Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Baby Charlie, Europe, Books, Rick Steves, Brownies, and The Secret

Baby Charlie!
My sister Jen's baby, Charlie, was born today! He has fluid in both lungs so they are watching him closely, and giving him oxygen through his nose, but it looks like he will be okay. He is 7 lbs., 2 oz., and has lots of dark hair on his perfectly shaped c-section head (at least, that's what Mom tells me). I want to go down to the hospital later and see him, so maybe I will get some pictures!

Above is Jen (left) with Andrew, me and Jake at Stonehenge in May.

While I am at it, here are a few more photos from the trip...

London and Paris May 2007

(Right)Everyone at the Louvre:
Mareen, Jake, Kelly, Ryan, Andrew, Jen, Ross

(Above) Me at the Roman Bath (Bath, England) I've got my under that coat.

(Above) Jake on top of the Arc de Triomphe looking at the Eiffel Tower

(Right) Kelly in the garden at Versailles. Look closely, you'll see me clutching my Rick Steves' Paris 2007 guidebook.

Finally, Jake (looking smokin' hot, as usual) and I at Versailles (below).

Vacation Reads:

On the plane over to London I read: New Moon (see earlier post), but also watched movies, and played with my reclining chair quite a lot.

While in London I read: Shopoholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella (give me break, it was vacation). By far the best of the shopoholic books. Light as meringue and fun. I'll give it a 7 rating if you take it with the understanding this book is much better if you eat brownies (see recipe below) while reading it, and know it won't change your life (unless you start calling your stroller a pram).

On the Eurostar (Channel Tunnel) train I read Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky, which I still haven't finished. I wanted to love this book, but I didn't, not really.
From Publishers Weekly: Celebrated in pre-WWII France for her bestselling fiction, the Jewish Russian-born Némirovsky was shipped to Auschwitz in the summer of 1942, months after this long-lost masterwork was composed. Némirovsky, a convert to Catholicism, began a planned five-novel cycle as forces overran northern France in 1940. This gripping "suite," collecting the first two unpolished but wondrously literary sections of a work cut short, have surfaced more than six decades after her .

By the end of the first section, Storm in June, I was finally beginning to warm up to the characters. Unfortunately, The second section, Dolce, starts fresh with new characters. At this point, I went back to a man that never disappoints, Rick Steves. I still need to finish Suite before I rate it.

I toted my Rick Steves London and Paris guidebooks everywhere. I heart Rick! I especially loved the Paris book because we hadn't been there before and everything he said was right on. Right on, Rick! I loved the Left Bank walk, and I even enjoyed his nerdy jokes. When I got to the Louvre and realized I had left him back in the hotel, Jake went to the gift shop and asked for a copy. One American clerk told the other, "He's looking for the bible." But alas, even in this Temple of Man, there was no "bible." I think Jake had to go back to the hotel to get it. Nice boy. I give both Rick and Jake a perfect 10.

While writing this, I have eaten way too many brownies. They are the best brownies in the world, mostly because they are more like big pieces of fudge with chocolate marshmallow frosting. Intrigued? Yes, I thought's how to make these brownies a part of your life:

Maggie's Decadent Brownies
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
Paula's Home Cooking
Ice Cream Social

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 large eggs

2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

4 ounces (4 squares) unsweetened chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1/2 cup pasteurized egg substitute (recommended: Egg Beaters)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar, sifted
4 cups mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a 2-quart bowl in the microwave on high for 3 minutes, stirring every 20 to 30 seconds until the chocolate is completely melted. Add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla and mix well with a spatula. Add the flour and stir to combine. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

While the brownies are baking, make the frosting. Melt the chocolate and butter in a medium bowl in the microwave on high for 3 minutes stirring every 20 to 30 seconds until the chocolate is completely melted. Add the egg substitute, vanilla, and sugar and stir with a spoon until smooth. Stir in the marshmallows; they will soften but not melt completely. Spread the frosting over the warm brownies. The frosting will set up when the brownies are completely cooled. When cool, cut into 1 1/2-inch squares and store in the refrigerator in a plastic container with a snap-on lid.

Kelly's note: I put them directly in the refrigerator to cool for many hours, then cut them with a hot knife. They are best eaten cold with lots of vanilla ice cream. At room tempurature or hotter (say, a Labor Day swim party. Sorry Beesons!) they melt.

The Secret?

Lastly, Jake's Mom Gini (thanks, Gini!) gave me the first disc of something called The Secret. I have only listened to about 20 minutes of it so far, but here's what I think it says: If I want brownies, then I should sit around and think about brownies. The universe will hear and will send me brownies. If I don't want brownies, I shouldn't think "No sirree. No brownies for me. I won't fit into my pants if I eat more brownies." That still counts as thinking about brownies, and one way or another, I am getting brownies. So, if YOU want to stay clear of the brownies, don't read my blog, and think about celery.


Lizzie said...

I am laughing really hard about the brownie comment. Thanks for posting recipe :) They were yummy!

Gini said...

Kelly.. I can't wait for you to hear the parts about weight and money in THE SECRET!!! Gini

Brigham said...

Hey, in that pic of everyone at the Louvre, that guy on the that one of the locals?

Jen said...

Exactly how far away from Rick-Steve's-obsessed-fan-driven-assault are you now?

The brownies are delicious. What's the SECRET to getting some of those beauties over here tonight?