OMG NEW BLOG!

10 Nov

Well, not actually.  But I did want to change the name, and to do that I had to get a new blog altogether.

This blog is evolving into something that’s more about me and recipes, less about running because to be perfectly honest, I’m just too tired to run very much.  It’s still the same old Courtney over at my new blog, just with a different name!  Check it out :)

 

MY NEW BLOG

MY NEW BLOG

 

Quick Peppermint Patty Brownies

8 Nov

MintBrownie

These are the easiest, fastest, fanciest, yummiest brownies ever.

Think that’s enough adjectives?

 

All you need is a family size box of brownie mix, the other ingredients listed on the back of the box of mix, and 16 mini peppermint patties.

Patties 

1. Prepare the brownie batter according the the recipe on the back of the box.

2. Pour 2/3 of the batter into a foil-lined, greased 8×8-inch pan.

3. Place the patties atop the batter, in 4 rows of 4.  Important: unwrap them first. ;)

4. Spread the rest of the batter on top of the patties.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean.  Mine were finished after exactly 45 minutes.

 

Let the brownies cool for at least 30 minutes so the peppermint patties have a chance to set.  Cut and enjoy!

MintBrownie

Yum yum yum.

The Best Banana Muffins Ever

7 Nov

When I was a toddler, I refused to eat.

Except for these banana muffins.

My parents were worried, so they took me to the doctor.

She told them to just let me eat muffins.

If I lived off these for months, then they must be good.

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They’re simple and delicious- perfect for breakfast, brunch; or if you’re toddler me, lunch and dinner, too.

 

This recipe comes from Creme de Colorado, an awesome 90’s cookbook.

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When you open the book, it flips to the page with the muffin recipe, haha.

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Start by softening a stick of butter.  If you’re impatient like me, you’ll soften it in the microwave for 40 seconds.

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Cream it with 1 cup of light brown sugar, then crack in 2 eggs.

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Add 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking power, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

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Mash 3 large ripe bananas (or 4 medium bananas), and add them to the batter.

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Now for the best part- the chocolate!  The original recipe says to add 3/4 cup each of mini chocolate chips and nuts, which you can totally do, but I don’t like nuts and I had a bar of 70% dark chocolate lying around.  I took the initiative, using 4 squares of chocolate.

Chop it lengthwise using a serrated (bread) knife.

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And crosswise, to make little chocolate bits.

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Add them to the batter.

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Now, please do me a favor.  Go out an buy a round ice cream scoop.  With one of those lever thingies.  Mine cost about $4.00 and was one of the best investments I’ve ever made.  Well, not really, but you get the idea.

Grease a 12-cup muffin tin, and scoop the batter into each well.

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You’ll get exactly 12 good-sized muffins.

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Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.  Let the muffins cool in the tin, then flip them out.  Store in a plastic container.

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Heart Chocolates

5 Nov

I know it’s not Valentine’s day.  Not even close.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to make heart-shaped chocolates.  They’re simple to make and they look so elegant.  Make them for someone you love.

Or for yourself.

I don’t judge.

You’ll need chocolate.  One bar of chocolate- I used Lindt 70%, but feel free to use milk chocolate or even white chocolate.  Whatever floats your boat.

You’ll also need some chocolate molds- buy them at any craft store.  Mine are shaped like hearts, but this recipe works for whatever shape you’d like.

And the secret gadget- a turkey baster.

This is great for making chocolates without making a huge mess.  Be sure to clean it really well before and after you fill the chocolate molds.

Break up the chocolate into pieces- no need to chop it up.  Melt it in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave for 20 more seconds, and stir again.  You don’t want to put the chocolate in the microwave for too long, or else it  will overheat and get all yucky.

Now use the baster to squirt the chocolate into each mold, and place them in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.

Pop them out onto a piece of parchment paper, then refrigerate for another 15 minutes.

CAMERA and Dark Chocolate Brownies

4 Nov

I bought a digital camera!

Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS

Definitely the impulse buy of the century.

It’s an early Christmas gift.

So it’s all good. :)

 

I took some pictures of my pottery- these were made a few months ago.  I’ve gotten much better at using the wheel since then!

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Itty bitty pitcher (doesn’t hold much of anything) with blue handle, white cup with purple inside, red cup.

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Fish box.  The top comes off, so you can store jewelry/paperclips/etc.

 

To celebrate the arrival of my new camera, I decided to make a batch of brownies.  From scratch.  Here’s the recipe along with some lovely pictures.

 

Deep Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Chocolate is the focus of these brownies- with only a few ingredients, you’ll want to pick a dark, good-quality chocolate or risk a batch of yucky brownies.  Good-quality doesn’t have to mean Valrhona, though!  I used Lindt 70% dark chocolate, which was $1.99 per bar at TJMaxx.

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It’s very photogenic, too.  I love photographing chocolate- the pictures always turn out so good and delicious-looking.

