{Dr. Oz 3 Day Detox} Day 3 Recap


I wish

The people that say they slept so much better and felt so much more awake while doing the detox are full of shit. I got approximately 3 hours of non-cumulative sleep last night for no discernible reason. I do have nights when I’m restless and have trouble sleeping but, if you believe some people who have done the detox, they felt like they slept better during it.

The only reason I can come up with as to why I couldn’t sleep is because I don’t feel great. I may be coming down with a cold or my sinuses might be on the attack. Either way, I’m feeling a little under the weather this morning. I remembered to pack my shakes and supplements but, forgot my tea and lemon. Thankfully we have some tea at work although it’s not the greatest, it fills the spot in a pinch. As of 11am, that’s all I have consumed today besides some water and my supplements. I’m blaming this on both not feeling great and the fact that, even though I like the breakfast shake, I’m already sick of it.

Finally around 1pm, I kind of feel hungry but, I still feel kind of icky and I’d rather eat a mint that drink my smoothie. I decided to muster through and drink my breakfast smoothie. Even though it’s lunch time, that lunch smoothie was not happening. It wasn’t bad. Pretty much the same as yesterday. Halfway through I started to have stomach cramps though and I’m not sure if that was a result of the smoothie or if it’s my possible cold/illness. Either way, I decided to shelve the drink until I felt a littler better.

By the end of the day I still didn’t feel great and I ended up only having some tea and that one smoothie. I know that sounds super healthy. I have a lot of thoughts after doing this Dr. Oz detox and it’s kind of made me rethink my original plan. I’ll have more details on my thoughts and my new plan in a separate post. For the record, I finally ate a butterscotch bar on Saturday.

This is part one in a series of posts about my experience with the Dr. Oz 3 Day Detox. You can find part 1 here and part 2 here.

{Dr. Oz 3 Day Detox} Day 2 Recap

“I’m on this new diet. Well, I don’t eat anything and when I feel like I’m about to faint I eat a cube of cheese. I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight.” – Emily, The Devil Wears Prada

Emily’s diet sounds better than this detox right now. Although, I’m like 18 stomach flus away from my goal weight. Oh right…this is not about weight. It’s about my overall health. {Rinse and Repeat}

Wednesday night I was discouraged. Between the lunch drink making gag and the dinner drink setting my mouth aflame I was worried about the next two days and actually looking forward to just drinking water. I pressed on though and prepped my lunch shake for the next day. Since I had made two breakfast shakes thinking I would drink one for my snack, I already had that ready.

I took a different approach to the lunch drink – adding in the celery first and chopping alone. That would have worked except once chopped, my Ninja’s blades couldn’t reach the bits so I added in some of the almond milk. That seemed to work ok. Then I added the kale and the seeded and chopped cucumber. It didn’t seem terribly thick so, I added in the rest of the ingredients (except coconut oil because I dropped the glass jar on the kitchen floor) and blended for three minutes. I also added an extra 1/2 cup of almond milk because I needed it to not be so thick. Pouring into the container, I was still skeptical. It still looked pulpy but, maybe not as bad. I skipped making a second shake for a snack because I doubted that would happen.

Fast forward to Thursday morning. I woke up feeling fine…not hungry and possible a little more awake and alert than normal. Although it was really cold outside, I didn’t find myself struggling to get out from under the blankets. I’m still skeptical as to if this is an effect of the juice or a new, healthier mental state. I contemplated making my “Morning Detox Tea” at home but, decided against it. I enjoy having a cup of tea at my desk first thing in the morning while reading and responding to emails. So, I got ready and packed up my stuff and head out to work.

I made my tea with the added probiotic and lemon only as soon as I got to work and savored every sip thinking this might be the only good thing I have all day. I finished the tea around 9:15 and went right to my breakfast drink. I new that wouldn’t be too bad and I was right. It had a little extra zing from the lemon than yesterdays which I attributed to having made it 36 hours ago. It’s still a lot of juice though and it takes a good bit of time to drink. Next it was time to psych myself up for this blasted fabulous lunch drink.

