May 29

It’s Friday, Internet, and I am nosy.

Today it is all about hair.

I have been having weird hair dreams.

Like….the last time I when to get my hair cut, the stylist shaved me bald.

Scary!

I’d like to know what is the worst experience you’ve had at a hair salon.

What was the best?

I just gotta know!

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May 28

Are y’all on chocolate overload yet?

If you are, then you might as well, click away, because I’ve got more…oh so much more today.

If not, then Internet…ya better strap in.

This week for Barefoot Bloggers is Ina’s Outrageous Brownies.

Side bar~~Dorie and Ina both say when melting butter and/or chocolate to do it over a double boiler.   I have never done that.

Into the microwave it goes for 1 minute.

Stir.

30 seconds.

Stir.

If needed, another 30 seconds and stir the final bits till they are melted.

I just take care that it doesn’t get to hot.

It saves me time and effort.

It’s a win~win!

Now back our  regularly scheduled program.

These brownies are outrageous.

They have a whole pound of butter.

2 ¼ c. sugar.

Espresso.

And almost 3 pounds of chocolate.

And I was in heaven.

I made these brownies for a get together 3 weeks ago, and I need to make them again.

This makes a stinkin’ lot of brownies.

It is baked in a half sheet pan, and I wanted to so something fun with them because I was going to a party.

So I made a glaze

  • 2 c. confectioners sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa
  • 4 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • blurb of vanilla

Bring that all to a boil.

Then on a third of it, I sprinkled some cappuccino chips.

On the middle third I sprinkled toffee chips.

On the last third I sprinkled some of those mini candied chocolate bits to make it fun.

What wasn’t fun, was loosing the pictures of the wee candied chocolates and pictures of the entire pan of brownies.

Just imagine them —-> here!

I also have a wee secret.

I liked these much better than the ones I posted Tuesday, but please don’t tell Dorie.

It might hurt her feelings.

You want to make these?

Good.   I highly recommend them.

Outrageous Brownies

Ingredients

nocoupons

  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
  • 2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1 cup for batter and 1/4 cup in the chips and nuts)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups diced walnut pieces( I didn’t use nuts, I replaced them instead with a mixture of semi-sweet, milk, and vanilla chips~~you know…just to take it over the top)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Do not over-bake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares.

PS.   Today is my Aunt Cindy, and cousin Amber’s birthday.   Happy Birthday you two.   I love you both so much.

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May 27

I wanted to tell you a little bit about the chocolate I used in yesterday’s TWD.

It is called Askinoise.

I found out about Askinoise chocolate last year when Peabody said that she got some cocoa power from them and would never use anything else.

Well, I had to investigate.

What I found was a man who prayed about making chocolate.

Yes.

Prayed.

About chocolate.

Seriously?

The man prays over his chocolate?!?!

And Internet, any man who prays over his chocolate before he makes it, must make one deliciously blessed chocolate.

I was so there!

I had to try some.

Then I saw the price and fainted.

So Askinoise sat on the back burner for well over a year…moldering in the back of my mind.

Then May, 2009 happened…and Chocolatechic didn’t get anything for Mother’s Day.

And I began to feel a bit sorry for myself, so I decided that I was going to get myself  some chocolate and I wouldn’t share…so there!

And in my head,  I stomped my foot  like a 2 year old when I clicked “send” on my order.

Welcome to my kind of crazy!

PS.   I shared my chocolate.   I can’t be a brat for long.    Chefboy loved it, and I had to hide it so he wouldn’t eat it all.

(for the record~~these next 2 photos were taken when I was fiddlefarting around with my camera settings.   Dumb I know.   Why mess with a good thing?  but I did, and they are noisy.  Apologies to your eyes)


Now I know y’all know where I stand on white chocolate(which really isn’t chocolate, it is chocolate leftovers flavored with vanilla…please shoot me now!) so why in the world did I purchase some?

Because this isn’t “leftovers”, Internet.

This is actual cocoa butter with chocolate still in it.

It actually tastes like cocoa butter and chocolate.

It is what “white” chocolate should taste like.

I also got me some of this.

I’ll let you read the description.

All I can say is….better. than. Valhrona.

The end.

Chocolatechic’s birthday is in October.    That will give you lots of time to save up your pennies and get me a present.

You know what I’m asking for!

