A Man’s Choice for Dessert

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Today I made brownies. They’re for DH to take to work—he is on the schedule. My work doesn’t have a schedule for people to bring treats each week. If they did, I wonder if DH’d make them? Not. He’d buy a bag of Oreos.

Anyway, he requested brownies because I have this amazingly scrumptious recipe that I obtained years ago. Actually, the brownie “mix” came as a Christmas gift in a jar tied with ribbons and hand-crafted instructions attached. They were fabulous so I begged the recipe. Don’t tell my mother because they have replaced my grandma’s recipe and that’s just rude. But when it comes to chocolate, my loyalties tend toward butter.

And, since I’m the generous type, and because it’s not really mine anyway, I’ve listed the recipe below.

But back to the beginning: today I made brownies. First I thought, wouldn’t mini brownies be just perfect? So I scooped small amounts of batter into the mini muffin tin and baked them. They spread and sank and stuck to the bottom. The result was this sad mash:brownie mash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now there are several things we can do when life disappoints. 1. Become frustrated and pull sour faces, 2. Go Hang-gliding (seriously folks? Like who’d really do that at a time like this? Not that I would refuse if given the chance.) 3. Eat chocolate (or brownie failure, which despite its appearance, was delicious) and start over.

Besides, most of the people who will eat the brownies tomorrow are guys and “mini” was probably not a good choice to begin with.

Here’s the second batch.brownies

 

 

 

Now, after all those pictures, aren’t you glad I’m including the recipe?

 

Brownies in a Jar              (or not—most of the time this is my all-around go-to recipe, though I have given them as Christmas gifts in jars—passing on a good thing.)

2¼ C. sugar

2/3 C. unsweetened cocoa powder

½ C. chopped pecans or walnuts

1¼ C. flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

  1. Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Layer ingredients in a 1 quart ‘wide mouth’ canning jar. Press each layer firmly in place before adding the flour mixture. Note: Be sure to wipe out the inside of the jar with a dry paper towel after adding the cocoa powder.
  3. Attach instructions to the jar:

Instructions:

1. Empty jar of brownie mix into a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to thoroughly blend mix.

2. Add ¾ C. butter or margarine melted.  Add 4 eggs, slightly beaten.

  1. Mix until completely blended.
  2. Spread batter into a sprayed 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
  3. Bake at 350° F. for 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Cut into 2 inch squares.

Makes 2 dozen brownies.

 

 

Repurposing

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Have you ever bought cauliflower because it was on sale, or packaged in ready-to-go bags at your favorite box store, then wondered, “What am I going to do with this?” The other day I came across some fun uses. Check them out here.

my cauliflower "rice" before adding the other ingredients.

my cauliflower “rice” before adding the other ingredients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prior to this my DH had a weakness for pizza. Oh sure, we’d buy the organic, expensive kind once in a while to appease him, but it still had its draw-backs.

I goofed and made one large one. This broke up when I tried to flip it.

I goofed and made one large one. This broke up when I tried to flip it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But now he finds he likes cauliflower-crust calzones with goat cheese and Italian sausage (vegetarian variety) even better. How fun is this?

Even broken, they were delicious! My second attempt I made smaller ones and they flipped perfect. I just forgot to take a picture.

Even broken, they were delicious! My second attempt I made smaller ones and they flipped perfect. I just forgot to take a picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t you get a kick out of finding new ways to use something?

Kind of like this one that is leaned up against a picnic table.

Kind of like this one that is leaned up against a picnic table.

When I was a child we found new ways to use an inner tube. (I thought I wrote about this previously, but after a search through dozens of posts, I’m going to retell the story.) Dad worked in an office at a phosphate mine. The trucks had HUGE wheels and one day Dad brought home an inner tube from one of them. Inflated, it was large enough to roll us around inside. Or we could jump on it like a poor-man’s trampoline–if we kept the sides balanced. And it made a great home base for hide-n-seek.

 

 

 

 

 

Children are masters at repurposing.

But now that we’re older, we get to think bigger. Take geothermal energy.

How a geothermal system works.

How a geothermal system works.

With the natural, constant temperature below ground we could all be heating and cooling our homes with the ultimate in renewable energy–and for little or no expense beyond the initial installation. I sooo wish I had a geothermal pump! In fact, imagine a world where everyone did. There’d be no black smoke producing refineries. No dangerous places to mine that cause black lung disease. And no hazardous power plants that may crack in an earthquake. (Just the suggestion toward the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant chills me.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus, as much as I like windmills, a geothermal pump doesn’t require wind, a huge battery or a tacky chrome fan on top of an ugly tower.wingen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, geothermal energy is just hot. That’s why, in Hot Pursuit (which my editor says she is starting the edits on today!—Wahoo!) geothermal energy gets a scene to itself. Well, almost. It gets upstaged by a bigger natural phenomenon. But that’s life. As Qui-Gon Jin said, “There’s always a bigger fish.”always-bigger-fish-starwars

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, I’ll kick off my Hippie sandals for now.

