Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sweet Apple "Cookies"

Paula Red used to be my favorite apple when I was growing up. They were one of the earliest apples ready for fall picking, and one of the first apples I saw in those white paper bags at the grocery store.

That's not why Paula Reds were my favorite apples though, because let's face it, they fall far behind other apples in terms of their crispness, sweetness, and "bake-ability." Obviously, the only reason they were my favorite is because the apple and I share the same name; when you are six years old, that's pretty cool. Nevertheless, my tastes have changed and I have several new favorite apples, with honey crisp being at the top of the list.

In fact, honey crisp is what I used to make this very simple "no-recipe" recipe today. Of course you can easily use whichever apple is your favorite (or happen to have on hand); when you pair apples with peanut butter, chocolate chips, and nuts, any type is the perfect type.

This "recipe" is perfect for any time that you need a pick-me-up throughout the day; it has been my after school/work goto for the last week or so. It gives me extra energy to take Bruno for his walk and tides me over until dinner. Perfect. Feel free to use whatever toppings you like. I used mini chocolate chips and chopped pistachios for this recipe, but I've used walnuts, almonds, and white chocolate chips as well. You really can't go wrong.

What is your favorite apple in the fall? Let me know below!

Paula's Note: To get super thin slices, I rely on my mandolin slicer. If you don't have one, just use a sharp knife.

Sweet Apple "Cookies"

Serves: 1
Time: 5 minutes

  • 1 Apple
  • Peanut butter (or nut butter of choice)
  • Nut of choice, chopped
  • Chocolate chips 
  1. Thinly slice apple
  2. Pat apple slices dry with paper towel (this makes it easier for the peanut butter to stick to the top of the apple)
  3. Spread peanut butter over each slice
  4. Sprinkle with desired toppings
  5. Enjoy

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Game Day Bean Dip

I can believe it's Sunday already. How has another week flown by?

As I mentioned in my last post, Sunday in the fall means football day at our house, and while I may not be watching the game, I'm definitely eating the food.

Today I am excited to share with you a super simple, incredibly delicious bean dip that is reminiscent of the Frito's bean dip you can find in a can - only better because you know exactly what you're eating!

The dip comes together in less than 15 minutes, and is made entirely with pantry ingredients. What more could you ask for? Oh yeah, it's also filled with protein, fiber, and is gluten free. Score!

Paula's Note: You can easily control the spice level by simply up-ing the chili powder and/or cayenne pepper. Seeing as I find ketchup to be just the right spice, (I'm so Norwegian) this dip is pretty mild. Definitely feel free to add more heat if that's what you prefer.

Do you have a favorite dip recipe? Let me know below!

Game Day Bean Dip

Serves: 4 (Though I've been known to eat the whole recipe for lunch...)
Time: 15 minutes
Optional refrigeration: 1 hour

  • 15 oz. canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbls. salsa
  1. Combine all ingredients EXCEPT salsa in a skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Simmer for about 5-7 minutes, or until most of the water is evaporated.
  3. Transfer bean mixture to a high power blender/food processor.
  4. Add salsa.
  5. Blend until smooth.
  6. Either refrigerate until ready to eat, or scarf immediately; I usually choose the latter, though the flavors enhance if you have the patience to wait an hour or so.
  7. Enjoy!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Black Bean Brownies

Is it cooling down where you are? We have had some wonderfully crisp mornings this past week and fall is definitely in the air; I'm ready for it! I even put out our decorations yesterday.

As if cool mornings, changing leaves, and pumpkin everything weren't enough to remind me that fall is here, I have also been reminded by my husband; he has resumed his place on the couch on Sunday afternoons watching his football teams religiously. Yep, football season is here.

While I'm not particularly enthused about watching the games, I do love making the snacks. I'm always excited to try out a new recipe for us to munch on throughout the day. This weekend I was in a sweets mood, hence the brownies.

These are not just any brownies, though. These are black bean brownies, and they taste incredible.

You: "Paula, welcome to 2015, these brownies have been around for years! How are you just trying them now?"
Me: "Yeah, you're right. I was needlessly skeptical."

It's true - Chocolate Covered Katie came out with her recipe in 2012, and I've looked at it countless times. I hate wasting food and I just couldn't imagine that black beans could become brownies. How is this possible? So I kept putting it off.

You. Guys. It's possible. If you're equipped with a good food processor, you can make some killer black bean brownies in under 30 minutes. Seriously. They're amazing. I still haven't told my husband what is in them, mwahahaha.

Delicious, filled with fiber and protein, ooey gooey, and easy to make? Sign me up.

Stay tuned for more healthy football snacks in the weeks to come. I'm feeling something savory next. If you're looking for other healthy snacks, check out nuts.com; the website is filled with great healthy ideas to keep you going throughout the day.

What is your favorite game day snack? Have you tried black bean brownies before? Let me know below!

Black Bean Brownies

Yield: 9-12 brownies
Time: 22 minutes

  • 15 oz. can low/no sodium black beans, drained and rinsed very well
  • 2 tbls. cocoa powder (10g)
  • 1/2 cup oats (40g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbls. packed brown sugar
  • 3 tbls. butter or coconut oil (40g)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips (125g)
  • Additional chocolate chips to sprinkle on top (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Using a good food processor, process oats until finely ground
  3. Add in remaining ingredients except chocolate chips
  4. Process until completely smooth
  5. Stir in chocolate chips
  6. Transfer to a greased 8x8 or 9x9 pan
  7. Sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top, if using
  8. Bake 15-18 minutes, allow to cool at least 10 minutes before cutting into them
  9. If they still seem undercooked, place in the fridge and they will firm up
  10. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted slightly from Chocolate Covered Katie.