Meatless Monday

Hanni asked me to post the recipe for the Brownie Walnut Pie I baked for Thanksgiving Day this year, and I thought, “Why not do it on Monday and make it a Meatless Monday post?”

Why not, indeed!

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Below, is the recipe that I used to make this pie, courtesy of my Betty Crocker Cookbook at home.  The link provided above takes you to the Betty Crocker site, where the recipe is also provided, but I noticed that the ingredients and baking times are different there from what I have in my cookbook. Weird.  Well, maybe pie testers in the BC kitchen decided to tweak the recipe a bit.  Either way, with my old recipe or their new one, I think you will be happy with the results should you choose to bake this pie for a special occasion of your own.

Betty Crocker suggests you use a chocolate sauce as a drizzle for the topping, or some raspberry sauce. I think either would be heavenly, but we ate ours plain. It was rich, custardy, and full of chocolate flavor. I used Ghirardelli chocolate morsels instead of unsweetened chocolate in my pie. The morsels were bittersweet, but they worked fine.

More than fine! Yum!!!

There are two recommendations I would make when baking this pie for your family, and I don’t know if this would enhance the finished product or not, but I would do it next time.

1.  Put a pan of water in the oven while baking the pie. The pie top turned out more dry than I like, and I think this would help moisten it a bit.

2.  Put a clean dish towel on the pie while it is resting (but not until after 30-45 minutes out of the oven). Because the top crust was dry on my pie, it stayed puffed when it cooled, making for a crunchy topping when I would have rather have had it moist, like a brownie topping.  On a brownie, you want that lil bit of flakiness/crust, but without it being too dry.

This pie did what a lot of apple pies do when you use sugar crystals on the top crust before popping it into the oven.  That maneuver makes the crust stand stiff after the pie filling sinks into the bottom crust, leaving air between the pie filling and the raised, crunchy crust (which is oh, so good, but I want it resting on the pie filling when I cut into it with a fork).  That’s just me.  If you don’t mind the air between your filling and your crust, this step can be skipped.

Note: Do  not cover pie with dish towel right out of the oven.  It will make the pie sweat and wet the top, and nobody likes a wet brownie.

Moist, yes. Wet, no!

Other than these two tricks, that I think would help to make the completed pie even more luscious, I would make no alterations to either recipe.

This pie was very chocolate-y and definitely a recipe I would make again, but not until company comes over to share it with us. Too much pie for a man and his mate alone. Enjoy!Brownie Walnut Pie

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My Black Friday Schedule

20151127_143007Yesterday, my sister and I went out for a while looking for a few things we needed.  I hate long lines, so did not take advantage of many sale prices yesterday.  I did, however, wait in line at Starbucks Bucks for a sugar-free peppermint mocha latte.  So stinking yummy!

The line at Target was seriously two store blocks long.  No way I was fighting that for a 20% discount.  Noooooo way!

We stopped along route 86 in NYS to take a few pics.  This one is of the Chemung River as it winds through Elmira, NY.

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We headed up to Sullivan’s Monument to grab a few shots of the valley below. Everything is pretty brown about now.

In the middle of that shot above is famous Dunn Field, home to many a hopeful lad, dreaming of the major leagues and celebrity.

I was experimenting with the camera on my new tablet, so we took more than a few pics.

I tried to upload some of these yesterday, but the cyber-sphere devils would not allow me access to my account.

Curse you, cyber-demons. You made me forfeit my goal of posting every weekday in November.  I hope you are proud of yourselves.

With the help of another I was able to log in today.  Woohoo!

Today, I started my day with 12 minutes of exercise first thing. I followed that with 18 minutes on the recumbent bike, while watching Walt Longmire solve another murder before heading out again.  Gotta work off that latte, right?   🙂

What did you do on Black Friday?  Are you someone who loves to shop in stores, or like me, do you prefer shopping on line?

Three Goals Are Teaching Me Self-Control

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Anyone who is reading this on Thanksgiving in America, thanks for stopping by and checking in on me on the holiday. You Rock!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Long time readers of my blog know that I set three goals for myself each Thursday, then I work to achieve them throughout the week. What they may not realize is that I decided at the beginning of November that I would continue working on the same three goals throughout the month. If you read on, you will see how I am doing with my Three Goals Thursday initiative, but before you do I wanted to tell you I have split this update into sections. It’s rather long for a holiday post, so I wanted to help out those of you who read my blog regularly, by creating sections within the post.  This makes it possible for you to skim through what you’ve already heard in the past and quickly get to the good stuff.  😉

LIST OF NOVEMBER GOALS

1. Eat oatmeal for breakfast every day.
2. Meditate for 5 minutes every day.
3. Exercise for 12 minutes every day.

WHAT IS SIGNIFICANT FOR SOME, MAY SEEM LIKE SMALL PEANUTS TO OTHERS  (Explanation of what I’m doing for newbie—old timers can move along. Nothing to see here!)

