SRC: Couscous & Consciousness’ Double Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

CCouscous & consciousness Raspberry Brownies-5For April’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Sue from Couscous & Consciousness. Sue is a Kiwi who loves yoga, food and conscious eating. When I first opened her blog, I was greeted with load of beautiful photos of beautiful food. Yum! Foods like her Roasted Cauliflower and Almond Salad and her Fried Zucchini, Pea and Quinoa Salad , Asparagus, Artichokes, Argulua, Pomegranate and Beet Salad, and Apricot, White Chocolate and Cashew Nut Slice. (Apparently I was mostly on a salad kick when I was looking initially.)

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I ended up choosing her Double Chocolate Raspberry Brownies at Mr Bean’s Request as he needed to bring a “not-cake” to the birthday celebration at his work. Brownies have never really been my “thing” and I’ve made them maybe once before – I guess it’s not that surprising given that we weren’t a “chocolate” family, but I was surprised at how easy they were! You essentially mix things together in two separate bowls, mix the bowls together, add the mix-ins, pour it into the pan and into the oven it goes.

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I made a few adjustments – I reduced the sugar to 1 lightly packed cup, made it gluten free and used chocolate chips instead of chopped chocolate as that’s what the store had (Although, I would recommend that you use chopping white chocolate as the majority of the chips melted.) You can also easily make this recipe dairy and soy free by using a dairy free/soy free chocolate for both the white and dark chocolate.

I also made the brownies in a 8 x 8″ pan as I don’t own a 8 x 12″ one, which meant that it was more of a brownie cake than brownie squares and the cooking time was much longer as a result. I think even a 9 x 13″ pan would work and the cooking time would be much shorter as a result.

These brownies are moist, not super dense and very chocolate-y. I’m sure Mr. Bean’s coworkers will love them and not be able to tell they are gluten free!

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Gluten Free Double Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

280 g butter (I used Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Spread)
250 g dark chocolate chips (The original recipe called for 200g chopped dark chocolate, but the store was out)1/3 c. each of brown rice, sorghum and tapioca flour
1/2 tsp. xathan gum
1 c. packed sugar
6 eggs
1 c. frozen raspberries
250 g white chocolate chips (Original recipe called for 200 g chopped white chocolate)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8 x 8″ pan with parchment paper.
  2. Melt butter over medium heat. Once it’s melted, remove from heat and stir in dark chocolate until it’s all melted. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, xathan gum and sugar. Add eggs and use the whisk to beat them slightly before using a spoon to mix it until smooth.
  4. Pour in the chocolate mixture and mix well. Fold in the raspberries and white chocolate.
  5. Pour batter into pan and bake in the oven for 60+ minutes (Start checking at around 45 min for doneness and rotate pan about half way through) or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and cool in tin. Cut into squares.
  7. Enjoy!

Sue, it was wonderful looking through your beautiful blog and I hope to try more of your recipes in the future!

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Please Check out the rest of Group D’s Recipes Below:

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Turnip to Tangerine’s Blueberry Spice Streusel Coffee Cake

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For March’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Lynn of Turnips 2 Tangerines. Lynn lives in Wisconsin and married her highschool sweetheat many years later (so cute!). She shares lots of amazing looking recipes including lots of baking! If I were eating dairy, I would totally want to try her lingonberry cheesecake – after going to Sweden, I love Lingonberries! I’m also super impressed with how good she is with making sourdough anything. She even has instructions on how to grow your own Avocado tree – if I wasn’t such a black thumb, that would be awesome to try!

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I ended up choosing her Blueberry Spice Streusel Coffee Cake – usually I don’t use cake mixes, but I had one I wanted to use up. The cake turned out really well! It probably helps that I followed the instructions on the box (shock!) – namely,  I used eggs as I knew I was going to be feeding it to my coworkers and the texture was amazing! It was fluffy, light and moist! My coworkers loved it and it disappeared quickly. I’d definitely make it again!

The only changes I made were that I didn’t use a spice cake, so I added my own, I reduced the sugar on the top by 1/4 c. and I didn’t add the frosting as it was still quite sweet to me.

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Gluten, Dairy and Soy Free Blueberry Spice Streusel Coffee Cake

1 – Betty Crocker GF Golden Cake Mix
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. cloves
3 eggs
2/3 c. almond milk
1/2 c. Earth Balance Coconut Spread
2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 c. frozen blueberries, thawed (Or fresh)

Topping:
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. oatmeal
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
3 tbsp. brown rice flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line the bottom of an 8 x 8″ pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the topping.
  3. Whisk together cake mix and spices.
  4. Add eggs, milk, vanilla and coconut spread and mix on low for 30 sec. Add vinegar and beat for 2 mins on medium.
  5. Fold in Blueberries and scrape into pan. (All mine went to the bottom, so I would recommend scraping a bit of batter to cover the bottom of the pan and then mix in the blueberries in the remaining batter before scraping into the pan).
  6. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the cake.
  7. Bake for 35 – 45 min or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.
  9. Enjoy!

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SRC: Food Baby Life’s Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

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For February’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Susan of Food Baby Life. Susan is an amazing baker – just look at all the Daring Bakers, Tuesdays with Dorie and Baking with Julia challenges she has done! It was very hard for me to decide what I was going to make! I spent so long looking through recipes like her cornflake biscuits (so similar to what my grandma used to make for us when we were kids!), Spiced Apple Baked French Toast, or her Mediterranean Lamb Salad. Food Baby Life Chocolate Zucchini Muffins-1

I was having such a hard time deciding what I was going to make, so I asked Mr. Bean for help. I ended up choosing her chocolate zucchini muffins. I made them gluten free and a little bit healthier by replacing some of the oil with applesauce.

