Ah, New Years Day! Another year begins and another fresh start. Seems this year is getting off to a great start for me – although it could just be that last year is ending on a good note. One day, I know, doesn’t make all the difference, but I think that it really gets everyone motivated – I hope you all keep your motivations! There will be lots of change this year for my daughter and I – all good of course. We will be moving and she will start Kindergarten. Last year was a bit bipolar with some terrible things happening in my family, but personally some really great things ending the last part of my year. So I hope for a better year with less of the bad stuff and more of the good stuff. I hope that all you reading and following my blog have terrific years as well, and I hope you continue following me here – and putting in your suggestions!
To start the year off with some inspiration I finally watched Julie and Julia (this I will add to my personal DVD collection). This is such a foodie movie! I can’t believe I waited so long to watch this movie. Everyone has suggested it to me and I don’t know why I didn’t watch it sooner. It’s probably that pre-Wii and Netflix I rarely paid $5 for a pay-per-view and I suck at returning Redbox movies. Either way I am glad I finally watched this movie, because I am more inspired now. I can relate to both of these ladies so much. There is a point in the movie when Julie received her first comment on her blog (granted it was from her mother) she was elated – I felt that same way when the first person (that I didn’t know) commented on my blog. Something interesting happened, right after watching the movie this morning, I received my FIRST pingback! I was SUPER excited – a little silly I know, it’s ONE pingback (link to one of my posts), but that is where it all starts. I have worked hard this past year on my blog and I have been published and now have a regular spot in the food column in the local paper. I must be doing something right! Now I am vowing to spend more time on my blog (one of the #1 blogger rules – blog often!) and more time on my other food writing goals – I am going to be fearless and step out of my comfort zone!
The other part of my new year inspiration came from Tyler Florence’s book Stirring the Pot. After reading it I have become very inspired to ORGANIZE my kitchen (If you know me, you know organization excites me and that I am a little obsessed with it). TF has some great ideas for organizing your kitchen and fridge/freezer by having dinners you can just pull out of the freezer for quick instant meals. So as I journey through this year organizing, moving and beginning new chapters in my life I hope to share it all with you and hopefully we’ll suck in a few others along the way. So thank you for being a friend and following my blog. The brownie recipe below is the dessert that I finally mastered and my daughter and I rang in the new year with (along with Beef Bourguignon, which I will also be blogging).
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL! Welcome to 2011!
adaptation from Epicurious.com
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup espresso powder (optional)
- pinch of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cold large eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips/chunks
- 2/2 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
Line a 9×13 square baking pan with parchment paper overhanging two sides.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a pot of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the pot and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.
Stir in the vanilla with a whisk. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with a little batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.
Lift up the ends of the parchment liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.
You can make many variations of brownies I have put caramel on them, white chocolate chunks, dark chocolate chips, walnuts, pecans, dried fruit. We topped these with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, while they were still warm …. MMMMM!