Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies

Hello again everyone! Happy Friday!

So my birthday was last week, and seeing as I don’t generally make a big deal about it or do anything special, my friends decided to plan a “surprise” party. It wasn’t a surprise party in the traditional sense because I knew we were going to be doing something, I just didn’t know what kinds of craziness their scheming minds would come up with.

Well, me being me (i.e. Betty Crocker), I couldn’t go to a party without bringing some sort of delicious, diabetes-inducing, goodness, even if it was my own birthday – and did I catch some good-natured flack for that, lol. My friend Joy, who was the primary organizer for this weekend-o-fun and also put me up for the night, suffers from Celiac Disease. I’ve mentioned her before in my post about Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats, which have become her all-time favorite dessert. But alas, I did not have all the ingredients on hand to make the rice krispie treats, so I searched through my G-Free Pinterest page and found a recipe that miraculously required only ingredients I already had in the house.

I made a couple tweaks, and below is the recipe as I made it. The original can be found over on Tina’s Chic Corner.

 Gluten Free Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies

These brownies were dense, and incredibly rich.  Joy said it was almost like eating fudge instead of a brownie, but she still gave them two thumbs up.  We recommend eating these brownies with a nice tall glass of milk, or even better, with some vanilla ice cream (which may have been on hand for the “surprise” party).

After drizzling the ganache. For ease of transport, I left them in the pan, but the parchment paper makes it super easy to pull the whole brownie out to present on a plate.

After drizzling the ganache. For ease of transport, I left them in the pan, but the parchment paper makes it super easy to pull the whole brownie out to present on a plate.

Because I’ve never been a big fan of semi-sweet chocolate chips, I think I’ll try making this with milk chocolate chips next time, which may lighten the chocolate flavor a little and allow more of the peanut butter to come through.

In addition to the g-free treat made specifically for Joy, I whipped up a double batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookies while the brownies were in the oven.  Let me tell you, those disappeared in a flash, both at the party and work the next day!

As always, questions and comments are welcome! Hope you have a great weekend!

More Doctor Who Inspired Art

Hello again everyone! Time sure does seem to fly. Since my last post a few weeks ago, I’ve been working on a couple different projects; a chunky tunisian crochet infinity scarf and a painting for my baby nephew’s room. I’m not quite satisfied with the scarf yet, but I hope to have a tutorial up soon.

Now, the painting on the other hand, I am very satisfied with – it turned out adorable if you ask me! As I’ve said before, I am a bit of a nerd, and have been introducing my 12-year-old niece to some fandoms. But I figured it’s never to early to start, and so I decided to combine a Doctor Who quote with the monkey theme we have going on for the little nephew.

Sorry about the poor lighting, I just couldn't seem to get it right.

Sorry about the poor lighting, I just couldn’t seem to get it right.

I started off by painting the background, then drawing in the out line of the monkey and vine (I traced it from a picture I found on the internet, as I am not so good at free-hand). I then filled in the monkey with a light tan and the vine with a light leaf green, using multiple coats to get good coverage of the dark background and letting it dry in between coats. I then penciled in the details of the monkey before going in with the dark brown. Having the light background made it easier when I did the more detailed work of outlining the face and wrists/ankles, etc because I only had to go over it twice as opposed to more times if I was trying to cover up the dark background. I shaded the vine with a darker green that I faded into the light green, using a little bit of water to thin the paint to make it easier to get a more seamless blend.

Next came the quotation, which I just printed off from Word and traced onto the canvas (these projects would be so much easier if I could just free-hand without it looking like a 3-year-old did it!). That also took multiple coats of the yellow, but I think it was well worth the nice contrast.

Brayden's Painting 004

As always, I’d love to hear from you! Have a great rest of the week!

Scrap Yarn Baby Blanket

Scrap Yarn Baby Blanket 005

Well, we’re coming to the end of day 2 of the water crisis here in the Toledo area: no drinking, washing dishes, or cooking with the tap water. Thankfully, they did lift the ban on touching the water mid-morning yesterday, so we can shower, wash hands, and do laundry.

I understand that this situation has been trending on national news, but for those of you that don’t know what’s going on, our water treatment plant found toxins in the water early yesterday morning at more than twice the limit deemed safe to consume. The toxin, microcystin, is produced by cyanobacteria, a type of algae that is normally harmless. The problem is that a number of factors, like low rainfall and cool weather patterns with east winds from Canada, have resulted in a large concentration of algal bloom in western Lake Erie, particularly near the intake for our water distribution system. There is no way for our water treatment plant to remove the toxins at this point, but they are working with multiple agencies, including the EPA as well as scientists in both Ohio and Michigan, to develop a solution.

I must say that the overall response has been great. Initially, there was some panic yesterday morning as people woke up to hear about the water ban and rushed out to buy up all the bottled water they could, with stores selling out of water before noon.  But the governor’s office issued a state of emergency for the Toledo area, and was able to divert shipments of water headed for other areas of Ohio back to stores here. They have done a great job organizing a system to provide potable water, setting up distribution centers at some schools to give out free water, and local stores are getting large shipments of water as well. In addition to the provisions being made by government organizations, there have been a number of good samaritans from surrounding communities that are unaffected by the water ban, bringing in truckloads of bottle water. Volunteers throughout the city are helping to distribute water, fire stations in the city of Oregon (which has it’s own water treatment plant that was unaffected) are filling up containers for anyone who needs water, and residents with well water are even offering to share water with anyone who needs it.  As some people are saying, we’re taking this one bottle at a time.

So what does all this have to do with a scrap yarn baby blanket? Well, I’ve been doing my part to conserve the potable water, and just chilling at home, trying to use as little possible, so I’ve been sitting on my bum watching the news and marathoning Once Upon a Time on Netflix. My hands need to keep busy while I watch TV all day, so I have been working on a baby blanket. Having been a knitter/crocheter for nearly half my life, I have amassed a fair amount of left-over yarn over the last 10+ years, and I decided it was finally time to do something with it.

With some of the scraps being pretty limited in their amount, I decided on a striped blanket with 2 rows per color, in a crochet linen stitch (sometimes called moss stitch).  I had various types and weight of yarn, though mostly weight 3 and 4, and the only “problem” I had was having to work with 2 strands together for some of the light-weight yarns. I was going to just randomize the colors, but after one jarring color clash within the first few rows of my blanket, I decided on a rainbow progression.

Scrap Yarn Baby Blanket 003

Linen Stitch Scrap Blanket Pattern

Size before boarder: 28 in x 40 in

Using US Size H/5.00mm crochet hook, or size needed to obtain desired gauge, chain 109 (or any odd number of stitches).

Row 1: sc into 3rd ch from hook, *ch 1, skip 1 ch, sc into next ch; repeat from * across.

Row 2: ch 2, turn. sc into 1st ch1-space, *ch 1, sc into next ch1-space; repeat from * across to last ch1-space, ch1, sc into top of turning ch.

Repeat Row 2, changing color every 2 rows until desired length

Before adding the border

Before adding the border

Border: Work pattern stitch around blanket, working (sc, ch1, sc) into each corner space. I worked the first 2 rows of the border in different colors, then used the same color for the 3rd and 4th rows. Another option is to use the same color for all 4 rows to make a more solid and defined border.

Border: 1st 2 rows are different colors, last 2 rows are the same color

Border: 1st 2 rows are different colors, last 2 rows are the same color

 

As always, I would love to hear from you.  Comments or questions are always welcome!