Do you like chocolate?

by Nina Z

I thought so!

If you like decadent desserts without all of the decadent ingredients, then these brownies are the perfect treat for you. 

Make these for your family holiday party, your friend's potluck, or your amazing co-workers who just love a mid-week treat!

I should be honest though... these brownies have avocado in them. Yeah, I said it. Avocado. Its mild flavor and high (good) fat content make it the perfect butter/oil substitute. It also gives these brownies a rich, velvety texture. Win/Win/Win.

Avocado Brownies - makes 9-12 square brownies, or 6-8 muffin-sized brownies:

  • 1 large avocado, mashed
  • 1 3-4oz dark chocolate bar, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup flour (any kind you want)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a large bowl, mix avocado, chocolate, eggs, vanilla, and maple syrup and whisk until thoroughly combined. Add in flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt and mix until dry ingredients are completely combined with wet ingredients. The mixture will be thick. 

Spray an 8x8 brownie pan with non-stick spray. Pour batter in to pan and spread evenly. If using muffin tins, fill each cup until mostly full. Bake for 30 minutes, or until middle of brownie pan (or muffins) are set and firm.

Let cool before cutting and removing from pan.

What a delicious year 2015 has been! I can't wait to see what 2016 has to offer. Thanks for following along with my food + life adventures. Warmest wishes for a happy and healthy New Year, fellow foodies!

Mother's Day Brunch

by Nina Z

Remember when I told you that I haven't been cooking? Well, I made you and my kitchen proud today. I've been planning for the last few days - grocery shop Friday, prep list Saturday, cook up a storm Sunday.

I wanted to show my mom, and grandma, how much I appreciate them with a delicious meal. My dad and grandpa got to tag along, which gave me an opportunity to make more than I usually would. Served with dish- and silver-ware that were handed down from my grandparents to me, this meal seemed extra special.

I wanted to make light, healthy dishes, packed with lots of flavor:

Kale and Mesclun Green Salad with Lemon and Turmeric Vinaigrette
Asparagus and Chive Frittata with Goat Cheese
Avocado Toast with Pea Shoots and Lemon Zest
Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon
Banana Oat Walnut Bread

I loooove Avocado Toast. It's a go-to snack for me these days, and I love to top it with a variety of toppings - red pepper flakes, turmeric, sesame seeds, and to make it a meal, an over-easy egg!

I amped up this snack to make this beautiful, bright side dish:

- Sliced baguette grilled in leftover bacon fat (after frying the bacon)
- 2 avocados smashed with the juice of 1 lemon and a good amount of sea salt
- After topping each piece of bread with a dollop of avocado spread, garnish with lemon zest and pea shoots

To balance the savory-ness of the meal, this banana oat walnut bread was a HIT! With the natural sweetness of over-ripe bananas and only 1 cup of raw sugar, a piece of this bread was the perfect way to end the meal. But let's be honest, none of us only had one piece...

This recipe will come in a separate post, so stay tuned.

I had so much fun planning, cooking, and staging this meal. I forgot how great it felt to pick up my camera and snap photos in my new kitchen nook! Oh, this is the start to a beautiful, scrumptious summer.