Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mint Brownies

 These are the most delicious Brownies EVER!  I made them for St. Paddy's Day but will make them again and again before next St. Paddy's Day!  

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
½ cup chocolate chips (milk, white or mint)

4 T butter
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
4 T cream
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
Green food coloring

½ cup chocolate chips (milk, white or mint)
2 T butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9”X13” pan with foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa and salt. Set aside. Melt the butter. In large mixing bowl add the melted butter and sugar, stirring well to combine. Blend in eggs until frothy.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Gently stir in the chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes, until the brownies are set in the middle and pull away from the sides slightly. Do not over-bake. Allow brownies to cool completely before frosting.

Beat together 4 T. of butter, confectioner’s sugar, mint extract and cream. Add one drop of green food coloring and mix well. Frost brownies and refrigerate for one hour.

Melt chocolate chips and butter in small saucepan on stovetop or in microwave. Drizzle over mint frosting. Chill for another half hour. 

Cut and serve!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

(friday) favorite things

Today I'm joining along with
 Rachel at finding joy
 and listing some of my favorite things.  

To start....... 

Rachel is one of my favorite bogs to read, 
I love her openness on her everyday life. 
 She's real and honest.


a few of my favorite things at this moment:

a hubby that does the grocery shopping for the week

a march first will be 
celebrating his 10th birthday tomorrow.

my crockpot that's cooking a wonderfully
 good smelling meal for my family  

 my audrey playing with her 
vintage barbie camper that she had to have
(she used her own money for this big purchase)

sounds of giggles made from
 my two playing together

a healthy ethan (he was so sick last week
 with the flu and is just now starting to feel better)

fresh oranges for 25 cents each

fresh tulips sitting in my windows to
 remind me that spring will come

rain, yes rain because it's melting 
the ton of snow on the ground

the paint that's transforming my cupboards

my puffy llbean jacket that continues 
to keep me warm when going outside
a quite ride to work

hearing my kids read aloud

my stepmom for insisting on driving 
an hour and 1/2 to bring homemade 
chicken soup to my sick family

ingrid michaelson's "be ok" 
my go to song when i need a lift 

my list could go on and on.........but i think i'll stop now and save some for another (friday) favorite things.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March Freeze

After three days of pouring rain and sleet we awoke this morning to a beautiful blue sky, bright sunny sun and trees covered in ice. 
It was absolutely gorgeous! Although I can't wait for winter to be over the scenery was breath taking.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Lemon Cake

Lately I've been exploring baking cakes.....something I've never done much of besides the occasional boxed cake.   I always worry that it may not taste good but my little Audrey tells me their good and that I worry too much....she so sweet.

Well since my Chocolate Peanut Butter cake came out so well for my hubby's birthday last week I decided I could make my mother in laws birthday cake.  I asked what kind she would like, she replied  "A Lemon cake sounds good".  I replied  "Sure, I think that sounds like something I could do".  After searching for a recipe I decided to go with a Martha Stewart recipe found here.  I had all of the ingredients and it seemed simple enough (Note To Self: always read through the WHOLE recipe before starting).  I started to mix the ingredients and as I worked my way through the recipe it seemed to get a little more complicated.......candied lemons?  Huh? Glaze the top of the cooked cake. Huh?  I managed to do what it said but after the cake finished baking  it seemed a bit dense (heavy and flat; I'm not sure if that's how it was suppose to be or if I messed up).  I made a lemon butter frosting that actually made the cake edible. My mother in law was kind enough to say it tasted good and that the frosting was delicious.....smooth on her part.  

If any of you have a delicious Lemon Cake recipe you'd like to share I'd love to try it!



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things you must have to Survive a Maine Winter

1. Smart Wool Socks
They keep my feet warm without having to wear sleepers and they are super comfy.

2. A Thick Sweater 
I wear a sweater like the one below all most every minute that I'm home.  It has a ton of pils on it but I love it anyways.  It's warm, it buttons up to my chin so I stay cozy warm. 

3. Blistex
I never am without it.....NEVER. It's a must throughout the day.  The cold weather is brutal on my lips. 

4. Vicks Vapor Rub
Since my nose gets stuffy from the heat going so much, I like to rub a little under my nose before bed.

5. Puffs Plus
We buy these in bulk.  Runny noses from the cold and long lasting colds that we catch must be wiped with something soft and durable. 

6. Warm Boots

7. Assortment of Scarves
I like to prevent any type of cold drafts getting down my shirt so I bundle my neck with a scarf .

8. Mattress Pad Warmer
This truly is the best thing ever!!!
 I don't think I will ever again go without one.  

9. Heating Pad
I use it in the living room in my chair so I stay warm. 
 The kids love it too.

10. Travel Mug
Since a hot beverage is a must, I use my Starbucks Coffee Travel Mug daily.  I often fill it with hot water, honey and cinnamon.  This warms me up.

11. Lotion, Lotion and more Lotion
Cold weather means super dry skin.

12. Undershirts
It's a must to layer or you will have to listen to your teeth chatter.

13. Pets
Good for warming up your seat.
 Throw a cat on your chest or lap and you have an instant warmer.  Train your dog to lay on your feet, this is the best foot warmer ever.  