That's me...kind of

That’s me…kind of

A late morning meeting finished a little early so, I decided to take that extra time to stare down start my lunch drink. But,  in two minutes work got crazy and I didn’t end up getting my drink from the fridge until 12:30pm. {Raises Won Ton Soup Container} Here’s to another long afternoon! {Sighs}

On first sip it wasn’t nearly as thick as day 1 and the flavor was a little better. There’s still a bit of pulp and it’s still a lot of juice, though. Ten minutes into my lunch I was interrupted for a meeting. No biggie…I wasn’t dying to finish it anyway. An hour later, I made it back to my desk and, to my surprise, the smoothie was still not terrible. For the most part I was able to drink it normally but, towards the end it got a little sketchy. Lots of pulp had settled and despite my attempts to shake it up, it wasn’t going away. I tried adding water and that didn’t help. In a fit of determination, I decided to alternate sips of smoothie with sips of water. In the end, I finished all but, a couple sips. You may think “why wouldn’t you just finish it?” and the answer is, “because I didn’t want to throw up.” By the time I was done, it was 2:30. That’s about how long it took me to not finish yesterday’s smoothie but, this time I had an interruption so, I’m counting this as a win.

Around 4pm I’m still not hungry but, I’d like to chew something. It’s not that I’m craving anything in particular or that I’m hungry. I think my body just feels like my teeth are being underused. Or something like that. Then, when I had a rumbly in my tumbly, I realized that the desire to chew was connected to my impending hunger. Although I hadn’t made or brought a snack with me, I was heading home. That meant I was only 30 minutes from my dinner shake.

I made my shake and left out the cayenne. I’ve read about the detox properties of the cayenne but, it just wasn’t worth it to me to ruin an otherwise good shake for that small amount of spice. In the end, it tasted much better than day 1 and I was able to finish the drink. I still really wanted to chew something, though. I missed the crunch.

Later at night, I prepped my two shakes for work tomorrow – breakfast and lunch and I caved. Well, I kind of caved but, not really. While I was slicing up the green apple for my lunch shake, I popped a piece of it in my mouth and chewed. It was almost an involuntary reaction although the chewing was not. I really don’t think it matters though since it’s part of the detox and I didn’t have a snack shake today. So there’s my snack shake but, not really.

This semi-accident has me wondering about the necessity of making it all into a smoothie. If you liked the individual ingredients, what would be the harm in eating/drinking them. I would never do this since I despise celery and I wouldn’t really eat raw kale or a whole cucumber without dressing. Wait…I think I just answered my own question.

At the end of day 2, I feel fine…not great, not bad, just fine. I’m looking forward to this ending tomorrow and, based on my experience, I’ve decided to modify my original plan. This post is long enough though, so if you’re interested, look for that in day 3’s post. I’m off to stare longingly at my butterscotch bars.

This is part one in a series of posts about my experience with the Dr. Oz 3 Day Detox. You can find part 1 here and part 3 here.

{Dr. Oz 3 Day Detox} Day 1 Recap

Tuesday night I was pumped to start this detox. I had a great two days of delicious meals but, I was ready to hit that refresh button. I felt a renewed sense of energy and hope. I had gathered all my ingredients the day before so I was ready.

Knowing that I like to take my time in the morning and I don’t have access to a blender at work, I made the logical decision to make my day smoothies for Wednesday on Tuesday night. I gathered my ingredients and started blending in my brand new Ninja blender. I made two of the breakfast drinks (one for breakfast and one for snack) and my lunch drink. The breakfast drink looked great the lunch drink looked a little strange and it made a lot but, on a quick taste it seemed fine. (Tip; The quart containers that you get Chinese food in are perfect for storing the smoothies.)

Fast forward to Wednesday morning at 7am. I pack up all my stuff including my vitamins, supplements and my packet of green tea and head off to work. As soon as I arrive, I made my green tea. I used Tazo green tea because it’s my favorite and mixed in my probiotic (I’m using the Centrum ProNutrients Probiotic which is a powder). I had packed to think lemon slices to add to my tea as directed but, I do not like sweetener in my tea so I skipped the Stevia. I love starting my day with tea so I was totally on board. This is just like my normal day, I thought. I was pumped. I even told my co-worker how excited I was about it.

