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Inspiration

Food Inspiration Michelle's Favourite Recipes

ELLEN’S DECADENT BROWNIES

GOOEY….FUDGY, and DENSE is the best way to describe these delicious brownies

When the brownies come out of the oven, the bubbly crust where the marshmallows have settled is like a lunar moonscape of heavenly chocolate decadence. 

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This is one of the only dessert recipes that I have consistently made for my family for years.  My lovely former neighbour, Ellen Schwartz made them for us one day a long time ago. From that day on, I was hooked! Here’s how easy they are to make:IMG_3738

4 oz unsweetened chocolate      2 tsp vanilla

1 cup butter                                    1 cup flour

1 cup chocolate chips                    ½ tsp salt

4 eggs                                               2 cups mini marshmallows

2 cups sugar                                    1 tsp baking powder

Melt butter and chocolate over a double boiler or melt in microwave. Use a mixer to beat eggs, sugar and vanilla and then add melted chocolate and butter mixture. Once combined, add flour, salt and baking powder.  Finally, stir in marshmallows.  Pour batter into a 9 x 13 parchment lined pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 37 minutes.  Watch it carefully, you don’t want to overbake it.

Not only are they scrumptious, making them reminds me of Ellen.   Food is love and Ellen is famous for expressing her affection by surprising people with her yummy baked goods.  But, her kindness, compassion, and love have all been most abundantly expressed by the example she sets as a nurturer.  Her ability to turn the tragedy of a fatal neurodegenerative diagnosis of Jakey, her first born child, into an opportunity to shine the light on courage, hope and the joy of living each day to the fullest is extraordinary.  Jakey is everyone’s hero.  Miraculously, he recently celebrated his 18th birthday!

Ellen and Jeff Schwartz with kids Bevvy, Jackey, & Ben

Ellen and Jeff Schwartz with kids Bevvy, Jakey, & Ben

Ellen is a mother of 3, teacher, author, inspirational public speaker, and fundraiser.  She and her husband Jeff (who is also AMAZING) founded the charity “Jacob’s Ladder”, which has raised 2.5 million dollars toward research to discover and develop therapy and diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases among many other efforts. It’s that time of year for giving.  If you would like to make a donation to this amazing cause, here is the website:   www.jacobsladder.ca

P.S. when I asked if she’d mind me sharing this recipe, she confessed that she got the recipe from a friend and in true loving generous fashion that embodies who Ellen is, she said: “they really aren’t my brownies – they are yours xo”

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Inspiration Wellness

MEDITATING ON A SMARTPHONE

Andy PuddicombeFrom Monk to millionaire, Andy Puddicombe, founder of the meditation app Headspace is doing for meditation what Jamie Oliver did for food. (New York Times)

Considered the “international poster boy for the modern mindfulness movement”, Puddicombe is one of the people I’ve stumbled upon whose life journey is SO powerful.  I am truly inspired by him.

Andy Puddicombe MonkAfter dropping out of university, he travelled to the Himalayas to study meditation.  10 years later, he was ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Prepared to live out the rest of his days in relative seclusion, one day Andy had an epiphany: a yearning to return West and make “meditation and mindfulness accessible, relevant and beneficial to as many people as possible”.

Mission accomplished.

Andy is the author of 2 books, has been featured in Vogue, New York Times, Entrepreneur, Men’s Health and Esquire to name a few.  He also makes regular appearances on TV and online having been featured on BBC, Dr. Oz and Netflix. I’m only scratching the surface of his story.  There is so much more to it.   Check out his Ted Talk which has 5.7 million views!

https://www.ted.com/talks/andy_puddicombe_all_it_takes_is_10_mindful_minutes?language=en

I’ve attended and downloaded courses, subscribed to Oprah and Deepak’s free 21 day meditations, tried different techniques from humming to counting.  No question, mindfulness meditation has been proven to be an effective treatment for stress, worry, lack of focus, relationship problems, addictions and more.

Get Some HeadspaceAccording to neuroscientists as you continue to meditate your brain physically changes even though you’re not aware of it re-shaping itself.  A recent review of nearly 50 scientific studies found that mindfulness was as effective as anti-depressants in helping depression, but with no side effects.

The biggest challenge to meditating is actually finding the time and being disciplined to do it on a regular basis. I’ve never been able to commit until now.

Headspace logoAs part of my journey to chart a different route for myself, for over 2 months, I’ve been religious about meditating every morning.  That’s thanks to Headspace.  It’s a mobile app and digital platform with a library of themed meditation packs for improving your health performance and relationships.  Because your phone is always with you, it’s so easy to use, and you really only have to commit 10 minutes a day if that’s all you can spare.

I DO notice a difference in the way I feel since I started.  I would highly recommend trying it. Anyone can get 10 sessions free, but I want to pass on a 30 day voucher that I earned.  Just go to the headspace.com homepage or at checkout and enter this code. REW30-SUM698

Enjoy and please let me know your meditation stories and whether you have anything to recommend.