Where did 2017 go?!?!
But what a fun year to look back on! We started the year with a family trip to Disney – my boys’ first time there! It was my youngest son’s first flight….and one we will NEVER forget (not in a good way – he screamed…and screamed….for what felt like hours). Fortunately the plane ride home was a complete 180 and this went down as our best family vacation yet (obviously we had a lot of help – my parents and brother and his family came along for this one).
We also spent a weekend with the kids in Vermont – a lot less relaxing than we anticipated since the original plan was a kid-free weekend away…. but they still talk about that weekend and I’m happy it worked out that they came with us 🙂
Over the summer we took the kids on a family trip to Jamaica, this time with my husband’s side of the family. Despite major issues and delays getting both there and home (hours and hours and hours of delays) we managed a little relaxation and some great tans 🙂
My oldest son started Kindergarten and my youngest started a 2’s program for a couple hours a day leaving me with 2 hours of kid-free time for the first time in 6 years!!! What a mix of emotions!
My husband and I (thanks to my parents for the gift card and his parents for the babysitting) got to have an amazing dinner at the famous James Beard House. This was a truly unique experience and an evening we’ll always remember!
Then just over 3 months ago I dug up the courage to start the blog I had been thinking about for quite some time. As I sit here writing this I can’t believe it’s only been 3 months because SO much has happened in not so much time….. I spent the first month trying to figure out how to set up the website and just get it up and running with some basic content. Then I had the amazing opportunity to host a launch party at my favorite store – Athleta – so the next month was jam packed with planning for that and building the website out even more.
I unexpectedly received requests for some of the products I made and put up on the blog so I started an Etsy shop and even had a table set up at several ladies “shopping” events in town! I never expected to receive as many orders as I did and ended up spending most of December filling these orders! (This led to some last minute craziness trying to start and finish my own Christmas shopping less than a week before Christmas then prepare to host Christmas at our house – but with some (or a LOT) of help from my husband it all got done and I think my boys had their best Christmas yet!)
I’m really looking forward to what 2018 has in store! I definitely plan to build this blog up as much as I can and also add new products to my Etsy shop. Maybe tomorrow I will even get back to the gym for the first time in over 2 months!!!!
A huge thank you to all my friends, family and followers that have been so amazing and supportive these last several months. Especially to my hubby who does more behind the scenes for this than you could imagine (this blog probably should have been called “CanthonyGrams”)!
Cheers to an amazing 2018 filled with much health and happiness!
I was recently at the grocery store and a new Betty Crocker brownie mix caught my eye – Fudge Molten Lava. It sounded pretty amazing so I bought a box to try and it didn’t disappoint!!! However, I didn’t love the packet of chocolate fudge that came with it – it was difficult to get all of the chocolate out of the packet and it didn’t spread evenly or easily. And maybe I would have liked even more fudge…. But I loved this concept of molten lava brownies and figured there had be a better way to do something similar, and maybe make it taste even better (think peanut butter). So I played around with this just a little bit and on the second try – NAILED it! The entire plate of brownies disappeared in about 90 seconds.(And it can’t get much easier than this either!)
All you need is:
- a box of Betty Brocker Fudge brownie mix (even the classic Milk Chocolate will work fine)
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 jar Smucker’s Hot Fudge Topping (11.75 oz)
- 1 bag Reese’s Peanut Butter baking chips
- Grease the bottom and sides of 8 x 8 inch baking pan (I love the Baker’s Joy spray). Preheat oven to 350º F. Adjust rack to middle of the oven.
- Combine brownie mix, eggs, oil and water and mix with a rubber spatula until well combined and batter is smooth.
- Pour half the batter into the baking pan, so that the bottom of the pan is just covered.
4. Scoop about 1/3 jar of the hot fudge topping into plastic sandwich bag. Cut off one of the corners of the sandwich bag – just small enough to allow a thin line of fudge to squeeze out.
5. Squeeze the fudge out in lines running both horizontal and diagonal as shown below.
6. Sprinkle as many peanut butter chips on top of the fudge as you would like. (Just omit this step if any peanut allergies, or if for some reason you don’t love peanut butter).
7. Pour the remaining brownie batter over the fudge and peanut butter chips.
8. Bake on the middle rack for about 35-40 minutes. Baking time will vary by oven. The edges of the brownie should crisp up and slightly pull in from the edge of the pan. The middle should be firm if you shake the pan, but a toothpick inserted will still come out with fudge on it.
