Tag Archives: brownies

Tuesday:) Toni’s Brownies and Those Terrific Firefighters

29 May

“Hug a firefighter and feel warm all over.”

~ Unknown

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Today is Mr. Mike’s birthday, so I decided to make some brownies. He’s trying to be good and not eat sweets, but it’s his birthday. Not a day to be good. I just took him one big square brownie with a candle. He also doesn’t like to celebrate his birthday, but I don’t follow directions.

When I bake, I always make a double batch so I can share with my local fire stations. I also wanted to take some next door to my neighbors. Their son Jack came over yesterday to unload and spread ten bags of mulch for me. So, I had a lot of brownies to share.

After stopping to thank Jack, I drove over to Station 9. Firefighter Williams answered the hall phone and came to the door. She even had my other container to swap out from last time. She said they just got in from working the pass the boot fundraiser so the brownies would be well received.

My next stop was Station 5. This is the first station I visited regularly when I first came to McKinney in ’04. Even though I’ve moved a few miles northeast, I still stop by the 5 every now and then.

When I go to Station 5, I usually use a disposable container. I wouldn’t expect them to save my nice containers, as I only get over there once a month or so. I wrote on the container, Thank you. Miss Toni with a smiley face. Firefighter Yervasi must be fairly new, as he didn’t recognize me, but was thankful, none the less.

I walked back to my car and started up my car when I saw someone run out the door. The sun was glaring in my eyes when I rolled down my window and saw the navy blue shirt and the name Blount. I jumped out of my car and gave Quincy Blount a big hug. Quincy was the first fireman that I met when I started taking brownies and cookies over to Station 5 all those years ago. We are Facebook friends too. I love watching his young family grow and keeping up with their adventures. But, over the years, he was transferred to Station 2. I would stop by there after he got transferred. Then, he got transferred to and is still at Station 7, way on the other side of town. I’m bad, I don’t drive over that far.

Boy, was I surprised when he ran out the door to greet me before I drove off. He was assigned to the 5 for just a few days and Yervasi must have mentioned that a lady dropped off some brownies, so he knew who it was.

After a big hug and talking about his kids and family and plans for the future, I said, “Wait…we have to get a selfie.” So good to see my old young friend Quincy.

On my way home, I had to pull over in a school parking lot when I saw a faint rainbow out in the distance. A very beautiful, fun and lucky day for Miss Toni.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tip of the Day:) Keep Brownies Moist for Days

3 Apr

“When you make as many brownies as I do, it’s nice to share your tips and tricks with other bakers.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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To say that I bake a lot of brownies and cupcakes would be an understatement. Sometimes I need to bake the night before an event, and I learned a long time ago the trick about putting some fresh bread inside or along side the baked goods to keep things moist. In a pinch, when I’m out of bread, I’ve used a slice of apple to keep the moisture in. Just keep the container covered. It really works. It also keeps the frosting on cupcakes from getting crusty and hard.

Here’s my tip for today…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93eljDKepT0

Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom

8 Nov

“When the going gets tough, the tough bake brownies. That pretty much cures anything.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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My friend, Miss Pat, posted on Facebook last week that Kroger had brownie mixes on sale, with store card for… wait for it… 79cents a box. Be still my heart. She also posted that everyone better get to the store before Toni buys them all. Hmm? Why would she say such a thing?

Funny, as I’m writing this, I have two more batches in the oven. Hold on. I’ll go take a picture…. I’m back…

I’m going to take some for my church group tonight at 7. They’ll still be warm. It’s after 6 already. Then, I’ll have some for tomorrow’s karaoke potluck at the VFW.

I think I’ve gone through 8 boxes in the past week. Every time I bake for an event, I bake an extra batch for my firemen at Station 9. I asked them yesterday if they were getting tired of my brownies yet. They said, “NO MAM!We gobble them up and we don’t leave any for the next shift.” Aw, high praises. I also asked them if they’d save my container, and that I’d swap it out for a new one with more brownies or cookies. I go through a lot of containers too. They were happy to oblige.

Now, you see why I was so excited about the sale. I didn’t buy all of them on the shelf. But, I did take all the dark fudge chocolate boxes, leaving the milk chocolate ones for the less discerning bakers.

That should last me till Christmas…I hope.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni?

11 Oct

“I’m just someone who likes cooking and for whom sharing food is a form of expression.”

~Maya Angelou

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Many of you already know that I’m better known as the Brownie Queen of McKinney. People always ask me for my secret recipe, and I always swear them to secrecy. (Not really) When someone asks me if I make them from scratch, I say, “Of course. I scratch open the box of brownie mix.” When they ask what kind, I always say, “It has to be on sale. When you bake as much as I do, brownie mix better be on sale. I always buy at least ten boxes at a time.”

