If you asked me as a teenager if I was creative or artistic I would have said no way. I remember dreading art class knowing that my work would get criticized or erased and redone by my art teacher. Of course as a child I took this as 100% true and gave up on doing any sort of drawing, painting or art and was excited in high school when it became an option and there was no way in hell I was going to elect to take an art.
As an adult I understand how ridiculous this is and I wasn’t lacking creativity or any artistic bones, I just hadn’t figured out or been guided on how to channel it. Drawing or painting may not be my forte, but those aren’t the only forms of art. Duh. Then I discovered cooking and photography (I always loved taking pics. Shout out to Dad for my Polaroid camera for my 5th b-day to get me started on that). But now I had a place to channel and direct my creativity. And I started playing and having fun with art. Something I thought totally impossible. It gave me a confidence boost and reminded me that I could learn new skills and have a creative outlet. And I wanted so badly to share it with my community. Thus, Craving Nature was born.
When my students would tell me that they were “bad at Spanish” I told them it was impossible to be bad at a language, but that they just hadn’t had enough practice or hadn’t learned in a way that was effective for them. We all got different brains that pick up different things more easily than others. It’s so important to think about the statements that we make to others, especially young kids about what is truth, i.e. being “good or bad” or “shy” or “just not good at math and science” and especially on physical appearance. Sometimes we just need more practice, or a metaphor, or a way to connect a topic to our every day life. Or maybe a video to show you how to do something instead of reading it i.e. this video! (Maybe the teacher is coming out in me today b/c I am not heading back to school this year).
And thanks to my creativity and my experimental fails, we have a new treat on Craving Nature! These brownies are a bit serendipitous. I was aiming to make chocolate cookies for ice cream sandwiches when instead I made brownies for sundaes for a party I hosted called, A Nice Cream Sunday. Turning my whoops moment upside down into what I’ve been loving lately: making videos and what I think is the most fun, yet frustrating process, editing. I’ve been creating them for our travels, family visits, empowering women at the gym, and moving back into recipes. Be sure to watch the video below!
These went through several trial rounds before they were fudgy enough for me. I am not of the cakey brownie texture and the first few rounds definitely had more of the cake texture. Adding in the avocado really does the trick to make them fudgesquey!
So enjoy the video, and then of course the brownies.
Chocolate peanut butter brownies (vegan)
- 1 1/2 c . oat flour (oats ground in a blender of food processor works here)
- 8-10 large soft Medjool dates , pitted
- 1/2 c . creamy natural peanut butter (or chocolate peanut butter)*
- 1/2 c . cacao powder
- 1/2 c . plant-based milk , such as almond, hemp, coconut or cashew
- 1 tsp . baking soda
- 1/2 avocado (sub smashed banana, sweet potato, or pumpkin puree)
- 2/3 chopped dark chocolate bar , divided
- 1/4 tsp . salt
- 1-2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 2-3 Tbsp . creamy peanut butter
Preheat oven to 325˚F.
Grease a brownie pan with coconut oil and set aside.
Melt 1/2 of the chopped dark chocolate in the microwave at 15 second intervals.
Combine all ingredients together in a food processor excluding 1/2 of the chopped dark chocolate.
Pour batter and smooth into the prepared brownie pan with a spatula.
Pour the creamy PB in lines into the unbaked brownies and create swirl patterns with the tip of a sharp knife, cake tester, or a toothpick.
Top with remaining chopped chocolate.
Bake at 325˚F for 18-22 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Serve immediately or place in an air tight container.
*If you don't have creamy natural peanut butter, heat 1/2 c. peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl at 20 second increments, stirring in between.