Tag Archives: brownies

Tuesday:) Toni’s Taking Brownies To Those Handsome Firemen

25 Jan

Firefighting — one of the few professions left that still makes house calls. ~Author Unknown


You know how your Facebook page comes up with memory photos from years gone by? Well, the other day, this photo popped up. It was a McKinney firefighter calendar that I had purchased in 2011. I was promoting the sale of the calendar. It was just to support a worthy charitable cause, of course. 

Well, it reminded me that I hadn’t made cookies or brownies for my local fire stations lately. So, I made a couple batches of brownies to share with our guys and girls in blue. Then, I always share with friends and neighbors too. If you’re going to bake, bake big, I always say.


Everyone says I make the best brownies. My secret is, I sprinkle about a cup or more of semi sweet chocolate chips on top of the batter and/or I top with mini marshmallows, mix a bit and sprinkle with chips. 

I stopped at Station #2, and Captain Turner answered the knock at the back door. The truck bay doors were open, so I just went in the back way. I’m a regular visitor. The Captain smiled and asked, “What’s the occasion?” I responded, “Just want to say thanks for all you guys do.”

Then, off to Station #5. 

Here’s the neat part. Firefighter Eddington answered the door, said thank you and asked, “Aren’t you the lady that brings us Christmas ornaments and cookies all the time?” I assured him that I was, and apologized for not being by this Christmas. I told him that I was in Chicago visiting my new granddaughter. (Dang! I forgot to take my pictures of the baby. Next time.) A good excuse to come back again soon.

I really appreciate our fire fighters and police officers. It takes a very special type of person to be willing to sacrifice their life for a stranger. If a few cookies or brownies can say thank you and bring a smile to their faces, it’s more than worth the small effort.

Here’s one of my silly brownie mix faces to make you smile. 

Saturday:) Starting A Sweet New Year With Old Traditions

1 Jan

“HopeSmiles from the threshold of the year to come, 

Whispering ‘it will be happier’…” 

― Alfred Tennyson


New Year’s Eve, a time for old traditions and new resolutions. I’m visiting my mom and sister for the holidays. They have an unwritten long standing tradition of making tacos for holidays. Forget the turkey, ham, sweet potatoes and pies. We have homemade tacos. Yep! Nothing beats homemade tacos. A good way to ring out the old year. And…time to start the new year, start a new diet, and start eating right. Nah! Never mind. Too many tacos and brownies, too little will power.

Mom and I are going down to the community room for their New Year’s Eve party tonight. She asked me to make brownies for the pot luck. Of course, I had to make my traditional brownie face. I couldn’t find a single bowl to mix in. Mom doesn’t bake anymore, so I used a large sauce pan. Still works.

I cut up some large marshmallows, layered into the batter and topped with chocolate chips. They turned out magnificently. (Remember: Always play with your food. I always do.)

Yum! Looks good! Happy New Year!

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni

21 Sep

“The best things in life are a warm smile, an honest heart, homemade gifts, hugs and kisses, and warm just out of the oven brownies.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


My house smells of freshly baked brownies. Mmmm! My oven is well loved and gets a lot of use. So, what’s been cookin’, you ask. Well, I’ve been doing some baking. Yesterday, it was handpainted wine glasses, champagne flutes and vases. Yes, I bake them in the oven. It helps to heat set them. I was experimenting with some new painting techniques and trying to come up with something turquoise.

I thought a beach scene, perhaps.

A couple of champagne flutes. Hmmm?

I experimented with some frosted glass and silver Sharpie pen. Not bad?

A monochromatic vase?

But, my very favorite thing to bake in the oven is….. Drum roll please…..yes! Brownies. 

The kitchen smells divine. I’m baking some brownies for Miss Sandy down the street. She had surgery yesterday, and hopefully she is home, resting, and feeling good enough to have a brownie. I upsurge hope so.

The brownies are still warm, but I’m pretty cool!

