Coffee Mug Brownies

This recipe was inspired by our neighbor Chirley, who always has gobs of coffee cups on her garage sales. She has so many cups that she is forever trying to send a box full of them home or to the General with me when I stop by. For that reason, I'm constantly trying to think of uses for those poor mugs without a home. I kept seeing these microwave coffee mug brownie recipes pop up all over the blogosphere as I was looking for inspiration for simple homemade Christmas gifts. So...I thought, why not combine Chirley's orphaned mugs, a simple recipe and some great ingredients for a deliciously yummy gift. For those of you that don't live down-the-road from Chirley, it's a great use for any old mismatched or tired mug lurking in the back of your cabinet.

4 T flour
4-6 T raw sugar (depending on how sweet you like your chocolate)
1/8 t baking soda
2 T cocoa powder
2 T vegetable oil
1 T butter
3 T milk
dash of vanilla
pinch of salt

1 Microwave safe coffee mug approximately 8-10 oz.
measuring spoons
fork or small whisk

whisk together dry ingredients
mix in wet ingredients
microwave 1-2 minutes depending on your microwave strength. Ours is a small 700W and I do 1:30 so the mixture is still slightly liquid at the bottom somewhat like a lava cake. There's no egg, so no worries about perfect doneness.
As a gift, package the mug and dry ingredients with instructions on adding the wet ingredients and cooking.

Interested in fancying it up a bit? Add a T of dried cherries or cranberries, nuts, peanut butter, caramel, chocolate chips or a sprinkle of cinnamon.

P.S. I'd love to post a pic of the one Ella and I just devoured, but I can't find my phone.


Ball Jar + Chicken Feeder Light Fixtures

Hardware store and garage sale parts. 

I drilled a hole in the chicken feeder and ran the electrical through it, then screwed the jar into the feeder. 

I drilled a few extra vent holes to the jar doesn't get to hot and used a CFL.

A couple of screws through the bottom of the feeder attach the fixture to a galvanized electrical box.

What a  great porch light for less than $10.


Easy Peasy Pumpkin Brownies

Boxed Brownie Mix (my favorite is Ghirardelli Double Chocolate)
1.5 cups pumpkin puree, home-made or 12 oz. can, store-bought
1/4 cup raw sugar
2 T cinnamon
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water

spatula or wooden spoon
measuring cups and spoons
two mixing bowls, at least 2 qt. size
oiled brownie pan (whatever you typically make brownies in; I use a 8x8 metal pan)

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 F.

In the first mixing bowl add one egg, whisk in 1/4 cup sugar and 2 T cinnamon.
Add pumpkin puree and continue whisking until ingredients are combined and a bit airy.

In the second mixing bowl add one egg, 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup oil; whisk together until frothy.
Add brownie mix and stir until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Pour brownie mixture into oiled pan.
Using spatula or spoon, dallop pumpkin mixture over brownie mixture; lightly swirl to combine and make a pretty pattern.
Bake according to brownie box directions.

Enjoy! I like mine as-is with a big cup of coffee; Ella prefers hers with a big glass of milk.
For an extra decadent holiday treat, top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.