Lunch Lady Brownies because Love Does

I’m sitting here writing this post the very day it’s going to go live. I’ve had a lot on my mind and in my heart lately and things have been mulling and stewing for a while. You, dear reader, are about to get a little dose of all my thoughts.

I’ve been deep in the trenches of motherhood this past while.

I’m on 15 straight days of seriously sick kids. Something that isn’t chickenpox but is related to it has gotten a killer grip on my house. The illness lasts super long (like 10-14 days long), it’s slow to spread but inevitably spreading, and even Thomas has gotten it now. I have kids with opened sores on their faces, rashes all over their trunks, a rash down their throat, swollen lips and gums, fevers, throwing up blood (super scary), and just plain misery on all fronts. I feel like someone is yelling at me all day long. Their little bodies are so taxed they can’t help but demand, whine, and cry often. I even went out and bought a bottle of Lysol spray. That stuff is awfully strong but strong is what we need. The doctor reassured me it’ll pass and that “comfort care” is all that I can offer my family. No magic, no medicine, just lots of loads of laundry, cleaning the bathrooms twice a day, washing pillow cases and clothes daily, Lysoling all the surfaces once they are in bed. Over and over and over again.

I woke up to my freezer door being left open all night. There are little bugs that look like black centipedes that come under our back door every night into my house and I have to vacuum them up. Over and over and over again. I spent hours making a Halloween costume that Macey tried on and cried over because it wasn’t just what she had in mind. The shirt is “too baggy” (her tears are anxiety induced, not brattiness, Halloween is a hard social situation for anxious little souls). It’s red ribbon week at school, which is another anxiety trigger (crazy hair day for example, she wants to participate but gets so nervous about it. We have to practice and plan and practice again and she is still almost sick in the morning over it).

Sometimes these crazy days limit my perspective and mire down my heart.

Then a little perspective is washed over me and my own mire and muck seem so easy. Like a little dust on the top of my shoes and not actual mud at all.

I have a little cousin, just older than Macey. She passed away last week after a long (3 or so years) battle with brain cancer. She’s her parents’ only child. Their only baby. I didn’t know her well, she’s lived in Indiana while I’ve been in Utah all these years, but from one mom to another, my heart breaks for her mama and the rest of her family.

Then this week my blogging colleague, Joan (from Chocolate, Chocolate, and More), passed away unexpectedly in her sleep. She was 49 and has 3 teenagers and a husband at home. She’s gone from them. I can’t imagine waking up to that kind of nightmare in the middle of my teenage years (those years are hard enough with a mama).

Perspective, perspective, perspective.

My trials are still hard. This illness is still awful, but I’d rather do many more weeks of this than be without my kids or them without me. I can do hard things. Over and over and over again.

And then there are the little rays of sunshine that penetrate my own hard days.

Sunday was our annual childrens’ program at church. The kids sing songs, memorize little speaking parts, and do the whole meeting that one time a year. It’s my favorite Sunday of the year. I had missed the Sunday before to stay at home with sick kids and I mentioned on the phone that week that I was bummed to miss the Primary program because I still had sick kids. I just mentioned this in passing, but Sunday morning rolled around and my friend came to my house at 8:45am, leaving her own four kids at home, to sit in my living room and read to my sick babies so that I could go and see the oldest two in the program. I just kept thinking of the phrase “Love Does.” It’s a title of a book I read recently.

Love does. I like that.

Love does a million loads of laundry.

Love does mourn with those who mourn.

Love does send the card, the package, dials the phone.

Love does surprise babysitting, kind words, and plates of brownies.

Today I’m sharing a recipe from Joan’s site, her fabulous Lunch Lady Brownies. I’d love for you to make these today for your family and maybe take a little plate over to a neighbor or friend. It’s simple but sometimes simple is all that is needed.

Lunch Lady Brownie recipe - thick fudgy milk chocolate brownie perfection

These are thick, fudgy, and not too “dark”. Perfect for the milk chocolate lovers in your life.

Lunch Lady Brownie recipe - thick fudgy milk chocolate brownie perfection



Lunch Lady Brownies because Love Does



For the Brownies

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

For the Frosting

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 by 13 inch baking dish well.
  2. In a large bowl add the melted butter, cocoa, and sugar. Beat until well combined, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour and stir until combined. Place the batter in the baking dish and spread it out evenly. It will be very thick, so make sure it gets to all of the edges of the pan. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  3. To make the frosting add the butter, milk, and cocoa to a large bowl and beat until the mixture comes together, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and salt and beat until combined. Frost the brownies while they are still warm.

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Recipe from Chocolate, Chocolate, and More

Lunch Lady Brownie recipe - thick fudgy milk chocolate brownie perfection

This holiday season as you need recipe inspiration think of Joan’s blog. Bloggers get paid by how many visitors they have, so the more people on a blog, the more they get paid. You can keep income from her blog coming in to her kids just by visiting it.

This is my tribute to you mamas who are in the trenches of motherhood too. To my friend Joan. To my cousin Christina. To Christina’s parents and my grandparents, and to all of you who love and your love does.

Thank you for being here. Enjoy the brownies from my home to yours. I wish I could really bring you a plate.

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about me

About Melissa

I have a lot going on, and I’d much rather spend my time enjoying my messes than fretting about what I’m going to make for dinner. Over the past few years, I’ve nailed down a few strategies that helped me keep my kitchen running like a well-oiled machine, so I started Bless This Mess to help other mess-loving parents solve the nightly dinner delimma—no stress, no drama, just really great food your whole family will love. Read more...

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You are so sweet Melissa. I follow you on instagram and love your recipes! I think your a wonderful mother. I’m sorry you’ve had such a rough few weeks.

Such beautiful words ~ I thank you for your generosity. Blessings to you and your family ?

I circled back around to this post today to tell you how much it has helped me the last couple days. I have two out of three kids throwing up from a stomach bug, so I know well the desperate prayers whispered over the sick and likely soon-to-be sick. The Love Does mantra is helping me through the loads of laundry and endless calls for help, so thanks.

Love definitely DOES. What a beautiful post 🙂 Hugs to you!!

Bless you and your family. You are an amazing young lady.

So sorry for your difficult times you’ve been having! Thank you for the reminders of why we sometimes just need to change our perspective. These brownies are the perfect way to remember Joan.

Oh you poor mama! I’m glad you had a friend who would make it possible to get to the program. Sweet looking brownies. 🙂 Get some rest!

Such a touching post. Joan would love it and that you made her lunch lady brownies. Hang in there.

Major Melissa, I love you and I miss you. This post is exactly what I needed, and you have spoken to my heart. Praying that you are all healthy again soon and that you can feel strengthened to handle it all. Praying for your cousin and your friend Joan too.

Hi Melissa, I definitely feel for you, I had a bout with some nasty virus exactly like that several years back with my youngest kids, and I can only imagine what your family and friends must be going through. Your post at least lets me know I’m not alone, thank you. I lost my job September 2nd, my daughter lost nearly everything she owned and her three dogs (my grandbabies) to a house fire…on her 27th birthday October 17th. Although I do not know you personally, I would like to offer you my support, allbeit virtually, and I would love to thank you for your site…it is fantastic! I enjoy it very much.


Thanks for this beautiful post. You have a way with words and it’s wonderful to read some similar thoughts to my own that I just don’t know how to put into words.

Whoa momma! You are in the thick of it right now! I just cooked up a bunch of food for a friend of mine that’s in the thick of it too. I wish I could bring you food, if only to take one thing off your plate! Love does…I like that! Love does make me sorry I don’t live closer to give you helping hand.

Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.