Friday, February 19, 2016

The Pintertest Files: Brownie in a Mug

      Hello all and welcome to a VERY late Pintertest File!  Brought to you by Mediacom (#notsponsered) who decided to do "maintenance" this week resulting in us not having a reliable Internet connection for a good chunk of the week!  Thanks!

     If you live pretty much anywhere in the Midwest like I do, you have recently been experiencing some seriously crappy cold weather.  Now I like myself a good winter, but when it gets to be February I am pretty much over it.  Luckily for me that is just about when Iowa weather decides to take a turn for the worst and get really cold.

     So being that I didn't want to leave my house at all this past week.  I had to come up with a Pintertest that could be tested with objects/ingredients that we already had.  Throw in every one's love for a tasty baked good and we have this month's file: the brownie in a mug.

     Pinterest is FILLED with these single serve baked delights, brownie in a mug, cake in a jar, cookie in a cup, 4 course steak dinner in a mason jug... if you haven't seen a post for one of these, you haven't been browsing Pinterest.   But the question that has always lingered on my mind is... do they actually taste good?  Tonight we found out.

What You Will Need:

  • 2 tablespoons of lightly flavored oil (don't break out the extra virgin olive for this)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 large egg
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Measuring Cups
  • Microwave

Step 1:  Sift the Dry Ingredients Together

     In a mixing bowl sift together the cocoa powder and the flour.  Cocoa powder usually has some clumps so sifting is preferred but not absolutely necessary. 

Step 2:  Whisk the "Wet" Ingredients Together

      In a separate mixing bowl whisk together the egg, oil, brown sugar, water, vanilla, and the salt (if used). 

Step 3:  Whisk Ingredients Together and Pour into Mug

     Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined.   Pour into desired mug.  I read in multiple sources that a tall skinny mug works best at reducing the chances of the mix rising over the top of the mug while cooking.  Since scraping burnt chocolate off microwave floors is just not my scene, I went with that. Whatever you use, just make sure the mug is microwave safe and can hold 12 ounces. 

Step 4: Microwave

     Clean up any drips around the edges of the mug, then place in the microwave for 1 minute and 45 seconds.  You may need more or less time depending on the power of your microwave and the mug being used.  Our microwave is an old 950 Watts microwave with a broken turn table.  So less time may need to be used in a newer model. 

Step 5: Serve 

      CAUTION: the brownie will be extremely hot!  Also this makes a very good sized brownie, it can definitely serve more than one person.  I took it out of the mug and cut it up in thirds to serve, and it was still a satisfying amount of brownie, especially when served with ice cream.

Final Grade and Thoughts:

     This tasted pretty damn good.  It wasn't a dense fudge-y brownie, it had more of a spongy cake-like texture.  But it was tasty and definitely would fill a craving.   The recipe was quick and easy enough, although for a "single serving" treat it did produce a lot of dishes (separate mixing bowls).  It leaves me wondering how this would turn out if one were to try and stir all the ingredients together directly in the mug.  Overall I would recommend this to anyone who would like to indulge in a sweet treat without having a pan of left over brownies tempting them the rest of the week. 


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

January Favorites!

     Hello!  Welcome to the first favorites post of 2016!  It's going to be a bit on the short side as I have not been too adventurous with new products, or I just haven't liked them. Take your pick.  Most cosmetic products I have recently been fond of were discussed in my 2015 Favorites post (here), but there are a few things I wanted to share with you guys - so let's get started!

Books:  God of the Dead (Seasons of Blood #1) by Elias Anderson

God of the Dead by Elias Anderson available at
     This month I am playing around with a free trial of Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service that grants you access to tons of book titles through my Kindle app.   This was a book recommended to me based on my previous purchases.  I didn't know anything about the author or the series (it's apparently a prequel to a trilogy) and since it was free I thought "why not."

     I don't quite know how to place the genre.  It's definitely horror,  but there is a very interesting mix of crime drama as well.  The book was well written, the scenes were very descriptive (if you don't like a bit of gore don't bother).  It was an extremely fast read.  The book is 244 pages and I think it only took me an hour or two to finish off.  I did find myself wishing there was more to the story when I was finished.  It wasn't an unsatisfactory ending per se, but the book moved quicker than I would have liked.  That being said it is classified as a prequel and after reading this book I will certainly be looking into the next three titles to see if they are similar in quality.

TV/Movies:  Jessica Jones Season 1

Jessica Jones Season 1 available through Netflix 
     Based on the Marvel super heroine of the same name, this Netflix series has quickly become one of my favorite comic book adaptations of all time.  Yes, I said it.  It may even be better than Batman (ok maybe not, but at least tied with the Dark Knight).

    "Why?" you may ask, "What makes this series so good?"  Well, first off all this seasons main villain is probably one of the scariest villains of all time, Kilgrave.  A man whose ability allows him to control the minds of others, leading them to do his evil bidding by making them believe it's what they want as well.  The series is amazing at not only explaining  Kilgrave's mentality that he has done nothing wrong (it wasn't him that killed after all), but also the mental deterioration that a person endures after Kilgrave has forced them to do something against their nature. 

    In addition to the villain, the series depiction of Jessica Jones is also exceptional.  She is not what one would call a typical super hero, most of the season she is actively avoiding being labeled "the good guy."   There are even  points in the series where you find yourself almost rooting against her.   Of course her history and experience with the antagonist explains her actions, but it is this internal character struggle that makes the series stand out from the countless other super hero series currently being aired. 

Music:  January Mixed Tape

 January's mixed tape on audio cassette no longer available

    So this month was kind of a hodge podge of music.  There wasn't really any rhyme or reason to what I listened to.. on any given day I didn't even stay within a genre, so this month really is a mix!  

  1. Disturbed -  The Sound of Silence - this cover completely blew me away when I first heard it on the radio a week or two ago. 
  2. Rise Against - The Good Left Undone 
  3. Sia - Elastic Heart - I don't care what people say about the video, if you look up the story behind it, it's brilliant. 
  4. Led Zepplin - Stairway to Heaven 
  5. Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 
  6. Eminem feat. Rihanna  - Love The Way You Lie
  7. Stone Sour feat. Lzzy Hale - Gimme Shelter - another fantastic cover 
  8. Bring Me the Horizon - Throne
  9. Elton John - Believe 
  10. Five Finger Death Punch - Wrong Side of Heaven 

Makeup: L'Oreal Infalliable 24 Hour Eye Shadow 

L'Oreal Infalliable 24 Hour Eye Shadows available at most discount and drug stores 

     This isn't a new product to me, I've actually had these for quite a while.  I don't know why I have overlooked or neglected them for so long.  They have a fantastic formula.  I don't know if they last 24 hours or not. I don't believe I have ever had an occasion where it was necessary for me to wear eyeshadow for 24 hours.  But the shadows do last a while with out creasing or fading. 

    In particular if you are looking for a bright cool toned purple, check out Perpetual Purple or Purple Priority.  You may have to look in some various locations, while they are available at most discount and drug stores, each chain has its own exclusive colors. Unfortunately I don't remember which chain of stores carried the purple colors.  But the purples are some of the best purple shadows available. I'm not kidding.  

    A downside to these is that they can be a little bit tricky to work with, only because they are actually loose pigments that are pressed down into the jar.  So its this odd mixture of a pressed shadow and a loose pigment.  I have found that a finger or a cheap sponge applicator works best for getting the pigment on your lid then you can blend with a brush.   

     That is all I have folks!  If there is something you think I should try out, or if you disagree with any of my choices feel free to comment below!  I'd love to hear from you.  As always thank you for stopping by and I will see you next week! 

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