Barefoot Mondays: Chocolate Chunk Blondies

So here it is, my new blogging endeavor.  I’m going to cook my way through ALL of Ina Garten’s cook books on my barefoot days off, Mondays! This is going to be old fashioned.

By doing this, I am setting myself a goal, a plan and a schedule that I will commit to. These days, time is just flying by and things get busy, a good busy, but I know that I can put time aside to work on my favorite past time, which is to cook, photograph, and write (ramble – I promise not to do this next time!) and again, this blog serves all purposes which I love. Life is too short not to do a little something for you too, right? It’s healthy. It’s food therapy.

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I know what you’re thinking…this sounds a heck of a lot like that movie Julie & Julia…and you’re right. Admittedly, I got my inspiration from it way back when when I started blogging. It’s an inspirational movie and I think a lot us going through this “quarter life crisis” can relate to Julie.

However, my biggest inspiration for this project came from Barefoot Contessa herself. I can’t always make it home to catch her episodes on the Food Network Channel so I DVR them. I’m that girl. Plus,  her cooking style speaks to me. There isn’t a recipe of hers that I have tried that hasn’t become a favorite. I want to learn how to cook, that was the goal from the beginning and I think Ina is going to be just the right teacher that I need. I learn a new technique with every episode.

I am a huge fan of several chefs, Giada de Laurentiis and Ree Drummond being two favorites and I owe it all to them. When I first started, I took notes from episodes of Everyday Italian and studied The Pioneer Woman blog, which I absolutely adore  so I feel a little guilty about going Barefoot but…I’m all about new beginnings!

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I could watch Mrs. Garten cook all day. She has this elegant, classic & feminine way about her cooking that I truly admire. Plus, it’s like she puts these little packets of love – a little salt and pepper, espresso powder or a drizzle of good olive oil into her cooking, whether for her husband Jeffrey, dear friends or charity events.

Flipping through my first Barefoot Contessa cook book, her new one, a wish list gift from my Mom <3 for my 25th birthday this year, I zoned in on this recipe and I cooked away. Best part, as stressed as I was, as big of a mess as I made, they came out “fantastic!”, as Ina would say.

I lined the brownie pans with parchment paper, spraying underneath and all over with non-stick baking spray and baked them 5 minutes less than her recommended 30 minutes (all out of sheer fear.)

Best right out of the oven, the chocolate chunks melt, you get a crunchy bite from the walnuts (thanks to my brother Douglas for chopping!), it’s ooey gooey good! So good, I had to share them. I brought them in for my lovely coworkers before my husband and I could eat them all. Channeling Ina, I cut them into triangles and stacked them, seperated by cut parchment paper in a cake carrier. I brought the carrier home empty at the end of the work day, so I took that as a good sign! I stand behind food therapy. I dare you to bake them!

Chocolate Chunk Blondies

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You can find it in:

Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes you can trust

Pg: 233

Garten, Ina. “Chocolate Chunk Blondies” Recipe. Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes you can trust. New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2012. p.233. Print.

[ Stay Tuned, next Monday: ]

Tomato Crostini with Whipped Feta &  a special bride-to-be

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