I Need Chocolate!

You know those days….you have a craving for something sweet, but not for just any old thing. You crave CHOCOLATE!! I had that kind of a day today. Work was tough and long. It was cold outside (although definitely warmer today than it’s been in a while). I needed comfort food, and when I say comfort food, I’m usually talking about dessert! ūüôā

So I drag out my recipe box and thumb through it until I find my favorite go-to, stand-by, gotta-to-make-it-now brownie recipe. I’ve made these brownies for so long (since high school, and that’s been a while!) that I’ve forgotten where I even got the recipe. I’m sure it came from someone in my hometown of Lenox, IA…..so many wonderful cooks in that town! Heck, when I was in high school, we actually wanted the recipes that the high school cooks used…seriously! They actually cooked real food, not like the stuff the poor kids in school have to tolerate today. Oh to have that homemade pizza recipe….their chocolate chip cookies…and their chili and vegetable soups (both completely homemade) were used for many a fundraising event.

But…I digress. Today was about chocolate. Ooey, gooey chocolate brownies. So if you’re salivating like I was earlier today when thinking about these, here you go:

Super-Easy One-Bowl Brownies






2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla



Mix all together until completely combined. Pour into an 8 x 10-inch greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes, or until they test done. Frost with your favorite frosting/icing when cooled.

Don’t let the oil amount fool you…it’s correct. Really a delicious brownie…and if you can’t wait for them to cool long enough to frost, they’re just as delicious unfrosted, right out of the pan while still warm! Pass me the milk please ūüôā

Apple Cheddar Squash Soup

The winter here in Iowa has been absolutely brutal the last few weeks, and when the weather turns as nasty as it has been, I immediately think of soup for dinner. It’s easy to do…you can double/triple as you need, and the leftovers (if any) are mighty tasty.

We had a bumper crop of apples last fall…so much so that the local deer population got fat on the ones that spoiled! Now to just keep them out of the garden come spring planting time! A favorite soup recipe here is this Apple Cheddar Squash Soup. We always seem to have apples (spring frosts permitting), and we always grow butternut squash (our favorite kind of winter squash). I found this recipe in¬†Food Network Magazine, and it really was perfect for our family.


             
                         Apple-Cheddar-Squash Soup

Serving Size: 4     Preparation Time:  0:28 minutes     








  

  Ingredients:

 5 Tbs.               unsalted butter
   1                       medium onion, thinly sliced
   2                       medium apples, thinly sliced
   1                       large white potato, diced
   1-1/2  cups       chopped peeled butternut squash, fresh or frozen
                            Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  1/2  tsp.             dried sage
  2 Tbs                 all-purpose flour
  1/3  cup             apple cider
   4 cups              low-sodium chicken broth
   1 cup                milk
   2  ounces          thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into bite-size pieces
   2  cups             grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
                           Chopped chives, for garnish (optional)
                           Crusty bread, for serving (optional)

Instructions:

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium-low heat and add the onion, apples, potato and squash. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sage and flour. Add the cider and cook over high heat, stirring, until thickened. Add the broth and milk, cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the potato is soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook until crisp, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Add the cheese to the soup and stir over medium-low heat until melted. Puree in a blender in batches until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the prosciutto, more cheese and chives, if using. Serve with bread, if desired.

 

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