To My Dear Children,
First off I want you to know that I love you. What I’m about to tell you may be hard to hear but please know that it’s only because I love you that I made the choices that I did. Over the years you’ve made my life rather difficult when it came to feeding you. You put me through the macaroni and cheese diet where all you would eat was boxed macaroni for all three meals. Then one of you decided to become a vegetarian but refused to eat any vegetables, only bread, sweets, and the occasional banana. This must have looked really appealing to one of your siblings because soon after, he declared himself a vegetarian also and ate only cinnamon toast and a few chicken nuggets thrown in for good measure. (We gave up trying to explain to him what a vegetarian was.) Then there was the no-chunks phase where if a chunk of vegetable was found in any food on your plate, it was immediately fed to one of the dogs when I turned my head. Can you see how your behavior pushed me into a corner? Is it any wonder I had to resort to covert measures to get some nutrition down you? So please understand that someday when you get married and your spouse asks for your favorite childhood recipes, you’re going to be a little, um, surprised at what is really in them. I did it for your own good. And when you have children of your own who refuse to eat the healthy food you place in front of them, I hope you’ll remember your favorite treats from your own childhood and carry on the tradition. And that would be the perfect time to call me and apologize.
Your Loving Mother
Covert Fudgy Black Bean Brownies
1 15 oz can drained and rinsed black beans (I used 1 3/4 cups dried beans that I had soaked and cooked myself)
3 large eggs
3 Tablespoons oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 teaspoon instant coffee (makes the chocolate taste richer)
Optional: For a cake like brownie add 1/2 cup flour
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil an 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Place black beans in food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Add eggs, oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, baking powder, coffee and salt and process until smooth. (Add flour here if desired). Add 1/4 cup of chocolate chips and pulse leaving chunks. Pour into pan and sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips. Bake 30 minutes or until edges start to pull away from pan and a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool and slice. Don't overcook.
Sneaky Strawberry Spinach Smoothies
½ cup frozen strawberries (the color hides the green of the spinach)
½ cup (live active culture) yogurt
1 tablespoon ground flax meal
½ cup milk
½ cup fresh spinach
Sweetener to taste
Blend all together until smooth and creamy and serve.
Camouflaged Popsicles (aka. Whole Fruit Popsicles with Flax)
1 cup plain (live active culture) yogurt
1 cup fresh or frozen fruit washed and peeled (berries, melon, peaches, nectarines, bananas, pineapple, etc.)
2 Tablespoons honey (use alternative sweetener if giving to a child under the age of one)
2 tablespoons ground flax meal
Pour all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Poor into Popsicle molds, freeze and serve.
Sly (almost) Corn Nuts
1 12 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Blot chickpeas with a paper towel to dry them. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil, and season to taste with salt or spices of your choice. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned and crunchy. Watch carefully the last few minutes to avoid burning. Eat immediately. These don’t store well and can get soggy again so make sure you eat them all up the first day.
Use your favorite seasonings to flavor these….ranch dressing mix, taco seasoning, Italian dressing mix, seasoning salt, Cajun seasoning, etc.