After my tea, I started on my breakfast drink. It tasted great! The raspberries really blended with the almond butter and you couldn’t taste the spinach at all. This was similar to my experience with green smoothies before. I finished the smoothie in no time. It’s pretty dense so I felt full and was satisfied. I always drink a lot of water (about 1.5L per day) and I found myself drinking it faster than normal. I contribute that to a mental thing…knowing that I’m being healthier so, I’m drinking more.

3 Day Detox Lunch Smoothie

I usually don’t eat my lunch until 1pm because I’m busy and I don’t really get hungry until that time. Today was no different. So, at 1pm I went and extracted my lunch smoothie from the fridge. It still looked a little weird to me and being that I despise celery, I was skeptical but, hopeful. The taste wasn’t bad at all. I could really taste the coconut and lime and a hint of the pineapple. I really couldn’t taste the celery but, the cucumber was very pronounced. I’ve always considered cucumber a neutral flavor but, not in this smoothie. The texture is what really threw me off and made it unpleasant. It’s hard to explain but, it was think and kind of like drinking the pulp of orange juice. I tried drinking some really fast…bad idea. Then I tried thinning it out with water….better idea but, still not totally effective. Two hours later, I was 2/3 of the way through of almost a quart of juice and struggling. The texture was making me gag a little and the taste wasn’t getting any better. Around 3:30 I took a sip and almost immediately threw up. That was enough. I put the lid on the smoothie and stuck it back in the fridge. I figured there’s no need to drink more thank I can handle anyway.

By the time I was “done” with lunch drink it was almost 4pm which left no time for my snack smoothie. After talking to my mom, who is also doing the detox, I decided I would save it for after dinner. Since it’s not a specific smoothie, I don’t think it matters where it lands in the sequence.

3 Day Detox Dinner Smoothie

I got home around 6:30 and made my dinner drink. I was excited about this one. I love blueberries and it didn’t have a lot of strong, overpowering flavors. I thought “This one should be great.” Hell if I was wrong. Everything seems so right with this smoothie and then there’s the cayenne. What. The. Hell. Admittedly I don’t like spicy things but, all I can taste is cayenne. You think you get a good sip and then *BAM* after taste of cayenne. Bloody hell. I drank about a quarter of the dinner smoothie and said to hell with it. I’m f-ing done with smoothies for the night.

I’m going to make a couple adjustments for tomorrow that will hopefully improve my experience. I already have the breakfast smoothie ready since that was supposed to be my snack but, that’s not happening. I’m going to do a few things for the lunch smoothie. First, I’m going to blend the celery as much as possible first, then add in the cucumber then the kale, then other ingredients. I’d rather get a chunk of apple then a chunk of anything else. Also, on the recommendation of my mom, I’m going to take the seeds and “mushy parts” out of the cucumber before blending. I really think this smoothie would be better done with the heftier items run through a juicer even though you would lose some of the fiber. Unfortunately, I won’t have a juicer until sometime tomorrow if UPS delivers it. Maybe I’ll get to try that for day three.

Since I’m over the smoothies for today I’m just going to drink my water and maybe a cup of detox tea (I’m skipping the detox bath for the 3 days) while trying to avoid theses lovelies which are still in my house from yesterdays dessert…

Butterscotch Bars with Homemade French Vanilla Ice Cream

Let’s hope I make it…

This is part one in a series of posts about my experience with the Dr. Oz 3 Day Detox. You can find part 2 here and part 3 here.

A Smooth(ie) Transition to 2013

It seems like the new thing is to not make resolutions for the new year. I’m all for that but, I do consider the new year to be a new beginning; an opportunity to hit the refresh button and make a few changes. Of course, this could be done any day of the year I suppose but, there’s something about the new year that makes me think “Okay. Time to start fresh.”

