You may be shocked to find this out…but I had an early Valentine’s Day date this morning. I know, I know! After all that single lady talk…and I-didn’t-wear-make-up-and-somehow-still-scored-a-number story…and letters to my future man friend…and I’m totally cool with a pancake for one…I have the audacity to talk about a date on the most romantic day of the year!
But in my defense, it was actually an extremely early 6:40am date with two special TV personality someones, a lovely camera crew and one morning show producer. It was probably the best Valentine’s date (and maybe the only Valentine’s date) I’ve ever been on.
Unless I can count going to see “He’s Just Not That Into You” with my purse and a box of Milk Duds a bonafide Valentine’s Day date? Wait…don’t answer that. In fact, forget I mentioned it.
So anyways…PSYCH! I had no real date. Nor do I have one tomorrow. But I did have my best TV appearance yet, and you should watch it if you feel so inclined. I’ll regale you with nervous laughter, the wonders of chia seeds, health benefits of zucchini and at the end of it all, you’ll get a recipe for Vegan Zucchini Brownies with a Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting.
Consider it my Valentine’s Day gift to you.
But in exchange, do me a favor please?
Regardless if you have a husband or wife, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a fiancee, a best friend or a cousin’s hairdresser’s dog owner’s 2nd cousin twice-removed’s lover, show yourself some self-love on February 14th? Yes, that’s love to YOU, and the awesomeness that is you.
You don’t have to send yourself flowers (explaining that could be potentially more embarrassing than admitting you went on a date with a box of Milk Duds) or even a box of chocolates. Health kicks, I get it. But maybe cut yourself some slack…give yourself a hug…and just say, “Hey self…ya done good.” At the end of the day, we can all be grateful our name is not Snooki or Kim Kardashian. Or Lindsay Lohan. Or anyone on any of the Real Housewives series.
See…don’t you feel better already? I sure do.
Now pat yourself on the back.
Suck on a conversation heart that says “Tweet me!” Ya know, just for fun.
And eat one of these brownies.
Happy Valentine’s Day! And P.S. I love you.
Vegan Zucchini Brownies with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25-30 minutes
1 1/2 cups flour*
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 cup sugar
1 stick Earth Balance vegan shortening
1 chia egg**
1 cup finely-shredded zucchini
1 t vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2-3 T milk or water
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup diced strawberries
2 ounces cream cheese or Tofutti vegan cream cheese
1 1/2 T Earth Balance vegan shortening or butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
*I use spelt flour or a 50-50 whole wheat-white flour blend
** Mix 2 T chia seeds with 1/4 cup water and stir until mixture gelatinizes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat Earth Balance and sugar until fluffy. Add chia egg, zucchini and vanilla, and fold until well-mixed. Add water/milk as needed to thin the batter out slightly. Add dry ingredients in small batches, folding in flour mixture until a thick dough forms. Add milk/water as needed to help batter come together. Batter will be thick. Fold in chocolate chips.
In a greased 9×9-inch pan, pour in batter and spread in an even layer. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.
Meanwhile, with a hand mixer, beat strawberries, cream cheese, Earth Balance and sugar. Frosting will resemble a thick glaze. Pour into a Ziploc bag or frosting piper. Cut the tip.
Once brownies are cool, pipe a small swirl of frosting on each brownie.
Makes 16 brownies