Category Archives: Dessert

Cinnamon Baked Pears {No Sugar Added}

baked pears

 The other afternoon as I was organizing the kitchen counter I noticed in the fruit basket that I had some beautiful ripe organic Bartlett pears. Usually, I’ll just cut the pears and puree them in the food processor to make no bake pear puree.

Since I was in a baking mood, I cut them in half, cored them, then transfrerred them in the oven to bake for after school snack for my boys. When my boys and I got home, the kitchen smelled like fall! I was a little worried on how the baked pears would turn out with using stevia instead of sugar, but to my surprise they tasted awesome!  I ended up baking another batch because they were better than I imagined. With the second batch, I ended up pureeing them for my next fall recipe – baked pear granola with fresh pomegranate seeds!


Nonstick spray
4 ripe organic Bartlett pears
1 packet of stevia or you can use 1/4 cup of maple syrup
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon – I actually added another 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon before baking
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup water


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray the inside of a large casserole dish with the cooking spray.

2. Wash the pears. Cut in half lengthwise and remove the stems. Use a melon baller to remove the core. Place cut side down in the casserole dish.

3. In a small bowl, combine the stevia, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and vanilla extract. Spoon the mixture over the pears, and turn the pears to coat them on both sides. Place the pears cut side up, and feel free to sprinkle more cinnamon. I used another 1/2 teaspon of ground cinnamon. I’m obsessed with cinnamon!

4. Bake, uncovered, basting every 10 minutes with the juices in the pan, until the pears are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Bake for about  40-45 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature. I like to drizzle the pears with the pan juices.

Amazing Black Bean Brownie {Gluten Free}

I had to share a gluten free dessert recipe before Christmas. I know I promised in my last post, I’d share a dinner or side dish recipe but these amazing black bean brownie’s are Ah-mazing! I first saw this recipe a few years ago on 101 cookbooks website, I printed out the recipe but it kinda got lost in the midst of other recipes in my drawer.
I honestly can say that this is one of my favorite gluten free brownie recipes, ever! Who would have thought that each bite would have a rich dense chocolate fudgy like texture. I’m so intrigued by this black bean recipe that I even played around with a black bean fudgy topping (next post).
I even took the time to figure out the calorie calculations for this recipe, not sure if it’s a good or bad thing! LOL :) You know the recipe calls for one cup of butter and 1 1/2 cups of light agave nectar! Yikes, that’s way  more fat and sugar than I’d like to use in my baking. I made the recipe as is besides it’s the holidays so a little indulgence doesn’t hurt anyone, right?? Well, just as long as you stick to teeny tiny small portions cause one tiny square (1/48th of a square) is 110 calories, 12 g carbs, and 7 g of fat. I cut the brownies into 12 pieces and let’ s just say that 1/12th of a piece is about 445 calories, 47 grams of carbs (35 of them sugars), and 28 grams of fat! Looks like I’m going to try a lighter version of this brownie and I’ll share with you my results.
Amazing Black Bean Brownies adapted from Baking With Agave Nectar: Over 100 Recipes Using Nature’s Ultimate Sweetener book posted on 101 Cookbooks
Servings: 48/ Serving size:  1/48th of a square
Weight Watcher pts: 3
Calories: 110/protein: 2 g/ fat: 7 g/ carbs: 12 g/ fiber: 1 g
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups soft-cooked black beans, drained well (I used canned beans)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup (granulated) natural coffee substitute (or instant coffee, for gluten-sensitive)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4 large eggs
1½ cups light agave nectar
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.  I used my glass pyrex bakeware for the brownies, 9x13x1inch. I lightly sprayed the baking dish with grapeseed oil (or your favorite vegetable oil).
2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate and butter for about one minute on high or until the the chocolate melts completely when stirred with a spoon. Set aside.
3. In a food processor bowl or blender jar, place the beans, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, the vanilla extract, and about 1/4 cup of the melted chocolate mixture. Blend about 2 minutes, or until smooth. The consistency of the batter should be thick and the beans should be smooth. Set aside.4. In a large bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, coffee substitute, and salt. Mix well. Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee chocolate mixture, stir unitl blended well and set aside.5. In a separate medium bowl,  beat the eggs with an electric mixer until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the agave nectar and beat well. Add the egg mixture to the chocolate/bean mixture. Add the remaining chopped nuts. Add the brownie bean batter to the baking dish. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the brownies are set. Let them cool in the pan before cutting into squares. Better yet, have the brownies sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or over night before slicing them or else they will fall apart and crumble.
Makes 48 bite size brownies or 12 large brownies (as pictured above)

