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What's Your Secret Ingredient?

by Diane Cretin

I remember years ago when Lia Huber, a member of our church and the founder of Nourish Evolution, came to share what the Nourish Evolution is. It is a path, not a diet. She discussed the stages one goes through on the path to being nourished. You can find these five stages on the website. A goal of Lia’s is to encourage people to become more confident home cooks – cook real food instead of using processed food.

As a chocolate lover, I have always remembered that Lia brought what I call brownie bites with her to share that had a secret ingredient that we were encouraged to guess. Remembering that day has caused me to think about “secret ingredients.”

It made me consider if I have any “secret ingredients.” To me that means what do I have to sustain me when times get tough. Definitely having a personal relationship with God tops the list. Knowing that God is sovereign gives me hope. And I believe that having hope is critical in our current times. It is when I stop focusing on things that give me hope that I start to feel depressed. So I encourage you to take time to make a list of the things that give you hope. We need to focus on the positive to stay emotionally healthy.

As I recently remembered this day of Lia sharing at church, I decided to make the brownie bites. And I will tell you the secret ingredient – black beans! If I served these and did not tell you, you would never know these had black beans instead of flour in them. If you eat at least somewhat healthy and like darker chocolate, you will enjoy these and you won’t get a sugar high. Enjoy!

Here is the link from the website for the recipe:

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies with Sea Salt


Cooking spray

1 (15-ounce) can (about 1-¾ cups) black beans, well rinsed and drained

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons coconut oil

¾ cups cocoa powder

Pinch of sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup raw sugar

1-½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon flake sea salt (like Maldon)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray 2 muffin pans with cooking spray.

Puree beans through baking powder in a food processor for about 3 minutes, pausing once to scrape down the sides, until the consistency of brownie batter.

Fill muffin tin holes to just below the top with batter, about 1 tablespoon each (you’ll likely have enough batter for 30 to 36 muffins) and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides and a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with flake sea salt and let cool completely before removing from pan.


We used a pan that makes bite sized muffins and it made exactly 24. I think we overcooked ours a little. I would go with 12 minutes for this size. My toothpick still did not come out clean at 15 minutes but they were definitely done.

This recipe is easy to make, as you can see from these pictures of Olivia being able to do the steps.

Open the bean can, crack open the eggs, measure the coconut oil and add it, add the cocoa powder, scrape down the sides of the food processor after the puree step

Then it is time to fill the pan, bake, and enjoy!

As I look through Lia’s website, I am excited to try the Thai Chicken and Asparagus Larb next as I had larb when in Thailand and loved it. I may substitute green beans for the asparagus – or make two batches and compare them. Yum!

Still thinking about "secret ingredients" I ran across this:

When they asked her to reveal her beauty secrets, Audrey Hepburn wrote this beautiful text that was later read at her funeral.

"To have attractive lips, speak kind words.

To have a loving look, look for the good side of people.

To look skinny, share your food with the hungry.

To have beautiful hair, let a child cross it with his own fingers once a day.

To have a beautiful poise, walk knowing you're never alone, because those who love and loved you accompany you.

People, even more than objects, need to be fixed, spoiled, awakened, wanted and saved: never give up on anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a hand, you'll find them at the end of both your arms.

When you become old, you will discover that you have two hands, one to help yourself, the second to help others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, in her face or in her way of fixing her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the door open to her heart, the source of her love.

The beauty of a woman doesn't lie in her makeup, but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.

It is the tenderness that gives love, the passion that it expresses.

The beauty of a woman grows over the years"

Let’s focus on our "secret ingredients" and maintain hope.

Continued blessings,

Diane Cretin

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