rockier road vegan brownies (no added sugar)

 

Sometimes getting a recipe just right takes awhile. Sometimes the results are only good for the garbage (yeah, that bad). And sometimes they are an unexpected blessing. This last result is exactly what happened here.

I can’t remember exactly what I was going for when I first mixed this rockier road vegan brownies recipe up. I think it might have been chocolate cookies. Anyway, whatever it was, it just didn’t happen.

Except the results were exactly what I was going for in an chocolately fudgey vegan brownie recipe. Whooop, whooop! Then inspired by another recipe I saw in a vegan cookbook, I tossed on some chopped almonds and cacao nibs. Voila! Rockier road vegan brownies.

Why rockier road?

Because in the name of all things no-added-sugar, I left out the marshmallows. See? The road just got rockier. I honestly don’t think you’ll miss that pop of sugar, though, and I’ve shared this with enough people to know you won’t hear any complaining.

The recipe for these rockier road vegan brownies is a VIP recipe which you can snag when you sign up for my newsletter here (or click the image below). I’m also including the photos for how I packaged these to give as a gift along with gift tag labels.

Let’s spread a little no-added-sugar plant-based food joy, shall we?

 

 

carrot muffins (vegan, dairy free, no added sugar)

 

Since we’re in the season of getting together and gift-giving, I want to give you a better-for-you, better-for-them muffin recipe. A carrot muffin recipe and one that is free of any added sugar and full of vitamins and make-you-feel good ingredients.

This time of year, it feels like we’re inundated with foods that are high in fats and sugars, doesn’t it? And even though muffins appear innocent, many muffin recipes have plenty of both. Especially if you add the pat of butter – vegan or no.

 

 

Why am I so passionate about this? It’s because I’ve seen how much better I feel and how much better my body functions when I keep the added sugars and even fats on the lower side. I also know how impossible it feels eat healthier when it seems like everyone else is digging into those holiday treats. I’ll be sharing much more on sugar, it’s effects and what you can do about it in the coming weeks and am excited about something I have in the works for you!

So what’s the secret to keeping these carrot muffins on the healthy side? Dates, carrots and a bit of zucchini, plus using whole grain flour. They were a big hit with my children who can be picky, so I think it’s safe to say these will be a crowd-pleaser.

Make these for breakfast, for a snack for a brunch or for someone else whom you want to love with food that loves you back. XOXO

 

(Oh, and if you want a second no-added-sugar muffin recipe, you can grab my chocolate zucchini muffin recipe here.)

Print
carrot muffins
Prep Time
20 mins
 

Carrot muffins free from added sugar and filled only plant-based ingredients. Perfect for breakfast, brunch or a snack.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Snack
Servings: 12
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups whole grain spelt or ivory wheat flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 scooop 100% pure stevia
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp all spice
  • 1/8 tsp powdered ginger
Wet Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 small just ripe or slightly underripe banana
  • 1.5 cups almond coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup date paste
  • 1 flax egg (1 T ground flax + 2 T water)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Grease a muffin very well (coconut oil is recommended).

  2. Add the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and stir to thoroughly combine.

  3. Add walnuts to a food processor and blend until the walnuts begin to release their oils (will start to become like a paste). Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT carrots, zucchini and apple cider vinegar and blend until well combined.

  4. Pour into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and gently fold to mix.

  5. Gently stir in the carrots and zucchini until thoroughly combined and then gently stir in the apple cider vinegar. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin - adding the batter almost to the top.

  6. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake 27-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool for 5-10 minutes in the tin, then loosen and move muffins to a cookie rack to finish cooling. Store in an air tight container.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES:    If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using.          *           I highly recommend storing these muffins in the fridge if they aren't eaten after the first day. Without the added sugar plus high moisture content, they can turn moldy more quickly than you might expect. Experience is talking here.

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • I got my organic spelt flour (GMO free!) from the bulk section at Whole Foods, or you can find it here.
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers (see this post). I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but try the NOW BetterStevia™ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order…comment or message me if you want to know which products I stock up on to get the free shipping
  • I use Silk almond coconut milk. If you can’t find it, you could always mix half unsweetened almond milk and half full fat coconut milk.

