Black Bean Brownies

Hi! Have you had brownies made with black beans? If not I highly suggest you give them a try. They are easy to make and they are a healthier version while still filling your need for brownies. The texture is a bit more fudgey but still very tastey! Here’s the recipe, if you give it a shot be sure to let me know what you think!

Black Bean brownies

1 14oz can of black beans

1 Box of Brownie mix

Rinse the beans really well in collandar. Keep the can to put the beans back in once they’ve been rinsed. Then once the beans are back in the can, fill the can up with clean water. Pour the can of rinsed beans with clean water into your blender and blend! Then in a separate bowl mix the purrayed beans with the brownie mix. Follow the baking directions on the box and enjoy! Don’t over cook they will be some what gooey. Just make sure not to gooey.

 

 

black bean brownie pic

Planting a Succulent Garden – Super cool!!

my succulent garden pic

So ladies, have you seen some of those beautiful succulent gardens out there? If you go to Home Depot there are some very nicely done little gardens for you to take home. They cost anywhere from $25 on up. I don’t know about you, but if I can make something for less than if I buy it, and I’ll have fun making it, I’m going with my own creation.

 

Today I’m going to show you what you will need to create your own succulent garden or terrarium, where to get the supplies for the best price and how to put it all together. Ready? Let’s go!!

 

Ok first is your list of supplies:

  • Pea pebbles
  • Activated Charcoal
  • Potting Soil
  • Moss (optional)
  • Succulent Plants
  • A container to plant them all in
  • Decorative items

 

First, there is almost no difference between a garden and a terrarium. Below I’ve included the definition of a terrarium from Wikipedia.

 

Terrariums are usually sealable glass containers that can be opened for maintenance and to access the plants inside. However, this is not essential; terrariums can also be madials, and some are open to the atmosphere rather than being sealed. Terrariums are often kept as decorative or ornamental items in the same way as aquariums.

 

So for the rest of this article I will just refer to our creation as our garden.

 

Now you’ll want to decide what size garden you’re wanting to create. This can be as small as an empty spice jar to as large as an outdoor planter. The choice is yours. For today we will start some where in the middle, around 10 to 12 inches in diameter or length and about 3 inches or so deep.

 

I had some old mixing bowls in the garage and I used one of those. You can find containers for this kind of a project at garage sales for pennies, or at the Goodwill for a couple of dollars and you can find really cool ones too!! Just look for a container that fits your style and will make a great new home for your plants.

 

Then you’re going to want to gather up all of your other supplies, most of which you can find at Home Depot for a reasonable price. However, I found my activated charcoal at the pet store (it’s the same kind of charcoal used in aquarium filters). You don’t need much, so I bought a package of fish tank filter bags that had about 4 bags in the package and they are  $4-$6 for the package depending on where you purchase them. So that was the best value for the activated charcoal that I found. I also bought my pea pebbles there, in a small 5lb bag, I think it was like $3 but that wasn’t the best value I’ve found. I actually found a much larger bag for only $2 online at Home Depot, so check that out and call your local store to be sure they have it.

 

For the moss I accidentally came across it at a florists shop. The owner was glad to give me a fairly good sized bag of it for $2. I left there with about 2 sandwich bags full of pretty green moss and I was one happy camper!! You can find potting soil anywhere and get a large bag of it for $3 to $8 or so. So now all you need are the plants!

 

Succulents are beautiful and for the most part pretty hardy. You can find them on Etsy.com, I just did a search and more than 22,000 results came up. Beyond a shadow of a doubt Etsy is going to be the best place to find the best and largest variety. They have people from all over the world selling things on their site so the variety available there is beyond compare. You will have to order them online and have them shipped to you, but if you don’t mind waiting that’s a good option.

