Double Chocolate Brownies with Pecans

Double Chocolate Brownies w Pecans
If it’s not clear from the title of this post, I did not make any New Year’s resolutions regarding the limiting of desserts. And if I had, I would have fallen off the wagon this weekend.

These brownies are decadent and sweet and dangerously simple to make. I’m usually a little apprehensive when it comes to baking, with all the precise measurements and accurate baking times, but I have made these twice in the last week (one batch is for a friend, I promise!) and both times they came out perfect.

Double Chocolate Brownies with Pecans

Ingredients

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup pecans (chopped)
  • ½ semi-sweet chocolate chips

Prepare

Pre-heat oven to 350 °F. Prepare a 8″ x 13″ baking pan.

In a medium bowl, add oil, sugar and eggs. Beat to combine. In another bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, stirring to combine until all ingredients are incorporated. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.

Place in oven for about 13 minutes or until brownies are starting to set, but are still uncooked. Remove from oven and quickly sprinkle chopped pecans and chocolate chips on top. Press toppings lightly into batter with a spoon.

Return to oven for about 8 additional minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the brownies comes out clean. Allow to cool before cutting.

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Getting My Om On

Remember those goals I listed in a post in early January? I’m proud to say I’m on my way to accomplishing one of them. I signed up for a trial of Dahn yoga and attended my first class this week.

I took yoga semi-regularly in college so it’s not completely foreign to me, but I have never attended a Dahn yoga class. I did a little research before selecting the class and found some interesting information.

The goal of Dahn yoga is to manage your energy effectively though various exercises and mind-body practices. The classes combine yoga, tai chi, and martial arts exercises to help achieve this goal. One of the things I liked most is that there is equal focus on physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Below is a promotional video from the Dahn yoga website.

My first Dahn yoga class was very different than any other yoga class I’ve attended. We began with the repetitive movement of (lightly) hitting your fists against your lower abdomen. This is believed to help activate your second chakra and create energy. I’m not sure if I was doing it incorrectly, but I didn’t really feel much of anything after this exercise.

Then we did various stretching exercises like standing side stretch, rolling your shoulders, and forward hang stretch. I enjoyed this part and felt good after each stretch. I liked that the instructor guided us and also challenged us to hold the stretch for a little longer each time.

Interspersed within these stretching exercises were different movements like rapidly shaking your entire body, bouncing up and down, and head shaking. I didn’t really like this because it made me feel a little dizzy. The head shaking is called Brain Wave Vibration and is a component of Dahn yoga. It is believed to improve mental and physical health.

Last was the meditation portion, which was my favorite. The instructor turned on soft instrumental music and dimmed the lights to prepare for this part. She guided us through the beginning of the meditation and then allowed us continue on our own for about 10-15 minutes. Both the stretches and the mediation helped me to feel very relaxed by the end of the class.

We finished the class with all the participants forming a circle and each person was asked to say how the class made them feel. Then we gave our neighbors to each side two thumbs up and jumped in the air. This part was a little cheesy.

After thinking about it for a couple days, I’ve decided that Dahn yoga isn’t the best form of exercise or way to relax for me. I am not knowledgeable enough on the topic of your body’s natural energy, Qi, to fully appreciate the purposed effects of managing it. Also, I also found some not so positive information and controversy related to Dahn yoga and its centers.

What helped to confirm my decision is that many sources, including CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, say that there is not enough science-backed information or completed studies to prove the positive claims of practicing Dahn yoga.

This is a simplified overview of what I researched before I signed up and my experience at my first Dahn yoga class. There is a lot of information about Dahn yoga and its components available on the web if you want to learn more. And if you’re interested in practicing Dahn yoga, I would suggest reading about it, educating yourself, and trying it out at least once to help decide it’s a good fit for you.

See Ya Later, 2013!

Sparkling Cava

Cheers to 2014!
And to drinking more bubbly.

The New Year is almost here and along with it is the excitement of new beginnings and a fresh start.

In the past, I’ve resolutely declared New Year’s resolutions (eat healthier! go to the gym! volunteer more often!) only to see them fall to the wayside once the year gets going and the new beginnings/fresh start novelty begins to wear off.

But this year, I’ve (resolutely) decided it’s going to be different. I’m going to set some goals and actually achieve them.

How you ask? Well, I’ve done some research and learned that it’s not that I need to get better at achieving my goals necessarily, it’s that I need to get better at setting goals.

For example, I learned that you are much more likely to be successful in achieving a New Year’s resolution if it is clearly defined, simple, and measurable.

It also helps if you share your goals with friends and family because it makes you accountable to these people. And you may even find support within these groups, which will help even more in achieving your goals!

So below is my list of simple, clearly-defined, and measureable goals that I’m sharing with you.

To make things even easier for myself, I’ve decided to set monthly goals instead of yearly goals. I did this for a couple of months last year and found that short-term goals help me to feel a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I kept the list in a visible place and crossed off each line as I achieved the goal.

January 2014 Goals

  1. Blog for 30 consecutive days.
  2. Start a gratitude journal and list three things daily.
  3. Learn how to poach an egg.
  4. Sign up for and complete one monthly yoga class.

Are you part of the 8% of people who are successful in achieving New Year’s resolutions? What are some of your goals for this year? I’d love to hear how you’re achieving them!

30 Day Challenge

Welcome to my blog!

My hope for On Mill Road is to give you my personal perspective on topics that interest me – and will hopefully interest you! In no particular order they are – food, fashion, good reads, inspiring articles/thoughts/people, DIY projects and crafts, and daily learnings.

I was inspired to start this blog after hearing Matt Cutts’ Ted Talks: Try Something New for 30 Days. I have always liked the idea of a personal blog – a space to be creative, share my thoughts, record experiences, and connect with like-minded people. I even attempted it once before, but didn’t keep up with posting.

I’ve read that it helps to hold yourself accountable and achieve a goal if you share it with others. So, this is my challenge to myself: blog once a day for 30 days blog regularly for 30 days. My ultimate goal is to post two or three times per week and I think this challenge will help me to create some good blogging habits.

I’m looking forward to what the next 30 days (and beyond) will bring!