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KCL Friday Finds

Happy weekend!! If you've had a hectic week like my husband and I have (or if you're dealing with the recent snowstorm) grab a cup of coffee, get comfy, and enjoy some major retail therapy. This week's Friday Finds is just the thing for some serious online shopping. I was honestly running late with this post, because I got distracted browsing through all of the products available in each shop. There are so many great finds and a sweet, personal touch to each brand. Enjoy! :) Pictured above: Black Polka Dot Print Crossbody Bag by Sudden Inspiration


The first featured store is Sudden Inspiration, a shop that sells the cutest hand-crafted bags. You can find everything from cosmetics bags and wristlets to roomy crossbody bags. The designs pair faux leather with beautiful prints and colors. As I clicked around and noticed all of the bright florals, modern neutrals, and boho-chic tribal prints; I found myself wondering where the vision behind this brand comes from. Owner Melis…

Skinny Gluten-Free Fudge Brownies


I don't know about you, but whenever I'm trying to drop a few pounds and get back on track, I still don't give up my chocolate. But even just a few pieces of chocolate can derail my day. My most favorite chocolates, for example, are Ferrero Rocher. Unfortunately they have a few hundred calories in a tiny pack of three. That is just one workout completely down the drain!

These lightened up brownies however are a healthy chocolate fix with half the sugar, gluten-free flour, and no oil or butter. Baking with cocoa powder is my favorite way to get my chocolate fix without all the fat and calories. I know they say a little bit of dark chocolate is good for you, but I also crave baked goods. If I don't get a little here and there, I'm going to wind up stuffing my face with goodies from the bakery. These low-fat brownies really keep me in check, and the cocoa powder still offers the healthy antioxidants that dark chocolate has. I still have to watch my portions. If these go into my gleaming cake stand on the counter, it's all too easy to sneak one every time I go into the kitchen. I've started to freeze them in individual servings. When my craving strikes, I pop one into the microwave for 30 seconds.

If you know the portion isn't going to completely satisfy you, top it of with fresh berries to bulk it up with something healthy and sweet! I do have to warn you, these do not have the same texture as brownies. They are healthier after all, and I'm not a magician. Though they are yummy and like I said, they're perfect to give you a healthier chocolate fix and to help you stay on track. If you want them to be a little more sinful but still generally better than traditional fudge brownies, add in 2/3 cup of dark chocolate baking chips to the batter. Using a bittersweet chocolate will still keep the fat and sugar content of this recipe extremely low.

INGREDIENTS
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 packets Stevia
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 2 tbs nonfat milk or dairy-free option
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp instant espresso
  • 1 & 1/3 cup gluten-free white rice flour or rice flour blend (a white rice flour will give you a more dense texture more similar to a fudge brownie) *Even if you don't need it to be gluten-free, I suggest you still use the rice flour. If you use all-purpose flour, you're going to get more of a cake.
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened pure cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a 9 by 9 inch medium baking pan. (You can also make them in muffin tins with paper cups for easier cleanup and individual servings that are roughly 100 calories a piece.)
  2. Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl then add the sugar, milk, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla. Blend on high until very smooth. 
  3. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl then add to the wet mixture. *Note: The spices will not come out in the flavor. They simply help to add some sweetness and richness to the brownies.
  4. Pour into your baking pan and smooth flat across the top with a rubber spatula. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the center is cooked through. Give it the old toothpick test.



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