bring on the brownies

There are a lot of good excuses to eat brownies and the Superbowl is one of them…this is one of the best brownie recipes…enjoy

4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 cups chocolate chips
Directions
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan
2) Crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.
3) In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Or simply combine the butter and sugar, and heat, stirring, until the butter is melted. Continue to heat (or microwave) briefly, just until the mixture is hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating the mixture to this point will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.
4) Add the hot butter/sugar mixture to the egg/cocoa mixture, stirring until smooth.
5) Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.
6) Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9″ x 13″ pan.
7) Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

help a friend, whenever you can

Dear Mom, I have a friend who offers to help people and volunteers to do things and then she calls me to help her. She makes her offer to help my problem. I feel bad saying I won’t help so I help her and then I hate myself for doing something that I don’t want to do. What should I do?
The real problem is you don’t know how to say ‘no’. Start by saying ‘no’ when you really don’t have time or can’t help. Once she gets used to you not always being there for her maybe she won’t ask as much. But, it’s not a bad thing to help a friend, as long as you can do it selectively.  You don’t always have to made your life harder to make her life easier. Helping a friend is a good thing, you never know when you’ll need help some time.

 

three’s too many

Ask mom, I need an answer. I have a friend who I make plans with and she almost always shows up with her boyfriend. When I ask her why she brought him she tells me that he wanted to come and that she didn’t want to say no. I never get to spend time with her alone and I don’t really like him. How do I tell her to come alone or not at all when we make plans?
You can’t say that to her unless you want to risk ending the friendship. There are a few things that you can try… plan things that he might not want to do with you and your friend or make plans with both of them specifically sometimes and maybe he’ll get the message that he is not automatically included every time.  Maybe he needs a friend or a pet or a hobby?

better to give…

Hi Mom- I had a dinner party and some people brought little gifts, but I didn’t know whether to open them during the party or not. What is the right thing to do?
There might not be a right or wrong answer, but I think that you should open the gift with the person who gave it to you and say thank you as soon as it is given to you. If it’s flowers put them in a vase and display them, if it’s something you can use at the party you should use it. Don’t make a big ceremony out of opening the gift so that the people who showed up without a gift won’t feel bad about coming giftless. If a guest shows up with a bottle of wine, thank them as they give it to you and serve it at the party.

if you can’t trust him

Dear Mom, I have a friend who does not always tell me the truth or leaves out stuff that he doesn’t want me to know. How can I tell when he’s telling the truth and when he’s lying to me?

It sounds like if his lips are moving assume he’s lying! He made a big mistake the first time he lied to you or was selective with the truth because now you’ll never know when you can believe him and when you can’t. You can choose to take the high road and trust him until he is caught lying again or question everything he tells you, but why bother staying friends if you never feel like you can trust him?

brain food

If you haven’t done a good job eating “the right foods” this week this recipe will make up for it. This salmon recipe is easy, delicious and good for you…have a sweet potato and a salad with it and be proud of yourself you’re doing great. One day at a time…
Simple Pan Seared Salmon
Serves 4
4 6-ounce salmon fillets
Salt
Pepper
Smoked or sweet paprika
Olive oil
Butter
Sprinkle the salmon fillets generously with salt and pepper, and dust with a little paprika.
Coat the bottom of a large, heavy-bottomed pan with oil, add a couple tablespoons butter and place over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and the butter is melted, add the salmon fillets, skin side down. Cook, without moving, until the sides are cooked just past halfway up the fillets. Flip and cook, without moving, until the sides are fully cooked, then remove from the heat for medium-rare. Serve warm.

who eats what?

Dear Mom- I am having a party and everyone invited is on a different diet. How do I make food for all of the different diets?

Don’t cook. Make sure that you have a lot of fresh veggies and fruit and order the rest of the food from a gluten-free place, vegan place and any other “foodie” place that you can think of or tell the really restricted people to BYO.

go your separate ways

Dear Ask Mom: I am going to my hometown for a visit, but I don’t want to stay with my family or friends. How do I stay in a hotel and not insult anyone?

Even if they say that they are insulted they probably aren’t, so it’s ok. Being a houseguest and having a houseguest are each lots of work, unless you live in a mansion with servants, I don’t. Enjoy spending as much time together as you want to and then go your separate ways to relax or do whatever you want to do. You’ll look forward to seeing each other more that way…

silence is golden

Dear Mom, I hate the music my best friend listens to and he hates my music. What can we do besides listen to some of each, that’s not a solution.

I agree that’s a terrible solution because then one of you is unhappy all the time. How about listening to a podcast or some golden silence…

help

Hi Mom, I like to invite my friends over for dinner and I do most of the cooking. Usually the girls offer to help clean up, but the guys don’t. Is it ok to ask the guys to help clean up too if they don’t offer to help?

Absolutely, you’re doing their future others a big favor…