The goals you just read about may seem like insignificant goals to people who are goal setting champions. I am not. My purpose in beginning my Three Goals Thursday initiative was that I wanted to develop some habits for living that would unconsciously move me through life in positive, healthy, and beneficial ways. The only way I knew to do that was by setting goals for myself. My goals are purposefully teeny, tiny, so as to create in my mind winning scenarios that motivate me to continue on with what could be viewed by some as mundane, repetitious, and/or boring work.

Here’s the thing: I believe repetition is the only form of permanence we can attain in this life, so I keep doing those things over and over and over again, that bring me success and firmly plant unconscious cues in my brain. When I win (by achieving a goal I have set for myself, no matter the size), I win BIG, and winning makes me “feel” happy.

Happy feelings are good feelings and they are great motivators!

Here’s how I’m doing with my goals three weeks into the month of November. Aces!!!

WHAT ACES MEANS

My breakfast routine is great! I’m sure that I have developed a habit for eating oatmeal every day, which makes me incredibly happy. My body loves this stuff!

With regards to my other morning routines, I am doing “good”. I had a lil oopsy over the weekend with my meditation and exercise because the kiddos were in town, and when they are I try to help out with the wee ones during the early mornings, which upsets my regular routine. Not that I don’t love it, mind you, but staying up late talking with the kiddos and then getting’ up early to play with the wee ones is a challenge for me. Still, I want to do it.

I remember what it was to be a parent with small children—exhausting!!!

I did not get my 5 minutes of meditation in either Saturday or Sunday last week. I did get my exercise in, but it wasn’t all done at once and one day it wasn’t done at all. Not in a formal sense, that is. I move a lot more when the kiddos are in town, by design and need though, so I have decided not to be too hard on myself for not being “formal” with my exercise last weekend.

In other news: We hosted an early Thanksgiving dinner on Friday night, and my eating for that meal was spot on and controlled. Woohoo!

DECADENT AND DELICIOUS THANKSGIVING DESSERT

After our early Thanksgiving dinner I had a small piece of pie I made for the first time last weekend. I didn’t have any apples, so I decided to try something new: a Brownie Walnut pie. Man, oh man, was it good. I had a thin sliver of it, and was glad I did not cut myself a bigger piece. The creamy richness of the custardy chocolate (read: Ghirardelli) filling was decadent and full of calories, but hey, ya gotta live in this world and I did with one teeny, tiny piece of pie. I would bake that pie again, but probably not until there is a special occasion going on that makes it possible to share it with others. There are still three slices of it in the frig as of this writing, but I won’t be eating any more. If it doesn’t get eaten, we’ll throw it to the skunks. I bet they would love Brownie Walnut Pie!

PRACTICING SELF-CONTROL AS I WORK, WORK, WORK AT ACHIEVING MY GOALS

Before I sign off on my Three Goals Thursday update this week, I want to talk about how my goals are helping me learn self-control. Today (I penned this Wednesday), I was out of the office for a while shopping for our upcoming Christmas party. It took longer than expected. I was ravenous and tempted to stop by a local fast food joint and have a salad with chicken instead of waiting for my return to the office, where I had a lunch packed and ready to pop in the oven. Honestly, I pulled into the place and almost parked the car when I remembered my pledge to myself to eat better. Salad is good, but I had food in the frig that I had planned to eat, and for some weird reason I didn’t want to break that unwritten contract with myself to eat that healthier fare. I have some BGL challenges that I deal with on a regular basis, and I could feel them taking hold as I made my decision to return to the office. It was uncomfortable to push through that time without stopping and grabbing something, but stopping did not feel like the right thing to do, so I pressed on. I got back to the office, I prepared my food, I ate it, and I felt satisfied.

I WIN, again!!!

What teeny, tiny victories have you celebrated this year? What was the best part of your Thanksgiving?

Taking Turns

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Today, I’m gifting my readers a lil pre-holiday chuckle and cheer, and a lil peak into my world, where things are often forgotten and humility is a dish best served warm.  Enjoy! 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

We went to your house, and we sat in the driveway.

We went to your house; there was nobody home.

We went to your house, for the day ’twas Thanksgiving,

a time when all hearts turn to family and home.

We walked through the courtyard.

We stood on the lawn.

We used your door knocker,

then started to yawn.

No mortals to greet us; no morsels to eat.

We suffered, with nary a tidbit or treat.

We’d brought sweet potatoes.

We’d brought apple pie.

We’d brought sugared berries; a cranny surprise.

We thought you’d be waiting, but oh, what a shock.

The curtains were drawn and the doors were all locked.

Did we get the day wrong?

Did we miss the boat?

Did we bake in vain; is that all she wrote?

Dejected, we left with our bundle of goods;

over the river and back through the woods.

I waited, all bated; my “comment” to post,

when I realized this year, it was our turn to host.

With cherry-red face and a hint of chagrin,

I opened the front door and bid you come in.