Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

For a couple of years, I've been on the lookout for good non-box/mix brownies.  Here is my own recipe I created by tweaking other recipes and swapping out the oil for pumpkin.    The brownies are a little hard to cut, but I love them!  If you heat the cocoa powder (usually with water) before adding, it's supposed to let the cocoa "bloom".  That's why I decided to heat the pumpkin.  Next time I'm going to add amaretto. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

1 c. canned pumpkin puree
1 t. instant espresso
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
1 c. chocolate chips

Heat pumpkin in the microwave (3 minutes maybe) in a medium bowl.  Add instant espresso and cocoa powder to the pumpkin and mix well and set aside.  Mix sugar, flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon together in a larger bowl.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Gradually add pumpkin mixture and then chocolate chips.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Twenty years

***Finally decided to post this.  It was sitting in my draft box for a couple of weeks. *** 

My name is Luka.
I live on the second floor.
I live upstairs from you.
Yes, I think you've seen me before.

It was summer.   We were driving to an oil distributor convention and to visit Uncle Willy in Minnesota.  I was in high school and in my pre-country music phase.  We had just driven through that part of Western Minnesota on the way to Minneapolis where it's hard to find a radio station that wasn't playing country music.  My dad who usually preferred gospel or "country western" let me listen to what I wanted as long as it didn't sound too heavy or like "devil music" since we had survived the land of rural music.  Luka was one of the most popular songs on the Billboard Hot 100, so it was played at least once an hour on the radio stations.  To amuse me, my dad would start singing the phrase "My name is Luka" every time it came up in the song.  That is why I think of my dad every time I hear that song.

It's been 20 years since my dad passed away.  It's hard to believe, but so much has happened since then.  Whenever I hear of someone older die, I have to calculate how many more years they had than my parents.  Then I remember that it's the moments that count, not the years.