Magazine)
The Pioneer: Kathrine Switzer (Runner's World)
Boston 1967: When Marathons Were Just for Men (BBC News)
Kathrine has also authored a variety of books about women's running

Above is Kathrine running the NYC Marathon in a tennis dress (Image Source). Guess skirts aren't such a recent fad after all! Speaking of the city -- we're planning to visit first week of April. At least that's what's in the works right now.

Where are your favorite running spots and/or local spots? Kid-friendly spaces, too. We've done the tourist thing throughout our lives, so we'd like to delve deeper.

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Weekend Things

>> Friday, February 22, 2013

// Chemical-Free Clean //
Last night we watched Chemerical on Netflix.
Been interested about natural cleaning for a while; this pushed me into it.

// Homemade Suds //
There are so many recipes floating around for natural cleaners.
Apparently it's cheaper this way, too.

// Skin Deep //
We all know the checmicals don't stop with Lysol + bleach.
Here's a handy database w/ details on personal care products + makeup.

Something sweet + something crunchy.
A vehicle to get it all in your mouth -- don't forget the c.h.e.e.s.e!

// A Lid on It //
I need these plastic Ball jar lids in my life.
Like 150,000 of them. So smart!

// Not-So Secret Garden //
This petite eggshell garden has stolen my heart.
Too bad my cats would gobble up those plump succulents before I could finish.

// Sugar-Free Cake //
I mean seriously. What will they think of next?
This gorgeous sandwich cake blew my mind.

I'll be making these this week + I'll probably turn into a beet.

Anyone else have this delicious cookbook? I got it for X-mas.
Getting ready to delve in with some fresh + clean juices.

// Weekend Readings //
US Children Eating Fewer Calories + Morning After Pill Not Making Women Slutty

// Technical Stuff //
I think I finally got out most of the kinks on neverhomemaker.com.
Should be a faster + more pleasant viewing experience for you all!

And here's what you may have missed on Writing Chapter Three.

Have a great weekend!

Psst: You can check out more Weekend Things here + here + here + here.

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Good Question: Aches + Pains

>> Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kate writes: 

I finished the couch to 5K plan a few weeks ago . . . and in the past couples of weeks I have noticed that my legs are killing me after and during a run. It doesn't last a full day which makes me think that I haven't done any serious injury. 

My question is this: As a new runner, how do we tell what is an injury and what is just our body adapting to the change we have made? I would also really love some tips on how to help with muscles after running as I know to stretch but am not sure what types of stretching or if it's enough. 

Does this sound familiar to any of you? I can sense the head-nodding.

I know for certain that I had similar issues to what Kate is experiencing when I was just starting out. First: I don't want to diminish the cause for concern. Whenever you have recurring pain or problems, a doctor is your best source of information. However, I have experienced general soreness -- growing pains versus injury -- as I've brought my training to another level.

When I went from running 3 miles to more back in college, I remember I had shin splints and my calves would just throb and ache during and after a run. It was so frustrating because I wanted to run longer and farther, get faster . . . but it's like my body couldn't keep up.

At the time, I was running in the wrong pair of shoes, not taking many rest days, and definitely "forgetting" to stretch. I wanted my body to do its thing without fully doing mine to take care of it.

So, I guess that's where to start: Look at your routine.

What are your goals? 
How is your weekly running plan helping you work toward them?
Are your shoes old or not suited for running?
Have you been taking adequate rest?
Are you stretching enough. At all?
Do you enjoy cross-training? Could you?

For me, after a pair of new shoes (road versus trail), 4 days of running a week versus 6, and starting to compliment my workouts with yoga . . . things got better rather quickly. And usually for cases for general aches and pains versus injury, this will be the case. If the issues continue, that's when to head to a doctor.


Honestly, yoga is THE BEST compliment to running. I'm horrible at sticking with cross-training like yoga + strength despite knowing they have incredible benefits. But I'm back at it again, and I am feeling stronger than ever, which is great.  Adding some basic stretches to your routine will not only make you stretched + stronger, but also help you recover from those hard workout days.

