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Black bean brownie basics

By Penny Stine



This is a gardening blog, so why am I writing a column about black bean brownies that have these ingredients (none of which I grew in my garden)? 




Because this is what my garden looks like right now. There are spinach seeds waiting to sprout, along with onion and garlic bulbs somewhere beneath all that snow.

So sad this time of year when everything is covered in snow. This is my herb garden, where the snow is starting to melt and show the plants that didn't get pulled before that last big snowstorm (because the parsley and the mint were still surviving).
Needless to say, neither are still doing well now. However, I can still pick thyme and sage. The flavor will be fine, although the plants won't start growing again until springtime.

Back to the brownies… we had a story in our paper about the latest research on vitamins and supplements, which suggested that taking them didn't do a whole lot of good. Although I don't take multivitamins, I take a magnesium supplement, because someone recommended it for insomnia. As all of my fellow insomniacs will agree, after a couple decades of trouble sleeping, you'll try anything.
At first, the magnesium supplements seemed to make a difference (placebo effect?), then I was back to my standard waking up at 3 a.m. routine.
The latest research indicates that getting vitamins and minerals (magnesium is a mineral, ya know) from food is the way to go. I'm a big believer in food, especially real food that doesn't come from a can and is packed with delicious, nutritious yumminess that doesn't taste like a multivitamin. That's a huge part of why I garden (see, there is a reason why this post is in a gardening column).
So I researched magnesium-rich foods and discovered that all of the foods in the first picture are high in magnesium. I've made black bean brownies before and was pleasantly surprised to discover they were moist and delicious. There are a ton of recipes out there - google it and you'll find one that suits your fancy.
My goal was to develop a recipe that tasted great but had a boatload of foods high in magnesium and had no white flour or processed sugar (not that I have anything against limited use of either one - I use both in baking because sometimes you just need white flour and sugar). 
Some research indicates that processed sugar inhibits sleep and remember, these brownies were going to help me sleep. Plus, they'd give me a great excuse to eat brownies every night before I went to bed. Sadly, my first attempt, although they looked delicious, didn't taste so great. They weren't sweet enough.
So it's back to the mixing bowl for me. When I come up with a good recipe, I'll be happy to share it.  


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