Dark Chocolate Black Bean Brownies – Searching For Healthy Chocolate Snacks

One of the things I thought I would miss after my heart attack was eating sweets. Thing was, whenever I had anything with sugar in it, my chest would hurt. The damage to my heart made eating anything with sugar very risky because sugar is an inflammatory and it would inflame my heart and make it ache. So “missing” sugar wasn’t really an option because I was more concerned about healing than dwelling on what I was missing.

Something that I continually thought about as I was healing however, was how to manage stress and my ever surging emotions. In my research I learned that chocolate is good for stress reduction. Of course there are contradictory reports on this, but I know from experience that chocolate does relax me. The trick is to eat it in moderation and limit the other bad ingredients that might accompany the treat you choose to eat with chocolate in it. Other inflammatory food ingredients are flour and vegetable oils. Wheat flour and olive or peanut oil are good alternatives, but cutting either of these out all together would be even better.

When I found a recipe for black bean brownies, I played around with it, changing the oil and sugar contents and exchanging the milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips for dark or bittersweet chips. I didn’t get my hopes up, but after they came out of the oven and I got my first whiff, I knew these were going to be a great alternative. Once they were cool enough to try, Grace beat me to the pan and proclaimed that they were “AWESOME!” That alone was enough for me. I took a small piece (two bites) and enjoyed my first taste of chocolate in more than 6 weeks.

My heart didn’t ache, but I admit the sugar still had some effect on me. As when I eat anything, I have difficulty breathing now. With the additional sugar, my breathing was more labored, but not so much that I was concerned. Still, I will definitely limit how much I eat of these. Don’t worry, the brownies didn’t go to waste. Grace and Zeb finished them up without any trouble.

Dark Chocolate Black Bean Brownies

  • Servings: 16 Servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 Can (15 ounce) Black Beans, rinsed & drained
  • 2/3 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. Peanut or Olive Oil
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 2/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Baking Cocoa
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt


  1. In a food processor, process beans, 1/3 cup chocolate chips, and oil until blended.
  2. Add remaining ingredients (less the remaining chocolate chips) and process until smooth.
  3. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°.
  5. Transfer batter to prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining chips.
  6. Bake 22-27 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.
  8. Cut into 16 pieces.

Cooking Note

These brownies are rich, moist, and super chocolatey. No one knew there wasn’t any flour in them, nor could they taste the beans. 

Recipe by:  Tilly Frueh – Simply Grateful Cooking 2019

These brownies were a great treat to enjoy while my heart is healing even though I didn’t actually eat a whole lot of them. My next step is to try making them with honey in place of the brown sugar. Still, without the flour, they are definitely healthier than any boxed or store-bought version out there. Every little change helps, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.


Garlic & Parmesan Whole Wheat Croutons – Healthy Alternative to Store-Bought

After my “broken heart” heart attack, I changed my diet. I cut out a lot of things, but one constant at nearly every meal was salad. Because of this, I really needed to find different things to add to the leafy greens.

One afternoon while perusing the isles at Wal-Mart for different options, I came across croutons. Stopping to read the ingredient lists, I was appalled to find that every crouton option was filled with processed carbs and ingredients I couldn’t even pronounce. Plus, there wasn’t one whole wheat option.

When I hit the bakery section of the store, I found a rack full of freshly baked bread. Among the loaves of bread I found loaves of whole wheat French bread and get this…it was only $1.00. How could I not buy it and make my own croutons. I mean, how hard could it be.

I came home, cubed the bread, and made the following recipe. They were wonderful. They were so good in fact that Hubby ate half the bag as a snack. He really wasn’t interested in using them in a salad, but as a snack they were perfect. He did leave me enough to enjoy in my salads the next day, then it was off to Wal-Mart for another loaf. These don’t last long in our house.

Garlic & Parmesan Whole Wheat Croutons

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 1 Loaf Whole Wheat French or Italian Bread, cut into ½” – ¾” cubes
  • 2 tsp. Minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp. Dried Thyme
  • ¾ tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Pepper
  • ½ Cup Olive Oil
  • ¼ Cup Finely Grated Fresh Parmesan


  1. Combine garlic, spices and oil in a small saucepan.
  2. Simmer the mixture over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and toss with oil mixture.
  4. Spread bread cubes on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°.
  6. Bake cubes for 8 minutes.
  7. Remove cubes from oven, stir and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  8. Return to oven and bake for 7 minutes more, until golden.
  9. Remove from oven and sprinkle with additional salt if desired.
  10. Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days.

Cooking Note

These are great tossed with a salad, added to soup, or eaten straight from the container as a snack.


Recipe by:  Tilly Frueh – Simply Grateful Cooking 2019

A new way of life came out of my heart attack experience, and with that comes a whole lot of new recipes. I’m sure that this recipe is just as good with white French bread, but the whole wheat version is perfect for me, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

Tilly’s Take on Borek

A little over a year ago, Hubby happened across a market not too far from our home that sold homemade rolls, bread, and cheese filled pastries. They sold other items, but what he really liked about this market was being able to stop by any time from 8 am until around noon and pick up fresh from the oven bread. Most of the time he couldn’t even make it home before eating at least one flat bread or a roll or two. Continue reading

Somewhere Over The Rainbow Popcorn

Have you ever come across something new, that when you tried it, you couldn’t believe you’d lived as long as you had without it. Further, you can’t imagine living your life without it ever again?

I don’t think this is considered an epiphany — or maybe it is, but whatever…I have discovered one of the absolute best, most marvelous, unbelievably good ways to eat, serve, and gift popcorn. Continue reading