Monthly Archives: April 2012

Midnight Madness Brownies

The Londoner’s Slutty Brownies have inspired my latest creation: Midnight Madness Brownies.  These take chocolate and decadence to a whole new level!  Since I’m making these on a Monday to share at my monthly Social Studies Department Meeting tomorrow (meetings are always better with chocolate), I am taking the store-bought short-cuts on cookie mix and brownie mix.  If I were concocting these on a weekend, I would probably make scratch versions of the cookie layer and brownie layer.

Here’s what you’ll need to create these delightfully delicious brownies:

Ingredients for Midnight Madness Brownies

  • 1 box/bag of Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix (or make your favorite homemade recipe)
  • 1 box of Brownie Mix (or make your favorite homemade recipe)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 stick of softened butter (I used unsalted butter)
  • 1 bag of Milky Way Midnight Minis
  • oil
  • Cooking Spray (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line your pan with parchment paper.  I used a 9 x 13 pan this time.  Spray the sides not covered by parchment paper with cooking spray to help the brownies slide out when you’re ready to cut.
  2. Mix the cookie mix according to package directions.  You will want to add an extra teaspoon each of oil and water than what is in the directions to keep this layer moist while baking.  Spread the cookie dough on the bottom of the pan – the dough will be a bit sticky. Helpful hint: Keep the sides of your parchment paper long and clip to the side of the pan as I did. It keeps the paper from sliding and makes spreading so much easier!!

    Cookie Dough Layer - Notice the clips to keep the parchment paper from sliding

  3. Unwrap and place your Milky Way Midnights on top of the cookie dough layer.  This is the most tedious part because you need to unwrap each candy and it takes almost the entire bag to make this layer.

    Milky Way Midnight Layer
    I wish these didn't have wrappers on them - it took awhile to unwrap them all!

  4. Mix your brownies according to package directions. Tip: Crack your egg into a smaller bowl instead of the bowl with your ingredients.  It is much better to throw out 1 bad egg instead of an entire bowl of ingredients!
  5. Pour your brownie batter over the Milky Way Midnight layer and make sure to cover completely.

    Brownie Layer on Top - Ready for the Oven

  6. Put pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

    Finished Product - Cooling in the Pan

  7. Allow to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes.  Grab sides of parchment paper and slide the brownies out of the pan.  It is much easier to cut these when they are not in a high-sided pan.

    Midnight Madness Brownies - Just after the First Cuts

  8. Cut into whatever size bars you desire and enjoy!

    The Finished Product
    I love seeing the caramel and nougat from the Milky Way Midnights in the brownies!

These brownies are truly decadent and marvelous! Even when they are cooled, they are gooey with melted chocolate and caramel in them.  I enjoyed my brownie with a glass of milk, although a scoop of vanilla ice cream would be just as wonderful…

I hope that you try these brownies and enjoy them as much as I do!


Fajita Mac-n-Cheese

I was torn about what to make for dinner tonight – Mexican or Pasta?  I resolved this dilemma by combining Steak Fajitas and Macaroni & Cheese.  This experiment was a huge success!

Fajita Mac-n-Cheese by Kelly Gibson

Fajita Mac-n-Cheese


Extra Virgin Olive Oil

8 oz. Flank Steak (thinly sliced)

8 oz. Penne Pasta (any variety – whole wheat, regular, or multi-grain)

1 cup Bell Pepper (sliced)

1 cup Onion (sliced)

1 clove Garlic (finely chopped)

1 tbsp Chili Powder

1/4 cup Salsa

1 1/2 tbsp Unsalted Butter

1 1/2 tbsp Flour (I used AP)

1 1/4 cup Milk (any dairy milk will work – I used skim milk because that’s what I had in the fridge)

1/4 cup Chicken Stock

1 1/2 cup shredded Mexican Cheese (you can use full fat cheese or 2% cheese – I used 2% cheese)

Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Optional Garnishes

Pickled Jalapenos

Diced Tomatoes

Shredded Cheese



1. Fill a pot with water for the penne.  Once it boils, add salt (to taste) and the penne.  Cook according to box directions.  Drain pasta and return to pot.

2. As the pasta is cooking, coat a large skillet with 1-2 turns of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Heat over medium-high heat.

3. Add the sliced flank steak.  Cook for 3-4 minutes – just enough to brown the meat.  It will cook quickly since it is sliced thin.  Remove the cooked steak to a plate.

4. Add the sliced peppers, onions, garlic, and chili powder to skillet.  Cook 7-8 minutes, or until desired crispness/softness. At this point, add the steak back to the pan and add the salsa.  Mix everything and turn the heat down to medium-low to low.  You just want to let the flavors come together.

5. While the peppers and onions are working, melt the butter in a small saucepan.  Once melted, add the flour and cook 1-2 minutes.  Add the milk and chicken stock.  Bring to a bubble and allow to thicken – about 5-7 minutes.  Turn off heat and mix in the cheese.  Once you have added the cheese, add salt and pepper to taste.