This year I’ve decided to make my overall health a major priority in my life unlike other years where I’ve focused only on my weight and desire to lose some of it. I’m not totally unhealthy but, I can certainly do much better. Focusing on my overall health means getting a physical and blood test for the first time in um….7 years? Maybe? Maybe longer. It means paying more attention to what and how much I’m eating. It means going out of my way to be more active – walking the floors of the hotel, taking Em for longer walks, scheduling time for exercise, etc. I also want to push myself to try things I have not before.

With my overall health and a fresh start in mind, I did some research and decided I wanted to do a detox/cleanse. I know a lot of people consider this to be drastic and also a lost cause because you’re liable to drop weight that you will gain back in an instant. However, my ultimate goal with the cleanse is not to lose weight from it but, to reset my body. Yes, of course the weight loss will be a welcome benefit. In the end, my hope is that doing a cleanse and resetting my body will help diminish cravings and improve my overall attitude on healthy eating. Call me crazy but, I feel like it’s worth a try.

Hippo to Unicorn

I took out a calendar and made a plan to start on January 2. The first step in my detox is Dr. Oz’s 3 day Detox Cleanse. It’s a fairly detailed plan that involves drinking four smoothies (or juices) each day – breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner, and taking regular vitamins. It also comes with a shopping list to help you find the right ingredients and amounts for the three days. The catch is, that it doesn’t include the items for your snack which is your favorite smoothie. Based on the ingredients, I pretty much knew my favorite would be the breakfast drink so, I just bought double what I needed for the week.

The next step is the Master Cleanse. Many people have heard of the “diet” where you just drink water with lemon, cayenne and maple syrup but, don’t know that it is actually the Master Cleanse. It’s a little more detailed once you do your research but, that’s the gist of it…just purified water. The Master Cleanse is supposed to have a three day ease in, ten day cleanse and three day ease out. I’m using the Dr. Oz detox as my three day ease in since it’s almost the same concept. I’m also only doing the Master Cleanse for seven days and then the same juice detox for the three day ease out. During the Master Cleanse, I’m going to be carrying around an emergency apple and/or banana and allow myself a cup of tea every so often if needed. I have no desire to starve or pass out.

I will also be heading back to the gym next week to resume my regular workouts with Mom. No, we’re not resolution-ers, haters. We’ve been going to the gym about 3 times  a week since September but, took a couple weeks off to enjoy the holidays. It will be interesting to see how I feel on the cleanse and going to the gym. I’m really hoping that I don’t need that emergency banana as I’ve heard very positive things about working out during the cleanse but, it will be there just in case.

The final day of my ease out period, January 13, marks the beginning of a busy week for me. That’s pretty much why I decided to forgo the ten days for a time period that fit with my schedule. On the 15th, I (hopefully…registration is the 7th) start a three day a week, one hour long boot camp class with my best friend/maid of honor. We’re super serious about this class and have committed to pushing each other to basically live our lives around being at this class on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. It’s also the week of Wine & Dine for the Arts  for which Jerry and I have tickets and the weekend before my friend’s wedding in which I am a bridesmaid. So, the week following this little adventure will be a true test of how well I can maintain a healthy, craving-less lifestyle.

Now I’m off to choke down enjoy a smoothie.

A Family Recipe for the #FBCookieSwap

I follow and read about 35 food blogs. I love finding new recipes or new variations on old recipes and I love pinning them for future use. Last year, one of my favorite bloggers from Love and Olive Oil started something called the “Food Blogger Cookie Swap” with The Little Kitchen. I didn’t read about it early enough to participate but, I saw a lot of my favorite bloggers participating and saw tons of pictures of delicious cookies on Twitter. So, when I saw the notification for signups this year, I knew I had to participate.

When I signed up, I wasn’t really sure I would be accepted. I’m far from a blogger let alone a food blogger and their are requirements to make sure that the participants are active. Even though I wasn’t sure I met the qualifications, I decide to make my donation to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and wait. If anything, I was able to donate to another great cause. To my (kind of) surprise, I was accepted and received three matches who would receive my cookies. They were Sarah from The Life Albumn, Jocelyn from Inside the BruCrew Life and Kimberly from Rhubarb and Honey. Each would receive one dozen of the same cookie. It had to be a recipe new to our blog.