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I had a few issues – all of which would probably have been solved had I squeezed the water out of the zucchini prior to mixing it in. My muffins took almost 40 minutes to cook because the insides were too wet. Once they were cooked, they were pretty tasty!

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Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

1/4 c. each tapioca starch, potato starch, brown rice flour, sorghum flour and millet flour
1 tsp. xathan gum
2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 c. cocoa
3/4 c. gluten free oats
1/3-1/2 c. coconut palm sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 small zucchini, grated & excess liquid squeezed out
1 egg
3/4 c. almond (or other dairy free) milk
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 c. applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla

  1. 1. Line or grease a muffin tin and preheat oven to 350F. (I used 12 mini muffins and 9 normal sized)
  2. Shift together flours. Mix in the remainder of the dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.
  4. Pour the wet into the dry and mix until just combined.
  5. Spoon into prepared muffin tins and cook for 20 – 25 min for the normal sized muffins.
  6. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before cooling on a wire rack.
  7. Enjoy!

Susan, it was great looking through all the beautiful recipes on your blog! :)

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Please click below to see the rest of Group D’s recipes!

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SRC: Life and Kitchen’s Banana Oatmeal Bread & Grilled Peanut Butter Apple Sandwiches

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For January’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Lindsay of Life and Kitchen. Lindsay has been a vegetarian since the beginning of 2012, so most of her recipes are meat free! As well as tons of delicious recipes, she includes lots of commentary on her life outside of the kitchen – including her ridiculously cute daughter, Lily, and their adventures with a growing kid.

But speaking of delicious recipes, I literally looked through 20 pages of her blog and was so indecisive about what I should make! Some of the recipes that caught my eye were her: Bacon and Goat Cheese Muffins, Cucumber Hummus Cups, and her Broccoli Salad with Raisins and Sunflower Seeds, (which is a variation of a favourite of ours, but since I’ve already made it, I decided not to make it again.

When I saw Lindsay’s recipe for  Grilled Peanut Butter Apple Sandwiches, I knew what I was going to make: her Banana Oatmeal Bread!  It’s super easy to make, is healthy and is super tasty! I made a few variations – making it gluten and egg free, reducing the sugar and adding more bananas. The only thing I didn’t like about it is that the some of gluten free oats were still uncooked after baking – apparently they take longer than regular, so next time I think I’ll either up the liquid in the loaf or soak the oats for a few minutes before mixing them in.

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Gluten Free, Vegan Banana Oatmeal Bread

1/3 c. each brown rice flour, sorghum flour and tapioca starch
1/4 c. millet flour
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/3 c. unpacked brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 egg replacers (1 tbsp. powder, 1/4 c. almond milk – make according to the directions on package)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1 c. old fashioned GF oats

  1. Line a 8 x 4″ loaf pan with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  3. Add in egg replacers, oil and vinegar and mix until combined (mine was a bit dry at the moment as instead of adding the equivalent of another egg, I added another banana).
  4. Mix in banana and oatmeal and then scrape into pan.
  5. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until a few toothpicks inserted into the loaf come out clean.
  6. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then let cool on a rack.
  7. Enjoy by itself or in a grilled peanut butter apple sandwich!

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Grilled Peanut Butter Apple Sandwich

2 slices banana bread
Peanut Butter
Apple Slices
Margarine (or soy-free spread)

  1. Butter one side of each piece of banana bread and place butter side down on a board/plate/etc.
  2. Spread peanut butter on both sides of the bread and arrange apple slices on one pieces.
  3. Assemble your sandwich and cook in a preheated pan for about 5 min a side or until each side is golden brown.
  4. Enjoy!

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Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes by clicking the link below!

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Final Trip of 2013: Field!

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Where does time go? It’s hard to believe that Christmas break ended over a week ago. Thankfully, I had a really good Christmas break (unlike last year where I got sick) with lots of family, skiing and good food! Mr. Bean and I even managed to get away for a few days to the cabin we had our honeymoon at in Field, BC. We wanted to improve on our last trip out two years ago, where we were both very grumpy and didn’t have much fun, so this time we were both determined to enjoy ourselves – apparently it helps if you have the mindset of “it’s not the end of the world”! We went cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tromping, enjoyed good food and hung out in front of the fire. Mr. Bean was a champion and skied 16km (10 miles) up Moraine Lake Road despite not having gone skiing in over a year!

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One thing I did get to partake in that I really haven’t in a while, was night photography. Luckily, we had fairly mild weather despite it being mostly cloudy and a new moon (so no sweet moonlight on the mountain photos like a few years ago.) Oh well, I tried to make the best of it with decent results and lots of fun had. I first tromped all over field:

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One interesting thing you can especially see when the moon isn’t around is the colour of various light sources:

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Going right after Christmas with all the coloured lights probably help as well.

We were there for two nights – the first night when I went out, no trains came around, so I was stuck playing with textures, shadows and light in different kinds of motion:

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However, on the second night, a train showed up! (I’m sure my dad would be proud of my excitement).

Field by Night-17Random fact: Did you know that the drivers exit the train from a door on the very front of the locomotive? That makes me incredibly happy.

Maybe it makes me a complete nerd, but it made this photographer very happy to play with motion. Also, I think I provided some amusement for various people as I ran from one side of the village to the other to capture some shots.

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I think I probably spent almost four hours outside and both nights Mr. Bean was already in bed by the time I finally got in. Oh well, totally worth it!

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To make good on the 2013 word of the year: here’s my selfie!

What was the favourite thing that you did over Christmas?

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