Ghirardelli Chocolate Brownies

This is the same recipe used in the “Ghirardelli Chocolate Brownie Mason Jars” post. I decided to post it by itself so the friends and family who received the brownie mix can make it again on their own.

brownies

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups White Sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips
3 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract (fun fact: if you don’t have vanilla extract you can substitute it with maple syrup!)
1 Stick Butter (Melted)
2 eggs

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Beat eggs separately, then mix all ingredients a large bowl.

3. After you’ve mixed it well, transfer to a greased 9×9 baking dish.

4. Bake at 350 degrees 35 to 40 minutes.

The original recipe before my tweaks can be found here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/brookes-best-bombshell-brownies

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Movie Night Kit

My coworker, Virginia, loves to make her own popcorn while her husband is out of town on work trips. For her Christmas gift I decided to make her a movie night kit for while her husband, Brian, was out of town. It was super easy to throw together and I’ve attached links to everything I bought!


movie night

 

What I used:

1. Popcorn Bowl- World Market, $9.99

2. Haribo Gummy Bears- Found at most convenience stores for around $2

3. Dean Jacobs Old Fashioned Popcorn Kit-  Soupbase, $11.95

4. White Cheddar Popcorn Seasoning- I bought it from William Sonoma for around $5 but it’s no longer available. You can find seasoning anywhere.

5. A bottle of Prosecco (because it’s her favorite)

6. A Redbox gift card would also be a nice touch! (I was putting this together last minute so I didn’t have time to do that)

For the Sign, I printed it out then glued it to a piece of red construction paper. I taped it to the top part of a bendy straw, shoving the longer part into the bowl filled with raffia. This made it stand out and move where I wanted it!

She already had a popcorn maker convenient for the microwave but I saw this one and thought it was awesome! It’s glass so you don’t have to worry about what chemicals might be coming off the plastic containers. It’s $22.50 at William Sonoma, click the picture to see it on their website.

 

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Milly’s Pumpkin Dog Treats

I made these dog treats for my dog, Milly’s first birthday as favors. I recommended everyone keep them in their freezer to preserve them longer, since they only last as long as human cookies. Everyone said their dogs couldn’t get enough! It’s pretty simple and the smaller your cookie cutter the further your treats will go.

millys treats

Ingredients

4 eggs
1 can pumpkin
4 tbsp. dry milk
1/2 tsp. salt
6 cups whole wheat flour

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350.

2.  In large bowl, whisk together eggs and pumpkin. After you’ve mixed it well, add the dry milk and salt.

3.  Gradually add the flour while mixing.

4.  Once you’ve mixed everything together, move the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll it out. Using your cookie cutter, cut your cookies out and put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Ball up whats left of your dough and roll it out, cutting more until you run out.

5.  Bake cookies for 20 minutes. Remove the sheet and flip them over, then bake for 20 more minutes.

dog treats

dogtreatss

 

Cornish Game Hens

cornish game hens

Ingredients

4 Cornish Game Hens
24 Cloves Garlic (Get the containers of pre-peeled garlic cloves to make it easier)
1/3 c. White Wine
1/3 c. Chicken Broth
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 lemons cut in half the long way
3 tbsp. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

*You will need a Baster for this recipe, or a large spoon will work.

(If you decide to cut this recipe in half which I often do, only change the number of hens, lemons, and rosemary- keep everything else the same for better flavor)

Directions

1.  Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Remove giblets from your hens and rinse them off. Pat them dry with a paper towel and place in a large baking dish (spray with non stick spray).

2.  Rub hens with 1 teaspoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place 1 lemon half and 1 sprig of rosemary in the cavity of each hen. Surround the hens with the peeled garlic cloves and put in the oven for 25 minutes.

3.  Reduce your temperature to 350 degrees and mix the wine, chicken broth, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl. Pull out the baking dish to pour the mixture over the hens then return to the oven for 25 more minutes. Baste or use a spoon to pour the liquid from the dish on to the hens every 10 minutes or so.

4.  Remove the hens from the heat, letting all juices in the cavity drain. Put them on a separate plate with foil lightly covering it and pour juices and garlic from the dish into a pan. Boil about 6 minutes and spoon sauce and garlic on the hens.

