Southern Blondie

Valentine's Day Brownies + GIVEAWAY

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It's almost Valentine's Day! If you're like me, you care less about the romantic part and more about the "Gal"-entines in your life and baking something sweet! Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a lovely, romantic evening with my guy, but a forced one, eh. 

So here's recipe for Red Velvet Brownies and a FUN giveaway at the bottom of the post! 




(If you want to make it for an 8x8 pan, just half the recipe)

Red Velvet Brownie Mix
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 2 oz red food coloring 
  • 4 tsp pure vanilla extract, divided 
  • 1 cup (16 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 3 cups granulated sugar 
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature 
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. In a bowl, mix the cocoa powder, red food coloring, and 2 tsp vanilla until it's a smooth paste. 
  3. Beat butter and sugar in a stand mixer until fluffy. 
  4. Next, add one egg at a time until the mixture is completely mixed. 
  5. Stir in 2 tsp of vanilla. 
  6. Add the cocoa powder, red food coloring, and 2 tsp vanilla mixture to the butter and sugar in the stand mixer. 
  7. Once mixed, add the flour and sugar in small batches. 
  8. Begin to mix until combined, but make sure not to over mix. 
  9. Pour the mixture into an 18"x12" sheet cake pan that has been previously sprayed with baking spray. 
  10. Bake for 18-22 minutes.
Whipped Frosting 
  • 5 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 cup Butter
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar (not Powdered Sugar!)
Instructions

In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. You want it to be very thick, thicker than cake mix, more like a brownie mix is. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. (If I'm in a hurry, I place the saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or so until the mixture cools.) It must be completely cool before you use it in the next step. Stir in vanilla.

While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You don't want any sugar graininess left. Then add the completely cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat the living daylights out of it. If it looks separated, you haven't beaten it enough! Beat it until it all combines and resembles whipped cream.



Once you have the whipped frosting, add it to the top of your red velvet brownies and cut into pieces. 


VALENTINE'S DAY GIVEAWAY!!



Because I LOVE you all - I wanted to giveaway all of the things I LOVE the most. 

- Some products from Philosophy's Fresh Cream line 
- A pair of fuzzy socks 
- A heart box filled with Kit-Kats 

Now, this giveaway is sponsored by ME. So that's why it's a bit random, but still a fun giveaway! However, I am a #BeautyBeliever ambassador for Philosophy. I love them enough to give away their products because I want everyone else to love them as much as I do!

Entering is easy. 
1) Leave a comment about what you love most about Valentine's Day 
2) Subscribe to my blog via email (see the right sidebar on how to subscribe) 
3) Visit my profile on Philosophy's #BeautyBeliever tab on Facebook. 

OR, do all three! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Foil Pack Fiesta Chicken Dinner

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recipe, chicken, foil pack dinner


This is one of the EASIEST dinners you can pre-make and throw in the oven when you're ready. 


I've been making this Taco Chicken Foil Wrap recipe since college. 

That's over 10 years of loving this recipe.

It also takes very few ingredients, which is great for your budget.


Cut up a couple of red potatoes. I like to do around two small/medium potatoes per foil pouch.


Try to slice them as evenly as possible.

I don't have a mandolin slicer but it would make it even quicker!


I use chicken tender strips, but I've also used chicken breasts. It's mostly whatever I have on hand, or whatever is on sale. Top the chickn of your choice with salt & pepper and taco seasonsing. 


Next, top with salsa of your choice. I used a jarred salsa because it was easy. 


Ah, the easiest dinner in the world. 


Top wth cheese and then wrap up in foil. 

I couldn't show you how I wrapped it because, well, I only have two hands and couldn't snap and wrap. 


After it's baked, you unwrap, add to plate, add extra cheese if you want, and top with sour cream! 

It really couldn't be easier. 


Foil Pack Fiesta Chicken Dinner
Ingredients:

4 teaspoons taco seasoning mix
2 cups potatoes, thinly sliced and peeled
1 cup shredded cheese
1⁄2 cup salsa
1⁄4 cup sour cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Using four large sheets of aluminum foil; place 1/2 cup of potatoes on center of each sheet.

Layer one chicken breasts (or three chicken tenders) on top of each foil sheet with potatoes

Sprinkle taco seasoning mix evenly over chicken

Next, layer 2 tablespoons of salsa and on 1/4 cup of cheese on top of chicken

Bring up sides of foil. Double fold top and ends to seal each packet, leaving room for heat to circulate inside.
.
Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the packets from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Be careful once opening as steam will be hot.

Top with any additional cheese and sour cream!



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Book of the Month Review

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New Year's Resolutions aren't really my thing. Only because when I put too much pressure on myself to follow some self-made guideline usually it ends ups in stressed out for no reason. What I did commit to myself were to do things that I enjoyed more. 

One of those things is reading. Usually I am a fan of the library, but lately, I've been enjoying the Book of the Month club. It's so fun because you get to choose one book a month that is shipped to you. It's basically the smartest present you can gift yourself.  

The first of every month you can pick a new book. And, since today is February 1, it's time to pick a new book! 