Sunday Sermon and Remembering 9/11

11 Sep

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”

~ President Barack Obama  2011 radio address.


A cool morning, finally, here in McKinney. While greeting before Mass, I noticed the normal scamper to get out of the heat and into the air conditioning, was replaced by leisurely strolls into church.

The Gospel today was the famous prodigal son sermon. One son demands his inheritance from his father and squanders it away, while the other son remains and works hard. The prodigal son returns impoverished and repentant. The father welcomes him, rejoices and prepares a feast. The faithful son is jealous.

My take on it…God’s love or a parent’s love is unconditional. The return back to the fold of a lost child, repentant and grateful, is worth celebrating. But, on the other hand, the faithful, hardworking son is not loved less and should not be jealous, he should rejoice too, because the Father has his family together. There is enough love to go around.

Gospel Luke 15

My son, you are here with me always;

everything I have is yours. 

But now we must celebrate and rejoice,

because your brother was dead and has come to life again;

he was lost and has been found.


9/11 is always a sad day. So many lives lost, so much heartache and senseless loss. Fifteen years later, the memory is still fresh in many hearts. There are always tributes and commemorative ceremonies. 

I remember going to the tenth anniversary ceremony in McKinney in 2011, with tears streaming down my face, I took pictures to share the day.

As is my personal tradition, I did my baking marathon and dropped off fresh out of the oven cookies and brownies to three neighboring fire stations.

This is an oldie but a goodie brownie funny face.

The house smelled of chocolate and oatmeal and yummy cookie goodness.

I delivered my treats last night while the cookies and brownies were still warm right out of the oven. I always love the smile on the young firefighter’s faces, especially when they say, “These are still warm!” I knew today, 9/11, many of the stations would be at ceremonies, so last night was a better day to deliver and say thank you. I shook each hand and knew that each of these brave firefighters would be willing to sacrifice their life for mine. There is no greater gift than that.

My old friends at Station 5. The counter was empty. I guess I was the first to drop off a thank you tray of goodies last night. I hope that today, all 8 fire stations have counters filled with offerings of gratitude from residents, neighbors and friends. If you didn’t get out there today, any day is a good day to say “Thank you.”

A couple of the guys at Station 2. Big smiles.

Station 1, right off the square, also houses a neat fire engine museum with memorabilia, photos and historical records.


Wednesday:)What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni…Brownies?

10 Aug

“The measuring and mixing always smoothed out her thinking processes – nothing was as calming as creaming butter – and when the kitchen was warm from the oven overheating and the smell of baking chocolate, she took final stock of where she’d been and where she was going. Everything was fine.” ― Jennifer Crusie, Maybe This Time


Yesterday was a busy baking and shaking kinda day. I went to Zumba, (that’s the shaking part), came home and walked about two miles in the scalding Texas heat, took a quick shower, met some friends for lunch, stopped at the Dollar Store, went over to the county office to get my vehicle registration sticker, wrote my blog, baked a batch of awesome brownies, drove over to the historic district for our monthly McKinney Creative Community meeting, arrived home just before dark, went for a very long four mile walk in the dark with my neighbor, called my sister, took another shower, THEN collapsed on the couch with my iPad and several tall glasses of ice water till nearly 2am. Are you exhausted just reading all that? Thank goodness I don’t have a job. That would interfere with my activities a d social life.

But, I do enjoy cooking and baking. I made my special marshmallow/chocolate chip brownies. And, of course, I always make a funny face in the bowl before I stir up the ingredients. When I post the funny face on my Facebook page, it reminds the local artists that our meeting is that evening. Everyone loves my brownies, so it’s a good advertisement for the group.

I’ve been making funny faces in my mixes for many years now. Always a blast, and always a challenge to come up with a different look.

The end result is always yummy.

After I cut the small squares for our meeting,  I took a couple over to my neighbor Diane, because it was her birthday, and a couple to Melody around the corner. It was her birthday too. So many friends. So many birthdays. So many brownies!

