Fuss Free Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

standard November 10, 2017 2 responses

Disclaimer: I was gifted a copy of Sam Turnbull’s Fuss Free Vegan in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I love baking, especially around the holidays. However, I generally do not bake a lot, and I don’t post many baking recipes here. Cooking is so much more intuitive and flexible, and at this stage of my life with a business and a baby, easier.

BUT.

You guys have to make these brownies. As soon as I got a copy of  Sam Turbull’s new cookbook, Fuss Free Vegan, in the mail, I knew I was in trouble. There were so many delicious recipes I wanted to try. The lettuce wraps are a light and hearty, protein packed lunch for busy mamas. The peanut noodles will please everyone. And the vegan cheeses are divine. And made from REAL food. Every recipe in this book is so simple, with few ingredients (that you actually know and understand and can find in your regular grocery store), and packed with flavor. There is a recipe for every staple, something sure to please everyone in your house, even the plant-based skeptics. Many of these recipes do call for all-purpose flour and white sugar, which is not something I recommend or use myself. However, I swapped my go-to gluten-free flour blend and coconut sugar 1:1 on every recipe I tried, including these brownies, and had great results. So whichever flour or sugar combination you choose to go with, you really cannot go wrong with these recipes. Also, from prep, to cooking, to cleanup, I spent less than 30 minutes with minimal dishes. Some recipes had a longer cook time, but I was able to sit back and relax (or more likely, move on to another urgent task) until it was time to eat.

Back to the brownies.

After making a handful of recipes, it came down to two. Blueberry bliss muffins. Or fudgy chocolate brownies. I’m a sucker for a good muffin, especially in the morning with a cup of coffee on cold mornings. But once I tried these brownies, I was sold. So was the husband.

I really didn’t think this recipe was going to work. Usually vegan recipes have some sort of vegan alternative for the eggs and butter used in traditional preparation of baked goods. Sam doesn’t do that. And somehow there is magic that brings these brownies to life. They fluff up in the oven, and settle down into a gooey, rich piece of heaven once they cool. The trick is to follow the instructions for letting them cool. Don’t skip this step because you want brownies now! Trust me. The waiting is worth it.

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup non-dairy milk (such as soy or almond)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease an 8x8-inch baking pan.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt together the chocolate chips and butter, making sure to remove the saucepan from the heat just as it’s finished melting to ensure you don’t burn the chocolate.
  3. Pour the melted chocolate into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar,non-dairy milk, and vanilla and mix well. Now add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt and mix until combined. Finally, add the walnuts (if using).
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 30–35 minutes, until the brownies are pulling away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it. Let the brownies cool and set overnight. This is the key to perfect gooey brownies.
  5. To store, let the brownies cool completely, then cover with foil or plastic wrap and keep at room temperature for the best texture. For longer storage put in an airtight container and store in the fridge.
http://www.neatandnutritious.com/fuss-free-fudgy-chocolate-brownies/

Excerpted from Fuss Free Vegan: 101 Everyday Comfort Food Favorites, Veganized. Copyright © 2017 Samantha Turnbull. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Sam blogs over at It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken, and if you love this recipe, you want to make sure to check out her other delicious fuss free meals. You can also grab a copy of her cookbook (affiliate link) and make easy fuss free vegan meals every day of the week!

Weekly Menu: Baby Led Weaning Basics

standard November 6, 2017 2 responses

We’ve been doing Baby Led Weaning in our house for a month now. And even though a big benefit of this method is not having to cook separate baby food for your child, I find myself planning, prepping, stressing, and making all sorts of things for my daughter that are completely separate from what we are eating. Part of it is she really can’t eat some foods yet that I love (like salad or smoothies). But part of it is my weird need to introduce her to all kinds of new and various foods and flavors and textures even though we are creatures of habit and eat a lot of the same foods over and over within a given week. I’m blaming the dietitian in me 🙂

This week I finally said enough. I may pick our meals based on what I want to feed her this week, but we are going to all eat the same things. Or at least close to it.

I am also working on a more intuitive approach to meal planning. Which means I gave up using My Fitness Pal to plan my meals. But that’s a whole separate post for another day.

