Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Brownies...a treat to make Willy Wonka smile

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces.  ~Judith Viorst

Well Hi dee hoooo my peeps!!!  Yes yes it's me back again to make your backside wiggle and jiggle.  It's all in the name of research my friends!!  So our Court is getting married in June and her man AustinStone loves brownies.  So much so that they are thinking of foregoing the traditional grooms cake and wait for it.....have BROWNIES instead.  Yeah, I love that kid too!
So for the sake of research we are going to be testing out various types of brownies, how well they freeze/food saver.  So we can decide that yes we're gonna do this and how many days ahead of time can we save my sanity and bake these things.  This is the first attempt and might I say.... a dandy fine one it turned out to be!!  I've just shipped them the the little chocolate lovebirds so they should get them today or tomorrow and we'll see what their feelings are.  In the meantime, you should test them out too, you know for research purposes!!

3/4 cup AP flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 (3.5 oz) Ghiradelli Dark & Raspberry Bar
9 Ghiradelli Dark & Raspberry Squares (from 5.32 oz bag)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

SIFT together the flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl, set aside.
YES you have to sift...really peeps it isn't that difficult!!

Now in your mixer let's mix together the brown sugar, sugar, melted butter and vanilla.
Whip that together about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined.

SLOWLY add in the dry mixture.
I mean unless of course you enjoy enveloping your kitchen in a chocolate cloud then hey go right ahead and turn that mixer on full blast!!  :0)
Mix these until just combined then take a spatula to scrape down the sides and mix in completely.

Lightly grease up an 8x8 square baking dish

Pour half of the brownie mixture into the bottom of the pan

Grab that chocolate bar and just break along the creases.
Be careful not to let that ooey superdeliciousloveliness filling burst out

Now take the other half of the brownie mixture and CAREFULLY spread over the top
(Yes, that is the same photo...I blame the next picture for the lack of getting the second photo)

Now pop in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes

Blame these things for your lack of taking photos!
That's my own Big Joe glass.
(if you watch CougarTown you totally just got that reference)

or blame your husband for snatching the camera and taking a picture of you getting your Ipad all grody with chocolate.

After the brownies have come out of the oven, cool on a wire rack for about 25 minutes.  They should still be slightly warm but not hot.  Take those 9 lovely little pieces of chocolate (unwrap them first please!!!!) and place on top of the brownies and ever so slightly push them down into the brownies.
Let cool before cutting...unless you don't care what they look like then hey go right ahead and make a chocolate mess like I did.   Hey..it's research!!!

If you let them cool completely you will be rewarded with the beautiful goodness like the above photo.

On the bright side, you only need one brownie because they are SUPER RICH!!!
But delicious in every way..... I can't wait for the cute couple to taste and see what they think!!

Oh and say if you want like the printable  I got you covered!

Now, if you are like me your brain is churning and saying..."Hey Samma...doesn't Ghiradelli make other yummy flavors?"  Well yes they do!!  I think any of the Dark & whatever flavors will work, my personal next attempt is likely to be the carmel version or maybe the mint??? hmmm, what do you think?  That's my question today.... What is the next flavor combination I should try?
Now pardon me but my jiggly bottom and I need to go get on the treadmill because while research is good, the end results (haha end...get it??)  are often cellulite ridden!

Peace, Love and Chocolate Yummies!!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Throw me Something, mister....Who Dat!!

Happy Friday peepers!!!

Well this post is a tad delayed and I really have no excuse at all.  Actually it's a miracle it's even getting done because I started reading the Hunger Games last night about 11:00 pm and can't seem to stop reading or thinking about it. What's happening with Katniss & Peeta?  What about Gale? What about sweet Prim??  I  mean seriously this book has grabbed me from the beginning.  I'm sure glad I downloaded all three of the books at one time.   I don't suppose we could get about a foot of snow here in Texas this weekend?? You know so I wouldn't feel guilty about lying around reading all weekend??!!!

Anyway back to the post....this week has been the beginning of Lent and if you have been around here a few times then you know the Hubster is from Louisiana so Mardi Gras is kind of a big deal to him.  He is also "whiskeypalian" (Episcopalian--heehee) and my dear Abogg is converting to Catholicism so needless to say this Southern Baptist girl celebrates Lent.  I have to say I do love the concept of Lent and it's a tradition that I've easily accepted and grown to greatly appreciate.  And I like to get in the Mardi Gras spirit....it's a nice fun time!

So a few decorations go up and even the oranges and apples have some fun!