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May 26

Oh…Dorie, Dorie, Dorie!

You have these fabulous ideas.

You take 2 brilliant desserts and combine them into one.

Brownies and Chocolate chip cookes.

You make me think to put white and dark chocolate in the brownie batter instead of walnuts, because I don’t like nuts in my brownies.

Then you say to mix up fabulous chocolate chip cookie dough.

Dough that is so fabulous I eat 2 bite fulls of raw batter, and don’t want to stop.

Then you say to plop the rest of this delicious dough on top of the brownie dough and spread it out.

You say to bake it for 50-55 minutes or until the top is golden and a knife comes out slightly streaked with chocolate.

So I do that.

The knife is slightly streaked.

The guests are eagerly awaiting Chipster Topped brownies (that Beth of Supplicious picked for today’s TWD).

I cut the gorgeous brownies only to see that they aren’t done.

So, we stick them back in for 15 minutes as the guests sit around chatting, politely waiting for their dessert.

Still not done.

Back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Guests starting to demand dessert.

Not done.

Back for 10 more minutes.

Guests and myself finally decide that whether or not it is done, an hour and a half of baking have fully cooked the eggs and we will eat it whether or not it is done.

Not done, but we eat the goo anyway.

Because you can not go wrong with this much chocolate.

You just can not.

Go check out Beth’s blog.   She has the recipe and the way to get around all this under baked problem.

Beth is brilliant!

Chocolatechic…not so much.

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May 25

Today isn’t just a day for hot dogs and potato salad.

Today is the day to remember all  who have fallen to protect this country and the people in it.

You are not forgotten.

Thank you to all who have served and are serving the United States of America.

God’s blessings and protection to  each and every one of you.

Thank you for protecting us and our freedom.

May the Lord send His peace to the families of those who have lost a loved one in the military.

Never forget there is a reason you have a day off.

There are thousands today who are in uniform in various places who don’t.

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May 24

As long as Superman and I have been married, we have been leaving notes for each other on the bathroom mirror using dry erase markers.

The Chips also leave notes too.

Friday night, I went upstairs to get ready for bed I found this…

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May 23

Last week I shared with you —-> here my feelings on lemon.

What I didn’t completely express is just how much I heart lemon cake.

I’d rather have lemon cake than chocolate cake.

Don’t faint dead away, Internet.

You have to read the rest of my blog.

I have only had lemon cake a handful of times in my 39 years, but each and every time I do I wonder why I don’t eat it more often because, Internet…aside from my love of my family, chocolate, pink, ellipses, over using commas, and run on sentences…I like nothing more than a nice slice of lemon cake.

But no one seems to fix it anymore.

And that is a shame because it is light, refreshing and just slightly sweet.

Perfect for the summer.

But I have a confession.

I made a huge mistake with this recipe.

I halved it.

I thought that no one but myself would eat this.

I was oh. so. wrong.

And now I have to face the fact that it is totally my own silly fault that I only had 2 small slices of this delicious cake.  One of which I am cramming into my mouth as I’m typing this post up.

I will not  make that mistake again.

Oh no, dear Internet.

Never again.

And if I were you, I’d make the full batch.

Lemon Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks)  butter at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup grated lemon zest lightly packed (6 to 8 large lemons – Use only fresh lemon juice and zest)(blah..blah..blah~I always use fresh zest, but there is nothing wrong with bottled juice)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans.

Directions

Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, the key to great cakes is beating the butter and sugar until the mixture’s until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest. Sift together the flour, to make sure there are no lumps, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Separately, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cook 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, cool for 10 minutes, invert them onto a rack set over a tray and spoon the lemon syrup over the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

To freeze these cakes, prepare them except the glaze. Wrap them well in plastic wrap and freeze. When you’re ready to use, defrost and glaze.

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May 22

Hey Internet.

It is Friday, and I am nosy.

I have to keep being reminded that we are coming into a holiday weekend.

It is not because my brain is on artificial life support.

It is because it has been so stinkin’ cold here that it doesn’t seem like it should be time for Memorial Day.

I have not prepared.

GACK!

Tell me.

What do you do, to celebrate Memorial Day?

I need help.

Quick!

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May 21

Oh Internet.

You know I’m such a slacker.

Today I am supposed to post some lovely Lemon Cakes for my BB’s group, but you know what???

