Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Water Hazard And Willoughby's Wonderful Things

Water Hazard

We had thunderstorms on Saturday and the temperature was around 70 degrees. Not exactly optimal swimming weather. Sunday, however, was perfect for spending some quality time in the pool. It was sunny and 93 degrees and the water looked like this (yes, that's actually our pool).

So we all got our swimsuits on and got in. The water was a little on the cold side, but we got used to it in no time. After about an hour, we decided to get out and sit in the sun for a while. The kids had other things to do, so they disappeared, and Mr. Willoughby and I got back in the pool, which we had all to ourselves.

We swam around for a while and then decided to do a little floating. Mr. Willoughby's floatation device of choice was one of these (not our actual rafts).

While I opted for one of these.

(No, that is not Mr. Willoughby and I in the picture. We look much better in our swimsuits than those two slackers! You believe me, don't you?)

The sun was warm and without anyone splashing around, the water was calm. We floated and talked for a while and then it happened.....we fell asleep!!! The hazardous part here is not that we were in any danger of drowning, becoming entrapped in our floatation devices, being swept away by a rip tide (it's a pool, not the ocean), or capsizing. As I've told you before, we live on the corner and our yard and pool are fairly visible from the street. We were in imminent danger of being spotted by neighbors and anyone passing by while we snored (not that I snore) and drooled (not that I drool) our way around the pool.

I have no idea how long our snooze lasted, but our son came out to ask if we were ever getting out of the pool. He said we had been in there for "five hours" (I believe this to be an exaggeration). We finally relented and dragged ourselves out.

The lesson to be learned, here, my friends is that warm sunny days combined with ridiculously comfortable floatation devices can be hazardous to your dignity. I don't remember seeing that warning printed on the box.

Willoughby's Wonderful Things

I have two food items to share with you, today. One is a wonderful spice blend you may or may not have tried and the other is a wonderfully fast, easy and delicious recipe.

Penzey's Spices is one of my favorite places to get quality dried herbs and spices. We don't have a store nearby, but I've been ordering from their catalog from years. They have nearly every herb and spice you've ever heard (and some you haven't) as well as a huge assortment of their own blends. Ozark Style Seasoning (above) is one of my favorites. I've used it in all sorts of things, but my favorite is baked chicken. Sprinkle some on the skin of the chicken pieces before baking and you'll get a taste reminiscent of fried chicken without the added fat. You can place orders on their website, but I encourage you to order their catalog. It's free, has recipes and suggested uses for their products, and often has a coupon attached. Their Ozark Style Seasoning, especially, is a wonderful thing.

We don't have dessert very often, but last night I was craving something sweet so I thought I'd whip something up. Of course, I didn't decide this until about 20 minutes before dinner was ready so I needed something that I could prepare quickly. These brownies fit the bill. I had them ready for the oven in under 10 minutes. They're not only quick and easy to prepare, they're also delicious. They're a little less dense than some recipes, but still fudgey and not at all cakey. One of my favorite things about them is that they don't sink in the middle so they maintain a uniform thickness.

Fantastically Quick Brownies
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

In medium saucepan, melt butter. Let cool for one minute. Add sugar, cocoa, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix well, making sure eggs are completely incorporated. Add flour, salt and baking powder, mix until well combined. Pour batter in prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 28 minutes. Cool before cutting into bars.

Enjoy them, they're wonderful!


Raoulysgirl said...

Sooo...did you get a sunburn??? I hope not! And I LOVE Penzey's! I, too, have been ordering from them for years now. I actually like the Bicentenial Rub on chicken, as well. Brownies look awesome!

5thsister said...

RaoulyGirl! I was thinking the exact same thing. Also, have any life forms of the amphibien sort shown up in your pool yet?

Willoughby said...

Yes, I have to admit, my shoulders got a little red!

Raoulysgirl - I don't think I've tried the Bicentenial Rub. I'll have to check that out.

5th - No, we haven't had any amphibiens in the pool, but that's not very common around here (I don't think!). The Japanese Beatles are pretty fond of the water, but it kills them so I'm okay with that. They've been eating my flowers!

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

That sounds like fun- but I would end up with a massive sunburn! Oh, and I noticed that you were looking for my Allrecipes name, it's Nicole1213. I believe that I was able to fix my comments issue, too.

Purple Flowers said...

That pool water looks very refreshing! I wish we were neighbors. We're having 90ish temperatures here, with high humidity: perfect for an afternoon swirl in the pool. Enjoy!!

Lissaloo said...

That sounds so relaxing! I am on my way to order a catalog, I love new spices! (rubbing my hands together and cackling)
The brownies look DELICIOUS :)

Chicago Mom said...

The brownies look fantastic! And so does that water! You are lucky you didn't wake up to your son taking pictures of you two. LOL I am glad you didn't get sunburned, I thought that was the hazard. How is the deck coming along?

Kathy said...

It sounds to me like you had the PERFECT afternoon! Thanks for the brownie recipe because there are times when a person needs a brownie very quickly!!! Sometimes a good brownie makes everything right with the world.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Hi, I'm just back from "my" Willoughby and YES we had a big rain storm! But it only lasted one day/night so the rest of our vacation was terrific. A pool would have been nice because it was 95 degrees on Sunday!

I'm of to catch up on your other posts!


Joanna Jenkins said...

PS I have a "Willoughby" gift for you. Please email me your address and I'll send it to you :-)

Donna-FFW said...

Sounds like your enjoying your pool. Good for you both!!

Your brownies sound wonderful.