Here are some resources:

I'll be back soon with a post dedicated to other cross-training, specifically strength as I have seen dramatic results and differences since I started lifting weights again. I'm late to the fad, which I think has already passed, but kettlebells are awesome.

Thanks to Kate for her good question!

Also: Many of you let us know that the old site was running slowly for you. I think the menus were to blame, so I'm in the middle of switching to a very simple framework. It's hard because on Blogger you have to do things while the site is live.

The main trouble at the moment is if you're viewing not at full screen capacity, the images are skewed. Please let me know of any huge issues (if you're reading on RSS, you can see what I'm up to here). 

Otherwise, thank you for bearing with me!

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Chocolate Loaf

>> Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Not much talk of exercise on this blog lately, which is funny because I'm doing all sorts of things with cross-training and strength while getting in a steady 25-30 miles a week. I ran a frigid 10-miler with my friend Ariana on Sunday. Gusts of 30MPH blew against us for probably 3/4 of the way.

I'll have a running post for you tomorrow -- promise.

Today, we'll eat cake.

Technically I'm calling this recipe a chocolate loaf because I baked it in -- you guessed it -- a loaf pan. It's really just a nice, dense chocolate cake that you can slice and top with peanut butter or whatever else you like to spread on sweet breads.

vegan recipe, don't skip the coconut milk

What you'll need . . .

  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 6 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method . . . 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan, 9" x 5", with Earth Balance and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients -- flours, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. On the stove, heat a small pot over medium-low heat and melt the Earth Balance and coconut milk together. Let cool until warm, not hot.
  4. Pour the wet mixture -- including the vanilla extract -- into the dry and mix until incorporated fully.
  5. Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out mostly clean.
  6. Let cool a while before removing from loaf pan and placing onto a drying rack.
  7. Let cool entirely before slicing. Or not. It will just fall apart more if you don't wait.

I bet Elvis would have enjoyed this "bread" with some honey-glazed bacon on top.

I enjoyed mine straight out of the oven (no, I didn't wait for it to cool -- but do as I say, not as I do!) with peanut butter and sliced banana. I'm going to toast some later and spread some coconut butter on it. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Prediction: Incredible.

You can read about why we switched Ada from hemp milk to organic whole milk on Writing Chapter Three. Even if you don't have kids, you might be surprised at the not-so-friendly ingredient that's hiding in your favorite organic products.

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Butternut Squash Pizza Sauce

>> Monday, February 18, 2013

We ran out of tomato puree and all other canned tomato products last week. But Pizza Thursday had to go on! Instead of heading to the store, I thought I'd venture around the kitchen and find a suitable replacement.

And now I don't know if I'll use tomatoes for a while because this is way too good!

enough for two large homemade pizzas -- or even pasta

What you'll need . . . 

  • 16 ounces butternut squash puree (ours was frozen from the fall)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (a dry blend is what I used)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white wine ($4 Pinot Grigio, baby!)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper  

You can feel free to use nutritional yeast in place of Parmesan. For the wine, you can just use water, but I'd suggest playing around with vinegars, etc. because it adds great flavor to this recipe. Most of the alcohol cooks off anyway!

Method . . . 

  1. Thaw the puree if you are using frozen. 
  2. In the meantime, pour the olive oil into a medium pot over medium-high heat and saute the garlic for a few minutes. Until fragrant.
  3. Then add in the puree and cook for a few minutes more, stirring constantly.
  4. Continue by adding the water and white wine. Let it incorporate fully in before adding the Parmesan cheese.
  5. Season with the Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 10 more minutes to let the flavors mingle, fall in love, if you will.
  6. Add more liquid depending on how you'd like the texture. We had our spread rather thick.
  7. Store for up to a week in the fridge or freeze.
// To use:

Mix up your favorite pizza dough recipe + let it rise -- we actually made the Pumpkin Garlic Knots but replaced the canned pumpkin with homemade applesauce for a sweeter crust.

