Sunday, February 19, 2012

Back in Blue


Hello! I am back...back in blue... BYU blue. A
s most of you already know, I was recently accepted to attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah in the fall...the greatest news of my life. Seriously, this is the only time I will toot my own horn but I have worked my booty off the past six years for this opportunity. I have prayed for months and months and daydreamed of my life of coats, boots and hot chocolate for what has seemed like years. I cannot express how utterly
overjoyed to know that I have been given the opportunity to not only take a huge step in my life but do it in a place molded for who I am. This is not just a school, this has sentimental and emotional value. I believe that being in a place like BYU will bring me opportunities to serve the Lord, carry on a family tradition, prepare myself to be a better future wife and mother, become independent, wear coats and boots everyday, wake up to mountains, go hiking, say prayers to begin my classes, be surrounded by people with my same standards, not be in Florida, (meet cute boys), and of course...enjoy Creamery ice cream. I am starting a new chapter in my life with gratitude, excitement and optimi
sm. I am actually grateful for the all-nighters, treks to get to school and higher standard that have helped me to be the hard-worker that I am today. But now I'm ready to have fun, to explore, be inspired, meet brand new people and create me. I have missed blogging and I really enjoy writing even though my only readers are probably my sissies (thank you). So, I have decided that a) to keep my sisters updated on my life b) remain in the kool kreative kids blogosphere and c) continue polishing my writing skills, I will post every week whether it be a picture or a list of all the things I did that
week. No matter what, I will do it. Done.
And so, I proudly present...myself...back in blue.
In the background is a huge poster thing I made last year for a class when given the assignment...bring in/make something that represent what inspires you...I went a little overboard. The night that I received my acceptance from BYU, Dad brought home beautiful roses and sparkling cider to celebrate! It has been a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Next Step

SOOOOO, my sister has a friend who is friends with friends of Stephanie Nielson...WOW!!! Those friends of NieNie that are friends with my sister's friend have given me the OK to send brownies for NieNie. I now have the chance to directly send her my brownies and a letter to explain this whole shibang!!! I can't believe it!!! It has been my dream for the past few months to have Stephanie know about my project, to know how much I love the gospel and how much I care about her story and how much I LOVE brownies. Wish me luck. Tomorrow I am making several batches of brownies to send her an assortment of my favs. Ohmygoodessohmygoodnessohmygoodness!!!!

Little Isaac

Hats for all.

I recently found out about a 5 year old boy, Isaac, that just moved here from North Carolina that was burned over 80% of his body (just like NieNie) in a house fire. He wasn't received well by his classmates back in North Carolina because of his altered physical appearance. The ended up moving to Florida in hopes of a fresh start. To try and help the little kids at his new school understand about Isaac's situation, his parents and the local fire department organized a presentation. "Firefighters talked with kindergarteners about burn victims before watching a video explaining that they were "just like you." "Today he's going to be an honorary firefighter," Deputy Fire Marshall Angel Condre said of Isaac. "He's one of us. When you see him, treat him the same way you would treat one of us. With respect." As Isaac walked through the door, accompanied by the firefighters, kindergarteners clapped." -Florida Today

This is an amazing story that Heavenly Father handed to me on a silver platter. I really would love to reach out to this boy and tell him about The BrowNIE Project to share with him that I want to help kids just like him. P.s I would also love to make him some brownies. :)


To Infinity and Beyond!!!


To quote the wise words of Buzz Lightyear, The BrowNIE Project is going "to infinity and beyond!" I have had some pretty incredible experiences these past couple of weeks as The BrowNIE Project has REALLY taken off.
For starters, I had the opportunity to present my BrowNIE Project presentation with NieNie's video to all the faculty at my school. Mini shout out to my TOK teacher Ms. Von Appen for giving me this opportunity! Anyway, at first I was like "cool, this is going to be awesome"...the night before I presented...(to myself) "Jackson, what if you faint or have a heart attack, what if they throw tomatoes at you, what if your jump drive with the presentation decides to freak out, will they kick me out for showing a video with religious references?" So...I prayed. I asked Heavenly Father to calm me down, to help my mind know what to say to convey what my heart was feeling. I prayed for the strength to not fall over and die of fright and to convey my passion for this project and what I am trying to accomplish here. AND IT WAS A SUCCESS!!! My hand shook a little while I was holding the mouse but other than that it went beautifully. I spoke what was on my heart and mind and Heavenly Father did the rest. Afterwards, I had brownie samples to pass out to the 60+ people and fliers and order forms. You won't believe it...I RECEIVED OVER $90 IN DONATIONS!!!
It's all just branched out from there. I have been baking and delivering batches of brownies to family and friends for about two months now and have RAISED OVER $500 IN ORDERS AND DONATIONS!!!

Happy

I am incredibly happy today. It's the first day of fall for Florida. Today was like a holiday for Floridians because of 85 degree temperatures!!! Trust me, this is a big deal because we have been enduring 95 degree temperatures as the norm for months. It's incredible what a change in temperature can do, putting a spring in your step and making all the wonderfulness of fall and the holidays not seem an eternity away.

