Monday, July 9, 2012

Chocolate and Blueberry Oatmeal Blondies

I always like to end/start the week with a big, home-cooked meal when we can. It's a nice way to cap off the week and put myself in a good mood for what the next 7 days will bring. And, we've been watching MasterChef season 1, so we're both on this "I can cook better than you" kick. Joey was in charge of the entree (mango coconut Chilean sea bass...he wins. It was amazing), and I had the dessert. I was in the mood for something fatty and completely unredeeming, whereas Joey wanted something light and fruity. So...this dessert sort of meets somewhere in the middle, in that it does have fruit in it, but is still totally fattening and probably not very healthy. Win-win.

I would love to have you believe that after many, many tries in the kitchen, mixing the perfect ratios of baking ingredients that I perfected this recipe I'm about to share with you, but that would be a lie, and what kind of a blogger would I be if I started lying to my audience? (Probably a very good one, actually.)

I found the recipe on my favorite place to search for recipes, Like a lot of recipe websites these days, all the recipes are user-reviewed, so I usually just search for the highest-rated version of whatever I'm looking to make, read some of the user comments for modifications and go about my business. It's rarely led me wrong.

Here's the link to the recipe I'm about to share:

Chocolate and Blueberry Oatmeal Blondies


Not pictured: Salt. Dammit! Don't forget the salt!
  • 1 cup butter at room temperature (I melted mine...shhh, don't tell!)
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan.  |
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until thoroughly mixed and creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract until well mixed, and mix in salt, baking soda, baking powder, flour, rolled oats, plus chocolate chips, raisins, and chopped nuts if desired. Mix well to moisten all ingredients, and spread into the prepared baking pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before cutting into bars. 
Okay, so those are the basic directions. After you mix together all your ingredients, your batter will look something like this:
It's pretty thick, and to be honest, I was worried it was going to be too dry. I'm used to making quick breads, and my batter is usually thin enough to pour into a pan. This batter will not be like that. Spread out in your 9x13 pan, it looks something like this:
The directions say to bake it for 20-25 minutes, but after 25 minutes, the center was still kind of gooey. I can't say if this is from the fresh blueberries adding extra, possibly unneeded moisture to the batter, or if it just needed more time to bake. A commenter on the original recipe suggested turning down the heat to 325 and baking for a few more minutes, so that's what I did. Aaaaannnnddd after like 6 more minutes of this, it still felt gooey, so I covered it with foil to keep the edges from burning and let it go another 5 minutes. All told, it was probably in the oven for 40 minutes, which seems like a more appropriate cooking time for something this dense. 
As usual, I had a hard time waiting for this bad boy to cool down before I cut into it and "sampled" it. (Hey, I'm feeding this to my family- I have to make sure it's edible and all...). It's thick and chewy, just like how you'd want a brownie to be, and the blueberries and chocolate chips compliment each other nicely. It's not a joke when I say that between my husband, my kid and me, we ate half the pan last night (okay, so the baby only had a small bite, but it makes it sound less gluttonous when I say 3 people ate it instead of just 2). It made a great breakfast this morning, too. 
This is definitely on my list of "must make this again when I'm feeling fat and sassy." We agreed that fresh raspberries would be awesome in this in place of the blueberries, which is something I'd like to try. I also think dried cranberries would be pretty good. One of my most favorite cookies is a chocolate chip dried cranberry oatmeal cookie, so I can't see how that combination wouldn't work in a blondie. 
 What's your favorite dessert combination? Have you made blondies with other mix-ins? I saw a lot of beer blondie recipes- how do those turn out?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Easily Decob Corn on the Cob

The picture says it all, really.
no muss, no fuss.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Vegetable Tabbouleh Salad

I know, I know... you're thinking, "This is SO not tabbouleh. This woman doesn't know what she's talking about. Where's the mint? Where's the parsely? SHE'S A LIAR!" Well, fine; you got me. This is not a recipe for traditional tabbouleh. If you're looking for that, I'd suggest you go check out this website called "google." This is, however, a delicious, healthy summertime salad that looks impressive at parties. All your friends will think you either spent a lot of time making this, or a lot of money buying it at Whole Foods, but you and I know better. It can be our little secret.

For those of you thinking, "I can't cook! I can't make this!" I'm here to tell you that's nonsense. If you can boil water, chop veggies and read directions, you can make this. I'll even walk you through it. The whole thing will probably take you less than 20 minutes. YOU CAN DO THIS.

Not pictured: Sugar.
1 cup uncooked bulgur wheat

1 ear of corn (or 1 can, if fresh is unavailable)
1 bell pepper (I chose an orange one for color, but any of them would be delicious)
1/2 hot house cucumber (I don't like seeds. I don't like cucumber peel, either.)
1/2 jalapeno (add more or less depending on your ability to tolerate spice)
2-3 scallions
handful of garden tomatoes (or 1 large tomato, depending on what's available)
(You can substitute any of these for veggies you have on hand, but these are my favorite)

2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp salt (I have coarsely ground shown, but any ole' salt will do. If you have sodium restrictions, just salt to taste.)
1/4 tsp sugar
Pepper to taste
Here's how to do it:
1. Add 1 cup of uncooked bulgar wheat + 2 cups water to pan, bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, let simmer for 15 minutes. Set your kitchen timer- by the time the bulgur is done cooking, you will probably be done with everything else.

2. During this time, shuck your corn and get it cooking. I cooked mine in the microwave in a shallow dish with some water, covered, for 8 minutes. When it's done cooking, stick the smaller end of it in the middle of a bunt pan for easy decobbing. I learned this from Martha Stewart a few years ago and it is one of those tips that has changed my life.

3. Chop up your veggies! I tend to chop mine on the smaller side, because I'm used to feeding my 13-month old son, and I want him to eat the food I serve him, not choke on it. A rough chop will be fine for all of these, except the jalapeno. I would dice that as small as you can. I only used half the jalapeno, but I am a complete spice wuss. If you are the type of person who eats sriracha with a spoon, then go ahead and use the whole thing.

4. Add the dressing ingredients directly into the bowl with all of your chopped veggies. If you are getting your lemon juice directly from the lemon, I would advise squeezing it into a separate bowl and then adding it to your mix. That way, if any lemon seeds get squeezed out, you can fish them out immediately instead of searching through your beautiful salad looking for a stray lemon seed. I'm speaking from experience, unfortunately.
Pictured: Lemon seeds. Evil lemon seeds.

5. Add your cooked bulgar wheat directly to the bowl. You don't have to wait for it to cool down, but you can if you want. Mix everything up, let chill in your fridge for a little while...if you can wait that long. (I couldn't.)

And that's it! I made a version of this for my parent's 4th of July party and it was a big hit. I made it again this morning for the purposes of this very blog, and my husband and I ate almost the whole batch for lunch. It's one of those foods that you don't feel bad for indulging in, because it's light and healthy. Definitely a must-make. Try it and tell me how you like it!

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