Friday, April 4, 2014

Back with brownies

My counters are filthy, my sink is full of dirty dishes, I haven't posted in a year (?) and I took this poorly composed picture with my iPhone. 

There. All of my reasons to hold off on posting this.

But, I haven't posted in a year, and I really want to start again. I am still trying to figure out in what kind of capacity I want our newest addition to be featured, so I won't hit on that yet. 
But, I have been thinking and talking and talking and talking about homemade brownies lately and wanted to share my favorite recipe. Despite trying different types of "favorites" from my favorite blogs, I ended up going back to an old standby in my recipe book; the brownie recipe that I use to make brownie cupcakes, only to find that even in a bar form, this is an amazing recipe! 

For those of you that still use and love the boxes...they're great, right? But let me just make the case for homemade, from-scratch brownies for you.

They are: 
quick (I would contend that they are almost as quick as the box mix)
made with pantry staples
so, so tasty

So, without further ado:

My Favorite Brownies

yield: 1-8"x8" pan 

4oz dark chocolate*
1 stick unsalted butter
1 c (8oz) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 c (2.7oz) all purpose flour
1/2 c chocolate chips** (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° (325° if you have a convection oven)

1. Using a serrated knife, chop the chocolate
2. Over a pan of simmering water, melt chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl while stirring
3. Whisk the sugar, then the eggs, and finally, the vanilla and salt in to the chocolate and butter
4. Using a rubber spatula, fold in flour and chocolate chips. 
5. Grease and line an 8"x8" pan with a strip of parchment paper that covers the bottom and goes up two sides then grease the parchment
6. Pour batter in the pan, smooth, and bake for 20-30 minutes
7. Pull from the oven when a toothpick comes out allllmost clean (there will be just a few crumbs that stick) and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before pulling them out with the help of the parchment handles

*Use a good quality here with a high cocoa content -- but, you don't have to break the bank; my go-to baking chocolate is the 72% dark chocolate pound plus bar from Trader Joe's. You can't beat $7.99 for 17.6 oz of chocolate.
**Mint chocolate chips is a favorite to add in our household.

Thursday, April 11, 2013 Purchase Review

I posted this teaser about our purchase from a few weeks ago. Ok, more like forever ago, I'm a horrible blogger. 

The delivery packaging was a bit sparce, I must admit, but we did only pay $350 for an 8x12 100% wool rug, so I suppose I can't be too picky. And though there was a small hole (maybe an inch), I did rip it open a bit more to get a peek.

Thankfully, it was a nice sunny day when it arrived, but I was home anyway so it wouldn't have mattered in our case. Not everyone is lucky enough to almost always be home for deliveries though.

As you can tell the animals were obsessed with the off-gassing (which really wasn't as bad as I had braced myself for...reviewers can be really harsh on that topic). 

And when it is all put back together, the room looks a bit crazy but I expected as much. You see, the rug purchase is the first step in a nearly whole-room makeover. So, in the end, the chairs will be traded out for some smaller, solid colored chairs, and the couch will be traded out for a brown leather couch. In my dreams, this couch would grace us with its presence, but we'll see how much money we can save up for that purchase!

And while I love the restored antiques we use currently as a TV stand and coffee table, eventually I would like to replace them with some slimmer pieces and move these to bedrooms. 

The gray is a bit darker than I had anticipated and shows our white pet fur like nobodies business but that's not a fault of the rug. 

It is a looped wool rug that I was concerned would be a problem with our darling, un-declawed kitty but thankfully, he hasn't shown much interest in it. He is too set in his old couch-destructing ways, I suppose. 

And a few of the loops are a bit off in a few places where the two colors meet, but again...$350, 8x12, 100% wool. 

And it sheds, quite a bit at first. We're still filling up the Dyson canister every few weeks but it has tapered off drastically in the past few days. I am confident we are nearing the end of that issue. 

And the nasty plastic backing is covered with a nice layer of cotton burlap-ish fabric (pet-peeve from the old rug). 

On the whole, we are very pleased with the purchase (though I'm still convincing Michael of my eventual vision), and I honestly don't think we could have done better for the price. Even those at Value City Furniture that were comparable in size and price were made of horrible scratchy synthetics. No Thank You!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's here!

The new rug arrived today just as I'm off to visit a friend and her darling baby.

I'll be leaving it in the wrapper until Michael gets home to stretch out the suspense. It's also kind of a joint valentines day gift so I don't feel right opening it without him.

There was a little rip in the packaging though...which I may have made a little bit bigger. So, here is a little sneak peak. I'm liking the feel and color of it so far but we'll have to wait for the full reveal for an actual review.