Weekend Update

>> Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hi there,
Happy Monday! What did you do for your weekend? Hopefully you got to rest, relax, and maybe do something a little fun.

I got to do something AMAZING! A once in a lifetime opportunity!

We went to see Hillsong United live! It was awesome, amazing, and such an inspiration. I know this picture doesn't even do close to justice of what it was like, but here's a little snapshot of what it looked like.
Here's one of my favorite songs of the concert (Unfortunately Brooke Fraser wasn't there singing like in this video)! They are currently on a U.S. tour, so you should check out and see if they are coming near you. It's an awesome opportunity to worship.

I also made some of the best brownies I've ever had in my entire life. They are the perfect combination of the crunchy outer crust and the soft, gooey, perfect middle. You will not be disappointed. And the best part, they are super easy. How can you beat homemade, awesomely tasting brownies?! Oh wait, I guess by adding salted caramel ice cream from Bi-Rite you can! :) It's like an explosion in your mouth!

Here's a few notes on them. In order to melt your chocolate and butter, it works best to have a double boiler, I just happen not to have one. Here's how you can make it happen without one. In a small sauce pot bring an inch or two of water to a simmer. Place a metal bowl on top that is large enough to rest on top without falling inside. You want to avoid the simmering water touching the bottom of the bowl.

You will also definitely need to use an 8 inch METAL pan (you will be putting in an ice bath later so you risk your glass pan breaking from the change in temperature). I currently don't own a metal square baking pan either, so I used a round cake pan and they turned out still amazing! I think I need to do some kitchen shopping. My list is currently at a metal square baking pan and a double boiler - just from this recipe!

Amazing Brownies (Adapted By: Baked Bree)

1 stick of butter
4 ounces unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour

1. In your homemade double boiler or real one, place your butter and bittersweet chocolate. Allow to melt completely.

2. Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla and mix by hand until well blended with a spatula or wooden spoon.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating fully before adding the next one, till batter is silky smooth.
4. Mix in the flour and stir until mixture begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.
5. Pour the batter into a metal pan lined with parchment paper.
6. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until edges of brownies pull away from side of pan.

7. A few minutes before your brownies come out of the oven, prepare an ice bath in a container bigger than your pan (I used a pie plate, but if you use a square pan like a normal person, than a 9x13 would work great). Place hot brownies directly from the oven into the ice bath and allow to cool completely to touch. Unwrap from parchment paper onto cooling rack or cutting board and cut into squares. Then enjoy the moistest most amazing brownie you've ever eaten!!!


I Can't Wait To....

>> Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm linking up with Carissa today over at Lowercase Letters.
Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1. Make these gorgeous treats....

These have been on my "must bake list" for quite some time... however, I haven't had a kitchen scale. Remember a few weeks ago, when I talked about CSN stores letting me do a review on an item in their store?

Well, I finally decided, that it was high time I got myself a kitchen scale. So I picked out this beauty, and just got confirmation that it was shipped today!! :) You will all have some pictures of some lovely macarons coming your way!!!!
(Side Note: Macarons are a french dessert, and are usually measured in metric units, so you have to have a kitchen scale for the most accurate measurements, making yummy treats!)

2. Speaking of Bakerella...
Do any of you follow me on twitter? If you do, you noticed on Friday that I found out Bakerella was coming to San Francisco on Saturday for a book signing of her new book, Cake Pops!!

So, I dragged Archie up there with me in the pouring down rain! I totally geeked out on her, and I only hope she can forgive me for totally gushing, being super odd and strange, and telling her, "I have a food blog too!" What an idiot I am! :) In fact, I'm hoping she just forgets me all together, and then we'll all be good. I did get a picture though! :) And she signed my book - so at least I'll remember meeting her. By the way, her book is GORGEOUS!! And it's filled with the most amazing pictures of all of the most creative cake pops you've ever seen. You should go buy one... and find where she's signing books near you... and make a fool of yourself so she forgets meeting me! :)
My sister and her family came....
And we all had the best time ever. We did so much in just a week's time, but it was awesome! I love those kids!!! Here are a few quick pictures I was able to capture.

Just the Girls

Archie and Gavin looking at the Sea Lions in San Francisco - I LOVE this picture!

The whole gang at the Golden Gate

At Muir Woods (the Giant Redwoods)

They quickly became best friends. Gavin walked Capo around my house (inside) on a leash, and Capo willingly let him do it. All... day.... long...

The boys getting ready to surf at Carmel

Isn't this the most amazing view!

Tough guys!!

Hope you all have a great week!


Buffalo Ranch Chicken Dip

>> Friday, February 4, 2011

My sister and her family arrive on Monday!! I'm so excited, I might not sleep until then. I figured out this week that there will be 8 people and a dog in a 900 square foot house for one week.

That means that we will each get about 100 square feet each of living space! :) haha... And that doesn't include closets and the bathroom! (yeah, we only have 2 bedrooms and one bathroom!) They will be ready to go to China at the end of the week. The forty hour plane ride will seem like heaven to them!

I'm very excited to show them around, give them a tour, let them see where I live (they haven't been to California since we moved here), have them meet my friends, come with us to South Bay, and spend some great time with them before this big venture! I can't wait for my nephews to see the train right out front of our house, or the airport on the other side! :) And I'm going to take my sister out for a fun surprise day... I can't tell you what we're doing because she might read this! ;) I'll give you all the fun details after we go.

In the mean time, here's another recipe you can use for Sunday for the Super Bowl... if you're interested in that sort of thing. We, on the other hand, will only know the score the next day when someone tells us. ;)

This recipe is one of those things that sounds super fattening, and gooey, and maybe kind of gross, but I'm telling you, it's super addicting. Every time I've made this, everyone comments how they just can't stop eating it!! The Frank's hot sauce really makes this dip, so DON'T skip on this and try some other kind of hot sauce. You can find this in the same aisle as all the hot sauces. The sauce makes the dip very spicy, but in a good way - and I'm a wimp when it comes to spice. If you think it will be too much for you, just add less, and you can always add more at the end to spice things up. Or if you like things on the spicy side, just add more to taste.

You can definitely make this dip for you - including adding blue cheese dip instead of ranch, or even some crumbled blue cheese! YUM. I might have to try that... Inspiration on the spot. :)

Buffalo Ranch Chicken Dip (Adapted from Frank's)
2 cans 12.5 oz each canned chicken breast (like Swanson's), drained
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup ranch dressing
3/4 cup Frank's Buffalo RedHot Sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. Heat drained chicken and Frank's Buffalo Sauce in skillet until heated through.
2. Add ranch dressing and cream cheese and heat until through until cream cheese is melted.
3. Mix in 1 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese and stir until melted.

4. This is the part where it doesn't look so good, but it will sure taste good soon! Transfer mixture to a crock pot and place remaining cheddar cheese on top until dip is heated through. Serve with tortilla chips, crackers or fresh veggies.