We’ll get to the brownies in a minute.
I have to write out this commentary on life first.
How we choose to live largely determines how happy we are. How we live is a direct result of our world view. And everyone chooses a worldview.
A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend who is very careful to protect her happiness. She chooses to participate in the things that make her happy and to move on when something isn’t meant to be. She believes that things are meant to be learned from. Listening to her stories, her travels and her life’s choices made me aware of a question.
Is it possible to do what we want to do?
For the last several years I’ve lived in expectation of the next period of life—to be done with school, to marry my love, for Ethan to be done with school, to save enough money to travel, to get enough time to be more creative and learn another language, to do the Big Thing I was going to do with my life, etc.
If you were to make a list of the things you really want to be doing, but aren’t because of “real life,” money, or other constraints would it be long or short?
Mine was long. And that was both depressing and ridiculous.
And that’s part of the reason I’ve started this blog. I finally have a little bit of extra time in my day and, Ethan, God bless him, made the very good point that if you’re making enough money to pay your bills and work toward your other goals, it’s possible that you could enjoy a little bit of life and not spend it racing on to the next thing. Thus more cooking, more photography, more writing and less focus on money and filling my time for the sake of filling it. We all choose priorities whether we admit it or not. Necessities are not always necessities and you can choose to do what you want. I had run out of excuses by the time the aforementioned conversation happened and so small steps are being made to choose to do what I want to do.
That being said, Realists, I’m a self-proclaimed ally. It isn’t as easy as just making one decision, but I think that is where it starts. Time is of often required and effort and letting go of a tightly controlled life where there is always a plan. But you are not powerless. Your worldview, your faith or your God leads you and everyone chooses.
Brownies. In keeping with the above thought journey, the other night at Caribou Coffee on my cell phone, I bought Rosetta Stone Italian Levels 1-5 Language Learning Software for $200. It was 60% off the usual price and it was about time. It still seems like a terrible lot of money, but I will be learning Italian at night in my apartment while I cook, with my husband who has been exhibiting a terrible, very stereotypical Italian accent around our house since this purchase was made. I apologize if he does it in public around any of you. This action was a big step for me. I do not typically 1) spend a lot of money on something I want that I don’t need 2) choose to do something all of a sudden that I’ve wanted to do for five years 3) buy things on a cell phone. I suggest trying all three.
So to wrap it up there was much celebration in the Caribou Coffee about my changed life and how I am going to be able to speak another language next week and so we went home and celebrated with…
THE ULTIMATE FUDGY GLUTEN-FREE BROWNIES!
Also, the bad Italian accent? If you hear Jersey Shore meets Luigi from the animated movie Cars approaching say hi to Ethan for me.
This recipe is a combination of some tips and tricks from a brownie recipe from the miracle cookbook Gluten Free Baking by Rebecca Reilly and my best friend’s brownie recipe. It took me two tries, but I promise, these are homemade eat-half-a-pan-full brownies with that rare thin chocolate skin that only box mix brownies possess.
How to achieve happiness in a pan:
Grease a 9×13 pan and preheat the oven to 350°F.
First, if making gluten-free, prepare your flour mix. I used the following: 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup white rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch and 1/3 cup tapioca starch. TIP: Make big batches of whatever mix you use so you can just dip out of it like a bag of flour. It can be a process.
I like to mix my dry ingredients first so combine 1 cup flour or GF mix, 1 tsp xanthan gum (if using GF mix), ½ tsp baking powder and ¼ tsp salt.
Stir 2 cups sugar, 2 tsp vanilla and and 2 eggs (3 eggs if you want more cakey brownies) into the melted butter.
Add the ¾ cup cocoa and stir until blended.
It becomes this delicious chocolate syrupy looking pot of goodness.
Add the flour to the cocoa mixture and mix until combined.
I like to add some chocolate chips, because CHOCOLATE!
Pour into the pan and use a spatula to even out the batter if need be (it’s a bit thick).
Wait in anxious anticipation for 20-25 min depending on how gooey you want them. And then take them out, gaze upon the delicate film on top, cut into the soft, chewy-ness and put it on a plate and eat it!
Below is a brownie from Batch 1 which were delicious but had too much flour which because there was rice flour, meant that they were a bit grainy and a little bit crumbly. I underbaked them to keep them gooey, but they were not as fabulous as the ones above.
We enjoyed ours with Prosecco. I recommend it.
Prioritize goals, have them in the first place and celebrate! Preferably with some variation of chocolate and wine. 😉 UPS just stopped here and so I have to go make the delivery guy uncomfortable with my excitement that my box of future language learning possibilities is here.
Ciao for now!