If blessings had a flavor they would taste like an excellent little brownie

posted on: Wednesday, January 19, 2011

perfectly named the No Brainer Brownie. Last week I received two packages. One was a beautiful wooden crate full of So Delicious Coconut Milk beverage. I receive a lot of products from PR companies, nothing has been as well packaged and presented as this; I was amazed and have since been converted to drinking coconut milk on a daily basis. The second box was not from a PR firm, but was equally packaged with care. My friend's mother, Akemi, sent me an unexpected gift of Japanese treats and high quality chocolates from Oregon, along with a recipe for a No Brainer Brownie.

The package came at the exact moment when I needed it most. I had just started feeling better from my nasty cold and could finally swallow food. I welcomed the surprise and dove right into that recipe and the contents in the box. A No Brainer Brownie was exactly what my body had been craving both emotionally and physically.

I've been feeling overwhelmed even though things couldn't be easier. Both of my kids are in daycare 4 hours a day and I'm not even TAing. Still, I don't remember feeling this overwhelmed last quarter when  Baby Maria was home all the time, and I worked 40 hours a week. If you do the math the end result would be that I'm crazy. The more things I do the less exhausted I feel?! It makes no sense! Maybe it's just getting myself into a new routine or maybe it's because the more time I have, the more I think and thinking can be a real drag, I guess. My nights have been restless. Can I blame the little earthquakes we've been having? No, I can't. I haven't even felt them, but my mind feels like a natural disaster. It wakes me up when I should be asleep with ideas and endless to-do lists.

My friend Natalie wrote something on her blog last week that poked me right in my rib cage. This is what she said, "don't waste your time climbing up the ladder to success until you're sure it's leaning againts the right wall. You deserve to know what you want and where you're headed." I want to know where I'm headed by having someone lay out the map for me and tell me exactly what the plan is because right now trying to figure it out on my own is exhausting.

Trying to decide where I want this blog to go is hard. I'm going in the direction of a lifestyle blog where recipes are part of the story. I won't be doing giveaways every week. I will be changing up the monthly cook offs so that they're more inclusive and not a competition; I'm not a competitive person, picking a winner seriously makes me feel sick to my stomach every single time. I also won't post every day but I will try to give you my all in the posts I do write. There will still be typos, please tell me when you catch one. There will be recipes that are better explained and hopefully better photographed, and there will still be me, and Christian, and the kids because I only know how to write about what I experience and right now my family life is pretty much all consuming; in a very, very good way.

I've decided that whatever I do career wise needs to be a direct reflection of my life at home. Maybe when my kids are all big and grown and making their own adult decisions that don't necessarily require so much of me I'll take my career down a different path. Or maybe I'll just travel around the world with Christian so he can surf and I can eat in exotic places. Or even better, maybe I won't wait until the kids are out of the house and we'll all take a trip around the world after living in Brazil for a year so Christian can surf write his dissertation and I can eat in exotic places and the kids can be right in the middle of it all. I like my life with the kids and I hope to build a career where I can write about parenting and cooking and traveling and eating and having fun and having challenges all in between.  I want to have a career where I can connect with people on a personal level and that is why I choose to write about my life on this blog and elsewhere.

My goal for 2011 is to write more outside of Kitchen Corners, on parenting and also on food. I felt an extra boost of hope this month when I picked up the February issue of Latina Magazine and saw my article over a two page spread with a picture of my family. I hope to write more articles because a) getting paid to write is sweet and b) ever since the article came out I've been connecting with mom's who've had a similar experience -- being mistaken as their kids' nanny.

We may not look alike but Enzo is exactly like me,
much to my dismay.

Last week was rough. We fought a lot. I was feeling maxed out trying to reason with him on the most basic things.  I could tell you that discovering the world's greatest brownie recipe made it all better and you know what, as silly and simplistic as that sounds the truth is that discovering this No Brainer Brownie recipe did in fact make things all right. Only because making career plans and dealing with a testy 4 year old  and a baby who can't say a single word but wants to communicate so bad, and a husband slaving away on grant applications that may or may not come through, are temporary things that will help each one of us grow individually and as a family. That's a blessing.

It's amazing how the line that separates trials from blessings is so thin, if you only give it time.

Getting an unexpected package from someone who took the time to show she cared, at a moment when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed was fantastic. Having an easy brownie recipe with excellent chocolate to work with on a hectic day helped me refocus on the important things around me

Thanks Akemi.
This recipe is perfect.

No Brainer Brownie
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup all purpose flour
5 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

  1. Preheat oven to 375*
  2. Place the butter in a small mixing bowl and microwave until the butter is melted.
  3. With a wooden spoon mix in the rest of the ingredients until smooth.
  4. Pour into a small baking pan.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.

I have to disclose that I was not a believer of brownies made from scratch. I've been an addict of the Ghirardelli Brownie Mix and the brownies I had tasted that were made from scratch just didn't even compare. I like my brownies border line molten chocolate cake. This No Brainer Brownie recipe is better than the Ghirardelli, it's better than any brownie I have ever tasted, it reminds me of  my high school days where we would go out in Sao Paulo searching for the perfect Petit Gateu. This brownie tastes like a love affair between a petit gateu and a brownie. Needless to say I am now open to the possibility of trying more brownie recipes from scratch.

This olive oil brownie from a meandering mango  looks really good. Everything in her blog looks really good. Her blog looks really good!  After being married to Christian for almost 7 years I've only recently discovered his love for rocky road. Next on my list is this rocky road brownies  from My Madison Bistro. Another tempting recipe is this brownie covered oreos from  Picky Palate. I'm not opposed to more brownie recipes, as you can tell, so if you happen to be my friend and you have a mom who has a killer brownie recipe please tell her I will be forever grateful if she shared.


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