My Sweet Tooth

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Sometimes I try to ignore my cravings for something sweet, especially if it is baked and chocolate flavored!  Over the weekend my cravings for got the better of me so I pulled out my Fat Witch Brownies cookbook and it fell open to page 67.  I’ve never made this recipe before, so maybe it was meant to be, or maybe it was the “witch.”  Ha!Ha!

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Page 66 & 67 of Fat Witch Brownies cookbook

The “Intense Chocolate Brownies” were as the name implies, intense with the flavor of chocolate!  Of course they can’t be bad for you because the recipe uses unsalted butter, unbleached flour (please don’t buy bleached flour – it really is not good for you), 70%  cacao bittersweet chocolate, just the right amount of sugar.  Since these brownies are homemade they contain no preservatives or artificial ingredients, just lots of love.

Now, I didn’t have bittersweet chocolate on hand, but I did have some organic cocoa (purchased from Thrive Market) so with a little on-line research on making substitutions, I was ready to bake!  It really doesn’t take long to make brownies from scratch, and the recipes from Fat Witch are pretty straight forward and uncomplicated (unlike others I have tried).  Best of all I didn’t have to use my mixer, so clean-up was easier!

Even though I didn’t follow the recipe exactly – using cocoa powder and half whole wheat and half unbleached flour – the end result was delicious!  The brownies were moist, with a rich chocolate flavor and just slightly crumbly.  Since there are only two humans in my household, and I’m the big brownie eater, I am still enjoying these treats.  Being the caring parent of two cats, I don’t let them eat chocolate even when they start begging for a taste!

If you have any leftovers after making some, just make sure to store in an air tight container.

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Finished product – Cooling and waiting to be devoured!

I’ve never been disappointed with any of the recipes that I’ve made from my Fat Witch Brownies cookbook.  As a tea lover, I even tried the Earl Grey Brownies, which were delightfully different.

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Fat Witch Brownies by Patricia Helding

Hope you will try your hand at making homemade treats.  If you like chocolate, Fat Witch has some free recipes available on their website, or if you live in New York City, you can stop by the shop and buy some freshly made goodies.

Happy baking & eating 🙂

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World Cancer Day

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Today, February 4th is World Cancer Day.  I imagine that most people have been touched by cancer in one way or another. They may have had cancer themselves, or been through this life-changing event with a loved one. Perhaps you know a neighbor, church member, or student who has had cancer.  Thankfully, with today’s advances in medicine the prognosis for cancer patients is improving. However, it all depends on catching the cancer early.

In January 2009, my father was diagnosed with late-stage throat cancer. he had ignored the signs and would not see a doctor until the cancer was quite advanced.  By mid-February we said our final goodbyes at his memorial service.  Later that same year, I too was diagnosed with cancer, fortunately my outcome was different.  I knew something was wrong, but not what and went through test after test, all with negative results until an ultra-sound finally uncovered what was wrong; I had bilateral ovarian cancer.

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With my mom, in 2010 after chemo-therapy. We are both wearing teal for ovarian cancer.

Today, I consider myself one of the lucky ones in that my cancer was discovered at stage 2, which is still an early stage.  Only 20% of all women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed at an early state.  Yet, an early diagnosis means a world of difference and an amazing 94% 5-year survival rate.  Unfortunately, there are no tests for early detection. Instead, it is important to know the symptoms and your body.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Vaginal bleeding or discharge from your vagina that is not normal for you.
  • Pain in the pelvic or abdominal area (the area below your stomach and between your hip bones).
  • Back pain.
  • Bloating.
  • Feeling full quickly while eating.
  • A change in your bathroom habits, such as having to pass urine very badly or very often, constipation, or diarrhea.

If you experience one or a combination of these symptoms, and they persist for several weeks then you should see your doctor for an evaluation.  Being aware may save your life or the life of another woman.

For more information on ovarian cancer, please visit the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) or the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA).  You may also click on the link below to open a PDF file with information provided by NOCC.

http—ovarian.org-docs-NOCC14.08_PDF

Love to Craft and Love Supporting NOCC

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Ever since I was a young girl I have loved to make things. My parents bought me crafting kits, oil paints and canvas to keep me busy. Remember rock tumblers, bottle cutting kits? I had those and more.

These days I prefer to work with items I have on hand. As a result I usually have a wide selection of materials from which to choose. Recently I found the Madly in Love crochet hat pattern from Moogly that I wanted to make, so I just went shopping in my yarn room for yarn. I used to call it my craft room, but in reality it is mostly yarn right now. I freely admit to having a yarn addiction and having a problem with passing up a yarn sale (but I’m working on it – LOL).

Asymmetrical Blush & Gray Set

Recently I’ve added jewelry making to my list of crafting passions. Hmm, must have started with that rock tumbler kit because I recall that there were jewelry findings in the kit. I’ve learned techniques from some classes on Craftsy and Annie’s and just played around.

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Most all of my pieces are unique and one of a kind, although I must admit to using a kit when I wanted to learn a more complex beading technique. I’ve included a few of my pieces in this post. I hope you like them!  You can see more at my ETSY shop, MarvelousMeows.  50% of all shop proceeds, until October 31, 2015, will go to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC). Enter code TealPower and get free first class shipping to anywhere in the United States.

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September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

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At the beach in N.C. with my mom shortly after finishing chemo

This year I celebrated 5 years of being cancer free after my diagnosis, surgery, and chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. Ever since my diagnosis and while going through treatment I did what I could to spread the word about ovarian cancer, its signs and symptoms. You see, while I had my annual PAP test and breast exam (oh, the joys of mammograms) I knew nothing about the early signs of ovarian cancer. In fact, I knew nothing about the disease.

Before my cancer was found I knew something was wrong, but not what.  For months, and months, and months I went to doctor after doctor and had test after test. I was checked for celiac disease, had my gall bladder tested, had blood work, I even had an abdominal ultra-sound (not pelvic), but all of the tests and exams were negative.

I was ready to give up and just live with my symptoms, but my husband pushed and pushed, so I kept going to doctors. It was only because of an abnormal PAP that my cancer was finally found by means of a trans-vaginal ultrasound. Please, please, please remember that a PAP test does NOT detect ovarian cancer.

So what are the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer?

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or Abdominal Pain
  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urgency or frequency of urination
  • Changes in bowel movements

If you have one or more of these symptoms on a persistent basis, please, please, please go see your doctor.

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I was lucky, my cancer had not spread beyond my two ovaries and one Fallopian tube and I have survived. Most women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are not so lucky; 70% of my teal sisters do NOT survive five years.

On Sunday, September 20th I will again walk in the Central Maryland Chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Run/Walk in order to raise earlier awareness about this deadliest of gynecological cancer and to support more research.  Please consider lending your support to help educate others and save the life of a mother, daughter, grandmother, sister or niece.

2014 NOCC Walk Run Event

2014 NOCC Walk Run Event

Team Teal’s Team Page for the NOCC Walk/Run

In order to help raise awareness and help fund further research, I am donating 50% of all proceeds, through October 31, from my ETSY shop to NOCC. In addition, you can get free first class shipping to anywhere in the United States. Just enter the code TealPower at check-out.