Sunday, December 30, 2012

Back on Track

Well the holidays are nearly over and a young lady's fancy turns toward New Year's resolutions. I gained a whopping 2.6 lbs over the holidays. Okay, that's not a lot but I spent the last 10 weeks or so losing 16 lbs so gaining feels like going backwards.

So, even though I made the most awesome Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Icing just yesterday, I am getting back on track tomorrow. No, not today because it is after 8 pm right now. I brought the brownies with me to church and shared them with my fellow worshipers. I received wonderful accolades (no, not acolytes) and no longer have all those calories in my house. I also, brought my mother-in-laws rum balls (I didn't know what they were, just that we weren't eating them and figured I would share the wealth), which went over like booze infused hotcakes.

I don't tend to make New Year's resolutions because like most people I just break them and it makes me feel bad, generally before February. Although I do think about what I want to change each year. Reflection is one of the first steps to change. What I have done for the last few years is a Word of the Year project. I am still trying to decide between two words (to be revealed at a later date). Previous words of the year have included: Joy, Relationships, and Humble Servant.

What I know I want to do is lose weight. I joined Weight Watchers in October. My mantra since then has been "Eat Less, Move More, No Excuses". I was doing well too, until December hit. Then, I stopped exercising, stopped logging my food, and stopped losing weight. That is officially over.

Starting tomorrow, I will write down (online) everything I eat. "If you bite it, write it." I will figure out a way to exercise each day, and I will reach my goal of 4 activity points per day. If you are not familiar with the Weight Watchers Points Plus program, I highly recommend getting yourself to a Weight Watchers meeting. It makes a lot of sense. Unless of course you don't struggle with your weight in which case Yay You!

Incentive Jars
Starting tomorrow I am going to get 2 jars and 101 pennies (or marbles if I can find them) and put my 13 pennies in my lost jar and the rest in my left to go jar. Then for each pound I lose, another penny is moved. I have been posting a picture of myself on my Facebook page each week on weigh in day so that I can have a visual representation of my weight loss journey.

Here I am last week
So, wish me luck or join me on my journey. 2013 will see a thinner me!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Red Velvet Brownies

I have always said that boxed brownies are so good that no one could make a scratch one that was better enough to make it worth my time to make it... I was SO wrong.

My church had an auction in September 2011. I donated my services of baking a dessert a month for a year and our interim pastor Marti won the auction. Unfortunately an illness kept her from taking advantage of it right away. So, next week I am making these Red Velvet Brownies for her. I figured I would make them this week for 2 reasons.

OMG Freakin' YUM!

  1.  I have a new mixer that I wanted to test. (Thank you, Bumbly. It is an awesome Christmas present.)
  2. I like brownies
I got the recipe from

So first, my new, red Sunbeam mixer rocks! Okay, it is not a high end mixer but I am a chef, not a baker. So, I don't use mixers much. The biggest reason my Bumbly bought it for me was for the bread hooks. I have never made fresh bread but I am looking forward to trying that too.

Oh, and I am not a chef by trade, just by passion. I am a geek by day.

Anyway, back to the brownies. 

Ignore the mess in the background. I am a chef not a maid.

Cream room temperature butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Okay, too much flash on this picture.

Better but that shadow there is the camera.

Much better. The batter will be dry and crumbly.

Add the eggs 
One at a time

Then the vanilla

Mix cocoa powder, red food color (a whole bottle a.k.a. 1 ounce) and vanilla.

Add it to the mixer. (Look at that great color!)

Add flour and salt

Mix until just combined

Spread in pan

Bake for about 25 minutes

Bake until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean. (Important tip: don't use a red toothpick.)

Cool completely

Here is where things went badly.

Melt white chocolate and set it aside. Cream butter with mixer until fluffy. Add vanilla. SLOWLY (this is VERY important.) mix in powdered sugar (might even want to sift it first). Then mix in white chocolate. Add enough milk to reach desired consistency. Mine was very lumpy. Until my hubbie pressed it through a fine strainer.

Then it was perfect!

Ice the brownies once they are cool. (We couldn't wait so the icing got a little melty.)

And eat.
I will be making these again.