I have been sitting here at my computer for the last 4 days or so, glancing into the kitchen every so often, looking at my bag full of lemons thinking “I really need to make those lemon cakes….naaahhhhh I’ve got time”.

Then this morning I decided ‘today I’ll make those lemon cakes’.

So I pulled out my printed off recipe and at the top it says in my own handwriting “post on 5/21”.

Today is 5/21!  Gack!

I have to mix them up,  then photograph them, then bake them, then photograph them, then photoshop them.

So….if your here for Lemon Cakes….come back Saturday.

My brain…it needs CPR!

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May 20

As a mother, many times you tune things out.

Oh…you subconsciously hear the low hum of children’s chatter, and are instantly alerted when all goes quiet.

The hum of the computer, the fridge, the bird song outside…it is all there, but you don’t really give it any other thought.

Until it gets so insistent right in your ear that you have to pay attention.

That is what happened a few days ago.

I was IMing Sister when all of a sudden Whiskey is going nuts at the sliding glass door.  She is leaping into the glass and doing this little cat bark thing.

It got my attention, and that is when the noise came to the forefront of my consciousness.

The screeching of a baby bird.

And mama trying to bribe it with a worm.

But the poor thing is scared.

Mama gets a a bit closer, but then she the cat and flies away.

She might be a mama, but she’s no dummy.

Leaving the poor thing to my psycho cat and the camera clicking away.

Then yesterday afternoon, I hear more screeching.

This little one is on my front porch.

Not paying me a bit of attention.

Isn’t he precious?   He can visit any time.

Unless he poops on my furniture,  then all bets are off.

I have a psycho cat , and I’m not afraid to use her.

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May 19

When I was 12, we moved from Ohio to Houston.

For a 12 year old, it was a huge culture shock.

I had only seen 3 black people in my entire 12 years, and in Houston, whites are the minority.

They also talk differently in the South.

They say things like “y’all” and “all y’all” and “I’m afixin’ to”.

They call shopping carts “buggies”.

And they call pop “soda” or if you are in Missouri, they call it “sodie pop”.

But one of the strangest differences for me was that they called mango’s, green pepper.

My mom had always called green pepper, mango’s.

So when we moved south, I had no idea what a green pepper was.

And until yesterday, I had never eaten a mango.

So today’s TWD of Fresh Mango Bread that Kelly of Baking with the Boys picked out today was way out of my element.

I had no idea how to peel or cut a mango, so after I cut it in half and tried to pull the fruit from the pit, it just mushed in my hand.

I had no idea how it would taste, or if I would like it.

It tasted a bit strange to me, and it was stringy.  ewwwwwww!

There was no way I was adding my beloved chocolate chips to this!!!

But I persevered because I didn’t do last weeks, and this week was going to be done.

Period.

The recipe called for raisins and we all know that this girl does not do raisins, so I substituted cinnamon chips,  not my aforementioned beloved chocolate ones.

Since cinnamon was a key flavor in this, and since I didn’t know whether or not I’d like the bread, I mixed up a basic powdered sugar glaze and added more cinnamon…you know…to cover up the taste if I didn’t like it.

And I liked it.

And chocolate chips would have been a great addition.

I don’t think I’d make it again, but it isn’t going in the trash.

If you’d like the recipe, go on over to Kelly’s blog.   She has the recipe.

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May 18

Normally on Monday’s I have something great for you.

Normally I have done something over the weekend to tell you about.

Normally.

But today…

Today I have nothing for you, because on Saturday morning I pulled a muscle in my neck and I have done nothing all weekend but sit in one position in a chair barely breathing, and not moving

At all.

Not moving is very boring.

Boring = non-exciting blog post.

Today I will do spectacular things like doing laundry without moving from the neck up…or cooking without moving my head…or taking pictures of my TWD post without looking through the view finder.

Yes.   If I can accomplish those things, today will be spectacular.

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May 16

I want to thank y’all for all y’all’s help in deciding what to do with small check.

I We have decided that Superman we are going to paint the front porch.

The girl and I found the perfect color to match our siding.

Shasta Daisy.

But then I got to thinking…all that foot traffic on the paint….will it chip?  how often will it need painted? how often will I have to sweep the front porch?