I never thought there was a big difference in mixes, but I recently made a huge discovery. There is a difference. I have a preference.

On Sunday, I made two batches of brownies for the church picnic using the Betty Crocker Dark Chocolate mix on the right. SORRY BETTY! Your mix is not as dark and rich. The result is more cake-like and less chewy. And, I oughta know. I am an expert. It was just OK.

So, on Monday, the next day, when I needed to make another two batches of brownies, some for the senior center potluck and some for Creative Community and some for the firemen, I decided to use one box of Betty Crocker and one of Duncan Hines. As I poured them into the large bowl, I could see the difference in color. Duncan won out. That is my usual brand anyway. Duncan Hines gets a thumbs up, Betty Crocker, sorry, thumbs down.

So, my secret is, if you’re stuck with several boxes of mediocre mixes, just combine it with a really yummy mix. Yes, you have to use two boxes and make twice as much, but that just gives you more to share with neighbors, friends, and cute firemen.

Also remember to make a funny face before you mix. Oh, and add mini marshmallows in the batter and top with chocolate chips. Yum!

Mix, make, bake and share.

Thursday:) This Is Just One Month of Brownie Baking

12 Jul

“If you enjoy doing something, make sure to share. The more you care, the more you share.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I’ve got a batch of brownies in the oven as we speak. We are having our monthly pot luck dinner over at the VFW tonight during karaoke. It’s always fun, with a lot of friends, food and fine singing. Ha! I’m exaggerating on the fine singing… my singing…not so great. But, I do enjoy belting out an off-tune tune. I’m either getting better, or the crowd is getting hard of hearing. We’re pretty old. I think it’s the latter.

I was doing a lot of baking the last few weeks, so I decided to save the boxes to see how many batches I actually baked. Wow! That’s a lot of brownies.

That’s a lot of brownies!!!!

I also like to cook. Double whammy. I’m making a huge pot of pasta, mostaccioli. A few neighbors and friends will be the lucky recipients of my over-zealous-compulsive-overachieving crazy cooking frenzy.

I just finished packing up my pasta. A few stops on my way to karaoke. Life is good.

Friday:) Friendly Firemen Finally Man Station #9

14 Apr

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

~John F. Kennedy

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I was delighted to see the brand new shiny red fire trucks inside the bays at the new #9 fire station in McKinney yesterday. The city had the ribbon cutting ceremony weeks ago, but plumbing or some such difficulties postponed the actual starting date of the new station.

When I was having lunch at Nom Nom the other day, two firemen walked in behind me. I asked, “When is Station #9 opening?” One of the men pointed to his shirt pocket that said “Captain” and replied, “I’m just a captain. I have no idea, but we’re hoping tomorrow or the next day.”

Yesterday, when I saw the trucks, I scurried home and put a batch of brownies in the oven. Nothing says welcome like a batch of brownies.

This was a special batch. Not only did I use the mini marshmallows and chocolate chips, but I sprinkled chopped up candy bars on top. Yum!

When I stopped by the station, I tapped and tapped at the door. I didn’t see a phone or bell. Finally, a young fire fighter came to the door. I told him, “Welcome, and glad you are finally here.” I handed him the container and asked if I could take a picture. He said, “Sure, but come on in and meet the other guys. We can get a group picture by the truck.” I thought that was very nice, seeing as they were pretty busy and working on getting settled in.

A few of the fire fighters at our new Station #9. Thanks guys. I’ll be back soon.

Tuesday:) Time To Make The Brownies Miss Toni

10 Jan

“When the going gets tough, the tough bake brownies.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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“Sometimes you can’t see the road ahead but as you keep going, it gets clearer. Stay the course as the fog of life dissipates.”

Sanjo Jendayi

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It was a foggy day in London Town. Oh, wait, that’s right. We’re in McKinney. Anyway, it was foggy here too. I walked the dog over by the pond this morning, and the fog and the mist were mesmerizing and surreal looking. I love the fog. The world seems dreamy and opaque.

I drove to Zumba in the fog. It was kinda cool. The intense music, dancing, and Latin rhythm of the class smacked me out of my brain fog right quick.

When I got home, I said to myself, “Self! What do you do on a foggy day?” Well, of course, the answer is always, “Make brownies.” Then, silly person that I am, I had to make a funny face in the mix.

Fear not. After the eggs and oil and chocolate chips and more marshmallows are added, they are delicious. Hundreds, if not thousands of my personal friends can attest to that.

I took some to my church group meeting tonight. They agreed.

Seize the day and season it with love…and chocolate.