My mother is a wonderful cook, but will readily admit that she is not a baker. I had to teach myself the art of pie crust, layer cakes and the humble brownie. Her brownies came from a box, then were baked in the wrong type of pan for too long!
I'm still not sure if her fastidiously healthy approach to cooking and eating kept her from baking much, or if she always baked rubbery brownies in a conscious or maybe unconscious attempt to keep the rest of us from eating too many desserts. What do you think, Mama?
Anyway, the MM loves brownies and after several days without a single bite of chocolate (sad, I know), I decided that we should have some brownies. My go-to for baked items is Smitten Kitchen, about which I've blogged many, many times. It did not disappoint. These homemade brownies are so easy and quick, there's no need to ever go back to a boxed mix. And did I mention that they're the best brownies ever?
The secret is unsweetened chocolate as a base and using coarse sea salt at the end for that little bit of salty with the decadent sweetness of the chocolate. Yum. You can find the recipe for "My Favorite Brownies" here.
We are dodging thunderstorms, touring homes for sale and visiting old friends this weekend at Blue Mountain Brewery.
In honor of all mothers this weekend (even one I met today who said her son never went through the terrible two's): this is what an elephant tantrum looks like.
Not so different from:
One of the reasons that we returned to Virginia was to be closer to family, and Ford's grandparents especially. Not only did we want him to be able to spend lots of time with them, but we also wanted the benefit of some free and willing overnight childcare when it's time for a little getaway. We wasted no time taking advantage of that perk and spent a night and a day at the Hope and Glory Inn in Irvington, VA to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary. I think we even did pretty well not talking about Ford the whole time!
A little wine tasting by cruiser bike at The Dog and Oyster
Good advice for any marriage
Boat drinks! We took a little cocktail hour cruise on a dead rise boat with local boy, William. He had some great stories about Carter's Creek and the Rappahanock.
According to his Dada, Ford didn't bat an eyelash when we left and had a great time with her and his Grandpapa. We think it's really true that toddlers reserve their worst behavior for their parents. Everyone else thinks he's perfectly angelic all the time!
Ford and I biked to school and work yesterday and today. Contrary to his expression in the picture (the sun was in his eyes), he loves it! Loves it like wants to wear his bike helmet around the house and whines to go downstairs and sit in the bike seat. He makes his mama proud.
Photo from Flickr user mattames
It is so beautiful in Virginia right now. Spring showers are in the forecast for the next few days, so tomorrow we plan to be outside as much as we can. Leave the rest of the unpacking and massive grocery run to Whole Foods in Cville for Sunday. Bon weekend!
I have daycare drop off duties now, so Ford needs a seat on my new bike. This is a Bobike Maxi, designed in the Netherlands where they know a thing or two about cycling with, well anyone, everyone and everything. While I wait for his new seat to arrive in the mail, I'm pretty amazed by this bike rush hour video from the Netherlands and this bike bar from Italy!
Howdy, folks. We've been in Staunton just over a week now and are slowly settling in. There are still unopened boxes in rooms and nothing hanging on the walls, but we are loving the extra space in this house, especially a dedicated room for the MM's office and a full, finished basement for the overflow.
More than I find it disorienting to sleep in a new bedroom, I feel like my rhythm is totally off in a new kitchen. Figuring out my orientation to the prep area, where things are stored, resigning myself to an electric stove while we're here, it's all making me drag my feet a bit about getting back into the habit of making more than breakfast and PB and J after a few weeks of packing, moving, being fed by wonderful people and not cooking at all.
Our visit to the Staunton farmer's market yesterday and picking up a copy of Edible Blue Ridge should get me out of that rut, though. We're back in the land of agri-tourism and Southern foodie culture! I've already found a little lunch spot that makes a BLT with bacon from Polyface Farm. I have such a weakness for BLT's, so it wasn't hard to make up my mind there and the bacon was simply divine. Probably because they took about 10 minutes to cook it, before making the sandwich while I waited. Anyway.
Chopper the dog is at sleep-away camp (the farm where he was born) in Nelson County until we buy a house with a nice fenced yard for him. We're not sure if Isabel is terribly lonely or kind of relieved to have us all to herself. She has already made friends up and down our block. Speaking of our block, we have never, ever received such a warm welcome as renters anywhere. Everyone within a 3-house radius has come by to say hello and a couple way up the street who saw our Montana tags came all the way down to find out who we are since they went to U of M together. The MM has already gotten his hiney kicked mountain biking with his new UM grad friend.
My new job starts tomorrow and Ford has a massively runny nose, of course. I did a trial ride on the new bike from our house to my new office and it's not too far, although hilly. If I do that a few times a week, I won't have to worry too much about making it to the gym regularly. Thomas Wolfe said you can never go home again, but we certainly feel like we're finally home.