Saturday, April 4, 2009

Quick and Easy Dessert to share

As I mentioned in my previous post, we needed to bring a snack to the barn on Friday evening. If you know anything about me, I never bring anything too plain. Simple yes but never too plain. So the thought process began in earnest Friday afternoon. I decided to combine chocolate chip cookie dough with a box of brownie mix. This was so simple that I am almost embarrassed to share it with you. Just don't give our little secret away.

Make the brownie mix according to the directions on the box for a 13 x 9 pan. Pour into the pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Then make any chocolate chip dough mix you like OR buy a box of chocolate chip dough mix at the grocery store. I believe that Betty Crocker has a mix. Once mixed, pour the mix over the brownie dough. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. When it cooled I made a chocolate ganache to spread on top. Sounds pretty fancy but it is almost as easy as opening a can of premade frosting. To make the chocolate ganache place in a bowl 9 oz of bittersweet chocolate that has been broken into small pieces. At the same time, cook 1 cup of heavy cream in a sauce pot till just before boiling. Once at that stage pour the cream over the chocolate pieces. Let it sit for a little while it melts the chocolate pieces then whisk till it is smooth. Spread it over the brownies and let it sit - yes that is a must. Let it sit for about 4 hours before you cut the brownies otherwise the brownies won't be firm enough to handle the cutting and the ganache will drip all over. Enjoy your dessert.

Barn Dancing

We are beginning to have a social life here in our new community thanks to the YMCA. While playing tennis there, Darrell met a woman who invited us to go to Clark's Ole Time Music Center at Clark's saw mill in Raphine. We were game for anything so we put on our best country clothes and joined Renata and her date for a fun evening. We were instructed to being a noni-alcoholic drink and a snack to share. Renata is well known there and she had a table reserved for us at the saw mill.

$5 admission is what they charged for a night of clean fun, country music by a live band, door prize and snacks from the communal table. Well, if you know anything about me, I don't know anything about country music. I grew up in the big city (Boston) and moved to a larger one (metro Washington DC) and just wasn't exposed to it. Darrell and I stumbled along learning the 2 step and a few other dances.

As we are dancing around the dance floor, we look up at the decorations on the wall. There is a large Confederate flag, pictures of General Lee and other Civil War southern generals. A little out of our element but fun nevertheless. We opened ourselves up to try something different and it was fun, clean entertainment. Everyone was very friendly to us.

Last night we went back for our second time. When they announced a Paula Jones dance, I vaguely remembered what it was - women in the inner circle, men in the outer walking in opposite directions. When the whistle blows, the man nearest to you grabs you and takes you for a spin till the whistle blows again.

What fun we had and I am sure that we will go back again to Clark's Saw Mill. Before we do that, Darrell wants to go to a western wear store and get a western shirt to wear. He's even talking about buying me boots! (these boots are made for "dancing").

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Stash Sewing Challenge

I belong to an online group over at Delphi Forums comprised of women who love to smock and sew heirloom clothing. If you are a sew you are familiar with your fabric stash. Stash are those pieces of fabric that we buy knowing exactly what we are going to do with it but just don't get around to do that sewing. Then we see another gorgeous piece of fabric and buy that as well. And we keep buying and buying. The purpose of this contest challenged us not to purchase anything. However, if we need something to finish an outfit such as a button, then we are able to purchase it. We get points base how much smocking there is in an outfit, whether it was a new technique, how old the fabric is, etc. I entered this challenged not expecting to win but instead being challenged to finish some UFO's (unfinished objects) and to use some of the fabric that is taking up space in at least one closet and a chest of drawers! Anyway, I wanted to share a few of my favorite outfits that I sewed this past month.

If you are a smocker, let me invite you to our site: