Flourless Fudgy Chocolate (and Chickpea and Spinach) Muffins

I'm not on board with the trend of "guilt-free!" recipes. No. If I want to eat a chocolate muffin, I'm going to eat a damn chocolate muffin and not feel guilty about it. This recipe is not an attempt to make anyone feel like the food they eat is bad or good. Food has no moral value. This recipe is an attempt to trick my picky kid into eating nutritious food without him knowing. (No regrets.)

A friend posted a recipe for chickpea chocolate muffins and I've played around with the recipe to add more good stuff (spinach) and make it a little more my style (butter instead of melted coconut oil, etc.).

Grady loves these muffins. He thinks they're dessert (which yeah, added sugar) (but also protein! And spinach!). They can be a bit crumbly because they've got a delicate, fine texture, but he's quite happy to clean up all the crumbs after he's done because chocolate.

I love these muffins because they're made completely in a blender, no mixing bowls required. I don't even have a fancy high-speed blender. If your blender is strong enough to make a smoothie, it's strong enough to make these muffins lump-free.

Ingredients

1 - 540mL can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup milk or buttermilk (I've used both and can't tell the difference)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large handfuls (approximately 2 cups) baby spinach leaves
chocolate chips for topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.

Line muffin pan with paper liners.

Buzz all ingredients except for chocolate chips in blender until smooth. Batter will be thick.

Spoon batter into muffin pan. Top with chocolate chips.

Bake 18-20 minutes until toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins.

Disclaimer: these muffins don't taste like a regular muffin made with flour. They don't taste like chickpeas or spinach, though. The texture is a little lighter and maybe spongier than a traditional muffin but they pass the picky eater taste test in our house so I'm calling it a win.

Do you bake with legumes? Hit me with your favourite recipe!

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Cauliflower Cheese Sauce

Listen. I'm firmly planted in the "foods are not other foods" camp. Avocado is not pudding. Bananas are not ice cream. Cauliflower is not rice / pizza / nachos (I needed a fainting couch after that last one).

Now, before you get all "some people have dietary restrictions!" on me, I know. I know that some people can't have regular pizza crust so cauliflower pizza crust is a great way for them to enjoy pizza. My problem is with the "eat cauliflower nachos Guilt! Free!" nonsense. Bitch, please. I eat all my nachos guilt-free. And if you watch the cauliflower nachos video (which I've done approximately 87 times because raaaaage) you'll see that the cauliflower nachos are topped with roughly thirteen pounds of cheese. Not so guilt-free if you think about it. Which I have. A lot.

Anyway. Not a fan.

Until last week. Last week I took the kids over to Vancouver Island to visit my aunt. Nothing makes you realize how little your kid will eat until you're in someone else's home, nixing every single food suggestion they have because you know your darling child will reject it. Ugh. My aunt had a secret weapon, though. She served Grady pasta with cheese sauce. He loved it. Cheesy pasta without the usual side of "crazy mom trying to push carrots and broccoli down my throat." This wasn't normal cheese sauce, though. It was cauliflower cheese sauce. Grady ate -and loved- a vegetable without arguing. Do I feel a little sneaky? Yes. Do I wish that my kid would just eat three square meals every day without fighting and negotiating? Absolutely. Will I let this stop me from sneaking vegetables into his food? NEWP.

So! If you have a vegetable-adverse eater (or if you want to eat cheese sauce Guilt! Free! *eyeroll*), this is the sauce for you.

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower
2 cups grated aged cheddar cheese (or regular, but the aged makes the sauce taste more cheesy)
1 cup of milk (give or take - depends on how thick you like your sauce and how big your cauliflower is)
1 heaped teaspoon mustard
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a large pot, cook cauliflower in boiling water until fork tender.

Drain cauliflower and buzz with immersion blender until smooth.

Add cheese while the cauliflower is still hot so it melts nicely. Buzz with immersion blender until well mixed.

Add milk a little at a time, buzzing well with immersion blender (this is key! you don't want lumps) until you reach the desired consistency.

