Mommy’s solo day out.

Ahhh… yes. The loner in me got to breathe a big sigh of relief on Monday when I got my very first "Mommy's solo day out." OMG… how I needed that. My mom and dad were kind enough to take LJ off my hands for the day so I could go out and do… WHATEVER I WANTED. I've forgotten what that felt like! Here's what I did:

Visited Last Chance. What a madhouse. This article sums up the experience nicely. I got two rad pairs of shoes for a fraction of their original price- SCORE!

Went to Macy's where I fell in love with and purchased a new backpack that we will be using as a diaper bag. It's perfect! Waterproof, lightweight, and SOLD OUT EVERYWHERE. Is it back to school season or something? I wasn't super nuts about the pattern initially, but it quickly grew on me. It's by Le Sport Sac, and in my humble opinion, with all the cloth diapers we have to carry around, it works so much better for us than the Petunia Pickle Bottom bag I was eyeing earlier this week… even though I love that pattern with an everlasting love.

Backpack diaper bag

I enjoyed my new favorite treat, fresh mint frozen yogurt with thin mint cookies, at Mojo Yogurt at the Biltmore. I'm slightly obsessed with this combo and think I might die if they ever stop carrying that flavor.

I ended my day by going to see this all by my solo:

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And now… all I want to do is eat pizza and drink red wine. Therefore, to feed this craving, Cody and I will be visiting Pizzeria Bianco for the very first time like… right now. We will need a babysitter for this outing. Any takers?

Pizzeria Bianco

I kind of can't stand the thought of waiting another second to eat their world-famous pizza… heck, if I can't go to Naples for my pizza like Julia Roberts did, this is no doubt a close second!

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{Pizzeria Bianco photos via The Girl Who Ate Everything}

The hubby called and texted during the movie wondering where I was and I got back to him after the movie got out. He was in a tremendously good mood, considering the fact that I had been out having fun doing things like shopping and watching movies all day long while he was at work slaving away. Then I caught on that perhaps HE was enjoying his solo time too. And he was. So I took my time getting home so he could savor it while he could.

Needless to say, as much as I enjoyed my day, I couldn't wait to get back to this face and get home to her daddy.

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As promised: Peanut Butter Brownies.

This is the peanut butter brownie post I promised you yesterday- I wrote it on my former blog back on 6/23/08. The title? A delicious disaster. How appropriate for the novice baker that I (still) am!

I really wish that, when I steam-burned myself and in my reactionary
shock of pain dropped the large glass bowl into a pot and sprayed
molten chocolate all over the walls, cabinets, our fresh fruit in the
banana hammock, and the dog's food bowl, I had thought to take a
picture of the damage. But alas, I was too busy swearing and chucking
my wooden spoon across the room and into the sink to think about such
nonsense. Let me assure you that it was quite an impressive mess, and
there was dark, buttery chocolate that ended up in places I'm sure I
have yet to discover. How none ended up on me is a mystery. But I did
manage to spy a rogue chocolate dot on the cabinet about an hour after
cleanup:

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Disaster aside, I set out today to make peanut butter swirl brownies a la Martha Stewart,
and they are baking in the oven as we speak, and they smell heavenly.
Cody is out picking up some Baja Fresh for dinner which will make for
an interesting smell combo when he gets back, but I digress. Alls I can
tell you is that I can hardly wait to get my paws on one of these
peanut-chocolatey squares, and don't you worry, if I were you I'd
totally be jealous too.

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And here we have zee fineeshed product…

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Delicioso!

Ingredients

Makes 9 large or 16 small squares

FOR THE BATTER

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
  • 2 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

FOR THE FILLING

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan
    and line with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang. Butter lining (not
    overhang).
  2. Make batter: Put butter and chocolates in a heatproof medium bowl
    set over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted. Let cool
    slightly. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  3. Whisk granulated sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs, and
    whisk until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture; stir
    until well incorporated.
  4. Make filling: Stir together butter, confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, salt, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.
  5. Pour one-third of batter into prepared pan; spread evenly with a
    rubber spatula. Drop dollops of peanut butter filling (about 1
    tablespoon each) on top of batter, spacing about 1 inch apart. Drizzle
    remaining batter on top, and gently spread to fill pan. Drop dollops of
    remaining filling on top. Gently swirl peanut butter filling into
    batter with a butter knife, running the knife lengthwise and crosswise
    through layers.
  6. Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid center and
    edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 45 minutes.
    Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift out; let cool
    completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares. Brownies can be
    stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Helpful Hint

To swirl brownies, work quickly so that batter and filling don't
set. Use two large spoons to drop dollops of filling on the first layer
of batter about one inch apart. Repeat with next layer of batter and
remaining filling. Drag a butter knife back and forth through the
layers with the tip touching the bottom of the pan.

Vanilla Raisin Scones

I have been meaning to post this for a while but just never got around to it. I made some pretty stinkin' spectacular scones over Easter weekend thanks to a great recipe from a friend and took some pictures of the process. I was really hoping for a good go of it the second time around, because the first time around, I followed a recipe that I had written down incorrectly, and the scones tasted like pure baking soda. That was gross.

Dough on the cookie sheet:

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Baking:

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My sweet monogram cup from Anthropologie, a.k.a. my happy place:

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A close-up of the finished product:

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I feel a craving coming on…

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Next on the baking list: Coconut Chocolate Chip Scones! But for now, here is the Vanilla Raisin recipe.

6 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

3 1/2 T baking powder

1 t salt

4 cups heavy whipping cream

2 t bourbon vanilla (Trader Joe's is great!)

3 cups raisins

Soak raisins in warm water with some vanilla (I winged it with the amount of vanilla- the strength of the vanilla flavor is a matter of preference. FYI, this is different from the 2 t called for in the recipe) for 30 minutes to an hour. While the raisins are soaking, mix the 2 t vanilla with the whipping cream and set aside. Mix dry ingredients. Drain raisins and mix with dry ingredients, then mix in cream. Fold like biscuit batter; cut into twelve pieces. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until slightly golden on top.