I sincerely wish I were one of those people who liked when life threw her curve balls. You know the type–they relish the volatility of the everyday and meet the various and sundry obstacles they encounter with this superhuman optimism that makes the rest of us want to steal their cookies. Or maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, the road of life has been decidedly bumpy this week. Remember back when Charlie had his knee surgery and I made those awesome Chocolate Revel Bars as a get well soon treat? Well, regardless of how undoubtedly delicious those bars were, it seems that they weren’t powerful enough to guarantee a quick and easy recovery…
Early last week, Charlie texted me in the middle of the workday and asked me to call him…which doesn’t happen unless something’s up. Sure enough, his doctor had confirmed that the discomfort he’d been feeling in his knee was an honest-to-goodness infection–and wanted Charlie to have surgery the next afternoon. Neither of us had been expecting anything like that–we figured he’d have to go on antibiotics or something, but we didn’t think it was anything so serious as “You need to have surgery tomorrow.”
Thankfully, the procedure went fine (better than they expected, even), but Charlie still had to stay in the hospital for two days afterward to keep getting IV antibiotic treatments. He had to miss a whole week of school, and (though he might deny it) I could tell he was feeling pretty down in the dumps. So I decided to scrap/modify the plans I’d had for this past weekend and drive down to see him, hopefully bringing some distraction and cheer with me.
Now, you all know me well enough to understand that I don’t go anywhere without food. It’s just a given. But when you decide to take a weekend trip 24 hours before you actually leave and you’re still in the beginning stages of furnishing and stocking a kitchen…well, your options are kind of limited.
I had: a 9×13 Pyrex pan. Eggs. Measuring cups. And peanut butter.
Solution? Brownies with a twist.
…When “From Scratch” Just Isn’t an Option
1 package Betty Crocker classic fudge brownie mix
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil (**See note)
6 regular-sized Reese’s peanut butter cups, roughly chopped
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9×13 Pyrex pan.
2. Prepare brownie mix according to instructions on the box except:
**Note: The recipe on the Betty Crocker box used to call for 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. Sometime in the last two or three years, though, they changed the amount of oil called for to 2/3 cup. But my sisters and I–who are pretty consummate brownie makers, if we do say so ourselves–are of the firm opinion that the consistency of the finished product suffered noticeably as a result of the change. So in spite of the new Betty Crocker instructions, we’ve stuck staunchly to our original proportions, and recommend you do too!
3. Stir chopped peanut butter cups into prepared brownie batter.
4. Pour brownie batter into greased pan.
5. Warm your 3/4 cup of peanut butter in the microwave until it pours easily (about 30-40 seconds). Pour melty peanut butter over the batter. Use a butterknife to swirl the peanut butter into the brownie batter.
6. Bake according to instructions on the box (I always bake mine for 29 minutes). If you are adding sprinkles or another topping midway through baking, let the brownies bake for 10 minutes, then add the toppings and bake for another 19.
7. Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow brownies to cool completely before slicing.
Some other highlights from our weekend included…
Me kicking Charlie’s butt at Trivial Pursuit. Not pictured: me losing by 8 points in Scrabble. I demand a rematch.
Mmm, taco salad for lunch at Panchero’s. Not pictured (again): the gigantic side of blue corn chips and guac we split. Nom.
My KitchenAid stand mixer FINALLY came home with me!! (Charlie gave me my gorgeous pistachio mixer as a birthday present back in May, but it’s been living at his place until I moved into my apartment and got the furnishings under control. And at long last it’s sitting here in all its shiny, dough-ready glory!)
I have a dresser! Aka I am no longer living out of giant black trash bags (…not that that was my real life for the past two weeks or anything). Also please ignore my clothing spilling out of everywhere. I promise I’m actually super clean and organized. Kthanks.
Dear life, just let us be healthy and lounge around in sweatpants and rot our brains with Dancing with the Stars for a while. Please? I’d be much obliged.