 

 

his ‘n hers secret ingredient vegan black bean chili

 

Before I adopted a plant-based diet, there were some dishes that I never made with meat. Like pasta sauce (here’s my go to recipe). And chili.

Not sure why, but for some reason, I never liked the addition of meat in these dishes. However, once I went all in on the vegan eating, I knew I had to pay more attention to my protein sources.

 

Let’s pause a minute on this while I clear up the myth that you can’t get “enough” protein on a plant-based diet…

  • First, all plants have protein, though some have more than others (think nuts, legumes, beans, lentils).
  • Secondly, our bodies don’t store protein and will eliminate the excess or turn it into fat.
  • Therefore, there’s absolutely no point in consuming more than your body will use for that day. For example, 1 cup of cooked, chopped chicken has about 43 grams of protein. That’s only 3 grams shy of the recommended daily requirement for the average woman. So unless our lady eats almost nothing else the rest of the day, she’ll be consuming way more protein than is needed.
  • By comparison, I reach a third of my daily requirements with a thoughtful, 100% plant-based breakfast. Combine that with lunch, dinner and snacks, I rarely have an issue meeting my daily requirements unless I’ve skimped on the nuts and beans.

 

Which brings me to this secret-ingredient vegan black bean chili.

 

 

Beans are excellent sources of plant-based protein, but I wanted to dot my protein “i’s” and “t’s” in this dish and add a little more. Plus I wanted to give the appearance that meat was present to appeal to meat eaters. Like my husband.

So what’s the secret ingredient in this secret-ingredient vegan black bean chili? Walnuts! Finely chopping the walnuts with some garlic and onion powders and sage in a food processor or blender makes it look like I’ve added ground meat into my chili. Genius, right?!

But wait, there’s a second secret ingredient too…chocolate!

It may sound weird, but trust me on this. The chocolate tangos with the chili powder to deepen the flavor, plus it’s a superfood that has won many a woman’s heart so of course it needs to go there.

And there you have it. The his ‘n hers secret ingredient vegan black bean chili.

Let’s get cooking!

 

Print
his 'n hers secret ingredient vegan black bean chili
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins
 

This protein-packed chili has two secret ingredients to appeal both to him and to her.

Course: Entree
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 3 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup veggie stock
  • 4.5-6 cups black beans
  • 2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 7-8 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 Tbsp chili powder
  • 3 tsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp oregano
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3-4 dashes onion powder
  • 3-4 dashes garlic powder
  • 1-2 dashes ground sage
Instructions
  1. If you're cooking your own black beans, do so according to package directions. I usually soak mine in cold water overnight, rinse then add to a fresh pot of boiling water and boil for about 115-20 minutes. Then I turn off the heat and soak for several more hours.

  2. If you want the walnuts more tender, soak them for 30 minutes in water that been just boiled.

  3. Add the onion, garlic and peppers to a large stock pot along with the veggie stock over high heat. Saute about 5 minutes or until the veggies start to become tender.

  4. Add tomatoes and spices. (Hint: I like using the 1 cup of water to rinse out the cans and add it into the chili pot - it helps prevent waste that way!)

  5. Add cooked beans.

  6. For the walnuts, add to a food processor or blender along with garlic and onion powders and sage and pulse until the walnuts are finely chopped. Then add to the chili.

  7. Bring the chili to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about one hour to let the flavors develop.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES: This chili tastes even better on the second and third day as the spices work themselves through. It also freezes well!

 

 

 

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stretching your grocery budget: money saving apps

photo credit: corrine kutz @unsplash.com

(this post contains affiliate links which carry no cost to you but help support this blog)

 

I’m serving up something a little different for you today and talking about money. Specifically, how you can save it.

While paper and printable coupons are still around, there are newer kids in town who are here to save you money: apps. They function similarly to paper coupons, but (I think) carry higher payouts and are much safer than printable coupons which can invite viruses into your computer.

While money saving apps involve a little extra step than simply clipping coupons and handing them to the cashier, they are completely worth it. If you aren’t doing this, you’re leaving money on the table. In fact, just today, I was able to put $20 back into my grocery budget and another $20 is on its way in the mail.