The sauce is great on garlic mashed potatoes!

cornishhens2

The original recipe before my tweaks can be found here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cornish-game-hens-with-garlic-and-rosemary/

Beer Olympics

This summer I planned my first Beer Olympics. What is Beer Olympics, you ask? It’s a series of drinking games played by several teams in order to find out who can handle it like a champ. I’m going to run through each game we played, what was needed, and how we did it. While Beer Olympics is usually picking countries, we decided to go by team colors and assemble teams once everyone arrived. That way no one was able to have no shows, and people felt comfortable arriving with only one friend and no pre-planned team. visors

I purchased these colored visors from OrientalTrading.com.There were a few of them that came with the stitching coming out so we just went with the colors in the best shape.

I went to Michaels and found these Mason Jar Mugs that were perfect for the winning team’s gift. We made five, since that was the most you could have on each color team. We used Sharpie Glass Paint Markers to write “2014 Beer [olympic rings] Champs.” They were a big hit and everyone really wanted to win to get one.

beer trophy

I assembled the trophy, which will remain with the hosts as more of a decoration to take a picture with every year, with beer cans and duct tape. Eleven beer cans with 6 on the bottom, four in the middle, and one on top. I used gold duct tape and hot glue to stick the cans together, sprayed the entire thing with Gold Spray Paint, then used scrapbook letters and beer caps (colored with the Sharpie Paint Markers) to decorate the front.

I created a Leaderboard using a Presentation Board so it would stand by itself. I printed out the different color teams on cardstock with a piece of scotch tape on top to easily move it after each round.

A few rules to go by
1. Each team will have 5 players (depending on the turn out you might want 4 to create more teams).

2. One person per team is allowed to sit out of the pool race, but must have another teammate swim twice in his/her place.

3. Each team will be allowed ONE celebrity opportunity so the late comers (people who can’t come until later in the day but still want to participate) can step in. This is only if a player can’t go on and wants a replacement.

4. Each player must contribute a 24 pack of beer (preferably something light so you don’t explode). This seems like a lot but its much better to have more than enough if someone forgets to bring some. (We used a plastic baby pool with ice for all the beer. It fits way more than a cooler would.)

Games

balloon dodgeball

Water Balloon Dodgeball

– Two teams compete against each other
– Each team is given 25 water balloons in a bucket, placed in front of the dividing line.
– When you are hit with a water balloon you have to leave the floor immediately and chug a beer.
– If you are hit but the balloon doesn’t pop you are NOT out and can use the balloon again.
– If you catch a balloon without it popping the thrower is out/ you can’t cross the line (Basic dodgeball rules)
– First team to eliminate the other team wins OR First team to run out of balloons loses
– Winner moves on in bracket

water relay
Water relay
– 5 cups per team (or however many per team) filled at the end of each lane
– If someone wants to sit out of this relay their team has the option to let a player swim twice.
– Draw the lane order out of a hat
– Player must swim to the end, chug beer and swim back
– Players must slap hands with the next person to complete lap
– Last person must jump out of the pool to show the team is finished
– Scoring will be by ranks (if 6 teams- 1st place gets 6 points, 2nd place gets 5 points, 3rd place gets 4 points, 4th place gets 3 points, 5th place gets 2 points, 6th place gets 1 point)
– Need to draw order of teams to pick where they want to stand (edge or middle)

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This was definitely the most fun of all the events, obviously we were lucky to have friends with a pool!

Flip cup (the only game I forgot to take a picture of, but everyone knows this game)
– 5 cups per teams of 5 filled with same amount of beer
– 1 table for every 2 teams
– We all know the rules to this one-
– Each team will play each other 3 times, best out of 3 wins.
– Winner moves on in bracket
ice cube tray chugIce cube tray chug (everyone said this was the hardest game, but funny)
– 5 ice cube trays per team
– Everyone fills up their tray to the top of the cube line
– Like flip cup, players cannot go until the player next to them finishes.
– Each player will drink all the beer out of their trays through a straw.
– The first team to completely finish all of their trays wins and moves on to the next round in bracket.

ice cube tray chugg

dizzy bat

Dizzy Bat

– One player per team is the pitcher
– Player chugs a half cup of beer, spins around with their head to the baseball bat 5 times, then has to hit a beer can thrown by teammate
– Everyone else on the team must take turns drinking, spinning, and successfully hitting the can.
– First team finished wins. (if 6 teams- 1st place gets 6 points, 2nd place gets 5 points, 3rd place gets 4 points, 4th place gets 3 points, 5th place gets 2 points, 6th place gets 1 point)

refs

I hate beer and love wine so I gladly took the referee position with my roommate as my co-ref.

