Monday, July 21, 2014

Black Bean Brownies

So before we dive into this DELICIOUS recipe, I thought I'd tell you guys a little secret. It may come as a surprise to you (as it was definitely a surprise to us), but Nick and I have started eating a (mostly) vegan diet. We probably won't talk about it much on the blog, but I thought we should give you guys a heads up in case you start wondering why we always shared all of these recipes that were like "Chicken! Cheese!" and now they're like "Seitan! Tofu!"(just kidding). Anyway, this recipe is vegan, but you of course could use non-vegan ingredients if you so choose! Let's get started...

I've wanted to try these black bean brownies for a long time because I was very intrigued by the idea of making a yummy, chocolately dessert that's healthy but will actually still taste good. I was definitely not let down. Want to try it?

Here's what you need! (Recipe adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)
- 1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed very well
- 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup quick oats
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup agave sweetener
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (we used dairy-free chocolate chunks)

NOTE: These ingredients are what we used for our brownies, however the original recipe linked above provides substitutions (i.e. pure maple syrup or honey rather than agave, and vegetable oil rather than coconut.)

Here's what you do!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8" pan.
- Combine all ingredients EXCEPT chocolate chips in your food processor and blend until completely smooth. (I blended once, then scraped the sides with a spatula and blended again).
- Once well blended, stir in your chocolate chips and pour into your greased pan.
- Bake 18-20 minutes and let cool completely before cutting. (Seriously, I tried before they were completely cooled and it was a little messy.) Makes 9 brownies.

These brownies were so good, it's a little ridiculous. They are super soft and chocolately. The consistency once they're completely cooled is actually more like a fudge than a brownie. Since we used coconut oil rather then vegetable, they had a subtle coconut flavor which I really liked. Plus, they are SO easy to make! Another A+ for our brand new food processor!

I'm also really pleased that Nick loved them because he was definitely unsure about the whole bean thing when I suggested it. When we were photographing and sampling them, he kept telling me "Okay, these are just so good. I love them. They're my favorite." And they have BEANS in them, you guys. Can you believe it?!

Also, here's a fun little GIF we made with the new Party Party app from A Beautiful Mess. Fun!

 photo photo_zps43d49e2a.gif

Okay, we're off to SAN FRANCISCOOOOOO! Have a great week everyone. We'll be back next week to share our July books with you!

Sarah & Nick

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Heart-Felt Sweatshirt

Okay, to tell you the truth I was going to do this project months ago, like when it was actually still cold out. It just got away from me and before I knew it, it was 90 degrees and I knew I wasn't going to be wearing long sleeves for months. But Nick and I are heading to San Francisco next week (woop, woop!) and the one thing I've been hearing over and over again is, "Dress warm, it's going to be chilly there!" So I decided alrighty then, I'm going to make this now so I have a cute sweatshirt to throw on in San Fran!

I purchased this plain dark grey/blue sweatshirt from Old Navy on clearance for about $3 and thought it would be cute to spruce up with some heart-shaped elbow patches. This is a super easy DIY you can accomplish in an afternoon! Want to make your own?

Here's what you need!
- Sweatshirt/sweater
- Chalk (or something to mark your sweater)
- Felt
- Embroidery floss
- Hand-sewing needle
- Scissors
- Paper
- Pen and/or Sharpie
- Pins/Stitch Witchery/Iron (optional)

Here's what you do!
- Put on your sweatshirt or sweater and use chalk to mark where you want your patches to be.

- Fold a piece of paper in half and draw half a heart along the crease in the paper. Use scissors to cut out your folded heart (which will be symmetrical when unfolded).
- Check the shape and size of your heart on the sweatshirt. If you're satisfied, use the paper as a guide to trace two hearts on your felt. Use scissors to cut them out.
- Attach your felt hearts to your sweatshirt with pins or stitch witchery (if you have leftover Sharpie marks, place them facedown). I used two small pieces of stitch witchery and my iron to attach my felt to my sweatshirt. This will help keep the hearts in place when you're sewing.

- Using your embroidery floss and a needle, sew your felt heart onto your sweatshirt sleeve. Knot tightly once finished.

This project was super quick and easy (despite it taking me months to get around to). It was also cheap! I'm definitely ready to start sewing felt hearts onto everything. Maybe throw pillows next time?

Sarah & Nick