Celebrating National Heart Month with Dark Chocolate Chickpea Cookie Bars {Chocolatelove}

 February is National American Heart Month! Did you know that Heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. According to American Heart Association, more women die of heart disease than all forms of cancers combined. This means women just like you – mothers, sisters, friends – are dying at the rate of one per minute because they don’t know what you know: heart disease kills.
The American Heart Association, Go Red for Women, and WomenHeart team up every February to help make a difference in women’s lives to educate the public on heart disease. The other day at Barnes and Noble, I bought this cookbook called,
WomenHeart All Heart Family Cookbook: Featuring the 40 Foods Proven to Promote Heart Health. It’s is a wonderful cook book that offers recipes using “the 40 heart healthy” foods that scientists have identified through evidence-based research that can protect your heart and may even reverse heart disease.
This book contains about 175 recipes from their WomenHeart community and from professional food writers and nutritionists.  Almost every recipe in the book contains at least 3 or more of the 40 heart healthy foods by using the symbol in the ingredient list. So this month, I’ll be sharing with you some of my heart healthy recipes using ingredients from the 40 Heart Healthy Food list compiled from WomenHeart. 
The top 40 Heart Healthy foodsWomenHeart’s All Heart Family Cookbook.
  1. Apples: fiber (insoluble), pectin, potassium, flavonoids,  quercetin.  
  2. Asparagus: folate, potassium, fiber
  3. Avocados: folate, potassium, monounsaturated fats, fiber.
  4. Bananas: potassium, vitamin A, fiber, carotenoids.
  5. Beans: B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate; magnesium; omega-3 fatty acids; calcium; soluble fiber.
  6. Berries: anthocyanin (red/blue pigment phytochemical), resveratrol, vitamin C, fiber
  7. Bran: fiber, vitamin E, B vitamins such as folate.
  8. Carrots: beta-carotene, potassium
  9. Chocolate, dark: Reservatrol and cocoa phenols (flavonoids).
  10. Cruciferous vegetables: rich in pigment flavonoids such as: quercetin, beta-carotene, and lutein. Vitamins A and C
  11. Flaxseed and flaxseed oil: omega-3 essential fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid ~ALA), fiber, potassium.
  12. Garlic: contains antioxidant known as allicin, vitamins A and C, potassium and folate.
  13. Grapes and Cherries: potassium, vitamin C, fiber, contains flavonoids anthocyanin, quercetin, resveratrol and carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin).
  14. Greens (dark leafy greens): vitamins A and C, potassium, folate, fiber and some omega-# fatty acids. Kale and collard greens contain the highest amount of lutein.
  15. Herbs and Spices: cinnamon, ginger, ground red pepper, mustard seed, lemon balm, oregano, peppermint, sage, thyme, turmeric.
  16. Kiwi: vitamin C, beta-carotene and lutein, potassium, B vitamin folate, vitamin E, fiber (both soluble and insoluble).
  17. Lemons and Limes: vitamin C and fiber.
  18. Lentils: folate, magnesium, potassium, fiber.
  19. Mushroom, shiitake: vitamin C, antioxidants (eriadenine and L-ergothioneine) fiber, linoleic acid.
  20. Nuts: fiber, hytosterols, heart healthy fats (monounsaturated fatty acids). Walnuts are in richest nuts highest in omega-3 fatty acids.
  21. Oats: fiber (soluble and insoluble) and antioxidant (avenanthramide).
  22. Olives and olive oil: extra virgin olive oil provides the best heart healthy results since it contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants ( phenols, secoiridoids and lignans)
  23. Onions, scallions, and shallots: all part of the allium family, hi levels of vitamin c and quercetin, chromium and fiber, folate and potassium.
  24. Oranges: fiber, folate, and potassium
  25. Peppers, bell: depending on the color, rich in beta-carotene and quercetin, mostly have lutein and zeaxanthin, lutein (red pepper only). Vitamins C, vitamin A (mostly red peppers).
  26. Peppers, chile: vitamins A and C and heart healthy capsaicin.
