It's been a while since I've given you guys a life update. I've shied away from sharing bits of our life lately, only because I haven't been in the right headspace to properly put anything into words.
Two months ago, my grandfather passed away. Brent, Sebastian, and I were walking down the beach on our last day in Hawaii when he died. I knew the phone call was coming - my grandfather had been sick for awhile - so I had some time to mentally prepare, but in all honesty, it didn't make things any easier.
I was fortunate enough to have my grandfather come stay with me while I was pregnant with Sebastian. It was nice that we got to spend that quality time together. He was such a trooper during the visit. My mom and I dragged him through the market and all around town on foot. I took him to Molly Moon's Ice Cream and I couldn't believe that he ate a whole large ice cream to himself . And it still makes me laugh out loud when I remember how mad he got when he stepped in dog poop. He was the last of my grandparents to pass away - which means that my parents are now the grandparents and that makes me want to cry. I'm getting to the age where I'm constantly looking back on life thinking where has the time gone? and it is terrifying.
The stress that I was experiencing the loss of him, an early miscarriage, and a newly discovered lump on my neck, all while trying to take care of a toddler and an extremely ill husband (who is much better now), I'm surprised that I came out of March with all limbs intact. The stress, however, did take a toll on my health, and I've been fighting a cold for months, I started suffering from pretty intense reflux, which has left me with a lump in my throat sensation for weeks. So when the doctor asked me how I was dealing with my stress levels, I just started to cry.
It's been a slow process of recovery - to a healthy state of mind. Slowly, I'm starting to feel like myself again, the sun has occasionally started to shine a little here in Seattle. The lump turned out to be a swollen lymph node. Brent recovered from Sinusitis, and I have finally gotten my reflux under control with medication and an extremely boring and bland diet. I've been taking more time for myself and less time stressing about deadlines and work. We planned a trip last weekend to Leavenworth for Easter last weekend and watching
Sebastian run around collecting eggs was the most adorable thing ever. I've probably mentioned before that I find a great deal of stress-relief in baking. The hardest part for me though is narrowing it down to one recipe a week. I mean, if I baked every day, we'd have a lot of leftovers, too many to eat, and we'd all probably be a few pounds heavier, except for Brent and Sebastian because they both have an insanely fast metabolism, so really, it would just be me that would be in trouble.
This week, I wanted to make a chewy brownie, inspired by the chocolate brownie gelato that I had last weekend in Leavenworth. When I think of the perfect brownie, I think of a soft chewy interior and a shiny flaky crust. Intensely dark and chocolatey. I adapted a recipe from King Arthur Flour. I served them warm, with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream and chopped hazelnuts on top. It was the perfect treat. They sort of remind me of those little brownie bites my mom used to buy when we were kids. I could devour one of those bags in minutes.
CHEWY CHOCOLATE BROWNIE BITES
recipe adapted from
makes 36 small brownies
prep time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 40 - 45 minutes
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups Dutch cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
vanilla ice cream
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and vanilla with a wire whisk until smooth and fluffy.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the sugar and continue stirring until the mixture reaches a temperature of 110 - 120ºF.
Add the butter/sugar mixture to the chocolate and combine with a whisk until silky smooth.
Fold in the flour and combine.
Line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Scoop the brownie batter into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 40 - 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. You want a nice shine on the top and a soft chewy interior.
Remove from the oven and let cool. Slice into 36 squares. Serve with chopped hazelnuts and vanilla ice cream.