So speaking of Star Wars and renewable energy (warning: my mind often jumps to random connections), did you know the “TIE” in TIE fighters stood for a “twin ion engine” system that was fueled by solar panels? I guess it “accelerates gases at a high speed along almost any vector, affording the ships tremendous speed and maneuverability.”

Sometimes you don’t have to understand technology to be impressed.

One Small Step Off the Edge

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I just know you’ve all been waiting for the good news, and here it is: my editor says Hot Pursuit is going to press later in May. That’s like any week now! When I get a precise date, I’ll let you know, but it is definitely getting close. This book is a sequel to Cold Pursuit, but (so I’ve been told) even more fun. It is set in Jackson Hole (just over the pass from Heaven on Earth)(but Jackson is pretty darn gorgeous in its own right).

Speaking of the town just into Idaho (where a couple of scenes also take place), my great-grandfather homesteaded that area. In those days it took two days in the winter to travel over the pass to Jackson. Now traffic slows on the icy roads and it takes 45 minutes. Unless you’re from the area, then it takes 30. My grandpa and my dad grew up there. It’s a place where legends begin.

When my grandpa was a young boy, he thought he’d figured out how to fly. Before I go any further, I suppose it’s only fair to warn you that this story grows with each telling and I take after my dad when it comes to embellishing. But the basic truth is there.

Now Grandpa knew wings were needed and well, chickens had wings. So he grabbed two big ones from his papa’s chicken yard, and holding them by the feet, climbed up a ladder to the ridge of the barn. (I’m not absolutely sure about the barn part, but if it was the chicken coop, there’s no way I’m adding that to the story.)Free Range

barnThere, with that narrow peak between his feet, I wonder if he considered that, though chickens fly, (at least 3-4 feet) you never look up and say, “Oh, look, a flock of chickens flying by.” Did he consider there was a reason they were so easy to catch? At any rate, after a deep breath, with a chicken in each hand, he jumped.

I have a lot of my Grandpa in me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Escape

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securedownload (9)Research suggests that an hour per day listening to the sounds of nature is a great stress reducer.

So today we donned our shorts and headed up the closest canyon. I know it’s still early in the year and the leaves are just starting to green up, but the early moss on the rocks in the stream were worth it. And I am now totally distressed. Wait, I mean de-stressed.securedownload (4)

I had such a great time. Later, when I ran into people I knew at the grocery store, I realized I probably looked a sight–windblown braids and hiking boots on a middle-aged woman are just not going to be setting style trends any time soon. Oh well, I’m over it.

 

Eating Einstein

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Easter is coming! And that means . . . why a centerpiece of course.

Seriously, who doesn’t love Spring Baskets and the treasure hunts we make for our (grand)children? I love planting flowers and peas and dividing strawberries—okay, maybe not the last one, but I love eating the results in a couple of months. And don’t you love seeing flowers spring from bulbs around your yard and blossoms on the apple and cherry trees? Yep, good things.

I’m hosting Easter Dinner this year. My daughter-in-law is bringing the ham—Einstein went to the butcher a couple of months ago. She’s very practical about this. My son refused to get to know him because he knew he would later eat him. When I visit her she shows me the calf she’s feeding that will be exchanged for a beef calf when this one is weaned. And the chicken named “Dinner” that is on “death row.” However that event is not certain because a rooster has taken a liking to her. I love how she is so connected with life.

Anywho, today I planted wheat for my centerpiece. I’ll let you know how it turns out. (I do have a back-up plan.) It took all of 10 minutes for this project, including moving ladders in the garage to get to the potting soil. So easy.

I soaked the wheat over night. The trays are from the dollar store.

I soaked the wheat over night. The trays are from the dollar store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ended up using some dry wheat to fill in the gaps.

I ended up using some dry wheat to fill in the gaps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More soil, water, and a sunny window. Fingers crossed.

More soil, water, and a sunny window. Fingers crossed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm also working on some miniature gardens for the patio. :-)

I’m also working on some miniature gardens for the patio. :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took three evenings to cut out the butterflies. (A punch would speed this up). I hope to attach them to picks and stick them in the grass.

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My china has a lot of blue and pink. It works for Easter.

My china has a lot of blue and pink. It works for Easter.

 

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