Lunch Lady Brownies

IMG_2961
Oh so chocolately, oh my!

 

 

 

When I mention lunch ladies, what comes to your mind? Long ago memories fleeting by of hairnets and flowery aprons? Sometimes kind and sweet ladies but many times grumpy stressed ladies stood before you to serve what you thought was food but you weren’t really sure  of it’s contents. I remember one lunch lady from elementary school, Mary Allbee. She always smiled at me and made me feel warm inside. I sure appreciated that during a hectic day of school and peer pressure, even in fifth and sixth grades.

 

 

 

When I remnisce about Mary, I think of the plain white bread she served with smooth and sweet peanut butter topping. It just was bread but the peanut butter sure tasted much better than ours at home. What was her secret? To this day I don’t know but it was delicous and that ‘s one of the few elementary lunch memories I have, besides the soggy limp carrot sticks my mom lovingly packed in my brown paper sack.

 

 

 

This Lunch Lady brownies recipe was shared on Facebook a few weeks back in the depth of summer. At first I thought, hmmm, I never remember great brownies baked by the lunch ladies, but maybe there were at other schools. The recipe intrigued me and I read the ingredients with a restrained awe. Then I tried them, baked them for my family and frosted them with the yummy chocolate buttercream frosting. I think the frosting made them even more delicous but I refrain from thinking that they would be good bake sale items. The frosting may be too messy to sell but great at home. The brownies are just as delicious without the frosting as well!

 

 

I share this recipe with you in hopes that you have good lunch lady memories and if you don’t, perhaps these delicious brownies can soothe your wounds. I stumbled upon this delicious recipe on Life-in-the-Lofthouse.com. Holly Lofthouse is the owner, wife and mother and has a great collection of recipes. Check it out!

 

Lunch Lady Brownies

 

1  cup butter, melted

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs

4 teaspoons vanilla

 

Chocolate Frosting, if desired
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup milk ( I used Lactose free but you could use 1 or 2%)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar

 

 

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.

Combine  melted butter and cocoa powder. I mix them together with a hand mixer.

Add the flour and sugar. Beat together then add eggs and vanilla. Mix just until combined. Don’t over mix. (Batter will be thick)

 

IMG_2958

 

 

 

 

IMG_2959

 

Pour batter into prepared baking dish and spread out evenly.

 

IMG_2960

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove brownies from oven and let stand 15 minutes before frosting. You want the brownies still warm when you frost them!

 

Chocolate Frosting:

Beat together all the frosting ingredients until smooth. Pour and spread over warm brownies. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

Enjoy this little dose of chocolate…for we all know that women have to have their chocolate!
All My Best,
Heart and Soul

 

Advertisements

Delicious Apple Carrot Zucchini Muffins

 

Pour a second cup of coffee with these yummy muffins!

 

Every year I bake zucchini muffins for my family. They are easy to put together and my family loves them. Just yesterday I was browsing zucchini recipes on Pinterest and found a new muffin recipe that sounded good, so I had to try it.

This Apple carrot and zucchini muffin recipe is borrowed from the blog at wineandglue.com. Lisa is a mom “ with a glue gun in one hand and a glass of wine in the other”. That’s my kind of mom, honest with a sense of humor! Check out her blog.

Apple Carrot Zucchini Muffins
Yield: About 18 muffins

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup oil
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp.baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup shredded zucchini (about half a medium zucchini)
1 cup shredded carrot (about two carrots)
1 cup shredded apple (about one apple)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners or spray with Pam.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and oil.

3. In another large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.

4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture. The batter will be very thick.

5. Mix in the zucchini, apple, and carrot.

6. Fill the muffin tins 2/3 full.

7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

Enjoy! My family ate these for a snack or breakfast. Either way they are moist and delicious!

 

I want to share with you all how I store muffins, cupcakes, cookies and other baked goods. About six years ago I saw these snap it plastic storage containers on QVC. They were selling a set of two and I don’t remember what I paid for them but they are handy and convenient to own. I have a handy deep one with a traveling handle and a shallow one without the handle. I’ve also seen similar containers at T.J. Maxx.

