Monday, December 26, 2011

Brownies and cookies and frosting. Oh My!

I hope everyone had a wonderfully Merry Christmas this 2011.  I was surprised by my husband with a Canon Rebel camera for Christmas.  With the risk of sounding like I am from the "Valley" in the 90's...the only way to describe it is like totally awesome!  It has so many features that I have barely scratched the surface in my learning to use it.  I was able to take a few nice pictures with it over the Christmas holiday.  One of them being these brownies.  I thought I would share the photo and the recipe.  These are now my favorite dessert to make.  They are pretty darn easy and extremely decadent and delicious.  

Chocolate chip cookie brownie bites

1 box of chocolate brownie mix ( I get the kind with Hershey's syrup in the box)
1 packet of chocolate chip cookie mix
1 container of chocolate frosting
depending on your mixes, you will need the ingredients on the box

Make the brownies by the box directions and put them into a large rectangle pan, 9x13 is what I used.   Put them in the oven (for about 7-8 minutes) while you mix the cookie dough.   Once the cookie dough is mixed, take the brownies out of the oven and drop all of the cookie dough by spoonfuls into the brownie batter.  The cook time varies.  My box of brownies was calling for about 30 minutes.  It likely will take longer than what the brownie box says, so I started checking with a toothpick in the center at about 30 minutes.  Mine actually took about 40-45 minutes.  You don't want the center to get to firm, they may be tough if you do.  As soon as the toothpick came out pretty clean when I inserted it into the center, I took them out of the oven.   Let the pan cool slightly.  Take a fork and poke holes throughout the brownies to let some of the frosting sneak in.  Use your microwave to melt the frosting just until it is pretty easy to pour and spread.  Cover the brownies with the frosting, you can use as much as you like.  I used about 3/4 of the container.  Let the them cool and cut them with a sharp knife.  Eat them!  :)

Here is another photo, one of me with my Christmas dinner outfit on, I was happy with what I put together. 
This was one of the last outfit pictures that I took with my old camera.  Along with my new camera, I now am the proud owner of a TRIPOD!!  Yeehaw!   I will now be able to get much clearer photos because the new camera is sooo much better too. 

So the outfit, this is a long grey fitted top that I got at Rue 21 this year.  The black vest I have had for years, love it.  The brown belt came from TJ Maxx, but it has been a couple of years since I got it.  The boots I got on Ebay by Tommy Hilfiger.  The tights came from Walmart.  They are more like a really tight pair of black stretch pants.  I love them because they are much thicker than some tights.  Got them this year for $5.99.  One of my favorite items are the boot socks and infinity scarf.   Thanks to Pinterest, I have learned to cut my old sweaters into pieces.  These socks are the arms of a sweater and the scarf is from the sweater bottom!   I was so excited to find this tip.  So far, I have cut 6 or 7 sweaters into pieces and have added soo much to my wardrobe!   Love it! 

Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

French Dip Subs....

French dip sub.  Three little words describing one of my favorite sandwiches.  I have always loved the whole au jus dipping experience and flavor that goes along with the French dip.  I used to get the sandwich at Arby's.  The problem was, when traveling and eating on the go, the French dip is not very "eat on the run" friendly.  Being an experienced driver, I managed to eat it, but it definitely was a little tricky to dip and drive without wearing most of the au jus in the process. 

The Crock-Pot.  This one has always eluded me.  You see, I am a constant stirrer-watcher kind of cook.  The idea of leaving my pot at home all day to sit all alone without me watching it, drives me crazy.  So, I took the Crock-Pot to work with me a few times.  This did not work out all that well.  This pot is meant to be left alone.  The steaming from the lid and the whole process of trapping the heat in, this is how it works its magic.  Being in the same room with the Crock-Pot, I could not leave it alone.  I would still look and stir many times throughout the day.  Resistance was futile.  So, I decided to try a recipe that I found for the French dip sub and to leave my pot at home.  Although I fretted all day thinking about it, it actually worked without me being there!  I came home to a wonderful aroma that filled the house, and a beef roast that was fork tender.  It was sitting in a nice bath of au jus, just waiting for me to eat it. 

So all that being said, here is the recipe that I tweaked to my liking and photo of the results.  :)

3-4 lb roast with fat trimmed
garlic salt
Greek seasoning
1 packet onion soup mix
2 bottles of dark beer
4 beef bullion cubes
a couple of dashes of Worcestershire
water to cover roast (usually 2-3 cups)

In your crockpot, season roast well on all sides with the garlic salt and Greek seasoning.  Sprinkle in the packet of onion soup mix.  Add the 2 beers.  When adding the bullion cubes, I like to dissolve them in a cup or 2 of water in the microwave for about 30 seconds, this way they get dispersed evenly.  Pour the Worcestershire and bullion into the crock.  This may be enough liquid, depending on your roast.  If not, add enough water to just cover the roast.  Cook on high for about 8-9 hours.  The meat should be fork tender.  As soon as I get home, I use 2 forks and shred the meat while still in the au jus and let it sit for about 20 minutes in the juice.  You can turn the pot off, it will stay plenty warm.

You can use this meat however you like.  It works well with French bread or any type of sub roll.  Slice the rolls in half and cover with a layer of the meat.  Add provolone cheese and broil in the oven until the cheese is melted.  You are now ready to grab a bowl of the au jus and dip away!