Simplicity Savored: Babe’s Favorite Brownies

My boyfriend loves chocolate. Like, loves it. I could make chocolate eggs and chocolate-covered bacon for breakfast, and he would eat it. (Okay, chocolate eggs might be an exaggeration… but chocolate-covered bacon sounds delicious… right?)

So, every time I feel like baking, and ask him what he wants, the answer is simple:

Chocolate. 

That generally brings one thing to mind, right? Brownies. 

I’ve found that I usually end up making these for special occasions. Our anniversary. Valentine’s Day. The Fourth of July.

Wait, what? The Fourth of July isn’t that special.

Except that it is. My guy has been working so hard, spending each and every waking moment studying for his CPA exam and I am so proud. So my itch to bake coupled with my desire to show him just how proud of him I was, and that resulted in me spending the holiday “perfecting” my brownie recipe.

And while I do put that word, perfect, in quotation marks because I’m sure there’s better bakers out there (I mean, I’ve hardly won the Great British Bake Off over here), I do think I knocked it out of the proverbial ballpark with these brownies.

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Ingredients (makes about one 9×9 pan of fudgy brownies):

  • 1/2 cup oil (I used melted butter this time to be extra indulgent)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Frosting (you could get super fancy & make your own… but this is, after all, “Simplicity Savored” – so I cheated and used the can)
  • Festive sprinkles (optional for taste, but required for fun… M&Ms also work deliciously well)

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

Combine all dry ingredients except sugar in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine oil and sugar until smooth.

Add eggs.

Add vanilla.

Mix until smooth.

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Stir dry ingredients into the oil/sugar/egg/vanilla combo.

Pour into the greased pan.

Bake for 20 minutes. The sides should pull away from the pan, and a toothpick should come out somewhat clean. (If you’re like me, you know that slightly undercooked brownies are definitely the way to go.)

Cool completely… which, yes I know is the hardest part!

Once cool, slather with frosting & sprinkles till your heart’s content.

Enjoy.

Testimony Tuesday: God Will Provide

It always strikes me as so odd how sometimes it just clicks. By that I mean, those “cliche” (for lack of a better word) sayings that float around the church community. Things like, “God will provide.” It’s repeated over and over and over again and inherently, you believe it. You know that’s what the scripture says, you know that’s the promise He has given His people. You know God will provide… but when does that click?

For me, it was last weekend.

I know, I know. That probably seems late but I think that part of this faith journey I’m on is really, completely getting what I’ve believed my whole life. After all, I think there is a different between believing it, and getting it. It doesn’t mean you’re doubting it up until that point. It just means that there’s a moment where you’re like — oh, okay. Yup, God. You’re right.

You will provide. 

What led me to this particular moment of clarity was car troubles. Cosmetic ones, technically, but air conditioning isn’t necessarily optional in the 115-degree Phoenix heat. And, let me tell you, air compressors don’t come cheap.

However, as I left the dealership knowing how much of a hit my savings were about to take, I felt oddly at peace. Sure, it’s a lot of money and yes, that still sucks, but it’s not as much as it could have been, and, I have it. It’s there. Was I planning to spend it on this? Of course not. But that’s what savings are for.

A year ago, I would have absolutely panicked, very much so in the how-in-the-world-am-I-going-to-comfortably-pay-for-this kind of way. But now? I will get the bill paid and set up a plan to rebuild the (relatively minor, in the grand scheme of things) hole it’s digging into my savings account.

It will be okay. I’m not worried. God will provide the means, even if it entails skipping a couple of happy hours for the next month or so.

And, really, I know the nonbelievers might just look at this as a result of growing up, and building a savings, and being more financially responsible. All of those things are true, and I get it.

But the Lord also provided something else for me this weekend, something more unexpected and decidedly less monetary.

Time. 

You see, I was supposed to go up to the cabin this weekend. My AC went out as I was running errands to prepare for the drive up north — getting my air pressure checked, getting gas, the usual. I could have gone up with no AC, probably, but I didn’t want to chance it just in case it was something bigger or more hazardous. So I resigned myself to staying in the Valley (and its heat) this weekend. I was upset about it at first, but as the weekend progressed, I realized that God was really handing me this set of circumstances as away to say, Whoa. Slow down. Reflect. Pause. 

I’ve been a little bit all over the place lately, due to stress and the heat of the summer and just a weird feeling of not accomplishing the things I want to do. But now I was handed this built in downtime, time where I really had no choice but to fill the hours at the dealership by doing something productive. (Granted, yes, I did watch a few episodes of Netflix, too, but that’s not the point.)

God provided time this weekend. Time for me to lay out some blog posts, which helped me get over the feeling like I wasn’t doing what I should be for this platform. Time to rest, which was surprisingly much needed after a weekend of travel and a stressful week of not sleeping well. Time to talk out some things that needed to be talked out, which provided a reality check for myself and just some good communication otherwise. Time to unwind, to wash the sheets, to organize my dresser. Time to check things off the to-do list, which turned out to provide more peace of mind than a weekend in the woods (though I do miss the smell of the pines).

His provisions aren’t always physical — they’re not necessarily food or money or housing, though they often are those things. He provides what He knows we need. We just have to trust Him about that.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
– Matthew 6:33