Food, Faith, and Other Fabulous Finds

Recipes, devotional thoughts, and other cool things I come across.

Did you know? April 30, 2012

So among other treats in this particular blog post, you might learn a couple of new facts (I know that some of them were new to me.).

The first new thing that I just learned was that last month, y’all set an all time high for viewing this blog, 109 views in the entire month.  And I just want to say “Thank You!”  I hope that you enjoy reading these posts as much as I enjoy writing them.  You are the best readers, and I couldn’t do this without you.

Seems like this is a big season for Bath & Body Works.  There are 2 coupons out right now that you might like to take advantage of.  Over here you can get a free fine fragrance mist with any $10 purchase (good through 5/17).  And here you can print a coupon for a free travel item, no purchase necessary (also good til 5/17).  The last time I visited, I smelled some of their new Wild Garden fragrances, and they all smelled amazing!

Here’s another new fact that I recently learned, maple syrup needs to be refrigerated.  What?!  I don’t know why I never noticed that before, because it’s written on the bottle.  But I only learned it when friends of ours who are moving gave us some items from their fridge, including a bottle of maple syrup that they instructed us to keep in the fridge.  I was intrigued, so I went and checked on my other bottle.  Lo and behold, it says the same thing, “Refrigerate after opening.”  I’ve asked a couple friends, and they didn’t know it either.  Is this new to you too; did I somehow just miss that train?

Among all this learning, my husband and I have gone on with our lives which included eating a tasty dip that I wanted to share.  Tex-Mex Beef and Bean Dip is a tasty, hearty meal that my husband definitely approved of.  I’d made it several years ago and had a couple notes that made it even better this time around.  I swapped black beans for the pinto beans, because I like their flavor better.  I also substituted crushed tomatoes for the diced, to give it more of a dip-like texture.

Tex-Mex Beef and Bean Dip (from the July 2008 issue of Cooking Light)

1/2 lb. ground sirloin (Or regular ground chuck works well.)

2 tbsp. tomato paste

1-2 tsp. chipotle chile powder (This can be a bit spicy, so start with less if you don’t like the heat.)

3/4 tsp. cumin

1 15 oz. can rinsed, drained pinto beans (Like I said above, I prefer black beans.)

1 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes (Diced makes this chunkier; use crushed for a saucier, more dip-like texture.)

3/4 c. crumbled queso fresco

1/4 c. thinly sliced green onions

Tex-Mex Beef and Bean Dip 2Tex-Mex Beef and Bean Dip 3

I mentioned last week that I was feeling a little sick; it turned out to be more of a sore throat than a cold.  And what’s the best thing for a sore throat?  Ice cream, of course.  One of my favorite frozen treats is a Sprite float.  When I was a young girl, we lived next door to my grandma and some of my cousins.  Sometimes during the summer, my grandma would invite us kids over for a pizza party.  She would get one of our parents to pick up some pizza and often something for dessert.  One of my favorites was when she would have them get some Sprite and lime sherbet to use for Sprite floats.  Everybody liked theirs prepared a little differently, but I still like mine the same way I did back then, thick.  I prefer a lot more sherbet than Sprite.  In fact, I only put in enough Sprite to barely soften the sherbet to a slushy consistency.  Have you ever had this fun dish?  If so, do you prefer thick or soupy?

Okay, one more random fact before we get to the movie.  I was recently reading a book on popsicles (Paletas by Fany Gerson) and the author mentions the word empalagoso.  She says that it’s a Spanish word for eating something so sweet that you can practically feel the cavities forming.  Is that the coolest thing or what?  I love knowing that there’s a word for that.

This week’s movie pick was the hilarious Made of Honor. (Trailer over here.)  In this movie, Tom (Patrick Dempsey) seems to have everything.  He’s rich and handsome.  He has loads of dates and some great friends.  And he has his very best friend, Hannah (Michelle Monaghan) who he hangs out with all the time.  But when Hannah goes to Scotland on business for 6 weeks, Tom realizes just how much he cares for her.  He’s planning to tell her on her first night back, but instead she introduces him to her new Scottish fiance and asks that Tom be her maid of honor at the wedding.  Tom accepts, but starts planning how to sabotage the wedding and win back Hannah.  The results are sometimes painful, but often funny.  It’s rated PG-13, so there are parts that I’d rather not have.  But there are other parts that I can’t help laughing at.  Overall, the movie has a good soundtrack, Michelle Monaghan looks adorable throughout the movie (so many cute outfits!), and the Scottish scenery is just gorgeous.  There are several sections that I always really enjoy: Hannah and Tom’s easy camaraderie, the bakery guessing game they play, how they always share their food (I love doing that with my friends – you get to taste twice as many dishes!), Tom’s amazingly huge apartment, how Tom’s guy friends band together to help him become a good maid of honor, and the drama over Hilary’s dress.  There are also a lot of funny lines like these: “Meet me at that new trendy place next to the small Greek place we hated that used to be the Thai-fusion place we loved.” (I completely understand talking in your own language, since I do that with my best friends.), “We’re a long line of Athols.”, and “That is so thoughtful. I’m so sorry I didn’t kill anything for you.”

They mention a lot of different treats throughout the movie, but my attention was stuck on Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies.  I had some leftover cream cheese from last week’s blondies, so this seemed like a perfect fit.  I used a recipe very similar to this one.  I guess mine was a bit older, because it called for a supreme brownie mix, but I’m sure they’re both delicious.  You can hardly go wrong with cheesecake and brownies.  The ones I made were so good, fudgy in parts with a wonderful cream cheese swirl that tastes just perfect.  They’re so easy to make, and they will definitely be a hit.

Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies (from Betty Crocker – see above note)

For the cream cheese swirl:

6 oz. softened cream cheese

1 egg

1/4 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

For the brownies:

1 box Betty Crocker supreme brownie mix or Ultimate Fudge Premium

1/3 c. veggie oil

1/4 c. water

2 eggs

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9×13 pan.  In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla on low til smooth; set aside.

2. In large bowl, stir together the brownie ingredients til well blended.  Spread 3/4 of the brownie batter in the pan.  Evenly spoon the cream cheese mix by tablespoonfuls onto the batter, then spoon the remaining batter over the filling.  Pull a knife through the batter and filling for a swirl effect.

3. Bake 26-30 minutes or til set.  Cool completely and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

So, did you learn anything new?  I had lots of fun learning these new tidbits, but I always love to learn more.  What the latest fun fact that you learned?

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