December 18, 2015

Low-So Brownies, Gifts, and Books

Brownies Horizontal
We are in the final weeks of holiday season, which means it is time to talk gifts. Last minute gifts. Little gifts. And in the case of today’s post, stocking gifts. Specifically, low-so good snacks that will not only stuff those big decorative socks, but more importantly, your stomach in times of hunger.
There are also brownies made with black beans. But we’ll get to that.
Even a year ago, finding low-sodium snacks was pretty darn impossible. There were a few brands of tortilla chips, potato chips, and rice crackers on the store shelves. As well as some granola mixes. But not much else. It was rare to find any kind of bar or cookie or sweet, healthy treat at the market and your best bet for finding something of interest and flavor was the internet. For the most part, I packed cans of beans, microwave rice, and boxes of raisins to keep me full when traveling or bopping around town. Or, if I had the time, I made my own low-sodium concoctions, like the black bean brownies below. But if I didn’t prepare, well, I was out of luck. And so was everyone else, because let me tell you, I get tired and hangry when I don’t have something to eat. And it’s not pretty.
These days, though, things are really different. Now I can find low-so apple chips and garbanzo bean chocolate bars at coffee shops, mini markets, and even my daughter’s preschool cafe. It seems that, now, no matter where I go, I can find a low-sodium snack to keep me full. So let’s stock (and stocking) up with some of my favorite low-so good snacks that, for the most part, are pretty darn good for you, too. Buy these for yourself or put them on your holiday wish list. If you’re traveling for the holidays — to a hotel or a loved one’s home – may I also suggest sending some of these ahead of time!
Low-So Good Stocking Stuffers





Cinnamon Crunch

Apple Pineapple

Apple Blueberries

Apple Coconut

Apple Banana
As for other gift ideas, definitely check out my previous low-so good gift guides from holidays past. And don’t forget the best gift of all is HEALTH, which in my opinion often starts with food. And this year, I can offer you not one, but TWO cookbooks to get you started: SODIUM GIRL’S LIMITLESS LOW-SODIUM COOKBOOK …
… and my new baby, LOW-SO GOOD (cover below!) which will be out in April 2016 but is available for pre-order NOW!
LowSoGood_CVR_front copy
Also, if you’re environmentally conscious or just a last minute shopper, check out these eight, super cool ways to repurpose and regift citrus peels. And for those that prefer to DIY gifts, go ahead and make that edible present. May I suggest these chocolate and peppermint marshmallows. Or, of course, these fudgy black bean brownies.
Brownies vertical
LOW-SO BLACK BEAN BROWNIES adapted from Whole Foods Flourless Brownies
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup  semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan with a little extra coconut oil or neutral vegetable oil spray. Place black beans, eggs, coconut oil, cocoa powder, vanilla and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Remove the blade and gently stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until just set in the center. Cool before cutting into squares — a little time in the fridge helps them firm up. Store brownies in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

And if you feel like it, you can always turn them into cake pops, too! Sprinkle with sprinkles or crushed peppermint. And wrap as gifts or serve as a part of your festive dessert display.

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