It’s Thursday! The past few days have been busy! I’m sure everyone is feeling the same way. On top of everything, it’s August!? Yesterday, I sent a text to my sister asking when that happened?? Commercials for back to school, talk about football on the radio? Is Summer over already? I haven’t even gone to the beach yet! I did get a chance to take a 2 hour wave runner tour over the weekend. I highly recommend it!!! I went through Seaforth Boat Rentals at their Mission Bay location (http://www.seaforthboatrental.com/). What a blast! AND . . . (drum roll) August is “Eat Your Dessert First” Month! Who’s with me??
Another cool fundraiser going on right now: http://reciperenovator.com/cookies-for-cody/ A fellow blogger, Stephanie Weaver of The Recipe Renovator, is raising money for her nephew, Cody, who was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer. If you go to her site, you can bid on cookbooks signed by the authors, desserts, gift baskets, and kitchen items. The bidding ends at 5pm (Pacific Time) on August 5th, so you still have time to check out the items and place a bid. It’s a fun way to raise money! Good luck!!
At times, it seems like there are too many amazing causes to help. Where do you start? When do you stop?? I have two organizations in which I feel strongly and support: NAMI San Diego (http://www.namisandiego.org/) and San Diego Humane Society and SPCA (http://www.sdhumane.org/site/PageServer?pagename=home_page). I think it’s good to find where you are passionate and direct that energy towards a particular group or person. Having said that, it’s fun to find these various fundraising tactics and give a little, if one can.
Now if fundraising for major organizations just isn’t your thing, I love doing small things like baking for others. In June, Amanda of I Am Baker took this idea to the next level and asked her readers to nominate someone who deserved baked goods delivered to his or her house. She had over 160 nominations (I nominated my parents.). Then she threw out the request for volunteer bakers so that every nomination could receive a delivered treat. She received over 400 volunteers! My parents received a box of wonderful Mexican Wedding Cookies from The Urban Baker (http://www.theurbanbaker.com/an-old-favorite-mexican-wedding-cookies-gluten-free/). My parents were so happy to be nominated, and they couldn’t believe how professional the cookies and packaging looked. So if you know someone who’s having a tough day or week (or year!), drop off a little treat. If you don’t bake, stop by a local bakery and pick up a couple brownies. If the person doesn’t like sweets or is watching their weight, pick up some veggies or flowers at a Farmer’s Market and surprise your friend or family member. A little act of kindness can really make a difference in someone’s life. I know you all know this, but it’s good to get a reminder!
I made one of my favorite brownie recipes the other day for someone’s birthday. There are about as many brownie recipes as there are fundraisers! I have a handful of recipes I go between, but I like this one because it’s more fudgy than cakey, and the brownies are a little on the thinner side. Thinner in terms of thickness, not in terms of calories! Add a dollop of ice cream, and you are good to go! Another great thing about this recipe, you don’t have to worry about bringing the butter to room temperature. You just melt the butter! The original recipe is from Bon Appetit (September 2004), but the recipe below is with my adjustments. I have another fav brownie recipe that is SUPER fudgy!! It’s best to make them the day before they are consumed. They need a day to rest. And you’ll need a day to rest after eating a couple! I’ll have to share that one another time.
Heath Bar Brownies
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks for faster melting
3.5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 2/3 cup sugar (I use vanilla sugar that I make.)
3 large eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Heath English toffee chips
1 cup nut pieces (whichever you prefer – I like walnuts or pecans), toasted and cooled (If you hate nuts, leave them out.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 13x9x2-inch pan. Stir butter and chocolate in a heavy small saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Cool to lukewarm.
Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, eggs, and vanilla in large bowl until thick and billowy, about 3 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture, then flour mixture. Make sure not to over mix! Fold in nuts and Heath English toffee chips. Transfer to pan.
Bake brownies until puffed and tester inserted into center comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 28 minutes. Cool pan on rack. Store at room temperature.
Take Care and Happy Eatings!