Red Velvet Brownies – YES PLEASE!

Thank you Emily for this awesome recipe that I can’t WAIT to try (or better yet, you should bake them again and bring them next time you stop by ;)) Check out her ringing endorsement of these Red Velvet Brownies:

It was super easy to do and I definitely mis-read the portion about adding the wet ingredients in the special order but it turned out fine. I had to pry the cap off my red food coloring, which stained my fingers for a bit. But they got rave reviews and I left them with my brother cause otherwise I would have plowed through the entire pan when I got home!

You had me a “super easy”!

Red Velvet Swirl Brownies

Red Velvet Layer:
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking pan, and set aside.

Brownie layer: Add melted butter to a large bowl and add the sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar, in that order, mixing between additions. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and stir it into the cocoa mix. Fold in the flour until lightly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, saving 1/4 cup of the batter for the top.

Cream cheese layer: Blend together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Gently spread the cream cheese layer on top of the brownie batter in the pan. Dollop the remaining brownie batter over the cream cheese layer. Using a skewer or the tip of a knife, drag the tip through the cream cheese mixture to create a swirl pattern. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before cutting.

My Goodness My Guinness

This one goes out to NYCathy, who has a super-chic N-Y-C A-P-T, complete with a murphy bed (aka The Murph) and no oven – AH! Which means this gal needs to get creative with her cooking. Cue the crockpot! And what better to crock up during these bitter cold winter months than some good old Guinness Beef Stew (sorry veggo friends!).

I found this recipe somewhere online, but tweaked it a bit to make it more of a “D friendly” recipe (aka, as easy as possible). 

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 pounds red potatoes, quartered
  • 4 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
  • 3 pounds cubed stew meat
  • 1 medium onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, halved
  • 16 ounces of tomato sauce
  • 1 can low sodium beef broth (15 3/4 ounce)
  • 1 envelope lipton onion soup mix
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces Guinness Stout (Might want to double in case you get thirsty)
  • Whatever other spices strike your fancy

What You Do:

  1. Brown meat
  2. Throw everything in the crock pot
  3. Turn crock pot on low and ignore for 8 hours

Don’t forget to make some biscuits to go with it! Yum yum!!

Slow-Cooker Texas Chili Recipe

Maybe I’ve told you, maybe I haven’t, but when it comes to cooking I’m a big fan of quick and easy. No fancy gadgets require please. Which is why I love crock-pot recipes – while not quick, they sure are easy. Put everything in one big pot, turn it on and walk away. Love.

Here’s a great recipe I can’t wait to try: Slow-Cooker Texas Chili Recipe: Food Network Kitchens. Anything topped with sour cream and cilantro you can count me in!

Oh Gnocchi Didn’t!

Being the good Italian girl that I am, I love gnocchi. I love the way it’s spelled, and the way it sounds – I even love the way they look like stumpy little catepillars. Whoever created them had a good sense of humor.  Plus, what carb addict wouldn’t like the fact that they’re a combination of noodle and potato?

I’ve never tried my hand at making gnocchi because it seems so time consuming and equipment heavy (who owns a potato ricer these days?!).  But I found this easy-peasy recipe below at and think I might just have to try it this weekend. I’m a sucker for things that start with “no-fail”:

This no-fail potato gnocchi recipe comes from Leatrice, who writes,

I thought I’d send you a no-fail potato gnocchi recipe that’s shockingly easy. Generally I’m not a “short-cut cook” but I think you’ll agree that this is the way to go. The recipe was passed on to me from my sister-in-law, who is married to a Sicilian, and it was given to him by his Italian restaurant-owner friends.

GNOCCHI (depending on how much you like to eat serves 2)

Prep Time: 20 minutes


  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 teaspoon soft butter
Whir this at low speed in a food processor. In another bowl mix:
  • 2 cups instant potato flakes
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
    Add this mixture to processor and mix at low speed until dough forms.
    Flour hands and table and knead dough then roll out flat, cut into strips and roll the strips into ropes. Cut the ropes into bite-sized pieces and roll each piece with the tines of the fork (for that “gnocchi look”). Boil in salted water for about 3-5 minutes. Drain with slotted spoon rather than a colander because they are a bit delicate. Add sauce of your choice. You can play around with the dough by adding parmesan, minced sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, whatever takes your fancy.

My impression: Made with good quality dried potatoes this will be quite good; about the only change I’d make is to use fresh rather than dried herbs.

Sounds easy enough! And I have some fresh basil in my fridge that’s desperate to be turned into pesto sauce. Perfetto!!!