Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bessie Wants Her Udder Back and PMS Brownie Salvation

So, when I mused over this blog thing, I became quite agitated because I wasn't sure about the direction in which I wanted to go.  On the one hand, I love to bake and I have gotten pretty good at it over the years since Ari was diagnosed with allergies. I started baking because I wanted him to feel "normal." Though,the cupcakes he brings to a kids birthday party are AWESOME, how is it normal to bring your own food to someone else's affair? (I can just see him pulling out his own cupcake at his wedding). I suppose it's the new normal.

But for those who know me, I am also a big nutrition buff, so, I was in conflict as to whether to promote treats over nutrition because let's face it, a cupcake with frothy swirls of vanilla frosting, or an amazingly decadent, rich and fudgy, get me through this awful PMS, brownie (you'll get the recipe later) is not necessarily a healthy option.

When I was a kid, my parents went cold turkey on junk food.  However, when junk food unsuspectingly found its way to our house via holiday time, or through a well meaning dinner guest (who had no idea we were sugar deprived prisoners), we behaved like vultures on carnage.  Our mantra was “take no prisoners, keep no leftovers.”  
I totally rebelled as a teenager, as I drank my share of diet soda while eating a moist, hydrogenated laden brownie for breakfast, but as I grew older, I came around.  I am thankful, now, for my parents’ attempts at cleaning up our diets, especially since they themselves continue to live in good health.   

However, when I think back to those childhood days where literally, junk food was inhaled from the moment it entered the house and was usually consumed within a few hours without so much as a trace, I realized how warped that was. 

I decided that treats (under strict mommy surveillance, well,not all the time, let's be honest) weren't necessarily a bad thing, as long as they were eaten in moderation. I wanted my kids to know that they could enjoy an occasional treat, and actually have leftovers for another day.

It's a great theory, but over the years, I have fine tuned it as I researched, and learned about the affects of food on our bodies. 

Let's use the brownie as an example.  I actually saw a box of brownies with this statement on the box...contains heart healthy chocolate.  Seriously? Did the food manufacturer forget to mention that it also contains heart clogging fatty acids and enough butter to prompt Bessie to go on strike until she gets her udder back?  Uh, no.

Now, I am all for a really good brownie, but let's make this clear...they aren't healthy.  A banana is healthy.  But just because they are a treat, doesn't mean they have to be flat out destructive either.  With a few tweaks, any food can be made healthy-ER. Is it the best snack to give your kids when they come home from school?  Probably not, but healthy-er can be an enjoyable and moderate part of anyone's diet. 

Now, when your inner PMS beast is being unleashed, and the toilet is overflowing, your six-year old is fighting with the 10 year old in another episode of The Sibling Rivalry Diaries and you are frustrated with 4th grade math (which by the way is really 6th grade math, so yes, it's harder), well, I cannot be held responsible for what you may do. 

Here is my recipe...and trust me, it is soooooooo good and yes,  it is healthy-ER  Make any moderations you like.  I have tried this recipe so many different ways, but this one was an overwhelming success amongst certain discerning palettes.

Warning: if you are a cakey brownie lover...this recipe is NOT for you.  Trust me.  Enjoy.....

PS. You can use regular sugar and flour etc..but then they wouldn't be healthy-ER now, would they?

PMS Brownie Salvation
Preheat oven to 350 degrees-Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper

  • 2 oz bittersweet baking chocolate ( I use 1 1/2 Enjoy Life allergy free chocolate bar).
  • 1 tsp. Non Hydrogenated margarine (Earth Balance is the best/you can find it in dairy section of your local store)
  • 1/4 cup sucant (Sugar Cane Natural-this is sugar that isn't refined or processed)
  • 1/2 cup Florida Crystals (less refined sugar-in the baking aisle of your store)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 TBSP water
  • 1 TBSP vanilla (the good stuff, not the commercial which adds corn syrup)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Apple Butter
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat Pastry flour (not whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup mini choco chips ( I used Enjoy Life because they are allergy free)

  • Mix oil w/sugar
  • Melt margarine and chocolate and combine with oil and sugar
  • Add Water
  • Add Apple Butter
  • Sift dry ingredients into the wet
  • Mix quickly until combined
  • Add vanilla
  • Fold in choco chips
  • Pour into pan and smooth outBake 30 minutes  at 350 (start checking around 20 minutes or so)
    Bake additional 5 minutes at 325.
    If these are too moist, or become oily, just ease up on the amount of oil.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

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    I really did enjoy this post.