I tried HGTV’s Flip or Flop star, Christina El Moussa’s favorite black bean brownies. After the first batch, here is how we felt about them…

The Brunette Blend-I Tried Christina El Moussa's Favorite Black Bean Brownies-View 2

If you’re an HGTV lover or someone that just pays attention to the media, you know of Christina El Moussa from Flip or Flop. Successful, worth $$$ and looks fabulous. Blah, blah. What really interested me was that this girl ate brownies. Sometimes she ate them for breakfast, sometimes she’d eat them everyday, she feeds her kids brownies. (I really like chocolate) and she looks healthy and strong and based on the brownies, she doesn’t deprive herself. I want to be healthy, strong and eat brownies. I click to learn more.

Plot twist, the brownies are BLACK BEAN brownies.

Make brownies + initial reactions:

The thought of black beans in something sweet may sound dangerous, exciting, odd or if you’re Grant, disgusting. I teetered on exciting and odd. I had everything to make them, so why not? PLUS, I could try to trick Grant into eating them. Christina doesn’t tell her kids about the secret ingredient. I don’t have kids to trick, so husband it is.

Black Bean Brownies

recipe found on

The Brunette Blend-The Brunette Blend-I Tried Christina El Moussa's Favorite Black Bean Brownies-Delish Recipe

The brownies took me about 20 minutes from start to finish and I was taking a bite a half hour in. As someone who loves chocolate and is an avid hater of foods pretending to being other foods, I WAS LOVING THESE BROWNIES! They were simple and great with minimal ingredients. 10/10 would make them again.

deceive your partner, children, roommate, WHOEVER:

While I was really proud of my decoy brownies, I offered brownies to Grant multiple times. “Don’t you want a brownie? I made them from scratch. I LOVE them. Here, take one.” These should have been clues. I never make brownies, nor do I avidly offer them at home. Four days post brownie bake, Grant tried ONE.

One brownie for him is like a fish on land taking a sip of water and being like, “I’m good.” It doesn’t happen. If there are brownies, there is more than one casualty. I knew he didn’t like them, but he was being supportive and said he did. After continuous pressing, he told me it had a taste. I shot back, “a beany taste? 😏” bottom line, Grant didn’t care for them, he prefers boxed brownies.

The Brunette Blend-The Brunette Blend-I Tried Christina El Moussa's Favorite Black Bean Brownies-Delish Recipe brownies

I shared with my mom and brother and got positive feedback.It’s chocolatey and doesn’t taste like beans. It was also said it would taste great in ice cream. The only thing? It is missing the flour texture. Makes sense. There is no flour in this recipe and most likely why G wasn’t a fan.

Just like everything in life, some people are going to like it and others may want to spit it out while you’re not looking. However, i highly encourage trying these brownies. Great taste, easy to make and fun to trick your husband with. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about, right?

Chat soon,
The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

Turns out a lot of you dug the Five Weeknight Meals post! So much so, you went out and whipped up a couple of recipes. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it… Anyway, we’re doing another round. This time, I’m sharing three recipes that have been taste tested and approved!

The Brunette Blend-Three Taste Tested + Approved Recipes-White Pizza with Spinach and Lemon

White Pizza with Spinach + Lemon

I shared this before with hopeful tastebuds and a grocery list. Well, I made it and it DID NOT DISAPPOINT (I’m making it again this week). Straight up deliciousness and I even mixed up the recipe a bit. If you’re a pizza connoisseur, this is your next quest.

The Brunette Blend-Three Taste Tested + Approved Recipes- Spaghetti Squash

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Squash + Meatballs

How many times have you watched food videos on Facebook? Like a million. How many times have you actually made them? I’ll let you fill this in, but personally, this is my FIRST time. Nothing too fancy, but it was quick and cooked the spaghetti squash to perfection. The hardest part of the entire recipe is cutting the squash (its worth it, though). For those on the go, those who get home from work late or those lazy people on Sunday (AKA, me.) PS. Rao’s Marinara Sauce is PERFECT.

