My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!


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Star Command To Base! We Have A SERIOUS Emergency Here!

One of my favorite posts!

 

 

Laurel Laurie Staten Nguyen Newhall, CA

My Foray Into Food Storage

Have you ever been sitting in your house, just sitting, minding your own business, when you’re hit with a craving so intense and overwhelming that you feel you must satisfy that craving NOW or you will DIE?  You would crawl through fire for it.  It doesn’t happen to me very often, but it happened last night.  I was getting ready to fold the laundry (which I’d put off for days), and I thought, “It would be nice to watch a movie while I fold these.”  Innocent enough, right?  Well, then the thought of brownies flitted into my mind, and it wouldn’t go away.  And I didn’t want just regular, plain, ole brownies.  I wanted Cheesecake Brownies!

Mmmm...  Mmmm…

Funny thing is, I’m not really a big dessert person.  When I have a choice between real food and junk food, I almost always choose the real food, because I like it…

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Star Command To Base! We Have A SERIOUS Emergency Here!

Have you ever been sitting in your house, just sitting, minding your own business, when you’re hit with a craving so intense and overwhelming that you feel you must satisfy that craving NOW or you will DIE?  You would crawl through fire for it.  It doesn’t happen to me very often, but it happened last night.  I was getting ready to fold the laundry (which I’d put off for days), and I thought, “It would be nice to watch a movie while I fold these.”  Innocent enough, right?  Well, then the thought of brownies flitted into my mind, and it wouldn’t go away.  And I didn’t want just regular, plain, ole brownies.  I wanted Cheesecake Brownies!

 

Mmmm...

Mmmm…

 

Funny thing is, I’m not really a big dessert person.  When I have a choice between real food and junk food, I almost always choose the real food, because I like it better.  Blasphemy, I know, but it’s true.  Usually.  Not last night.  I NEEDED a brownie.  Blame hormones, stress, the prospect of mindless housework, whatever.  Luckily, I had a Costco-size box of my favorite brownie mix tucked into my baking cupboard for just such emergencies.  Even better, I had cream cheese and extra Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate chips, so I could make the now required CHEESECAKE BROWNIES!

 

What’s the problem, you ask?  I had the horrifying realization that I used all my eggs making fried rice for my family last night.  Every single one!  Fried rice I didn’t even eat!  Earlier in the day, I almost went to the store and bought some more eggs, but I just didn’t feel like it.  I knew that if I ran in for “just two things,” I wasn’t coming out with “just two things.” So I didn’t go.  I didn’t think it would be a big deal.  But it was.  I was in the middle of a brownie crisis with no eggs in my house, and it was too late to bug my neighbors for them.

 

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I needed these! There was no question about it!

 

Brownies just aren’t the same without eggs, and I wasn’t going to mess with an egg substitute. Yes, I have applesauce, and chia seed, and probably a few other things that can replace eggs, but when I want a brownie, I want a BROWNIE: full of eggs, fat, and all the yummy stuff that will probably kill me.  I used to have powdered eggs in my pantry for just such an emergency, and I have two cans on order with Thrive (Thanks Jenny!), but they aren’t here yet.  Then… almost as if a light bulb flicked on over my head, I remembered that I had one more can of powdered eggs in my food storage “closet under the stairs.”  HALLELUJAH!  I was SAVED!  Saved from an overwhelming brownie craving which would follow me for days if I didn’t get it under control now.  THIS IS WHY I HAVE FOOD STORAGE: FOR BROWNIE EMERGENCIES.

 

I crawled into my “closet under the stairs” (no, I still haven’t straightened it), dug my way back to the back of my closet, found my box labeled “whole egg powder” and pulled out my last precious can of powdered eggs.  Weird, you say?  Not when used in baking.  You cannot tell one lick of difference between the powdered and the real stuff in baking, and they’re shelf stable saving precious refrigerator space!  It’s great for those who don’t eat a lot of eggs and hate having them go bad in their fridge.  They are fantastic.  A “must have” in my kitchen.

 

So…  Brownies.  Cheesecake Brownies.  Here’s how I made ’em with my powdered eggs and all.

 

 

Best Brownies Eva!

Best Brownies Eva!

 

 

Cheesecake Brownies with Powdered Eggs

Adapted from the Betty Crocker Website.  Recipe here.

 

Favorite Brownie Mix (prepared as directed)

8 ounces of cream cheese, softened

2 eggs (or in my case, powdered egg and water to equal 2 eggs)

6 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips (add more or less, if you prefer)

 

Prepare your favorite brownie mix according to the directions, and pour batter in a greased pan.  Mix the softened cream cheese with the eggs, sugar, and vanilla.  Pour cream cheese mixture on top of the prepared brownie mix.  Swirl together slightly with a knife.  Top with chocolate chips.  Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-55minutes or until done.  Let cool for several hours, then cut into 16 pieces and serve.  Each brownie contains 338 calories.

 

Sounds good, huh?  That most difficult part is waiting for them to cool with the house smelling all chocolately, cheesecakey good.  But they are totally worth the wait.  Watch how I made these delicious, most favorite of all treats, treats.

 

Here are the ingredients I used.

Here are the ingredients I used.

 

I started my brownie mix by mixing the powdered eggs with the oil and water.

I started my brownie mix by mixing the powdered eggs with the oil and water.

 

Then I added the brownie mix and mixed it with a whisk until just combined.

Then I added the brownie mix and mixed it with a whisk until just combined.