Mix in mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, and salt.

Makes approximately 8 cups of sauce. Freezes well.

Serve over pasta or steamed veggies or thin with a bit of milk or cream to make soup.

Revel in your genius.

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Kid Craft: Pet Rock

I am a reluctant kid crafter. Kids are so messy! They fling stuff about in a festive manner! Glitter is the devil! But I try. I try to find quick and easy crafts with a limited number of materials involved to try to minimize the potential destruction. Sometimes I am more successful than others.

Today's craft came about because Grady insisted on bringing home a pocketful of rocks on our walk this morning. We brought the rocks home and he spent some time happily splashing away in the sink, "washing" them. From there we got into a discussion about keeping the rocks (we couldn't put them back outside because they're his friends) and instead of fighting it I decided to just roll with it. We have pet rocks now. They're part of our family and we'll love them forever.

What you'll need:

Rocks! Preferably rocks with relatively flat "faces"
Paint (we used tempera paint because that's what we had)
Googly eyes
Yarn
Glue gun
Permanent marker
Assorted bits and bobs
Infinite patience

What you'll do:

Go on a rock hunt! We found lime-sized rocks with relatively flat "faces" so our googly eyes would attach easily. We then brought the rocks home and gave them a good wash.

Paint the rocks and let them dry.

Decide where your rock's "face" is and glue on googly eyes and yarn for hair. Draw on mouth with permanent marker and attach other bits and bobs (we added pompoms for ponytail holders).

Name your rocks. LOVE your rocks. Give your rocks to unsuspecting family members as "gifts."

Super bonus crafter extraordinaire pro tip: Goo Gone removes permanent marker from quartz countertops, just in case you're wondering. You're welcome.

 Our happy rock family.  

Our happy rock family.  

Psyllium Husk Powder Brownies

I haven't written too much about Grady's digestive system issues here* because really, what is there to say? Grady is a fairly picky eater and we refuse to engage in daily battles over food. Every day we offer him a variety of different foods and every day he eats a combination of macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, apples, bananas, and yogurt. It's frustrating and also completely normal for his age (and temporary! I keep reminding myself. This won't last forever. It can't.).

* I do all my hand wringing over on Twitter using the #poopdoula hashtag.

Grady's doctor is aware of the situation and is supportive of our "offer different foods but don't try to force him to eat them" approach. The situation is not (yet) dire and as long as we stay on top of it, hopefully it won't progress past the "annoying and uncomfortable" stage before it improves.

Last week Grady's doctor gave me a sheet of recipes to try using psyllium husk. Psyllium husk is a soluble fibre that creates a gel instead of bulk so it's good for helping to relieve constipation. I think. I'm unwilling to google because I already know too much about kid poop as it is.

The Experiment

I didn't have the right ingredients to make any of the recipes so I decided to just add psyllium husk powder to my go-to brownies recipe. I wasn't sure how to go about it so I decided to just add the same amount of psyllium husk as flour and hope for the best. I didn't add any additional liquid because I wasn't sure if it was necessary (looking at the recipes given to me, the quantity of flour + psyllium is quite high compared to the liquid and fat). The only changes I made to the recipe are:

  1. I added 1/2 cup psyllium husk powder.
  2. I mixed the dry ingredients together in a bowl before adding to the liquid ingredients because I wanted to make sure everything was mixed well.
  3. I added 1/2 cup chocolate chips to the batter because I wanted to make sure Grady would eat the brownies, even if he could taste the psyllium husk.

The Verdict

The batter was very thick. I think that 1/4 cup of milk or water or even apple sauce would help. The brownies are a tad on the dry side and I think adding some liquid would alleviate that. The psyllium husk is not tasteless but it's not overpowering. It adds a slightly nutty/grainy flavour to the brownies but it's not offensive. Grady is a bit wary (the brownies taste different than the brownies he's used to) but not opposed. I am cautiously optimistic that the poop brownies are going to help.

Psyllium Husk Power Brownies  || Hillarywith2Ls