It is officially cold and flu season, friends. Get your Flonase, Theraflu, and Ricolas ready because it could hit you at any time. This was my week to be a decongested mess. Naturally, I decided to hit up the oranges for the Vitamin C and realized that I always think of Louisa May Alcott whenever I eat an orange. I have been this way since I was little. I remember that in Little Women they treated oranges as a prized possession. They only had them at Christmas time and ever since reading the book, I have thought of that image. We really are blessed to have fresh fruits and it is amazing how much we take for granted every day. This might be the sinus meds talking combined with my inner history nerd, but it is something to think about. I discussed my orange epiphany with two close friends and one shared that she thinks of the Scarlett letter every time it rains in the Spring. Do I have the coolest friends or what? There are so many things that have literary meanings to some people. Books truly do impact lives and change the way you see things.
My favorite book as a child was Drummer Hoff Fired It Off. Not really considered a classic, but I LOVED it. I still have my crinkled, torn up copy on my bookshelf and I remember my dad having a great Drummer Hoff reading voice. “Sergeant Chowder brought the powder and Captain Bammer brought the rammer….” You can see why it was my favorite. Now that I am older, I see the anti-war undertones and understand the KAHBAHBLOOOM. Thanks to Amazon you can now read everyone’s take on what the author was really trying to tell us young, impressionable kids.
You will know if we have made it to close friend status if I can name your favorite childhood book. One of my best friends in college had a favorite children’s book and I found an original 1953 copy when my mom cleaned out her kindergarten room when she retired. I gave the book to my friend for his birthday one year and while I am not sure he still has the book, it meant even more to me to give it to him.
For Halloween I am going to be the mouse from ‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.’ I needed something that I could wear to work, but still be able to sit in, contrary to my past costumes which utilized a cardboard box in some way. That and it was a great excuse to embrace my inner 12 year old and buy overalls. I will admit that my usual strategy to buy the kids version was not successful. I saved $10 by buying the girls overalls at Target only to find out the large was not long enough – I am too tall for a 12 year old and the straps didn’t cover my shoulders. So, I returned them and went to the Gap, where I scored a pair for $20! They must not have been a big seller and I was pretty pleased with myself!
Not only will I be sporting this costume at work next week (we take FUN very seriously), I had to have it ready for this weekend for my friend Kim’s Sleepy Hollow Soiree. While she is known for her amazing calligraphy, she is also an incredible host. The invite had detailed instructions about a costume AND dish contest. I chose pumpkin beer brownies because they are two of my favorite things, so they must be good when combined. Overall, I liked them! I used my favorite pumpkin beer, Schlafly, which is a STL staple and can be found at your local Whole Foods. The recipe only called for half of a beer, so I recommend you enjoy the other half while you prepare these chocolate squares of beer goodness. Disclaimer: these brownies do not scream ‘BEER,’ but it is there and you can always enjoy the brownies with another pumpkin beer. It is the perfect fall weather pair.
The amazing invitation for the soiree
Costume craft time – I used a large mason jar and a tupperware lid for my outlines
My ears and the cookie
The only time I have ever found a purpose for eyeliner: whiskers
Winnie was not so sure about the ears
PUMPKIN BEER BROWNIES
Recipe via B Britnell
- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 8 ounces of chocolate (I accidentally bought the giant chocolate bar with almonds. Surprise!)
- 1½ sticks of butter
- ½ cup of white sugar
- ½ cup of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- ½ cup of pumpkin beer
- 3 eggs
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a square baking pan.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt and then set aside.
- In a double boiler melt together the chocolate and butter until fully melted and combined. Take off of heat. You can also use the microwave – I won’t tell, but if you do, put it in one minute increments. Also, don’t put a metal bowl in the microwave. This is obvious, but hey, I am looking out for you!
- Pour the chocolate mixture into a large bowl and stir in the sugars, extract, and beer.
- One at a time, whisk in the eggs to chocolate and sugar mixture.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet chocolate mixture and stir until well combined.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
- Let cool and top with powdered sugar
THE SLEEPY HOLLOW SOIREE
Pumpkin beer in a pumpkin!
One of Kim’s walls. I know, she is ridiculously talented!
My friends came as Lord of the Rings. Nerds unite.
Winnie and I hope y’all have a great weekend!