No-Bake Chocolate Protein Brownies

I’ve been on the Black Bean Brownie kick for a couple of years. I have a major sweet tooth but once I started focusing on cooking and eating for health and nutrition as well as taste, I’ve been phasing out a lot of traditional sweets. The one recipe I keep and continue to make is my Grammy’s Pumpkin Bread…I’ve modified it here and there and it still tastes great, but the original is the best.

I digress…

When I want brownies but I don’t want to have a crazy sugar rush afterward, I go the black bean route. The first ones I tried were the Chocolate Covered Katie Black Bean Brownies. I even made them for a baking contest at work. They’re delicious, fudge-y, and chocolatey. Everything you could want in a brownie, minus the feeling of eating a bowl full of sugar.

It’s no secret I love making treats with Orgain.  I’ve made protein shakes (obviously), overnight oats, cheesecake, cookies, and more with this awesome, simple, vegan protein powder. So of course I decided it was time to take the Orgain to the black bean brownies and devise the ultimate protein-bar brownie. Still chocolatey and fudge-y, a bit lighter than the original black bean brownies (no chocolate chips, no cocoa powder), and you don’t even have to wait for them to bake.

Success!

As usual, I don’t measure too carefully. I tend to eyeball most of my recipes, so feel free to modify the amounts to suit your tastes. Love peanut butter and no so keen on maple syrup? Great – add more PB and dial down the maple syrup (you may need to add more almond milk) – you get the idea.

Also: be careful with your food processor/blender. I think I actually killed our Ninja last night. I’ve had my eye on a Vitamix for a while and my birthday is coming up…anybody want to donate to the domestic cause? You will after you try these!

No-Bake Chocolate Protein Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed well
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • dash of salt
  • dash of baking soda
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 rounded cup rolled oats
  • 3 scoops chocolate protein powder (I used Orgain)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk, as needed

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and process until very smooth. You may need to add more almond milk as the mixture comes together. It should stick to itself but not be runny (if it's too runny, add more oats or protein powder).
  2. Pour into an 8x8 or 7x9 baking pan and press down.
  3. Refrigerate until firm and cut into squares.

Lightened-up Protein Cheesecake Cupcakes

I can’t believe I’m posting this recipe. Actually, I can’t believe it took me three days to post it. I’ve been too busy devouring the entire batch of my brand-new Protein Cheesecake Cupcakes.

IMG_6575

I saw this post on Chocolate Covered Katie for Cheesecake Cupcakes a few weeks back and bookmarked it to try. I love cheesecake and cupcakes, and I also really love most of CCK’s recipes. She’s done a fantastic job creating healthier vegan sweets and for that I’m really thankful.

Bearing that post in mind, I thought to myself, there must be a way I can add some more nutritionally-sound oomph to the recipe. There’s got to be a way I can turn this into one of my protein treats.

Enter BuiltLean and their Protein Cheesecake recipe. I liked most of it, but wanted to lighten it up a little bit and rely a little less on animal protein and stevia.

I decided to make my very own lightened-up Protein Cheesecake Cupcakes without a real plan in mind. Does this make me a real food blogger? I hope so. These are scrumptious. I hope it wasn’t a happy accident. I’ll have to report back after my next batch. I used my trusty vanilla Orgain protein powder, maple syrup from the farm of a friend, and Trader Joe’s nondairy cream cheese. Just like CCK, I topped mine with black cherry jam. I’ve also topped them with strawberries and eaten them just plain.

IMG_6576

ENJOY!

Lightened-up Protein Cheesecake Cupcakes

Yield: 10

Ingredients

  • Graham crackers, crushed
  • 12oz cream cheese (I used Trader Joe's nondairy)
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 whole eggs
  • A few tablespoons of maple syrup (to taste - the protein is flavored so no need to add too much)
  • 2 rounded scoops of Vanilla Orgain (not tested with any other protein powders - this is a plant-based powder)
  • Dash of vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Crush graham crackers and set in bottoms of 10 muffin cups.
  2. Blend remaining ingredients in a bowl with a hand mixer until smooth. Batter will be thick.
  3. Pour into muffin cups, shaping the tops flat with a spatula.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, then leave oven door closed and turn off heat. Leave cupcakes in the oven for about 50 minutes, then take out and let cool on the counter for about an hour. They may still look underdone, but trust me.
  5. Refrigerate cupcakes overnight and in the morning they will be ready to eat! Run a knife along the edge of the cupcakes and pop them out with a fork. Enjoy!