They keep baked goods fresh for me. I also store veggies like lettuce and beet greens in the refrigerator in them. Look them up if you need great storage containers for your kitchen.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

Rhubarb Custard Bars

rhubarbstalksPurdue
Shared from thelocalbeet.com

 

 

Recently I read a post from Plainsimplelivingblog.wordpress.com The author’s post was focused on rhubarb and how many rhubarb recipes are riddled with sugar. It brought me back in time…years ago when the boys were little and Tom took Dylan and his dad to Maine for a special fishing trip. I made rhubarb custard bars to welcome them home. I remember vaguely that the recipe had sugar but wasn’t overly sweet.

 

 

 

 

It was early spring, in May and the rhubarb patch was thriving and ready to pick. I picked the smaller stalks, as they were deep red and I knew were rich in flavor. I stumbled upon a recipe online and decided to surprise Tom with a yummy dessert.

 

 

 

Here is the recipe I made so long ago and I believe that within a day or two, they were long gone but not forgotten. What I love about this recipe is the subtle orange juice sweetener. It does have quite a bit sugar but you could experiment with it to find a balance that would work.

 

 



Rhubarb Custard Bars
shared from twosisterstherecipes.blogspot.com

 


Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
lightly oil a 9×13 pan
For crust:
in stand mixer, or by hand:
2 cups flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup cold butter cut into pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt

mix together until the texture of frozen peas. press firmly into pan and set aside.

for filling:
6 eggs
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup flour
whisk all above ingredients together well… then stir in 3 cups of fresh rhubarb- chopped
pour over crust. bake 45 minutes to 1 hour until center is firm. Cool completely before cutting.

 

Hopefully your growing rhubarb hasn’t gone to seed so that you can try this! If you try baking these, let me know if you enjoyed them or if you cut the sugar and your results.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

 

Hello Readers,

I came across this post that I posted last summer and want to share it with you again. This Blueberry Lemon Bundt cake was beyond delicious! Moist, full of plump blueberries and served as dessert and we even treated ourselves to a piece for breakfast one day! Who said you couldn’t have cake for breakfast…why not indulge in this scrumptious treat? I’m going to make it again real soon and look forward to seeing Tom’s face when he tastes it.

image
My Blueberry Lemon Bundt cake, much more delicious than its picture! Taken from Chew Out Loud.com, found on Pinterest

 

 

 

This particular day I decided to make a recipe I found on Pinterest for Blueberry Lemon bundt cake. This recipe came from Chew Out Loud.com. The author comments that it could easily serve for breakfast, a snack or dessert. I agree with her  whole heartedly, as we had it for dessert but enjoyed it’s rich flavor for breakfast a couple of mornings.

 

 

 

I had planned to buy two pints of blueberries and two fresh lemons at the local fruit/ vegetable stand. All the other ingredients seem to be items bakers usually have on hand. I was ready to create this fantastic cake!

 

2 3/4 cup all purpose-flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking  powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup butter

1 cup buttermilk, I substituted almond milk for this because I’m lactose intolerant and you never would know the difference!

2 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

zest of one lemon

4 tbsp lemon juice

4 large eggs

 

For Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

zest of  one lemon

2 Tbsp milk, I used Almond milk

 

 

 

Preheat oven to 350 F and make sure oven rack is in the lowest position. Grease and flour a large bundt pan. In a bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat until blended. Add lemon juice, zest and vanilla extract. Add buttermilk ( or almond milk if you’re lactose intolerant) to mixture. Fold in flour mixture until combined well. Do not over mix! Fold in blueberries gently. Pour cake mix into bundt pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes and insert sharp knife along pan edge to loosen cake.

While cake is cooling, make the lemon icing. Once the cake is cooled and popped out of pan, drizzle glaze on cake.

 

It’s that easy! A few minutes of your time equals a scrumptious fruity cake for all to enjoy! 

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vanilla Twinkie Bundt Cake

img_2167
I made this cake for a special family dinner we had in January. We were preparing for our son to return to college and I wanted to make a special meal for the occasion.

Vanilla Twinkie Bundt Cake
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, softened
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, optional ( I didn’t use this)
2 cups sugar
½ cup vegetable oil, I used Canola oil
3 eggs & 4 egg yolks
1 cup buttermilk

1.Preheat oven to 325 F. Prepare Bundt pan by spraying or greasing. Set aside.

2.In a medium bowl sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3.In another bowl mix butter, vanilla and vanilla paste together until smooth. Slowly pour in sugar until well combined and fluffy. Mix with dry ingredients.

4.Add Canola oil and beat until incorporated. Beating eggs and egg yolks, one at a time. Beat well after each addition.

