Archive for April, 2011

26
Apr
11

Blondies by a blondie

I am very forgetful.  About the only thing I can be relied on to always remember are the names of people and actors.  I can spout off useless pop culture trivia.

But I forget to turn lights off when I leave rooms (a terrible thing to admit this close to Earth Day). I forget to bring important documents when they are necessary.  I forget to return phone calls, emails or texts.  For this reason, I was blessed with the nickname “Blondie” by my dad.  Well, he named me that for my forgetfulness as well as my penchant for asking silly questions on occasion.

I may forget to turn those darned lights off (which used to cost me $.25 when I was growing up) but I won’t soon forget the taste of these delicious, gooey Blondies.  I might be forced to remind myself again soon, since my first batch has barely lasted 24 hours.

Chocolate Nut Blondies

Makes 25 (perfect bite) bars

1/3 C butter
1 C light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 C dark chocolate chips (or any type of chocolate)
1/4 C chopped walnuts (or other nuts)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9×13 baking pan.  In a small saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar together until smooth.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Stir in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and baking powder.  Add in sugar mixture and  stir until well incorporated.
 
Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top.
Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts over top.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars (they will still be gooey!).

Love at first bite, I promise! 

So is this “blondie” thing good or bad?  I dunno, you tell me..

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18
Apr
11

Weekend Perfection

Despite having to devote a few hours to work on Saturday, I had an absolutely wonderful weekend.  Unfortunately, our state and many others got pounded with some nasty weather and my heart goes out to those who were negatively affected by the weather. 

I am glad, though, that some of that nasty pollen got washed away.  My sinuses can breathe (no pun intended) a sigh of relief!

After work on Saturday, I got a kick-butt workout in at the gym and spent the evening with one of my favorite furry friends.

I’m sure you remember this cute guy as Atlas.  I get to hang out with him until Wednesday!

After an awesome kettlebell session on Sunday morning, Steve & I had a date day.  The plan?  Breakfast at another favorite, Pop’s Diner.  Steve had a yummy omelet with fruit and I had strawberry pancakes and hard-boiled egg whites.  So filling!

We ventured out to find a new kitchen toy and linens after breakfast.  I always enjoy a good Bed, Bath & Beyond trip and could quite literally spend hours in that store, with 90% of that time being spent in the kitchen aisles!  I’m sure Steve appreciated my get in/get out attitude today, but I know he isn’t a big fan of shopping.   So, we found a lighter weight cover for our bed, then it was crock pot hunting time.  I found my gem!

It’s just big enough for the 2 of us with a couple meals of leftovers and it’s programmable and will automatically switch to Warm when times up.  I got lots of recommendations for this Crock Pot model and can’t wait to try this one out!  Our old one was too big and I burned a couple too many chicken breasts because I couldn’t fill it enough.  This one should be just the ticket, so look out for more slow cooker meals in the future!

Got any good suggestions for breaking mine in? Did you do anything fun this weekend?

13
Apr
11

Chunky Apple Muffins

I’ve been baking alot recently.  Boredom is really bad for my coworkers & parents because, heaven knows, those treats will not stay in this house.  I definitely don’t need the temptation with California calling in a few months! 

Useful tip:  Keep the weights and kettlebells in view.  Keep the baked goods out of sight!

Did you think I was kidding?  I’ve loved having these on hand to do a quick 20-40 minute Exercise TV workout to start my day.  I’ve been trying to find the motivation to also work out in the evenings, but I really hate dealing with the after-work crowds (and accompanying body heat) at the gym.  Guess I’ve really got to get back into my 4:30am routine..

Back to the good stuff..

Chunky Apple Muffins

(adapted from King Arthur Flour

1 C whole wheat flour
1 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 C butter, softened
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C light brown sugar, divided
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 C buttermilk
1 large or 2 small apples, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin with greased papers.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, cream butter for 1 minute. Add sugars and mix well.

Add in egg and mix well.

VERY slowly add buttermilk and mix just to combine.

Stir in flour until batter is moistened. Don't overmix.

Fold in apples.

Divide batter into baking cups and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until you get a clean toothpick.  Cool on a rack and enjoy!

 

These, according to the taste buds of myself and my mom, are the best apple muffins I have ever eaten!  I absolutely loved the texture of the apples after baking. 

Mom’s taste buds got 95% of them and my weights only lost about 5% of my attention for the morning.  A girl’s gotta take a break on occasion!

06
Apr
11

Sweet & Soured

I made a beautiful cake last weekend – the first complicated, from-scratch recipe for a cake since my angel food cake almost a year ago.  Mom’s birthday is once again approaching and lemon cake is on the wish list.  Without any history to pull from, I went a-googling!  I came up with a recipe at Taste of Home and went to work.  The cake turned out beautifully (after much coaxing from the tube pan and the resulting dent), but the icing was such a disaster that I refused to display the iced result.

So now, it’s on to find a better icing recipe.  Can’t have a scratch made cake without scratch made icing.  That would be  a crime!  But for now, my version of Lemon Chiffon Cake..

Lemon Chiffon Cake

7 eggs, separated

1 1/2 C all purpose flour

1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 C sugar

3 tsps baking powder

1 tsp salt

3/4 C water

1/2 C canola oil

grated zest of 1 lemon

2 tsps vanilla

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Separate eggs and allow egg whites to stand in a large bowl for 30 minutes.  In another large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. 

Whisk together egg yolks, water, oil, grated lemon zest and vanilla.  Add to dry ingredients and mix until well blended. 

Add cream of tartar to eggs and bit until soft peaks form.

Fold egg white mixture into batter.  Pour batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan and run a knife through the batter. 

Bake on lowest oven rack until golden brown, about an hour.  Remove from oven when golden brown and immediately invert to cool completely.

 

Run a knife around the edges of the pan before removing from pan (good luck with this..)

Once it’s out, trust me.. it tastes great.  I just can’t live with an ugly cake.  Attempt #2 will be happening soon!




Hi Ya’ll!

Hiya! I'm Heidi, a 28-year-old "retired" student living in Virginia. I am a newlywed and currently on the hunt for a full-time job that will use either my Biology or Secondary Education degree. In the meantime, I work in retail and at an event venue part-time. When I'm not working, I love to kill hours at the gym, scrapbook, and act as a domesticated diva to keep my hubby happy!