The Perfect Brownie

The Perfect Brownie

I love brownies. Seriously what’s not to like about a chewy, chocolatety bit of heaven? Jamison was never a fan before Celiacs reared it ugly head (I know, I know…My culinary talents are lost on that boy! ;oP) so I didn’t make them that often, but when I saw this recipe at I Am Baker and the resulting pictures I was immediately drawn to the brownie goodness!

As you’ll see I didn’t make them exactly the same, but trust me these are really, really amazing, really, really awesome brownies! If you’re a fan of brownies then you really have found the perfect brownie. They are chocolatey, chewy and just perfect! What’s not to like about that?

What You’ll Need:
2/3 cup of butter
1 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips
1 3/4 cups of organic cane sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

In a medium sized sauce pan melt butter and chocolate chips stirring often until completely smooth. Set aside and let cool.

Place oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F.

Mix together sugar, vanilla, eggs and sea salt and beat on high for 5 minutes. Slowly add cooled chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and stir until mixed. Add flour a little at a time and mix until just incorporated.

Pour batter into an 8 X 12 inch baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 45 minutes until brownies are slightly crackly on top. Let cool and cut and serve.

Notes: You could add chocolate chips to the batter or nuts, but really they are just perfect as they are!

Not Your Mama’s Tuna Salad

Not Your Mama's Tuna Salad

I’m a big fan of tuna. I don’t eat it that often due to mercury concerns, and really I’m not going to get into bio-magnification or anything, no need to make you eyes glaze over on a food blog, but tuna is not something I’m going to eat everyday. When I do eat it though I like to shake things up a bit.

One of my favorite things to do with tuna is simply bake of pan fry a tuna steak, but I’m not adverse to tuna in the pouch either. Sure there is always a more traditional tuna salad, but why not take that to a whole new level! Who says you can’t wow them with something really simple?

What You’ll Need:
1 small cucumber, cut in half and sliced
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3/4 cup of green olives, sliced
1 bell pepper, chopped (Note: I used a red bell pepper this go around, but any color will work.)
1 small red onion, chopped
1 large pouch of tuna
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Brown rice vinegar

In a large bowl toss together cucumbers, tomatoes, green olives, bell pepper and red onion until incorporated. Add tuna and stir to mix.

Sprinkle the top of the salad generously with sea salt and black pepper and then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and brown rice vinegar. Toss to coat.

Serve immediately.

Notes: This is really an eat it immediately sort of salad. The vinegar will start to break things down if you let it sit. Left overs aren’t really that great. This really isn’t a sandwich type of tuna salad either. It’s better eaten as is.

What Are You Listening To: Sunday Edition

*See if you can figure out the ones that are Alexis inspired! ;oP

“Say It Again”: Marie Digby, Say It Again – Single

“Next Best Thing”: Nikki & Rich, Next Best Thing – Single

“Haven’t Met You Yet”: Michael Buble, Crazy Love (Deluxe Edition)

“Satisfy”: Vedera, Satisfy – Single of the Week

“New Day”: Tamar Kaprelian, New Day – Single

“Had It All”: Katharine McPhee, Unbroken (Bonus Track Version)

“Wheels”: Foo Fighters, Foo Fighters: Greatest Hits (Deluxe Edition)

“Just Like You”: Allison Iraheta, Just Like You (Deluxe Version)

“Addicted”: Saving Abel, Saving Abel (This one isn’t listened to when Lex is around! We skip over it when she’s in listening range.)

“This Is War”: 30 Seconds to Mars, This Is War

“Please Don’t Stop the Rain”: James Morrison, Songs for You, Truths for Me

“The Thief”: Brooke Fraser, Albertine (This one ranks up there in my top favorite songs of all time! Just love this song! The whole album that this came off of it great!)