5.Carefully add ⅓ of flour into wet mixture, alternating with ⅓ buttermilk until all flour and buttermilk is added. Mix just until smooth.

6.Pour batter carefully into bundt pan, smoothing over the top.

7.Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until golden brown and inserted toothpick comes out clean.

8.Remove and cool for 45 minutes. Then flip cake out of pan. You may have to go along the sides with a knife.
Marshmallow Cream

1 stick butter, softened
1 71/2 ounce marshmallow creme or Fluff
1 tsp vanilla

Beat until creamy. Transfer to piping bag or ziploc bag with corner snipped. This is a messy process so keep a damp kitchen cloth handy.
To Assemble Cake

This is messy, as well, so do it over a baking sheet to catch crumbs. Flip cake over. Cut 6 or 7 deep holes in the bottom of the cake. Be careful not to go all the way through. This is a challenge but after careful consideration, I successfully did this.

Once the holes are made, using your hands, burrow down and connect the holes to form a tunnel. Be careful not to puncture cake.

Clear the cake from the holes and discard.

Now start filling holes with cream filling. Do not overdo this because cake could burst open.

Once holes are filled, carefully flip cake over. Dust with powdered sugar.

Eat and enjoy!

 
Taken from the kitchenprepblog.com
http://thekitchenprepblog.com/2014/05/very-vanilla-twinkie-bundt-cake.html

 

 

 

This was a delicious cake! All the fuss and assembling was worth it in the end!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💗

Baking Tips

 

 

img_2190

 

 

I have never been formerly taught the art of cooking and baking. As a young woman, it never interested me and I only associated it with tireless house wives who considered it a chore. In seventh and eighth grade I had Home Economics classes and that was my first true introduction to it all. We made simple dishes, no bake cookies and rice krispies bars and I have a fleeting memory of cooking pudding on the stove.

 

 

 

 

My present baking knowledge is from observation of others and from trial and error by myself. I guess it’s true what some people say, that no matter how old you are, life is full of learning opportunities. Recently I wrote a post highlighting my friend Michelle’s exciting career as a baking instructor at King Arthur Flour. I asked her to share some useful baking tips for others and I ended up thoroughly surprised that I didn’t know some of the tricks.

 

 

 

Michelle informed me that most people’s mistakes with baking is using too much flour. People are always asking her why their bread comes out like bricks and pizzas like hard frisbees.  The key is using less flour. While many experts will tell you to measure in cups, King Arthur Flour encourages bakers to weigh the flour. A cup of King Arthur Flour weighs 4- 4 ¼  ounces.  By weighing flour and not using volume, you’ll be accurate with the amounts.

 

 

 

Another tip Michelle shares is when measuring flour, don’t pack it in the cup. ( if you are still using cups and not weighing) Instead, sprinkle the flour in loosely and level with a knife at the top. When I think of this, I think of the act of packing brown sugar in a cup. You want to do just the opposite because if you pack it, you have too much flour.

 

 

 

I have the King Arthur Baking cookbook and I noticed when browsing recipes, a commonality is the note of avoiding over mixing. I already knew this tip from blueberry muffin recipes. Michelle says to be careful not to overmix cookies, cakes, and muffins. If you mix the batter too much, there will be too much gluten. If you want tender baked goods, DO NOT OVERMIX!

 

 

 

 

A hint for amateur pie crust bakers, keep your butter cold when adding to your flour mixture. Also Michelle reminds us that using melted butter instead of softened makes a negative difference. For example,  when baking cookies make sure you leave out the butter overnight so it softens. Melting the butter will change the consistency. When you cream the butter and sugar you are supposed to put air bubbles in. If you use melted butter instead, it’s very hard to get the air in it. I didn’t know this, amazing fact!

 

 

 

 


Now that we learned some valuable baking tips…let’s get out there and bake! Use these techniques and see how much better your cakes, cookies and breads are! Share these tips with your family and friends and always have fun in your kitchen!

 

 

This weekend I’m baking a chocolate cheesecake for my son’s girlfriend’s birthday and old fashioned whoopie pies shaped like footballs for the Super Bowl. Go New England Patriots!

