Healthy Nutty Brownie

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Another week has flown by and I feel as if my to do list continues to build and the counter to try and get things done is getting shorter and shorter. 14 days left of school. 21 calendar days left before school is out, but we all know it is really only 2 days until Memorial Day weekend and isn’t that the starting point of summer.

Summer is the time at which motherhood becomes more enjoyable, at least for a few days. No early morning alarm wake ups, no lunches have to be packed unless they are for everyone to enjoy by the pool. However it also means a period of twelve weeks when a lot less gets done outside the necessary – laundry, cleaning, cooking because it is exhausting and time consuming watching the kids splash with their friends in the pool. Right?

Wow swim team practice began this week and the pools are open. Let me just say I am glad it is the kids and not me. The temperatures have been volatile this spring. No gradual warm up just big jumps and dips from winter rain to summer heat and the last few nights we have had lows in the 50’s. To some that may make for refreshing water. To me I have another term for it…COLD.

I find in the summer the children tend to get hungry from all that swimming.  It is so easy to toss a bag of chips or pretzels in the pool bag, but is that really the greatest snack?  Fruit is always a good choice, but depending on whether you take a cooler or not it can get warm and mushy.  Everyone loves chocolate especially kids, but granola bars or any mixture or anything with chocolate tends not to hold up in the summer heat.  So when I came across this recipe, I thought I would give it a try.

Who would not feel good about feeding their family a brownie that has five ingredients and provides protein, fiber, and some Omega 3’s.

This recipe was adapted from  5 minute espresso walnut brownies 

Healthy Nutty Brownie

1 1/2 cups raw walnuts, divided
1 cup raw unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
2 – 2 1/2 cups Medjool or Deglet Nour dates, pitted
3/4 cup cocoa powder OR raw cacao if you have it
1 tsp. instant espresso

Place 1 cup walnuts and 1 cup almonds in food processor and process until finely ground.
Add the cocoa powder or cacao, instant espresso  and pulse to combine and then transfer to bowl and set aside.
Add the dates to the food processor and process until small bits remain. Remove from bowl and set aside.
Add nut and cocoa mixture back into food processor and while processing, drop small handfuls of the date pieces down into the food processor spout. Process until a dough consistency is achieved, adding more dates if the mixture does not hold together when squeezed in your hand.
Add the brownie mixture to a small parchment lined cake pan or loaf pan and add remaining 1/2 cup roughly roughly chopped walnuts. Toss to combine and evenly distribute, and then press down with you hands until it is flat and firm.
Place in freezer or fridge to chill before cutting. Store in an airtight container to keep fresh. Will keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks and in the freezer for at least 2 months.

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While I found the flavor a little too strong initially after sitting in the refrigerator for 24 hours they were better.  Unfortunately Little Miss Mixture was not a big fan and the consistency was too crumbly to make a good take along snack.  However if you are looking for a nice little bit (1×2 square) the Healthy Nutty Brownie is great for curbing hungry while satisfying your sweet tooth as well.

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A Cheering Up Mixture

Well it was just one of those days that we needed a little something extra in our mixture.  Something sweet and not so good for us.  I am a firm believer everything in moderation.  If you need some chocolate, dark is always my first choice, but sometimes you just have to embrace the season and the contents of the pantry.

Over the weekend the avid reader in the house had breezed through a new chapter book in a little over 36 hours and desperately wanted to make the recipe from the book.  I struck a deal.  If she accompanied me on a couple of quick errands, we could get her the necessary ingredients and she could make Cookie Pizza.  Please realize this was a very easy deal to get since my biggest weakness  is the chocolate chip cookie.  Go ahead and walk away now if you cannot agree that chocolate chip cookie dough may be the one processed food that could never be taken away.  As I said before I am who I am and that is that. I may be a dietitian, but I love cookie dough and pretty much anything chocolate or sweet.

I can honestly admit that I did not know that the blue tube of chocolate chip cookie dough could be cooked until probably high school.  I have memories of making homemade chocolate chip cookies at least once a winter with the family, but cookie dough well that was an off and on staple when dad travelled.  To this day mom and I still love to take a big knife out and whack a hunk of dough and indulge.

My tastes have grown in a lot of ways since I was a kid, but I still feel the best chocolate treat ever is a warm chocolate chip cookie. Oh and when I say warm and gooey I truly mean it. To Mr. Mixture they are still raw because they are so undercooked.  I believe I have actually perfected the art of undercooking enough that if I let the cookie sit for about 5-10 minutes it will be perfect.  So when the lovely little lady of the house presents a recipe for cookie dough rolled out as a pizza and topped with marshmallows and m&m’s, I caved.

We perfectly undercooked the cookie pizza and I have been enjoying it for several days now.

However this afternoon was just one of those days when it looks pretty out, but really we are just lucky to see the sun as it is still a brisk 40 something.  I picked up the little lady at school and she held her tears until she was securely in the car and then they streamed down her face.  It was just girl drama nothing more and probably a little of a rite of passage in growing up, she lost her first earring.  I felt bad for her as it was one of the nicer ones that she has, but after I helped her search around her desk and explained it happens and we can replace it, she needed something to cheer her up.  Thus the pre made container of homemade mixture (walnuts, cashews, peanuts, dried cherries, dried blueberries, raisins, and semi sweet chocolate chips) just was not enough.  

So we tossed in a few yogurt covered raisins and some of the Easter M&M’s leftover from her Cookie Pizza recipe.  

SMILE

A cheerful mixture made it better!Image