too much pressure.

Much like it still is these days, my bookshelf as a child was stuffed with hoards of glossy-covered books about caterpillars that eat and eat and eat, giant pumpkins and a collection of other rainbow colored, easy on the brain short stories. I don't really remember having a favorite, except for maybe The Monster at the End of This Book because my Mom can do a killer imitation of Grover and if your Mom can't, then you've seriously missed out on a huge piece of youth, but that's beside the point. The last couple of weeks made me remember one book in particular, and I think we can always count on the Berenstain Bears to really deliver the goods when it comes to life lessons, but my life has become The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Pressure. If you haven't read it, go pick yourself up a copy, it doesn't matter if you're 23 or 83 because the lesson is the same : you can only do so much.

I'll give you the gist of it, just in case you haven't already cracked the spine on it yet. Brother Bear and Sister Bear enroll in every activity they can imagine - tennis, ballet, swimming, scouts and everything else that catches their attention. Their calendars fill up to the seams, blue and black ink threatening to burst out of those barely contained little squares and spill into another day. Finally, Mama Bear snaps under the insanity of it all and her eye glow dark red and she storms in like a banshee...okay, that's not how the story goes. But you get the idea.

In true Brittany-fashion, I have learned this the hard way. What started out as an innocent way to busy myself has taken on a life of it's own, the beast is rearing its ugly head in the form of apathy and irritability. It ain't pretty. It started with a new church which came with a couple dozen new friends (I adore you all), and then I added ballet, and then bellydancing class, and then I started writing a food column for the Frederick News Post, then I started getting a ton of new duties at work, then I was traveling in every second of free time I had, I was baking just to blog about it and didn't find a speck of joy in the process. Sigh. I told you it wasn't pretty. When what you love becomes a drag, it's time to stop and sit back and check yourself before you wreck yourself. The collision is just around the corner for me, I can feel it. The tracks are rumbling, the rails are humming and the train is about to come screeching at full speed like some five foot five locomotive on the warpath.

So here I go, trucking along, thinking I've got it all under wraps and I'm having a good time, and suddenly I'm slowing. I'm losing speed. I'm losing joy. I'm overbooked and spread too thin, and we all know how irritating it is when you bite into a peanut butter sandwich only to discover its mostly bread and not enough enough peanut butter to coat the roof of your mouth. And that, my dear friends, is not a sandwich worth having.

Even my eating habits have taken a turn for the worse; I hate to confess to you that I've eaten cereal for dinner at least three nights this week and breakfast comes from a box of peanut butter and chocolate chip granola bars crammed into the back of my desk. I cringe as I type that because of the shame of it all, but the first step is admitting you have a problem. And I do. I have a big problem. Only now, I've managed to force it all into a 9 x 13 pan of chocolate marshmallow brownies. So as far as I see it, problem : solved.


Marshmallow Brownies
From The Casual Baker

1 cup unsalted butter
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 jar marshmallow cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 9x13-inch square pan with parchment paper.

In a double boiler, over low heat, combine the butter and chocolate. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Add the salt, sugars and vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the chocolate and butter mixture. Fold in the flour.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth. Drop large spoonfuls of marshmallow cream, evenly spaced, on top of the brownie batter. Drag a regular kitchen knife through the marshmallow cream to create a marble effect.

Bake until the top has formed a shiny crust and the batter is moderately firm (about 45 minutes). Cool in the pan on a rack.

1 comment:

  1. i'm glad that the marshmallow brownies were able to provide *some* relief! : )


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