Sunday, March 1, 2015

Size Really Does Matter - Monday Morning Mississippi Mud Brownies

Friday - I finished crocheting the hat and I am perplexed.  Even though I went down a bit on the size of the crochet hook, it is still, in my opinion, too big as well as too long.  So I frogged back one full row, and if and when I ever get up from this corner of the couch, I'll try it on and check in the mirror.  But I don't hold out much hope, and I see myself frogging back even more, and fiddling with the increases.

I find this frustrating.  The hat is pretty, and I like the yarn I picked, but it is simply not working out as a hat for a chemo patient.  If anything, it should be a little snug to make up for the lack of hair.  Now the pattern called for a 4.5 mm hook - that's a G hook.  I tend to crochet (and knit) a little loosely, so I almost always go down a size of hook or needle.  When I started to crochet the hat, I chose a 4.25 mm hook - that's a G hook.  Yes, I know.  But maybe I need to go down one more size, to a 4.0 mm hook.  That's a G hook.

Yeah, I know.  It's totally annoying.  Not only the whole size thing, but I know from experience that a 4.0 mm hook can result in a tight stitch, which is not usually desirable.  I see myself frogging the whole darn hat.  I see myself doing that tomorrow.

I also see myself making spaetzle tomorrow, to soak up flavors from the pork stew I made earlier in the week, and the sausage, peppers, and broccoli I threw into the crockpot earlier today. That's not a recipe, that's a clean-up-the-fridge sort of deal which relies on a jar of bottled marinara sauce to pull the ingredients - frozen Italian sausage, sweet baby peppers, onion, and frozen broccoli - together.  A can of diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, granulated garlic, salt, pepper, and a touch of sugar.  Four hours on High.  Oops. I guess that's a recipe.  Enjoy.

Saturday - I know I told you about my new toy, a Cuisinart griddler (like a George Foreman - very cool).  Yesterday I finally unboxed it and tried it out.  What I had in mind was to try heating up a couple of  frozen Perdue chicken patties that have been in my freezer, unopened, long enough to be approaching their "use by" date.  The results were very positive; the patties were cooked through evenly and had a nice crust.   Tasty snacking with some honey-mustard sauce.

This morning I attempted a grilled cheese with bacon. Very simple - two slices of white sandwich bread, two slices of extra-sharp cheddar, a slice of cooked bacon broken up so as to fit on the sandwich.  I think I need to learn a little more about my cool new machine before I offer to whip up a half dozen grilled cheese for friends or family.

Please stop laughing.  Please.

One of the symptoms of fibromyalgia/CPS is a sudden change in vision.  I did not know that, and was totally unprepared for my inability to see at a distance, which developed over the past month.  It was scary; I could not see signs nor the faces of people walking towards me.  I have had the same eye prescription since I was a teenager, 20/500 in one eye and 20/550 in the other.  I always considered myself blind as a bat, and adapted to that reality a very long time ago.  Third grade, to be precise.  That's when the blackboard turned fuzzy and stayed fuzzy.

I made an appointment at Target Optical, where I have been getting my glasses for years.  Once I got there, I politely declined having my pupils dilated, and the exam went pretty quickly.  The good news is that I do not have cataracts.  The bad news, not unexpected, is that my vision has deteriorated, a lot.    Those new glasses cannot come fast enough.  20/700, for crying out loud.

Cooking plans for today went out the window, but for a good reason - we decided to go out for Thai food tonight, at Chai Thai in Hunter's Creek.  Oh my.  The food there is always fantastic and tonight was no different.  Robert ordered the roast duck with panang sauce; Cory had yum woosun, which had extra thin noodles and ground pork and other stuff; and I ordered the duck noodle soup.  The bowl was the size of a large mixing bowl and every element was both simple yet incredibly delicious. The hoisin chicken legs can wait till later in the week, and the spaetzle, well maybe tomorrow.

What could not wait were the brownies I wanted to bring in for my office peeps.  Since the recipe starts with a brownie mix and is ridiculously easy, I went ahead and finished them off.  They are pretty, with a marbled frosting of marshmallow fluff and chocolate frosting, and hopefully tasty.

Monday Morning Mississippi Mud Brownies

1 pkg, brownie mix
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water
2 extra-large eggs
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup white (vanilla) chips
7-8 oz. marshmallow creme
1-1 lb. container creamy chocolate frosting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with nonstick spray. In a medium mixing bowl combine the brownie mix, oil, water, and eggs.  Mix with a wooden spoon until just blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips and the vanilla chips.  Spread the batter into the baking pan.  Bake for 28 to 30 minutes.

Remove the brownies to a cooling rack.  Scoop the marshmallow creme onto the hot brownies, and as the creme softens, spread it across the entire top of the brownies.  Remove the cover and seal from the container of frosting.  Set in the microwave and cook for 30 seconds.  Stir it, then pour over the marshmallow.  With a butter knife, swirl the frosting and marshmallow to create a marbled look.  Cool completely before cutting.  I like to put frosted baked goods in the refrigerator, especially those I have to cut.  Pretty, right?

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