You can read a quick summary of each book to decide which one is right for you. February's selection includes: 




Behind Her Eyes: 
This novel isn’t just a who-dun-it. This novel is a what-the-f*ck-even-got-dun.

The Possessions: 
"The Possessions channels many forms: it’s a mystery, a romance, a ghost story, and an erotically-charged thriller."


I *think* this month I am going to pick "Behind Her Eyes" but now I'm not so sure... because I'm also into "The Possessions." 

BOTM gives you until the 6th to decide so I can keep going back and forth until then. Then they ship it to you for free. Which one to pick??

Usually, BOTM (Book of the Month) is 3-months for $44.97, but with my referral, you can try BOTM for a 1-month membership for $5.  OR, you can you can try a 3-month membership for $9.99 a month + a free tote bag. 

I mean, for $5 for one month, it's something to try! 


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Clean & Easy Recipe: Roasted Vegetables

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Anytime I've been on Pinterest lately it's all about Whole30, clean eating, or Paleo. I love 'eating clean' but I also love Pizza Rolls. So, I balance both. Eating clean on the weekdays and on the weekends splurging on my food choices.

In the winter, one of my favorite things to make are roasted vegetables. It's easy, fast cleanup, and delicious.



The vegetables that I used... 

Red potatoes, onion, white mushrooms and red bell pepper 

Good mix of hearty and healthy


The dressing couldn't be any easier and more than likely things you already have in your pantry. 

Hopefully you aren't almost out of balsamic vinegar like I am. 


Step 1. Cut up your red potatoes. 

For roasted veggies, you better be prepared to chop. 


Next, rinse off your mushrooms and throw them into your 13x9 pan with the cut up potatoes.


Chop up your onion, and toss that in as well. 

I use a whole onion, but if you wanted less you could use half. 

That's the best part about this recipe, you just throw in whatever you like. 

Now, you also cut up the red bell pepper and throw that in as well, but I was having cutting/photography issues and didn't capture that moment. (Apologies) 


Now for the 'dressing' 

Couldn't be simpler.

3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 
1 teaspoon of thyme 
1 teaspoon of rosemary 

Mix it all up and ... 


Toss it around in your veggies


Put your oven on 400 degrees and roast those veggies away.

Now, you'll notice that I haven't added the tomatoes yet, that's because I like to add
those at the end about 5-7 minutes before they vegetables are done. I still like them whole, and if you leave them in too long they seem to get mushy to me. 


Oh my goodness... 


After about 35 minutes with the vegetables and another 7 minutes after you add the cherry
tomatoes, you will be good to go. 

I should just apologize now for how hard it is to not pick at the food, especially the mushrooms. 

Enjoy! 


Roasted Vegetables Recipe 

Ingredients: 
  • 6-9 medium sized red potatoes 
  • 1 carton of whole white mushrooms
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup - 1 cup of cherry tomatoes 
  • 1/2 - 1 chopped onion  (preference) 
"Dressing":
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme 
  • 1 teaspoon of rosemary 

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut up the red potatoes, red bell pepper, and onion and add to a 13x9 inch baking pan 
  3. Add mushrooms to the pan
  4. Mix ingredients for the 'dressing' and pour over vegetables and toss vegetables to evenly coat
  5. Place 13x9 pan into oven for about 35-40 minutes, then add cherry tomatoes 
  6. After the tomatoes are heated through remove roasted vegetables
  7. Let cool and enjoy! 
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Garage Sale Shopping on Facebook

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So... I have a new hobby/addiction that's taking up all of my time and money. If you've read this blog in the past, I don't know, month, then you know that I recently bought a house. Buying a house is expensive. Furnishing a house feels even more expensive. That's why I'm going bougie on a budget here lately and shopping on my new favorite site. Facebook. 

I don't know about other cities, but here in Little Rock we have a BUNCH of different 'garage sale' type of groups. And let's just say that I've spent plenty of money on the site lately. 

But I'm spending money to save money. 

For instance: 


I JUST got this dresser this week for $40! It's in great shape. I'll paint it this spring and add new hardware, but it's PERFECT for the 'closet room.' 

Also, the white thing with the clothes? That was $5. I need it for the washer/dryer area of the house to hang clothes to dry, but right now I'm really liking it in the closet room to hang jackets/clothes for the next day. 


I'll do a post about the closet room soon, but I also got these two black bookcases to showcase shoes for $30! 


Since I bought bookcases for my shoes, of course, I needed to buy booties. These are Jeffrey Campbell booties made of calf hair that a girl had never worn. 

How much? $45! 


Now, this cute little lamp was only $10! The base of the lamp matches two lamps I already own. 


These two BIG lamps were $25! I will find different shades at some point but these lamps are big and nice and there's no way I could find them for $25 anywhere else. 

Now, on to my favorite and best find... 

A Fox Fur Jacket. 


This gray/white fox fur jacket is perfect and I love it. She was the priciest item I've purchased at $300 but she's a steal of a deal. 

I'm really loving being bougie on a budget here lately. Does your town/city have these sort of Facebook groups? 



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