Nut-butter Brownies for the New Year

Happy 2015, dear ones!
My lovely winter driveway.

I love newness. I know I've said it before, but it's true. New years, new seasons, new opportunities for growth. I struggle with change, but I like newness. Maybe this year, I'll transition my change-phobia into some kind of appreciation of it. That can be a hope, because I can tell you right now that 2015 will be a year of change.

Hopefully the first change will be some major growth in perseverance on my part, because I need it. I'm joining a DietBet with some friends and acquaintances, and that will certainly help keep me motivated for a month, at least. 

Meanwhile, I'm going to keep hosting friends and enjoying good food. The recent family celebrations over Christmas have seen goodness such as smoked chickens, cedar-planked beef tenderloin slathered in roasted garlic-rosemary paste, and many other amazing things. They're all pretty healthy things, too. 

Happy New Year to all! 

Moderation is really the only thing that has been lacking from my diet of late, but I have to admit I've truly enjoyed myself. My husband is a darn good cook, and I'm not so bad myself. That's not likely to change, so we make healthy swaps where we can. And we enjoy life.

If you're looking for something chocolately and totally satisfying, and at the same time pretty healthy, look no further than these amazing brownies! I found the recipe on the incredible paleo blog Elana's Pantry, and have made them many times to resounding praise and recipe requests. (For Elena's awesome cookbook, go here.)

They're dense, chocolatey goodness, all while being grain-free, refined-sugar-free and dairy-free. Healthy fats and lots of energy are packed into a very fulfilling little morsel.

So, while you might be done with much of the holiday rush and settling back into a routine, think of these as a good power-food to take to your kids' sporting events or gymnastics, or as a nice guilt-free treat for your next gathering. And go ahead, share this recipe. Chocolate (and sharing) makes the world go 'round, I'm pretty sure.

Elana's Paleo Brownies
1 (16oz) jar creamy roasted almond butter (or other nut butter, or even peanut butter, if that's all you've got on hand)
2 eggs
1 1/4 c honey (or agave)
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 c Dutch process cocoa powder/cacao powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 c chocolate chunks

Grease a 9x13 baking dish, and preheat to 325. In a large bowl, beat nut butter until smooth. Blend in eggs, then blend in honey and vanilla. Blend in cocoa powder, salt and baking soda, then fold in chocolate chunks. Pour into prepared baking dish, and bake at 325 for 25-40 minutes. Yes. That big a range. You have to keep checking. 
Your baking time will depend on the nut butter you used, and how soft and gooey you want your final product. They can still be a little jiggly when you pull them out of the oven, but should have pulled away from the sides of the dish. Allow them to cool completely before cutting into squares and serving. (Makes about 24.)

Let me know what you think!

Here's some gratuitous Canadian winter for you.