 

 

 

This is a heartfelt thank you to Michelle for her gift of time for the interview and her kindness.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

 

 

 

img_2167
My Vanilla Twinkie cake with marshmallow fluff inside

King Arthur Flour Baking Classes

img_2188

Meet my friend, Michelle Kupiec. I first met her a few years ago through my good friend, Laurie Burridge. Ever since we get together a few times a year for lunch. We used to go Black Friday shopping together at Wal-Mart but have graduated to a shopping day.  I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter what we do, it’s always great conversation and really fun! We are just busy working moms and wives with no airs about us, just working hard and loving our families.

 

 

Michelle has a pretty cool job at King Arthur Flour Company in Norwich, Vermont. She’s a baking instructor/ purchaser, which means that she instructs cooking classes and purchases all the supplies for the class. Michelle’s one of about a dozen instructors. If you love baking, then doesn’t it sound like your dream job?

 

 

Michelle started at the company working on the baking hotline and did this line of work for a year. Did you know that King Arthur Flour hosts a hotline? People call with their baking questions to converse with an employee, who can help them figure out what went wrong with their project. Michelle says that she enjoyed it because it was detective work to figure out what went wrong with peoples’ baking projects. One common mishap is using too much flour. Adding too much changes the consistency of cakes,cookies and breads.

 

 

 

We were all laughing hysterically when Michelle shared her favorite caller stories. One outrageous baker called with a bread emergency! Her loaf of bread was exploding and popping out of the oven! Laurie kept us in stitches, reminding us of the bread scene in the Lucy show. The woman told Michelle that she used a pound of yeast, when an average recipe calls for a teaspoon. Another caller asked where you can buy scalded milk for a recipe. This sounds like an entertaining job!

img_2198
I just watched this clip on YouTube and can’t stop laughing! Welcome to my world, yeast and I do not get along!

Presently Michelle teaches different classes from making pizzas ( one of her favorites) to breads. Baguette classes and Bread101 are popular choices and because of that, Michelle suggests to sign up early. She also instructs a Pizza From the Hearth class, where you can learn how to bake a pizza in a wood fired oven.

 

 

 

Classes consist of 12 to 16 people with one instructor and assistant. King Arthur hosts children classes, children and adult classes ( for instance a mom, dad or grandparent could bring a child) and adult children and parents are welcome to sign up as well. This sounds like a good Mother’s Day experience or just a special day with someone close to you.

img_2075

Michelle reminisces of her favorite classes, the ones with kids because they’re funny and cute. Many times the little ones wear their apron from home, such a great idea for fun and learning! Holiday classes are also popular and fun. My friend’s favorite aspect of the job is making people happy while finishing the class. It’s rewarding to her and I can see how this would be!

 

 

 

King Arthur Flour classes range from 3-4 hours for a day event. Some are long class workshops, some four and five days a week, 9 am to 5 pm. Classes on cookies, cakes, breads, pizzas and pastries all tempt the baker inside you. If you’re interested, you can sign up online at Kingarthurflour.com under the learn tab. A monthly calendar shows the class variety and times and if any there are any openings.

 

 

 

The classes start with all the participants in front, watching the instructor demonstrate. Then each person bakes the piece with guidance from the teacher and assistant. Not only do they learn a new baking skill or hone on one, they get to go home with your creation.

 

 

 

King Arthur Flour originated in 1790, the days of George Washington. The company started out near Boston Harbor, importing the product from England. Soon after, colonist farmers started growing wheat in the colonies and the flour was made here. Eventually the company made its home in Norwich, Vermont ( just a hop from Hanover, NH). The company is completely owned by its employees!

 

 

In the last 20 years or so, the flour has been available in all 50 states. Michelle says a new classroom facility is open in Burlington, Washington. This is a sure sign of progress and popularity.

 

 

 

King Arthur Flour’s facility hosts a store, cafe, classrooms for the classes and kitchen area. I visited the store last year with my mom. It’s fun to browse at different kitchen tools while instructors are creating goodies before your eyes. Within the facility is a cafe as well, where you can buy a coffee and danish or sandwich for lunch. From the tables in the cafe, sprawling windows invite you into the kitchen where the bakers are baking bread.

 

 

 

If you wish to call King Arthur’s baker’s hotline, call 855-371-2253. Monday-Friday: 7am-9pm Saturday & Sunday: 8am-5pm. You can also email them with questions by visiting the website, kingarthurflour.com and click on the contact us tab. For delicious recipes and baking help, see their blog at blog.kingarthurflour.com.

 


I have the cookbook as well, that’s jam packed with delicious and unique recipes.
Thank you ever so much for your time and great ideas, Michelle!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul