Friday, May 12, 2017

Kentucky Derby Party Recipe: Mint Julep Brownies

We were invited to a Kentucky Derby party at my aunt and uncle's house, which was a great excuse to get dressed to the nines (or the sevens or sixes as our case tends to be these days) and throw on some crazy big hats. And we brought some delicious Kentucky Derby-themed Mint Julep Brownies (recipe at the bottom).

But first, photos of the big day:

Say, "Always Dreaming!"

My little Derby goofballs

The closest thing to "date night" we'd seen in a while. I'll take it!

Grandma came too and won Best Hat with a Horse Theme and also won $34 for betting on the winning horse. Leo said, "I love you Grandma because you're a winner." Let's hope she never loses, or it will put my son's fickle love to the test!

On to the recipe. I love to bring themed treats to parties. I don't like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. This easy recipe ticked both of those checkboxes. I started with this recipe for Philly Cheesecake Brownies and jazzed it up for the Kentucky Derby party.

The perfect Kentucky Derby party recipe: Mint Julep Brownies

Mint Julep Brownies

1 package brownie mix
3 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 package light Philly cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
green food coloring (optional)
Andes mints, chopped (or you can buy a bag of pre-chopped ones)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start the preheating way later if your kids are "helping" with the preparation (i.e. licking the bowls and making everything take longer). Grease 9x13 baking pan.

2. Mix brownie mix, 2 eggs, water, and oil by hand until well blended. Pour into pan.

3. Beat cream cheese, sugar, and 1 egg white with electric mixer until well blended. Add a bit of green food coloring. (It's optional, but it somehow makes the brownies seem mintier!)

4. Spoon cream cheese mixture over brownie batter, then swirl lightly with a knife to create marble effect.

5. Top with chopped Andes mints.

6. Bake 28-30 minutes. Cool before serving.

Enjoy with an actual mint julep for extra Kentucky Derby party fun!

Vicki Lesage, Author

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The New Maison

We've been in the US for a few months now, and in our new house for a few weeks. The kids (and honestly, me too) still call it "the new house" even though now it's really just "the house." I guess we're all still so excited!

So here are some pictures of our new abode:

OK, I *might* have Photoshopped the grass a bit to make it just a smidge greener. But I swear this is what it's gonna look like by the time I'm done with it! I also might have Photoshopped our two fallen shingles back into place. If only the actual fix were that easy...

When we moved to the US I was so excited to have a bigger kitchen where I couldn't open the fridge from my seat at the table. Yet, somehow, even with a large kitchen like this, I can still open the fridge (you can see a smidgen of it in the lower left corner of the photo) from my seat (at the end of the breakfast bar).

Our highly sensitive ovens (that set off the smoke detector nearly every time we use them) and our American-sized fridge. And a whole counter for charging our phones and iPads.

View of the backyard from our kitchen. We will eventually move the kids' playhouse to the yard, but at least we can keep a close eye on those troublemakers from here.

Leo settled into the new living room immediately and taught me how to use the remote controls.

This is our "pub." It's for playing games, having a few drinks, and enjoying a nice fire in the fireplace (after we learn how to do that. Build a fire, that is. I definitely know how to drink and play games.)

We originally planned to use the dining room as a place we actually eat. Now it's where we hang our coats and set out our stuff for the next day. Because, yeah, you totally need a whole room for that.

Our master bedroom is, no kidding, the size of our old apartment (if you count the bathroom and walk-in closet, which of course I do). However, despite all the space, my 6'4" husband still didn't want a king-size bed. Which is good since this one barely fit up the stairs.

The kids like to run circles around all this space. Me too.

Look! The sink is in the same room as the toilet! And both are in the same room as the shower! And everything is white and fresh!

Another angle of the bedroom. If you'd like some of that artwork for your own house, I can ask the kids if they're currently accepting commissions.

Despite having three rooms to choose from, the kids both chose to share this one. "We want our beds RIGHTNEXTTOEACHOTHER, just like at Grandma's house and in Paris."

This room will eventually be Stella's bedroom but for right now it just holds all the kids' clothes.

Come visit us! The guest bedroom is all set up and waiting for you.

The kids now have their own bathroom, which might just be the best part about this whole thing.

At the top of the stairs is a loft, which we are using as a playroom. From this angle it looks sparse. But just you wait.

It's jam-packed (but well-organized) with loads of toys. We sold, donated, recycled, or trashed most of our stuff in Paris, but paid big money to ship all the kids' stuff. We wanted them to feel at home right away. They do.

I probably don't need all these photos of the same room, I just really like it!

OK, last one. Hope you enjoyed!

Vicki Lesage, Author