Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Best Brownies Ever

So, things have been moving along smoothly. The kids rooms, bathrooms, hallways have all been cleaned for Pesach. Still have to do my room and the rest of the house but still, there IS progress.

I made 20 little chocolate cakes (from scratch) for Mishloach Manos. Only because I didn't have any cake mixes in the house-I had to more than quadruple the recipe! But I do like the way they came out. Done and in the freezer. I still have to frost them and make a batch of cupcakes for those surprise visitor shaloch manos. You know, just in case someone comes you didn't remember. That makes me crazy to not be prepared.

Anyway, there's still a ton of things on my list for both work and home for this week and next (what is with no school on shushan purim?!) but I thought I would share this great recipe I got from my SIL for chocolate chip cookie brownies. Regular brownies are not my favorite dessert-as much as I like chocolate I really prefer cake. But these brownies are fabulous, not a ton of work, and everyone who eats them loooooooves them. It is from a website called

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

For brownies:
1 Chewy Fudge brownie mix
For cookie:
½ cup shortening
¼ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
For glaze:

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons margarine
1 (8 ounce) container pareve whip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brownies according to package directions for chewy brownies, not cake-like ones. Pour into greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Next prepare cookie topping. Cream together shortening and sugars until fluffy. Beat in other ingredients and drop by spoonfuls on top of the brownie. Bake for about 1 hour or until browned. Cool.
When completely cooled, prepare glaze. Melt together chocolate chips and margarine. Whisk in whip and stir until smooth. Cool slight and pour over brownies. Store in refrigerator.

The only things I did differently were to substitute margarine for shortening (it worked fine) and I cooked it for only 45 minutes so they wouldn't be too well done. I would definitely suggest lowering the amount of time. I also think I used a little less chocolate chips in the cookie part-it just seemed like too much chips for the dough.

If you make them I hope you love them as much as we do! Enjoy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


I know it has been a long time since I blogged, probably no one is reading this anymore. But that's ok. I am just writing for myself now.

I am feeling discouraged. About a lot of things. This is a hard time of year to be a teacher-all the standardized testing makes students and teachers feel yucky. So much rides on these tests that everyone feels stressed and irritated for most of the time. So that's one thing.

Then there's the fact of the pregnant 8th grader in my school. Who basically thinks it's a big joke. This bothers me on so many levels I can't even begin to talk about it. Maybe another time.

Then there's the fact that I had to have a "group therapy session" with my students this morning because they are embarrassed that I take them out of their regular class for testing. The irony is other non special ed kids ask me to take them! I thought I was doing a good job of inclusion, helping all students feel accepted and know that they are getting what they need to be successful and apparently I'm not. Even though I am in a small school and have so much involvement with ALL the students, it doesn't seem to matter. I guess middle schoolers are just insecure by nature but I am bothered by these comments. They think they are treated so differently, when the reality is that the modifications I make for them are so minor and they are even given to other students without IEP's very often! Now I need to figure out how to address this issue.

Then there's the fact that after all these work headaches and issues, we teachers are getting based right and left in the media! That just adds to the discouraging feelings because it doesn't seem like we are valued for what we do. The way society views education definitely filters down to the students and kids and we lose a lot of respect both in and out of the classroom. It feels like we are fighting an uphill battle every day!

Then there's the fact that the world revolves around money. My husband and I work hard for our money and don't lead extravagant lifestyles by any means. We use coupons and look for the best deals on things before we buy them. We don't take vacations or even go to movies. And yet, every year it is a struggle to figure out school tuition. When people might hear how much our salaries are they might have a misperception of how much money we actually have. When you pay a mortgage, property tax, tuition/babysitting for 4 kids, utilities, car payments, food, copays for medicine/dr. appts-2 of my kids are on VERY expensive medication that runs a few hundred a month (and I am sure there are things I am forgetting) it really adds up. Now, I know we are better off than most and am very grateful for what I have. But when you live in a community that has certain requirements (and I use that word on purpose-I am not even talking about fancy sheitels/jewelry, or those kinds of things) like making Pesach, tuition, every other Yom Tov, modest clothing, etc. it becomes very hard to support a larger family on what seems to be a large salary. Especially when you do not get help from anywhere. For example, when I have a baby in less than 2 months, I will only get 1 paycheck when I take maternity leave. Because that's the amount of sick days I have. We are trying to prepare now for that time but we NEED my paycheck. So it makes me wonder what other people do. Not for comparing's sake but it makes me wonder if other people find it hard. If we need help for something does that make us bad people for having jobs and still needing it? We don't take advantage of chesed or help but maybe that makes it look like we don't ever need it. And sometimes we do.

Anyway, that's my rant for now. Maybe it will help me feel better. Because I would like to feel better about all of these things. Maybe if I start sleeping it will help too. I have just been so uncomfortable lately, but that goes with the territory. I'm not even sure this whole post made sense in my sleep deprived state.

If you're reading this, hopefully you're less discouraged than me!