No Picture, Because I Ate It Too Fast…

Chicken Gyro Salad

YOU GUYS. My sister in law made this and sent us home with leftovers. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, what addiction would be unleashed… THIS IS A MUST MAKE. Grant and I just had the chicken and tzatziki + we’re HOOKED!

OK– which one are you trying?

Forever hungry + Chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

Weeknight meals can be a PAIN. After a long day of work, sometimes the last thing you want to do is stand in front a stove. If you don’t have any idea of what to make or what you have in your pantry, making dinner can be a chore. The past few weeks have left me really uninspired with food and what to do eat. This week I’m putting that behind me and jotting down five weeknight recipes that I want to try and/or know that are delicious and make GREAT leftovers.


White Pizza with Spinach + Lemon
{What’s Gaby Cooking}
Gaby has a weekly Snapchat series where she walks you through a recipe and colors your green with food envy. I promise you, you’ll want to eat EVER-Y-THING. This white pizza was the latest and I have NOT been able to stop thinking about it. 100% making it this week, because what’s better than olive oil, garlic and CHEESE? The spinach is a bonus.

We’ve been on a serious fajita kick lately and this seasoning (linked above) makes them the BEST. Plus, its SUPER easy to make. Pick your protein, grab some precut onions + peppers (Jewel is my savior) and season. Quickest meal you’ll make all week. If you want to get extra fancy, whip up some homemade quac. Skip the packet with this recipe HERE.

Skinny Chicken Avocado Salad Sandwich
{Creme De La Crumb}
YUMMMMM! This has been a crowd favorite and is filled with creamy deliciousness. It uses a combo of Greek yogurt + mayo which cuts some of the not great stuff. Its great on Italian bread, open faced sandwiches, crackers or even just solo. MAKE THIS.

Garlic Butter Shrimp Pasta
{Damn Delicious}
Pasta is always a good idea in my book. Pasta is even better with garlic, butter and SHRIMP. This dish is takes about 20 minutes to make and is perfect for those chilly evenings.

Meatball Subs
I secretly love a good meatball sub. After finding this recipe, I think its a MUST MAKE! Plus, meatballs make for great leftovers. This sounds like it would be a great Friday night meal or make over the weekend for the week. You can use it to make subs, pasta or just straight.

Happy eating and chat soon,

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

It’s been like 8 degrees in Chicago the past few days and that means I retreat indoors in my new favorite sweatshirt + yoga pants.

However, this isn’t putting a halt to date nights + friend get togethers. Casual is the dress code + DELICIOUS is the food + drink code.


to the most effortlessly elegant dinner party.
Bring nothing but yourself and your finest lounge wear, because we’re fancy + comfortable
(and we’re having pasta).

Louis Jadot Macon-Villages Chardonnay



A meat + cheese plate with olive oil toasted bread*


A Cedar Spoon‘s
15 Minute Shrimp Linguine with Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce
(snag the recipe HERE)

Let’s talk wine. The mother of all beverages that pairs well with food. I’m all about a light white wine and Jadot went perfectly with cheeses + seafood. Seeing as I’m constantly on a shrimp + pasta kick, this was my ideal drink + eat.

Jadot provides amazing French red + white wines. Its great quality at a great price makes it the PERFECT pairing for date night or a wine night with friends. The Macon-Villages Chardonnay was crisp with floral and apple notes and came without a harsh aftertaste. My kind of wine. Plus, its a CROWD PLEASER. We all have our preferences on red or white, sweet or bitter. The Macon-Villages Chardonnay was a perfect balance and completed the meal.


What makes a date night or girls night a success is killer drinks, food worth seconds and great company.
Complete your next get together with your preference Louis Jadot wine. Find your nearest bottle here.