“Show Me What I’m Looking For”: Carolina Liar, Coming to Terms

“I Hate Everything About You”: Three Days Grace, Three Days Grace (Deluxe Version)

“Who I Am”: Nick Jonas & The Administration, Who I Am – Single

“Hurtful”: Erik Hassle, Hurtful – Single

“TiK ToK”: Ke$ha, TiK ToK – Single

“Hey, Soul Sister”: Train, Hey, Soul Sister – Single

“Fireflies”: Owl City, Ocean Eyes

“Two Is Better Than One (feat. Taylor Swift)”: Boys Like Girls, Love Drunk (Bonus Track Version)

“In My Head”: Jason Derulo, In My Head

“Life After You”: Daughtry, Leave This Town (Bonus Track Version)

“Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down”: Alicia Keys, The Element of Freedom (Deluxe Version)

“Today Was a Fairytale”: Taylor Swift, Today Was a Fairytale – Single

“You Make It Real”: James Morrison, Songs for You, Truths for Me

“Drowning (Face Down)”: Saving Abel, Saving Abel

“Whataya Want from Me”: Adam Lambert, For Your Entertainment

“According to You”: Orianthi, Believe

“Use Somebody”: Kings of Leon, Only By the Night (Deluxe Version)

“Hallelujah (feat. Charlie Sexton)”: Justin Timberlake & Matt Morris, Hope for Haiti Now

“Breathless”: Taylor Swift, Hope for Haiti Now

“Let It Be (feat. The Roots)”: Jennifer Hudson, Hope for Haiti Now

“Hello World”: Lady Antebellum, Need You Now

“All the Right Moves”: OneRepublic, Waking Up (Deluxe Version)

“Never Gonna Be Alone”: Nickelback, Dark Horse

“Hot N Cold”: Katy Perry, One of the Boys

“Such a Rush”: Coldplay, The Blue Room – EP

“Get Back Up”: tobyMac, Get Back Up – Single

“Breakeven”: The Script, The Script

“Halfway Gone”: Lifehouse, Halfway Gone – Single

“Break”: Three Days Grace, Life Starts Now

“I Run to You”: Lady Antebellum, Lady Antebellum

“Glitter In the Air”: P!nk, Funhouse (Deluxe Version)

“Stronger (Back On the Ground)”: Nick Jonas & The Administration, Who I Am (Deluxe Version)

“Shark In the Water”: V.V. Brown, Shark In the Water – Single

“Fearless Love”: Melissa Etheridge, Fearless Love – Single

“Love Like Crazy”: Lee Brice, Love Like Crazy – EP

“God Gave Me You”: Dave Barnes, God Gave Me You – Single

“Angel”: Matt Nathanson, Beneath These Fireworks

“When I Look At You”: Miley Cyrus, The Time of Our Lives

“When Love Takes Over (feat. Kelly Rowland)”: David Guetta, When Love Takes Over (feat. Kelly Rowland) – Single

“Everything”: Lifehouse, No Name Face

“I Gotta Feeling”: Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies)

“What About Me”: Emily Osment, All the Right Wrongs – EP

“What If”: Ashley Tisdale, What If – Single

“Sleeping to Dream”: Jason Mraz, Tonight, Not Again – Jason Mraz Live at the Eagles Ballroom

“Walk Away”: Ben Harper, Welcome to the Cruel World

“When I Look At You”: Lesley Roy, Unbeautiful

“Back to Her”: Five Way Friday, Moon Driven World

“I Saw”: Matt Nathanson, Beneath These Fireworks

“A Little More Country Than That”: Easton Corbin, A Little More Country Than That – Single

“Heading for Nowhere”: Jets Overhead, No Nations (Bonus Track Version)

“(I Just) Died in Your Arms”: Cutting Crew, Broadcast

What are you listening to?

Originally posted At Daffodil Lane.

Spicy Baked Chard

Spicy Baked Chard

We’re melting! We’re melting! Oh wait…I got sucked in to Wizard of Oz for a moment…Where was I?

After a couple of days just above freezing temperatures, despite the fact that Mother Nature scoffed at me and let it snow yesterday, we’re actually seeing some melting! If I could dance, and rest assured I can not without looking like a chicken with seizures, I’d be dancing my happy little self around in a circle!

Today we’re supposed to hit around 40, 40 I tell you! I mean let’s break out the flip flops! And are supposed to continue to do so for the next two days. We’re finally going to be able to reschedule our dinner with friends that was supposed to happen the night the first storm hit.

Keep in mind there is a slight chance of snow Saturday night that I am hoping will just go away and the extended forecast says we might have some snow on Monday, though details of that are too far out to know for sure. So fingers crossed that goes away, but still. We are making some progress in the melting department and that makes me a very, very happy spring yearning person!

Melting, Slowly

Now on to chard.

I love chard. The past few months I had been actually craving it, but some reason I couldn’t find it at my local store. I finally made it over to MOM and they had rainbow chard and I was a very happy girl. I promptly bought it and then put in the fridge and forgot it for a week or so. Luckily it didn’t go bad and the other night I decided to see what would happen if it was baked, and you know what it worked!