We always bake our pizza at 425 degrees F with a pizza stone preheating first. Then we spread the plain crust onto the stone and bake one side for 4 to 5 minutes, flip over, and then add the sauce + toppings.

A mix of mozzarella and cheddar 50/50 worked well with the flavors in the sauce and crust. But feel free to experiment or even go dairy-free with lots of roasted veggies and avocado.

Bake until cheese is browned and bubbly. 12 to 15 minutes.

Have you made pizza without tomato sauce? I love white pizza best, actually. Pesto pizza, too! This was a nice change of pace. We'd love some more suggestions for our favorite dinner of the week!

And PS: I made a HUGE batch of Homemade Freezer Waffles this morning. Take a look!

Hope you all had a great weekend. And if you want to check out Writing Chapter Three, you can see Ada's first haircut. That I gave her am still giving her!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!


Weekend Things

>> Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Friday, everyone! To keep the grocery savings theme going this week, I've decided to expand on our latest tips to 1.) Shop every other week and 2.) Make the most out of that trip. There are some great links below regarding food waste + how to avoid it below, along with other fun stuff.

We do it once a week because it's easy + inexpensive -- how about you?
Landis' new book has some fresh ideas beyond our usual fried eggs + sourdough toast.

Our old clunker has been in the basement for 8 weeks.
Don't even miss it. Anyone else sans this "essential" appliance?

A sandwich we could become obsessed with.
Pepper jack, onion rings & jalapenos.

// Sourdough Saga //
My sourdough starter ate itself! I had only waited 7 days to feed it.
Will have to start the process all over again. Boo.

I did this killer thing the other day. My butt still hurts.
Ran 2.5 miles to gym, 25-min kettlebell workout, 2.5 miles back.

// What We've Watched //
Bag It (interesting eco-documentary); The Perks of Being a Wallflower (LOVED it);
Pitch Perfect (mindless fun); Flight (honestly never want to fly again). 

And other tips from the book Unclutter Your Life in One Week
Pretty sure I'm getting a (digital) copy with my V-day gift-card.

"40 percent of the food that’s grown and sold in the United States is wasted."
Here's some tips for how to "get smarter about how you shop."

// Soap Opera //
We've been buying Dr. Bronner Castile soap for years.
Love it for camping, but started using it everyday to simplify our bath routine.

That your tots + kids will love.
(And you probably will, too.)

What you may have missed this week on Writing Chapter Three:

Have a great weekend!

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Homemade Freezer Waffles

>> Thursday, February 14, 2013

I mentioned in my grocery budget post how we're resisting kid-specific foods because they can be ridiculously expensive. Part of Ada's standard breakfast each and every morning is a toaster waffle. We were buying the ones with Cookie Monster on the box -- blueberry minis by Earth's Best. One Sunday morning, something clicked.

You HAVE a waffle maker, Ashley. Why are you still buying frozen?

I've gone through various trials + tribulations trying to create a waffle recipe that is fluffy, doesn't stick to the maker, and freezes well in bulk. It features a mere 5 ingredients, too! I don't have an old box handy, but even with the "natural" label, I'm sure that beats Ada's old breakfast.

The added nutritional bonus of the applesauce in this recipe is awesome. The natural sugars help the waffles develop a golden brown crisp. And you can taste the sweetness without adding bucketfuls of the white stuff.

vegan, kid-friendly, freezable, and only 5 ingredients

What you'll need . . . 

  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or even water), possibly a few tablespoons more

Method . . .

  1. Whisk togehter all ingredients in a small bowl. Batter should be thick, but not dough-like. 
  2. NOTE: You may need to add a few more tablespoons of liquid depending. This morning I added 2 tablespoons. Another day, it was just one. It depends on the moisture content of your applesauce AND how much flour your "1 cup" really ends up being.
  3. Feel free to double or even triple the recipe as desired, keeping in mind the note about the almond milk.
  4. Preheat your waffle maker. When it's ready, generously grease the top and bottom with Earth Balance or spray oil. Then scoop heaping 1/4 to 1/3 cupfuls and cook as directed.
  5. Eat immediately or follow the instructions below for storage.


