Sneaky Brownies: Healthy Fats and Fiber Right Here!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had a great time with lots of fabulous food and fantastic family time. My family has a tradition, it's the tradition of Pie. Every year, the main even at Thanksgiving is not the turkey (we had 3...) not the side dishes (not even the whipped-with-real-cream mashed potatoes) but it's, really, about the pies.

This year, the 23-pie selection included pumpkin, pecan, key lime, S'mores, chocolate creame coconut, a General Pie-treas (my witty brothers' pie) and numerous fruity variations. Delicious!

However, I don't like pie.

I made a Not-Pie instead. Also, being the nutrition nut that I am, I made a healthy Not-Pie and I thought I would share the recipe so this holiday, there can be some desserts that are not an insulin coma waiting to happen. Here's the link to the original recipe (I love Cara's site!), and below is my not-following-the-recipe version:

- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

- 1/2 fairly ripe avocado

- 3 eggs

- 4 Trader Joe 100 calorie 70% dark chocolate bars, mostly melted (they were cheaper than other chocolate options...)

- About 2 Tbs of agave nectar (honey works too)

- Heaping tablespoon of Hershey's Dark Chocolate cocoa powder (yuuuummmm)

- 2 TBS stevia powder (or until it tastes good to you) I actually don't have sugar in my pantry, much to my tea-drinking mother's distress.

1. In a food processor, blend the eggs, beans and avocado until smooth. It will look like dark poop.

2. Pre-heat your oven to 350-ish (I always forget to to this first and since I'm relating how I made this delicious chocolaty goodness, I'm trying to stay true to my actually cooking technique.)

3. Melt the chocolate bars in the microwave (or stove if you have a double boiler) until their mostly melted. I'm impatient so I didn't wait for them to melt all the way. Add them into the black bean goopy-goop. Also add in the cocoa powder and agave nectar. Pulse until well blended.

4. Add stevia (or whatever sweetener you prefer) until it tastes good to you. Mine were not super sweet (like traditional brownies) but still maintained the bitter characteristic of dark chocolate. And sweet enough not to taste the black beans too.

5. Pour mixture into pan of choice; since I was making a Not-Pie, I used a circular pan, but I'm pretty sure that a rectangular pan will make no difference in taste. Cara suggests using an 8 x 8 pan and she's pretty smart.

6. Bake about 30-ish minutes or until you can poke the middle and the poker comes out clean. They'll be more fudge-like than cake-like.

Ta-daa!! Pretty easy huh? So, why should you make these this holiday season (and risk 5-year olds telling you they don't like your pie? (True story)). Reasons are as follows:

1. The recipe offers up a healthy dose of fiber, which we know is a good thing for our bodies and can be scarce during the holiday meals. Also, the fiber helps prevent blood sugar spikes and the ensuing insulin spikes, keeping a steady blood sugar level in the blood (and NO sugar crashes). The fiber also helps fill you up so you eat less.

2. There are healthy monosaturated fats in the avacado (the ones doctors are ga-ga about for healthy hearts). These fats are incorporated in cell walls (helping keep cells healthy, happy and young).

3. There is a good dose of protein from the beans and eggs (woefully lacking in most sweet things)

4. Avocado and black beans provide multiple beneficial compounds like luetin (prevents macular degeneration), vitamin E  and glutothione (both helps fight against disease and sickness, like colds, keeping you healthy during the festivities),  both contain multiple flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory properties. My favorite fact, black beans have molybdenum which is a trace element which breaks down and detoxifies the body from sulfites, compounds found in wine and salad dressing, and while only some people are sensitive to them, they can't be great to have floating around your body.

5. This is more of a personal benefit, but because they're not as sweet as most desserts, I feel less sluggish after having some.

6. The feeling of smugness knowing what is in them when people are enjoying your delightful brownies.