Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Another Snow Day!

Have I mentioned that I'm like a little kid on a snow day?

I'm lucky enough to work at a place that closes if it snows bad enough.  I wake up extra early waiting for a phone call saying that our agency is closed.  Usually, the phone call comes before 6 am.  This morning, at 6:25 am, I thought that we were going to have to go into work.  However, at 6:26, the phone rang!  I couldn't be more excited.  Its probably the only time before 8am when I sound alert and awake on the phone!  I promptly went back to sleep for another two hours, then woke up to start my day.  I made a list of everything  I wanted to accomplish today, and as of right now, I accomplished all but one of them.  After I write this blog, I may go finish that up, just so I can cross everything off of my list.  Why is it that crossing things off lists is so cathartic?   I feel super productive!

A few of the things on my list had to do with baking, of course!  As I mentioned previously, I normally bake cookies on snow days, but I need a little more time before I'm back in the mood for cookies after Christmas.  For dinner, I decided to make chicken noodle soup in the crockpot, and make grilled cheese sandwhiches.  That is one of my favorite cold night, comfort combinations.  I thought I'd try to fancy up the grilled cheese sandwhiches by making my own loaf of bread.  (Have I mentioned how much I love my new bread machine??)  After flipping though the recipe booklet, I finally found a recipe for which I had all of the ingredients I needed.  No way was I running out in the snow and ice to get more ingredients!  I decided on Parmesan Peppercorn French Bread.  Its sort of a joke in my family how much I love Parmesan.  Everyone makes sure at dinner to get to the parm first so that I don't hog it all!  Again, the bread machine makes it so easy to have a fresh loaf of bread in a few simple steps. 


I should probably stop taking pictures of the whole loaf of bread...from the outside, they all look the same!  However, if you look close, you can see the little bits of peppercorn.

The inside of the bread looks like a simple loaf of french bread, but when you bite into it, you can immediately taste the delicious blend of parmesan and peppercorn. 

I sliced up some cheddar cheese and made the grilled cheese extra crispy.  Grilling the bread really brought out more of the cheese flavor in the bread, and I thought it was the perfect combination!  Here's a picture of my soup that I made as well.  So simple to do in the crockpot.  Just add some leftover chicken, chicken broth, carrots, celery, onion and seasonings (which ever kind you like...I used Italian seasoning) to the crockpot and let sit for six to eight hours on low.  About 20 minutes before you are ready to eat, add any type of noodle you'd like to the pot.  I used egg noodles.  Voila!  The perfect snowy night meal.

For dessert, I wanted to make something simple but different.  I stared at my stash of cookbooks and decided to use my 101 Things to do with a Cake Mix cookbook. 

I had a box of white cake mix that was dangerously close to its expiration date, so I flipped through until I found a recipe that called for white cake mix.  I knew I found the perfect one when I saw "Peanut Butter Brownies."  And better yet, the ingredient list was small and I had all of them! 

All you need is:

1 box of white or yellow cake mix
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
2 eggs
2/3 cup of chunky peanut butter ( I didn't have chunky, only smooth, so I used that and then chopped up some peanuts to add to the mixture.)
1 1/2 tablespoons of milk (I thought the glaze was a little thick so I added a splash more of milk)
1 cup of powdered sugar

Add the first four ingredients to a mixing bowl, mix, and bake in a 9x12 baking dish at 350 degrees for about 16-18 minutes.  As soon as you pull the dish out of the oven, mix your powdered sugar and milk and drizzle over the "brownies" until even. 

I was nervous that this wasn't going to taste so great, but it definitely did.  It sort of tasted like peanut butter cookie dough.   I thought that I wouldn't like the glaze on top and wish that I had put some chocolate sauce over it, but the glaze complements it perfectly. 

Alright, well, back to being productive and checking things off my list! 

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