Wednesday, July 22, 2015

time for the next party (and brownies!)

I'm preparing for another party at my house.  This time it's the family picnic so it's a bit more relaxed.  I don't have to be a maniac about cleaning the house.  Although, to be fair, it's all just maintenance since I cleaned the house top to bottom for the anniversary party.  My house is usually fairly clean, but with having my washer and dryer in the family room now, there's usually a lot of clean clothes there that haven't made it to the bedroom yet.  And I have 10 cats, so they can always be counted on to puke up a hairball on the rug (never on the kitchen floor!) or leave their fur all over the place, especially the Persian.  The hardest thing I have to do tonight, which is actually easy and quick, is to shampoo the dining room rug.  Cuz, you know, 10 cats....

I like to do as much ahead of time as possible.  For example, I made the macaroni for the macaroni salad already. I tossed it with a little olive oil and put it in the fridge.  I'm hoping that will help it to not absorb so much mayo.  (That's annoying, isn't it?  You make the macaroni salad and you go to pull it out of the fridge and it's dry.  Almost all the mayo is absorbed.  So then you have to add more, which dilutes the seasoning.)  Last night I cut up all the cheese for the cheese and cracker platter.  If I had the veggies, the veggie platter would be ready to go by now.  I made the brownies already and they're in the freezer, ready to be thawed and cut. 

Tonight I'll do my last-minute cleaning before my cousin arrives tomorrow.  Friday I'll do the yard work and finish the shopping. Then I have to thaw the chicken, hot dogs, and burgers.  (Can't forget this!!  I almost forget to thaw the burgers for the anniversary party.)  Then Saturday morning I'll grill the chicken and finish it in the oven (my sister's awesome idea!), do the last-minute vacuuming (because 10 furry cats!), and set up. 

By the way, here's my awesome brownie recipe, which is actually from King Arthur Flour.  They're not very sweet and they're more on the chewy side. This is really the best recipe I've found and it's the only one I use.  It never fails me.  I've tried others, but they're just not the same.  You'll see the weights listed, as well as volume measures.  I've found this is really useful.  It's more accurate than volume measuring (cups).  Plus, it's a pain in the ass to measure cocoa powder with a cup; it gets all over the place no matter how careful you are.  Oh, and these brownies freeze really well.  And taste great microwaved and topped with ice cream.

A note about these brownies for post-ops:  Be careful if you decide to eat these - they're loaded with sugar.  I have to limit myself to just a couple bites.  Otherwise, I feel sick. (10g of sugar at one time seems to be my limit.)  Try a bite and see how you feel.  Then maybe another bite if you feel OK.

King Arthur Flour's Ultimate Chewy Brownies


3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 cup (4 ounces) butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) vegetable oil
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional; for enhanced chocolate flavor
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Spread the batter in a greased 9" x 9" pan.
  3. Bake in a preheated 325°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with some moist crumbs clinging to it, but doesn't show any trace of raw batter.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven and cool the brownies before cutting and serving.
King Arthur Flour's Ultimate Chewy Brownies

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