It turns out I have more to complain about.
1) Elizabeth has been in A Mood, although Paul points out that after two weeks we need to stop referring to it that way. She doesn't like her clothes either on or off, she doesn't want to be held or not held, she doesn't like any food or drink and she doesn't want us to take it away. She screams. And when she's affectionate and happy, she expresses it by biting, and by lovingly slamming her skull into my face.
2) The baby is hurting me with all the moving around. Seriously, this is stupid: I have to make this baby INSIDE MY BODY? That's ridiculous. What a stupid, stupid idea.
3) I need to eat something. There is nothing Good To Eat. If I don't eat something good soon, I am going to LOSE IT.
4) This house smells like diaper pail. A stuffy diaper pail.
5) I finished the last disc of Sports Night. Now there are no more.
6) I'm going to have to put that car seat back into the car. I hate doing this. It's going to be worse with the tum in the way.
7) Our new hospital co-pay is FOUR TIMES our old one: from $250 for just the mother, to $500 each for mother and newborn. I am reminding myself that $1000 for a c-section, 3-day hospital stay, and newborn care is a huge bargain, and we are very very lucky to have insurance. But we were even luckier when we had it for $250.
8) Rob's regular teacher is out for a month for surgery, and didn't come back as scheduled because her recovery hasn't gone as quickly as hoped. Rob's substitute teacher told the class that the reason she's not back is because she won't come back until they all understand fractions. Rob won't believe me that it is a joke, and he wants his regular teacher back very badly, and he is getting upset with the classmates who don't understand fractions. I think this is a sucky joke for the substitute to make. I don't know whether to send in a note about it, or just let it go since the regular teacher will be back soon.
9) I like Jif peanut butter, which costs more than twice as much as the store brand I make the children eat. Paul, because of some stupid reason like that "I didn't tell him," has been feeding my secret jar of Jif to the children. So when I went to get the jar just now, it had only teeny scrapings in it.
I'm baking brownies. Do you know what I've noticed about good brownie recipes? They are expensive. Three sticks of butter! Entire box of baking cocoa/chocolate! Two tablespoons of vanilla extract!
Today I'm trying the Alton Brown recipe Shannon contributed. I've modified it a little bit, by taking out instructions such as "sifted," except for the brown sugar because this is the first time in my life I have seen brown sugar listed as an ingredient when it isn't supposed to be packed. But I took out all the other sifteds, because the day I sift my flour is the day I was born in the 1920s, and I don't really care if it's hurting my recipes. And I didn't sift the brown sugar, either, I just left the instruction in.
Alton Brown's Cocoa Brownies, modified certainly for the worse by Swistle
(here's the original recipe for you purists who like to do things "correctly" and "so they turn out right")
4 large eggs
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar, he says "sifted" but...whuh?
8 oz. melted butter
1-1/4 c. cocoa
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan. Preheat over to 300 degrees F. In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars. Add remaining ingredients and combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes. They're done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Remove to rack to cool. Resist temptation to cut into brownies until they're mostly cool.
I managed to let them cool before eating them, mostly because I've been so crabby and sulky I didn't want anything that might make me feel better. Now I've eaten one, okay two, and I can make my report.
These brownies are in a different league than other brownies I've made. I was a little crabby about 1-1/4 cups of cocoa in an 8x8 batch (the last ones I made had only 1/3 c. of cocoa), but I did say "more chocolatey" so I don't know what I thought I was whining about. Not only are these way more chocolatey, they're much thicker, too: about half again or even twice as thick as the brownies I'm used to.
These are so dense and rich, I wasn't tempted to eat my usual long strip of samples. I had one, okay two, and then I haven't felt the urge to nibble. They're heavy, and they're dark. I suspect that people who like dark chocolate would like these brownies even better than I did. They're very, very good, but I would save these for special occasions. They're not the right kind for eating mindlessly out of the pan while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. These are the cheesecake of the brownie world.
A note on the kosher salt. It's a weird choice. Kosher salt, for those of you who can't proudly whip a box out of the cupboard, is the kind that's in little chunks. Typically it decorates large soft pretzels. When you are eating a brownie made with kosher salt, you will periodically crunch down on a small nugget of salt. I'm not the only one who thinks that's strange, right? William took a bite of his brownie and said, "Hey! I tasted one of those SALTS!" It was yummy, the way chocolate-covered pretzels are yummy, but I think next time I would try the recipe with regular salt.
Baking time is 45 minutes, but I left them in for 52 minutes and the center is still wetter than I'd like. Alton Brown notes that brownies usually bake for an hour, but he likes his brownies really moist. I like them less moist than that, and so I'm going to try a full hour next time.
Gift ideas for an 8-year-old, part 2 of 2 - Last week I talked about the gifts we were getting/considering for Edward, who is turning 8 next month. This week it’s Elizabeth’s turn: not “girl gifts,” ...