 

Here’s what you need:

  • A preheated oven set to 350 degrees F
  • A greased, foil-lined 8×8-inch pan
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate (weigh it, but don’t go crazy trying to get an exact amount)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablecpoon cocoa powder
  • Vanilla extract (optional)
  • Instant espresso powder (optional)

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Start by melting the butter in a large bowl.  Cut it into cubes, then microwave it for 30 seconds.  Stir, then microwave another 30 seconds.

 

Chop the chocolate into rough pieces using a serrated knife and a cutting board.  Don’t worry about making them uniformly sized- they’re just going to melt anyway.

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and stir it into the hot melted butter.  The chocolate will melt into the butter and turn into a rich, way-too-sinful sauce.

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^^ That may just be my favorite photo I’ve ever taken.  I love my camera!

 

Add the sugar and stir well.  I was feeling a bit artsy so I tried to make a smiley face in the sugar.  It turned out creepy.  Sorry.

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At this point, you might want to put the mixture in the fridge for a few minutes before you stir in the eggs.  Why?

Picnik collage

That’s why.  Here are my eggs in their bowl.  I made this bowl in ceramics and it’s the perfect size for holding… well… 2 eggs.

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Now add the baking soda, salt, and 1/4 cup of the flour, as well as the vanilla extract and instant espresso if you’d like.  I find that espresso really brings out the chocolate flavor, and you can adjust the amount of both ingredients as you wish.  Don’t use more than 1/2 teaspoon of either the vanilla or the espresso, though.

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Stir gently, then add the rest of the flour and mix it all together until the batter is smooth with a few lumps.  You don’t want it to be too smooth, or else the brownies will turn out tough.  Ick.

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Pour the batter into your foil-lined, greased pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.  The brownies are done when a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean with a few crumbs on it.

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Let them cool (use the fridge if you’re impatient… obviously I was), then enjoy!

 

Does anyone else love the smell of brownies baking?

Buy a set of 4 Coco-Zen Brownie Batter bath bombs!  Only $16 :)

Buy Now

Holidays!

3 Nov

All I want for Christmas…

 

is to get into college.

 

It doesn’t seem like too much to ask, does it now?  I’ve been a very good girl. :)

 

And a new digital camera.  So I can stop using my parents’.  It’s so hard to find them online- too many choices!  Here’s what I’d like… do any of you bloggers/tech-savvy people have any suggestions??

1. Point and shoot

2. High quality but not too pricey

3. SD card

4. Cute color

 

See, that’s not too much to ask, either?  Of course, given the two options I’d definitely prefer the first gift. :D

 

So.. what else has happened since my last post?  I made brownies!  This wouldn’t ordinarily be news, but it is.  You know why?  Because I used a boxed mix!

Brownie Classics

I was feeling lazy, the mix was on sale at Target, and I needed to bring brownies for my calculus class.  The stars aligned just right for that box of brownie mix, and the brownies turned out fudgy and good.  Not homemade, but still tasty.

Of course, I subbed in melted butter for oil.

Because butter is better!

I even topped them with orange sprinkles.  Aren’t I just a little Suzy Homemaker?

 

Halloween… oh yeah, that happened too!

I went to a football game.  No, I didn’t actually watch… who goes to a HS football game to watch the game?

We did win, though!

 

I handed out candy to little kiddies.  There was this one boy, maybe 8 years old, dressed as a pimp.  Ummm… is he even old enough to know what a pimp is??

Maybe he just likes purple.  Or his parents have an unusual sense of humor.

[ source ]

The model wearing this outfit looks like Danny from The Shining.

Apparently the actor, Danny Lloyd, was picked for the movie because he could concentrate for a long time.  They didn’t tell him it was a horror movie until years after it was made.  That’s a tough secret to keep!

 

Okay, pop culture tangents aside, the child pimp was by far the strangest costume this year.  At least I didn’t see any Snookis.

[ source ]

Nearly Halloween

26 Oct

Happy Tuesday!  It will probably be Wednesday when you actually read this but that’s okay. :)

 

It’s almost Halloween!  Happy early Halloween everyone, be sure you make good choices. ;)

Free Glitter Graphics

Remember these?  Oh, the good old Myspace days.  Does anyone even use that site anymore?

 

Besides dressing up, my favorite part of Halloween is the Reese’s cups.  No combination of processed peanut butter and super-milky chocolate has ever been so delicious and nostalgic. 

Out of all the candy I’ve ever received, PB cups are the only ones I’ve actually eaten myself.  Most have gone to my parents’ office candy bowls or were melted/stirred into cookie recipes.  But NOT the peanut butter cups!

Check out this cool vintage ad I found [from PostersGuide.com]!  And yes, the frozen ones are really good.

The freezer in the background resembles my freezer after Halloween.  Even though I don’t go trick-or-treating anymore, I still buy PB cups in excess at Target.  Just, you know, in case we run out of candy to give away. (heh, as if…)

 

I’m actually determined to make my own PB cups this year.  Hold me accountable to that, okay readers?  :)

 

What is your favorite Halloween candy?

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