Baking Fools

Hey everyone! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty low-key, but nice.

On Saturday I got out of doing dishes and cleaning the kitchen by going outside to shovel for an hour or so.

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It was good exercise, and it was nice to finally be outside again in warm weather (ie, 30 degrees). Dave stayed in to clean the kitchen and then started on some bread with a 50 lb bag of flour he brought home last week from work.

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Tarragon, garlic, and sharp cheddar.

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(Yes, this loaf of bread is gone already).

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He also made a loaf of caraway rye bread and a bread bowl for some lucky girl’s soup this week.

I wanted to bake a special treat for my co-worker Jessica’s birthday on Monday, so I took a quick poll online and settled on caramel brownies. (One of my friends suggested jello shot strawberries….too bad they’re for work!)

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I took a trip to the store and ended up with this bundle of ingredients. No, there is definitely nothing good for you in here. That’s why I made it for other people.

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The other Chelsea Leahy who lives in Washington (whose last name is now different) emailed me the recipe. She said it’s a popular one in her family, and I can see why. Chocolate, caramel, more chocolate….

Caramel Brownies

  • 50 unwrapped caramels
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 pkg German Chocolate Cake mix
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 8 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add unwrapped caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk to a microwave safe bowl and heat until melted.

In a separate bowl, mix butter, cake mix, and the remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk.

Press half of the cake mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake for six minutes. Remove from oven and pour caramel mixture over the top, sprinkle with chocolate chips, top with the remaining cake mix, and bake for 18 more minutes.

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Dave and I each had one piece before I cut and boxed them up for work.

I started getting hungry around 6:00pm but didn’t want to eat dinner yet, so Dave made me a snack plate with pickles, cheese, crackers, and sardines. I was so full after my snack plate that my plans for reubens were dinner were squashed, and I decided to make myself a breakfast reuben the next morning instead.

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Sandwiches on homemade bread are the best.

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Especially when they’re filled with some of Dad’s homemade sauerkraut and my favorite mustard ever (creamy lemon caper dill).

I felt like baking again on Sunday, so I decided on Salted Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. I can’t remember which recipe I used last time, but I found this one on Real Simple’s website. I didn’t have any shortening, so instead of adding more butter, I decided to substitute some milled flax seed, a., because I have a lot of it, and b., because it makes you really smart. Too bad I only ate one.

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I boxed up the majority of the cookies and brought them over to my friends Dan and Em’s house as a thank you for them letting me continue to bum their car. We also brought over our new game Castle Panic to play since football season is now over. We don’t want Em to get bored. 😉

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The first round did not go well. We did a very poor job at protecting our castle, and the monsters stormed the citadel.

Fortunately, the second round went much better.

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Hooray for co-op games! It’s really fun working as a team against the game instead of against each other. I guess someone came up with this idea after too many Monopoly fights with their siblings (“If you don’t sell me Park Place, you’re stupid!” “Hey, you didn’t tell me you landed on that one with all the hotels last turn!” Oh, those were the days).

Dave and I stopped at the grocery store for a few items, and I whipped us up a big salad and some French bread pizzas for dinner.

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Whenever I make a big salad for dinner, I try to make it like Panera’s Greek salad, which is my favorite. I used spring mix, red onions, kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, and feta cheese, then tossed it with just a smidge of Newman’s Lite Sundried Tomato Dressing. Despite the fact that I put a few too many onion slices in it, it was delicious.

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I made pizza sauce with crushed tomatoes and herbs, then sauteed some mushrooms, green peppers, and onions for the topping.

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Complete with olives, mozzarella, and a sprinkle of Parmesan.

Dave and I ate dinner while watching the second episode of Sherlock: The Sign of the Three. It was so good, I want to watch it again already. I laughed, I cried, I was sad when it was over.

And I’m not just talking about the weekend.

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Some Days…

You just have to not make yourself a taco salad for Tuesday dinner, even though you have plenty of black beans, salsa, and cheddar cheese in the fridge.

Some days, you just have to stop agonizing over all your flaws, because you could drive yourself into a batty mess worrying that your tongue is too sharp, your face is too round, you’re not funny enough or smart enough, and you don’t trust people enough.

Some days you have to find one of your favorite pictures of yourself,

and post it for the world to see. Just because it makes you smile.

Some days, you have to realize you’ve exercised every single day for the past fifty days. Which is awesome. But…it’s also a great day for a rest day.

Some days you have to repeat an amazing recipe you’ve had only made once before. Because eating food you love is awesome. And eating food you just found out you love is even more awesome.

No Joke Peanut Butter Pita Pizza (Based on this recipe here)

  • 1 whole wheat pita, toasted
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (I used powdered, mixed to a miraculous unpowdered state)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 oz mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • dash each of salt, nutmeg, onion flakes, and red pepper flakes

Toast the wheat pita. Mix together the peanut butter and honey.

Smear the peanut butter and honey mixture over the pita and top with minced garlic.

Sprinkle on salt, nutmeg, onion flakes, and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle on cheese.

Broil for five minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with more red pepper flakes.

Cut into slices, consume, and revel that something so tasty could come from such a strange combo.

Some days, you need a huge pile of veggies, too. So you make a delicious Greek salad.

Spring mix, spinach, red onions, banana peppers, grape tomatoes, and kalamata olives.

Some days you realize you’ve been missing out on banana peppers in your salad for most of you life. They are not just delicious on Subway veggie subs.

Some days you need to put on your yoga pants, plunk down on the couch, and watch some Glee while imagining you’re not just a shower or car singer.