Black Bean Brownies 

Since we will be moving in a short time, I have been trying to clean out our pantry. I have been saving a lot of money by not buying new groceries, but I have been missing baking quite a bit! When I looked at my pantry, all I saw was rows of beans. What on EARTH am I going to do with all those beans? 

I had heard that some crazies thought of the idea of turning black beans into brownies. I don’t know what possessed the first person to try this, but I had to know for myself. 

Let me warn you, if you are looking or the most delicious brownie recipe in the world, this is not it. However, it is a decent substitute for when you’re craving brownies while also trying to eat more healthy. The secret to this recipe is to make sure your beans are rinsed well and to not short-change the chocolate chips. This will make the difference between a brownie substitute and an odd chocolate bean salad. Trust me. 

Ingredients 

15 oz can drained and rinsed very well

2 T cocoa

1/2 c oats

1/4 t salt

1/3c maple syrup

1/4c coconut or veggie oil

2 t vanilla extract 

1/2 t baking soda

1/2c chocolate chips 

Directions 

Mix all ingredients (except chocolate chips) in food processor until smooth 

Add chips and stir

Pour batter in greased 8×8 pan

Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes 

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Moving Fear 

This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but moving scares me a little. You see, I grew up in Connecticut in an amazing town. Great schools, great people, lots to do. I was never the kid who hated my hometown. I loved it. 

My dad also grew up here. My grandparents’ house was only a mile away. It definitely made me feel proud to attend my father’s alma mater for high school. I hoped my children would do the same.  

I never ventured far. I went to UConn for college. It was safe and comfortable here in my home state. I started my teaching career in this same town. To add to it, most of my closest friends were from childhood and they, too, had stayed. There was no reason to leave. 

Until there was… 

Match Day!

  
My sweet husband placed for his medical residency in Maryland. 

I am SO proud of him, but also incredibly scared. I have never moved before. What will that be like? Will I make friends? 

I am a stay at home mom. My job is, by definition, at home. What am I going to do in a new place? A new home? With no friends? And no family? 

And despite all these fears, I feel quite certain that this is surely the start of a grand adventure! 

Easter “Eve” Reflections 

The past month has been an absolute whirlwind with barely a second to breathe. Major change is coming for our little family and tonight is the first chance I’ve had to even take it all in! 

My husband received his medical residency assignment at an amazing program. I still cannot believe in one month he’ll officially be a doctor! I am so proud! However, this placement takes us six hours from our family and friends. I have lived in the same town my whole life, and I love it here! I went to the same high school my dad went to. We currently live in the house my grandparents used to own. And now we’re moving! 

Moving brings such excitement as I can’t wait to explore a new part of the country. It also brings nerves as my hubby will be working an insane schedule and I’ll need a support network. Thankfully, one of my closest friends and her fiancée are also moving to the area, so I won’t be totally alone. But, still, I am afraid. 

So it seems apropos that the night before Easter, we get the news that we were approved for the place we really wanted to live. We had seen a few properties online, but when the opportunity for a viewing for this place came up, we hopped in the car after lunch and made our way down. I am so grateful that it all worked out. 

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays as it signifies rebirth and hope. Even in the darkest moments of my life, hope and faith have gotten me through. Every stumbling block has been a cleverly disguised detour to a better destination. 

It is no mistake this news came through today. My hubby and I were slightly sad that this was our last big holiday as residents of our home state. However, this news is a reminder that we are always being looked out for and guided toward a better path. 

I am so excited to celebrate Easter this year with Cupcake. Here she is as just an itty bitty little thing.   

photo credit: Michelle Williams photography

 

Last Easter she was  just a few weeks old and my life was a blur. I stumbled to church with no makeup, no time to brush my hair, and whatever clothes were within reach. I was a mess. Here she is on Easter ( one of my only pictures from that day!) : 

 And yet, Easter is filled with such joy that everyone overlooked the bleary-eyed parents and graciously focused on our little cherub instead. I sadly don’t think I even remembered to send the Easter Bunny a birth announcement as Cupcake had no Easter basket. I felt like a major failure there, but I knew at church I’d be home. But this year, she will be celebrating with a big basket since the Easter Bunny felt so bad! 

