Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Favorites: Ina's Outrageous Brownies

With approximately 80 billion existing sources for recipes, I rarely bake the same thing twice, and if I do, I know the recipe is winner.  This brownie recipe is awesome!  Not surprising since this is an Ina Garten recipe and I don't know that I have ever had one of her recipes turn out badly for me.  Be warned if you like cakey brownies as this recipe won't be your thing, but if you are like me and like dense bricks of fudgy goodness then you better get on making these ASAP.

A couple of things

1. Yes, there is a lot of butter in this recipe, but I am believer that sweets should be an occasional treat, not an every day thing; therefore, when you do indulge, you shouldn't worry about things like calories or healthifying them.

2. Follow the recipe and definitely refrigerate them as it helps develop that perfect fudgey texture.

3. This recipe makes a ton.  Great for the holiday season if you are having a party or making goodie bag plates for friends and family; otherwise, I would halve this recipe.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Turkey, Turkey!

I hope everyone who celebrated it had a happy Thanksgiving.  We kept it very low key and relaxing here. Since it was just the husband and me, we celebrated, as is becoming our tradition here in Chicago, by running a Turkey Trot in the morning and then going out to a nice restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner.

We had a gift card, a wedding present that we hadn't used yet, and decided to go to Wildfire for dinner.   They did a traditional family style dinner where you could pick two plates for each course.  No complaints here; everything was delicious. We had turkey and stuffing, beef tenderloin, roasted brussel sprouts with hazelnuts, and mashed potatoes.   Not pictured are the delicious pumpkin pie and key lime tart we split for dessert.  I love doing Thanksgiving like this.  No stress, no clean-up, and no leftovers to tempt you into indulging more than necessary.

I spent the rest of the my long weekend doing some much needed cleaning, putting out a few Christmas decorations, and doing some baking.   Since we aren't going to be in town this year for Christmas, I didn't feel like going crazy with the decorations.  Just a wreath, our stockings (including two for the pups), and few other little bits and pieces.  My next big project after repainting our master bedroom is to tackle that fireplace.  I am dreaming of a white fireplace which I think will look great with that hefty, dark wood mantle.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Spending a little QT with our house.

This weekend was crazy productive.  Saturday I spent most of the day cleaning, organizing, and purging around the house in preparation for the holidays.  Seriously, is there anything as gratifying as decluttering and getting rid of stuff?   I used to be a bit of pack rat, but as I have gotten older, I have gotten pretty ruthless at getting rid of stuff.

Today, we spent a lot of time taking care of some house maintance and what not since I have finally got back on the home renovation bandwagon.  My husband and I bought our first house 3 years ago.  It is a cute 1950's raised ranch that was in solid condition but in desperate need of updating.  When we first moved in, we did quite a bit of updating right off the bat.  We repainted every room, tore up carpet, tore  down wallpaper.  In the kitchen we purchased a new stove (The original fifties stove was still being used by the previous owner.),  had recessed lighting and a dishwasher installed, added more counter space and built-in shelves, the cabinets were painted white, and a new granite countertop put in.

All those updates were sorely needed and have transformed the kitchen, but they tapped us out budget-wise and motivation-wise.  I have finally got my mojo back and am ready to tackle some of cosmetic issues that I have been bugging me the last couple of years.

Number one on my list, repaint the master bedroom.  We painted it when we first moved in, but I have pretty much hated the color since day one.  It looked great in naturally light, but since our bedroom barely gets any at all, the color looks terrible most of the time.  Forgetting to really look at paint samples at night was a totally rookie mistake.

Any way I am totally, absolutely in love with the idea of  a gray bedroom, so U picked up a million paint swatches at Home Depot today.  Once we narrow it down to our winner,  I will update on the final outcome.