Monday, February 13, 2012

Funny Valentine

I have a Valentine's Day Problem. It's a sick obsession. 

The pink. The candy. The heart-shaped EVERYTHING!

Valentine's Day is my Christmas.

There is nothing I love more than a saucy Valentine. 

Because if you can't be saucy on Valentine's Day, when can you be?

In between studying for the LSAT, I managed to squeeze in a few crafts in anticipation of February 14th. This year, my lovers and friends found this little gem in their mailbox:

Here's to hoping! 
Happy Valentine's Day. 

S'more Love

S'more brownies have been a signature treat of mine since high school. I used to make them, along with rice krispy treats, for all our concert tailgates. 

I may or may not have seen The Dave Matthews Band eleven times. Before I was even a junior in college. I might have worn Doc Martins and Flannel. 

What do you want from me? It was the 90's. 

S'more brownies were the perfect sustenance for long afternoons hanging in stadium parking lots drinking...soda...and getting high that is what you do at concerts, drink soda and get high on life, right? right. 

So given the amount of Dave concerts I've been to, plus various other concerts I've been to, (One of which might have been Jewel. No big deal.) I've made these brownies quite a few times. 

When one of my coworkers announced he was leaving a few weeks ago, we planned a small gathering at our post-work watering hole. I wanted to bring a special treat and since I knew these paired so well with, uh, soda, I had a hunch that they might go with alcoholic beverages as well. I'm still unclear about the pairing, but they were gone by the end of the night, so I'll take that as a good sign. 

Given the ease, I thought this would be a perfect time to share the recipe. They make a great last minute treat for your Valentine. Dave Matthews Concert, Optional. 

Start with your favorite brownie mix. Any mix will do. Mix according to package directions. This usually requires eggs, water, and vegetable oil, but be sure to check the back of the box for exact ingredients!!

I know, they are from a box. Just hide the evidence. If you don't tell, I won't tell. 

Pour batter into a buttered 9-by 13-inch baking dish. Bake according to package directions. 

Sidebar: Licking brownie batter off of a spoon ALWAYS reminds me of my college roommate. Now that I think about it, that sounds kinda creepy...

Remove brownies from oven 5 minutes before suggested baking time. Sprinkle evenly with 2 cups mini marshmallows and 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. Return to oven and bake until chocolate is melted and marshmallows and puffed and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile, break 8 graham crackers in half to make squares. In case you are not good at math, should have 16 squares.

Remove baking sheet from oven and immediately top with graham crackers. You'll want to leave a little space in between each cracker to make it easier to cut. You will not be able to fill the entire top with graham crackers. As you can see, I could only fit 15 crackers on here. Let cool completely before cutting. 

Trim excess, saving scraps to snack on, or even better yet, to serving with ice cream! The, using a sharp knife, carefully cut between graham crackers. 

Continue cutting between graham crackers until you have individual squares. 

Serve to your Valentine, your coworkers, or your fellow Dave Matthews Fans. Everyone will be sure to want S'more!

P.S. Did I mention my former coworker is somewhat of a hipster. For some people, the love of Flannel just. won't. die. 

P. P. S. Don't forget to enter my Dream Job Giveaway! For details, see my previous post!

S'more Brownies
makes about 15 brownies
Unsalted butter
1 box brownie mix, prepared according to package directions
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 whole graham crackers, broken into 16 squares

1. Preheat oven to required oven temperature (check your mix as temps. will vary). Butter a 9-by 13-inch baking pan and set aside.

3. Remove baking pan from oven and scatter marshmallows and chocolate chips over top of brownies. Return to oven and bake until chocolate is slightly melted and marshmallows are puffed and slightly golden, about 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and immediately top with graham cracker squares, pressing down to adhere and leaving space between crackers to cut.

4. Let brownies cool completely before carefully cutting between each graham cracker square.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dream Job Giveaway!

Oh Hello! 

You're all still here I see.

Where have I been, you ask?

Well, friends, that is a very good question. 

I had planned to post sooner. I honestly did. I had a dip I wanted to share for Super Bowl, chicken parm I thought would make for a great Saturday evening dinner, but I promise I'll post those sooner or later. 

While birthday tour 2012 got started very early in the year, I've also been busy doing something else. Something I have practicing for months and months. Something that may change my entire life as I know it. 

For those of you who follow me on twitter, you probably already know that this life-altering experience I speak of is the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), which I am taking tomorrow morning at 8:30AM. 