And then I started thinking about your idea to stain the wood, and my brain whirled around again…would ¾ inch plywood look good stained?  how often would it need varnished?  would the varnish wear away?  how often would I have to sweep it?

So, I’m coming back to you, my brilliant Internet.

Paint or stain?

That is the question.

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May 15

Happy Friday, Internet!!!

I’m nosy today.

The Parents will be leaving tomorrow for the first of 2 vacations they have planned for this year.

Have you planned a vacation for this year?

If so, are you going as far as you normally do? or are you staying closer to home?

OH…and the biggest question of all…if your staying in a hotel, do  you make sure that it has a swimming pool and a contentinal breakfast?

I do!

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May14

So the other day I had a phone conversation.

It went something like this.

Chocolatechic dials the number.

Store:  “Hello”

CC:  “Hello only grocery store within a 40 mile radius from my house that carries fresh fish.   Do you have any fresh tuna?”

Store:  “I don’t know.   Let me go check.”

CC:  …fiddles around on Farm Town…

Store:   “I’m’ sorry ma’am, we do not carry fresh tuna.”

CC:  Hangs up and brain explodes.

You see today’s BB recipe is Tuna Salad, and calls for 2 pounds of “very fresh tuna steak, cut 1″ thick”.

So, I did what any other female would do.

I opened up another tab, because I certainly couldn’t close out Farm Town, and went straight to the BB’s blog to whine and complain.

It is what women do best!

But Low and Behold, the lovely ladies over there had thought of everything!

They said we could backtrack on one recipe this month.

They had to have known I was coming.

So, I immediately knew which recipe I was going to do.

It is the one that pulled me into blogging Ina’s recipes.

Grown up Mac’n’cheese.

I am putting my changes in pink, ’cause I took Ina’s recipe and made it mine!

Super Yummy!

I’m so glad I’m a grown up.

Grown Up Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces thick-sliced bacon
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used the bacon grease from baking the bacon~waste not, want not)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (poor man’s Gruyere~~Swiss)
  • 3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (didn’t have any so I used regular)
  • 2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled (again, didn’t have any, so I used Parmesan)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed (I used barbecue potato chip crumbs.   Perfection!)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves (Who needs basil when you have BBQ crumbs?)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Remove the pan carefully from the oven – there will be hot grease in the pan! Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble (have Superman rip it up) when it is cool enough to handle.

Cook macaroni according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt the butter( or bacon grease) in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere,(Swiss) Cheddar, blue cheese,(Parmesan) 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size (1 big one~~’cause this serves 4, not 2.)gratin dishes.

Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. (blah..blah…blah…just crush up some BBQ chips and toss on) Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

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May 13

Got a letter in the mail a couple of days ago.

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From the Government.

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Dear Superman and Chocolatechic,

You screwed up on your taxes.

But wait!   Don’t panic.  It was in your favor.

We’re gonna send you a small check.

Signed,

The Govern. ment.

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Low and behold, 2 days later,  small check arrived.

Superman and I just can’t decide which home improvement option to choose so I’m coming to you, Internet, to get some help.

Should we…

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Strip the wall paper and paint the bathroom, ooooorrr…..

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Replace the indoor/outdoor carpeting on our front porch?

They both need done, but only one will happen.

I report, you decide.

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May 12

Fresh squeezed lemonade.

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Lemon Ice Box Dessert.

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Lemon cake with lemon glaze.

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Lemon Curd.

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These things I love, and they are about as lemon as I get.

I know what I’m about to say is going to aggrieve most of you, but I didn’t make today’s recipe of Tartest Lemon Tart.

You know that old saying “Waste not, want not”?

Well, I decided to waste not, because I would have just thrown this away.

However, if Tartest Lemon Tart sounds fabulous to you, and you want a very quick, very easy, very impressive dessert to make, go check out Babette’s blog.   She has the recipe.

Next week.

I’ll be making next weeks.   It sounds fabulous!!!

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May 11

So, the Sister’s were in town this week, and I went to visit with them.

Why?

1.  I haven’t seen them in some time.

2.  It was Mother’s Day this weekend.

3.  These women are very special to me

and…

4.   There was a new baby to hold.

Internet, let me just tell you that I held that boy.

I held him and held him, and held him…ok fine!   I hogged that boy all day long.

I love babies, and this little guy is precious!

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