hold off on that side-eye because no, i don't always cook or eat totally clean. that's no fun. at all.

making something from scratch is not for everybody. some find it way too much work, some find pleasure in measuring, adding,  and mixing each ingredient, one by one.  you don't always have time for scratch though.  so, buy a box mix and spruce it up a little. i. e. semi-homemade.  sometimes you need something quick and/or next day and you might not have all the needed stuff. it happens (which is cool cause then i can go back to my happy place, HEB).  by adding the simplest of ingredients you can transform a plain box mix into something pretty darn close to homemade. i know, i've been doing it for years and you prolly have to:)  here is my fav 'semi-sweet' dessert to make when i just don't have the time to take my time.

[b]est [b]oxed [b]rownie

the stuff:

  • 1 box fudge brownies (fudge, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, you pick.)
  • 1/2 cup of roughly chopped chocolate chips (semi sweet, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, you pick.)
  • splash of real vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of toasted nuts (pistachios, walnuts, pecans, almonds, you pick)
  • icing (if you want)

do this:

chop up the chips (size depends on you..i've left them whole before)  and add them to your dry brownie batter along with the splash of vanilla.

come on, at least toast the nuts. again the size is up to you- i prefer to break mine up first by hand. throw them in a low-medium heated pan and shuffle then around every few minutes for about 10 min total or until they are visibly toasted on all sides.  makes a huge difference in the bite of your brownie.  my parents have a pecan tree in their back yard, so i always have a freezer full of them. however, i wish they had a pistachio tree cause that's my fav. and they are so darn expensive per lb.

follow the regular instructions on the box (yes, you still need the eggs, oil, water and/or milk). then, fold in the toasted nuts. i used to bake with my mom a lot when i was younger. i used to think to myself  'man, when i grow up and bake on my own, i'm just gonna eat a whole bowl of batter by itself (especially when we made cookies). i see why that's not such a great idea now, but you know you still lick the bowl like i do. i am not ashamed.

 bake and SHARE.

after they cool, add some icing on top; it's your call. i do some with and some without.  i don't care for super thick, extremely sweet icing, but rather the kind that tastes more like cool whip.  i'm still perfecting my homemade icing recipe, so i use the canned stuff every now and then.  i only get the whipped varieties cause it's fluffier and lighter though.

i don't do well around a whole pan of anything.  i've had to whip out the liquid soap before and destroy a brownie or 3 cause my will power is shot.  i normally don't even make an entire pan unless we are headed to a family function or have company coming over- so dangerous.  however, there is a time for everything.  so, add a scoop of ice cream or a cup of almond milk, pace yourself, and enjoy.