Thursday, July 21, 2011

S'more Brownies Please!

 (Not so) Recently my boyfriend and I went camping at Lake Havasu with some of our very good friends. It was a blast. It was jet skis, a boat, beers, brauts, the lake, and friends for 3 days. Just a fabulous time.

As usual I really wanted to bring something fun that would first and foremost travel well and second be in the spirit of camping. Oh and third include things I already had in the house cause well, that's how I like to cook and bake. After looking around in the pantry I found the brownie mix I was saving for a random occasion such as this. Hurray!

So now that I had brownie mix, what to do with it? What's has chocolate in it and just screams "camping!"

Did you say S'Mores?
I thought so! hehe

I made a batch of mini s'more brownies. They were cute, compact and went really fast. Like so fast I only got to try one.
Now please bare with me, I took all these pictures with my camera phone. Big nice camera plus dirty camping doesn't mix.

Of course the s'mores were a perfect combination of graham cracker, chocolate, and marshmallow. Nothing like it on a camping trip. I hope you get inspired to whip up a batch of these bad boys for your next camping trip or bonfire.

S'more Brownie Bites

2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs 
½ cups Butter 
1 Brownie Mix 
2 whole Eggs 
⅓ cups Vegetable Oil 
¼ cups Water 
18 whole Marshmallows + more for eating
Makes about 36 mini brownies

1. Preheat 375f. Mix graham crackers and butter until they are crumbly. Set aside and mix the brownies according to the box directions (ie 2 eggs, 1/3 cup oil, 1/4 cup water). Next slice or cut the marshmallows in half so now you have 36 marshmallows.

2. Spray the pans with non-stick spray. Add a tbsp of the graham mixture to the bottom of each cup, pressing down until its packed in. Then place 1-2 tbsp of brownie mix in each cup, filling it to the top. Bake for 10 and check them. They should be firm. If not add for additional time,  5 mins or so.

3. When they are finished, take them out and immediately place the marshmallow half on top of each brownie and gently press down. Turn the broiler on and place the trays underneath for a few seconds a piece. This will toast the marshmallows til they are nice and golden brown. If you have left over graham cracker mixture feel free to throw it on top while its still hot.

4. Try one before your friend's son eats THE ENTIRE TRAY in one day. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A year ago today...

A year ago today, after a short vacation at the end to Nicaragua, I was heading back from living 6 months in Costa Rica.

From January 7th to July 7th, exactly a year, I lived in Costa Rica. It was a crazy CRAZY experience filled with bugs and beaches, stalkers and steer, friends and foes, exploring and eating, and love. Lots and lots of love.

If you've read my post For the love of food and family you'll already know about my family (the Bad Family) who starved and didn't like me and my family (the Good Family) that feed me til I had meat on my bones again and who loved me as much as my own family would. I miss them a lot.

I'm not gonna get all weepy and sentimental, although I really do miss that very special family a lot. I just want to share a story with you, one that I think represents my time down there pretty well. A little bit of background, when I first arrived in Costa Rica I was intended to live with a family in small town near the Turriabla Volcano, lets call them the Volcano Family. Well everything went wrong that first month there, including the Costa Rican government taking away our license to teach and nearly kicking us out of the country. So off course the volcano erupted and no one knew whether or not me, along with 4 others in that same area, would be allowed to return. I waited in Vergel (pronounced Ver-Hell) to hear about the move. Obviously they decided it was too dangerous but this was a funny story that came about as I was waiting on the news.

My house in El Vergel, Costa Rica
That sounds really nice but there's a chicken in the hammock
Here I am! In Vergel, no pun intended. I would be relaxing in hammock on the porch, listening to the much appreciated rain, readying my big girl book, Pride and Prejudice, and causally dozing off but the hammock has already been claimed. So instead I decided to write to all my faithful readers… cause all 4 of you have been really great. I am proud to say I survived day 2 yesterday, cold showers, missed buses (read on!) and all. Actually, I enjoy these feared cold showers, especially when it’s 90 million thousand degree outside, which it has been from when I get up at 7 till I go to bed at 9. And yes my sleep schedule is that of an old lady and I’ll take it cause honestly the only things to do when it’s that hot are take a shower, swim in the river, or sleep with a fan pointed at your bed. One shower a day is really all I can do, and even that’s a bit much for me. As for the river, in the words of Sarah the Dolphin, “eh eh” hahaha. Too squishy… too unknown… and to be honest, too many tales of crocodiles for my taste. Hehe my host brother, after hearing me refuse to come in, told me (well not so much me as the river cause he was staring at the river while he said this, possibly consoling the river, apologizing for the gringa who refused to be one with nature) “John always wanted to play in the river.” Well then, John, my hats off to you cause right now… eh eh. Maybe some other time. So you guessed it, in bed with a fan for me…and a movie. I’m going through these movies a little too fast. Gonna have to restock soon. But with all that said, it’s really not as sad as I remember it on my first visit. The family is really warming up to me, though I hear I’m about to see them less and less as the school year starts. The say they are happy that I come out of my room and talk to them more than past volunteers have. I am trying my best to be friendly but fear it might be in vain. I get word today if I am leaving this place and going back to the volcano or staying here. At this moment I think I want the volcano. It will be closer to friends and civilization. I will be able to get the airport quicker and will have a nice place for people to stay when they come visit. But how awkward is that “hey, it’s been great but I have another family I’m gonna live with now. Yeah they live near a volcano but that’s where I think I belong. But you all have been really nice. Thanks so much for your hospitality.” And now lets try it in Spanish… “Lo siento. Tengo un otra familia… cerca de un volcan. Lo siento. Gracias por su hospitalidad. Pero yo necessito ir ahorra. “ As you can see my Spanish is greatly improving.

I don't speak much Spanish anymore and that is truly terrible. It's been a long time since I've spoken to my Good Family and all because I'm embarrassed to speak Spanish with them. And that's stupid, I know. They'll get passed that because they love me.
I think I'll call my "Mama" tomorrow.

Please check out my other, very short lived blog about Costa Rica. Some other funny stories lie within.
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