Today, I had opportunity to watch General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is a worldwide broadcast filled with inspirational messages from our Church leaders.

I love that Conference always has the amazing ability to touch everyone in such different ways. With each topic, we all are able to connect thoughts and experiences in our hearts and minds. Recently reflecting on my Patriarchal Blessing, I knew I needed to pay special attention to Conference and absorb what the Prophet and his apostles needed to tell me and the millions watching. "Patriarchal blessings are given to worthy members of the Church by ordained patriarchs. Patriarchal blessings include a declaration of a person's lineage in the house of Israel and contain personal counsel from the Lord. As a person studies his or her patriarchal blessing and follows the counsel it contains, it will provide guidance, comfort, and protection." They offer insight into where we come from, our purpose here on Earth and what is in store for us after this life. I got mine when I was 14 and have been amazed over the years to see its truth and the direction that it has given me. Even if you are not of my faith, I encourage you to check out http://mormon.org/ to better understand where I am coming from. Stories of hope and guidance on how to handle the stormy seas of life can be found here. I love this gospel and its simplicity. There is a plan for us, a plan to be happy, I know it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Browniemonster Baby #11 Ghirardelli Peppermint Brownies

Wowsers...these ones are awesome.

Ingredients:

-4 ounces Ghirardelli 100% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate baking bar, broken or chopped into 1 inch pieces ( I used 60% Cacao just because I don't like dark chocolate and it's America and I can do what I want)
-1 cup unsalted butter
-3 large eggs
-2 cups granulated white sugar
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 cup all purpose flour
-1 (5.32 ounce) bag Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate with White Mint Filling Squares, unwrapped (chill in fridge beforehand)
-4 small candy canes, crushed (when candy canes are not in season, use 9 Brach's little peppermint candies...I used a food pro
cessor to crush them because litt
le pieces fly everywhere if you try to cut them by hand)

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (I do 345). Put parchment paper in a 9 inch
square baking pan.
2.) In the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
3.) In a large bowl with an electric mixer or whisk, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla, peppermint extract and salt until combined. Beat in the chocolate mixture. Gently stir in the flour. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
4.) Bake for about 45 (39) minutes, or until a tester inserted into the brownies comes out clean. Arrange the mint squares on top in one layer and return the brownies to the oven until they are just melted, about 1 minute.Evenly spread the chocolate with a spatula and sprinkle with the crushed candy canes. Cool completely before cutting into 2-inch squares.


Enjoy!!!

Love, The Browniemonster




Monday, September 12, 2011

Browniemonster Baby #10 Emeril's Gluten Free/ Dairy Free Brownies...a new frontier

I recently made a particular kind of brownies that were new territory to me. Four words: gluten free dairy free. I took a unique request from a friend for her mother. So, I looked around and found this Emeril's Gluten Free/ Dairy Free Brownie recipe. So I decided to try it. Oh goodness, it was weird. Lemme tell you about them:

Ingredients:

Vegetable spray or Smart Balance for greasing pan (I found this really cool parchment paper on one side and foil on the other side paper instead of greasing etc)
1 ¼ cups applesauce (I didn't have applesauce and I didn't want to make a trip to the grocery store just for applesauce so I made my own)
1 cup cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 mashed banana
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup brown rice flour (I was lucky to have some in the freezer)
2 cups vegan chocolate chips or mixture of any vegan chips (well, I didn't have any of those either and didn't even know where I could buy some...so I did a combination between unsweetened and dark chocolate to minimize the "lactose") (I told you these brownies were going to be werid)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. (I did 345)

Grease an 8x8 pan using either vegetable spray or Smart Balance* (butter substitute)(I promise, parchment paper is the way to go)

In a large mixing bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into prepared pan. (To make the applesauce, I put two small apples in the blender and hit the little pulse button for a while....however, keep reading because there were some difficulties, I think, with this method)

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean.

These brownies are dense and fudgey.(Emeril is a LIAR MCLIARPANTS!!! When I went to check the brownies at 33 minutes, the brownies still looked liquid-y. So I let them go for five minutes. And then another five minutes. And another five minutes. By then I'm panicking. So, after 15 extra minutes in the oven, I take the brownies out which still look like poop pudding and decide to leave them out overnight to see if they'll firm up. Well, they did but I had to leave them in the fridge for an hour in the morning just to make sure. So when I eventually got the "brownies" into their container after cutting, they resembled little cow patties...yum. I warned my customer that this was my first time making these and that even though they are healthy, they might not taste good and that I would gladly make them another batch if they tasted gross. So, my advice, use forreal applesauce and maybe even cut down on the amount. Adding a little bit more brown rice flour might actually be helpful too. Oh well, live and learn.)

Well, it's late and I've got school tomorrow and I could probs stay on my computer for four straight days but my eyes are hurting and I've had a full day of being busy/awesome and I don't want to be a zombie tomorrow. So, gute nacht mine kinder.

Love, The Browniemonster