Made in the A.M.

Fun Fact! I have never written a blog with out drinking wine…well maybe like 2 or three but only because coffee was consumed at that time. Welcoming myself back in normal fashion with a glass of red wine titled, “Help is Here”. How appropriate for this day and age of my lovely life.

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Where does one even begin?? Jumping right into things. I MISS BLOGGING. I might have been stuck in a rut of nights filled with margaritas and wine after being in the kitchen for far too many hours, pretending as if I actually have a life outside of work. I mean I attend boy band concerts, do yard work and eat pizza like am a college student and not some 25 year old girl just trying to make sure she doesn’t run out of dry shampoo at ANY given time. Turning 26 in a month is looking real good I’d say at this point… fingers crossed. That about sums up this whole year. Short, simple, sweet and very unmemorable, in a way…

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If there is one thing that has kept me sane this year, besides copious amounts of coffee and Targets $1 section, doing cakes has got to be the answer. Seriously think I would be literally insane if I didn’t do things like this in my so called free time. Number one love and something like an addiction I would say. When your sister asks you to stop making cakes because even though she goes to the gym 4 days a week, she claims she is getting “fat” considering the amount of baking one does. Taking her title away for number one taste tester real soon…

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Between weddings. Birthdays. And Just Because cakes/events I have loved what has come out of my kitchen thus far this year. Its almost over BUT I can promise you that there will still be a few more surprises in store.

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Heartbreaks, 12 hour days in the kitchen, realizing your pant zipper has been down all service and many days of spilt coffee, I am super thankful for constant texts from far away friends. Seriously, awesome. Thanks for keeping me going. AND to my mother, for always doing the dishes!!! I promise not to take such a long break again. Spread the word, Nessa is back!

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P.S. I totally titled this blog given today was the release of One Directions new album…far to fitting at 1:11 in the A.M.

-xoxx V.

Made in the A.M.

(The Best) Mocha Brownies

Hello one and all!

The Holiday season is here! The tunes are playing, the cookies have been baked (a very small amount) and the scene of glitter, lights and the aroma of fresh pine trees fills the house magically. What a lovely, lovely thing. Oh and let’s not forget about the best film of all time, of which has been playing since the beginning of the year, no longer just a Christmas movie…White Christmas! Bing Crosby was a babe back in the day I must say. I wish I had more time to spend in the kitchen to bake and watch Christmas movies, sip hot cider and share it all with you wonderful people. I surely know all my ever so gracious taste testers would surely love me a bit more.


Sending special THANKS to my lovely friend for this wonderful Anthropology monogrammed mug, love!


This recipe that I am about to share, I believe I have done so before actually, is literally the best kept, not so secret, brownie recipe out there. Gahhh, it is amazing! Never fails. Knock on wood. (I actually just did so, sheesh, who am I?) It is golden. I came across it when I purchased the Tartine cookbook early this year. Tartine Bakery is a famous bakery in San Francisco owned by Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt, both of whom are geniuses in the kitchen. They bake in “real-time”! As in no over-night shifts to prepare for that early morning coffee and croissant rush. The words are raw. The stories deep. The recipes simple and pure. I often dream about the day that I step foot into that bakery not just to purchase a warm, flaky croissant right out of the oven but to actually be that person baking those delicious little items. Sigh…

Would you believe I have made these brownies FOUR times in less than a week?! High demand I tell you. Have these at your next party and people will be raving and wanting to know just how something could be so rich and melt in your mouth good.

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Recipe adapted from TARTINE. Some changes and alterations have been made.

9 x 13 in baking dish / 12 brownies

3/4 cup Unsalted Butter
1 pound Ghirardelli Bittersweet/Semisweet Chocolate
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
5 Eggs
2 cups Light Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 tbsp. Coffee Grounds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish.

In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Turn off the heat and add in the chocolate. Stir until melted. If the heat of the butter does not melt the chocolate, place back on the stove for a few seconds until well incorporated. Add in coffee grounds and let cool for 3 minutes.

Place flour in a bowl. In a mixing bowl combine eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Using a mixing attachment, for a stand mixer, mix on high speed until mixture thickens and becomes a cream color. The batter should fall back and forth in a ribbon like manner. With a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate mixture in three separate phases. Finally add in the flour just until it is incorporated. Mixing too much will deflate the air that was in the egg mixture.

Pour batter into the greased baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes. The top will be slightly cracked and soft. Using a cake tester will not help in this situation, the inside is going to be fudgy and seemingly underdone. Let cool completely before digging into the brownies.

Cut into size and shape of your choice. They can keep in an airtight container, on the counter or in the fridge, for up to a week. Freeze any leftover and add them to vanilla ice cream or spur of the moment homemade milkshakes!


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To those of you who receive these in the mail, you should probably hide them and not tell anyone you have a package of these lovely little gems all for your self 🙂


(The Best) Mocha Brownies

Here’s to TWO years!

Hiiiiii 🙂


Now let me pose you this question right here, how weird/awesome is it that I have not logged on for over a month and I sign in today and it tells me it is my TWO YEAR anniversary of blogging?! Even though I have not been a regular blogger, I absolutely love this little space. Chatting about nonsense food things, I usually have to stop myself before I get really out of hand and end up writing a small book. Which I would be okay with happening one day…just you wait.


So lately life has been well, life. The kitchen life is like drinking far too many cups of coffee in a matter of hours. Really, really good at first and then it hits you, hard. You are on a roll and then a sudden rush of panic creeps up on you. Your heart starts to skip a few beats, you begin to focus yet find yourself wandering in different directions. Shutting off the rest of the world and going into this state of mind thinking “It’s too early for this to be happening”. Or sometimes you go off into la-la land and begin to question why a certain guest would ever wear that outfit to the restaurant or as to why those two are a couple… yah it happens. This would be when the tickets are coming in at once and you’ve got a full board for what seems an eternity. You look up at the clock seeing that it is 9:30 at night and really thinking to yourself it was just 7:00, you’ll gladly take that. You start to come back to normal, so you would like to think. Catch a breath. Take another sip of “coffee” and think to yourself, hmmm that really wasn’t that bad, I actually enjoyed that. Time to do it all again tomorrow. And the next day and the next…

I’ve got to say this, as much as I love being in the kitchen sometimes, actually a lot of the time, I just wish I could work in the fashion industry. I love it. Styling. The colors. The shoes. The sweaters, ahhhh fall fashion is on my mind. I mean we all know how lovely and breathtaking the fashion of the culinary industry is…as in it takes your breath away from being far from glamorous. I look forward to days off, wearing normal clothes and getting dressed up even if it is just to go to the grocery store. Hey, if I just happen to run into some lovely British lad by chance, you best believe I will be looking my best. A girl can dream.


This summer has been filled with more “foodie” moments than previous. Fall is approaching, quickly, I’m happy, and baking season is going to be in full swing. I. Can’t. Wait. Until then, I shall day dream the day away of living in the English countryside in a cozy brick stone house with a vintage chic feel, a luscious green garden full of hydrangeas, roses, herbs, box woods bushes and more…


P.S. Happy 2nd Birthday to me! (maybe I’ll buy that Kate Spade purse now)

Here’s to TWO years!