Black Bean Brownies

We made it home last night after a whirl-wind trip down to FL to see our 2Lt. He’s been gone since the end of September,  he won’t be home for Thanksgiving (the first time ever to miss it), and his December schedule will have him home before Christmas, but not on Christmas day. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to go see him!

I checked the weather before packing and really thought that I had packed the proper clothing. However, the weather forecasts did not tell me that the wind would blow the entire time we were there! That wind made it feel colder than it really was, and I nearly froze on Friday afternoon and evening! We did have a great time, though, getting to see quite a few planes (even go up inside some), spending time in the Navy museum, the lighthouse and museum, the fort, and the beach! Sunset on the beach was breath-taking!

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I have been greatly enjoying the new Trim Healthy Mama cookbook! The recipes are so good, and I am working hard at getting the hubby and me back on track to healthy eating.

The other day I had an opened can of black beans that I needed to use. I remembered a recipe in the new cookbook and thought that maybe I could use the beans instead of the okra that is called for. They turned out great! Even my picky son thought they were pretty good…for diet food! Ha! They tasted even better after being in the fridge overnight.

4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate

3/4 c. butter

3/4 c. low-carb sweetener blend

2 pinches salt

1/2 c. oat flour

1/2 c. ground pecans

1 c. black beans

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

Lightly coat a 9×9 pan with coconut oil. Melt the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan. Combine sweetener, salt, flour, and pecans in a large mixing bowl. Combine the beans, eggs, and vanilla in a blender and puree until smooth. Add the chocolate/butter mix and the puree to the dry ingredients. Stir well by hand. Pour into pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Let cool in pan. Cut into bars and serve, or refrigerate overnight for a fudgier brownie!

 

Black Beans and Rice Skillet Dinner

The other day I had the privilege of helping out a dear friend of mine.  Our friendship goes way back to my high school days, only Gloria was not in school with me. She was one of my teachers!  As I grew into adulthood, our relationship changed from teacher/student to friends.  For the last several years I’ve driven out to her home once or twice a month to help her do some of the paperwork required for her husband’s dairy farm.  These times together are not only times of work, but also times of spiritual refreshment.  We share prayer requests, our thoughts of the previous Sunday’s sermons, and lessons we’ve learned from our own time in the Word.  It is truly a time of iron sharpening iron.

Recently Gloria had to undergo some oral surgery which left her fighting migraines day after day for several weeks.  Since I was driving out to help her this last week, I decided to share our dinner with her and her hubby.  I still have trouble cutting down on the amount I fix for a meal, so I realized it wouldn’t be a problem at all.  I just took half of what I made out to Gloria!

This recipe is not written down at all.  I just sort of ‘winged’ it while I was cooking, so any amounts given here are just approximates. Both our hubbies enjoyed it, so I hope you do too!

 

1 lb. ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1-1/2 to 2 cups of cooked rice

3/4 cup  gravy or  1/2 can of cream of mushroom soup

about 10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

salt, pepper, Soy Sauce to taste

Parmesan cheese

optional ingredients: chopped bell pepper, chopped chili pepper, pimentos, mushroom pieces

In a large skillet brown ground beef with the onions and garlic until beef is cooked and onions are tender. Drain any fat. Stir in black beans, rice, gravy, tomatoes, and seasonings. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Serve with green leafy salad of your choice!

 

Taco Soup

I absolutely loved the weather today…slightly overcast with a light breeze, and temps in the low 50s!  Definitely fall here in the south. Of course, by Wednesday it could be 80 again!  Anyway, the day just called for taco soup for lunch.  I found 2 recipes in our church cookbook.  By combining them I came up with a wonderful soup for the crockpot. It is easy and fast to put together, too!  By lunch the whole house smelled amazing!  Serve with cornbread and a lettuce salad!  Yummy!

1-1/2 lbs. ground beef

16 oz. can black beans

1-1/2 c. frozen corn

1 packet taco seasoning

1 packet ranch dressing mix

2 c. water

1 lg. can crushed tomatoes

In a large skillet brown the ground beef and drain off fat.  Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and stir well.  Set on low for about 4-5 hours.

Savannah Notes

“Hey ya’ll” from the beautiful old city of Savannah, GA! Life in the historic deep South is wonderfully relaxing (other than the work thing, of course). Every time I drive downtown or out to the islands, “I can’t believe I live here!” runs through my head!

Day off = beach

Savannah is truly as picturesque as its reputation claims. Gorgeous houses, churches dating back to the 1700’s, a boat-filled river front,… and the food! Don’t get me started. Home to Paula Deen (who, by the way, is impossible to see so don’t try), the Savannah Cookie Company, and fresh-from-the-ocean seafood, Savannah is not the place for weight-loss fanatics.

Thankfully my job requires constant activity, so I don’t feel too guilty about the occasional indulgence. Eating-out is not becoming a habit though! I finally have the biggest item on my wish list, and I am taking advantage of it. My little kitchen is sufficiently stocked with a crockpot, blender, mixer, pots, pans, and Pyrex. I don’t have a couch, but who needs that? Anywho.

Here is a fun little recipe I tried today. I try to make larger quantities than necessary so I have leftovers for work lunches. You might want to double this if you are making a dish for more than 4 people.

Summer Rotini Salad

4 C. water

2 C. rotini pasta

1/2 C. chopped black olives

1/2 C. black beans

1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 C. crumbled feta cheese

Add each of these to taste: red pepper, garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper

Bring water to a boil and add rotini. Turn heat to just above medium and bring pasta back to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cook until desired tenderness is reached. Turn off heat and drain pasta. Stir in olive oil, olives, and black beans. Add seasonings to taste and top off with the feta. This is great served warm right out of the pot, but I like to chill mine for an hour or so.

Sorry no pictures! It’s not the prettiest dish. For extra color, add pimentos or green pepper slices.