Back when I was a stay at home mom with B, I would carefully plan out our monthly menus. Every first Sunday of the new month I would seek out my recipe books looking for new culinary adventures I could introduce to B. Some recipes were a success and others, well, not so much. Live and learn. Cook and learn. Either way you had it, I really had my act together as far as organization and getting things done around the house.
Since returning back to corporate America, I have found that my days are no longer leisurely on those Sundays. Each minute I have off from work I take advantage of and try to keep the house, Airstream, etc. organized, but sometimes I fail and run out of precious time.
I still do take the time to plan our menus but instead of the entire month, I take it week by week now which has really worked out well. I designed a spreadsheet that I could fill out weekly (and quickly). My sheet has the days of the week at the top and beneath each day lives: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In each block I write what we will be having for that particular meal and the block under that goes ingredients I don’t have on hand that I need to shop for.
I modified this spreadsheet for our Airstream trips to include a place at the bottom where I can list the ingredients that I do have on hand, in my brick and mortar fridge. This method, for me, ensures I won’t forget a single item — or should I rather say, it ensures that I don’t bring the entire contents of my fridge with me. Also, I keep the menu simple and leave room for days where markets are on our list to visit. Bringing home goodies from local markets and cooking them up for dinner is something I relish during our road trips.
If you would like to give my method of menu planning madness a try, you can download my spreadsheet below by clicking on the image of it.
In addition to my freebie spreadsheet, may I also share this most perfect and delicious fudgy brownie recipe with you. I have been making this for years. My dad learned how to make them from one of Julia Child’s recipe books and it is the best. Of course I am partial because my dad taught me how to make them and I have a vivid memory of him telling me, “Monica, the trick with these brownies are to not over bake them.”
Be warned, there is a fine line between these brownies being perfectly baked and over baked so make sure to have toothpicks on hand when you cut into the center to test their “doneness” out. But if you do miss that mark, they are still pretty darn good :)
I hope you enjoy :) xoxo
Thank you for being here,
Dads Best Brownies — adapted from Julia Child
- 1 1⁄4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces unsalted butter
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate – coarsely chopped
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate – coarsely chopped
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
- Preheat your oven to 325°
- With a whisk, whisk the flour and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
- Over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate together in a medium saucepan making sure to stir often and keeping an eagle eye out to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn. Add 1 cup of the sugar to the mixture and stir for half a minute, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
- Put the remaining 1 cup sugar and eggs into a bowl mixing just to combine.
- Temper the sugar and egg mixture into the chocolate mixture by adding only half of the mixture and adding it slowly, stirring gently with a rubber spatula so that the eggs don’t set from the heat. Add the rest of the mixture and mix well.
- With a hand held mixer, whip the remaining sugar and eggs until they are thick and doubled in volume which is around three minutes.
- Delicately fold the whipped eggs into the chocolate mixture using the same rubber spatula.
- When the eggs are almost completely incorporated, it’s time to gently fold in the dry ingredients and the walnuts.
- Pour and scrape the batter in to an unbuttered 9 inch square pan.
- Cut into the center at about the 22-minute mark to see how the brownies are progressing. They are done if they are just barely set and still pretty gooey.
- Cool the brownies in the pan on a rack. They will continue to cook for a little bit while entering their cooling phase.
- Once cooled, spread the top with a chocolate ganache if you would like (my dad and I liked, very much).
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 5 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Bring the heavy cream and vanilla extract to a boil in a small saucepan on the stovetop.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate chips in a bowl. Stir until the chocolate chips are smooth and melted. Allow mixture to cool slightly (it will thicken) and spread atop brownies.
A Sweet Bon Appetit :) xoxo