brownies, turkey tacos and 2011

this is my last post of 2011, so i thought "why not make it delicious with lots of pictures of food and minimal writing?" i have this entire week off because, as mentioned in my last post, my boss is a badass. it's been fantastic - a tiny staycation, if you will. of course, i spent the actual christmas part of it with my folks up north (20 minutes up north, to be exact), but since then, i've been tucked away in my apartment enjoying myself (except for that one day i went day drinking and had dinner at a friend's and didn't realize how much alcohol i had consumed throughout the day/night until i was home and felt super not okay).

i've been on a very intense cooking/baking kick lately. i used to do it a lot more, then got lazy, and now... I'M BACK BABY. i absolutely love being in the kitchen. although it can get pretty expensive and usually i'm only cooking for one, it's so gratifying when you make something delicious and post pictures to facebook, instagram and twitter in hopes of people applauding you (strangers or not).

so, on today's episode of "emma's thing: in the kitchen," i will show you what my day of baking/cooking looked like yesterday, weave some pictures into all of it and chit chat about this past year and my hopes for the next year! sound good?

WELCOME!

look at all that crap on the counter! my place never looks like this... you'll have to excuse it. things get messy when i cook and friends come over to mooch off my amazing creations. but nevertheless, WELCOME to my tiny kitchen.

when i settled in yesterday to start my endeavors, i realized i probably needed to eat something so i didn't eat as i went (that's never a good thing). so, i whipped up this incredibly insane and easy as a slut lunch that i discovered on thekitchykitchen.com . her name is claire thomas and she makes really awesome stuff. like this:

avocado toast - and it's as easy as it looks/sounds (JUST like paris hilton). toast bread. slice up a 'cado. drizzle extra virgin olive oil and the mexican hot sauce of your choice over it (tabasco's fine, but i got something else). sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. EAT LIKE A QUEEN. it's the best shit ever. thanks, claire!

once the beast was fed, i started in on my chocolate peanut butter brownies from the one and only barefoot contessa. sidenote: do you think if i let myself go completely while simultaneously becoming an absolutely incredible chef that a man would still want me? because i'm considering it...

i like to cook way more than i like to bake, but i saw ina making these on her show and decided i had to try it out. i had never melted chocolate in a bowl OVER a pot of simmering water before, so i was nervous... but it turned out great.

i had also never used completely unsweetened chocolate to bake before, so it was pretty fun chopping it all up. oh, i should be interweaving my thoughts on 2011 in here, shouldn't i? eh, i'm not ready yet.

hey. no worries. this recipe called for a POUND of butter. a POUND. and just in case you were wondering, that's four full sticks of butter. did i feel like paula deen? yes. did it feel weird? yes. but did it all taste great? duh.

mountain of pure cocaine, anyone? JUST KIDDING, THAT'S FLOUR YOU ASSHOLES.

here's my summation of 2011: wasn't that great. best part of the entire year was being transferred onto the michael kors team and getting to leave my first job at a television station before i slipped completely into full-on depression. can you believe that? my JOB is the one great thing of this year. on a personal level, notsomuch my year. but 2012 will be, god dammit. or people will get hurt.

wouldja look at how beautifully the chocolate melted? i don't know why i was so intimidated by this part of the whole recipe. it worked like a charm. thanks, ina. for everything. marry me? no? okay.

and here is the final product. if you're reading this and we're decent enough friends, please come over and get one. there are so many and they are so goddamn rich. i have literal CONTAINERS full of sweets in my house and it's really unhinging me. i need help and by help i mean you eating some.

thank GOD my favorite man in the whole world (as of right now) came over to taste test. here was his reaction:

this wasn't posed. he LITERALLY took a bite of the brownie and collapsed. it was amazing. then again, so was this:

ya know what? my friendship with this guy might also be one of the greater things that happened in 2011. truly. he hates sap, though, so i'll stop there. LOVE YA, BITCH!

END PART 1

so, after this endeavor, i decided i had to test out this totally amazing sounding taco seasoning mixture i read on savorysweetlife.com. i love tacos - who doesn't? they're everything: carbs, meat, dairy, spice... sex in your mouth, basically. i knew this spice combination i found was going to be insane, but it literally includes every good spice ever made. see here:

do you think they named it "cumin" because that's what you wanna do when you taste it? HA. sorry, but not sorry. you mix all these babies together and get a delicious blend like this:

(excuse the chipped thumb nail. i repainted them last night - i swear!)

once the combo is done, you take out your ground beef, turkey or chicken and get yer hands dirty by mixing it all together and letting it sit in the fridge for a bit. some people are weird about touching raw meat - these people probably aren't very passionate cooks. i don't give a fuck. i think it's kind of fun in a cold, mushy way?

ground turkey never looked so colorful and delicious. seriously, you guys. this spice mixture is the best thing i've ever found. i would put it on cereal if i was a total freak. it made THE MOST AMAZING turkey tacos i've ever tasted in my young life.

of course, having cilantro, avocado, mexican cheese and a few different hot sauces to choose from really upped the anty here, but just the meat alone was PHENOM. i recommend this to any and everyone. thanks, savory sweet life! my friends really enjoyed it, too (because i told them if they didn't to get the FUCK out of my apartment)...

SO GOOD.

so, that was my day of ultimate cooking during my week off. even though my grocery bill was $112, it was totally worth it. the only time that kind of money spent on food isn't worth it is if it's like for a party for people you don't even really like that much, if it was spent on like 100 lean cuisines OR if it was blown on a mediocre meal at a fancy restaurant. am i right?

really, though. here's to everyone having a great year in 2012. like i said earlier, this will be the year. for what? i don't know. but for something. after two notsogreat years in a row, 2012 WILL deliver or it will have to answer to me and i may look nice, but trust me... this bitch can throw down.

happy and healthy to everyone and don't feel lame or stupid if you choose to stay in on NYE - it SUCKS. worst holiday ever. don't feel pressured. if sitting on your couch in your sweatpants with a bottle of champagne sounds more appealing than anything else at all, DO IT. after all, this is your year.

- emma

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