9. Let rest for 2 hours, cut with a plastic knife and enjoy!
These are seriously the BEST brownies I’ve ever had in my LIFE – and I’ve had my share of brownies!!! Go ahead and try these – I would love to know what you think!!
** Note – I did try making these with actual peanut butter the first time around, rather than the peanut butter baking chips. It was good, but the baking chips are better.
This dessert is for all the chocolate peanut butter lovers out there! What’s almost better than how this tastes is that it’s a no-bake recipe and can be put together in about 30 minutes. It’s also extremely light and not too sweet. There are so many chocolate lasagna recipes that are too sweet for me, while the peanut butter lasagna recipes tend to be too heavy. With some minor changes, I think this version is just right 🙂
- 1 package Oreo cookies (you will remove the filling – it tends to be easier on regular not double stuffed)
- 6 tablespoons butter, metled
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons cold milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 12 oz. container Cool Whip, divided
- 2 packages chocolate instant pudding mix
- 3 1/4 cups cold milk
- 1 bag Reese’s Pieces or mini Reese’s Pieces (I prefer the mini – found in the baking isle)
- Remove the filling from all the Oreo cookies (scrapes off easily with a butter knife). If you want a sweeter crust, you can leave the filling. Crush them in either a ziploc bag with a rolling pin, or using a food processor (this is much faster but more to clean). Add the melted butter and mix until well combined. Press the cookie crumb mixture into a 9 x 13 glass dish and refrigerate for about 5 minutes.
- While the crust is chilling, whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. I usually run my mixer on medium to medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until the cream cheese looks completely smooth. Add the peanut butter and mix for another 1-2 minutes. Now add the 2 tablespoons milk and sugar and mix until combined. Fold in 1 cup of the Cool Whip and spread this layer over the chocolate crust. Refrigerate 5 more minutes.
- In a bowl, combine the chocolate pudding and 3 1/4 cups cold milk. Whisk until mixture thickens then spread over the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate at least another 5 minutes, or until the pudding layer sets.
- Spread the remaining Cool Whip over the pudding layer. Sprinkle the Reese’s Pieces over the top of the Cool Whip. Refrigerate a couple hours before serving.
** If you would like to make this without the peanut butter, just omit the peanut butter from the second layer. Sprinkler mini chocolate chips over top in place of the Reese’s Pieces.
I LOVE brownies. My husband loves them. And most importantly my kids love them. But we don’t all agree on how we like them. My husband will only eat them crispy on the outside and cakey on the inside. For the kids and me, the fudgier (is that a word?) the better! With this recipe they are crunchy around the edges, gooier toward the middle, and everyone is happy 🙂
It’s always fun to make them from scratch and try new recipes, but 99% of the time I’m either in a huge rush to get somewhere or the kids are melting down so making them from scratch is not an option. With a couple minor tweaks, brownies from a box can taste SOOOO much better!
Start with the ingredients listed on the box, but add in an additional 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Prepare an 8″ x 8″ metal pan (glass just doesn’t work the same for me) by spraying it with Baker’s Joy and preheat the oven to 325º F.
Combine the brownie mix, water, oil and eggs. DO NOT over mix!!
Using a rubber spatula mix in approximately 3/4 cups chocolate chips (if you like chocolate the way I do, add even more!). I prefer Ghiradelli semi or bittersweet chips. Pour the batter into the baking pan.
You can put them in the oven just like this, or you can step it up a notch by sprinkling some Reese’s Peanut Butter chips or Reese’s Mini Pieces Peanut Butter Candy (shown here) all over the top. NOW it’s ready to go into the oven! Aside from a perfectly chilled glass of Savignon Blanc, is there anything better than chocolate and peanut butter???
This part may vary by oven, but I bake my brownies about 5 minutes less than the suggested time on the box. Anytime I follow the guidelines on the box, they come out dry and overcooked. My husband may be okay with it, but the rest of us are not!
** The most important step (and this probably goes against some rule of baking!!) is once you take the brownies out of the oven, immediately put them on a hot pad in the refrigerator. When they come out of the oven they are so hot and continue to bake until they are overcooked. Leave them in the fridge until completely cooled and then bring them out to cut and serve.