157. Katie’s Red Velvet Brownies

Katie's Red Velvet Brownies [Grain Free, NSA] || Ann Ning Learning How

I love being an Aunt.  And I am so pleased to be able to do things for MY children again – I used an immersion blender to make pink milk (strawberry milk, as in Charlie and Lola) for Hannah and Josh and I more recently used the Vitamix to make some healthier ice cream for Karine and (Dairy Free) for Ezra.  Peter’s too little to eat ice cream yet, but his time will come.  Ohhh yes, his time will definitely come, especially since I’m back in action.

The Aunt of a dear little girl who had an AVM rupture in the same location as mine recently found me via my site/blog.  That’s one of the primary reasons I write, BTW, so people who hurt can find me.  I think Katie recently turned 8 and was recently admitted to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.  Love for Katie is her FB page.

She is currently working on simple goals, e.g. head control.  When I first showed up at RIO (3rd Hospital) I had never been out of bed for more than an hour, and I was horrified to learn that a wheelchair with a headrest was unavailable my first day.  A (2) built one out for me as soon as he could.  Consequently, I spent the day in the wheelchair (and clothing that was not a hospital gown) for the first time, but Mom had to hold my head up for me.  See?

Head Control | #PT Rehabilitation | Ann Ning Learning How

By the time I left to fly to MD a month later, A told me during one of my last PT sessions to set up my chair perfectly for transfer (to a mat), which I did – I pointed my toes away from where I was going and landed on the mat, proving that I had indeed been listening even though I looked pretty spacey all the time.  “It’s like working with a different person,” he told me.  And I was – I was beginning to suspect that this situation was real after all, so maybe I should try and learn something from these people while I had the chance.

Fast forward 22 months, and my recovery’s pace (and trajectory) have slowed dramatically. It didn’t have to be as good as it was/is.  I am thinking more and more about the part I wrote in “Caring for a SNC” where I was like, even if I didn’t improve one bit I know my family would love me for who I am today.  Don’t get me wrong – I want improvement above anything else – I just take comfort in the fact that my family’s love and support is independent of my physical progress.

Apparently a lot of people love and support Katie and her family as they walk through this.  They had a benefit dinner in her honor this past weekend.  It’ was out of of state, plus my stamina wanes as the day marches on, so I couldn’t go.  I did, however, make some Red Velvet Brownies for Katie.  These are my favorite out of the things I’ve baked so far.  These are grain free and have no added sugar/honey/stevia – nothing.  I am not allergic or diabetic – for more info on why I eat like this, read this.

These might suit you if you need GF foods, but nuts are the base, so if you’re allergic to nuts, stay away.  Otherwise, enjoy – they are nice and chocolatey, and I liked these both warm and straight from the fridge.  Also, I am trying a lot of nut-based experiments since I’m not into flour lately (although I tolerate gluten with no problem), but I don’t feel like buying a supply of almond flour or a GF blend, etc.  I don’t even want to go buy some almond butter (my friend R recommended this to me, and it is indeed, delicious) since I am the only one in our house who would eat it, and it would likely sit in our pantry until 2020.  We do, however, have bags or whole nuts in the freezer.  I’m using cashews here since they are mild in flavor – Mom keeps these around so she can toast ’em up and add them into some of her dishes.  I can use whole nuts relatively easily since I have a Vitamix – I just dump the  (thawed) nuts in first and then grind them before adding the other ingredients.  The nuts get mealy but I’m too impatient to wait for them to turn into butter.  If, however, you are not enthused over using whole nuts, I would not hesitate to use the nut butter of your choice.  Also, you could puree the beet before hand if you don’t want to make this in the blender.

One final note – although these are grain free and contain no added sugar, I still consider these a treat.  The cashews I used contained 13g of fat per 1/4 cup.  You do the math.  I think there’s talk of good fat etc. but I’d recommend playing it safe and regulating your intake.

Katie’s Red Velvet Brownies

Inspired by the Detoxinista’s cookies

Preheat oven to 350, Grease small pan – sorry, I forgot to measure again.  I used a small pan that would fit in the toaster oven – probably somewhere in the range of 6×10…some of my brownies were really thin and I would have used a 6×6 square if I had one on hand.  


  • 1.5 c cashews
  • 1/4 c cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 splashes of vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 beet (raw, peeled and cut up into smaller chunks)
  • 1/3 c Greek yogurt (try soy yogurt if you want dairy-free brownies)
  • 1/2 c white chocolate chips (optional – I want to try a version without chocolate chips.  I’m going to cut the pan of brownies in half, slather my Greek yogurt-cream cheese “frosting” in between to make a sandwich, but if you want to eat these straight up, go for the wcc’s.  I also enjoyed the sprinkles on top because they were pretty.)

Instructions:  Grind the cashews first (I used a Vitamix).  Add everything else to the blender except the white chocolate chips.  Puree.  Fold in the chips at the end.  Pour into your greased pan, bake for 10-12 minutes.  (I baked mine for 10, but Mommy opined that they could’ve used a couple more minutes.  I think that would have been fine, but I do have to say that I really like that dense, moist, almost fudge-y texture when it comes to brownies.)

P.S. Happy ANZAC Day!

My other Grain Free Favorite:

4 thoughts on “157. Katie’s Red Velvet Brownies

  1. These look delish and I need to try them as soon as I have some beets. I do like beets, so that shouldn’t be too long.

    Meanwhile, to Katie & her family: go Katie go! You are in my prayers.

  2. These sound yummy – thx for sharing.

    That pic of you and Mom makes me sad but touches me every time I see it. I don’t know if it’s the understanding of what was happening at that moment (that you couldn’t hold your own head up…sigh…), the expressions on your faces, or what, but I think it captures a devoted and selfless mom’s love for her child in a very meaningful way. Love you, Momo! And love you, Ning! And guessing that Dad took that pic – great shot, Dad, and love you, too!

    Seconding Randa’s cheer for Katie :).

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