Friday, September 21, 2012

How a Novice Cook and Mom Bakes (Non)Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies.

Part of being more domesticated means baking at home. It also saves money (another goal of mine). Here's my attempt at baking Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies.

Step one is to find a delicious looking recipe via Pinterest, and think to yourself, "Challenge accepted." I found the same recipe for the red velvet cheesecake brownies on more than one site, so not sure with whom to give credit. Since I didn't use the food coloring, I guess it's my recipe now :). Step two is to show Husband the recipe and convince him ask if that's what he wants for his birthday (it is his day after all).

Dad was nice enough to let me use his Ghiradelli chocolate, YUM!
Step 3. Gather ingredients. You'll need:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/3 cup sugar (one for brownie, 1/3 for cheesecake)
3 large eggs (2 for brownie, 1 for cheesecake)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (1 for brownie, 1/2 for cheesecake)
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp red food coloring
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
Pandora radio, hence my Kindle Fire in the back off the picture
Bouncy seat for baby
An oven preheated to 350F.

The next step: Put Addy in her bouncy seat, turn on Pandora (I chose Maranda Lambert) and get pumped to start baking... and then read the "room temperature" part about the cream cheese. Take the baby out of the bouncy seat, and go do something else while you let the cream cheese sit out for a bit.
I chose to catch up on some Boy Meets World that I record every morning.

Alright, now get back to the kitchen. Put baby back in the bouncy seat so she can watch/ you entertain her, and spray 8x8 metal baking pan (original recipes say to use butter) with non-stick cooking spray. Put down parchment paper and spray (or butter) that as well. The parchment paper is to help take out the brownies after they are out of the oven. I will probably try it without this step next time.
Now, put the butter and chocolate in the microwave. Stir until combined and very smooth. By the way, if you drop your chocolate on the floor, it will break apart, and do some of the work for you (luckily, the wrapper was still on it when I learned this lesson cooking trick).

While waiting for the chocolate/butter mix to cool, take a large bowl and whisk the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and food coloring. Then stir in the chocolate/butter combo and stir until smooth. Do all this dancing to the music, and trying to entertain the baby.
The next step includes realizing that you forgot to feed the dogs, and feed them. Had I done this at the beginning, it may have helped with the constant stepping/tripping over them during this en devour. Back to the brownies! Add the flour and salt, and stir just until there are no streaks of dry ingredients. Pour into pan, and attempt to spread into even layer.

Take another baking time out to go change the baby's diaper. Once back in the kitchen, you're ready to make the cheesecake topping. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.
Note to self: Learn to "swirl"

The original recipe says to "distribute the cheesecake mixture in 8 dollops over batter in the pan." Oops. Also notice my lack of swirls, but what looks like knife stabs. I'll have to work on this. Now, you are finally ready for baking, and praising the Lord you actually remembered to turn the oven on! Bake 35-40 minutes, or until it's done (stick a toothpick, fork, knife, etc. in it).
This is what mine looks like.
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This is what they look like on the internet.

Again, mine,
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Show off. (Great job!)

While my velvet cheesecake brownies will not be entered into a beauty contest anytime soon, they taste delicious! So good in fact, Dad has already found a bigger pan so I can double the recipe next time. :)

*I would like to give some mad props to all the blogs that share recipes with pictures for every single step. Every.Single.Step. I tried, but as you saw, failed. When I make this again, and I will, I will try to update this post with all the pictures.

Let me know if you try this recipe, and what you think! Do you also use this start/stop method to baking?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Husband's Birthday

As previously mentioned, the hubs celebrated his 28th birthday on Monday. Woo-hoo! I had a great day, and I hope believe he did as well. It's funny how birthdays are celebrated differently with a baby in the house.

Birthday's before Addy:

Pretty much whatever/whenever we wanted! Go out at night, even if it happened to be a week night, probably have a drink (at least me). Dave and Buster's is a favorite. Spend money without thinking. Give an unpractical gift.
Before Addy (aka when we had money), I would have spent $40 on this for him.

 Birthday after Addy:
Athletic Crew Socks Clip Art

I surprised him with socks (and unmentionables). Socks, people. How lame. And practical. In my defense, if I had to hear "I need new socks," one more time, I was going to shove one of those holey, mismatched feet covers in his mouth! So I got the hint. Big time. Buy socks. You know you're old when you want practical for your birthday. If the gift is going to be lame, might as well be a good presenation, yes?

Sunday night, I waited until he was snoring fast asleep, and I quietly got out of bed. I opened his sock drawer and took out all million pairs/single socks he owns, and replaced them with the fresh pairs. Some no shows, low cuts, and crew for the colder weather. I did this with the drawer above featuring his new undergarments. Monday morning when he dressed for work, surprise! New clothes. I reminded him later that when he retold the story of what I gave him as a birthday present to be sure to mention the fact I covertly switched out the old for new apparel in the middle of the night.

Husband did get to come home early from work due to his "baby brain," as he calls it. He forgot that months ago he wrote down his birthday as a vacation day, so after finishing work leftover from the weekend, he left. Before a baby, I doubt we would ever forget a vacation day. We did get to have a late lunch at Local Republic because of this.

Back at home, I made velvet cheesecake brownies for dessert (post on Friday about this). It being his birthday and all, we stayed up late... say 11 o'clock? Whew, that was rough! Really we were ready for bed about 8:30, however we toughed it out to watch a TV show starting at ten. It was a wild time, really!

That's how you celebrate your first birthday after a baby, folks. You get socks and enjoy it, go to work on your days off, and you stay in to watch TV and go to bed before midnight.

How have birthday celebrations changed in your house post baby?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Meal Plan Monday!

This week features mostly never tried before recipes. So if you try it and don't like it, don't blame me!

Menu for the Week:
  1. Sloppy Slow Cook Chicken Tacos (first time to try this)
  2. Broccoli Chicken Casserole (first time to try this)
  3. Sloppy Joes (no recipe right now, just from a can)
  4. Our version of the Italian Sausage and Potato Bake (My husband's favorite meal. We add mushrooms and carrots, and do not measure a thing on seasoning)
  5. Stuffed Shells (first time to try this)
  6. Cottage Pie (sub ground turkey, first time to try this)
  7. Bow Tie Pasta w/ Feta and Lemon Pepper Chicken (first time to try this)
I am new to meal planning, and new to sharing my menu plan. I have seen many organized menus over the blog world, some based on this week's coupons, some based on using up certain ingredients, some based around a schedule, low fat, no gluten, etc, etc. That's too advanced for this novice cook and meal planner. Maybe one day! These plans have no rhyme nor reason to them except what looks/ sounds tasty, what seems simple, and every now and then requests from my husband.

This is my first time linking with I'm and Organizing Junkie, and I would like to say thanks for having me! Check out all the other wonderful meal plans that are posted each week. I have a few in my rotation that have come from this! You just may see yours!
This guy looks like me when I'm hungry!

If this is your first time visiting my blog, thank you for stopping by! Please take a look around. It is about to undergo some major cosmetic surgery, and post editing to make this blog more entertaining. I finally have a blog schedule going, so posts will be updated more regularly.

 "Y'all come back now, ya hear!"

**I would also like to mention today is Husband's birthday! Happy 28th, Babe!**

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