January is the month of simplicity. The month we embrace normalcy. The month we get back to basics. The month when all of the holiday craziness is finally over and we allow ourselves to just “be” again.
Schedules go back to normal. Green vegetables are reinstated as a regular part of meals. Road trips come to an end. We work 9 to 5 and come home for dinner at 6 every night.
I don’t tend to cope with January well. Maybe it’s because “normalcy” isn’t a regular concept in our household.
Change. Adventure. Busyness. Excitement. All words I understand and embrace.
But normalcy? Not so much.
Unless “normal” is defined as moving every six months, starting a new career at each new duty station, eating dinner at 2100, driving past a “Tank Crossing” sign on your way to the grocery store, and welcoming your husband home after a week in the field by making him drop his pack and cammies inside the front door and sending him immediately to the shower, that is.
So while everyone else is embracing a return to normal life, we’re just getting started on the next chapter of our crazy/wonderful military life. Since returning home from the holidays, I’ve started a new job, the hubby is starting a new school, and just last weekend, we went zip-lining through a forest 120 feet above the ground. (Did I mention that I’m afraid of heights?)
Now, I’m not a complete hater. I may not embrace the whole “return to normal” sentiment, but I can appreciate January’s “back to basics” vibe. Look, I even made a batch of brownies. I mean, can you think of a dessert that screams “keep it simple” more than the brownie? I can’t. Seven ingredients, one bowl, one pan, one hour, and voila! A perfect, simple, yet oh-so-delicious dessert.
Enjoy the rest of January and it’s simplicity. I’ll just be sitting here, eating brownies and trying to wrap my head around “normal.”
Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart
Active time: 10 minutes
Start to finish: 50 minutes
Makes 9 brownies
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into large pieces
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment, leaving a slight overhang on all sides. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, and whisk in sugar. Whisk in eggs, 1 at a time, until combined. Whisk in cocoa and salt. Fold in flour until combined.
Pour batter into pan. Bake until set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift brownies from pan using parchment. Remove parchment, and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely. Cut into 9 squares.