The Boat



So, I’ve been attempting to track my parents on their adventurous boat trip.  So far they’ve been doing extremely well.  They’ve even survived some bad weather AND some crazy snapping turtles! Granted they ARE on a canal, a man-made water way, but the whole thing can still make a girl nervous!  It looks like a fairly foggy view of Albany, but hell I’d still rather be there then work!  I miss ya guys and can’t wait till you get home safe and sound! I LOVE YOU!
Living Room
Upper Deck
Side View of Boat
The Boat!!!
I know this is fairly random and has nothing to do with me BUT I wanted to take a minute out and show the world what my parents were doing!  To make a long story short, my parents flew up from Baltimore to Rochester, NY to drive Dr. and Mrs. Alba’s new boat to the Inner Harbor.  Instead of paying someone to drive the boat, my father offered to spend a week driving it down the Erie Canal with my mother!  At first it sounded like a great plan, but after hearing some of their insanely funny stories, my mother might beg to differ!  I, on the other hand, am the only family member to be on land, my brother is still at sea, and I’m proud of it.  I did, however, print out a map of the Erie Canal and have been tracking them the entire way.  My mother calls me frequently to update me on the latest stories, such as the toilet breaking, OMG, and I’ve been updating them on the bad weather they seem to always be getting ready to hit!  On the other hand, they are a great, if not perfect team, and honestly no one could have gotten through all this better than them!  I miss them tons and will try to update you on the latest stories from the cabin.  For now, mom and dad BE SAFE and don’t have too much fun!!!!  I miss you! Over and out! =)

My First Attempt

Ok so, last night I decided to try out the famous low fat, low calorie, brownies from Devin Alexander’s book, “The Most Decendant Diet Ever.”  When I attended her presentation at the Taste of Chicago, she mentioned it was a very forgiving recipe, so I figured I couldn’t mess it up.  I did however, change a couple of the ingredients, mostly because a. I wanted to use a healthier more raw turbinador sugar and b. I couldn’t find instant espresso powder at Dominicks so I just used some instant coffee.  I figured it’s not that big of a difference and honestly any coffee with chocolate tastes delicious.  Devin was right though, it’s a ton of cocoa powder, but it’s definitely needed.  I first mixed the wet ingredients then added the dry.  To be honest, I didn’t even add the dry ingredients in a bowl first or anything.  I measured them out and did the old measure and drop method.  She said you didn’t necessarily need to mix the dry together first and I was way to excited to see the final product, so that was that.  The brownie mix smelled amazing once I put it into a 8 x 8 pan!  The added mini chips added a touch of fanciness haha without too adding too many extra calories, which I really liked.  Devin says to bake it for 20-25 minutes, but I did 20 and they came out fudgy and delicious.  I let them cool, then cut them into 12 squares and that was it!  Unfortunately I took a picture with my phone camera, so they don’t look THAT great, but I’m telling you they were PERFECT!  Here’s the recipe incase you want to take a stab at it!


Double Chocolate Brownies

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
Butter-flavored cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 inch non-stick cake pan with spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, using a sturdy whisk or spatula, mix the applesauce, vanilla, egg whites and sugar until they are well combined.

Add the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt. Stir the mixture until it is just combined and no lumps remain. Pour it into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the chips evenly over the top. Bake the brownies for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry (a few crumbs are okay).

Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and allow them to cool 5 minutes. Cut into 12 equal brownies. Makes 12 (1 brownie) servings.

Each brownie has: 88 calories, 2 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, less than 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 133 mg sodium

Traditional Double Chocolate Brownies have: 260 calories, 3 g protein, 37 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 165 mg sodium

Devin Says:
The addition of the espresso powder makes these brownies richer and more chocolaty tasting without adding calories. Just be sure you buy instant espresso powder.

These brownies are great for your children’s bake sales. No one will ever guess that they are healthier, so you’ll be doing everyone a favor.


Devin Alexander's Brownies!!!

Devin Alexander's Brownies!!!

Soo it seems SOMEONE ended up liking them juuust a little! He almost ate half of them… I guess Devin was right!  The brownies turned out super fudgy and SO YUMMY!  I still can’t believe they’re low fat and only 109 calories per brownie!!!  =)

Apartment View of The Taste!

Apartment View of The Taste of Chicago!

I can see the Taste of Chicago in the distance!!!

Entrance to The Taste of Chicago

Entrance to The Taste of Chicago

Or one of the many entrances!

Lucinda Scala Quinn

Lucinda Scala Quinn

So it’s true.  I decided to head down to The Taste of Chicago and check it out.  Being that I live in Chicago, I might seem a little bit crazy, but I had a motive.  The only true place I wanted to spend any time was at The Domincks Cooking Corner.  I had already mapped out who was going to be giving a demonstration, what day they were giving them and what time they were going to be there.  Today Lucinda Scala Quinn from Everyday Food was going to be there and I couldn’t wait to see her!  Not only do I love watching Everyday Food and reading their adorable mini magazine, but my boyfriend had just bought me the new Everyday Food cookbook!  Once Lucinda walked on stage I was so happy.  She looks exactly the same in person as she does on tv and maybe even a little more like Martha Stewart!   She decided to give her demonstration of the chicken burger on the cover of Everyday Food’s new magazine.  It was so easy and so simple, but looked equally delicious.  She has such a calming voice, similar to Martha’s and I enjoyed every minute of it.  She even told stories of Martha at home and how she really is obsessed with doing projects and house work herself.  I knew Lucinda was going to be there, but as I left my apartment I had decided to leave my cookbook.  It was just too heavy and I didn’t want to cart it all over the Taste.  Fortunately they were handing out the new magazines so I grabbed two; one to read and the other Lucinda was sweet enough to sign.  I was so happy and left with a start to my brand new collection of signed cookbooks!

Devin Alexander Making Her Famous Brownies!

Devin Alexander