Have you ever fantasized about “getting off the grid”? I certainly have. No cellphone, no internet, no facebook, no cable. It sounds so liberating and yet so isolating all in the same breath. This article was just published about a former Manhattanite, such as I, who did just that – got off the grid (excluding internet). Personally, I love the beard. Read on friends…its a good one and do flip through the slide show too.
Archive for the ‘funny bits’ Category
As most of you know, I, Chiara founder of Chi Chi Bean, primarily sustain myself from chocolate. Its keeps me going at all times, it is my essential fuel. Its been a lifelong affair for me. I remember as a kid reading the book “Chocolate Fever” and being genuinely scared that like the hero of the book I could end up with chocolate freckles all over my body due to my consumption of all things chocolate. Well, I am happy to report that at the ripe age of 33 it has not, yet, happened. My darling daughter has the “gene” too and I swear “chockit” was her 2nd word!
But alas, there has come a time for me to test my love and will power. This year for the time of Lent I will be forgoing all things chocolate. Yikes. In preparation for such a feat I have of course been craving the luscious concoction even more than usual. Last week while visitng one of my favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen, she posted about the best cocoa brownies! Ugh, D E V I N E! So I thought it appropriate to pay homage by sharing this lovely recipe in honor of love, it is afterall almost St. Valentines Day! I encourage you all to bake these and savor them…..ahhh chocolate. Enjoy.
Here is the recipe but do check out Smitten Kitchen for more photos and her funny post as well…
Best Cocoa Brownies
Adapted from Alice Mendrich’s Bittersweet
Makes 16 larger or 25 smaller brownies (the size you see pictured yielded 25)
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 5 ounces or 141 grams) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (9 7/8 ounces, 280 grams) sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 7/8 ounces, 82 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt (or a heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt, as I used)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup (66 grams, 2 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added. [Note, many people who have tried this recipe have found that this step works just fine in the microwave. Couldn't test this because we don't have one, but it sounds like it would work.]
Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes is Medrich’s suggestion but it took me at least 10 minutes longer to get them set. Let cool completely on a rack. (I go further and throw mine in the fridge or freezer for a while; it’s the only way I can get them to cut with clean lines.)
Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.
Its night time and again I am trying to pull the trigger and order Ava’s birthday party invites. I am a tortured soul. We spent the afternoon at the beach today and there is something so magical about watching your child play in the sun, sand and ocean. Of course I couldn’t help but remind myself about how THESE are the days of memories for her and me. Lump in throat coming….pause….breathe. Right, keep it light, keep it light. Okay back to the invitations…last night I set up this one…of course a lovely picture of Ms. A. But I can’t decide….thoughts anyone?
It’s My Party Pink Photo Birthday Invitations
From: Tiny Prints, Inc.” Now onto to some more procrastination. I hopped over to grosgrain fabulous, one of my favorite blogs and would you look at this adorable top she made! You know it has to be really good if I am going to brag about someone else’s childrens clothing here. Look how cute it is in red too! Okay, disclaimer, I want the damn top and she has a little note up that if we post a link we can enter to win it….so I am posting. Wish me luck!
I just can’t believe it. I know all the crazy cliche’s are true. IT ALL GOES TOO FAST. I have been on the Tiny Prints website for the past, gasp, two hours scrutinizing every kid birthday party invitation. The choices are abundant and the designs fabulous. What’s not so fabulous is the text I have to keep personalizing to say “ava is turning 4″. No matter how cute or funny the words are, she is four and there is no getting around that. Hopefully by midnight I will be able to swallow the lump in my throat and click order. Wish me luck and with any good fortune I will be back tomorrow to report on the invitation choice. May the force be with me better yet, maybe you have a suggestion for me? Go ahead pick your favorite out and give this mom a hand.
Not one to say I told you so but sometimes I just can’t resist! Are we not all petty in some way? Way back on May 16th we proclaimed our Sweet Shoes Mary Janes to be celeb baby worthy. Ha! Fast forward to June 10th and Celebrity Baby Blog is all over it. Thank you! We’ll take it as validation of this sweet little shoe. When stars can have everything and anything and then they choose, its great to see that these little darlings stand up as the chosen! (FYI, we heard from an inside source that Sarah Jessica Parkers twins do in fact have these in red and orange) Sweet Shoes Mary Janes: available in orange, hot pink, silver and bronze from birth to 24 months. Red carpet style for just $30.
Wanna read what celebrity baby blog says…..click here.
Scavenging around for some new kid sized, yet, cool and eco-friendly, furniture for my little one and I found these from Hay in Denmark. I got lost on their website for a good 45 mins checking out all kinds of things. So much great stuff here. But I really love these chairs, called “little nobody” and of course I couldn’t find any information in English about shipping international orders. Ugh, does anyone speak Danish??
