Brownie Crunch Ice Cream Cake

I've gotten much laughter from your emails, comments and phone calls about my last post.  I even had someone approach me who I had never met, but obviously knew who I was through this blog and wanted to talk about baby #6.....  

Head's up.  Food that smells savory in any way doesn't go over too well when I am pregnant so you'll be seeing a lot more baked goods, salads and sandwiches.  I hope you won't mind as I indulge even more than normal over the next few months.  You can all gain those 20 pounds right along with me.  It's only fair.
On that note, this childhood dessert is outstanding and desperately easy to make.  My son likes it with chocolate ice cream, but that just makes it too rich for me.  
Do you think I could just add milk to the crunch and eat it for breakfast?  I'm eating for two right???

Brownie Crunch Ice Cream Cake
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream (I like to use French vanilla)
1 box brownie mix
5 Tb melted butter
Hershey's syrup

1.  Let ice cream sit on counter to begin to soften.  Don't allow it to melt or you will have a cake with ice bits in it.
2.  Combine brownie mix and melted butter in bowl then sprinkle mixture onto jelly roll pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, stirring and scraping bottom of pan every five minutes and breaking up large pieces.  Allow brownie bits to cool.
3.  Dump softened ice cream into large bowl and mix with 2/3 of brownie mixture.  Pour into 13 x 9 cake pan and spread evenly.  Sprinkle remaining brownie mixture evenly over the top then drizzle with Hershey's syrup.  Cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.  Before serving, allow it to sit on the counter for about 5-8 minutes to soften slightly to make it easier to cut.


Is it just me or does this look really good to anyone else?  I think it's just me.

Classic Brownies

Taxes.  Uuuhhg.  They are such a big, horrible task on the "To-Do" list.   This year, filing was a whole new level of overwhelming since my husband began his own consulting business.  It was like I had to file two whole tax returns, even though they are grouped under one.  Then the frosting on the tax cake was the nice tax bill we have to pay being self employed.  
By the time I finished last night, I was exhausted, grouchy and depressed.  Perfect setting for rich, dense and fudgey brownies.  These brownies were the first brownies I made years ago that weren't from a mix.  I'll never go back to a box.  They are so quick and simple with results that blow boxes out of the water.  
Just give me a spoon and I'll eat 'em just like this!

Classic Brownies
(makes 9x13 pan)
1 1/4 C cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
12 Tb unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 1/4 C sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tb vanilla

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13 glass baking pan.  In medium bowl, whisk the four, salt and baking powder.
2.  Melt chocolate and butter in microwave in a large bowl using 30 second increments, stirring after each time.  Do not let the chocolate burn!  Whisk in the sugar gradually.  Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each egg until thoroughly combined.  Whisk in the vanilla.
3.  Add the flour mixture in three additions, folding with a rubber spatula until the batter is smooth and homogeneous.
4.  Spread batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 30-35 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack for two hours before cutting.

Honey Wheat Bread

Our family had an amazing Family Home Evening on Monday night.  It wasn't the "usual" FHE but one our family will always remember.  We attended the baptism of my amazing friend of the past two and a half years.  I would mention her name and post some great pictures I took that night, but she might not be my friend anymore if I did :-)  

So dear friend, I know you have a great knowledge of what it means to be Mormon but let me just highlight a few of the essentials you might not know about yet:

1.  Jello:  Mormon Mom's keep Kraft foods profitable solely on their consumption of Jello.  If you are a bit shy about taking on this tradition, you might want to steer clear of the classic green Jello with shredded carrots, pineapple and raisins.  
2.  Steed Family:  When you go visit any church history site, please be sure to ask the kind missionaries who are leading your tour, "Where exactly did the Steeds live?"
3.  Mom Jeans:  Please know that when you go for your temple recommend interview one year from now, there will be no question or requirement of wearing Mom Jeans.  
4.  Wheat Bread (or Brick):  While I understand wanting to use the tons of wheat in your food storage,  you must be careful not to scar your beautiful children for life at the mention of the word wheat.  Wheat is your friend when used correctly.  Please don't let anyone convince you that if you chew the berries long enough, it will turn into gum.
5.  MST (Mormon Standard Time):  There is a great change in the space/time continuem on Sunday mornings.  Even though you can get yourself and your kids up and out the door on time every other day of the week, Sunday mornings move at a different speed.  You can wake up three hours before church starts and still end up walking in right before the sacrament is passed.
To help you combat #4, here is a great wheat bread that is very kid friendly because it has a bit more sugar/honey than the average loaf.  I make four loaves of this stuff a week!

Honey Wheat Bread (makes 2 loaves)
adapted from
2 packages yeast
2 1/4 C warm water
3 Tb sugar
1/3 C butter, softened
1/3 C honey
1/2 C nonfat dry milk powder
1 Tb + 1 tsp salt
4 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 1/2 - 2 C white flour

1.  In stand mixer with dough hook attached, dissolve yeast in water.  Add sugar, butter and honey, salt and 2 C of wheat flour.  Beat until smooth.  Add milk powder and remaining wheat flour.  Mix until smooth then slowly add enough of the white flour to create a soft dough that just starts to pull from the sides of the bowl when kneading.  Allow dough to knead for 5-8 minutes.
2. Remove hook, scrape down sides of bowl to create one mass of dough in the bottom.  Cover and allow to rise until double, about one hour.
3.  Pour dough onto floured surface and gently pat down.  Divide into two equal parts and shape dough into loaves.  Place in greased 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pans.  Cover and let rise until double, about 30-40 minutes.
4.  Bake on the middle rack of your oven at 375 for 30-35 minutes.  Remove from pans and allow to cool completely before cutting.