Wednesday:) My Weird and Whacky Wednesday

17 Mar

“I’d rather be a little weird than all boring.” ― Rebecca McKinsey


A lazy morning, followed by a long morning walk, was the makings of great day. When I got home, it was time to make my brownies for our DAS Divorced And Separated support group  at St. Gabriel at 7. I also had some homemade cookie dough that needed some baking. It was a Betty Crocker kinda day.

Rule number one: Always play with your food.

I made a double batch so I could share with friends and neighbors. One batch I sprinkled with chopped up Milky Way bars, the other with chocolate chips. The fire station will get some in the morning. I caught Miss Desra, the mail lady, with some fresh out of the oven cookies, and Miss Kathy across the street was watering her plants. Nothing like warm cookies. 

While I was sampling several cookies, just to make sure they were perfect, I had something stuck in my teeth, so I went to floss. Well, to add to my weird and whacky day, when I flossed the bothersome tooth, one of my crowns popped off. I hope it’s a crown and not a broken tooth. Yikes! I immediately called the dentist office, and I go see him in the morning at 8.

Kinda gross, BUT, I wonder if I put it under my pillow???? Nah! 

After the brownies cooled, I went for my evening walk and took brownies to Diane, then Miss Bernadine and Mr. Vince. Then,  Mr. Larry and Miss Sandy were sitting in the driveway and appreciated the brownies. By the time I got home, it was already time to get ready to go to church. 

Very good and positive support group meeting. Making new friends, sharing joy, sadness, and raw emotions, this is a good thing. Afterwards, I stopped inside church, knelt down and said a prayer, thanking God for His blessings, strength, and continued support. I am blessed. I am thankful.


Friday:) Fabulous Friday, More Friends, and More Firemen

12 Feb

“I’m glad Friday only comes once a week. I don’t know if I could handle all this fun every day.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrkaitis


I’m going give a recap of last night’s painting party at my house. Ten fabulous ladies came by for my first inaugural wine glass painting party at my house. My dear friend, Linda Grossman, and my new dear friend, Michele Burke, invited friends for a painting demonstration and glass painting party. They brought all kinds of snacks, and drinks, and wine, of course. We chatted, visited, ate, then got down to the serious business of painting. O.K., there was nothing serious about it. I had to use my loud teacher voice, a few whistles, and nearly had to threaten the time out chair for the more boisterous. 

About four hours later, everyone learned some new painting techniques, and went home with two lovely hand-painted glasses. Some painted grape clusters, others, bluebonnets, some abstract, and a variety of endeavors. Everyone’s looked different and unique, not like those everyone do the same, paint by numbers type painting classes. All the gals had a good time.  

Julie B. Posted her beautiful glasses on her Facebook page, complimenting the talented teacher. (That would be modest me.) Didn’t she do a wonderful job?


So,this morning involved a little more clean up, a butt kicking kickboxing class at 8:30, a stop at fire station #5 to take some brownies and cookies, but all the trucks wer out. I left the container right outside the truck bay where they could find it.

When I got home, I went for a long walk, dropping off more brownies and cookies, some for Diane, a couple for Mr. Mike, and some for Michael and Derrek at the model house sales trailer. Michael gave up sweets for lent, so Derrek had an extra big smile. Later, I boxed up a few more treats for the two little boys across the street. The dad, Brad, is a fireman, and his pick up truck was outside. I didn’t want to ring the bell in case he was sleeping, so I left the container on top of the truck where he’d see it. I also put two little match box fire trucks inside for the boys who will be thrilled when they get home after daycare. 

The sun is shining, it’s 69 degrees, I walked for about 1 1/2 hours, I just ate lunch out in the sun, I’m catching some rays while I’m writing this, life doesn’t get much better than this.

Happy Friday from beautiful McKinney Texas, y’all.