 

In case you were missing a recipe, here’s a budget-friendly meal: best basic burritos. Click the pic for the recipe.

 

Here’s why I love these money saving apps:

  • No paper coupons to organize, lose and forget – all the offers are easily found within the app
  • You can earn money back on fresh produce!
  • With one of the apps, I can earn money back just for submitting a picture of a receipt.
  • Sometimes there are offers for the same product in more than one app which = even bigger savings!
  • It’s easier to let others in on the savings – with coupons, I just keep them for myself; with the apps, I can alert others of savings plus get a bonus for referrals.

All you need is a tablet, ipad or smartphone to download the apps plus your receipts and you’re ready to go. Since I’ve started using these money saving apps, I’ve earned back more than $140!

 

photo credit: alexander mils @unsplash.com

 

Below is a list of my favorite money saving apps plus how to use them. If you don’t have an account with these apps already, you’ll want to use the codes I give you for extra savings! (For transparency’s sake, I get a bonus too).

 

Ibotta:  This is my favorite app and that one that’s netted me the most money. As an added bonus, you can use it for mobile shopping and for more than just groceries. And there are bonuses available to increase your earnings. Here’s how it works:

  • Download it to your phone.
  • Sign up for an account (use this link to create it online https://ibotta.com/r/nuqylud or enter this code into the app itself: nuqylud) You get a $10 bonus for signing up and when you join my team, we get extra earning opportunities.
  • If you don’t have Ibotta already, you’ll definitely want to get it this month because you could earn back more an additional $100!
  • To use it, look for rebates in the app to match with the stores where you shop. Unlock the rebate and then redeem the offer by submitting your receipt (with a photo) once your purchase the item.
  • Once you bank at least $20, you can request a payout to PayPal, Venmo or in the form of a gift card.

 

Fetch Reward: A newer app which is even easier to use – all you need to do is submit a photo of your receipts and the app does the rest. At minimum, you get 25 points per submitted receipts and can earn additional points for product-specific purchases. Plus when you enter this code into the app: X3MCY, you will get a bonus 1,500 points when you complete one receipt (equal to $1.50). You can redeem your points for gift cards when you reach a minimum of 5,000 points (equal to $5)

 

Checkout 51: Similiar to Ibotta where you identify offers to redeem and take a photo of your receipt and submit it. Also has fresh produce offers and an added benefit of submitting receipts from any store. You can request a payout when you accumulate $20 in savings.

 

 

 

Saving Star: Similar to Ibotta and Checkout 51, but you can request a payout after only $5 of accumulated savings. Like Ibotta, Savings Star is only good with certain stores, so be sure to double check these before you shop.

 

 

 

Makeena: A newer app which works similar to the other apps and is geared to the organic/natural foods market and offers rebates on organic produce. You’ll want to enter this code: OJVUQZ in the app when you create your account to earn a bonus 1000 points (equal to $1). Like Saving Star, you can get a payout after $5 in savings.

 

 

 

Berry Cart: Also caters to the organic/natural foods market and works similarly to the other apps. Use this link: https://www.berrycart.com/rf/vT2VwMeSwX to create an account online and then download the app. Also allows you to get a payout after $5 in savings.

 

 

 

BONUS MONEY SAVING APPS

These are a little different than the ones mentioned above, but worth mentioning for their money saving power.

Target: If you haven’t started using Cartwheel yet, you need to as it saves you a percentage of selected products! The easiest way to find deals under cartwheel is to scan the barcodes for the products you’re purchasing in the app (and it’s fun too!). When you check out, have the cashier scan your barcode (in the app) and saving will automatically be applied as you checkout. Additional way to save: get a Target debit or credit card and save 5% every time you shop.

 

 

 

Whole Foods: Includes coupons in the app. Scan the barcode at checkout to have the savings applied when you checkout.

 

 

 

 

 

Ebates*: So this isn’t exactly for grocery shopping but it’s definitely worth mentioning. Ebates is mostly for online purchases, but there are some in-store options too! You get a certain percentage back for your purchases and they send you a check every quarter when you’ve accumulated savings over $5. Use this referral link https://go.ebat.es/imsk/yyy9XGYsVC for that so you can save $10 off your first purchase of $25 or more.