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Recipe: Vegan Brownies, Caramel Banana Milk Chocolate Brownies

Recipe: Vegan Brownies, Caramel Banana Milk Chocolate Brownies

Hello, Healthy Family, Healthy You Folks!

Out of eggs? Trapped in by the snow and still want to use your brownie mix (I used Duncan Hines Milk Chocolate Brownie Mix)? Or, like me, you just don’t see the need to add half a cup of oil to any recipe that goes into your body…?

Say “Hello” to Vegan, Caramel Banana “Milk” Chocolate Brownies!

There is one cooking blog that alternately has very rich, decadent, full of cream, eggs and butter recipes one week, and then raw vegan recipes the next week. I subscribe to it for those occasional gems that I can use (the latter, obviously). However, what makes me crazy about this blog, is that I need to scroll through 15 pictures and paragraphs of text before I can get to the recipe. I’m pretty sure it is all for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. While I know I need to take time to increase my SEO (easy tips from my helpful minions appreciated!), I haven’t focused on it. I’d rather focus on getting more recipes to my people and wrapping up the Healthy Family Healthy You book. You should know that I will never write 500 words of unnecessary information and waste your time – all in the name of SEO – or in the name of anything!

Here is the recipe:

Vegan Caramel Banana “Milk” Chocolate Brownies


1 Duncan Hines Milk Chocolate Brownie Mix (This is what I had on hand. I’m sure a different boxed brownie mix would work.)

1/4 cup coffee (instead of the water the mix calls for)

1/2 cup applesauce (instead of the oil the mix calls for) I had Plum Organics berry squeezable fruit on hand and it worked well.

2 bananas (instead of the eggs the mix calls for)

1/4-1/2 cup caramel baking chips

Optional: vegan marshmallows, cut in half (you need to cut them because vegan marshmallows don’t come in the small size)


Preheat oven to 350

Grease an 8×8 square pan with non-stick baking spray

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl

Stir to wet the brownie mix

Place an immersion blender into the bowl to blend the bananas fully

Stir again if necessary to make sure that every ingredient is completely mixed together

Pour the batter into the greased square pan Bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes

Pull the pan out and sprinkle with the caramel chips.

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Optional: You can also put the cut marshmallows in at this time if you are using them. Place them sticky side down. They are soooo sticky (more than non-vegan marshmallows) that you need to be careful to only touch the dry outside or you’ll never get them off your hands and into the pan. Trust me on this!

Bake for an additional 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool in pan before cutting and serving.

They taste great warm, but you don’t want them to be too hot because you can burn your mouth on the hot caramel chips. Don’t you just love those two words together? Hot Caramel….Yumm……. Enjoy!

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Let me know how they turn out and if you use any alternate ingredients.


New Kveller Blog: How to Use Tu Bishvat to Help Kids Stop Wasting Food!

New Kveller Blog: How to Use Tu Bishvat to Help Kids Stop Wasting Food!

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You’ll never hear me tell my kids to join the “clean plate club.” My father used to always push back when my grandparents told me to clean my plate. Somewhere in between their depression-mentality and his realization that giving your kid a stomachache and making them overeat really didn’t accomplish anything lies that reasonable parental desire to help curb our kids’ seemingly innate tendency to waste food.

Whether you’re that parent that really won’t let your kid eat anything else except what is served for dinner, or you’re that parent who gives in and let’s them have a bowl of cereal, or, heaven forbid, the one who becomes a short-order cook, most of us cringe when our kids waste the food they’re served or serve themselves.

How convenient then that we can use Tu Bishvat, the Jewish “Birthday of the Trees,” as an opportunity to reduce their wastefulness (Tu Bishvat is from sundown on Wednesday to sundown on Thursday). Kids really get a kick out of this birthday concept and want to learn more. If the trees are so special that they deserve their own holiday, we should have respect for the food that comes off of them and be sure to use it respectfully.


Have you ever become frustrated at how much your kids waste or wondered if it really is as much as you think it is? Here’s what you can do at home:

1. Introduce the concept of a contest for Tu Bishvat and ask them to practice wasting as little as possible for the next few days. Starting today, take two buckets (they can be small like you would use to pick berries) and tell your kids that at the end of the meal a contest between siblings or kids vs. parents will begin. One bucket is for pesolat (waste) and one for klepot, things you can’t eat but can compost, like peels and shells. I guess if you don’t compost you wouldn’t even need the second bucket, but I think it is a good way to illustrate the concept of composting to kids. Let them experience the wonder of the way our world works. Peels and shells can actually help grow and fertilize their future food! Nature does design some waste. They can prevent other waste by taking only a little food at a time.

2. Weigh the buckets at the end of each meal, either on a food scale or a regular scale if that will work better. You can keep a chart on the refrigerator or corkboard and record the weights at the end of each meal. Whoever has the least (total or even most improved) waste at the end of the week wins a prize! Well, that’s one way to do it. What might be healthier for family unity is to stop the measuring right before Shabbat, review the week’s accomplishments and then provide a Shabbat treat for the entire family as a reward for everyone’s hard work. Telling kids it is a contest all week will keep them motivated, but then keep it fun if you throw out the winners and losers concept in the end. Everyone worked hard and everyone wins.

I learned about the bucket concept at the recent Hazon Food conference at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, CT. There, the Teva Learning Alliance practices this year round with the school groups they educate.

Hopefully this week-long contest will instill new habits in your family. If you feel your progress sliding, you can take a different approach and have kids win prizes (dollar store toys or outings with mom and dad, not candy!) if they guess the weight of the waste after each meal. Be sure you have a scale that can weigh less than a pound because you don’t want to encourage the kids to waste more in order to have something to measure. Zero pounds is also an option and can also qualify for a prize!

I’ll let you know how it goes for me and I want to hear back from you too, OK?

p.s. If you don’t compost or have a neighbor who does, throw out the food each day after you’ve weighed it. Your house will smell better that way!



Hazon Blog up on New York Jewish Week

Hazon Blog up on New York Jewish Week


New York Jewish Week

My blog is up!

Just as hip chefs love to subvert classic dishes, so did the participants at this week’s Hazon Food Conference take a careful look at the “New Jewish Food Movement” that the conference helped birth and has supported over the seven years of its existence.




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