 

You can also find succulents at many of your local stores, again I got mine from Home Depot, but this is not a commercial for them, it’s just where I found my supplies. I have seen small succulent plants for sale in small little pots for $3-$4. I collect a few here and there, and water them and enjoy them and then create my garden or terrarium when I’m inspired to. I will say that the variety of plants I purchased were all mostly just green. There are some very pretty varieties that are purple, yellow, orange all colors of the rainbow! You’ll see that kind of awesome variety on the Etsy site and the different colors really do enrich the esthetic value of your creation.

 

If you have any painted rocks or beach glass or any pretty little baubles you’d like to decorate your garden with definitely incorporate them into your finished product, it gives your garden character and interest while giving it a nice finishing touch.

 

Here’s a diagram I found at BedBath&Beyond.com, just to give you a quick visual reference.

how to make a terrarium

It’s time to assemble!! Layer about ½ and inch of the pebbles along the bottom of the container, then but a thin layer of the activated charcoal on top of that. Once those items are in place you can add about 2 inches or so of the potting soil. Next you’ll put your succulent into their new home! Just pop them right out of their pots and position them where you’d like them to be in your container.

 

Now that your succulents are all arranged, add more potting soil around the plants, so that it comes up to the bottom of the plant and the plants are securely in place. I put a layer of pebbles on top of that, but you can use the moss if you prefer. Then add your embellishments and arrange everything so that it’s all nice and neat and cleaned up. That’s it! VwaLa! You have your very own quite lovely succulent garden.

 

Make sure to water it so that it’s damp, not soaked and then be sure to water it once a week or so the same way, do not soak it. These are succulents, and they do well in a dryer climate. They do not like their roots to be wet all the time so don’t over water them.

 

If you’d like to find more information on terrariums and succulents you can find all kinds of great stuff on Pinterest. In fact Pinterest is where I found the awesome selection of succulents that are available on Etsy.com.

 

Here’s a pic of my succulent garden. I was very happy with the way it turned out. It’s very personal to me, because my container is a bowl I got from my grandmother and the ladybug rock was made for me by my daughter. I hope you enjoyed this article and making your succulent garden. For more fun things to make you can sign up for your free newsletter at www.thehealthyladybug.com.

Sincerely,
Diana Rendon

The Healthy Ladybug

Bow Tie Pasta Yummy and so Easy!

I made this pasta salad this weekend. It was good, very light but flavorful and just the right textures. Give it a shot and let me know how you like it. If you have any suggestions on how to make it better, please share them. I’d love to hear from you! You can also sign up for your free newsletter by clicking here.

Bow Tie Pasta Salad

bow tie pasta

1 lb bow tie noodles
4 oz colby jack cheese cut into small chunks
1 can black olives sliced
1 stalk of celery chopped
¼ of a bunch of cilantro chopped
20 cherry tomatoes cut in half
½ of a large cucumber
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Hidden Valley Ranch Lite Italian dressing mix, made according to directions on package

Cook the noodles according to the directions on the box. Drain and put into a bowl. Add all other ingredients, stir with the Italian dressing about ¼ of a cup or the amount to your liking after tasting it. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to comment below and let me know if you tried it!

Make Mushrooms!!

I don’t know about you but I had an outstanding weekend! Fun with great people and the weather here in the Chicago land area was finally in the 80’s. Finally! Shorts and skirts and flip flops and sunshine! Oh how I’ve missed you.  I made stuffed mushrooms for our get together and they were a huge HIT! I got the recipe from my sister in law Justina and she always has easy and tasty recipes I enjoy. So here it is! So easy try ’em!

Stuffed Mushrooms

16 mushrooms (or more or less, it’s up to you)

1 package cream cheese softened (you can use fat free or low fat, this time I used regular)

Cayenne pepper to taste

1/2 a cup Parmesan cheese

Clean mushrooms. Remove stems. Mix soften cream cheese so it’s easier to work with. Put about a 1/2 a table spoon of cream cheese into each mushroom. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and parmesan cheese and bake at 400 for around 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

mushrooms_in_grass

 

Sincerely,

Diana Rendon

The Healthy Ladybug