Thursday, July 28, 2011

Peanut Butter Mousse Brownies

I combined two delicious recipes to make this.  I will give credit to both sources at the top of this post because they really deserve all the credit!

The Original Recipes:
    Baker's Scrumptious Brownies
    Sweet Pea's Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies

1 pkg. (8 squares) BAKER'S Unsweetened Chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
5 eggs
3 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt butter in a large glass bowl.  Add chocolate squares and microwave on high 30 seconds.  Stir until chocolate is completely melted.  This takes patience and it's nice to have a second set of hands for this. Cool slightly.
Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer and whisk attachment on high speed 10 min. Add slightly cooled chocolate mixture; beat on low speed until well blended. Gradually add flour, mixing until well blended after each addition. Spread into 13x9-inch baking pan, bottom greased only.
Bake 35 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool on counter for 30 minutes, and then refrigerate until cool to the touch. 

Spread brownies with Peanut Butter Mousse and chill 30 minutes.
Peanut Butter Mousse
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter softened(1 stick)
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk
Combine all ingredients in large mixer bowl of electric mixer and mix on medium, and then high until whipped.  Pause to scrape down sides often.  Allow to rest 30 minutes covered.  Mix again on high for 1 minute.  (This is a process I learned in decorating class so you can avoid sifting powdered sugar and get a really smooth frosting.  
Spread on brownies and chill 30 minutes.  Top with "Ganache" Topping and chill another 30 minutes.  Cut into 24 pieces.

Chocolate "Ganache" Topping
1 Pkg. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Smooth Peanut Butter
1/2 cup butter(1 stick) +2 Tbl. cold butter pieces, separated

In a microwavable glass bowl, melt 1 stick of butter and peanut butter on high 30 seconds.  Stir, and heat on high another 30 seconds.  Add chocolate chips and stir until chips are melted and chocolate is smooth.  Add 2 pats(Tbls.) of cold butter and stir until melted.  This gives the "ganache" a shiny and smooth finish.  Spread evenly over Peanut Butter Mousse Filling and chill 30 minutes before slicing into 24 pieces.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Going Green

There's a little more to this being "green" thing than I expected.  I'm not talking granola green, I'm talking "cha-ching" green.  But, it turns out, granola AND cha-ching, work really really well together.  Green Granola?

Here's what I did.  I found a recipe online for homemade dishwasher detergent.  I don't have really hard water, but the money savings was awesome.  I have a great dishwasher(Bosch) so it really does do a nice job.  But, I thought, "What the heck?  I'm only out a few bucks if it doesn't work."  And it did!  It works great.  I don't think I'll go back to store bought detergent again.  My dishwasher looks bright and shiny, it really cleans the dishes and stained plastic ware, and it smells good afterwards, unlike the store bought $$$$ stuff.  Here's the original post HERE.

And any time I can use my Cricut, even better yet.

And I don't have clip coupons for dish soap anymore!

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
2 cups Borax
2 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
2 cups LemiShine or 12 packets unsweetened lemonade Koolaid(ONLY  lemonade flavor)
1 cup Kosher Salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  There is a chemical reaction of some kind that makes these ingredients clump up and get hard.  So, just set aside the large bowl on a counter away from children and pets.  Give it a good stir every once in a while for a few days.  Then store on the countertop in a sealed container.

Use Vinegar as a rinse agent.

I also just went paperless with my insurance for email Explanation of Benefits instead of mostly useless papers I just have to find a place to file, and find the time, and shred when I'm done, which also equates to wasted crap in my garbage can.  Which saves me cha-ching again, along with the added benefit of less crap in the landfills.  Which again, I'm not granola on it, but I do feel better about that.

Apps!  Check this out.  There are apps out there for your iPhone and other smart phones that save the barcodes right on your phone.  Instead of all those little member cards and key fobs(that always rip off), you just open up your app, and show the cashier, gym, rental places, your little barcode on your phone.  Just search "Key chain app".

I know there's more I've done lately, that have been little ah-ha moments for me.  I do bake my own bread most of the time.  I make a lot from scratch.  It just tastes better too.  Next up just may be homemade laundry detergent.  My daughter and I both have really sensitive skin and it can be downright painful, especially this time of year.