Fried Rice

"But these are YOUR jobs Mom!  You were home all day, why do I have to do YOUR jobs?!?"  

Those are the words uttered to me by my darling 14 year old daughter a few days ago when I gave her a short list of chores to accomplish after school.  I had to take a few deep, long breath to control my first instinctive reaction to her love :-)

I'm not stupid enough to believe there are children out there jumping for joy over chores, but jeez, does it have to be a battle every time?!?!  We repeat it over and over and over in our house:  You live in a small house with a big family so everyone has to do their part.  Everyone.
Our eight year old underwent dish washing training a couple weeks ago and except for using a whole tank of hot water, he did a great job.  So explain to me please how kids go from finding it is so fun to help when they are younger to believing chores to be complete torture when older?
I honestly think my kids believe I sit home all day watching tv or playing Wii. That's what they would do right?  Can't they see I run from one responsibility to the next beginning each day at 6:00 am and mercifully ending at 10:00 pm?  Nope, but it's a nice thought. 

This dish is perfect for a normal crazy day.  I created it in desperation as something to serve with teryaki salmon.  It was so tasty!  You can use leftover rice, but I sure liked the flavor from the rice cooked in stock.  The veggie amounts are complete estimates (which is honestly how I cook by just throwing stuff in a pan) so use a veggie portion that sounds good to you!

Fried Rice
(serves 6 as main dish, 10 as a side)

2 C chicken stock
1 C rice
3 T canola oil
1/2 lb ham, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Tb minced fresh ginger
1 C chopped carrots
1 C chopped mushrooms
1/2 C chopped celery
1 C chopped green onion
1/2 bag frozen peas
2 eggs
6-8 Tb soy sauce
2-3 Tb sesame oil
fresh cracked black pepper

1.  Cook rice in chicken stock according to package directions.  Allow rice to cool completely before continuing.
2.  Heat wok or large skillet to high heat.  Add canola oil and ham.  Cook until ham browns then add carrots and celery.  Saute for 1 minute, then add mushrooms, garlic and ginger.  Saute for 1 minute then scoot all ingredient to the sides of the pan and crack the two eggs into the middle.  Scramble the eggs until cooked and mix them into the other ingredients already in the pan.  Add frozen peas, green onion and cooled rice.  Continue to saute and mix until evenly combined.  Add soy sauce (amount depending on your tastes) and mix until combined.
3.  Remove from heat and drizzle the sesame oil (amount depending on your tastes but it is strong so be cautious) and black pepper.  Mix thoroughly and serve immediately.

Apple Cinnamon Scones

To go along with my fun new blog header, I decided to quickly post these babies.  I've had fun playing around with the sour cream scones I posted in the fall and these are one of my favorite variations.  They are packed with fresh apples then rolled in cinnamon sugar before baking.   Yum!  If you want to up the "pretty factor" just drizzle them with some powdered sugar glaze.

You can find the original recipe here and make the following changes:

Orange Zest

1 tsp cinnamon
2 C apple, peeled and diced small
cinnamon sugar 

1.  Follow all original directions adding cinnamon with the dry ingredients.  Mix in apples before adding the sour cream mixture.
2.  Roll cut scones in cinnamon sugar before baking.


Since my poor blog has suffered from such neglect over the past month, I decided it needed a bit of redesign.  I'm glad to finally be away from the classic Blogger look with this fun new background.  I hope in the near future to take a bit more time and keep playing with the design and content, so if you read my blog via reader, click on over every once in awhile and see the changes around here!

Banana Crumb Muffins

When you are the mom of a newborn and are in the midst of diapers, sleepless nights and baby puke, it is so hard to imagine anything quite as miserable as your current experience.  I think today though I felt something much worse.  You see, I sat in my pew at church watching my now 12 year old baby Benjamin pass the sacrament for the first time completely flabbergasted at how fast the time has gone.  I then glanced over to a young man who is leaving for his mission soon and had the wind knocked out of me realizing how little time I have left before Benjamin will be a missionary as well.  

I know I sound like an old lady when I say this, but to all young moms out there that are completely overwhelmed with their tasks, take just one small moment today and love, snuggle, kiss and smooch that baby all over before they are "too big and too cool" for such attention from their Mom.  I have to tackle and pin down my 12 year old baby on the couch to get in that kind of love anymore, but that's why I work out right?
These muffins weren't a hit with the above mentioned Benjamin, but everyone else thought they were a tasty treat for breakfast.  I will probably add one more banana next time to increase the intensity of the banana flavor.

Banana Crumb Muffins
makes 10 muffins

1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 C sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/3 C butter, melted
1/3 C brown sugar
2 Tb flour
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 Tb butter

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease or line muffin cups.
2.  In large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 C flour, baking soda and powder, and salt.  In separate bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter.  Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened.  Scoop batter into muffin tin.
3.  Mix together brown sugar, 2 T flour and cinnamon.  Cut in butter and sprinkle topping over muffins.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.