Kermit the frog often said “Its not easy being green”, oh Kermie, how wrong you were. I am so happy to report on my new favorite find, Ideal Bite. Now, that being “green” is so in vogue, thankfully, there are more than a few ways to be green. But let’s say you are not the tree hugging type, fine, I am with you. Your conscience tells you to reduce, reuse, recycle however, your sassy little self needs the abundance of ways to be green simplified and well, more chic. Seems the dilemma of what to do with those juice box containers, how to pick the right eco-friendly sunblock and are organic strawberries really worth the extra cash, are questions many mama’s are pondering. Alas, its Mama Bite to the rescue. Mama Bite is a lovely paired down version of Ideal Bite. “Ideal Bite offers bite-size ideas for light green living, delivered in a short, sassy, free email each weekday. Tips cover everything from biodynamic wine to organic cosmetics to seasonal recipes from local chefs.”
Here’s why Mama Bite is even better than Ideal Bite, its paired down and caters to what us mom’s are dealing with everyday. This morning I was delighted to get this extra little bit in my bite, they are having a contest to win a Disney trip. Who would have thought you could do Disney in an green way. I have posted the link below for you to sign up and enter to win. Love it.
I hope everyone enjoyed a nice holiday weekend. Sure is nice to have an extra day! Darling Ava and I were lucky enough to escape down to Raleigh to visit dear friends. Such good friends that it almost feels wrong to call them that because in our hearts, they really are family. Henry, you set off the flood gates upon Em and I!
Here’s a funny thing about Raleigh. Its REALLY a big city! What’s strange is that I am from “the” big city, none other than New York. I mean, truly, Raleigh is huge and spread out!
While there my dearest friend Emilee took some amazing photographs of my daughter. She is so talented and barely realizes it. I was so blown away at her work that I just have to share it here. It was really a gift more special to me than she probably realizes. As a busy entrepreneur and mom I barely have time to eat a proper meal some days let alone take good pictures. Thank you Emilee for not only creating some wonderful memories but capturing them. Take a peak at these few shots! She is working on a new website and of course I will let you all know when its live. In the meantime, feel free to comment away on her work here and you can check out her blog too.
Okay so maybe you received an amazing gift from your kids or your darling husband….in which case you should skip this next post. However, if you think Mother’s Day should increase its frequency to keep us invested on those days when darling child tells you to “shut it” then click on over here. Grosgrain, is a cheeky little blog and right now they are hosting tons of giveaways of different things all the time. I love, love, love her latest giveaway pick from The Brass Hussy. How can one resist such a funny name? Okay let’s say you are not lady luck and don’t win the raffle, do check out the Brass Hussy shop. Treat your hardworking mama self to one of these rather fabulous little baubles on Etsy, her amazing treats are priced from $10 to $30, now that’s a guilt free gift anyday. And the blog well, at the very least its a good read for a little “me” time. Go ahead, treat yourself, you deserve it!
Slowdown, recession, or downturn, however you choose to phrase it, we are in it together. Each one of us is feeling it in someway or another. The challenge for many of us, myself included, is to still feel satisfied not deprived during these times. Its almost like a diet. Eating only two bites of chocolate cake when you really want that huge chunk. How do we do this with our kids when they keep growing and have definite needs? As a small business owner, I have made numerous sacrifices in my personal life to build and grow the business. I thought I would share my top tricks for stretching and yet still feeling satisfied. After all deprivation is a feeling no one enjoys.
- Layers are not just for cakes: that’s right putting on an extra layer be it a t shirt under a sweater or leggings under a dress or a little vest over your favorite shirt, they not only stretch your wardrobe but cut down on your heating costs.
- Change the category. That’s right, just because when you bought it the description said “dress” doesn’t mean you have to keep it that way. Have your little one wear it as a dress now and then next season as a top over jeans or leggings. Its much more savvy to have to only buy a few new pairs of leggings rather than an entire new outfit. Pink Chicken dresses are great this way — most styles are loose fitting so its totally easy to wear them season after season.
- Shop the sale section religiously. Its true many things do sell out, even in a recession before making it to the sale rack but, plenty still makes it there and this is a great way to shop ahead at a bargain. What I mean is, buy a sweater but a full size larger and put it away for next year. Its a way to stock up at a low price. Kids are always growing but our wallets don’t always need to be shrinking. Plus buying ahead saves the headache of being in a “need” situation, which more than likely arrives at an inconvenient time.
Those are just a few of my personal tricks. I would love to hear from you what tips you can share! Email me at Chiara@chichibean.com.