Friday, March 5, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Black Bean and Avocado Brownies

Black beans in burritos, check! That's for dinner tonight. Avocados in burritos? Sure! I like guac as much as the next guy!

Enter the dessert realm. Do you see any beans or avocados here? I didn't either, until yesterday that is, when my dessert world was turned upside down with this gooey, chocolaty, bean filled treat. I'm sure you're wondering, "Why on earth did it seem like a good idea to try making this concoction in the first place?". In short, because Branny said so.

Since I embarked on my mission to eat good for you, tasty, inexepnsive food (and dragged Chris, unbeknownst to him, along with me), I have begun to embrace a handful of cooking blogs that offer recipes that cater to our culinary desires. When more than one of my trusted new cooking resources reports that the same recipe is good, I can't help wanting to try it out. And here we have it, not one, but two trusted sources recommended the inclusion of beans and avocados in a brownie.

Notice their photography skills compared to mine. These look especially appetizing compared to my photograph.

I'll get there. In the meantime, here we have it, my take on Black Bean and Avocado Brownies.

  • 2 cups cooked (or 1-15.5 ounce can or 140g dry) black beans
  • 3/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 avocado (60 g)
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp instant espresso (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • (Cook black beans if starting from dry beans.)
  • Puree black beans, egg whites, honey, and avocado in a food processor until smooth. Scrape down sides of food processor bowl as needed. Add remaining ingredients and continue blending.
  • Spread the mixture into a parchment lined baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the brownies comes out clean.
  • Do not try to cut the brownies while they were hot. I put them in the refrigerator for several hours before attempting to cut/eat them.
Servings ~ 9
Calories ~ 145, Fat ~ 1.8 g, Carbohydrates ~ 28 g, Protein ~ 8 g

My overall impression of these is that they are pretty darn good. Out of nine brownies, there is only one remaining just twelve hours later. Enough said. I will not divulge the identity of the brownie pig. We don't (usually) eat a whole lot of brownies, but these will definitely make an appearance anytime brownies are on the menu!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Soba Salad with Queso Fresco and Peas

What is queso fresco, you ask? And why is the Mexican sounding cheese being served with Asian noodles? Queso fresco is the cheese of choice in Duke's House. We are on a mission to pinch pennies in any way possible to save for a great mountain climbing expedition later this year. Queso fresco is the most economical, versatile cheese that Chris and I have happened on so far. At $2.86 for 12 ounces, it can't be beat. Queso fresco is the only cheese on our grocery list, so I expect that it will make frequent showings here.

After buying Soba noodles on a whim last week, it became my mission to find something good to do with them. I scoured all of my go-to cooking blogs and recipe websites and finally found something that struck my fancy. Perhaps it is due to her great photography or possibly due to my nearly flawless track record with her cooking I selected this recipe from The Way the Cookie Crumbles to base my cooking endeavor on.

  • 12 ounces soba noodles
  • 10 ounces frozen peas
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 6 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • Cook noodles and peas together until noodles are tender.
  • While noodles and peas are cooking, mix together olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, honey, salt, and black pepper in a sealable container (you will toss the noodles and peas in it later).
  • Crumble queso fresco and chop scallions, these will be used as a garnish.
  • When the noodles and peas are finished cooking, drain and then add to the sauce mixture.
  • Toss noodles and sauce.
  • Garnish each serving with queso fresco and scallions.
Servings ~ 8
Calories ~ 278, Carbohydrates ~ 39 g, Fat ~ 10 g, Protein ~ 11 g

Mashed White Bean and Avocado Sandwiches

On my never ending quest to discover lunch items that are healthy and keep me full all afternoon, I discovered this gem of a sandwich. It is tasty, filling, inexpensive, and does the trick. It looks a lot like a tuna sandwich in the picture, but make no mistake, there is no fish inolved in this sandwich.

I was inspired by a fellow blogger to try this out. Notice the homemade bread in the picture. I told you that it even looked like real sandwich bread!