The biggest problem I had was deciding on what to make. I am not a recipe developer. I’m more of a recipe tweaker. I like to find recipes and then adjust them a little bit to my taste but, that doesn’t even really qualify as “adapted” most times. However, there is one recipe that my mom and my aunt make for Christmas that I knew would be a hit – Sour Cream Horns. So, I asked mom for the recipe and instead of just giving it to me, she actually made some with me. That might not seem like a big deal but, this is a cookie that I’ve been eating for 25 years and have no idea how to make so, it was kind of a big deal.

Of course, the cookies turned out great and they fit perfectly in little treat boxes I had picked up at Michael’s. It was recommended to ship our cookies Priority Mail through USPS and that most boxes would fit in the medium flat rate. Since my boxes were much smaller than the flat rate box, I decided to wrap them in brown paper and ship Priority Mail but, not flat rate. It was also recommended that we add tracking to our packages. I really meant to do that but, in a rush at the post office, that didn’t happen. So, I was left to wait to hear from my matches that they received their packages.

Priority Boxes


Let me tell you something that I learned…Priority Mail is a joke. When I clicked through on the little screen it said 2-3 days. Apparently that means 5 days. Thankfully, all my cookies arrived safely at their destinations and seemed to be enjoyed by all. I also received three packages of delicious, homemade cookies from three other bloggers; most of which were gone within a couple days.

IMG_20121203_174107IMG_20121205_181254 IMG_20121207_183005

Overall, my first #FBCookieSwap was a great experience. I had fun making my cookies, connecting with other bloggers and trying some new cookies. If I were to do it again next year, I would remember to track my packages. Not knowing was kind of stressful. If you think you might want to participate next year, I highly recommend signing up to receive the #FBCookieSwap notifications here. It was a fun experience and one that I would recommend. Now for the recipe…

Sour Cream Horns


Sour Cream Horns

1lb of Butter

Two Eggs, Separated

1 1/3 cups of Sour Cream

4 cups of All Purpose Flour, Separated

1 1/2 cups Sugar

1 1/2 cups Finely Chopped Walnuts

4 teaspoons Cinnamon

Mix together the butter, egg yolks and sour cream. Add in 3 cups of flour.

Put 1/2 cup to 1 cup of flour on a board. Turn out the dough on to the board and kneed 15 times, folding the dough in between kneeding. Incorporated enough flour to create a moist but firm dough.

Roll the dough into a log and cut into 8 equal pieces. Flatten the pieces into small discs, rap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

In a bowl or zip top bag, mix together sugar, walnuts and cinnamon.

On a well floured surface, roll one disc of dough out to 12-16 inch round. Distribute approximately 1/4-1/3 cup of sugar mixture evenly over dough and cut into 12-16 equal wedges.

Roll each wedge from the outside to the inside making it just tight enough to keep in the filling. Place each horn on a baking sheet brush completely with beaten egg white. The horns will rise but not spread so they can be placed fairly close together on the sheet.

Bake about 18 minutes at 375 degrees until golden brown.



Last week I was talking to one of my very best friends about what is going on with our lives and our families and life in general. The past two weeks had kind of sucked for me and both of our families. No major tragedies; just a couple stabs. As each of us made a complaint, the other one would say “at least you had/could/are/etc.” reminding each other that it could be much worse. In reality, it’s been a really good year for me (and her too, I think) and I have a lot that I am thankful for – some good and some making the bad good. Here’s what I am thankful for so far this year in no particular order:

