Sunday, May 31, 2015

How to Make Brownies in 100 Easy Steps

On the morning of my birthday I was awoken by 3 little bright-eyed, sandy-haired sweeties climbing excitedly into my bed chanting, "Happy birthday, Mommy! Happy birthday!" We gave hugs and kisses and I honestly could not think of a way I'd rather wake up on my birthday.

Unfortunately, I was only able to bask in the birthday adoration for a minute or so because their well-wishes quickly turned to shouts of "Where's the cake?! When are we having cake?!? We want cake!!" as if cake somehow magically appears just because it's your birthday, which I suppose, if you're a kid, does seem to happen.

But when you are thirty-something, any and all cake responsibilities generally fall to you, birthday or not, which is how I found myself digging through the pantry that afternoon and, thankfully, pulling out a forgotten box of triple-chocolate brownie mix. It wasn't cake, but it would do in a pinch.

"Just 3 easy steps!" the box cheerfully claimed. According to the box, we could throw this mix together in 10 minutes and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing while the oven did the rest.

The box lied.

I mean, I probably could have added water, eggs, and oil in 10 minutes, but when you have a couple of tiny sous chefs assisting the baking process, you just need a whole new set of directions.

So I wrote some. You're welcome, boxed brownie mix people.

And if you weren't craving brownies before, you definitely are now, amirite?

Jack and I belly laughed for 2 solid minutes over this photo.

How to Make Brownies in 100 Easy Steps

1. Put 2-year-old down for a nap. This is the most crucial step in the brownie making process.

2. Take boxed brownie mix out of the pantry.

3. Announce to children that it is time to make brownies.

4. Children pull a chair up to the counter.

5. Children fight for room on chair.

6. Explain to children that there are 5 more identical chairs around the kitchen table.

7. Three-year-old drags another chair to kitchen counter.

8. 3yo stubs his toe in the process of dragging chair.

9. Calmly put icepack on 3yo's barely visible booboo.

What? You don't dress like this when you bake?
10. Now it is time to begin. Take out a 13 x 9 pan.

11. 5-year-old sneezes directly into pan.

12. Wipe boogies out of pan. Try not to curse.

13. Spray Pam into pan, because the thought of ingesting mystery can chemicals is less troubling than the reality of spending 20 minutes scraping stuck brownie off the bottom of the pan. Ain't nobody got time for that.

14. 5-year-old wants a turn to spray.

15. 5yo accidentally sprays himself in eye.

16. 5yo screams as if his eyeball has popped out of his head and is rolling across the floor.

17. Place warm wash cloth over 5yo's eye. Practice those breathing exercises that you forgot to use during childbirth, but seem to come in handy while baking with children.

18. Assure 5yo that he will not go blind.

19. Approximately 30 minutes has now passed and it is FINALLY time to begin. Pour powdered brownie mix into a bowl.

20. Remind children not to touch brownie mix with their bare hands.

21. Again, remind children MORE LOUDLY that this is brownie mix in a bowl and NOT sand at the beach to bury their hands and squish between their fingers.


23. Smile through clenched teeth as you wipe up brownie powder that has been spread all over the countertop and on the floor.

24. Continue to reassure 5yo (who has a slight obsession with going blind) that he will not go blind.

25. Allow 5yo to pour 1/3 cup of water into brownie mix.

26. 5yo spills half the water in the process.

27. Estimate how much water is still needed in the bowl and dump it in.

28. One child declares that he needs to use the restroom.

29. Do nothing. Wait for child to finish in the bathroom because if you so much as stir the batter while he is gone THE WORLD MIGHT END.

30. Help child wipe. Try not to be reminded of said batter.

31. Wash all the hands.

32. Reluctantly allow 3yo to add egg to mix even though you know it will end badly.

33. 3yo drops egg on floor.

34. Pretend you are the cheerful Bounty commercial mom who laughs off spills and cleans them up with ease in order to distract yourself from crying.

35. Second egg makes it into the bowl.

Holy egg yolk, Batman!

36. Fish out eggshells.


38. Add 1/3 cup oil.

39. Children take turns stirring/slinging batter across the kitchen.

40. Children start to fight because 5yo is taking too long of a turn.

41. 3yo smacks 5yo in the eye.

42. Remove 3yo from the chair until he calms down.

43. 3yo does not calm down.

44. 3yo makes face at Mommy.

45. Send 3yo to time out.

46. Again, assure 5yo that he will not go blind.

47. 3yo screams bloody murder from time out.

48. 2yo is awoken by murderous screams.

49. Now 2yo also screams.

50. Sit down. Rest head between legs and take deep breaths so that there will be at least one person in the house not crying. Alternately, assume fetal position and hide in closet.

51. Announce "WHO WANTS TO WATCH A SHOW??"

52. Get 2yo out of crib.

53. 2yo does not want to watch show.

54. Pour brownie batter into pan with one hand.

55. Put brownies in 325 degree oven with one hand.

56. Clean up with one hand.

57. Dig box out of the trash to see how long to bake brownies. Also use one hand.

58-98.Tell children that no, the brownies are not ready yet. Repeat 40 times.


100. Smile as if your heart will explode when children bring you a misshapen brownie with lit candle after dinner and loudly sing "HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR MOMMEEEEEEE!" in their sweet, squeaky little voices.


"I know it's her birthday and all, but we gotta make sure there's enough brownies for us kids. There. Just barely big enough to hold a candle."  

There were even enough brownies to eat the next day.
(I'm almost positive this will be our Christmas card photo.)

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