Sometimes I wake up at 5 AM on a weekday to go to yoga and start my day off with a good sweat and a clear mind. Other times I wake up at 3 AM on a Sunday morning, can’t get back to sleep, and decide to make a trip to the 24-hour grocery store so I can make Peanut Butter Fudge Pretzel Brownies.
Sometimes I judge the stringy-haired teenager working the night shift at Harris Teeter. And then I ask him for paper bags and we bond over soy-free Earth Balance. Don’t judge a book by its haircut.
Sometimes I make balanced breakfasts and eat my daily requirement of vegetables. Other times I spend my Sunday morning eating brownies, drinking coffee, and watching Freaks and Geeks in bed.
Sometimes I call my mom and cry because I’m lonely, and bored, and lost. But then, I randomly find myself baking and dancing around my kitchen at 4 AM, just because I can, and I remember how much fun this whole single-irresponsible-20something thing can be.
Sometimes I spend my Saturday evenings cooking nutritious dinners and reading books. And then there are the times where I ride in Karaoke Cabs on the way to dinner and eat a huge plate of sweet potato fries. (Sweet potatoes are good for me!)
Sometimes I pride myself on eating healthfully and taking good care of my body and doing things that are good for myself and good for the earth. But sometimes I just want to bake a huge batch of brownies and drink too much coffee and be lazy and carefree. I’ve learned that I have to allow myself these things – as long as I learn how not to eat the whole pan in one sitting.
While it’s important for me to treat myself well, establish healthy habits, and feel good, sometimes that means indulging in treats, or laying in bed and watching a movie, or going out with friends instead of getting a proper night’s sleep. We can’t expect ourselves to be perfect in any aspect of life – diet, job, relationships – or else we’ll just go crazy. So sometimes we have to learn to cut ourselves a little slack – because if we don’t allow ourselves that lazy Sunday or
second third brownie, we begin to resent the healthy choices we are making. Eat salads and balanced meals and vegetables 90% of the time. And for the other 10% – let yourself live a little. Because what’s life without brownies every once in a while?
So about these brownies. I veganized them! And they are amazing. They even got roommate approval. If you do eggs and dairy, follow the original recipe and it’ll knock your socks off, I’m sure. But I’ve included my notes on what I did below. Either way, go make these. Now.
Pretzel Layer: I used melted Earth Balance instead of butter. Make sure to crush your pretzels up small! And don’t underestimate the combination of melted butter and salty pretzels – try not to eat it by the handful. [Note to any angsty girls out there: put on some Adele and whack a plastic bag full of pretzels with a heavy kitchen object. It will solve all of your problems!] I might try adding this layer on top of the brownies next time – some of the crumbles stayed in the pan, and I like as many salty pretzel bits as I can get.
Brownie layer: I used my favorite brownie recipe and used about 3/4 of the batter (the rest went into
my mouth a few muffin tins)
Peanut butter layer: Make sure to microwave and mix right before you pour this on. Again, I didn’t use all of the PB mixture – maybe 3/4. FYI: I try to use organic powdered (and regular) sugar, as regular white sugar is often processed using bone char (source).
I baked these for 30-35 minutes and stuck them directly in the fridge to cool. The edge pieces are CLEARLY my favorite. Especially with extra pretzels crumbled on top. I have a feeling they won’t last very long.
Happy Baking! Go give yourself a hug and eat a brownie.