  • 140 g (dry) white beans
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • whole grain sandwich bread
  • avocado
  • cucumber
  • tomato
  • spinach
  • Boil white beans until tender. Drain.
  • Add white beans, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a food processor. Puree until smooth.
  • Spread white beans on one slice of sandwich bread.
  • Top with thinly sliced avocado, cucumber, tomato, spinach, and the other slice of bread.
Servings (of white bean mixture) ~ 8
Calories ~ Depends on your ingredients.
My example sandwich was: Calories ~ 386, Carbohydrates ~ 65 g, Fat ~ 10 g, Protein ~ 13 g

Exercise - February 21-27

  • Sunday: 1 mile w/u @ 11:00, 8 miles @ 9:10, 1 mile c/d @ 11:00
  • Monday: 0.75 mile w/u @ 11:00, 4 x 800 @ 8:30 w/400 recoveries, 0.5 mile c/d @ 11:00, upper body strength training, core
  • Tuesday: 1 mile w/u @ 11:00, 5 miles @ 9:31, 1 mile c/d @ 10:19
  • Wednesday: 1 mile w/u @ 10:55, 2 miles @ 9:13, upper body strength training, core
  • Thursday: 1.5 mile w/u @ 10:16, 4 miles @ 8:41, 1.5 mile c/d @ 9:50
  • Friday: upper body strenth training, core, rock climbing
  • Saturday: 5.45 miles @ 9:57 (it was snowy and icy)
Total Miles: 36.45

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Loving the Lentils and Making M'judra

By mid-week, I usually realize that we have already eaten one of the key ingredients that I had bought with a recipe in mind. This week I had been hoping to make Yetakelt W'et, the tastier of the two Ethiopian dishes that I made a few weeks ago. Alas, it requires making a spiced clarified butter first and I used up two of the spices while making soup on Sunday. After a short search, I turned up a few recipes for M'judra with rave reviews and very few ingredients, all of which we happened to own. With that, my desire to try M'judra was born.

M'judra (served with steamed broccoli drizzled in BBQ sauce because it tastes good that way)

  • Lentils, dry, 245 gram(s)
  • Brown Rice, uncooked, 376 gram(s)
  • Onions, raw, 2 large
  • Olive Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Salt, 1 tbsp
  • Water, about 6 cups more as needed
  • Plain Non-fat Yogurt (optional)
  • Boil lentils in the water until nearly tender, about 25 minutes.
  • While lentils are boiling, slice onions finely into half circles and cook over low heat in olive oil until caramelized.
  • When onions are finished cooking, set them aside on a paper towel to absorb excess fluids.
  • Add rice to the pot of lentils after they are tender and add a few cups of water if necessary, return to a simmer.
  • Add salt and simmer slowly until the rice is tender and all the fluid is absorbed – approx 20 minutes.
  • Continue adding water as necessary until rice is tender.
  • Serve hot or cold, garnished with the crisp brown onion slices and few spoonfuls plain yogurt (not shown in picture).
Serves 8
Calories (w/o yogurt) ~ 322, Carbs ~ 57 g, Fat ~ 5 g, Protein ~ 13 g

This one seemed to be a big hit with Chris. He appreciated the price point, about $2 for 8-servings and he is a big fan of rice in any form. I liked it a lot as well. I was pretty excited to have leftovers for lunch for a few days!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bread Success!

I have been trying to bake a decent loaf of bread for quite a while. Each of my efforts has resulted in a spectacular failure, until this weekend. I finally got my hands on a recipe with detailed enough instructions of me to follow with success. On Saturday, I baked one batch (two loaves) of honey whole wheat bread. This bread is SO GOOD! It is the first time that I have actually made bread that has the taste and texture that I expected it to.

I used a recipe posted by butterflygroove on (

Chris and I were eating the bread at such a rapid pace that I decided to bake four more loaves on Sunday so that I could freeze some to have for the next few weeks. We made one cinnamon swirl loaf on Sunday which was amazing. Not exactly diet friendly, but what a treat. I would really like to make French toast out of it, but I doubt that it will last until the weekend and I probably won't actually cook breakfast until then.

Lastly, Duke decided to get dressed up this weekend (or maybe that was Chris that felt like playing dress-up).

That can't feel good for Duke's ears. Poor guy!