The feather boas come out of hiding

and adorn the end tables to greet you when you enter.

A happy sign and some crab and lobster lights in the entryway.

What's Fat Tuesday without some good cajun grub??!!
Just out of the package mix but I added some tomatoes and green onions and the leftover chicken from last weekend.

Defrosted a big bowl of red beans & sausage from the freezer
(and I might add that those beans are waaaay better after being frozen)

yes, I am aware that there is a LOT of rice on that plate.
It's Fat Tuesday...geesh!!

Besides when else can you justify two rice dishes and having beads, doubloons and a little red plastic  craw fish on your plate at dinner???  

Now following that feasting is Ash Wednesday and the day beginning your personal sacrifice.  This year I am going to do at least 30 minutes of some kind of exercise EVERY SINGLE day.  It may be walking, jogging, yoga, mowing the yard, etc. but every day no excuse. I'm also drinking 8 glasses of H2O every day.  Where's the sacrifice you say??  In order to get 8 glasses of actual water in I will have to give up a portion of my beloved iced tea lest I decide to spend the entire Lenten season in the ladies room!!!  Really, I exist on unsweet tea....about 2 quarts a day-so this is HUGE for me.
  So that's it, 30 minutes of (hated, dreaded) exercise and 8 glasses of water every single day.
And also in full celebration of Lent, I'll be eating no meat on Friday.  In other words, I'll be begging my husband to take me to the KC fish fry every Friday night for the next 40 days!!  

Do you celebrate Lent?  What are you giving up/committing to?
I'd love to hear your "sacrifice" and the reason it's your choice.

Gotta run...I'm off to the restroom then hitting the sidewalk for my daily walk/run!!

Peace, Love & No Meat Today Yummies!!!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kentucky Chex Mix...bacon, bourbon & pecans OH MY!

Yeah, let's just go ahead and get your mouth watering really good!!

To start with I just didn't take that many photos because;
1) I thought this would just be okay
2) I was making spinach dip too..you know the Knorr's kind. The kind that makes you ingest several bags of carrots.  In other words, I was distracted.
3) I was getting ready for a party and the frozen wine needed stirring-need I explain further??

First of all you can go right over here and get yourself the printable and maybe thank the good kitchen fairies over at Pillsbury for coming up with such an amazing tribute to my home state!!!

First up mix in a 15 oz. bag of pre-packaged Chex Mix, traditional flavored
(They didn't have the big bag so I used two of the smaller bags, which made it a little more than 15 oz.)

Now toss in about 1 cup of pecan halves...or pieces
AND add 1/2 of a package of crisply cooked bacon, crumbled.
yes...I said 1/2 of the package

Now in a saucepan heat together 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup light corn syrup
Let that all cook and melt and get nice and bubbly around the edges.  Then cook it for 5 minutes, remove from the heat and cool 2 minutes.

This is where we got the bourbon out and I lost track of my senses.  You know what they say... I love Jesus but I like to drink a little too!  
Now stir in 3 Tablespoons of Bourbon and 1 tsp of chili powder.
Pour that yummy goodness over the top of the snack mix, bacon and pecans.
Spread that snack mix out onto baking sheets lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray
Bake in 300 degree oven for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
Cool completely...don't eat it hot or it'll burn!!  (don't ask how I know this?!!)
Break into pieces and serve.  Prepare for a new addiction to begin!

and that bacon....it's like when you have pancakes and bacon and the bacon gets all drippy with your syrup.  oooh goodness!!!

Great googly moogly this stuff is good!!!
This is def. a keeper my peeps!!!

Sooooo, what kind of traditional favorites have you found a new twist for?
I mean we love our Chex Mix and Puppy Chow (muddy buddies) to make at Christmas time but this....oh well it's given me a whole new appreciation for the Chex Mix!!
Is there a snack that just screams "your home state" to you??   

Get out and enjoy the day my peeps, we're on our second day of 80 degrees here in Texas!!!

Peace, Love & Bluegrass State Yummies!!!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

E.T. cookies...you know the kind you'll phone home over!

Hey there my peeps!!
It's been a busy weekend but I've loved every minute of it!!  We had us a little HouseParty HgTv watching fun on Friday night, friends from the ATL in until Monday morning and despite the LARGE bags and dark circles under my eyes....I've loved it all!!  
I made these cookies a week or so ago and they were so yummy and I'm so sorry I'm just now getting around to sharing them with you!!

I call them ET cookies well because helloooo  ET loved the Reese's Pieces candy!!!
Let's make some cookie happiness!!

