Sunday, May 20, 2012

Amanda's Bakery

"Amanda's Bakery" was definitely open for business today! That is what Sean calls it when I bake.

It is a dreary, over-cast, rainy at times Sunday here in VA. I finagled myself a work-free weekend which NEVER happens (I'm always grading papers or lesson planning on Sunday afternoons), so, other than laundry, I had several open hours looming ahead. I decided to fill them with baking. *fingers crossed they all turn out delicious*

Rum Raisin Rice Pudding - Click here for recipe (from Ina Garten on FoodNetwork)
Ingredients for Rice Pudding
     Last summer, Sean and I went on a Princess Cruise through New England and Canada. Sean discovered on our first morning that they had rice pudding cups on the breakfast buffet and ate at least two a day each day of our cruise (9 mornings of rice pudding!). It was then that I realized the deep love my husband has for the dessert. He told me the story of how it all got started with a happy smile as he ate.When he was growing up, his grandmother made rice pudding when she knew he was coming over for a visit. She would have a huge pot of it cooking away on the stove when he arrived and he would dive right in. Sean did not have the best of relationships with his grandmother towards the end of her life, but I am grateful that he has this happy memory of her to hold on to.
Raisins softening in the rum
     Now usually when I bake, Sean will eat one serving of whatever it is, maybe two, and then he's done. (I have been blessed with the sweet tooth in our family apparently. See below for proof.) I discovered the Rice Pudding recipe on FoodNetwork and surprised him with it as a way of remembering our cruise. He loved it! He devoured it in a few days and asked me to make more. I was so happy that I found a dessert he liked and wanted. Now he asks for it every few months; it's nice to have something special to make him that I know he enjoys.
Still pipping hot...Sean dove in :)
*Notes about the recipe: Sean likes a thicker rice pudding consistency so I only use three cups of milk. Oh, and I use milk and not half-and-half...not for any reason other than we never have half-and-half in the house and milk is cheaper. Finally, I usually add a little extra rum to the raisins because I know Sean likes the extra flavor.

Snickers Brownies (recipe from the brain of my sister)
A piece of Snickers for each brownie
     My sister, who lives in South Carolina, also likes to bake. She was home a year or so ago and was making brownies. I watched her add pieces of fun-sized candy bars to the batter and thought, "What an amazing way to spruce up plain, ordinary brownies!". This time I decided to use Snickers Bars because I thought my students would like them.
     Each week, my English students get the possibility of a reward on Friday. I have discovered recently that my students will do homework and monitor their own behavior if food is the potential reward, so two weeks ago I offered chocolate. Apparently that was too vague because too many students did not do their work and the class did not get the reward. This week I was more specific and offered a special, homemade (by me!) chocolate reward and they were scrambling to make sure every student had their homework so they could be fed. These Snickers brownies are for them!
Yum! Yum!
     The only pan I use to make brownies anymore is the Amazing Brownie Pan my mom gave me a few years ago. I love it and the fact that it cuts the brownies as they bake. Easy portion control and perfect for a recipe like this one. Just drop 1/4 of a fun sized candy bar into each square, bake according to package instructions and --- viola! Perfect brownies every time! I hope my students enjoy them!!

Black Bean Brownies - Click here for recipe (from
The only two ingredients you need
     When I joined Weight Watchers last August, I thought my days of brownies and desserts were all but over. I am so glad to be wrong! At one of the first meetings I attended, I heard about "Black Bean Brownies" and dismissed them completely because I hate black beans. I tried Diet Coke brownies but didn't like the crumbly texture and I tried pumpkin brownies but didn't like the chewy texture. Then a friend made the black bean brownies and brought me one. I was hooked! You don't taste beans at all, just yummy chocolate with an awesome brownie texture. If you haven't tried them and want to eat some less-guilty brownies, you should try these!!

Oh - in case you were wondering...we did make some savory items in the kitchen today. Dinner was Chicken Cordon Bleu in the Crock Pot (click here for the recipe). It was OK but next time we will omit the ham and just make it Chicken in the Crock Pot. :)

Happy Baking!
PS - I promise not all my entrees will be this long! :) Just a whole lot of baking going on today.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...