Decadent Dark Chocolate Brownies

To start off, I have dreams about eating these brownies. They’re the best part of my day. I am obsessed.

They are so melt-in-your-mouth rich.

Not to mention extremely healthy and you’ll probably think I’m crazy when you see the main ingredient…

Decadent Dark Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients
– 1 (15 oz.) can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
– 3 egg whites
– 1/3 c. unsweetened apple sauce
– 1/4 c. dark cocoa powder
– 1/8 t salt
– 2 t vanilla extract
– 1/2 c. Stevia/Truvia/Splenda (you can use sugar but the nutritional facts will be different)
– 1/2 c. dark chocolate morsels


Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F and spray 8-inch pan with non-stick spray. Place black beans, eggs, apple sauce, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, and Stevia (or sugar if using) in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth (blend until smoother than smooth to be extra sure one of those black beans aren’t left whole). Remove blade and fold in chocolate morsels. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until center is set. Let cool before cutting.


Nutrition
60 calories per serving if cut 4×4*
110 calories per serving if cut 3×3*

When these brownies come out of the oven they will be blacker than black and you’ll be thinking what in the world went wrong? But after they cool they’ll turn that familiar brownie brown. I store mine in the fridge so they’ll keep longer. Hope you love them as much as I do!

Fitness Journal

I’m a very organized person. And I mean very. So it only makes sense that I’d have a fitness journal.

Writing my workouts down and keeping a record of how much weight I used helps me to know how and where I need to improve.

It makes it super easy to go back and see which exercises I had trouble with and which ones I need to make more challenging.

Not only does keeping a fitness journal help me to improve but it also makes my time spent at the gym a lot quicker.

All I have to do is look at my workout for the day and I know what exercises to do instead of relying on my less than perfect memory.

My fitness journal is like my little confidence booster.

I just flip through my notes and see all sorts of progress! Whether it be a heavier weight or more reps - I’m always making small improvements.

Also, I like to have a page with each day’s summary.

Writing down whether or not I stayed within my caloric intake for the day helps me to stay accountable.

Knowing I’ll have to write something down in my mess-up section helps me to rethink that cookie or soda.

I highly recommend keeping a log of some sort to help keep track of your health and fitness goals.

Be creative! You don’t have to write everything down in a notebook (a Hello Kitty notebook at that) like me – you can use your phone or log it on the computer. Whatever you do be healthy and getactive! Writing things down just helps make it easier.

Banana Soft Serv

If you don’t think this looks good you are crazy. 

Ingredients

– 1 sliced frozen banana
– 1-3 T unsweetened vanilla almond milk (any milk will do though)
– 1/2 t vanilla extract
– raspberries to garnish

Blend frozen banana in food processor. Add extract and milk until creamy texture forms. Viola! Soft serv as good as DQ’s without all the calories.

* I put a little Walden Farms chocolate syrup on mine. Regular syrup is fine just watch the amount.

Benefits of Organic

So many people are uneducated on the term organic. To associate the word gross with organic makes absolutely NO sense.

Organic foods are foods that are produced using methods that don’t involve modern synthetic inputs such as pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and do not contain genetically modified organisms, and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.
That might seem a little difficult to understand so in layman’s terms organic is how your grandparents and great grandparents did it. All natural.
A few reasons to go organic…

1.  It just tastes better.
2.  No pesticides.
3.  Organic foods can be richer in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids not found in non-organic foods.
4.  Our bodies recognize food in pure form and can better digest organic foods.
5.  It’s better for the environment. Intensive farming methods erode soil, destroy ancient hedgerows, and decimate wild life. Organic farms look after the environment.
6.  The Environmental Protection Agency notes that 90 percent of fungicides, 60 percent of herbicides and 30 percent of insecticides are carcinogenic, or known to cause cancer. Eating organic eliminates all those carcinogens.

7.  Ninety percent of non-organic U.S. beef contains up to six distinct growth hormones, all of which have been banned in the European Union due to health concerns. Organic meat and other animal products do not contain growth hormones or antibiotics.
8.  Animal products certified as organic must come from livestock that has had access to the outdoors, has not been treated with hormones or antibiotics and has been reared on organic feed.
9.  It can be cheaper, just grow your own!
10.  For the sole reason of eating food in its most pure form. Fresh, in season, and organic.
Now I’m not saying organic is the only way because it’s not. There’s no need in buying organic produce with thick skins unless you plan on using the zest of the skin, in that case buy organic, but if you’re just eating a banana go ahead and buy it conventionally. And please do NOT buy organic water. Water is always organic. To wrap it all up here’s a list of the dirty dozen foods you should buy organic if anything.
1.  Celery
2.  Peaches
3.  Strawberries
4.  Apples
5.  Nectarines
6.  Sweet Bell Peppers
7.  Spinach, Kale, and Collard Greens
8.  Cherries
9.  Potatoes
10.  Imported Grapes
11.  Domestic Beer
12.  Lettuce
XOXO,
Claire

Post Workout Protein

It’s very important to fuel your body with protein within an hour after your workout.

This is know as the Golden Hour.

After a workout you’ve broken down muscle carbohydrate stores and muscle protein structures. Your body’s immune system then steps in to clean all that mess up.

However…

You can’t build a house without bricks just like your immune system can’t build muscle without protein!

So I am providing you with a quick and easy and extremely delicious banana protein smoothie for your post workout! Enjoy.

Banana Protein Smoothie
(serves one)

Ingredients
– 1 sliced frozen banana
– 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
– 3/4 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Combine in blender and enjoy.