Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Homemade Brownies, My Way

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Break the chocolate into smaller chunks by hitting each square with a hammer. If you are planning to sneakily make brownies after the kids are in bed, it would be best to do this part before bedtime. When the kids ask what you are doing, the appropriate response is "nothing." Word to the wise--do not put the chocolate on a china plate for this step.

Put the chocolate and butter together in a glass bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes, depending on your microwave and how cautious or risk-taking you are. Stir gently until all the chocolate chunks have melted and the mixture is smooth.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13 pan.

Stir sugar into the chocolate-butter mixture. Scoop out a generous spoonful and eat it, because you still have 40+ minutes to go before the brownies are ready, and that is simply too long to wait for gooey chocolate yumminess. Resist the urge to scoop up such a large spoonful so fast that it hits the front of your shirt. Chocolate, butter, and sugar stain.

Add eggs, one at time, mixing after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and the flour, in that order.

Hold an internal debate over whether it's better to save the last cup of chopped pecans for healthy salad toppings or sacrifice them to the delicious decadence of brownies. Decide that salads win. This time.

Pour the batter into the greased pan. Leave enough on the insides of the bowl for finger licking. Spread the batter over the bottom of the pan. Keep generous amounts on the spoon so that you can clean the spoon off with your tongue.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is set and firm, but the brownies are not yet noticeably browner around the edges.

Remove from oven, exercise all of your self-restraint, and wait 5-10 minutes. Let the brownies cool, firm up, and set.

Forgo cutting even squares in favor of digging into the warm, melty chocolate heaven with a spoon. If you get more than a third of the way into the pan, stop immediately, pray for forgiveness, and quickly wrap the rest for freezing. In the back of the freezer.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Friday Friends: The Divine Ms. B

Name: The Divine Ms. B, also known as Betsy

Why We Are Friends: the picture speaks for itself. Also, because when I admitted that I'd never set off soda bombs in church parking lots, she was scandalized enough to insist that we make that our next girls-date. And because she has great taste in kids. Hers are yummy.

What We Like To Do: Contrary to her husband, Brain-Drain, who has been known to see us out the door with such gems as "Oh, you're going out with Wendy? I've got the number of four bail bondsmen right near the phone," we are not Thelma & Louise. Our primary shared activity is sitting up talking until very late in the car/yard/driveway/street. Close second--late night texting.

What Brings Us Together: Costco & pedicures & shared love of Erynn

Why I Want to Be Her: Um, see picture above. Also, she has great hair & teeth.

What Makes Her Smart: She knows everything there is to know about every animal & plant known to mankind. She knows everything there is to know about every obscure disease known to mankind. If she doesn't, just tell her that you might have it, and the next day she'll present you with documented monographs. Not only smart; she's also a world-class researcher. To top it off, as Brain-Drain says, she's more than just a pretty face. To quote him, "it's nice to be with someone who reads and stays current on world events, and has something interesting to say." While I prefer Ms. B's company for somewhat different reasons than he does, I do have to agree with his assessment. It is NEVER dull to be around Betsy.

Best Thing About Our Friendship: it makes me feel 13 again, except way older & cooler than I was at 13.

Her Special, Incomparable Talent: chocolate truffles. They are world-famous.

Times I Don't Like Her As Much (j/k!): When my kids tell me--repeatedly--how they wish she was their mom instead of me. Shoot, I'd pick her too, but ouch!

What She Teaches Me: Not to take myself, or the rest of the world, too seriously. To trust my instincts. That life is always good, even when it sucks. Everything always works out for the best. That EVERYTHING is better when you laugh really hard.

My Future Relationship Plans: Our mansions in heaven are going to be right down the street, back to 97 steps apart, 'cause I miss that.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Planning Ahead

Mia: "I can't wait till I'm a mommy and I can be rude to my kids."

Me: "WHAT??? Is that what you think I do??? Am I rude to you???"

Mia: "No, but when I'm a mommy, I'm TOTALLY going to be rude to my kids. You're way too nice."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Things That Make Me Happy

I don't what kind of self-absorption leads me to believe that an online audience is interested, but since I persist in my narcissism anyway, here's the latest.

Things That Make Me Happy:
  • Sitting on the couch in the dark, eyes closed, listening to "A Groovy Kind of Love."
  • Belting out Broadway tunes at the top of my lungs.
  • Spectacular sunsets
  • Snuggle time with a child in my bed, listening to that baby's deepest wishes and fears and thoughts about life.
  • Freshly laundered sheets
  • Kind words
  • Being "found" by former students
  • Girls' Night Out!
  • Wondering which nice neighbor just mowed my lawn/edged my lawn/took my garbage can out to the street...or any number of other acts of service that they do All.The.Time.
  • Lunch dates
  • New blog posts from Brain Drain or Mutterdrei :)
  • Pozole. Which I now know how to make myself, at least, in theory, thanks to Abe & Maurina.
  • Finding the absolute most perfect, beautiful home accessory or piece of furniture, that I've been needing for forever, and finding it dirt cheap.
  • Dresses that make me feel like a princess. At my age, that's something.
  • Getting lost in a book.
  • Arrested Development. I know, I know, I'm years behind the rest of the country, but that brilliantly whacked-out little gem of television just makes me laugh until I cry.
  • Nurturing the fledgling writers who just happen to also be my children.
  • Extraordinarily productive meetings.
  • KOSY's Show Tunes Saturday Night
  • C. S. Lewis
  • Spending time with my brothers and sisters
  • Functioning bathrooms!
  • My very quiet, energy-efficient new washer & dryer. Not cool that the old ones broke one time too many, but at least I have nice new ones.
  • Texts from my mom. Ditto Dad.
  • Watching my kids make good choices. Oh, this might be my happiest thing of all. It just doesn't get much better.
  • Hugs