  27. Potatoes, sweet: beta-carotene, potassium, B6 vitamin, folate, fiber, betaine (chemical found I certain foods that has shown to have heart health benefits).
  28. Quinoa: gluten free grain that is rich in magnesium, fiber, and fiber.
  29. Salmon: omega 3 fatty acids, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated faty acids, some potassium, magnesium
  30. Sea vegetables: examples: arame, hijiki, kelp, nori, ulva lactuca, and wakame. Contains antioxidants (beta-carotene and lignans), some folate, omega-3’s and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
  31. Seeds: sesame, pumpkin, sunflower seeds. The seeds contains: monounsaturated (oleic) and polyunsaturated (linolenic) fatty acids; folate; fiber; lignans (naturally occurring estrogen-like phytochemical called phytoestrogens). Also contains: vitamins A (beta-carotene), C, and E, and magnesium.
  32. Soy products: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, potassium, folate, some have fiber, phytoestrogens
  33. Spinach: vitamins A, C, and E; folate; fiber; potassium; phytosterols; betain; omega-3 fatty acids; and antioxidants (beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin).
  34. Squash, winter: includes: pumpkins, butternut, acorn, spaghetti, hubbard, and turban. Contains antioxidants (alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin) and vitamin A. contains small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, folate, vitamin C, and fiber.
  35. Tea: black, green, oolong and white teas contain flavonoids such as: quercetin, kaempferol, myricetin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), rutin; folate, potassium; magnesium; and omega-3 fatty acids.
  36. Tomatoes: carotenoid (lycopene); vitamins A and C; potassium; folate; some niacin (B3); fiber and magnesium.
  37. Tropical fruits:  such as mango, papaya, guava, and pineapple all contain vitamins A and C; beta-carotene and lycopene; fiber; potassium; B vitamins (folate and pyridoxine). Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain.
  38. Whole grains: depending on the grain but whole grains in general contain: calcium, magnesium, fiber, folate, vitamin E to name a few.
  39. Wine, red: contains flavonoids (quercetin and resveratrol). Note: drinking a glass or two in moderation, keep in mind no one food/beverage is going to cure heart disease.
  40. Yogurt: calcium, potassium, folate, small trace amounts of vitamin A and C and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Contains live cultures, Lactobacillus acidophilus.
What do you think of this list? Do you eat most of the foods on this list on a daily basis?
Dark Chocolate Chickpea Cookie Bars
Servings: 24/Serving size: 1 bar
Weight Watcher points plus: 6
Calories: 172/protein: 4g/fat: 13 g/carbs: 21 g/fiber: 3.5 g
 3 cup rolled oats – old fashioned
½ c. whole grain white wheat flour or all purpose flour
1/3 c dark cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8  tsp salt
1 cup organic unsalted butter, softened at room temp (I used 1/2 cup)
1 c. brown sugar packed (I wanted to cut the sugar in half so I used 1/2 c. sugar)
2 eggs or 4 whites (I used egg whites)
1 tsp vanilla
1, 16 ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed well and drained
2 cups of dark chocolate chips, 60% or more cocoa
1 c. walnuts
1/3 c. white chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
2. Combine oats, flour, salt and baking powder; set aside.
3. In a food processor add butter, brown sugar, 1 cup chickpeas, and vanilla; blend well. Add eggs, blend. Transger mixture into a large bowl. 
4. Gradually add the oat/flour mixture; mix with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add dark chocolate chips remaining chickpeas, and walnuts; mix well. I used my hands to mix the ingredients.
5. Pour contents in a lightly greased 13×9 baking dish, bake at 350° for about 25-28 minutes or until lightly browned. Baking times vary.
6. When cooled, melt white chocolate chips in microwave or double broiler, drizzle white chocolate on top of cookies. When cooled, cut into bars. I cut them into 24 bars.
February is #chocolatelove month!

