Monday, November 28, 2011

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

SO... those brownies I mentioned last week... they were AMAZING. And, in fact, I had to steal Martha's picture of them, because ours were gone too quickly for me to take a picture of them! Yes, it is just me and my husband in the house... I wish I could blame the hasty consumption on someone else! I did make a few tweaks to the recipe below and I think they turned out fabulous! I'm stumped by these yummy chocolatey squares.... they're cakey, yet fudgy... and they seem to melt away in your mouth. SO GOOD!


OH, and I eat mine just like Martha suggests!


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • **I didn't use more for the pan, I just use cooking spray
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped 
  • ** I used 4 ounces semi sweet chocolate and 4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan or heatproof glass dish. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on 2 sides.**I don't do this extra step. Set aside. Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water; stir frequently until chocolate and butter are melted, about 7 minutes. Remove bowl from heat; let cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Stir sugar into cooled chocolate mixture until combined. Whisk in eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Gently fold in flour and salt.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan, and smooth top with an offset spatula. Bake until cake tester inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Run a knife or offset spatula around the edges of the pan. Using parchment, lift brownies out of pan and onto the rack. Transfer to a cutting board; cut into 2-inch squares.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rum Balls

My house currently smells like delicious brownies. I hope. I mean I know it smells good, but I hope the brownies taste good. I have been on the search for a delicious brownie recipe, and have yet to find one. Every recipe I try is just OK, not great. I still think boxed brownies are the best (especially Ghiradelli's! Minus the trans fats. boo.). Kind of contradictory when it comes to baked goods... usually homemade are the best...

Anyway, I'll have to take pictures and share them, as well as the recipe, another day. Thanks to daylight savings time, taking pictures in the evening after work isn't an option anymore!

So, I've decided to share with you a recipe my sister-in-law shared with me last holiday season. It's Martha Stewart's Rum Balls. Now, if you like your rum balls strong, these might not be for you... I like mine with a hint of rum, and these are just right. Even better... they get more yummy  the longer they sit! Enjoy!

photo: Martha


  • Vegetable oil, cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • Coarse sanding sugar, for rolling


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside. Melt butter and chocolate in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in chocolate mixture, then fold in flour. Pour batter into prepared baking sheet. Spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake until top is shiny and a cake tester inserted into center comes out with some crumbs attached, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Break up brownie into small pieces; transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With machine on low speed, pour in rum, and mix until crumbs start to come together to form a ball.
  4. Shape into 1-inch balls, and roll in sanding sugar to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet; refrigerate, uncovered, until cold, about 2 hours. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Christmas Spirit

This really is, in my opinion, the most wonderful time of the year. Unlike years in the past, I have NOT yet started listening to christmas music. I've been known to start very shortly after Halloween. However, I did go to my first christmas event last weekend. Usually these sorts of things are reserved for later in November.

But, we were up in the Lancaster area visiting my family, and my niece was there for the weekend, so we decided to go check out Koziars Christmas Village. My parents and brother have gone the last couple of years, but we had never been. Folks, it was awesome! The village itself is pretty neat, but the most amazing part, is coming over this huge hill, to see a town (really a large farm) below, FULL OF LIGHTS!! It's just awesome. If anyone with kids lives in eastern PA, it's definitely worth the drive! It's near Blue Marsh Lake, in a town called Bernville. It should be added to your holiday activities this year if you've never gone!

 Please enjoy the colorful of pictures below!

My niece and her favorite uncle- "Mr. Potato Head".

We tried multiple locations, multiple lighting scenarios, and this was the clearest picture we got. <3 my little Bella Ella.

If you look closely, you can see my husband and I smooching on Mistletoe Lane. I was so excited about this picture- complete accident btw. I wish I could say I knew what I was doing and was "going for this effect"!

My brother's girlfriend and I.

So full of wonder.

My brother and niece. I wish this was clear! This shows so well their silly personalities! Always joking around.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Oatmeal Cookie Chunk Ice Cream

I am so excited to be able to share this recipe with you! I had an obsession with Ben & Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie Chunk ice cream. Well, of course, they laid that flavor to rest earlier this year. Then, I found an Oatmeal Cookie Ice Cream by HERSHEY's at a local ice cream shop. Well, of course, they're closed for the season.

I decided it was time to find a recipe that's just as good. My first attempt was NOT good. The main ingredient was 16oz of sour cream. YEA, I was skeptical to begin with. The texture was nice and rich, but the tartness was horrible! Then, I found a second recipe which sounded good, but I thought I could make it better. And I did- atleast I did according to my husband!

The original recipe is from a great blog called Dinner or Dessert. The recipe is below, with my additions in orange. ENJOY!

Oatmeal Cookie Chunk Ice Cream 
makes about 1 quart

2 c. heavy cream I used a little less than 2 c. heavy cream
I added 1/4 c. sour cream
1 c. whole milk
2 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
I added 1/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
I added 1/8 tsp nutmeg
9 oatmeal cookies, broken into small pieces
1/2 c. milk chocolate chunks (optional) I used 2.5 ounces of shaved semisweet chocolate

Mix the milk, heavy cream together in a pan over medium-low heat. Heat the milk mixture for 10 minutes or until it reaches 140°F and then remove it from the heat. In a bowl, beat the eggs until lighter in color and fluffy. Add the sugar to the egg mixture very slowly. Then slowly whisk the milk mixture into the egg & sugar mixture to temper the eggs. If you added the milk to the egg mixture quickly then the hot milk would cook the eggs and you would have scrambled eggs, you don't want that! Add the sour cream. Now add the the entire egg/sugar/milk mixture into a pot and heat over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove mixture from the heat and pour it into a clean bowl and refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour. Stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg and freeze the ice cream according to your ice cream maker's manufacturer instructions. I added half of the oatmeal cookie pieces into the ice cream mixture 5 minutes before it was done mixing and then folded in the rest, as well as the chocolate,  after removing the ice cream from the ice cream maker.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dresser DIY

So if you recall back a month or two ago, I shared with you the before pictures of our living room and said I would share with you in an upcoming post the dresser that we remade. Well, here it is! The living room, by the way, is almost complete... hopefully by the end of the year it will be all done. It has been quite the project!

Please forgive the photos. They were taken with our cell phones and this one was snapped randomly when I realized I didn't have any pictures of the "before" product.

There is a great little consignment shop on the way home from work called Phantastic Phinds, in Glenside. We've gotten many other finds here as well. We picked up this dresser for $90- gotta love a deal! It wasn't in the best condition, but that doesn't matter because we were re-doing it anyway!

Step 1: Take off hardware.

Step 2: Sand the ENTIRE piece. I'm convinced the best invention in the world was a palm sander and that was super helpful in this step.

The next step was to find feet... that was tricky. We ended up buying cheapies at Lowe's and made them look more like the piece by adding a thin square between the base of the dresser and the newly bought legs.

Step 3: Add any additional pieces. (see legs)
*After this step you can choose to paint the piece with an oil-based primer to prevent the wood from seeping any sap through the paint. I did not do this step with this particular piece.

Step 4: Paint! And add hardware.

Sounds easy with just four steps right? It took us a couple of days to complete. Especially when you let the paint dry. However, it is SO very rewarding to take something that's neglected and not so great, and turn it into something gorgeous (if I do say so myself) and fresh!

I hope you're all inspired to go scour your local thrift and consignment shops for some neglected pieces to turn into your own!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

For my pet loving friends..

I saw this amazingly brilliant idea on Pinterest and had to share it with you!

I'm sure you all know those hideous, octagon/hexagon shaped end tables and night stands that were common in the 1980's and 90's? Yea know, the ones that have the very ornate doors... well, that's what this bed is made from!

They took off the doors, added legs and paint and put a bed inside. I'm in love! I need to find one of these at the thrift store for my little Lily, she deserves a bed that isn't on the floor!

check out the how to on better home and garden's website!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Apple Dumplings

 I made apple dumplings this weekend, while it was snowing, just like I had planned to do. I love this time of year! I made six, and bought a half gallon of ice cream... it's all gone!!

  Step 1. Make  Sauce

1 c. sugarPlace the sugar, water, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small saucepan.Bring to boiling point.
Add butter or margarine and stir until melted.
Remove from heat and set aside.
1 c. water
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. butter

Step 2. Make Dough for Dumplings
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt
2/3 c. butter
1/2 c. milk
6 Macintosh Apples
Step 3. Prepare Apples, Form Dumplings

Peel and core apples. Keep peeled and cored apples in cold water with lemon while preparing others to prevent browning. 

When done peeling apples, roll out dough. Roll out the dough so it's large enough to get six 6"x6" squares. 

 the cored and peeled apple in the center of each square.

Pour sugar in the core of each apple. I fill it up to almost the top. 

Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg on top of each apple. 

Pull up the dough around the apple, pinching the sides to seal the purse of dough.

Place dumplings in baking dish and top with sauce from Step 1. 

Place in a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 375°Lightly grease a 9" x 13" x 1½" baking dish.
Place flour, baking powder and salt in medium size bowl and mix it together with a fork. Form into a ball, place in saran warp. Place in fridge while preparing apples.