Monthly Archives: February 2010

Double Fail Brownies

Brownies with cream cheese frostingHave you ever had one of those days in the kitchen when everything goes wrong?

We did.

It started with a to-do list that was just way too long for the amount of time we had.

I had both girls working on different things in the kitchen while I did 10 other things at once.

It wasn’t long before things started to fall apart.

Angel Girl was melting a package of chocolate chips and a package of butterscotch chips in the microwave – and it seized. Badly. There were 2 entire bags of chips ruined.

We almost cried.

I tried adding butter, shortening, and even milk before I finally got it back to a smooth consistency – but I had added so much that I wasn’t sure if it would harden up on the top of the bars. (After the fact – I know it would have been just fine – but at the time I was doing too many things to think clearly. )

I had Angel Girl start over again – this time with a double broiler – while I set out to figure out what to do with all this reclaimed chocolate.  It wouldn’t go to waste if I had to eat it all myself- with a spoon! (Which might have been my best idea all day!)

It took me a few minutes – but I finally decided to try to use it in brownies and researched until I found one that uses melted chocolate chips.

I just doubled the recipe and put it in a 9 X 13 pan.

Chocolate Chip Brownies

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons of water
2 cups chocolate chips, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

In a sauce pan combine 1 cup of chocolate  chips, sugar, butter, and water. Cook over medium heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Let cool for about 5 minutes before adding the eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the chocolate mixture. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Pour batter into a greased 9 x 9 inch prepared pan. Bake  at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

We let them cool before we cut into them – enjoying the rich chocolate goodness with a hint of butterscotch.

But wait there’s more.

I called these double fail brownies for a reason!

While Angel Girl was melting the chocolate chips, Dagmar was making an ice cream dessert that called for a cream cheese filling in the center. We were playing with a recipe and adapted it – and our communication wasn’t the best (Because I was busy saving the melted chocolate that didn’t really need to be saved!)

The original recipe called for milk to be added to the cream cheese, powdered sugar and Cool Whip. But as she mixed it up and poured it on top of the ice cream layer – it looked way too runny.

As I stood there with the decadent brownie in my hand, pondering the runny filling – I had a burst of inspiration!

We grabbed the dessert from the freezer, scraped the cream cheese layer off the ice cream layer (and yes it was still too runny) and poured it over the now cooled brownies. Instant frosting!

We put the whole pan in the fridge until the “frosting” hardened enough to eat.

Voila! A double fail brownie that turned out to be really tasty!

That’s a good thing – because after the confusing day I had – I needed more than one!

Enjoy!

A Pocketful of Pebbles

I rediscovered the book Mrs. Miniver recently at the library. It’s been fun to read it again and savor some of my favorite parts.

I especially love this section:

“As she walked past a cab rank in Pont Street, Mrs. Miniver heard a very fat taxi-driver with a bottle nose saying to a very old taxi-driver with a rheumy eye: ‘They say it’s all a question of your subconscious mind.’

Enchanted she put the incident in her pocket for Clem. It jostled, a bright pebble, against several others: she had had a rewarding day. And Clem, who had driven down to the country to lunch with a client, would be pretty certain to come back with some good stuff, too.

This was the cream of marriage, this nightly turning out of the day’s pocketful of memories, this deft habitual sharing of two eyes, two pairs of ears. It gave you, in a sense, almost a double life: though never, on the other hand, quite a single one.”

Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther

I love the idea of collecting ideas, events, attitudes, thoughts, etc… like pebbles in my pocket. Then when my husband comes home, I slowly empty them one by one and share them.

It really is the cream of marriage.

What pebbles did you collect today?

How Do You Love?

I’ve been studying love this month.

Not the romantic love that we celebrate on Valentine’s Day – but the love that God has for us.

It’s that kind of love that He wants us to have for others.

I was humbled by these verses in Ephesians –

“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.

Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.”

Ephesians 5:1-2 (The Message)

Wow.

Extravagant love.

The word extravagant makes me think “over-the-top”. I think of rich people throwing their money away as if they had an endless source.

While I may not be rich in money – I am rich in love! God has promised me an unlimited supply of it. There’s no way I could ever give it all away!

Webster’s dictionary defines extravagant as “exceeding the limits of reason or necessity” and “lacking in moderation balance and restraint.”

That’s how Christ loved us! He didn’t love us because of anything we could do for Him.

He loved us all the way to the cross.

It was a huge “over-the-top” kind of love that is beyond what we can reason or understand. It blows away our feeble ideas and selfish motives.

Do I love like that?

I thought of the group of believers in Haiti who, having heard about the earthquake but being far enough away from it to not be affected, gathered up whatever food and supplies they had and headed out to give aid.

These people are destitute themselves. They did not give out of their abundance – but out of their poverty.

That’s extravagant love.

Do I love like that?

Unselfishly.

Freely.

Beyond what is necessary?

Beyond the limits of reason?

Think of the difference we would make in our world if we loved like our Savior does – extravagantly!

Photo by aussiegal

Velvet Almond Fudge Cake

Velvet Almond Fudge Cake This recipe is one of the original recipes in my very own recipe file.

Back in junior high I began clipping recipes from magazines and experimenting with them. Some were keepers, some were not.

This was a keeper.

I don’t remember what magazine I copied it from, but it is hand written in pencil in my junior high handwriting. (That brings back memories!)

It was just as good today as it was back then!

The Velvet Almond Fudge Cake

1 – 1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped
1 package chocolate chips (12 ounces)
1 package (2 layer) chocolate cake mix
1 package (4 serving) instant chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond

Grease a 10 inch tube or Bundt cake pan.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of almonds on the bottom. Set aside the cake pan and the remaining almonds.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, water, oil, vanilla and almond extracts.

Beat at medium speed for 4 minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips and the set aside almonds.

Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 70 minutes or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool in the pan 15 minutes. Remove and continue to cool on a rack.

To serve, garnish with whipped cream or (my favorite) serve with a large scoop of ice cream and drizzled with chocolate syrup.

Enjoy!

I’m Becoming My Parents.

ReclinerThis is so embarrassing.

The other night we were sitting as a family watching the Opening Ceremonies for the Winter Olympics when I felt my eyes getting heavier and heavier.

The next thing I knew – I woke up dazed.

I had fallen asleep in the chair.

For years as I was growing up,  my siblings and I would laugh at my parents who could both sit in the recliner and drift off to sleep with their mouths open – sometimes snoring.

We kids would often joke about trying to drop things inside their open mouths – but never quite got up the nerve.

Now it was happening to me.

I thought my little “nap” was an isolated incident and chalked it up to a late night after a really busy day.

But then it happened again on Sunday afternoon – and again Tuesday night – and almost on Thursday.

I’m becoming my parents.

I gathered up the courage to ask Dagmar and Angel Girl if I snored. They looked at each sheepishly before Angel Girl said, ” Kinda.”

Dagmar corrected her with, “You didn’t really snore – you just snorted every time your head fell over.”

Snorted?

Ouch.

I was going to ask if I drooled – but decided that maybe I really didn’t want to know.

So what’s next?

Are my kids going to start laughing at me? Will they try dropping things in my open mouth? Or <gasp> will I eventually start snoring as loudly as my parents?

Let me tell you people – growing old is not for the faint of heart.

By the way – kids if you are reading this and are planning to drop things in my mouth – I prefer M & M’s, but chocolate chips  will also do.

I may be getting old – but I’m still a chocoholic!