More importantly, the day of joy and hope stands before us to show us that we are loved and cared for. No matter which path you walk, know you are loved. There is hope. Whatever troubles you have can be lifted up and you will be provided for! 

Happy Easter! Hallelujah, hallelujah! 

March Resolution Update 

As part of my 2015 resolutions, I post my status each month to keep myself accountable for the goals I set for myself!

1. Design 2015 budget goals with husband to reflect past spending and current saving goals.

Cupcake’s first birthday was this month. Our goal was to set a budget and stick to it. 

In order to make the party more cost-effective, we limited the guest list to grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Having our friends there to celebrate would have been awesome, but also a bigger expense. 

We managed to spend almost exactly the budget we set and that includes all the food, decorations, gifts and everything else we did. I was so excited! 

Our April goal is to determine exactly what we want to spend for a new apartment when we move and to find our dream place! We debated buying, but residency only lasts three years. Although there’s a good chance we could stay in the area, with no guarantee it didn’t seem worth it. 

2. Go to the gym (or workout at home) a minimum of four days a week.

Having the warmer weather back made such a huge difference. Counting long walks of 3+ miles, I worked out 4-5 times a week without fail! Yay! 

3. Reduce my PR of a 9 min mile pace to an 8 minute mile.

My March goal was to get below an 8:25. I am absolutely astounded at my progress in this area! I added in quite a bit of interval runs and that has made a huge difference! My fastest mile time this month was an 8:07! I also had many runs under 8:25 so this is a definite success. 

My April goal is to get an 8:05 minute mile. 

4. Try one new recipe a week and blog about it.

This goal I did much less awesome on. I only blogged about one recipe the whole month! Will definitely need to start researching some new ones for April! 

5. I want to continue nursing Cupcake through 2015, unless she chooses to wean earlier.

Check! 

I officially made it to one year of nursing and am so excited that our nursing relationship is still going strong. 

I did have some strong second thoughts when Cupcake was having nursing sessions for over an hour at a time several times a day and night. However, she seems to have just been going through a huge developmental leap. She now walks almost exclusively and her language skills are huge. She’s even used two-word phrases (“all done” and “no touch”) a few times recently! 

Cupcake still loves her night nursing sessions, but they have gone down from 3 to 2 on most nights, so it’s getting better! Here’s to nursing through April! 

6. Visit my grandma every week before our move. Call her every week after we move.

This one makes me sad because I failed miserably. We only have two months living in the same state so it is vital that I make this happen for April and May! 

7. Text/call/email a different friend every day to keep communication open.

Check!

8. I will cut my monthly consumption of soda.

In March, my goal was to drink no more than 3.5 servings of soda a week.

I only had one can of root beer (my fav!) at Cupcake’s birthday party and no other soda for the rest of the month! The cravings are still there, but they’re getting lesser by the day! Yay! 

My goal for April is only 3 servings a week. One of my best friends is getting married and this girl wants to have the option to enjoy a rum and coke (or two). 

9. Subscribe to FlyLady Emails. Complete tasks to maintain clean and decluttered home.

I didn’t follow the tasks outlined because we started prepping for our move. While not officially making my goal, I’m amazed at the progress we made of totally cleaning out and packing up the basement! 

10. Reduce time spent watching TV

My goal for March was focused on my afternoon television. I love watching Ellen, but now that the weather is nicer, we are outside during this time. This is definitely a check as I only watched a few episodes the whole month! 

My goal for April will be focused on reducing my overall TV watching a day. To accomplish this goal, I will spend the first two weeks tracking exactly how many hours I watch. I will spend the second half of the month working to eliminate a few hours a week (exact number to be determined by results of data collection!). 

11. Post progress each month on the above goals. 
Check!