Archive for June, 2012

My shameful confession

I’m about to tell you something shocking.

I made brownies from a box. 

I’m not sure you understand how unusual this is.

I grew up in a house where everything was made from scratch. My mom has been known to make homemade green bean casserole, down to her own crispy onion things (which is good, but tastes nothing like the mushy goodness of Green Bean Casserole). I’ve known how to make my own brownies for as long as I can remember. And cookies. And cakes. I like to cook, but I’ve always loved baking. I don’t do anything fancy and presentation isn’t my strength, but I can make a kick-ass homemade brownie.  I don’t know if people are intimidated by the baking process or what. But the recipe I love most is ridiculously simple and the results are chewy, fudgy goodness. I’ll share at the end.

So why did I make brownies from a box?


I was craving something dessert-like, but the house was devoid of most food, since I was getting ready for a vacation and I’d been eating things down. And I didn’t have some of the fundamental ingredients. But what I did have was a box of brownies. I’m not sure why. It’s possible I had a coupon. Regardless, desperate times call for desperate measures, and I had the quarter cup of water, quarter cup of oil and egg required, so brownies from a box it was.

I cannot deny that it’s faster and easier to stir three things into a heap of powder than it is to melt some butter and chocolate and stir in some sugar and flour. But the results are just not the same. It would suffice for that night. But the likelihood that I would actually finish the imposter brownies before they went stale (or I left for vacation) were pretty slim, because they’re just not that good – and ps, I didn’t. Neither did my dad, who inherited them a couple of days later when I left town. What can I say, we’re brownie snobs in my family. `:-)

The inferior box brownie


If you’ve never made your own brownies before, try this recipe. I SWEAR you can’t screw it up, and I promise it’ll be worth it.

Best Gooey Brownies, from the Junior League Centennial Cookbook

1 12-oz package semisweet chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons butter
1 pound (2-1/4 cups) packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt (I use less)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan. (If using a glass pan, bake at 325 degrees.)

In a large (LARGE) saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate chips with the condensed milk and 2 tablespoons of butter while stirring slowly. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Melt the remaining 1/2 pound of butter, stir in the sugar, and add to the chocolate mixture. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla, flour, and salt.

Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Brownies will still be gooey in center. And delicious.


Barky Anniversary!

See that lovely girl over there in my picture?  ——->

The furry one? That’s Ruby.

She is the funniest little dog, overflowing with personality. And today is our anniversary. Two years ago, my friend Sue sent me yet another doggie personal ad. I had told her I might be ready to start looking for my next canine companion, and she had been relentlessly sending me doggie porn, but nothing had sparked my interest until I saw Ruby Tuesday. She was fluffy (one of my requirements) and totally smiling for the camera. I decided I should go take a look, so I rounded up my dad for a second opinion, and we headed off to the shelter.

She was sitting quietly in her kennel, watching, waiting. I asked if I could meet her, and she was a total doll. Smaller than I thought I was looking for, but cute as shit and super friendly. She had been abandoned at the shelter so they didn’t know much about her, but she appeared to have been well cared for. I was smitten.

“I want her.”

At the shelter

The nice people at the shelter explained that the people who had been there right before me wanted her, too. They have this kind of odd system where they make you call and leave a message the next morning to say if you really want to adopt. The people had to call by 10am if they wanted her. I could do the same thing, and be second in line. Great. I went home and tried not to get my hopes up. The next morning, I called and left a message indicating that I was still interested.

And I waited.

I thought I should hear within an hour or so if I was going to get her. An hour passed and my spirits started to sink. Of course the other people wanted her – why wouldn’t they?

When my phone rang a little after 11, I figured they were calling to let me know Ruby Tuesday had been adopted. Instead, they told me that the family ahead of me was planning on adopting both a dog and a cat, but when they found out someone else wanted Ru, they decided just to adopt the cat so I could have the sweet doggie. I almost started crying. We were meant to be.

“You can pick her up at 4.”

What ha?? That day? Going to see her was a total whim. I wasn’t prepared for a dog – no leash, collar, food, treats, bowls, toys! But no sweat, I had five hours.

I think we were both a little anxious when we made the drive home that afternoon. You never know what you’re getting into with a new dog. Hell, I didn’t even know conclusively if she was housebroken (she was). I let her sniff around the yard a little, then took her inside to give her the grand tour. She wasted no time making herself at home, immediately jumping on my bed with an expression on her face that said, “So obviously this is where I sleep. Would you like to join me?”