Special thanks to Jadot for providing the amazing wine. It completed our night!
All opinions are those of The Brunette Blend.

*Cheese plate done by John F.

Happy weekend, pretties! Chat soon-
The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

Annnnd, we’re back! I’ve been unpacking and attempting to decorate our new place like crazy. To seal the deal on our new place, I made (semi) homemade soup. There’s something about the smell of soup on the stove that just screams home to me.

“WELCOME HOME.” – Chicken Noodle Soup

I’m a soup all year round girl (delicious and what’s not to like about throwing everything into one pot? #Multitasking), but I know some people just can’t stand soup in the warmer months. SO, people, now that we’ve had our first snow fall, its time for a million soups. Today I’m sharing the EASIEST chicken noodle soup. Vegetarians, don’t shy away- this pot of soup can just as easily be transformed into a veggie delight.



-6 cups of water
-6 chicken (or vegetable) bouillon cubes
*ahead of the game + already have broth? Skip the above + HEAT IT UP!*
-Half of a yellow onion
-2 celery stalks
-1-2 carrots (or a few handfuls of baby carrots)
-1 cup of chicken (precooked, so think leftover rostierrie chicken)
-1/3 of a cup or if you like to live danergously sans measuring cup, handful of egg noodles
-A few squeezes of lemon


1. Boil water with bouillon cubes.

2. Mince yellow onion, celery and carrots. Feel free to add as much veggies as you’d like! I think zucchini would be nice in here as well.

3. Once water has boiled and bouillon cubes have dissolved, add your minced veggies and cook for 4 – 5 minutes.

4. OPTIONAL. Add chicken. I had a leftover rotisserie chicken so this was easy to chop and throw in.

5. Add egg noodles. Its important to not overflow the pot with noodles, otherwise it will suck up all the broth, then its truly NO SOUP FOR YOU! (Seinfeld, anyone?) Cook for 4 minutes for the noodles to become al dente (with a bite)

6. Squeeze a little lemon and season with salt + pepper. Pair with a tuscan slice (or loaf *wink*) of bread.

I can’t tell you how quick and simple this soup is, like throw everything + anything in a pot. I made it last night in about 20 minutes TOPS + its so, so good. So good that I’m having it for lunch. #QueenOfLeftovers + #ComfortFood.

What’s your favorite quick recipe? Always up for trying new bites!

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

I’m the type of person that has a bunch of random foods in the fridge and pantry, but nothing flashy or exceedingly tasty to make, unless I’m seriously planning. Just a bunch of fruits, veggies and random staples everyone usually has.

This mini recipe isn’t rocket science or anything the world hasn’t seen before, but its tasty fuel that saves many people from my hangry rages (anyone else with me?)

A protein-packed banana roll up to the rescue! I mean it when I say to the rescue. Its found its way into my lunch, preventing me from going King Kong on my keyboard at work. Its even made an appearance (like its famous or something) at breakfast. Its a little life saver when you’re crunched for time and ingredients.

The Brunette Blend-Banana Roll Up-June 9


-Whole wheat tortilla
-Natural peanut butter
-Silvered almonds
-Chia seeds
-Dash of cinnamon


1. Spread PB on tortilla
2. Sprinkle the almonds, raisins, chia seeds, and cinnamon
3. Roll the banana inside
4. Enjoy!
*Bonus: you can chill it in the fridge and the banana is AMAZING

Give it a shot, let me know what you think. You can alter it however you like. Use less ingredients, use more, use whatever you manage to find in your cabinet that isn’t expired. DO YOU. Live your life. (Is it just me or did this last section have the potential to be in a Dr. Seuss book?)

The Brunette Blend-Samantha-Signature

Remember the Amanda Bynes show and “The Girls in the Bathroom” sketch? If you’ve follow on Snapchat (BrunetteSnapz) I’ve 100% been Debbie. You know, the girl who constantly states she loves eggs? Her. Me. Eggs.