The chard ended up a bit crispy (which I like), yet tender at the same time. This is the perfect, quick, easy and healthy side dish to spice up your dinner. This is the perfect side dish for a busy night when you need to get dinner on the table fast!

What You’ll Need:
Chard, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Spicy Baked Chard: Ready to Bake

Chop chard in place in a baking dish. Sprinkle with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes. (Note: More if you like it spicy, less if you don’t.) Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until chard is slightly crispy around the edges and soft in the middle.

Serve immediately.

Notes: This works on any leafy green.

My Favorite Mushroom Soup

My Favorite Mushroom Soup

I eat a lot of mushrooms. I’ve always liked them, even as a child. One of my favorite things to do with mushrooms is to make soup. A lot of people think of a creamy soup when they think of mushrooms, but my favorite is not only creamless, it’s actually vegan as well.

Mushrooms are really quite versatile and I’ve made variations of this soup over time, but I have to say this is my favorite version. When steeped in water mushrooms give you a very “beefy” broth without the cholesterol. What’s not to like about that?

This soup is easy, quick and delicious. In no time you have a steaming pot of soup that is not only healthy, but is also hearty and satisfying. Who says the two have to be mutually exclusive?

What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, cut into strips (Note: Sometimes I use red onions, sometimes I use white or yellow. This time around I used yellow.)
1 leek, chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, chopped fine (Note: If you don’t have fresh, you can use 1 teaspoon of dried, but the fresh really is best with this soup.)
A generous pinch of sea sat
Finely ground black pepper
2 cups of button mushroom slices
2 cups of crimini or baby bella mushroom slices
4 cups of water
2 cups of spinach leaves, chopped roughly

In a large to medium pot saute onions and leeks with sea salt, black pepper and rosemary in a little extra virgin olive oil, stirring often until slightly caramelized:

My Favorite Mushroom Soup: Leeks and Onions Slightly Caramelized

This is the only place that you are adding seasonings so be generous. You want roughly a teaspoon of sea salt and up to a teaspoon of black pepper depending on how “spicy” you like things.

Add mushrooms and stir to mix:

My Favorite Mushroom Soup: Mushrooms

Don’t worry about cooking the mushrooms before the next step. They are going to cook in the water and form the broth of the soup, just like you are making mushroom broth.

Add water and again stir to mix:

My Favorite Mushroom Soup: Ready to Cook

Cook mushrooms at a simmer until broth darkens and mushrooms are tender. This usually takes about 20 to 25 minutes.

Next add spinach leaves:

My Favorite Mushroom Soup: Spinach Added

Cook and additional 2 to 3 minutes until spinach wilts:

My Favorite Mushroom Soup

Serve immediately.

Notes: Sometimes I add in fresh thyme too, but for the most part I prefer this with the rosemary alone.

Sweet Potato Chip

Sweet Potato Chips

Want to hear some fabulous news? I mean really just stellar?

Do you?

Are you ready?

Sun! Melt, Baby! Melt!

We only got an inch of snow last night! An inch! Today the sun is shining and more importantly it’s going to be above freezing mind you! And the most important part of my happiness today, and the part that might just save my sanity, is that as of the time that I’m writing this, there is no foreseeable snow accumulation in the 5 day forecast!

None!

Zip!

Nada!

Zilch!

And did I mention none? And did I mention the sun is shining? And did I mention the part about it being above freezing?? (This could change, but I’m going to be Pollyanna and looks for the joy instead! ;oP)

Seriously this makes me more than happy. Who ever thought that I, the Snow Queen, would be actively seeking no more snow! It just goes to show that too much of anything is not a good thing! A variation of The Law of Diminishing Return if you will. But the point is, no snow! (Let’s hope Mother Nature doesn’t curse me for that statement! ;oP)

(Update: 1:34 PM: Well that didn’t last long. Now they are saying we might get snow tomorrow, but “less than a half inch possible”. *sigh* It could be worse I suppose! ;oP)

So now that that is out of the way, let’s talk some sweet potato chips!

I have a soft spot for sweet potatoes. I just love them! For a while now I’ve want to make an actual sweet potato chip. I’m not a fan of potato chips in general, but occasionally I do like a sweet potato chip. I’ve made baked vegetable chips before, which are divine by the way, but I’ve never made chips the “old fashioned way” until yesterday.

