July 21, 2013
Healthy Snacks On The Go - The Recipe Redux Challenge July 2013
I don't know many Seniors that have good eating habits. I am one of them.
I constantly fight to remember to eat breakfast which always turns into brunch, which by then means a salad, sandwich or leftovers.
Snacks, what are they? I have never been a snacker. I don't even eat the snacks I put out for company, so when I saw this month's theme, it really was a major challenge for me. If I don't snack, what snack would I even consider making for a trip? The other problem was finding a recipe that doesn't make a dozen or more of anything we won't eat.
I could have made a turkey and lettuce roll-up, sliced into bite-sized coins, but that would have been cheating. I took this theme to mean, create a healthy snack to pack for a road trip. If we had kids, this would be easy, but with no kids, our choice is selecting a box of energy bars or mini bags of 100 calorie something's.
I am sorry, but asking me to bake or cook a recipe for a dozen granola bars just ain't gonna happen. Sorry, but that's our reality. Not only do we never have granola or energy bars in this house, when I do eat granola, it's usually on top of a purchased cup of flavored yogurt that I get on vacation included in the free breakfast.
The Nudge buys one-size bottles of smoothies that he stores in the fridge at work and when I tried to make a quart of a homemade smoothie, he did not like the pressure of having to drink at least one serving a day because the contents might go "off" if it wasn't finished by Friday and had to be thrown away come Monday morning. Too much waste dictated smaller bottles with longer expiration dates.
When we plan a road trip, a small personal cooler gets filled with bottles of cranberry juice and water because the one thing we know we need to do, is stop for a good, hardy breakfast before hitting the pavement. No snacks required.
I took a poll of all my friends and when they were young most road trips were to the Jersey Shore and might require a stop for sandwiches packed the night before, but we never did snacks the way families of today plan their daily lives around them.
An apple or peanut butter filled celery was the choice for after school hold overs till dinner, we just didn't even say "snack". So, to participate in this challenge I either had to lie and make something I would have made if I was a Mother of the Millennium, or think long and hard, of a snack, I would enjoy eating at anytime I needed a little somethin' somethin' to quiet a grumbling stomach (not just while traveling).
I came up with brownie bites, but not your regular brownies. A brownie made with no flour so that people with diabetes and celiac's disease can have a homemade snack they can eat. This is not a new concept by any means but for me, it was a true challenge. The first time I tried to make these unique brownies, it ended as so many of my baking endeavors do, in the garbage. I do not remember why they were inedible, but this batch was excellent by The Nudge who would not except they were made with beans. I knew Whole Foods would not let me down.
This was one recipe that although yielded a dozen servings and would never really go on a long road trip, they would make a small but daily commute, inside a lunch bag tucked away besides a one serving drink of a Very Berry Smoothie.
Chocolate Chip & Walnut Black Bean Brownie Bites
Adapted from Whole Foods
Yield: 16 squares or 12 mini muffin bites
Cook's Note: If your processor is not powerful enough to make the mixture perfectly smooth (mine could not get to the skins), try using a blender. It is essential that the skins be included so try not to strain them out.
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Butter an 8-inch baking pan or a 12 muffin tin.
* 1 can (15oz) no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
* 2 large eggs
* 1/3 cup melted butter, more for the pan
* 1/4 cup cocoa powder
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cane sugar
* 1/2 cup gluten-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
* 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
Place the beans, eggs, melted butter, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract and sugar in the bowl of a food processor.
Blend until smooth.
Remove the blade and gently stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.
Bake the brownies for 30-35 minutes (8" pan) or 20-23 minutes (muffin tin) or until just set in the center. Cool before cutting into squares.
Whenever I buy store made muffins I save the plastic container they come in. I sent The Nudge off to work with 6 of them nestled contently for the ride.