Running out of time…..

Sometimes, when I have a day off, all I want to do is be lazy and get nothing accomplished. Today was not that day. The weather was boasting a near 70*F temperature, which, from what I can assume, is abnormal for Philadelphia at the near-end of October. So what is a gal to do, but take her dogs to the dog park to ensure they get a good run under their belts to ensure they don’t drive me too crazy today. And, its ALWAYS good to be outside breathing some fresh air. (I must say the area that the dog park I go to is in such a gorgeous location. Beautiful trees, a cute little creek nearby…totally worth the 20+ minute drive to get there ((and away from the craziness of living with a major road right in my front yard!)).

Curtis Hall Dog Park, Cheltenham PA

Curtis Hall Dog Park, Cheltenham PA

So after I returned from the dog park (and quick excursions into Trader Joes/Pathmark and Sally’s) I decided it was time to bake. I had no idea what I was gonna do, so I went into the basement and rode on my stationary bike for a half hour while I looked at Instagram to get some inspiration. I knew I had bananas, sweet potatoes, and a half used can of pumpkin puree all looking like they needed to be used, before they reached the point of no return and I had to throw them out.

So today I bring you photos and a recipe I adapted from a gal named Karina, who runs the awesome blog, Cafe Delites.

Cinnamon Cheesecake Swirled Pumpkin Blondies (OMG, I know, right?)

Blondies

*1 Large Egg

*1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

*1/4 cup Stevia (or your preferred sweetener)

*1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)

*1 tbsp honey/agave

*2 tbsp applesauce

*1/4 tsp vanilla

*1 cup all purpose flour

*3/4 tsp baking powder

*1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

*Pinch of salt

*1/2 cup of chocolate chips (she says 1/4…but I’m a sucker for chocolate)

Cheesecake (This is where I added a LOT of bells and whistles. I will keep her recipe items on top and let you know which ones I added because….well…I live on the wild side(mine have extra ***’s).

*8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

*2 tbsp all purpose flour

*1 tsp cinnamon (I added a few extra shakes for good luck)

*1/4 cup stevia

*****1/2 tbsp maple syrup

*****1/2 tbsp honey

*****1/2 tsp vanilla extract

*****1/2 cup whipped coconut cream

*****1 scoop vanilla protein powder

*****Extra coconut milk/almond milk/milk/whatever you like just to thin the cheesecake a bit to make it easier to spread

OPTIONAL CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE

*1/2 cup chocolate chips

*1/4 cup half and half (plus more if you need to thin it out a bit more)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat your hot box to 350*F/175*C

Mix all of the blondie ingredients together in a large bowl or your Kitchenaid mixer with the standard mixer attachment. (I like to do all of the ‘liquid’ ingredients first, and then slowly add in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt etc).

Gently mix in the chocolate chips.

Pour into a parchment paper lined baking pan (I recommend an 8×8 but mine is gone, so I used a 6×9)

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Mix all of the cheesecake ingredients together and gently spoon on top of the pumpkin blondie mix. If you need to add some extra coconut milk/almond milk (whatever you used) to thin it out to make it easier, go ahead, but use sparingly!!!

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I added a little more cinnamon on top (and a sprinkle of sugar for that churro effect!)

Place in the center rack of your oven for 25-35 minutes. The top layer should be a little jiggly but not too liquid…so eyeball it every 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes.

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I put mine in the fridge for an hour (while I watched an episode of Boardwalk Empire with Douglas) to let the cheesecake layer set up.

And, because we all know I love chocolate, I melted chocolate chips with half and half and drizzled on the top of my cheesecake bars….

To serve, I put a small scoop of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin ice cream on top….wowie!!!

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Triumphant Return!!!

Well hello everyone, MANY apologies for such a delay. I spent 8 amazing days in Florida on a vacation with Douglas, and my parent’s oven was broken! I went many days without baking and something just wasn’t right in the world. But never fear! I return with a recipe for you to try out, in hopes that you will forgive my extended absence!!

If you’re anything like me, you wake up and already your sweet tooth is calling out for something delicious. While I have visited the grocery store twice since we landed on Friday night, my trips have been short and for absolute necessities… Lucky for me, todays recipe is simple, and I have everything I needed laying around!

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I feel like almost everyone has canned black beans in their pantry. Canned food is a staple in most homes, and black beans are such a versatile item that you shouldn’t live without. Some of you may be new to this idea, but black beans are GREAT when you use them in brownies. I know, I know, it sounds SO WEIRD, but believe me, these brownies are SO FREAKING GOOD.  What is even better about this recipe: there is NO flour. So its GLUTEN FREE. Yeehaw. AND! You can make them vegan if you wanna. (Kateland friendly!)

Black Bean Protein Brownies

(adapted from a recipe on Tastofhome.com)

1 15 oz can black beans (rinsed)

1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (Vegan option: vegan chocolate chips or chunks)

3 tbsp coconut oil (canola, sunflour, almond work too!)

3 large eggs (Vegan option: 3 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 6 tbsp water. Let them sit until they become a nice thick mix (stir often!)

2/3 cup brown sugar (packed)

1/2 cup cacao powder  (or cocoa powder!)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 scoop chocolate protein powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

(Feel free to mix in other goodies, marshmallows (vegan or not), nuts (if you’re into that kinda thing), cookie chunks, chia seeds (for extra omega 3’s!), etc etc)

You can also drizzle melted cookie butter, peanut butter or any other nut butter on top for some tasty variation!!!

1. Mix the black beans, chocolate chips and oil of your choice in a high powered blender or food processor.

2. Add all other ingredients until the batter is nice and whipped and smooth.

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Looks like real brownie batter to me!

3. Dump the delicious mixture into a 9″ square pan (I used an 8×11 because my square one died when I moved from Montana to Nashville (RIP). Make sure that pan is sprayed down with pam or rubbed down with some oil so it doesn’t stick!

4. Pop into a preheated 350*F oven for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out nice and clean.

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5. Enjoy!! They’re always good with a glass of milk mmmm.

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Someday, I will bake when I have a day off with Douglas. My photos do the foods no justice. And Douglas can make ANYTHING look good- even with his cell phone. Just imagine what he can do with a camera!

I’m gonna be back sooner this time with more tidings of joy and good foods!!

Have a good one, y’all!

Sarah Montana