The new year is here and the time to get back into a normal schedule and better eating habits is back. We all try to do better with the dawn of a new year. We often make resolutions, the most popular of which, according to statistics and surveys is losing weight, getting healthy, eating better, and mostly overall health in general. Many people make resolutions but in our home we try to abstain from making lofty goals that we may or may not make every effort to achieve. In the heat of the moment it is always nice to hear that we are going to lose a certain amount of weight, but in the end we may hurt ourselves because we don't lose it fast enough, or we fall off the wagon so to speak. In the end, making a goal to live a better life, strive for excellence and in the vein of Bill and Ted, "Be excellent to each other" will work for us. Do you make resolutions? It works for some. Good luck in yours if you do.
With better choices at the forefront of today's recipe, I recently saw a piece on the news highlighting several people who has made the choice to become fit and healthy. One of them said that being able to have a treat from time to time helped them to reach their goals and that their treat of choice was a brownie. However their brownies were made using a boxed mix and a can of pumpkin. So I thought it might be fun to give this a whirl and see what we could come up with. The goal here is to have a sometimes treat and not to eat the whole pan. That would defeat the purpose.
I started with a boxed brownie mix. I used Duncan Hines, but you could use any mix that makes a 9 x 13 pan of brownies. I also used a 15 ounce can of solid pack pumpkin. Not pumpkin pie mix, just pure canned pumpkin. This is the easiest it will ever get! Put the brownie mix in a bowl, put the pumpkin in a bowl and stir until fully combined. The mixture will be thick and fudgy looking. Spread this into a 9 x 13 inch pan that you have sprayed lightly with cooking spray or in my case, vegetable oil from my Misto sprayer. I love that thing! Then you can bake this as instructed on your box of brownie mix. I baked mine for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
When I removed them from the oven, they were noticeably dull in appearance, but they were firm to the touch and bounced back a bit when I pressed them gently with my finger. I allowed the pan to cool on a wire rack and then cut them into squares. During the cooling process, the brownies lost some of their initial loft, because these don't have eggs, they are going to be flat, but don't let that discourage you. Remember, we are trying to make better choices and even if you sub out this recipe for your favorite fudgy wonder just a couple of times, you are making better choices. Save those thick, beautiful, chocolate delights for a few times a year, like your birthday or Valentines day or some other celebration.
I called Rick and the girls into the kitchen so we could all give these a try on camera to see if they were as delicious as they smelled. We all enjoyed them very much. Micah really liked them and this surprised me because she tends to be a bit more finicky especially with the outward appearance of a dish, and she tends to make a snap judgement on the spot. In this case, they were a hit. We really could not taste pumpkin at all. Rick really like them as well as Molly and myself. In all I think this experiment was a big hit.
I think this quick and easy brownie fix is a nice way to eat your cake and have it too. If you have started the year off with a goal to watch what you eat, then this occasional treat is just the ticket to keep you going. As with any special treat, these are intended to enjoy by the each, not by the pan. If you feel your will power is weak and fragile this soon after the holidays, then freeze them in baggies and enjoy them piecemeal. Or you could take them to work or even to a neighbor to share to help you avoid the temptation of eating them all at once.
This was very simple and went together in a snap. It really is similar to other ways of reducing fat and calories in a basic mix, I have made brownies in the past with prune puree and egg whites as well as apple sauce or even mashed pinto beans in place of the oil. All of these are great ways to increase fiber and decrease fat. These are not a low sugar or sugar free option, however, in moderation you can enjoy them no matter what special program you may be on.
Someday I will have to share the other ways of making guilt free brownies with you. You might be surprised at how delicious they are! I hope this inspires you to be good to yourself, and try a new way of having a delicious treat for the new year. I hope you try these guilt free brownies and I hope you love them!
If you would like to see how I made these little lovely's Take a look here!