Jamie’s Fudgey Brownies

It’s Saturday night. You just finished dinner and have started to load the dishwasher when it hits you. Chocolate. Slowly your mind begins to spin with the need and desire for something rich, chocolaty, and guilt inducing. The obvious answer; brownies. You begin to open your cabinet to grab the mix and…

NO. STOP. Drop the brownie mix right now because you don’t need it anymore. You heard me. Drop it. It is so extremely important to me that you learn how to make brownies from scratch. That’s right, no box needed. Trust me on this one, okay?

Because just imagine a world where you are “that girl”. The girl who slaved away in the kitchen making homemade brownies for that work meeting. The girl who took that extra step for her daughters fundraiser. Pretty nice picture right? Except that while people assume you worked soooo hard on these brownies, they actually only took you about 15 minutes and you watched “You’ve Got Mail” while they baked.

I was having one of those chocolate cravings one night when to my dismay I realized we had no brownie mix. Unsatisfied, I considered devouring the pop-tart in my cabinet when instead I came to the revolution that I would not fall victim to my box mix reliance ever again.

Fudgey Brownies

This brownie recipe has quickly become the one of my dreams. Fudgey, gooey, mega chocolaty, and the best part? The recipe consists of mostly common baking staples (so you will never be caught off guard again).

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Meet Hemingway and Fitzgerald… My Herbs

School has now been out for roughly a month which for me means one thing: renovation. Now I don’t mean this in a “diy/ fixer upper” sort of way. I mean in a “how can I get my life together, there must be something missing” sort of way. In the past these “self renovations” have included various hobbies such as yoga (can’t touch my toes), scrapbooking (too much organization), and even a sad pet fish (“it’s preparing me for motherhood!” *fish dies*)

However this summer I am taking my first step to one of my greatest aspirations… gardening!… Meaning an herb garden… meaning potted plant gardening… meaning 2 herbs.

BUT it is a start.

Introducing Hemingway (Basil) and Fitzgerald (Thyme). Because I firmly believe that if you want strong, robust herbs you must name them after strong, robust people! Also they were an impulse buy at Walmart.

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Before I get started let me just say…. I have NO idea what i’m doing. This is not a post for your to learn from nor to gain ideas from. I have yet to realize why growing my own herbs felt so extremely important to my life’s balance, but it did.

And of course after purchasing and naming them, what kind of “herb mother” would I be if I did not buy them proper homes.

IMG_3512Another Walmart impulse buy. If I was crafty, I would spray paint them and add cute designs. Instead I filled them with dirt.

IMG_3517To each his own.

I’m really not even sure what kind of soil I used for poor Hemingway and Fitzgerald, I found it in a bag in my barn. But dirt is dirt right? Don’t answer that.

While potting your herbs it’s important to encourage them and give them the constant support a mother gives to her child. Here are some of my own examples:

“Are you feeling okay? Because you look great”- “I don’t want you to worry about how things will turn out, let me do the worrying”- “You need to stand strong and be brave, it can be a scary world out there”- “You have such beautiful roots, I know you will be just fine”- “Treat each day as an opportunity to find self growth”- “Change is a good thing honey, change leads to growth”

And so on…

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Finally after a riveting self debate about how much soil was too much soil, Hemingway and Fitzgerald were properly watered and parted ways gracefully. Hemingway sunbathing on my back deck and Fitzgerald keeping it cool in a nice shaded area.

If you, my dear friend, do have any advice for a blossoming gardener (get it?) please leave a comment, your help is appreciated. However, if you have only criticism to share on my horrific skills I ask that you keep them to yourself, negativity stunts the herb’s growth.

Love,

Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Jamie…

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And as usual. Brad, the herb sniffing, cat.

Kebabing fun for Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day!

In appropriate celebration for this gracious 3 day weekend, a party was thrown including a disastrous Jell-O Shot attempt as well as my very first Kebab experiment. And what kind of friend would I be if I did not allow you to learn from my experiences?

Let’s begin with a brief, yet adamant lesson on Jell-O shots. A few points:

1. Don’t be lazy. Our biggest mistake was refusing to drive to Walmart after already spending an hour and a half at Kroger, therefore we settled with what the package claimed to be “Gelatin Shot Cups”

Jello Shot cupsThey look something like this. Our thoughts: “It says right on the cup that they are made for gelatin, of course they’ll work.

Wrong. So Wrong.

Just make the trip to Walmart.

Because since these particular cups are paper based, the warm jello slowly oozed it’s way through, making them leak all over our refrigerator. This causing a huge, sticky, boozy mess.

2) Jell-O shots, when crafted appropriately, are an awesome idea. Make them festively colored and rock it.

3) Don’t get too creative, they are meant to serve a single purpose and are not worth too much of your time.

Got that? Good. Moving on to Kebabs.

When crafting the menu for this party, one thing was obvious; it needed to be grilled. Because America. And because we had a lot of chicken. After several trips to the grocery store and inventory of several houses we decided on 3 basic Kebabs.

Hawaiian:

IMG_3503Greek:

IMG_3504and Traditional

IMG_3505For starters, can we allow ourselves a moment to marvel at these colors? One of my biggest food inspirations, Giada De Laurentiis, always comments on the color of her food but this is the first time I totally get it. The yellow from the pineapple and the bright purple onion I mean… come on. How could anyone pass up on a Kebab that looks this stunning?