Making the Plan

  • I pick 3 fruits and 3 vegetables for the week. I try to base these off of what is in season, incorporating at least one new fruit and vegetable, and one that she is already familiar with. This week is red bell pepper, cucumber, parsnips, apples, pears, and strawberries.
  • Each week, I try to make 2-3 combination foods or “recipes” that incorporate legumes, grains, and healthy fats with the fruits and vegetables. Bonus points if it is something I can freeze extra of for later weeks. This week I made hummus, roasted red pepper tomato sauce, and strawberry chia jam. These will be toppers for veggies and items from the freezer.
  • We are slowly incorporating allergen foods, so I look to see if there is an easy way to add something from the top 8 allergens to our meals for the week. We started with peanut butter, and are trying wheat this week, so I bought some low sodium whole wheat bread that we can spread with mashed avocado or hummus.
  • For adult meals, this means using the same veggies to throw together quick salads. I’m also making lettuce cups and a peanut noodle dish this week that includes bell peppers and cucumber. Strawberry chia jam gets stirred into oatmeal in the morning. Hummus and crackers are a staple snack.

Prep

  • Right now I plan out my foods and grocery list on Friday, order groceries on Saturday, and prep items on Sunday. I’m working on condensing this into a better system that works for my schedule, but right now breaking it up is working best for me. (Side note: Instacart is life changing! Use this link to get $10 off your first order)
  • A great resource for getting ideas for fruits and veggies for kids to try is Produce for Kids. They have a list of seasonal produce by month along with a ton of recipes.
  • I get a lot of recipe and meal ideas from the Born to Eat and Baby Nosh books.

Menu

  • Breakfasts: banana pancakes (previously frozen) or oatmeal with strawberry chia jam; blueberry muffins
  • Lunches: lettuce cups, salad
  • Dinners: Hello Fresh meals, peanut noodles, pasta with roasted red pepper tomato sauce
  • Snacks: apples with peanut butter; hummus and veggies

I am slowly trying to incorporate 1-2 new recipes into each week instead of relying just on Hello Fresh, freezer meals, and takeout. I’ve got about 30 minutes max to make dinner at night between work and baby’s internal schedule that insists on dinner at exactly 5:45 each night (seriously, where do they learn these things?), so I’ve had to learn to be even more quick and simplified in my cooking approach. No trying new complicated dishes that take forever to prep or cook. And honestly, my desire and inspiration to make these type of meals has mostly disappeared. I love cooking, but I love sitting down and spending time with my family more than hanging out in the kitchen by myself.

Have you ever found yourself struggling in a new season with meal prep and planning? 

Do you prefer structured meal plans or a more intuitive and loose approach to meals? 

  • Less structure is definitely challenging for me, but also more freeing.

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Purchases from these links may result in a small commission used to support neatandnutritious.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Be Present: November

standard November 3, 2017 Leave a response

I’m convinced that the later into the year we get, the faster the months fly by. Although, October started out well, with a lot of tasks getting completed and crossed off the very first week, which helped propel me through the rest of my list.  November is about slowing down a little. Simplifying more. Being more focused and intentional on how I spend my time and doing the right things well instead of all the things okay.

October in Review:

1. Update editorial calendar for Neat & Nutritious.

Since the start of Celebration Nutrition, I was running two blogs, which, combined with having a baby, meant content was sporadic on both sites. In order to streamline and make life simpler, I merged the two and am migrating content over to Neat & Nutritious. Which means more access to nutrition-related topics, more consistent content, and more recipes (down the road!)

2. Finish my first postpartum/stroller race.

My goal was to finish my 3rd Run Free Texas 80s 8k in under an hour/beat my pregnancy time from last year. Right at the end I realized I could even beat 55 minutes if I pushed hard enough, but ended up barely missing that and finishing in 56:10. Still, with a stroller and monster hills, I am super pumped with that time. Ready for another one soon!

3. Complete phase 2 of Celebration Nutrition services updates.

This got completely scrapped. Going in a whole different direction. My focus right now is on doing a few things well and not ALL THE THINGS, even though all the things are super awesome and I really want to do them. They will come, in time.

4. Plan WEEKLY date nights.

The husband ended up being gone for half the month, so this did not happen. But the weeks he was home, we snuck out, even if just for a quick lunch to catch up.

5. Walk 10k steps every day (work days make this surprisingly difficult!)

Averaged about 5 of 7 days each week, which I will take. Some days are so taken up with client appointments that I don’t get a run in, let alone a stroller walk. And I’ve noticed my body loves having one day completely off, so on Sundays we rest.

November Goals:

  1. Pick and sign up for Marathon #6.
  2. Set up a new meal prep routine that works.
  3. Network weekly to build brand awareness.
  4. Donate milk to Mother’s Milk Bank.
  5. Outsource and time manage better to maximize work days.

Ready to start intentionally goal setting in 2018? Grab a set of Powersheets and plan with me next year! The big 2018 goal setting prep week is happening December 4th.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Purchases from these links may result in a small commission used to support neatandnutritious.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own.