The winners? Team Purple!

beer olympic champs

I’ve attached a link to my entire folder with everything you need to buy, more pictures, and everything you’ve seen here. I hope you throw a great Beer Olympics!!! Beer Olympics Folder

2014-07-26 16.27.23

Ghirardelli Chocolate Brownie Mason Jars

I made these as Christmas gifts this year for close friends and family. I found one of the top rated brownie recipes on allrecipes.com, cut the portion in half to fit a quart size mason jar, and made the labels on Avery.com

christmasbrownie

What you’ll need

1 Quart size mason jar with lid (I bought cases of 12 online, Kmart has the cheapest if you sign up for the free membership but otherwise Michaels has individual ones)
Ribbon
Paper for labels, or look into Avery products for easy design and printing
Measuring cups and spoons
5 Paper plates (or a Funnel if you have one)
Metal Spoon

Ingredients for Jars

1 1/2 cups White Sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips (feel free to use more to fill the jar up completely)

Directions

1.  Measure out each ingredient onto individual paper plates.

2.  Fold the plates to create a funnel and pour in each layer. The order I used was 1) Sugar 2) Cocoa Powder 3) Flour 4) Salt 5) Chocolate Chips. After each layer, use your metal spoon to try to even it out and make a smooth line. Flour and Cocoa are the hardest because it sticks to the sides, just make sure you funnel those in as far as you can so it lands in the middle so you can spread it out.

3.  Just add your ribbon and label and you’re done! Don’t forget to add the rest of the directions.

Directions for baking

You will need:
Brownie Mix
3 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Stick Butter (Melted)
2 eggs
1 9×9 baking dish

Instructions:
1. Mix jar contents in a large bowl.
2. Add 1 stick melted butter, 3 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 2 beaten eggs and mix.
3. After you’ve mixed it well, transfer to a greased baking pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees 35 to 40 minutes.

The original recipe before my tweaks can be found here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/brookes-best-bombshell-brownies

Spicy Chili

This is the best chili you’ll ever make! You only need one large pot with a lid. The first time I made it I bought diced tomatoes on accident and it completely changed the recipe for the better.

spicy chili

Ingredients

3 lbs. Ground Beef 90/10 (you want less fat so there is not as much to drain) or Ground Turkey 93/7
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 large jar Pace Hot Salsa
4 cans Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies (not drained)
2 pkg McCormick’s Chili Original Seasoning Mix
1/2 can Hanover Light Kidney Beans (drained) – You can use the entire can, it’s just your preference
1/2 can Hanover Dark Kidney Beans (drained) – You can use the entire can, it’s just your preference
1 tbsp. Garlic Powder
1 tbsp. Garlic Salt

**Don’t forget the Sour Cream and Cheese to top the chili (and cut the spice!)**

Directions

1.  Brown the chopped onion in a large pot on high heat.

2. Add the Ground Beef to the onions and mix while browning the meat. Once meat is cooked, drain any remaining grease.

3. Return pot to stove and lower heat to medium low. Mix in the Salsa, Rotel, Chili Mix, Light Kidney Beans, Dark Kidney beans, Garlic Powder, and Garlic Salt.

4. Cover and let it cook for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. The flavor is best when it has a couple hours to cook. Drop the heat to low if it starts bubbling.

The original recipe before my tweaks can be found here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/debdoozies-blue-ribbon-chili/ 

Marty’s Stuffed Shells

Ingredients

1 8 oz. bag Mozzarella
1 small container Ricotta Cheese
½ cup Parmesan
1 Egg
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Pepper
1 lb. Ground Turkey
1 12 oz. box Barilla Jumbo Shells
2 jars Spaghetti Sauce

Directions

1.  Boil the shells as directed on the package, then rinse under cold water. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Brown the turkey meat in a separate pan and drain.

