Today is Mardi Gras-Fat Tuesday! How about some delicious Fat Witch Brownies?! I could never tire of trying brownie recipes. I could bake brownies every day and not be remotely bored. Fat Witch Bakery is in NYC. Oprah likes their brownies. I had to try them out!
I do agree. They are good! Even better with peanut butter chips. Next time I might add a little more chocolate and a touch more of peanut butter chips. Then they will be perfect. I have 49 more recipes to try from their cute little brownie book. Be prepared for an onslaught of more brownies. You don’t mind, do you?
Fat Witch Brownies with Peanut Butter Chips
14 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. bittersweet chocolate chips (Ghiradelli)
3/4 cup peanut butter chips
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. unbleached flour
pinch of salt
Grease and flour a 9×9 baking pan (I used a 8×8 inch baking pan). Preheat oven to 350F. Melt the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool.
Cream the sugar, eggs and vanilla together. Add the cooled chocolate and mix until well blended. Sift flour and salt directly into the chocolate mixture. Gently mix the batter until well blended and no trace of the dry ingredients remain. Fold in the peanut butter chips.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan and bake 33 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or with only crumbs, no batter on it. Allow to cool for 1 hour. Cut into 16 squares.
What’s this cheetah blood all about?
It’s been a almost a year of back and forth doctor visits and procedures. In the back of my mind…the tiniest little corner…I just knew I’d get that call. It’s cancer. It sucks. I just found out a few days ago that I have cancer. She told me it’s totally curable and there will be no radiation or chemotherapy. How do I believe it when she told my husband after my procedure 10 days ago that it looks like it’s going to be fine?
While she was talking, I was losing focus. Waves of fear and shock permeated throughout my body. I was listening and wishing I was just having a bad dream. Fighting back the tears, my dear doctor kept explaining that it was the hardest phone call for her to make. We have been friends since high school. My daughter snuggled up to me on the couch and whispered, “Is every thing ok?” I smiled and shook my head, “Yes.” My heart just breaking as she squeezed me a little harder with her sweet hand. Roberta said her badge now says, “I survived an aortic embolism.” She told me my badge will say, “I survived cancer.” That is when it really hit me and I started to focus and found some clarity: I have cancer. I have cancer?
That night after I put the kids to bed, I cried. I cried and I cried some more. I called my husband and asked him when he was coming home from work. My mom told me not to scare him while he’s working because he may cut or burn himself or get in an accident driving home. So I waited just counting the minutes. An hour later he arrived and I just spilled out the words as he walked through the front door, “I have cancer.” The shocked look on his face was painful to see.
Then I cried some more as he spoke soothing words in attempts to comfort me. I kept saying, “The kids need me. I don’t want to leave the kids. I don’t want to leave you.” That is what I kept thinking about the most. My little angels. What would they do without me?? I can’t leave just yet. I have to watch more basketball games. I have to watch my daughter break the first boys’ heart. I have to watch my son learn how to read. I want to be there when he reads to me his first book. I had to stop all those thoughts. I had to just sleep and rest. I prayed and then collapsed on my pillow still wiping away the tears and fell into a deep sleep for a few hours. After a restless sleep, I woke early that morning with more feelings of dread and a deep sadness compounded with even more fear.
Last week I talked about it a little on Twitter one night. Some of my blog readers follow me on Twitter. The messages of support came flooding through. People I never even chatted with before sent me kind and encouraging words. I started to receive messages from people that also battled cancer. Normally we are all chatting about food. Now we were talking about surviving cancer. I received offers of help from my local friends on Twitter. Even more messages telling me how I was included in their prayers at mass on Sunday. My heart swelled with all the love and support. More tears arrived. This isn’t easy, but you are all helping to make it just a little easier and I am grateful.
Cancer is no stranger to my family. I’m sure it is also not a stranger to yours. My mother’s parents both died of cancer. My mother’s sister is a breast cancer survivor. That’s a photo of my Aunt Marti on the right with my mom on Miami Beach 3 years ago. She’s been cancer free for 5 years.
