Sunday, February 8, 2009
Yesterday was spent mostly in the kitchen working on various projects. We had a "Meemaw Day" which means that my mother-in-law was spending the day with us. On these days I usually try to make a big family style dinner and she usually does a crafty project with Sweets and helps keep Bug occupied while I'm cooking. Yesterday's dinner consisted of meatloaf, not my recipe but it was really good and you can find the recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Easy-Meatloaf/Detail.aspx I will note that I did sautee the onions with some garlic before adding them to the meat, and I also added a tbs. of worchestershire sauce to both the meat and topping mixures, and I used italian seasoned breadcrumbs. We also had southern style greenbeans, which are totally simple but I always find that people are saying they wish they knew how to make them so here are the basics; I use canned or fresh green beans, whichever I happen to have, if using canned I usually average about 1 can per 2 people, also get the cut kind, not the "french style". I then put them in a pot with a thinly sliced yellow or white onion, half a package of country ham pieces(usually found near the meat department at the grocery), garlic powder, and a generous amount of sea salt and course ground black pepper to taste. In the summer I tend to add baby red potatoes too, but since we had mashed potatoes with dinner last night I just stuck with the green beans. The most important part of making the beans is to cook them to death, I mean hours, the longer the better and no less than about 3 hours.
No family dinner would be complete without a good dessert, so I set about coming up with a new brownie yesterday. This brownie has the taste and texture of cheesecake without having any creamcheese in the recipe, it does however have sour cream so maybe that contributes to the cheescake like quality. It is definitley for the chocolate lover as the flavor is pretty intense, coming from the three chocolate sources, cocoa, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and chocolate syrup, you could even use chocolate chunks if you really, really love chocolate. I have decided that it is the perfect brownie to share with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or cold glass of milk(if you like milk, which I don't). With Valentine's Day coming up next week, I think these would be the perfect treat to make for your loved ones. Also even though these are very chocolate heavy both of the kids loved them, Sweets even had two.
Triple Chocolate Brownies:
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 c. sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. cocoa
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. chocolate syrup
Heat the oven to 350.
In a large bowl cream together the butter, and both sugars until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until combined. Add in the sour cream and vanilla, stir until combined. Add the cocoa and flour, stir until just combined. Add in the chocolate syrup and chocolate chips, stir until well blended.
Pour into a lightly greased 9x13 pan ( I like using butter flavored cooking spray when baking). Bake for 30 minutes. Makes 12-15 brownies depending on how large you slice them. When serving you can serve them warm over vanilla ice cream and drizzled with store bought caramel sauce.
The crafty part of yesterday also took place in my kitchen. Sweets is having her Valentine's celebration at school on Friday and being that it is a Montessori school the valentines are requested to be homemade and have no characters on them. While some would cringe at the thought of having to construct 17 homemade valentines with their 4 year old, I start thinking about it in January, trying to come up with the perfect idea. This year we decided to make play clay and put them in some little tins that we received boxes of for free from my husbands aunt. They are about 3 or 4 inches across and have a blank paper label that Sweets decorated with markers and stickers. The play clay recipe is something that I think has been around for ever and is by no means my original recipe. It is a great craft for kids and the clay lasts for a few weeks unrefrigerated. We let Sweets put all the ingredients in the pot and stir it up before we put it on the heat, and then carefully supervised her while she stirred it. Bug even got in on the action stirring the second batch before we cooked it. It was a lot of fun and I have to thank Meemaw since she did most of the messy part while I helped Bug with his stirring. Here is the recipe if you would like to try it with your little ones or make up a batch for playgroup which is exactly what I think I will do for our next playgroup.
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. water
1/2 c. salt
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. cream of tarter
paste food color
We let Sweets add all of the ingredients to a big pot and then stir up until combined off of the stove (I found that a whisk worked best for this part of the recipe). We added paste food coloring until the proper valentines hues of red and pink were acheived. Then we placed it over medium heat and very carefully supervised her while she stirred with some help from Meemaw ( I recommend a wooden spoon or sturdy rubber spatula for this part). You need to stir constantly until the mixture holds together so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. When it comes together transfer to a plate and let cool until you can handle it. We didn't find it necessary to add flour to the cooled mixture as it was just right, but if yours is a little sticky just add a little flour and let your kid knead it until you get the right consistency. Store in an airtight container. We made two batches and it was enough for 17 small balls for her class and two good size balls left over for Sweets to enjoy.