You'll need these things
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup room temperature butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup Resse's Pieces (I used the mini baking chip version)

Grab the butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar and whip that all together in the mixer.
Beat until light and fluffy...about 5 minutes.
You should stop and scrape that bowl down a few times too..then add the egg and vanilla.
Mix that in well.

Take the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and yes yes....I sifted them
Add this SLOWLY to the creamed mixture

Mix it all together really well.
You should probably take your pinky and swipe a little taste, you know for quality control purposes!

Now carefully mix in those Reese's Pieces
We don't want to harm the little ones

I just went ahead and pre formed all those nice balls of cookies at once on a big piece of parchment paper.  This actually worked really well and I wondered why have I never done this before!!!

Then I baked them at 350 degrees for about 8-12 minutes.
I baked mine on a Silpat mat but you can just use the parchment paper if you like.

Remove from oven; edges will be set but centers will be soft
Cool on racks and do not try to cram one in your mouth right away!
They are really hot and I'm not confessing to anything!

Hard to look at like this and not think about how great one of those hot cookies would taste, huh??

It's just some lovin' from the oven!!

No I did not eat this whole plate of cookies

I could have but I didn't...well not at least at one time!

What kind of new and fun cookie recipe have you made lately?
You have a secret way to keep your cookies nice and moist and soft??
C'mon give me the cookie secrets!!!  oh...here's the printable.

Have a great one my peeps, I have a lap full of warm from the dryer sheets that are just screaming to be put back on my bed so remember....

Peace, Love & Yummies!!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Avocado Chicken Parmesan..yeah, really!!

Happy Turdsday!!!
yes, I really am a six year old boy  :0)

How's it going today??  Here in Texas the weather is an undecided as the public on the GOP nomination!!
Sunday evening...snow & sleet
Monday....rainy, dreary in the 40's
Tuesday... rainy in the morning, warmed up nicely to 60's in the afternoon kinda sunny
Wednesday...BIG time rainy in the morning but after noon sun came out and the temps went up to the mid to upper 70's!! So warm I drove with the top down on my car!! wooohooo
Today.... cloudy, dreary 40's
oh well, I did wash my car, clean up the inside and got to put the top down yesterday.  That's a nice February surprise!!

So as you may or may not remember I had this over abundance of avocados.  I wasn't quite sure what to do with them but in the end I just made this massive bowl of guacamole and this chicken. Both were excellent!!!  

Things you'll need
2 chicken breast
1/2 cup AP flour
2 Tbsp milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
olive oil/cooking spray
1/2 cup jarred marinara sauce
2 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Take those chicken breast and sandwich them between two sheets of plastic wrap, wax paper, whathaveyou and SCHWACK SCHWACK SCHWACK the tar out of them!
It is frustration release time!!

We are going for nice thin breast here.
(that just really doesn't sound appropriate does it??)

Get yourselves three plates/bowls
First: Flour
Second: lightly whisked eggs & milk
Third: Breadcrumbs

Go down the line with the chicken.
Drag the chicken through the flour, the the egg mixture, then breadcrumbs

Then layer into a sprayed or oiled baking dish & then I lightly sprayed the tops with cooking spray.
Pop in the oven for about 30-40 minutes
(check internal temp for doneness)

Remove from oven and spread marinara sauce evenly over the two breasts.

Then add the avocado slices to each piece.

Then smother with that nice shredded mozzarella.
Pop back into the oven and allow the cheese to get all brown and lovely and wonderful!!

Start to make yourself a nice green salad to serve along side the chicken and then let hubster wander into the kitchen and rifle through the freezer and proclaim we should eat this corn instead.
I think it makes him happy to find summer food in the winter in the freezer.  

Grab that chicken out of the oven and have some supper!!
(yes, the cheese is that brown on purpose!- we have a thing for burned cheese in this house)

We also had some quinoa (pronounced kwin-wah)
p.s. I looked it up

This chicken was really good and I was kind of leery of adding the avocado to a nice chicken parmesan but it actually works.  The avocado is nice and creamy and it works nicely with that pasta sauce.  
Next time, we will probably have some additional marinara sauce handy to serve with this and maybe regular pasta.  This was a nice change and the hubster said it was actually still great leftover!

What kind of new foods is your family trying?
What kind of new twists have you put on a family favorite?
Do you hate 40 degrees and rain and clouds as much as I do??
Are you still in your pj's at 11:30?  (please say yes)
Do you want the printable, then click here?

Always remember....
Peace, Love & Yummies!!!


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