Berry Cobbler

Fruit for dessert! In this cobbler there is very little sugar added and in fact, you could omit the sugar completely and it still tastes great. This can be eaten as is or with ice cream or yogurt on top, you decide how sinful or healthy you want to make it. One of my favorite things about this dessert, is that I don't have to plan ahead. Because the fruit is frozen, it doesn't go bad and all the other ingredients are things I usually just have on hand. Feel free to cut this recipe in half, as this easily serves 15 people. This is one of my favorite desserts to make, because it's healthy enough to have for breakfast the next day with some Greek yogurt.

6 cups frozen berries
2 whole apples, chopped
2 tbsp orange zest (could also use lemon or lime)
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar

Preparation:Mix the above ingredients in a large bowl. If you do not have a zester, I didn't until Christmas last year (Thank you GranPaul!), then you can use the smallest grate setting on your cheese grater.

Topping Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup oats
3/4 cup granola
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cardamom
3/4 chopped pecans or walnuts

Preparation:In a separate bowl, cut the butter into small pieces and add the sugar and flour and mash with a fork. Add all other ingredients and use your clean hands to combine.

Spray the pan with oil. Layer your ingredients.

Bake at 425 for 35-40 min

Modifications: If you do not eat dairy, substitute the butter for Earth Balance or some other non-dairy fat. And if you do not eat wheat, the flour can be substituted with any other gluten free flour.

Try using fresh or frozen peaches, cherries, or any other fruit. Remember there is no one way to prepare this, no right or wrong. Just have fun, be healthy and enjoy a little dessert!

Black Bean Brownies

Yes, you read that right, Black Bean Brownies! These are naturally gluten free, as there is no flour of any sort used. Black beans are a good source of folate, protein and heart healthy fiber and flavonoids. And the dark chocolate used in this recipe, is also rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids act as antioxidants to inhibit free radical damage. Flavonoids have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and anti allergenic properties. They also have a vasodilatory effect, thus helping to lower blood pressure. I have been playing around with the recipe for a few weeks now and have finally come up with one that I am pleased to post. Please, as always, feel free to tweak this however you like!

8 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate (70-100% cocoa content)
1/3 cup oil
3 cups soft-cooked black beans, drained well (canned is fine)
2 tsp. cardamom
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (granulated) instant coffee
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fig jam (or any other)

1/3 cup egg whites
1/2 cup shredded coconut

6 tbsp peanut butter, spread throughout the middle of batter

Other Options:
1 cup walnuts, pecans or almonds, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line an 13- by 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper and lightly oil with spray, or just spray with oil if you do not have paper.

Melt the chocolate over low heat, while stirring, 1 to 2 minutes until chocolate is completely melted. Place the beans, vanilla extract, whole eggs, sugar, jam, cardamom, coffee and chocolate into the blender. Blend about 2 minutes, or until smooth. The batter should be thick and the beans smooth.

In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer beat the egg whites until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the coconut and beat well. Set aside.

Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the egg mixture. Mix well.

Pour 1/2 the batter into the prepared pan. Spread the Peanut Butter over the brownie batter.

Then pour the remaining batter over the top. And sprinkle with chocolate chips and/or coconut as desired.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. They will be soft until refrigerated and should be stored in the refrigerator.

Makes about 20 brownies.

I like to prepare them when I have time and then freeze. When I have guests, I can quickly thaw them in the microwave 2 minutes at 50% power. I hope you will enjoy this rather healthy dessert!