My decision to apply to law school has not been easy. While many of my friends and family support this decision now, they were very apprehensive at first. Not to mention the time I had to dedicate to studying caused me to alienate a lot of people I was close with. Although many understood it was only temporary, not everyone did. While I try not to let what others think and say determine the outcome of my decisions, it was hard to shut out much of the negativity I faced: the difficulties of school, the expense, the lack of jobs in the legal profession. Many questioned "Why law school? Why now?"

I mean, I MAY have just woken up one day and said "I think I'll go to law school", a la Elle Woods, but it's not as if it happened exaaaactly that way. 

For a long time I always imagined myself in a legal career. In high school, I even toyed with the idea of going into politics, until I realized being a poli-sci major is just as meaningless as being a communications major, except you don't get to watch as many movies for class credit, so I chose the latter. I saw myself wearing cute suits, going to important meetings, making exciting business deals. After college I thought the natural transition would be to head to law school. But then I turned 21 and wanted to go out with my friends. And then I started dating a guy and wanted to spend all my time with him. And after a failed attempt at the LSAT in 2004, I knew I wasn't ready. 

I also knew, that there was something else I wanted to do with my life. Something I was so passionate about, it consumed almost all of my time...well all of the time I wasn't at the bar or with my boyfriend. It was food. I wanted to talk about it, I wanted to read about it, I wanted to taste it, and most importantly, I wanted to cook it. I followed my passion to culinary school and and shortly after I landed a dream job working on the culinary segments of a very famous television lifestyle show. 

For the past six years of my life, I can truly say I've been living my dreams. My job isn't always glamourous and it certainly isn't always easy. But most days I enjoy what I do and everyday I learn something I didn't know the day before. 

The problem with achieving your dreams so early in your career, is that in order to keep growing you have to have new ones. Sometimes you just wake up with them, which is sort of what I did when I recently decided to take another stab at law school. Sometimes, they are also forced upon you, which is something that also happened when I received news that our TV show would no longer exist in it's current format. Would there be a place for me in its new format? That was unclear. What was clear was that this was an opportunity for me to explore other dreams life had to offer. This is not to say that I will give up my culinary career altogether, or that I will definitely pursue law school. I am just keeping my options open and no matter what I do, I will always have a passion for food and cooking and try to find ways to share that with others.

Studying for this exam has been exhausting, stressful, and at times, downright awful...and it is just the beginning of the hard work and effort that goes into being a lawyer! While partaking in a little online retail therapy study break one afternoon, I was browsing one of my go-to gift giving websites, Nico and Lala, and came across the most adorable note cards that said '"Soon-to-Be" (a real) Housewife"'. As a fan of the infamous Bravo TV franchise, I knew I simply must have them! Talk about a dream job! Okay, so maybe I don't want to be a "real housewife" in the TV sense, but I'd be lying if I didn't tell you one of the reasons I am thinking about going to law school not only to get my J.D. but also for my MRS. I mean is IS a good place to meet a husband. (At least as good of a place as anywhere else!) While I doubt I would ever fully give up my career to be a "housewife" one of the things I HAVE learned from the Real Housewives franchise is you don't have to give up your career to be a real housewife. You CAN have it all. (or at least almost!)

While I loved these notecards so so much, there was a slight problem. I am not "soon-to-be" or even "kinda-soon-to-be" or "maybe in the next five years I could possibly be" a housewife. Or any kind of wife for that matter. (Though, with the help of blogger pal Hopsy, that could all change soon!). I only new that someday in the future I would eventually might be a "real" housewife. 

With that in mind, I sent a little email to Nico and Lala asking if they could customize the cards for me to say "Future (real) Housewife". They were more than delighted to meet my requests and promptly sent me these:

Now for the Giveaway!

As a thank you for all your support and sticking with me and my blog during stressful times with a lack of postings, I am giving away a set of my custom "Future (real) Housewife" notecards. They are perfect for the gal who someday dreams marrying a dashing gentleman, the single mom who is waiting for her cookie business to take off, the married woman working both hard to manage her career and take care of her family, and always fun to send to friends who love anything "Housewives". 


1. Leave a comment on this blog post no later than Wednesday, February 15th at 9PM EST telling me what your "Dream" Job would be. 
2. You will get an additional entry if you mention this giveaway in a blog post, on twitter, or on Facebook. You will only get one additional entry, so you do not have to do all three unless you really feel like it. Just let me know where you mentioned it in your comment with your dream job. 

*Disclaimer-This giveaway was sponsored entirely by me and all thoughts about the product are my own. At the current moment Nico and Lala have no idea I am giving away any of their products, but I do love them and encourage you to visit their site. I love to support young women who follow their dreams, not mention they have wonderful gifts and their customer service is amazing. After talking to Lala herself I may or may not have also been inspired to start a small business doing something I love myself. Maybe I should see where law school takes me first...