Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Chocolate Mint Brownies

Brownie mix is something I pretty much always have in my pantry. Whenever I see them on sale I pick up a box or two. They're good for when I'm on the list for snacks, or friends are coming over or just because someone at our house needs a little chocolate.
These brownies are made with a simple basic brownie mix and elevates the ordinary brownie into something special.

Chocolate Mint Brownies

Vegetable oil spray, for misting pan (I use parchment paper)
1 package (about 20 ounces) brownie mix (most mixes are no longer 20 ounces)
1 stick butter melted
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoons pure peppermint extract
1 cup chopped Andes chocolate mint candies or 1 cup chopped Hershey's mint chocolate Kisses

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325*, lightly mist an 8x8 pan (I used glass)
2. Place brownie mix, melted butter, eggs, and peppermint extract in a large mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until moistened, about 40 strokes. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan . Scatter the chopped mint chocolate candy on top of batter and place pan in oven.
3. Bake the brownies until edges have set and center is still a little soft (press lightly with finger), 38-42 minutes
4. Transfer to a cooling rack, let cool 20 minutes before cutting

You can double the recipe and cook in a 13x9 inch pan and increase baking time to 45-50 minutes

These brownies are so easy you can whip them up in no time and they taste delicious. (I know they're not egg or dairy free but they smelled so good I had to have a little bite, super yummy!)

Recipe from "The Cake Doctor Returns"

Linking up with Roxy from Living from Glory to Glory

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Psalm 90:14

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Has it really been a week since I last posted? Spring cleaning continues in earnest at our house, what started off as one closet has mushroomed into a huge purge. Today my sweet husband carted off five bags to the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) of things that don't fit, don't work, aren't needed or no longed useful and did I mention the furniture sitting in the garage waiting for it's new owner to pick it up. THEN there is all the stuff that would be considered trash, my shredder has had quite the workout and we're not done yet.

There's been a lot of reflection time during this process and the Lord has used it to remind me of how faithful he has been through the years and all we have to be thankful for. This is just one example 

I told you I keep everything, well I found my husband's orders to Scotland. In the Navy you rotate from Sea Duty to Shore Duty then back again etc. After husband's first Sea Tour he was due to rotate to Shore Duty. We had spent a lot of time apart and were looking for orders that might give husband more time at home, he thought a personal visit to the Detailer might help him get better orders. Detailers are the guys that give you orders for your next duty station. The office we were going to had Sea Duty Detailers, Shore Duty Detailers and Detailers that fill positions for overseas, it was a fairly large office. Long story short the personal visit to husband's Detailer wasn't helpful at all, the job options were okay, I mean he would be on shore duty, but we were going to have to move and the hours at his next job would probably be long. We began to head out, disappointed that things didn't go any better and got on the elevator. The elevator door shut, then we heard a banging on the outside of the door. We opened the door, and it was another Detailer trying to get our attention. He had overheard our conversation with the Shore Duty Detailer and wanted to offer my husband a billet overseas. We were young, and the idea of living overseas was exciting and best of all we were going to be able to spend more time together. 

Why is this little story significant, Scotland is I where I came to faith in Jesus Christ. I think that's why I've kept those orders for such a long time. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Taking a moment to stop and reflect on some of the things I have to be thankful for today

  1. Blooming flowers in my garden, roses that are beginning to leaf out and a friend who sends me coupons for discounts at the local nursery
  2. Answered prayer, a friend was hospitalized two weeks ago, she was ill enough to spend three days in the ICU.  Yesterday she was back at Care Group, still weak but fully recovered.
  3. A new baby in our family, a Great Nephew, mama and baby doing well, Grandma delighted (my sister)
  4. Tea Parties with granddaughters
  5. Weekend excursion with friends and the chance it gave us to get to know each other better. 
  6. The opportunity to see an old friend when we went to DC 
  7. Sleepover with three of my four grandchildren this week, lots of chances for snuggles
  8. Pretty Apple blossoms, the freezing temperatures nipped them a bit but I got some photos before the temperatures dropped
  9. Chickadee's checking out a bird house that I can watch from inside my family room
  10. The Lord's daily provision for us, he has been so faithful in our lives
Thankfulness to God is a recognition that God in his goodness and faithfulness has provided for us and cared for us, both physically and spiritually. It is a recognition that we are totally dependent upon Him; that all we are and have comes from God.   Jerry Bridges

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Road Trip

This is a photo of the Jefferson Memorial taken last weekend, with the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom. This is one of my favorite events and we try to catch the blooms at their peak each year. This year was a challenge because of the weather, normally you can expect the trees to be blooming anytime from mid March during a mild winter to the first part of April. There is a sight online that has a Cherry Blossom watch and estimate for peak time but most of the time it's just a guesstimate. We picked a weekend that sounded good, made our reservations and hoped for the best, we figured even if the blossoms weren't in full bloom, there was much to see in DC

It turned out the weather couldn't have been better and the blossoms were still near their peak. One thing I did notice was that most of the blossoms were not as pink as I had remembered, don't know if that was weather related (cold winter) or if it was because the blossoms were almost done.

There are Cherry Blossoms throughout the Mall area but the biggest concentration is along the Tidal Basin where the Jefferson Memorial is, that's where these photos were taken.

Playing with the tint a bit to make them look a little pinker

Many of the branches hung over the side of the rails

The nice weather we had in DC didn't last long, we woke up back home to temps in the 30's this morning. (Thankfully I haven't put all my winter clothes away or planted any of my summer veggies yet) 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday's Memories

This week I thought I would share a photo of my parents as a young married couple in honor of their 60th wedding anniversary, which they will be celebrating this week. This photo was taken at my aunt's wedding, my mom and dad had been married for five years with two children and a third on the way. There would eventually be five children in all.

No big celebration is planned for this anniversary, just a quiet dinner out together. They had planned an out of town jaunt but (wisely) decided to stay closer to home. They are still pretty independent and for fun they sing with a group that entertains folks in nursing homes. My dad was a patient in one of the homes that they visit after a illness left him pretty debilitated. He gets a kick out of going back to the therapy unit and showing them how well he is doing. 

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Taking a moment to reflect and record the things I am thankful for today

  1. The beautiful Bradford Pears that have been blooming for the last week, I have been so blessed by the sight of these all over town.
  2. God's grace in my life. I have been walking down memory lane the last couple of weeks cleaning out closets. While sorting through photos and papers I have been reminded of God's many mercies in our lives.
  3. Cardinals at the feeder
  4. A husband who is handy enough to do many of our car repairs himself
  5. Continued health, we have a friend who took ill suddenly, it was a fresh reminder that each day is a gift and that we really don't know what tomorrow may bring
  6. The opportunity to be at home
  7. Sons that call just because
  8. Spring vegetables making there appearance at the grocery store. We have been enjoying asparagus, arugula and baby spinach
  9. Sweet smelling hyacinths, Spring is surely here
  10. Promises that give me hope
The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. Psalm 37:23-24

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March Moments

March will be remembered this year for the weather, for the cold temperatures that don't seem to want to let go and the sleet and snow. I'm sure we have had snow in March before, but it's been more years than I can remember. We kept busy with cooking new recipes and clearing out clutter

When the temperatures were mild we were outside looking for signs of spring, or  just sitting in the sunshine soaking up the warm temperatures. The trees are beginning to bloom, and the stores are beginning to sell flowers so I think spring may finally be here...we made it!

Linking up with Cheryl in Gathering the Moments