The Brunette Blend-Debbie-I like Eggs


They’ve been a go to breakfast or dinner. Open faced sandwiches have been my saving grace and the reason I don’t pass out in the morning. If you’re skipping out on breakfast, you’re doing it wrong. Consumer Reports states that breakfast eaters tend to have better diets overall. Eating right in the morning can have a positive effect on your body throughout the day as well as your life. Heart protection, lower risk of diabetes, energy, keeps you from getting HANNNNGRY, and can help maintain a healthy weight. Ignoring to properly fuel yourself in the morning can lead to your body “fasting.” This can boost “hunger hormones” (ghrelin) which can cause you to overeat and causing ups and downs in your glucose levels. Bottom line, eat well, take care of your body and it will thank you.

Learn more: {Why Eating the Right Breakfast Is So Important // Consumer Reports}

If you’re eating breakfast regularly, here’s a delicious one to add to the rotation. If you are an aspiring breakfast eater, TRY THE BELOW. Quick and easy. Make it fresh or make it ahead, depending on you sched.

The Brunette Blend-Eat Your Breakfast-Poached Egg + Avo Mash

Get ready to
The Brunette Blend-Eat Your Breakfast-Assemble
(your perfect egg sandwich)

-egg (over easy or poached)
-whole wheat bread (I prefer Ezekial)
-red pepper flakes

Avo mash: Season half an avocado with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Mash with a fork. Spread your avo mash on your toast and top with your yolk-a-lucius egg.

That’s just the basics (which are great! Grain, protein and a healthy fat). Add whatever your heart desires. Cheese, spinach, turkey. Do you. What is your go-to breakfast?

The Brunette Blend-Eat Your Breakfast-Over easy egg

Grab your aprons and bring your appetites, because we’re making pizza!

The Brunette Blend - Homemade Pizza

Nothing beats homemade crust and this one is DELICIOUS! This is an adaptation of my grandmother’s recipe, which is quick and easy. Chances are, you’ll have just about everything you need to get kneading! With Super Bowl Sunday just around the corner, nothing says game day like pizza.


2 1/2 cups of flour

1 package of dry yeast

1 teaspoon of sugar

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 cup of warm water


1. Mix flour, sugar, and oil into a bowl

2. Mix yeast in a cup of warm water and add to the bowl of flour, sugar, and oil.

 3. Knead with your hands. If the dough is too sticky, sprinkle in some flour.

4. Once mixed and in a ball, leave in the bowl and cover with a towel for 15 minutes.

5. Once the dough has sat for 15 minutes, spread evenly with hands on cookie sheet that has been lined with nonstick foil.

6. Spread tomato sauce on dough and layer with desired toppings and then bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

 If you don’t have tomato sauce on hand, you can use spaghetti sauce or make your own from canned crushed tomatoes. I had to be resourceful the other night and make it from scratch, not bad!

Plot Twist!
Replace the tomato sauce with BBQ sauce, toss in some chicken and red onion with shredded mozzarella cheese…BAM! You have a crowd favorite. BBQ Chicken Pizza.

Our pizza was a simple cheese. Topped with fresh mozzarella and basil, this pizza was great next to a fresh green salad (because 2016. Get fit, right?)

bon appétit

The Brunette Blend - Homemade Pizza Slices

Who doesn’t love a good french fry? We have an amazing burger place in our neighborhood. Their burgers are great, don’t get me wrong. I can handle myself around the burger. I’m a lady. When it comes to the side (mini mountain) of fries; hot, fresh cut fries, I can’t have enough. Obviously, I can’t go all the time otherwise my mode of transportation would be being rolled.

I found myself in the kitchen with a bag of potatoes and a $12 jar of truffle and sea salt. (I’m not kidding, twelve. dollars. I’m not going to lie, I questioned it, but it was worth it.) Fries are usually always a great idea. If they’re baked opposed to fried, they’re an even better idea.