Notes

Chocolate Black Bean Protein Cookies

Chocolate Black Bean Protein Cookies

Last week I mentioned how I used to be considerably less involved in creating what I ate. Although I mentioned how simple healthy food prep can be, I forgot to mention it’s also pretty inexpensive. Being a vegetarian means I’m never ordering the $46 steak at a restaurant, and it also means I eat a ton of beans that cost under $1 a can. Travis and I joined our first-ever CSA last week and I’m really excited to have fresh, local, organically-grown produce arrive in a convenient box on a weekly basis for the next six or so months – at a cost of less than $20 per week. Before we joined I often spent weekend mornings riding my bike to local farms to pick up a backpack full of eggs and produce for the week. Eating well makes me feel well (I type as I’ve got my left leg elevated on a pillow with knee pain from a 20 mile bike ride today – I’m in physical therapy for it and am hoping I’ll be able to overcome the pain soon to continue being active).

As we head into another busy week after FINALLY enjoying some sunshine today, here’s another protein cookie recipe. We scarfed these down like they were going out of style. Travis liked the airy, cake-like texture of the sweet potato protein cookies best, but I LOVED these for satisfying my serious chocoholic sweet tooth in a much healthier manner than a regular chocolate cookie would. This recipe was adapted from a recipe by Julia & Libby.

A HUGE shoutout to Orgain – we go through a tub of each flavor in less than a month. We usually start the day with a protein shake each, and many of my protein bars and cookies feature it too. It’s the best plant-based protein powder I’ve found in terms of both taste and texture – plus it’s vegan, organic, and has no added sugars (nor anything on the label I can’t pronounce). Hands down the best “blind” purchase I’ve ever made at Costco.

Here’s the recipe for my fellow chocoholics looking to make healthier choices!

Chocolate Black Bean Protein Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 12

Chocolate Black Bean Protein Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 serving (2 scoops, approximately 46 grams) chocolate Orgain protein powder
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Put all of the ingredients into a food processor.
  3. Process until smooth and well-combined, scraping down the sides as needed.
  4. Scoop out spoonfuls of the mixture, roll into balls and place onto the baking tray. Press down gently with the back of a spoon.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes. When ready, remove from the oven and let the cookies cool.

Notes

recipe adapted from Julia and Libby

Sweet Potato Protein Cookies & Why Recipes?

It’s finally here…my first recipe posting! This isn’t a recipe I created – that credit belongs to the Lean Green Bean – but I did make some changes and they are a hit in our house!

 

IMG_5892

First, the obvious: why “wanderings, writings, and recipes?” Shouldn’t I just pick one thing to focus on – whether I’m a travel writer, or a memoirist, or a food blogger? I don’t think so. I think I’m a pretty solid blend of each of these (and more – most notably, musician) and having a little place where I can combine them all and share my ideas with the world sounds pretty awesome to me. It helps me streamline too. Instead of attempting to maintain a separate identity for everything I do, I can filter it all into one outlet. Who knows, maybe somebody will stumble upon Sarah Goes Places looking for a particular recipe and end up with a new adventure in mind. That would be really great, actually. My goal as a music teacher is to inspire a love of music to my students, so I suppose my goal as a writer is to simply inspire. Whether you’re intrigued or appalled by my adventures, want to try my recipes or think they sound way too healthy, or you read one of my musings and think, “me too!”, I hope you leave here inspired in some way.

The second part of the “why” is this: being an active and adventurous health-conscious person is NOT DIFFICULT. I know so many people who struggle to learn how to cook or prepare their own food. I was one of them for many years. Too often my dinners consisted of a frozen veggie burger and a mug of mixed veggies, or a frozen dinner. What’s even *in* those? Eating fresh, simply-prepared foods on my travels got me inspired (there it is again) to do more of it at home. I’ve started working on recipe “formulas” for many dishes to help break down how to throw a healthy meal together quickly, whatever you have on hand. I’m also getting into preparing healthier versions of desserts, protein bars, and energy-packed snacks. As athletes maintaining plant-based diets, getting our nutrients from our food is crucial. Although Travis’s metabolism is much faster than mine, we’re both watching our sugar intake. Preparing our own versions allows us to control exactly what we use to fuel our bodies.

With that out of the way, I give to you: Sweet Potato Protein Cookies!

I saw the recipe thanks to this post on Greatist a couple weeks ago. I bookmarked a couple to add to our protein-snack rotation. Sweet Potato Protein Cookies were an obvious choice: Travis loves every single ingredient on the list, and I liked that they didn’t use any protein powder – it was all from whole ingredients.

My version is slightly different from the original – I left the oats whole and used raisins instead of cranberries to give them a bit more of an “oatmeal raisin” feel. The rest is pretty much the same. ENJOY!

 

Sweet Potato Protein Cookies

Sweet Potato Protein Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup (depending on desired level of sweetness - I used about 3 to finish a bottle)
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Instructions

  1. Combine sweet potato, peanut butter and eggs in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and raisins.
  3. Add oat flour and baking soda and stir to combine.
  4. Scoop onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper - we made 10 cookies.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. I let mine bake just under 12 minutes and they came out perfectly.

Notes

Recipe adapted from The Lean Green Bean