Tuesday:) Today’s Funny Face

3 Feb

“I see funny faces in the strangest places. Especially in the mirror.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


“The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter.” ― Marcus Tullius Cicero


I started off the day with a lively Zumba class at the YMCA. I was pretty sore from yesterday’s kickboxing class, and I was up late last night finishing up a calligraphy project. But, once I hit the floor and heard the energizing songs, weary muscles and only five hours of sleep just melted into the music.

Later in the afternoon, I went for a long walk with my neighbor, Diane. She said she had a pot roast cooking and the house smelled so good. I pretend-looked at my watch that I wasn’t wearing and said, “I’ll be by around 7.” I joke like that with everyone, but she invited me to come over for dinner at 7. Pot roast? Who says no to pot roast? Not me.

I don’t like to go anywhere empty handed, so I came home and made a batch of brownies. If you know me, and some of you do, I usually make a funny face with the brownie mix before I stir and bake. It’s a long-lived personal tradition and weird obsession that I have. “I see faces in the strangest places.”


 Now, isn’t that funny? Oops! Almost 7. On my way for dinner.

Sunday Sermon and Some Funny Yummy Brownies

19 Jul

You will never know how much you can accomplish until you try. Never stop trying. Your miracle will come in undefined moments.Lailah GiftyAkita


Ah! Back to church , St. Gabriel’s, familiar friends and faces, routines and rituals. I don’t deal with change very well, if you didn’t know. So, five weeks in Chicago, away from my routine, threw me off kilter. But, my ” kilter” is back to normal now. 

Sunday Sermon: 

GospelMK 6:30-34

The apostles gathered together with Jesus

and reported all they had done and taught. 

He said to them,

“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” 


My take on today’s Gospel. Jesus and the apostles were tired. They tried to get away to rest, but people followed them, thirsty for more. “They were like sheep without a shepherd. ” So, Jesus felt sorry for them and taught them more. Sometimes, we are tired and don’t feel like going on, but others may depend on us, or look to us for help , guidance, or just friendship. Rest is not as important as the people in your lives. 


Now for the funny part. My dear friend Lynne and her husband Charlie invited me to join them for dinner last night , and then run over to check out Winco across the street. Charlie was contemplating dessert and was going to but some brownies, but both Lynne and I were appalled at the thought of brownies NOT made by yours truly. I think we even gasped simultaneously.

Therefore, today, I have some brownies cooling on top of the stove to take over there. Of course, I had to make a funny face with the mix,   

  and add lots if chocolate chips and diced up Snickers and Milky Way bars. Wooo!    



Tuesday Tip of the Day and Two Pennies For Luck

10 Feb

“A party without cake is just a meeting”
― Julia Child
And a meeting without brownies means Toni wasn’t invited. Today is our monthly McKinney Creative Community meeting at SPARC over by St. Peter’s in the historic district. I always bring brownies. One time I didn’t, and well, I was chastised soundly.

But, before I made my brownies, I went to Zumba in the morning then went for a long walk after I got home. It’s still pretty nice out. I did find a couple of nails in the street, but this morning, I found two lucky pennies in the road. Twice the luck for me today, I guess.

So, of course, I had to think of a funny face to make with the brownie mix before baking. Seeing as this group consists of artists, writers, musicians, dancers, etc., I thought I’d have an artistic face today. You probably think I’m nuts…and you’d be right. It’s just something fun to do and fun to share with friends on Facebook.

If you can’t play with your food, you might as well eat at restaurants all the time.
That is my tip for Tuesday. I’ve shared it before, but try to enjoy your cooking, baking, and definitely play with your food. And don’t forget to share the photos. Here’s how they looked after playing around. I always put chocolate chips on top of the batter, and I cut up some Milky Way candy bars. The other batch I added marshmallows, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and cut up Milky Ways. Yes, I know you wish you had one right now, don’t you?


Have a great Tuesday!