Kitchen Experiments – Beans for Dessert?

Flourless Coconut Great Northern Bean Blondies

It seems like these days I am continually searching for new recipes and especially things made without flour.  Anita and I have been on our low grain and fruit diet now for over a month and we are sick of what we are eating.  We keep looking for different ways to cook with nuts and beans.  Someone gave Anita a recipe for Almond Blondies, which you make with almond butter, and it peaked my interest so I decided to make them.  I did not have the recipe however, so I did what everyone else does when they need a recipe, I put it in Google search.  Wow, I am always surprised by the number of recipes that pop up no matter what you are searching for.  I found the almond blondie recipe but this recipe caught my eye as well:

Flourless Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies with Sea Salt.

I couldn’t resist the urge to click on that link and I was so glad that I did.  Beans for dessert?  You bet!

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I made the recipe and then got to thinking …what other bean nut combinations could I make? One of my favorite things that I have been making involves pecans and coconut.  I like those two things together so why not a pecan coconut blondie.  As many of you already know, when we started the ALCAT diet we also started a rotation diet, meaning that we try to only eat the same foods about every 4 days.  So, it was easy to decide which bean I wanted to use because on my pecan and coconut day I also eat white beans.  Now, there are many different white beans and any of them would work well.  I used Great Northern beans, but you could use navy, cannelini or a small white bean. I added an egg to the batter to make it more cake like, but it can be made without the egg or made with an egg substitute.  My new favorite substitution is 1 tablespoon chia seeds plus 3 tablespoons of water.  Stir and let sit until thickened.

Here is the recipe that I followed:

1 can (15oz.) Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup Pecan Butter (I made my own in the Vitamix)
1/3 cup Coconut Nectar (you could use maple syrup or honey)
1 egg (optional)
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup Coconut Chips (you could use flakes)
 
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray an 8″x8″ pan with cooking spray.
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~In a food processor (again I used my Vitamix), add all ingredients except the coconut and process until batter is smooth. Fold in coconut (I added the coconut to the vitamix and then just pulsed it 2-3 times). Batter will be super thick.
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~Spread batter evenly in prepared pan with a spatula.  It may be easier to spread with a spatula sprayed with cooking spray or dipped in water.
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~Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are a tiny bit brown.  The batter may look underdone but you don’t want them to dry out.
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 Adding the beans to the recipe give the bars a really creamy texture.  To me it almost has the texture of a cheesecake.  It has got me thinking … do you think you could make a cheese cake using beans?  I will keep you posted!

Calling all Gardeners

I love to be in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes, but my other love is being outside in the gardens. I have been trying to plant a garden for the past 4 or 5 years. I have a very shady property which makes it very difficult to grow vegetables, but I keep trying anyway! I am pleasantly surprised that this year my garden is actually growing! The moon, the planets and the stars must have all lined up perfectly this year!

gardenThis is my one garden.  Look how green everything is!  I have been eating onions from last year, lettuce, spinach and peas so far.  I also have a lot of squash growing – plus I had a volunteer grow out of the compost pile.

compost pileI had no idea what kind of squash it was until I finally saw one growing amongst the weeds!

squashLooks like a butternut squash variety.  One of my favorites!

Last year when my garden wasn’t growing well, I asked my husband if we could make another garden on the side of the house where a tree was taken down. I thought maybe it would be a sunnier location for some of the vegetables.  Not much grew in that space last year, but this year…

garden2I have a lot of beets and beet greens.  We ate some of the greens but none of the actual beets are quite ready.  I have more lettuce that I just picked today and in that big mass of leaves there is one yellow squash growing.  I hope that the other plants will soon produce zucchini  but you never know.  They look healthy though!  On the far side of the garden I have a lot a different squashes growing.  I was looking the other day at one of the plants that I  thought was a cantaloupe plant.  That is what I planted.  Well, it isn’t.  It’s cucumbers!  I have several of those popping out on the vine as well.

You can’t see it, but on the other side of the squash I have strawberry plants.  They did great in the spring.  Every morning my husband would go outside and bring at least 10-15 in each time.  There is nothing as sweet as the strawberries that you pick and then eat!  I also really wanted to grow raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.

blackberriesThe blueberries are not liking the soil so I just amended it with some nice organic acid fertilizer and put pine bark around them so hopefully next year we will be eating blueberries.  The raspberries are not so great either – I think we ate 2 and the birds got the rest.  The blackberries have flowers and fruit but you have to time it just right or the birds get them before we do.  That’s ok, I don’t mind sharing.  I did give my daughter one blackberry that was about an inch long and she said it was the best she ever tasted!

As you gardeners know, gardening takes up a lot of your free time.  In february, I swore I was not even going to plant anything.  Well, you can see where that got me.  I just couldn’t resist.  My husband laughs every time we eat anything out of the garden and jokes about my million dollar vegetables, but I don’t care.  I just love to see it growing in my yard!

All you gardeners certainly know just how I feel.  There is nothing fresher than walking outside, picking what you want for dinner and then preparing it in whatever way you want!  There is really nothing quite like it.  So, if you see me next February and I tell you that this year I am not planting a garden, check back with me in July and see what sprang out of the earth!  Happy Planting!