  1. My job: I am so thankful for my job for many reasons. First, because I have one when so many people do not. It’s tough out there and I managed to find a new job in a bad economy with tons of other people competing for the spot. I’m crazy luck just for that. Second, because it allowed me to leave a job that made me beyond miserable and to join a team of genuinely nice, friendly and non-dramatic people. Third, because it pays me a significant amount more than my last job. Not to say that money is everything or that I’m rolling in dough now (because I’m definitely not) but, for other reasons that I’ll get to next. And finally because it’s providing me with a great opportunity to learn and grow as I work.
  2. I can donate to charities: Okay, I understand that this one may sound ridiculous but, hear me out. Remember what I said about my new job paying me more. This is one of the biggest benefits of that salary (beyond being able to live with a little bit of comfort). When people ask you to donate to their walk fund for whatever charity or when everyone puts in money to sponsor a family around the holidays, they always say that even $1 helps. That’s very true but, it’s nice to be able to give more. Since I started my new job I’ve been able to donate to my mom’s walk fund for the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York and to my friend’s walk fund for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. I was able to buy a little extra for the two families the hotel sponsored for Thanksgiving. And I’ll be able to make some contributions to my favorite charities this holiday season and buy some extra toys for Toys for Tots. I am thankful that I can help make a little more of a difference this year.
  3. My parents: I am always thankful for my parents. They’re amazing people who made my life pretty damn easy and put up with my shit when I was making their life pretty damn hard. That’s a whole ‘nother type of thankful right there (Thanks for letting me live, Mom & Dad. I can think of more than one time I would have killed me.) But, the reason that I’m especially thankful for them this year is because of who they are. 2012 has not been their year at all. And this is after the past couple years haven’t been so great either. I won’t go into their personal details but, I am thankful for the strength that they have shown and continue to show through it all. I’m hoping 2013 is the year that they get to finally see the light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.
  4. My fianceYeah…I have one of those and in April, I’ll have a husband. And, I’m ridiculously thankful for him. Not only can he put up with me and my crazies and love me in spite of them but, he’s also helped me become a better person.
  5. My dog: Emma has been my companion for almost seven years. She is a crazy bundle of joy. No matter what has happened in my life or where I’ve gone, she’s been there. She may not be the brightest bulb but, she is the most loving.
  6. My family, My friends and Everyone who doesn’t like me so much: Because they are the people that help shape your personality and your life. Without all of them, I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am today.

And, while that’s the end of my list, there is so much more to be thankful for every day.

Strawberry Shortcake


I found this post in my draft folder and I have no idea why I didn’t publish it. I made this strawberry shortcake eons ago but, it was so good, it’s still worth posting. The recipe is from one of my favorite food blogs, Love and Olive Oil. Lindsey is the bloggers behind “The Cookie Dough Lovers Cookbook” which was basically written for me. I think I love cookie dough more than I love cookies and I was lucky enough to be gifted the book for my birthday. There are so many awesome recipes I’m not sure where to start.

I know strawberries are currently out of season but, I’ve used frozen strawberries for shortcake before with delicious results. Lindsey’s recipe was great, especially the cream biscuits. They were light with some flakiness and held up well to the juicy strawberries. I seem to have forgotten to take a picture of the final product so you’ll have to trust me that they came out great. Check out her recipe and enjoy the pictures!

Portobello Fries

On Father’s Day I had Jerry pick up two portobello caps that I had planned on marinating and grilling along with our shrimp and burgers. They would have been awesome if I hadn’t had forgot them at home.

Left with the caps and a plan down the drain I looked for something to do with them. Then it hit me – Portobello Fries! I had pinned a recipe for them a while ago but, never had the stuff to make them when I wanted to.

The “fries” are definitely not the most attractive food but, they were delicious. I varied the spices a little bit since I don’t like too much heat (red pepper flakes) and I didn’t have any cheese. I added some thyme and onion powder and increased the garlic powder. I cut mine a little thicker than they did in the original recipe so, they took longer to cook but, it was worth it. Instead of the basil aioli I made my favorite go-to “sauce” that I use for everything from a burger topping to dipping chips. It’s super complicated…ready?

Special Sauce

Sour Cream

Prepared Horseradish

Take as much sour cream as you want and add in as much prepared horseradish that you want. Stir together. Taste test and adjust as necessary.

See…totally complicated.

