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Sunday
Feb272011

Peanut Butter Swirled Brownies

peanut butter swirled brownies

Sometimes the best part of my day is making a batch of brownies and that's the honest-to-god truth.

Though I often try to stay upbeat and cheerful with you (no one likes a Debbie Downer), it would be amiss to pretend that I don't have my bad days as well as my good. In many ways, sharing my life with you in these small, candid ways has compelled me to find the good—or even happiness—in my daily life. I want to tell you how I feel when the sunlight shines in through the window just so (or take a picture so you can see for yourself). I want share my love for chocolate and for lemons.

What I don't tell you about are the days where want to bury my head under my pillow and pretend I don't have to get out of bed. Instead, I will express my nostalgia for the childhood foods that comfort me. I don't need to share the days that I feel so lonely I could burst. Instead, I'll read (and reread) your comments and smile, feeling blessed that I can be a part of this community. I want to be a small bright spot in your day, whether through my photography, my stories, or my food. I wish to bring a smile to your face or a hunger to your stomach.

peanut butter swirled brownies

A friend reminded me today that the key to happiness (or, at the very least, not feeling overwhelmed with life) is taking what you have and making it enough somehow. I thought about this for a long time. I am always dreaming for a life that isn't mine—maybe parts of it are, but the rest is fantasy. Some days I wish I was a middle-aged woman, complete with a loving husband and beautiful children. Other days I wish I was a bold and courageous woman, flying off to live alone in Paris to do what I love.

I have a hard time becoming satisfied with what I have made for myself. Do I regret anything I have done or resent the decisions I have made? No. Though, sometimes life leads me towards people and places that don't quite fit what I have planned. They may be a part of the bigger picture, but in my small, everyday moments, it isn't quite what I wanted; this isn't what I dreamed about.

Appreciating what I have is more difficult than I expected or realized. I know I'm lucky to be where I am and I know this, but it is hard not to want moremoremore. I am trying to understand that hopes and dreams take time and energy and we all must pay our dues to see them realized. While saying this to you is one thing, living and experiencing it is another beast.

Sometimes I buy myself a new pair of shoes hoping it will bring me a moment of happiness. Maybe they will, but the moment is fleeting.

peanut butter swirled brownies

I do consider myself to be a happy person, but, like everyone, I have my moments where it can be difficult to find those bright spots in my day. For long periods of time, my days can feel dim (not necessarily dark) and this is what I struggle with most. The mediocrity of day-to-day life prevails above all else. How do you overcome this? How do you train yourself to find more bright spots (and, thus, more happiness)?

These are the questions I'm working on answering. Lifelong happiness may be an endless process and, though never easy, it is what you make out of it. You have to find your own happiness because no one is going to do it for you. You must take what you have been dealt and find a way to be content with it.

I am searching for genuine happiness in the humdrum of daily life.

I will let you know where I find my happiness. I hope you share your happiness struggles and triumphs with me. Where do you find your happiness?

peanut butter swirled brownies

These peanut butter swirled brownies are never too sweet. The brownie is neither a thick fudge or light cake (like these blueberry brownies), but falls somewhere in between. The crunchy peanut butter swirls give these brownies a much needed texture. I find that the sweetness of the peanut butter balances out the bittersweet chocolate of the brownie. If you ever so slightly under-bake the brownies, you'll find yourself with a moister brownie that is neither dry or crumbly.

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Friday
Feb252011

Lemon Chocolate Tart

lemon chocolate tart

I put all of my recipes through a test. It's a ridiculous test with even more ridiculous criteria but, consciously or unconsciously, every recipe on this website has been sent through it. This lemon chocolate tart was the first and only to pass this test.

Only one recipe passed? I imagine you must be thinking. What could this test possibly be?

lemon chocolate tart

This serious test is to find the recipe, the first recipe, that makes Foreigner's I Want To Know What Love Is play out in my head. When I took my first bite of this tart, I swear this classic melody was playing in my mind. This tart is love. Oh, you know the words.

I'm going to take a little time
A little time to let this sink in
I will covet this sweet tart
Now that heaven has finally found me

In my life, there's been heartburn and shame
I don't know if I can face a failed recipe again
Can't stop swooning now, I've searched so long
To find this perfect bite.

I want to know what love is
I want you to show me
I want to taste what love is
I know you can show me

Well, at least that's how the sultry tones of Lou Gramm sounded in my head.

lemon chocolate tart

I've been searching high and low for a tart like this. The flavors meld so wonderfully together you will think it came straight from above. The shell is soft and sweet, with almond tones, and crumbles perfectly in your mouth like a shortbread cookie. Lemon and chocolate may be unusual flavors to pair together, but they are so delicious when you do. I used this homemade meyer lemon curd which, in my biased opinion, made this tart even sweeter.

Try this tart. Do it. Try it so Lou Gramm will sing to you too.

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Wednesday
Feb232011

Meyer Lemon Curd

meyer lemon curd

Today, I bought Meyer lemons for the first time. I've seen these praised in recipes before, but I had never tried one. For those of you that don't know the difference between a lemon and a Meyer lemon, a Meyer lemon is a true lemon crossed with a mandarin orange. It's a hybrid (and a delicious one at that).

Meyer lemons taste like a lemon taken a deep breath and had a chance to calm down. It isn't trying to knock out your taste buds. They are less tart than a true lemon, but still have that signature flavor. I can eat them raw without puckering up my face into a frightful look.

Finally, a lemon I can handle.

meyer lemon curd

In the depths of winter, I love to see a splash of citrus sunshine on my plate. It's a little reminder that spring is on its way. With such a bright, vibrant color, these lemons are sunshine.

In many ways, I believe The Temptations were really singing about this lemon curd for the song My Girl. Oh, you know it. "I've got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it's cold outside, I've got the month of May."

I imagine they hesitated because lemon curd wouldn't sell as much sex. Pity, really.

meyer lemon curd

This Meyer Lemon Curd is bottled sunshine. It's creamy, tangy, and smooth as silk. Feel free to eat it on toast, crackers, muffins, or place a dollop on top of your oatmeal for a lemon touch. But, if you're like me, you can just eat it plain and by the spoonful.

meyer lemon curd

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