My dad beat cancer twice. Twice. He still has on his table next to the chair he watches TV in the book he got in 1992, “You Can Fight for Your Life” The book cover has a light layer of dust on it. I don’t even know if he still reads it or it’s there as a reminder of what he did fight for and beat; his security blanket.
I have many questions going through my mind. What if the cancer is somewhere else in my body? Will I really not have to do chemotherapy and radiation? Am I really as lucky as my neighbor and sister-in-law have told me? I know I should feel lucky that it was detected at an early stage, but in all truthfulness, I find it so difficult to say, “I feel lucky.” Maybe it is still too early for me to be grateful for this illness. When I called my brother to tell him my sad news he repeated several times, “I don’t know what to say.” I told him, “Just tell me you love me.”
I still haven’t shared the news with my dad. My sweet dad. We have had two doctors tell us it’s a miracle my dad is still here with us. He confronts with all his Sicilian passion and pride the horrible side-effects from the radiation he had so many years ago. He looked at me with his strong green eyed gaze and told me the other day, “Every day is a struggle.’” He’s been cancer free since 1993.
And this is why I started my blog last summer. It was after I had my first appointment and I found out something was wrong. I started to write and document my recipes for my family. It was always a dream of mine to do a blog. With a fear that some day I might not be here, I posted my first recipe and story.
Recently there has been a lot of talk about a certain celebrity and his tiger blood. I thought if Charlie Sheen could have tiger blood and be a winner, well then I have cheetah blood. And I’m a winner. And I will beat this. And I really like that cheetah pattern in my photo and that’s really how I came up with the cheetah blood idea. I don’t really think I have cheetah blood. Hope it made you giggle.
But seriously, if you pray, please keep me in your prayers. If you aren’t a praying kinda person…please send me some positive energy/vibes. If you aren’t into prayer or energy, maybe you could just send me some cookies. Or chocolates? Kidding! Laughing is good for me! Thank you for being here for me. My husband told me the night after I found out that a regular customer at the restaurant told him his wife is a breast cancer survivor (not the same cancer that I have) and handed him a prayer card for Padre Pio. My husband thought it was strange because we had just found out my news and he also had not shared the news with anyone at work. I’m praying to Padre Pio.
This is my beautiful family. This is why I will beat it and any other adversity that comes my way. We were out to lunch the other day enjoying an afternoon with my husband Fabrizio. It’s still season at the restaurant and the moments we do share together are rare and even more special.
Gabriella is finishing her basketball season. Her team won one game this season. She wasn’t satisfied with that but I sure was. Yesterday I found out she made the Principal’s Honor Roll: all A’s…that makes me proud. She was the first in her class to read 15 books from the Florida Sunshine State Standard’s list. 15 books in a matter of a few months. Luca will be starting kindergarten in the fall. He’s an adorable little boy that plays clever jokes on us and that loves to do art. He draws the most amazing fish tanks and sharks. Who will be the one to worry about all these little things and be proud of their accomplishments if I’m not here?
One of Luca’s sharks that I have hanging on the fridge…
I can’t think like that. I will be here…for a long time. Dammit, I will.
Next week I go to the oncologist. In some ways I get sick to my stomach thinking about what he will say. In other ways, I just want to go and hurry this whole process up.
On a much brighter note: my in-laws will be here from Italy for 5 wks. Yes, 5 glorious weeks! I’m hoping my surgery will be scheduled while they are here. Since I still have to heal from the procedure I had 10 days ago, I’m not sure when it will be.
In the meantime, I will keep on baking and keep on thinking positive thoughts. Gabriella helped Luca make this yesterday with glitter glue for me. It’s ironicially a snapshot of my life right now: silver lined clouds, the sparkling gold sun, gentle blue raindrops feeding the pretty flowers, and a whimsical butterfly. This all combines to make a very happy picture.
Thank you for stopping by today. I adore you all! I really do.