Please join in on the #chocolatelove fun by linking up any chocolate recipe from the month of Februrary 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #chocolatelove event! The twitter hashtag is #chocolatelove :).
Co Hosted by:
Baking Extravaganza ~ Samantha- @Sam_Antunez
Easily Good Eats ~ Three Cookies
Oh Cake ~ Jessica ~ @jesshose


Lego Themed Cupcakes {Birthday Boy Party Ideas}

This past Saturday my son had a few of his closest friends over for a “Lego” themed birthday party. As you know I was not feeling well a few days prior to the party. I was worried that we would have to postpone the party, luckily I felt good enough to make it a fun filled day for my 10 year old son and his friends.

I originally had a long list of fun and creative snacks and desserts I wanted to make for this special day but I just didn’t have the energy  to do it.  My son didn’t care, he told me he was happy to have friends over and reminded me to keep things simple. So I took his advice and made things easy,I went to Costco to by the Ghiradelli double chocolate brownie mix from Costco. Luckily I found this food blog, she had some wonderful ideas for a “Lego” themed birthday party. I took a few  of her ideas, such as the Lego themed cupcakes and Lego themed games. 

The boys all had a great time and loved the cupcakes! I even made one for myself, the face says it all!


1 pouch of Ghiradellli chocolate brownie mix
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup grape seed oil (vegetable oil)
1 whole egg
12 muffin liners
1/2 recipe for vanilla frosting
blue food coloring
1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. In the meantime, prepare the Ghiradelli chocolate brownie mix per instructions on the box. Click here to view.
2. Line muffin tins with muffin liners, spray liners lightly with vegetable spray (makes it easier to remove liner from brownie cupcake). Even divide the brownie mix into the muffin liners, bake for about 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.
3. While muffins are cooling, prepare the icing, add blue food coloring and frost.
Lego marshmallow head pops:
12 large marshmallows
12 mini marshmallows
yellow chocolate ~ 3/4 cup melted
black edible marker
12 lollipop sticks
For step by step directions, click here.
1. Thread one large and one mini marshmallow per lollipop stick, continue until you have total of 12; set aside.
2. Melt the yellow colored chocolate using a microwave or double broiler to melt. Gently dip one marshmallow lollipop at a time. Let them air dry by inserting the lollipops in to a foam board or if you don’t care lay them on wax paper (note that the bottom will not be smooth).
3. Once dry, draw a face using a black edible marker to resemble a Lego guy.
I didn’t get a chance today to figure out the calorie content. My nutritional software program is acting up so when it is up and running I will update this post with the nutritional information. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Coco-Nutty Choco-Chunky Monkey Smoothie….I want s’mores, please! {FFBlog Hop}

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This crazy concoction was created by my three boys, a 9 year old,  a 5 year old and a two year old. While the two older boys were drinking their smoothies, my two year old came over to put handfuls of cereal and marshmallows into their drinks!
At first the boys were upset that their smoothie was ruined but then after they realized it was a smoothie in a bowl concept!
While they slipped and slurped their smoothies away, they conjured up this crazy name, “coco-nutty choco-chunky monkey” smoothie!
Try saying that five times real fast!
Better yet, try saying that five times real fast when you are two years old! :)
Well….. maybe not, we don’t want you to hurt yourself! :)
Somewhere in between all that giggling, I heard them say,  “we want s’mores please!”
Jeesh, if you could only here the laughter amongst the boys, you’d think they slipped in a bit of Three Stooges or something!
Have a Great Holiday Weekend and Happy New Year if I dont’ get a chance to tell you!
Stop over to Jill Conyers for Fitness Friday Blog Hop!
Coco-Nutty Choco-Chunky Monkey Smoothie
Servings: 3/Serving Size: 8 ounces
Wt Watcher pts: 6/Pts Plus: 9
Calories: 306/Protein: 9 g/Fat: 10 g /Carbs: 50 g/Fiber: 4 g
1 c. Coconut milk or cream of coconut coco lopez
2 Tbsp cocoa powder (I used dark cocoa)
2 medium sized frozen banana’s cut into 1 inch pieces
1 Tbsp peanut butter or favorite nut or seed butter
1/4 c. GF chex cereal (my son used chocolate flavor) or graham crackers
2 Tbsp of small marshmallows or you could add coconut flakes instead
1. Blend the coconut milk, cocoa powder, banana’s in a blender until smooth. Add more liquid to thin out or add ice or more frozen banana’s to thicken.
2. Pour into a glass, top it off with your favorite fixin’s. My son drizzled 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of chex cereal, and about 2 tablespoons of marshmallow’s. :) Enjoy!
Nutritional Analysis: calories: 306/protein: 9 g/ total carbs: 50 g/ fiber: 4 g/ sugars: 26 g/total fat: 10 g/ saturated fat: 2.5 g/ monounsaturated fat: 4 g/ polyunsaturated fat: 3 g/ cholesterol: 1.5 mg/ sodium: 145 mg
% Daily Values based on 2,000 calorie diet for adults: chromium: 34%/ manganese: 22%/ B6: 20%/ magnesium: 19%/ copper: 17%/potassium: 15%/ niacin: 14%/ phosphorus: 13%/ vitamin C: 11%/ folate: 9%/iron: 8%/ niacin: 7%/zinc: 7%/iodine: 5%/ pantothenic acid: 5%/ thiamin: 5%/biotin: 4%/selenium: 4%/calcium: 3%/vitamin A: 1%/vitamin k: 1%