 

To make the cheesecake mixture, I put everything in my mixing bowl: powdered eggs (plus water to reconstitute), cream cheese (which I didn't soften), sugar, and vanilla.

To make the cheesecake mixture, I put everything in my mixing bowl: powdered eggs (plus water to reconstitute), cream cheese (which I didn’t soften), sugar, and vanilla.

 

I probably should have softened the cream cheese, but I was in a hurry. :)

I probably should have softened the cream cheese, but I was in a hurry. 🙂

 

Since I didn't soften the cream cheese, the whisk wasn't cutting it, so I used my hand mixer.

Since I didn’t soften the cream cheese, the whisk wasn’t cutting it, so I used my hand mixer.

 

I mixed it until combined, but can you see the little lumps of cream cheese in there?  That's because I didn't soften it, but you won't notice one lick of difference once these are done.

I mixed it until combined, but can you see the little lumps of cream cheese in there? That’s because I didn’t soften it, but you won’t notice one lick of difference once these are done.

 

I poured the brownie mix into a greased Pyrex pan (my baking pan of choice).

I poured the brownie mix into a greased Pyrex pan (my baking pan of choice).

 

I poured the cream cheese mixture on top.

I poured the cream cheese mixture on top…

 

Swirled a knife through...

Swirled a knife through…

 

And they looked like this.  Make sure not to "over swirl."  (Is that a word?)

And they looked like this. Make sure not to “over swirl.” (Is that a word?)

 

As if there wasn't enough chocolatey goodness, I topped the entire mixture with Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate chips.

As if there wasn’t enough chocolatey goodness, I topped the entire mixture with Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate chips.  Then I popped them into my convection oven at 290 degrees Fahrenheit.  Yes, that’s different than the temperature I quoted you, but my oven runs hot.

 

See?  They're done!  When they "poof" up all the way across the top, I know they've cooked through.

See? They’re done! When they “poof” up all the way across the top, I know they’ve cooked through.

 

And they're done!  Next comes the hard part... waiting for them to cool.

And they’re done! Next comes the hard part… waiting for them to cool.

 

But I waited!  Aren't you proud of me?  I may have had an overwhelming craving, but I still have some semblance of self control.

But I waited! Aren’t you proud of me? I may have had an overwhelming craving, but I still have some semblance of self control.

 

All that waiting paid off!  They were so DELECTABLE!

All that waiting paid off! They were so DELECTABLE!

 

What do you do when you have a crazy craving like I did last night? 

Do you have the ingredients on hand to satisfy it?


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Everything But The Kitchen Sink… Brownies?

Brownies, my preferred method of chocolate consumption.  And these are brownies one better, because they come with a surprise!  A HEAVENLY, SALTY, CRUNCHY SURPRISE!  Everything but the kitchen sink brownies were born out of my desire to save money and to prevent food waste, but I keep making them, because I LOVE them!

I tell myself that not only is it okay to make these, but I *MUST* make these brownies, because when I throw away food, it’s like throwing away money, right? I wouldn’t purposely throw away a $5 bill, would I?  Of course not!  So, really, I’m just being fiscally responsible and eco-friendly.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Brownies

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Brownies

Honestly, I cannot remember how many times I’ve thrown away little bits of leftover food, but it’s more often than I would like.  Either I didn’t know what to do with it, or the item was getting old, stale, etc.  These brownies may not solve all your food waste issues, but this helpful, SCRUMPTIOUS way of using those little bits of leftover food certainly helps. It’s not hard to do, and it’s only limited by your imagination and the leftover items in your pantry.

DSCN5791

I started with my most favorite brownie mix of all time, Ghiradelli. I buy it at Costco where it is just under $11 for 6 batches of brownies.

My friend, Karen, said that my brownies are the best brownies she’s ever had.  I don’t know if I’d go that far, but this mix is really good.  She bought the mix and made them, but she said hers didn’t taste the same.  Then I realized I did not tell her about one adjustment I’ve made in the recipe.  I use Olive Oil.  It’s better for my cholesterol, and it makes these taste extra yum!

Now, for the “how to.”  I started with these ingredients:

Olive oil makes all the difference!

Olive oil makes all the difference!

DSCN5793

Ghiradelli Brownie Mix, Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Chocolate Chips, and Pretzels

I mixed a double batch of brownies according to the instructions on the box (eggs, olive oil, and water), then I put one-half of the mixture in a pan.  (My son, Michael, wanted regular brownies.)  Next, I gently folded some crushed some mini pretzel rods and chopped up Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (Halloween leftovers) into the mix.

Just some mini pretzel rods.

Put your mini pretzel rods (or potato chips, or anything else that suits your fancy) into a small bag.

Slightly crushed with a can.

Slightly crush them with a can, then fold them into your brownie mix (or cookie dough or muffin batter).

I spread the yummy “everything but the kitchen sink” brownie mix in a pan and topped it with my other Ghiradelli favorite, 60% cacao chocolate chips.  Talk about decadent!  They went into the oven for 45 minutes at 300 degrees (on convect) and came out in all their warm, gooey glory.

Regular Brownies

Regular Brownies for Michael

My friend and guest blogger, Brooke, will be getting some of these later today as a “Thank You!”  Although I’m tempted to keep them all, that would be very bad, because I would eat only brownies for the next two days.  So, to preserve my waistline and to show a little friend-love, Brooke will be enjoying these at her home.  And she doesn’t have to share them unless she wants to!

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Brownies

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Brownies for Brooke and me!

Can brownies solve the food waste problem in America?  Probably not, but it’s a start!

What do you do to help prevent food waste?