  • When making in bulk, it's helpful to let waffles rest on a drying rack so they don't get soggy while you're making the rest of your batch.
  • One cooled slightly, arrange waffles flat on a baking sheet, preferably atop some parchment paper.
  • Place in freezer for 1 hour. Till they are frozen. 
  • Store them into a freezer bag + return to the freezer. 
  • Treat like store-bought waffles. No need to thaw. Just pop into toaster.

Our cheap waffle maker has sure been earning its keep with this new project of mine. I'm hoping this weekend to make enough waffles for an entire month, among many other freeze-ahead foods. (And as I've told you before, you can get a decent waffle maker for under $20 and even under $10.)

What's your favorite vegetarian/vegan freezer meal? Stephen has a 4-day weekend, so I have lots of time to cook + I need ideas!


Treat Yourself: V-Day Gift List
Red Velvet Black Bean Brownies
We Heart Beet Burgers
DIY Pom Heart Art
DIY Stamped Arrow Shirt

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Red Velvet Black Bean Brownies

>> Wednesday, February 13, 2013

When you roast a whole 5.6 quart dutch oven full of beets, you are in for some kitchen gymnastics trying to use them all up. We did well -- Beet Burgers, smoothies, baby food, muffins, and even eating them plain out of the fridge.

After all those recipes, I still had a honking one leftover. So, I took a chance -- pureed it up with some black beans.

And . . .

This recipe sounds -- and is, at least in theory -- a lot healthier than it actually is in reality. However, I'm a big believer that adding the healthy stuff is better than not getting it in my diet at all.

vegan recipe

What you'll need . . .

  • 3/4 cup black bean/beet puree, instructions below
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
// To make the puree:

  • I drained/rinsed a can of black beans and placed them in my food processor.
  • I also chopped up a very large roasted beet (skinned and everything) and I estimate it was about 3/4 cup to 1 cup of beet. 
  • Ultimately, I feel the ratio in the puree is about 1:1, if that helps.
  • I also added 2 tablespoons of water. 
  • Then I pureed until there were no lumps + bumps. 
  • I had some leftover, about a half cup.
NOTE: I used a pie plate for this recipe because I cannot find my 8x8 baking dish -- but this brownie batter doesn't spill out like some others I've made, so I imagine if it fits in the dish with an inch of headroom, it will be fine.

Method . . .

  1. Grease a pie plate with Earth Balance or olive oil and set aside. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the puree, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract.
  3. Over very low heat, place the chocolate in a small pot on the stove -- stirring constantly until melted. Then scrape this into the bowl and whisk with the other wet ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and whisk together until just combined. The mixture will be very thick, almost frosting-like.
  5. Pour into your prepared dish and smooth out so it's evenly distributed. Refrigerate for half an hour.
  6. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. 
  7. Then bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the middle is set, but not dry.
  8. Let cool completely before serving.

V for Valentine's Day!

Errr. Actually, I tried carving the wedge into a heart and failed miserably. I love to cook + bake and NOT style food. It's definitely not my forte. It's definitely not something I enjoy because when I made things, the kitchen gets messy. The food tastes good. I don't like to pause, wipe up a mess, and fuss too much.

But I do enjoy pretty photos, so it's something I need to work on.

// Now, if you're wondering "is that 30 minute chill time really necessary, Ashley?"

Be sure to check out Tip #9 on Bon Appetit's 10 Ways to Make Better Brownies list. I cut the time in half for you -- and I definitely think it makes a difference. That being written out, I am sure you can get away without the added wait.

Have you made black bean brownies before? Or maybe sweet potato brownies?

How would you say they compare to your favorite brownie recipe? I was very pleased with this most recent experimentation. I think the beets added an earthy sweetness and the texture was fantastic compared to other vegan brownies I've made in the past.

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