To tell you the truth, I really didn’t follow any specific recipe or guide in creating these, which I think adds to their simplistic value. I did allow the chicken and beef to hang out in it’s chosen marinade; Hawaiian, Lemon Pepper, or Bourbon. After that it was simply a matter of chopping and creating.

What I love about Kebabs is your ability to be creative with them. Find different combinations! Chose some of your favorite veggies and fruits to make your own concoction. If you have kids, let them get involved in choosing what they’ll try and what they won’t. In my head, this is what cooking is all about. Sometimes you don’t need a recipe, you just need to follow your taste buds. (Was that too corny? Don’t care. It’s true.)

So I hope you learned from my experiences and are feeling committed to grabbing your skewers (hehe) and creating your own kebabs for your next shindig.

Happy Memorial Day from Me and, of course, Brad the Cat

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Sugar Cream Pie

As a born and raised Hoosier, the love and desire for Sugar Cream Pie is basically in my DNA. This warm, custard pie oozes into your mouth filling your brain with pictures only of Heaven and hugs. The reasoning for that is simple…

Sugar Cream Pie literally consists of cream, butter, and sugar. With ingredients like that, how could anything go wrong? While your diet may not allow it, how could you ever pass up on an entire stick of butter and two beautiful cups of half and half. Sprinkled with cinnamon and just a pinch of nutmeg, Sugar Cream Pie is the high school boyfriend we never got over.

Can I let you in on a little secret? I mean we’re friends right? Right. I have never made a pie crust from scratch. That’s right… Never. Don’t tell anyone okay? In fact I have even upfront lied about this fact (mostly to my family) because little do some know that store bought pie crust is pretty darn good! It’s true, along with Digornio Pizza, and Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, I like to think science has done some pretty amazing things with its freezing technology. I prefer Marie Callender’s brand although for this particular pie I used a regular Pillsberry and it turned out just fine.Sugar Cream PieSo let’s tie on our aprons and kick our families out of the kitchen because it is time to focus! (Not really, Brad the cat is eyeing my cream and Mom is giggling at my picture taking).IMG_3478But real quick, can we just take a moment together to appreciate this lovely couple? Because I feel like the moment you see Cinnamon and Nutmeg on the ingredients list you know it’s going to be special. That is all. Thanks for that.

Moving on

So you start by combining your sugar, cornstarch (yes it really is 3 tbsp, I also checked twice), and salt into a medium saucepan. Add both your creams and then stir over medium heat.Sugar Cream PieIf you’re anything like I am the idea of stirring over a saucepan is terrifying. So many horrific stories of creams boiling over and sugar burning to the bottom. I know. Take a deep breath. Everything will be okay, we can get through this together.

You need to stir constantly to make sure that tricky sugar doesn’t get stuck to the bottom of your pan… Pull up a chair and use this time to really connect with your thoughts. Or turn on the tv. That’s what I did.

Keep stirring, do not give up, do you hear me? This is a test of endurance. And just when you start to think it will never thicken you will start to smell the beautiful aroma of warmed cream. Soon after that the cream will slowly thicken (no I promise it’s not just your arm getting tired) and you will pull out your spoon and see something like this Sugar Cream PieNever has cream, sugar, and 3 tablespoons of cornstarch looked so glamorous. Finally you may remove your saucepan from the heat and add in your little chunks of heavenIMG_3487Oops, did I say heaven? I meant butter… but sort of the same thing right? Also add in your brown sugar and vanilla and stir to combine. Quick word of advice? Sprinkle in the brown sugar instead of adding one large clump, this will allow it to easily dissolve into creamy goodness. Pour this mixture into your pie shell and sprinkle with that dynamite duo, cinnamon and nutmeg. This time I was actually able to fill two pie shells, although that could be from my very shallow Pillsberry crusts.Sugar Cream Pie  Let them hang out and get to know each other in a 325 degree F oven for 30 minutes. While you wait use every ounce of power you have not to lick out every drop from the pan… and then do it anyways because you just worked hard!IMG_3490As your house fills with that sweet aroama slowly pull out your not so difficult, Sugar Cream Pie.

Sugar Cream PieSugar Cream PieOne of mine bubbled over but that’s okay! I mean, who ever complained about too much pie filling? No one. And if they do, don’t be friends with them. Eat one piece, and then a second because calories don’t count when you made it yourself.


Sugar Cream Pie

9inch Pie Crust
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups half-and-half cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp vanilla
Sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Add half-and-half and heavy whipping cream.Stir consistently over medium heat until cream thickens and bubbles slightly. This can take awhile.

Remove from heat and add in butter until melted. Sprinkle in brown sugar and vanilla and stir to combine. Pour in pie shell and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg according to taste.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes, pie should be bubbling. Let cool and serve at room temperature.

About Jamie

A junior in college on a mission to succeed… in anything. My name is Jamie Schueler, born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. As a Public Relations student at the University of Saint Francis my passions have blossomed into roughly 5 main categories. 1) Books 2) Animals 3) Baking 4) Theatre 5) Travel While not always in that precise order… those 5 vastly different topics all define who I am and what my future holds. Those 5 will be the bases for this blog. I plan to share some of my largest influences, inspirations, and even a few of my own adventures. But mostly I hope to learn from this experience and gain the knowledge necessary to capture the future I desire. With only a short summer and my cat named Brad to keep me motivated, here is to a new adventure. Thanks, Jamie BradtheCatSelfie