Wordful Wednesday

Our Ethan has been on the couch now for 24 hours with a yucky nose, a cough (he has cold induced asthma, which makes is cough awful), and on top of that he's been throwing up here and there but says he doesn't have a stomach ache.  Hopefully it will pass soon.    Oh,  How I can't wait for Spring.

Ever since my Ethan was born  it seems that he gets the sickest during his birthday month - March.  It started when he was only ten days old, he got a fever and had to go to the hospital for a two night stay; this is standard with a newborn, a fever equals lots of test and a hospital stay.  He had to have a spinal tap, a catheter put in and blood drawn, all of which was very heartbreaking, on top of everything I was a new mom and couldn't even believe this was happening.  Let alone taking care of a newborn, now I was dealing with my mind going crazy thinking the worst possible things, not completely understanding can cause our minds to race.  In the end, they found nothing and said it must have been viral.  Thankful that thats all it was but how awful to have your child go through this.   I'm thankful everyday that my children are overall healthy.  I don't ever take it for granted!  I know many parents (first hand) that having a child that has a disease or life threating illness isn't easy.  The stress of worrying that goes through your mind consistently is simply sad.  I have the highest respect for those of you that this is part of your daily lives.  

Happy Wednesday!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thoughts of Spring - Random Things About Me


Join Lynette's "Thoughts of Spring" Blog Party here.

Ohhhhhh................ how I can't wait for SPRING!
   Living in Maine means we won't see any green for awhile longer. We have a ton of snow on the ground right now and the it doesn't seem that the snow storms are going to stop anytime soon but that's ok I can still dream of spring.  
That's our picnic table today!

I'm  planning to plant some grass in some containers to place around the house, I know this will bring some smiles (to me at least). 

To get started here are few things about me:

I live in Maine.  I was born in up state New York.  My father decided he liked Maine after we came for  a visit in 1983, in 1984 we moved here from Colorado. It  felt a bit bizarre at first because it was so different then Colorado.  I will never forget my first day at my new school, it was a tiny school- K-8th grade and there was only one class for each grade, it was nothing like where I was going before.  I adjusted over the years and now can't imagine living anywhere else.  

I work 35 hours a week outside my home.  My husband I have always made an effort to have one of us home with the kids, this was especially important when they were babies.  I try very hard to have a balance between work and being a Mom (which always comes first) but it's not always easy.

My husband and I have been together for 21 years (married for 13 1/2 years). I was 18, he was 20.
Here we are now.

Here are some of the questions Lynette asked to get this Spring Blog Party Started:

How would people describe your personality? (If they could only use ONE word.) Are they right?
Flighty - Yes, they would be right on.  My mind is racing and I seem to be thinking and doing many things at once.  At work I talk to myself way to often, but it's how I work things out.  I just need someone to listen why I ramble, then I'm good to go!  

Who is your favorite blogger? Why?
Geez, I'm not sure that I have one favorite.  There are too many interesting and talented bloggers out there in blogland.  Some of my favorites are the everyday people that I can relate too.  

What is your comfort food/drink?
Pretzels!  I love my pretzels.  I grew up with pretzels, they were always in the house.  I was actually holding pretzels in my hands when we had this photo session done (I'm the one in the middle).  You can't see them in this picture but some others that I haven't scanned have me holding them.  I think my mother took them out before the picture was taken because my fingers were squeezed has if I'd been holding onto something. 

Be brave – tell us something very random and weird about yourself.
I ABSOLUTELY hate my ankles touched, just thinking about it gives me the jitters. 

Books: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Romance, Biographies, True Stories, Self-Help, 
Hands down Biographies.  I love to read about people, I think that's why I enjoy blogging so much.

Music: Funk, Rock, Country, Jazz, Classical, Film Score, Blues, Classic Rock, Crooner, Alternative, Heavy Metal, Techno? What are your favorite types?
 I pretty much love all kinds of music.  It totally depends on my mood, although I can skip the heavy metal screaming music (which to me isn't really music to begin with).   

If you inherited a million dollars, what is the first thing you would do with your money?
Buy a new house and donate.  

Name one weakness of yours (confession is good for the soul).
I could be a better listener and I truly have a weakness for SUGAR.

What is one of your favorite things to catch a whiff of? 
Lavender.  I just can't get enough of this smell.  It's so calming, something I need a lot of.

When you leave a social gathering, do you wish: You would have talked more or You would have talked less? 
Both.  It seems that I talk a lot with the people I'm most comfortable with but avoid starting conversation to get to know others better, I'm shy that way.
  If money wasn't a factor, what stores would you shop in?
Pottery Barn, Anthropologie and Antique Stores but I would still look for a deal .

What is your greatest fear or strange phobia?
That something will happen to my children.  Phobia- again, ankles being grabbed.

What is your greatest accomplishment?
Breastfeeding!  It was so hard and not that enjoyable for me but I told myself my babies would starve if I didn't do it.  I breastfeed both of my babes for 10 months and I will always be proud of myself for doing it.
 What are your favorite animals?
All of them, really.  I just love animals.  

I hope everyone has a WONDERFUL day and I look forward to reading about you all!