6. Now the fun part – combining all of the elements!  Pour the fajita skillet onto the penne.  Toss to combine these two parts.  Pour the cheese sauce over the fajita and penne mixture and toss to thoroughly coat.

7. Time to eat! Divide the Fajita Mac-n-Cheese into 4 dishes (or 2 for dinner and 2 containers for tomorrow’s lunch).  Top with pickled jalapenos.  You could also add some chopped tomatoes, cilantro or additional cheese for garnish.


I hope that you try this dish and that you enjoy it as much as I did!  Feel free to adjust seasonings and ingredients to your tastes.


The Londoner: Slutty Brownies

The Londoner: Slutty Brownies.

Just to make sure that the original link is here: 

(Sometimes I’m a little paranoid about citations and making sure to credit others’ work – must be all of the National History Day bibliographies I’ve read over the years.  I was almost tempted to use a MLA citation…almost.)


I stumbled upon the Slutty Brownies recipe on Pinterest and knew that I would have to try it!  These are guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth and/or chocolate craving – I promise!

I had initially thought about making the cookie layer and brownie layer from scratch, but decided to take the easy route with box mixes (I may make them from scratch next time).

Here is my set of ingredients:

Ingredients for Slutty Brownies










I made the cookie layer according to the package directions and added a bit of oil and water as the original post suggested.

The First Layer - Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough










When I was layering the Oreo Cookies, I realized that I did not have enough to completely cover my pan (I had made Oreo crumbs for another recipe recently), so I added the left-over Oreo crumbs to fill in the gaps.

Oreo Cookies and Oreo Crumbs for the Middle Layer










Next came the brownie layer (made according to box directions).  Time to go in the oven!

All Assembled - Time to Bake!










I baked these brownies for 30 minutes, as the original post suggests.  You may want to bake them a little longer if you want them less “gooey.”  I let mine rest in the pan for about 10 minutes and then I couldn’t wait any longer – I had to cut into them!  The finished product:

The Finished Product - I love the three layers!

These were absolutely AMAZING!

I am already plotting, there is no other word to use since these are so decadent, other variations to this recipe.  One variation will have mini candy bars in the middle instead of the Oreo Cookies.  The other variation that I am considering is using a Chocolate Mint Cookie recipe for the bottom layer, Mint Oreo Cookies for the middle, and the usual Brownie top layer.  As I play with these variations, I will post results – I promise.

*All pictures were taken by me as I baked these brownies.  If you use my pictures, please credit me for them.  Thanks!

Technology in the Classroom

Volume 28, Number 2
March/April 2012

Star Apps Lift Learners Through the Clouds

 Harvard Education Letter


This article really stood out to me because I love using technology with my students.  As an educator in the 21st century, it is my duty to expose my students to different forms of technology that they will use in their lives.  There are so many tools/devices/programs out there and it is easy to become overwhelmed trying to incorporate all of them into lessons.  Plus, access is an issue when you only have a few computer labs and 1 set of iPads for an entire school.

I am a member of my school’s iPad Implementation Team (a team to develop best practices for using our iPad cart with students). Recently I have had my students create “Video Letters” from the Civil War with iPads (we will finish the projects after spring break).  It has been an adventure for all of us!  As often as we are told that our students are digital natives, this concept loses some of its meaning in a high-poverty school where many students do not have access to technology outside of the building. Surprisingly, using  iPads and computers often hinders learning activities because students need so much guidance on proper use of these devices and the programs/apps on them.

Saltman highlighted some key apps and programs for teachers to use with their students. is great because your students (or parents) can sign up for text or email reminders for your class.  The service is free for teachers (standard text rates apply for receiving messages on cell phones), provides a number for teachers to use, and hides the number/email of recipients.  I plan on using it with my students next year.  Middle school students are notorious about forgetting things…

If you are a teacher searching for authentic ways to use technology with your students, this article provides resources that will guide your planning.  I encourage you to check it out and start your own classroom technology adventures!

On our trip to Cabo San Lucas, Jarrett took this picture while we watched the sun set.  It was amazing sitting on the beach, hearing the waves crash, and watching the sun drop down.

My husband and I were married near Goat Rock Beach (Jenner, CA). This beach is one of our favorite places in the world. I always smile when I look at our pictures from our elopement! 🙂

About Me

I have recently become a Pinterest junkie and avid blog reader.  As a result, I have been inspired to create a blog chronicling the adventures, mishaps, and successes in my life.  More than anything, this blog is a fun place for me to share a little of my life.

I am a middle school social studies teacher, which should tell you that my work life is a daily adventure.  When I walk into the school, I never know quite exactly what will happen every day.

My husband and I were married four years ago in California and we have a cat named Murphy.  We enjoy golfing, cooking, and traveling together.

When I’m not in my classroom, I am often in my kitchen.  I love to cook and try new recipes.  As of late, I have discovered a love of baking too!  Most of the time, I have successes in the kitchen; however, my mishaps tend to be epic and messy.

I hope that you will join me in my Adventures, Mishaps, and Successes!