This weekend was all about food. I don’t know why it ended up that way because we’ve been totally NOT about food since Christmas. I think, after the holidays, you get to a point where you just don’t want to even think about food anymore. At least, I do.

But this weekend, we started it off with a Mediterranean pizza from Papa Murphy’s. Oh, and a salad. We had to have some healthy with our semi-healthy. I love Papa Murphy’s and this is my favorite pizza. Plus it has a thin crust. I’m a big fan of the thin crust. In fact, if pizza were made on a saltine, I would be happy with that.

But anyway, on Saturday, we decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day a little early. Man took me to my favorite restaurant: Outback Steakhouse. I totally love this joint. We knew it would be busy so we did call ahead reservations and instead of waiting 45 minutes, we waited 20 minutes. And yeah, it was packed. But the dinner was lovely. I had two glasses of a shiraz. We stuffed ourselves with their soft bread, plus we had grilled shrimp on the barbie for an appetizer. Dinner was a nice fillet with a blue cheese crumb crust, a salad and a loaded baked potato. I really wanted dessert but knew I would be sick if I ate it after that.

Sunday, I decided would be baking day. I’d been wanting to try my hand at making bread from scratch without a bread machine. I didn’t know if I could do it since I’ve never really done it before. I found a receipt for whole wheat bread online and bought all the stuff a few weeks ago for it. It was just trying to find time to make it that I needed.

But first… I received my monthly Food Network magazine and it was The Chocolate Issues which of course made my day. Every month, they have these cool little booklets in the back that is 50 Insert Something Here. This month, it was 50 Brownies. SQUEE! One of my favorite desserts. I flipped it open and to my great delight, immediately saw a recipe for red velvet brownies. I nearly fainted.

Red velvet cake is my all-time favorite cake in the whole wide world, thanks to my sister. She’s the one that introduced me to it a few  years go. I have loved it ever since. So I knew I had to make these brownies. I only lacked two ingredients so on Saturday, we made a store run and I picked them up. Red food coloring being one of them. I’ll share the recipe at the end of this post. It’s easy. You’ll love it.

Anyway, so I made the brownies first and they came out perfect. While they were cooling, I got busy on the bread. At every stage, I got a little more excited that it was actually coming out the right way. It rose like it was supposed to. I kneaded it just fine, even though I had no clue if I was doing it correctly. Man said it looked like I knew what I was doing. 😀 I put the dough in its warm place to rise and when it was ready, I separated it into the three loaves. By the way, we made a stop at Bed Bath & Beyond because I needed loaf pans. I found some beautiful non-stick ones that are Made in the USA. Made me feel good to buy them. They were only a few dollars more than the other ones and they ROCK. I love these loaf pans. I announced to the husband I intend to replace all my bakeware with these type of pans that are Made in the USA.

But I digress. Here’s a picture of my bread in my shiny new pan. I can say that it tastes as good as it looks. I was really pleased with the outcome. And it was so easy to make. While it won’t totally replace the bread we buy at the store, at least we can cut down on purchasing it so much. We intend to use it for sandwiches and everything. Plus, it’s way better for us than that other stuff. No sugar. No preservatives. Just wholesome goodness. Made by little old me.

So after the bread and the brownies were done, I cooked dinner. I made chicken cutlets rolled in Panko breadcrumbs. If you haven’t tried this yet, do yourself a favor and pick up a box. We love the Panko. It’s yummy. We saved the best for last though and had the red velvet brownies for dessert. They were heaven. It is the best red velvet anything I’ve had, hands down. Ever. I mean, the cake is pretty good but this…well…takes the cake. *grin* I will happily share the recipe for those interested and it is as follows.

Red Velvet Brownies
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.

Whisk 1 cup of flour, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and baking powder in a bowl. Bring 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, 1 stick of butter and 2/3 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan. Off the heat, whisk in 2 ounces chopped unsweetened chocolate; cool slightly. Whisk in 3 eggs, one at a time (make sure your chocolate mixture is cool enough that it doesn’t scramble your eggs), 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and 2 teaspoons of red food coloring. Stir in the flour mixture. Spread in pan; bake for 20-25 minutes, then cool. Top with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
Beat 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened, 1/2 stick of butter, softened, 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until smooth.

Then go eat yourself silly on this delectable dessert!

By Michelle

I wish you all could be inside my head. The conversation is sparkling.