Shoveling Snow like a Grown-Up

{skip the foreplay and head straight to the brownie recipe}
photo 1 (5)I shoveled my driveway yesterday–and I really wouldn’t mind if I never had to do it again.  The thing is, I’m really proud of myself.  I’m proud, but embarrassed to be proud of something so, well, average.  It’s not like I can go brag to my friends how I shoveled my driveway and expect them to say, “Woah! Way to go!  Let me buy you a drink to celebrate this extraordinary accomplishment!” I’m not proud because my driveway is large (thankfully, it is actually quite small).  Nor am I proud because I doubted my ability to shovel snow.   I have snow shoveling experience.  Although, my siblings would be quick to point out here that I have not received the amount of experience they were privy to during their “regime” before my parents got soft.  One of my brothers also claims that back in the day my parents had him mowing the lawn when he was 6 years old.  I’m sure.  It is true, though, that as the youngest of five, I often found ways around shoveling.  It also helped that after all of my siblings had grown up and moved out of the house, my father bought a snowblower, and during the winter would obsessively check the weather forecast to determine when he might be able to use his toy, often not even waiting for it to stop snowing before going out to the driveway “because no one else around here was gonna do it.”

But, back to my driveway:  I can’t even be proud that I went the extra mile or did a really through job.  Don’t get me wrong, I shoveled the whole driveway, but I didn’t shovel the sidewalk, and those spots where the snow/ice was cemented down from being driven over, I just left alone.  If the cars made it over that patch before, they can do it again.  I only really shoveled in the first place because I woke up to go to the gym and realized my car couldn’t get out of the driveway because the nice snowplow men that take care of the streets (which, I have to say, they do really do a good job here) had created a snow mountain in the apron of the driveway.  At first, I took the snow mountain as a sign that I shouldn’t work out. The problem is, though, that if I wanted to leave the house to go do anything I was going to have to shovel.  See, I can’t even be proud because I voluntarily shoveled.  It was a necessity.

So I bundled up and went out.  While I was shoveling, two more snowplow guys came by and pushed more snow onto the mountain, and a lady walking by asked me whether or not I was aware that I could pay a service to shovel my driveway.  I don’t know if she mentioned that because that’s how she opts to handle this lake effect snow business or if she mentioned the service because I looked like I was struggling (should probably try to go to the gym more often).  It wasn’t miserable, but my nose was running as noses tend to do in the cold, and there is a kind of big chance that the lady saw the impulsive, semi-nasty glare I gave the snowplow men as they drove by. I understand that these gentlemen were just doing their job, but their job made my task at least five shovel-fulls longer.  However, I do apologize, snowplow men.  Please continue to clear my street.

I think, though, that the reason I’m so proud is that shoveling my driveway all by myself because I had no other choice just seems like a very grown up thing to do.  I didn’t have another choice in the sense that my parents told me to go shovel, so I had to shovel.  I didn’t have any other choice because I just didn’t: It was shovel, or stay at home all day and miss other things that I had to get done.  The older I get, the more I realize being a grown up kinda stinks sometimes.  Really, a lot of the time–and I’m only a fake grown up.

So, as fake grown ups do, I finished shoveling, took a selfie, and sent it to my dad so he could be proud of me too.shoveling selfie

Then, I went inside and made these brownies.  They were really tasty.  Extra tasty after shoveling, but I had one for breakfast this morning so I can vouch that the shoveling isn’t necessary for them to taste delicious.  

Flourless Brownies Recipe

  • Servings: 9 brownies
  • Time: 50 minutes plus cooling time (if you can wait...)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Natalie’s Rich Fudgy Flourless Brownies from Life Made Simple
Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butterphoto 2 (5)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate (chopped or in chips)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature–the room temperature thing is important for this recipe!
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (mine was dark, but regular is fine too)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • optional mix-ins: nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, etc

Directions:

1. Get your eggs out of the refrigerator.
2. Put a cup or so of water in a sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Place a ceramic (or a different type of heat safe bowl) on top of the sauce pan to create a double boiler.  If you have a double boiler then use that.  Add butter, chocolate, and sugar, and stir until melted and combined.  You want to stir so that there aren’t a lot of lumps, adjusting the heat as necessary.  Remove the bowl from the heat.
3. While you let the chocolate mixture cool, preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8 inch square baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
4. In a separate bowl, whip the two eggs like you were making scrambled eggs.  Add vanilla and scrambled eggs to the chocolate mixture, whipping the batter kind of vigorously so that the eggs don’t start cooking from the heat!  This may sound intense–but you will really be fine and is very easy.  After you do it, you’ll probably think I was crazy for making such a big deal out of it.  But if I didn’t caution you, and your eggs cooked, you’d be mad at me.  After the eggs and vanilla are added, the batter will be smooth and glossy and much thicker.
5. Next add in the cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt and mix a little bit longer.  The batter should once again be glossy.
6.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes.  These brownies are really fudgy.  When a knife is inserted in the center it won’t come out clean–but it shouldn’t be liquidy.  If you like brownie batter, this type of brownie is for you!
7. Wait (if you can–I couldn’t) until they are completely cool before cutting.  This just helps prevent the brownies from being a little crumbly.  

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