Deanne Ouest, Author

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Clearing out the clutter

I hate clutter. It sneaks up on you. Today I did some ‘spring’ cleaning in my kitchen. My kitchen corner cupboards were full of plastic margarine containers, ice cream containers, missing bottoms and missing lids, and dozens of other containers I just didn’t need. My husband saves them all. So out into recycling they went. The I reorganized the cupboards so I could actually find things without things tumbling out.

Getting into the grove of it, I tackled the food cupboards next.  I tossed a lot into the green bin.  Either expired or stale. I’m glad I checked as I’m hosting a Jamberry Nails event tomorrow so I decided to do some baking.  A trip to the grocery store ensued to replace and replenish a few items.

It amazes me that with four people in the household, almost all adults, that the exterior of my cupboards get so dirty.  It’s a pet peeve of mine. If you spill something wipe it up and make sure it didn’t drip down the cupboard door. Or better yet, if you actually spilt it on the floor, check the baseboard under the cupboards. Is it too much to ask?  So another hour to clean down the cupboards.

I moved on to the living room and did some tidying up and dusting. Then did my once a year polishing of the tables. My youngest daughter helped and it was much appreciated. A quick vacuum and wash of the floors and we were done. I even caved and moved the hated floor rug to another room.

Now I will tackle the baking. I don’t do it often enough so it’s time to indulge in two of my favourites – Nanaimo bars and brownies.  The brownies will be split as my daughter doesn’t like hers frosted. I love homemade frosting so they’ll be half and half. For the Nanaimo bars, I always use my grandmother’s recipe. It’s the best version I’ve had. I’ve included both at the end of my post.

After that I’ll make my surprise spread and finish cleaning the kitchen. It’s been a busy day.

NANAIMO BARS

Base:
¼ cup *butter  2 squares semi-sweet chocolate
1/3 cup white sugar   1 tsp vanilla
½ cup flaked coconut  1 beaten egg large
½ cup chopped walnuts   1 cup oatmeal (instant / quick oats)

Melt in butter and 2 square semi-sweet chocolate in sauce pan over low-meduim heat and mix in sugar. Cook a few minutes and take off burner. Add vanilla. Add beaten egg, chopped nuts and oatmeal. Spread over bottom of 9×9 pan.

Filling:
3 Tbsp soft butter.   ½ tsp vanilla
2 ½ Tbsp milk (approx)   2 cup icing sugar

Topping: Melt 2 squares semi-sweet chocolate & 1 Tbsp butter and pour over mixture. Refrigerate until cool.

*margarine doesn’t taste the same.

FUDGE BROWNIES

1 cup butter  1 cup cocoa
2 cup white sugar  4 large eggs
1½ tsp vanilla   1 1/3 cup sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

On stove melt butter and add cocoa. Blend in sugar, eggs and vanilla. Blend in flour, baking powder and salt. Add nuts. Pour into A 9*13 greased & floured pan. Cook at 375 for 25-35 minutes. Tooth pick should come out clean. Cool and frost.

Frosting: Melt 3 Tbsp butter, ¼ cup cocoa, and blend in ½ cup milk (2 tbsp at a time) and add ½ tsp vanilla and add 2 cup icing sugar – may need another 1/4 cup of icing sugar. Spread over brownies.

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