This is another one of those things I assumed was hard. You’d think after all the things I’ve assumed were hard, yet found out to be anything but I’d get past that, but well I’m stubborn. Yes I’m stubborn. There I said it. Most of us are, but isn’t admitting it the first step?

So all of that to say I’ve thought about making sweet potato chips for a long time, yet I hadn’t made them. Boy was I sorry I had not! They are even better homemade than any I’ve every tried out in the wide blue yonder!

So I’d say these were a huge success. Next time I’m going to play around with sea salt and vinegar chips, but I’m not going to wait as long! ;oP

What You’ll Need:
Oil for frying (Note: Safflower, vegetable, olive oil, etc. You choose. I do not recommend using canola oil, for this or anything really.)
Sweet potato(es)
A big bowl of water
Sea salt

Heat your oil to 375 F. I use a fryer.

While your oil is heating set up your ingredients and the things you will need for your frying process:

Sweet Potato Chips: Set Up and Ready to Go

You’ll need a big bowl of water, a sweet potato (or more if you want to make a big batch of chips), a potato peeler, a baking sheet lined with paper towels, a tool to remove the chips from the hot oil and sea salt.

You might also want to grab a cutting board and a very sharp knife if your sweet potato is big in diameter. We’ll get to that in a few minutes.

Peel your sweet potato:

Sweet Potato Chips: Sweet Potato Peeled

Look for a long skinny potato. Also look for one that is relatively unblemished and with few “eyes”.

Next you want to make your potato “chips”:

Sweet Potato Chips: Ready to Put in Water

I like my chips to have a bit of a thickness to them, but you don’t want them too thick or you’ll end up with fried sweet potato chunks and not sweet potato chips.

You can use a mandolin if you have one (which I do, but I’ve never gotten it to work properly) or you can use a potato peeler (which I did).

Place “chips” in a bowl of water:

Sweet Potato Chips: Soaking in Water

This prevents the potatoes from turning brown while the oil heats and you’re slicing the rest of the chips.

If your potato gets to be too cumbersome in the middle to make chips, cut the sweet potato in half:

Sweet Potato Chips: Cut in Half

Continue slicing with the potato halves.

It also helps as you’re cutting your chips to rotate the potato on each slice so that you don’t end up with a slanted edge and you keep your cutting surface relatively flat.

Once your oil is heated take a handful of chips out of the water and drain on a paper towel to remove excess moisture:

Sweet Potato Chips: Draining Before Frying

Place chips in a thin layer into the heated oil, stirring with a metal strainer occasionally until the chips begin to curl:

Sweet Potato Chips: Frying

Once the chips start to curl, continue to fry for another minute or two until they are slightly golden and continue to curl.

Remove chips from oil and place on a baking sheet that has been lined with paper towels. Add a generous sprinkle of sea salt immediately:

Sweet Potato Chips

Repeat process until you run out of potatoes.

Serve immediately, or let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Notes: I always like to use organic ingredients when possible. This is especially true with potatoes who tend to store pesticides in them readily! Find a really good organic sweet potato or yam. You’ll be glad you did!

http://www.diannesdishes.com/~dianne1/cgi-bin/mt/mt-t.cgi/418

10 Things I have Discovered From Being Trapped Inside

1. Were the roads clear I would be perfectly content to sit here at home, since in reality I’m a homebody, but now that they are not clear and they are asking us to stay off the roads at all costs, my defiant side has cabin fever and wants to GO OUT NOW!

2. Being cooped up inside doesn’t seem to bother the tea cup, nor the big kid (aka my husband) at all. They do however have problems playing Wii together without arguing. It’s as if I have two children!

3. Laundry is never really done, since you’re wearing clothes as you think you’ve finished up.

4. This is the same with dishes, because there is always the next meal to make.

5. I’ve discovered that I can not stand to hear people chew. This little gem has really become obvious in the past 24 hours.

6. Shoveling this much snow, while good exercise, is a complete pain the ass quite literally. Along with being a pain in your back, thighs, arms, shoulders…Well you get the picture!

7. Having all this free time on my hands I would have thought to enjoy. Not so much.

8. Alexis is really a smart, heartfelt child. (See not all of these are just bitching! ;oP) Not that I didn’t know that already, but it has become more apparent over the past few days.

