Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mexican Chocolate Brownies

In the last couple of years, when cooking anything, I've been all about the mentality of: the spicier, the better.  Recently, I had a cookie with cayenne pepper in it and discovered that chocolate + spice is the most delicious combo ever.  We had friends over last week for dinner, and after tacos, these seemed like the perfect sweet and spicy treat.  
- 2 sticks salted butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup special dark cocoa powder
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a saucepan, melt butter on medium-low heat. (Do not boil.)
3. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in sugar, followed by the rest of the ingredients.
4. Spread batter onto a parchment-lined and buttered 13 by 9 inch pan.
5. Sprinkle on chocolate chips (this will allow them not to sink to the bottom of the brownies).
6. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out just a little fudgy.
7. Allow to cool in the pan and slice into squares.
Even if you don't like spice, this homemade brownie recipe is legit.  I've never had homemade brownies I liked before this, and now these are my go-to.  If you're looking to remove the heat, substitute the cinnamon and cayenne for an additional 1/4 teaspoon of salt. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Summertime Hostess Gift Ideas

Hi friends, how was your weekend?  We had a great one with friends; it's officially party season!  Summer get-togethers are the best.  I absolutely love all the food, the friends, pools, and lawn games.  When we go to parties, I always try to think of new ways to thank the host or hostess.  
I always go with one of two mentalities when choosing a hostess gift.  First, before attending, I always ask if I can bring something (a side dish, dessert, beer, wine, etc.).  I text or call the party planner before showing up with a dish to make sure what I bring fits the theme of the party or meal.  If the host(ess) says yes to wanting a contribution of food or drink, I try to bring a gift that guests can use with that item but the host can also keep after the event.  There's nothing worse than making the party-thrower wash dishes in the middle of the party so that you can bring your serving plate home that night.  In addition to bringing a new, cute serving tray that the hostess can keep, other ideas are things like the wine opener and beer caddy below.  On the other hand, if the host(ess) says that there is nothing I can bring, I arrive with something just for him/her: something they can enjoy after all the guests have gone!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Cooking for One: Three Cheese, Peach, and Prosciutto Pizza

If you happened to see my Insta stories last week, you may have seen that Mike was out of town for more than just the weekend.  Before we were both bachelor/bachelorett-ing it up, he headed to New York City a few days early to hang out with his best friend.  Whenever Mike is gone I do 3 things: clean the house a lot (this is nothing more than me being super bored while being home alone haha), watch television shows he doesn't like, and make foods he hates.  Mike pretty much as 3 food groups that he despises: ranch dressing, balsamic anything, and vegetables that replace other food groups (i.e. zoodles and veggie burgers).  

The first night he was gone, I scoured my "Need to make it" Pinterest board for something that would totally disgust him, and I knew what my first solo meal would be: Three Cheese Peach and Prosciutto Pizza with Basil and Honey Balsamic Reduction.
I followed this recipe, only making a couple of changes: I made only enough balsamic reduction for the pizza drizzle (1/4 cup balsamic and 1 tablespoon honey) and I covered the pizza in fresh arugula, instead of balsamic.
It was absolutely as good as it looks!  I made my own peach sangria to go with it, too: dry white wine, peach schnapps, and the rest of the peaches I didn't use for the pizza.  I have now moved the recipe to my "Pinned it, Loved it" board - check out the rest of the recipes I've tried on Pinterest and loved here

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