On Challenging Yourself (with Brownies)

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Not eating from the candy drawer at work, remembering to feed my goldfish (yes, I still have a goldfish) and taking the stairs when the elevator is constantly broken in my building – these are the challenges I face every day. Sometimes I like to throw some other curve balls in there just for fun. And because apparently the world is out to get gingers, I really have to be extra tough. These are the other challenges I’ve faced recently.

  1. Avoiding heat exhaustion/sweat overload/general uncomfortableness
    In case you are blissfully unaware, it’s uncontrollably hot outside, and it has been so on and off the past few weeks. Considering the fact that I don’t have central air (and am hot all the time regardless), this heatwave hasn’t been ideal for my overall well-being. I basically try to vacate my apartment as much as possible and then retreat to my room for sleeping purposes and the general enjoyment of my A/C window unit. Which leads me to #2…

  2. Summer baking hours
    I’m just not feeling like myself lately because I’m physically unable to bake in the climate that my kitchen has acclimated to.  You know the saying, “I put my blood, sweat and tears into this.”? That would be me, literally. Only more of the middle one.

  3. Turning on my oven on Saturday
    Was I crazy?? I actually turned on my oven Saturday (WHILE THE SUN WAS STILL OUT) to bake something. I obviously was a baking emergency to even consider doing such a thing. I had to bake Abby a birthday treat, and I decided on caramel brownie bites with caramel buttercream frosting. They were this good. And yes, that is caramel oozing out of the center. The whole situation felt like a hot yoga class. I was in my workout clothes for a reason. And instead of my apron, I threw on a sweat band for good measure. No, I’m not kidding.

  4. Melting caramels (is not as easy as it sounds)
    If you do decide to make this recipe, you won’t regret it. But you will regret not following my recipe for the buttercream frosting. Firstly, I don’t think I’ve ever melted caramels before, and it’s a dangerous business. I’m the kind of girl who likes to do everything the hard way, so I tried melting them down on the stove. DON’T DO THIS. It’s just silly.

    You can use a double boiler, but that’s really a waste of time. You’ll want to microwave about 15 caramels with 2 tbsp milk in 30 second increments until they are melted. Stir together and let sit for just a few minutes to cool. Meanwhile, cream together 1 1/2 sticks of butter. Add in 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp cinnamon. Slowly incorporate the caramel sauce. Your buttercream will melt slightly – just throw it in the fridge for a bit, and it’s fixed.

  5. Not eating all the brownies
    I only brought 8 of the brownies to dinner since I didn’t want to have leftovers, meaning there were about 10 left in my apartment (this is not including the one I already ate). I could have kept them all for myself, but I am a thoughtful (and hopefully skinnier) person so I gave the rest to Abby. Minus the two I kept for myself.

    Also, do NOT refrigerate these brownie bites. The caramel will solidify and you’ll chip a tooth or something. Thankfully, I did not. But that’s only because the second I removed it from the fridge the heat of my apartment instantaneously began to melt it.

  6.  Avoiding all social media for a day
    Not all of my challenges have to involve food…right?  Last night I really wanted to write this post, but I also really wanted to go on Facebook. And Twitter. And Pinterest. So, yeah it didn’t happen. I made a vow to avoid social networks for one day, just to see if I had the willpower and to actually get something done in my life. I had to go on Facebook today because, umm that’s sort of my job. The Marley Viewpoints account really isn’t that interesting though. And then I had to go on Pinterest just for like a second to pin this recipe for chocolate covered chocolate chip cookie dough balls. And obviously again just now to find the recipe. That Pinterest really is a time saver, though.

    Anyways, it’s really, really hard. Because I don’t necessarily feel like I’m missing out. I just don’t want to forget anyone’s birthday or be a day too late to untag a seriously awful photo of myself like chugging strawberry-rhubarb pie (the dessert…not shots) and chasing it with some nutella poundcake. Not that this photo exists or anything. It’s really a healthy cleanse, though, and I feel like a more productive (sane) person.

This heat is really not helping my sanity. I do sort of feel like I’m on a diet against my own will. On the plus side, I may start experimenting with cooking straight on my countertop, no oven required. Hey, I’m moving in month, so anything goes.

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