Saturday, April 17, 2010


Do you ever crave a good, fudgey, homemade brownie? I did today and just happened to have all the ingredients on hand. This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light, circa October, 2006. Good news is, you don't have to feel guilty for indulging a little! I adapted the Irish Cream and only added 4 tablespoons versus the full 1/4 cup the original recipe calls for. Justin claims the brownies are too "boozy" for his taste when I use the full amount. If you decide to use the full 1/4 cup, omit the water. I also suggest using the carmel flavored Bailey's. It adds a great dimension!

Brownies with Irish Cream

1 C. all-purpose flour
½ C. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 C. semisweet chocolate chips
¼ C. butter
1 C. sugar
½ C. egg substitute
4 Tbsp. Irish cream ( I used the carmel flavored)
4 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C. semisweet chocolate chips
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and whisk.

In a microwave safe dish, microwave chocolate chips and butter on high for 1 ½ minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Next, add sugar, Irish cream, and water and stir. Microwave on high for 30 seconds more and stir until ingredients are combined. This will help smooth the sugar. Add the egg substitute and melted chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Finally, add the remaining cup of chocolate chips and vanilla extract and stir until combined. Spread batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350-degrees or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Cool completely before cutting and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pony Express Days

Easter weekend, we went to St. Joseph, Missouri and met up with Justin's dad, Doug. I think this had to of been some of the cheepest, most fun trip we have made in a long time. We originally set our expectations pretty low. Last summer, we went to Old Shawnee Days and expected reinactments with period clothing and cowboy shootouts. No such luck. Pony Express Days; however, totally delivered! They had people dressed like the Old West, Civil War reinactments, cowboy shootouts, and plenty of museums and history to explore. Not to mention, it was the 150th anniversary of the real first ride of the Pony Express! We enjoyed a parade complete with a Buffalo Bill Cody look-alike contest, toured the original Pony Express stables, and toured the Patee House which is an old hotel turned museum. All really cool stuff. Justin and I totally understand why it is one of the 1,000 places in America you have to see. We hope you enjoy the pictures and get to see it all for yourself someday.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Questions Answered

Since recently posting some of the many recipes I cook, I've encountered some good questions. Question number one, Did you take your own photos? Yes, I took my own photos with some help. It is really the food I cooked. The zucchini picture is my own, the pork and rice picture was plated by my sister, Erin, and my mother, Julie. My pictures probably will look more simplistic/rustic. I have always had a knack for cooking food, but only recently have been interested in plating. It is amazing how much better food can taste when plated properly. It is a goal to which I aspire. Question two, Are these really your recipes? Yes and no. I originally started using recipes as a foundation. For example, I LOVE good food, but did not like how my waistline started looking. So, I read and started reading about cooking "lighter" foods. They tasted okay, but needed some amp. Thus, I learned from trial and error how to marry the two. Thus came about the recipes I share. A lot of my inspiration comes from Cooking Light accompanied by Food Network, Anthony Bourdain, and other chefs I truly admire. You have to really learn to feel your food and understand some of the science. Get in the kitchen, experiment, and share. There are more recipes to come. I cook almost every night of the week; however, only started to realize that this whole plating and blogging thing takes a little bit of time and thought. I think it is my new hobby. So, be patient folks. As the school year winds down, I promise there will be more to come. Otherwise, look forward to more Nickel news. We went to Pony Express Days in St. Joseph, Missouri. Pictures will come as I figure out my new camera. Yup, we upgraded and Sara and Justin are finally figuring out the 21st Century with new cell phones to boot. Much to look forward to my friends!