I’ll definitely be making these again but, I won’t be taking a picture of them because it just doesn’t do them justice.

{ASOP} Mug Brownies

I’m a Pinterest addict. I love pinning recipes and craft ideas, most of which I will never make. However, I decided to add a new category to the blog – ASOP or As Seen on Pinterest, for when I do actually make something I’ve pinned. Today’s ASOP is mug brownies.

Last night, I wanted something sweet but, didn’t have the desire or supplies to really bake anything. Instead I was perusing Pinterest when I stumbled on a recipe for mug brownies. The first time I heard of making anything in a mug in the microwave was on Michael Simon’s show where he made a “chocolate cake” in a mug. At the time, I was skeptical and when I came across mug brownies I was still skeptical. It’s hard to resist the temptation of a sweet treat in a minute and forty seconds though so, I gave it a try.

I got out my favorite Rainforest Cafe mug and added my dry ingredients:

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 tbsp cocoa powder

I mixed those up in the mug and then added:

2 tbsp vegetable oil

3 tbsp water

and stirred it up until it was all combined in the mug. I also mixed in about a tablespoon of mini chocolate chips.

Then I popped the mug in the microwave and set it for 1:40 and let it go. While the mug brownie was cooking, I whipped up some fresh whipped cream.

When the timer on the microwave went off, I grabbed the mug with a pot holder ( it’s definitely hot) and stuck a butter knife in the middle to make sure it was done. Despite my suspicions, the butter knife came out clean. I let it cool a little (but not enough that my whipped cream didn’t melt a little) and grabbed a fork.

The result? It definitely tastes like a brownie but, it’s not a brownie. It’s very moist with a little bit of a chewy brownie texture but, it’s obviously missing the characteristic exterior of a classic brownie. It works for a quick, chocolaty and sweet snack if you just need something in that category but, if you’re craving brownies, it probably wouldn’t help. I’m not a huge fan of chocolate so, I ate about half and let Jerry finish the rest. I would make it again though, if I was looking for something quick and sweet.

Hot Fudge Sauce

I love making gifts for Christmas. I don’t get to make nearly as many as I would like to but, I do what I can. One of the things I had decided to make this year was hot fudge sauce. It’s my absolute favorite topping for ice cream. It’s not hard to make and it makes an awesome gift because it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like hot fudge. Searching the internet for recipes I found that many of them included corn syrup which I didn’t want. Then I found one on one of my favorite websites, Big Girls Small Kitchen, that was exactly what I wanted.

I’ve now used their recipe so many times, I’ve been able to tweak it a bit to fit my needs but, it still remains the same base. You can find their original recipe here. Over the course of my testing I’ve changed it so that it fills 3 pint jars (and is easily cut in half or thirds). I also converted all the measurements over to weight because that’s the only way to keep it truly consistent over time. Finally, I use both unsweetened and milk chocolate at the end and I add a double shot of espresso instead of espresso powder.

For this batch, I cut my recipe in half. I was only making one jar to give away and wanted some for the house but, not a full jar. I start by weighing out all my ingredients and having everything ready to go. Making hot fudge sauce goes pretty fast and you need to be ready with your ingredients.

The butter and cream are combined over medium-low heat until the butter is melted and it just starts to boil. Then the sugars are added to the mixture and stirred until they combine with the cream until the sugar dissolves and is no longer gritty.

Then you slowly whisk in the cocoa powder until it is smooth and thick. Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the remaining ingredients. Then let it sit for a couple minutes and whisk again.

After you whisk the second time, take a taste. You may want to add a little more milk chocolate or vanilla depending on your taste. Let it cool a bit and when it’s warm but, not hot, pour it into your pint jars. Then let it completely cool on the counter before putting the lid on and storing in the refrigerator. It’s important to let it cool completely or else it will crystallize in the fridge.

Mason jars make great vessels for gifts because they’re cute on their own or you can add ribbon or cloth or whatever you want. I like to tie a ribbon around the neck of the jar and attach a card with the hot fudge sauce recipe so the receiver can make their own when it’s all gone.