Truffle + Sea Salt Baked Fries - The Brunette Blend

-Three potatoes (I prefer red, but use whatever you prefer or have on hand)
-Olive oil
-Truffle & sea salt or just salt
-Parsley flakes to garnish
The Brunette Blend - Truffle + Sea Salt Baked Fries Ingredients


-Preheat the oven to 450 degrees while you prep your potatoes
-Wash potatoes and slice your them in various thicknesses. Feeling like potato wedges, cut them wedgie. Feeling like fries, cut them about an inch or so thick. I prefer a variety so you can get some extra crispy and others golden.

The Brunette Blend - Truffle + Sea Salt Baked Fries Slices

-As you complete your slices, toss the strips into a bowl filled with cold water. This will extract some starch from the potato providing you with less cooking time and some crispier fries.
-Drain your potatoes
-On a cookie sheet lined with nonstick foil, drizzle and toss your fries in olive oil topping them with salt and pepper.

The Brunette Blend - Truffle + Sea Salt Baked Fries Baking

-Place in the oven for about 10 minutes and then with a wooden spoon mix them around to make sure they cook evenly. For about another 10-15 minutes, check in periodically, mix around with your wooden spoon, and practice self control by not reaching for one in the oven.

The Brunette Blend - Truffle + Sea Salt Baked Fries Oven

-Blot with papertowel to remove excess oil and place on a plate. Garnish with parsley.

I love this recipe because it cuts the calories of frying them and you know every single ingredient going into the mix. Nothing artificial happening here. A simple little treat for sides, Monday’s, gatherings, and more.

Hope you try and LOVE!
xo S.
The Brunette Blend - Truffle + Sea Salt Baked Fries Final

Lately I feel like I’ve been on a gianormous scavenger hunt to find food. Ever have those times where you have a million random food items yet nothing to eat? The.worst.

The upside is that those random foods can actually make up something pretty yummy and filling.

For the times you have food, but nothing to eat…Enjoy these.

Dressed Up Toast

The Brunette Blend - Quick Bites - Toast

Low-Carb BBQ Chicken Pizza

The Brunette Blend - Quick Bites - Low Carb BBQ Pizza

Another quick and easy recipe. Perfect for that leftover chicken and those tortillas that keep getting pushed further back into the fridge.

-Whole wheat tortilla
-BBQ sauce
-Shredded or bite sized pieces of chicken
-Mozzarella cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350
2. On a non-stick sheet, place tortilla and lightly cover tortilla with olive oil (this helps it crisp)
3. Put in oven for about 5 mins or until gets close to the level of crunchiness of crust you prefer.
4. Remove from oven and add BBQ, chicken, and cheese
5. Place in oven until cheese has melted
6. Cut and enjoy


The Brunette Blend - Quick Bites - Stirfry

The ultimate throw everything in and just cook! Sautee your veggies and toss in your rice while adding soy sauce. Stir, stir, stir. For protein, add an egg. Make sure to make sure the egg is throughly cooked. Serve and enjoy!

Bonus: Creamy Vanilla-Cinnamon Iced Coffee

The Brunette Blend - Quick Bites - Creamy Vanilla- Iced Coffee

Whats the real reason we go to Starbucks? Yes, the caffeine. BUT a lot of us go for the syrups and sweet concoctions. For less than your average grande iced whatever, you can make this on the cheap (with items just around your kitchen!) and its just as good…less cals too!


-Stevia (or sweetener of your choice)
-Half + Half (or milk of your choice)
-Brewed coffee


1. Add packet of Stevia, 2 tsp of vanilla*, and about 1/3 half +half* to your glass
2. Load with ice
3. Pour coffee over ice
4. Add extra ice if needed
5. Sprinkle with cinnamon
*When I make this, I don’t use exact measurements. These are just my best guesses. Adjust according to your tastes and preferences.

What kind of things do you make when you have nothing to eat? Please share! Stay full!