We spent the next several days settling into our new life together. I was concerned. I’d had a really special bond with Sylvia, my prior dog, and Ruby was so different from her; I wasn’t sure I was going to fall head over heels.

Silly self.

I am powerless to resist the fur babies.

Seriously. I am the cutest.

In no time at all she had me wrapped around her little paw. I can’t imagine not having my funny, snuggly, happy Ruby girl. There will be more Ruby stories another day. For today, happy anniversary, sweet baby dog. And to the neighbors….sorry about the sometimes excessive barking.  🙂




How you know you’ve found a good one

  • He brings you your favorite (and not locally available) cheese when he comes to visit. And he only got a glimpse of it once, for maybe 5 seconds, but he got the right one. And then he starts calling it Magic Cheese.
  • He tells one of your girlfriends that you’re the funniest person he knows.
  • He never complains about your dog being on the bed.
  • He drops in on one of your friends at work so they can meet. Wait. That sounds creepy. But it totally wasn’t, at all. She was the perfect person to do that to, and they both wanted to meet the other.
  • He makes your bed when you’re not looking, even though you never bother to make it yourself.
  • He loves your dog. And perhaps even more important, your dog loves him, and goes belly-up at his feet for a tummy rub.
  • He acknowledges that men are idiots. But doesn’t use it as an excuse for bad behavior.
  • He is interested in spending time with your friends and family.
  • His actions back up his words and vice versa.
  • He rubs your feet without being asked. A lot.
  • He thinks it’s funny when you crack jokes at inappropriate times…..like during sex.
  • He is a thoughtful gift giver. I don’t mean this in a materialistic sense. I mean he pays attention to what is meaningful and of interest to you and finds things that are special, will be appreciated, etc. Like Muppets DVDs.
  • He doesn’t hesitate to drop a well timed “Fuck you!” when you’ve been relentlessly flinging insults at his (poorly chosen) alma mater.
  • He lets you know easily and often that you are awesome.


I have not had time to blog.

It’s stressing me out. I have a handful of blogs I read on a regular basis, and I haven’t been reading those, either. Because reading other people’s blogs makes me feel guilty about not having written anything in a while. Which is kind of ridiculous, because I do this for me, and no one knows better than I do that I’ve been insanely busy. And then I’ll have a free hour and I’ll think ok, I should write something, but by the time I’ve checked what’s happening on Facebook and looked at my email and whatever else, I’m too tired or it’s time for bed, and I feel guilty and the cycle continues. Gah. How long has it been, I don’t even know…. let’s go peek. Yes, I avoid my own blog because if I pretend it’s not sitting there languishing, waiting for my attention, it’s not really happening, right?  May 10. Oh holy crap. That’s way too long. I’m sorry, blog. I promise I’ll be better. My goal when I started was to post about once a week, but I’ll settle for an average at the end of the year.  It’s not even like I don’t have things I want to write about, because I do. Sigh. Stupid time, or lack thereof.

So tonight I’m shaking it off, letting go, moving forward, getting back into the swing of things. I’m still busy, but I recognize this is a priority for me, so I recommit to making time for the project. You’re my witnesses. 🙂

Wanna catch up a little? There are some random things floating in my head tonight I feel I should share. And by “should”, I mean “want to”, as I’m sure you’ll agree once you see how silly they are.

I had a big salad for dinner tonight with fresh blueberries. I love blueberries in salads. Love. You should try it. Seriously. Like right now. Go make a salad. I can wait.


(Are you back? Ok, good.)

I’m camped out on the couch tonight under three (THREE!) blankets because hello, it’s COLD. And I am stubborn and refuse to turn the heat back on, because hello, it’s JUNE. And I am, of course, watching “Say Yes to the Dress”, because it’s Friday and I can’t stop myself. How is it possible that there is someone named Lindsey on every episode? Sorry, friends named Lindsey, I’m not bashing your name at all, just had no idea it was so….prevalent.

I have not washed my hair in two days, and it is enormous. It also looks marvelous. Seriously. I would post a picture, but it’s only my hair that looks awesome, the rest of me looks like I’ve been camped out on the couch all night.

Tonight I was also browsing the web for pot brownie recipes. For a friend. Truly. And I found this great site that had an illustrated recipe. I don’t know why I’m so tickled by it; it’s just so thoughtfully done. Look how cute this is. Honest, not for me though.

Did I mention there are THREE NEW EPISODES of “Say Yes to the Dress” on tonight? It’s a banner night. And also, the three blankets have worked, so it’s time for ice cream. I’ll be back soon. I mean it. In the meantime, what’s new with you?