9. Snow cream isn’t as much fun when you’re the only one eating it. Jamison says he doesn’t like it and Alexis won’t try it. *sigh*

10. The sun while lovely, does not make 50+ inches of snow go away that fast. Melt baby! Melt!

Originally posted on Daffodil Lane.

Snow Shadows

Snow Shadows

Snow Shadows

I love to take pictures of shadows on snow. At least that amuses me with all this white stuff on the ground! You have to look for the beauty in nature when you’re really just not liking Mother Nature much at the moment.

Now Mother Nature I’ve given you a compliment. Be a doll and cancel the snow on Sunday and Monday would you? 😉

Originally posted on Daffodil Lane.

Creamy Potato Soup

Creamy Potato Soup

First let’s talk about this snow! *sigh*

Snow, Snow, Snow! *sigh*

It’s no secret that I love snow, but I’ve come to discover over the past week I do not like snow of this magnitude! Give me 4-8 inches and I’m happy, I don’t even mind shoveling that much snow! But add in more than that, and then two big storms back to back for a total of 53 inches of snow since Friday (28 the first storm, 25 the second) and well, no I don’t love it! I don’t even like it!

Now there is buzz about more heavy snowfall on Sunday night in to Monday and an ice storm in 10 days! That makes me want to go to Hawaii, now, only the county has closed all of our roads and I couldn’t get down to the main road right now if I wanted to, not that it is clear to begin with. I’ve got serious cabin fever right now people!

So no, I’m not loving this snow and I’m not loving the thought of more. At. All! If anyone has any ideas on how to become independently wealthy by tomorrow so I can hop a plane out of here, you let me know! ;oP

Sun!

But the sun is shining today! Oh how I missed you Mr. Sun! And we’re supposed to hit a balmy 33! Let’s break out the flip flops! ;oP

Now let’s talk soup!

Cold snowy weather makes me think of soup and bread. Yesterday I decided to be decadent and make a really creamy potato soup. It was fabulous! There is just nothing like a creamy bowl of warm soup on a cold winter day!

Oh and if anyone wants some snow, I’d be happy to send you some. Really! There are piles out there taller than me (I’m five foot nine and half inches tall!) so we’ve got plenty to spare. ;oP

Snow Piled High

What You’ll Need:
2 tablespoons of butter
1 small red onion, chopped
Finely ground black pepper
Sea salt
1 large potato, cut into cubes (Note: No need to remove the skin.)
1 quart of broth (Note: I used turkey broth that I had made and put in the freezer. Chicken broth will work too.)
2 baked potatoes, mashed (Note: If you don’t want to take the time to bake them in the oven. Pop them in the microwave instead. I recommend baking them in the oven though.)
2 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of potato flour (Note: If you don’t have potato flour on hand you can use regular flour, but the potato flour gives it a nice punch.)

Melt butter in a medium to large sized pot. Saute onions until tender:

Creamy Potato Soup: Onions

Add cubed potatoes, a generous pinch of sea salt and some finely ground pepper to onions. Cook until potatoes are slightly browned stirring often:

Creamy Potato Soup: Potatoes Slightly Browned

Add broth and stir to mix:

Creamy Potato Soup: Broth Added

Bring to a quick boil.

While you are waiting for the broth to boil, mash your potatoes. I like to do this in my food processor.

Slice your potato into rounds and place in the bowl of your food processor:

Creamy Potato Soup: Potatoes Ready to Mash

No need to remove the skins. Just leave them on there!

Process until smooth:

Creamy Potato Soup: Mashed Potatoes

Once the broth has come to boil, reduce heat to a simmer and add the mashed potatoes to the pot of broth:

Creamy Potato Soup: Mashed Potatoes Ready to Stir In

Stir in the potatoes:

Creamy Potato Soup: Mashed Potatoes Added

It doesn’t have to be smooth. It’s just bit of potatoes.

Let the mixture cook for about 30 minutes.

Add cream and stir to mix:

Creamy Potato Soup: Cream Added

Cook for about 3 or 4 minutes so that the cream warms and then add the potato flour:

Creamy Potato Soup: Ready to Whisk

Whisk the flour into the soup and then cook for another 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Serve immediately.

Oh and the leftovers are fabulous!

Notes: You can eat this as is or top it with cheddar, scallions and/or bacon. The broth that I made had hints of thyme and rosemary in it so that carried over into the soup in a very subtle way.

http://www.diannesdishes.com/~dianne1/cgi-bin/mt/mt-t.cgi/768