3. In a large bowl, combine mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, egg, salt, pepper, turkey.

4. Coat the bottom of a large baking dish with the tomato sauce.

5. Stuff each shell with the mixture, just enough to where you can still close it. Line them in the pan as you fill them so they stay closed.

6. Pour spaghetti sauce over filled shells.

7. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

8. Remove the foil and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.

Original Recipe credit goes to my boyfriend’s Stepdad, Marty Brennan 🙂

Baked Mac N Cheese

Ingredients

Main Dish
1 lb.           Barilla Cellentani Pasta Noodles
½ Stick      Butter
3 tbsp        Flour
1 tbsp        Powdered Mustard
3 c.            Milk
1 tbsp        Dried Minced Onion
1                Bay Leaf
½ tsp         Garlic Powder
½ tsp         Paprika
1                Egg
1 c.           Crumbled Bacon (I cheat and use 1 bag of Oscar Mayer Bacon Bits)
1 tsp          Salt
Pepper to Taste
2 (8 oz.) bags      Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 (8 oz.) bag       Shredded Gouda Cheese (You can buy a package of sliced gouda a rip it up)

Topping
½ stick    Butter
1 ½ c.      Panko Bread Crumbs
This recipe can feed a crowd! I double the recipe for parties over 20 people as a side, and for crab feasts where people are hungry for the carbs!

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Separate items into 4 bowls. I find this makes life easier and cooking faster!

First bowl- Flour & Powdered Mustard

Second bowl- Milk, Onion, Bay leaf, Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Garlic Powder

Third bowl- Egg (whisk by itself), Bacon

Fourth Bowl- ½ stick butter

3.  Bring a large pot of water to boil, add pinch of salt and cook pasta 6 minutes (noodles are still a little hard). Empty water out of the pot as soon as 6 minutes are over and set aside.

4.  In a large pan melt ½ stick butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving until it turns a nice “blonde” color.

5.  Stir in the Milk, Onion, Bay leaf, Paprika, Salt, and Pepper for about 5 minutes, then remove the bay leaf.

6.  Stir in the Egg, Bacon, 1 bag of Sharp cheddar, and the bag of Gouda. Slowly mix in the noodles with a rubber spatula to make sure its evenly mixed.

7.  Butter a baking dish then pour in the entire pasta mixture.

8.  Top the dish with 1 bag of Shredded Cheddar Cheese evenly spread out.

9.  Microwave ½ stick butter until melted and toss the Panko bread crumbs to coat. Top the dish with the buttered Panko bread crumbs.

10.  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes until Panko is golden brown.

The original recipe before my tweaks can be found here: Alton Brown’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Maryanne’s Stuffed Peppers

stuffed peppers

Ingredients
1 lb Turkey meat (93/7)
1 small Onion, chopped
1 package Taco Seasoning (McCormick’s HOT preferred)
1 package Sloppy Joe Mix (McCormick’s preferred)
1 small can Tomato Sauce
Water
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Chili Powder (depending on how hot you want it)
1/2 box of Uncle Ben’s Boil-in-bag White Rice (two bags)
6 Green Peppers, tops cut off and hollowed
1 bag of Mexican cheese blend

Directions

1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Brown turkey meat and onion in a large pan on medium high heat. Drain remaining grease.

3.  Add taco seasoning, sloppy joe mix, Worcestershire, chili powder. Add the tomato sauce then fill the empty can up halfway with water and add it to the pan.

4. Stir and lit simmer for 10 minutes. Cook rice as directed on box in a separate pot.

5.  Add rice to meat mixture and mix well.

6. Fill each pepper with the ingredients from the pan and stand them up in a baking dish. Add a cup of water to the bottom of the pan to help steam the peppers.

7. Top each pepper with cheese. Cover the entire dish with foil, I spray the inside of the foil with Pam so it doesn’t stick to the cheese. Cook for 40 minutes.

When I make it really spicy I serve it with Sour Cream!

Stuffed Green Peppers

Original Recipe credit goes to my friend Victoria’s mom, Maryanne Schulz 🙂
(NOTE: She uses ground beef for hers so that’s an option as well)