A few weeks ago, I spent some time with Kristopher Fulton, of LAMILL Coffee in Baltimore's Four Seasons Hotel.  What I saw was just how many different ways one can make coffee.  Here is a small clip of what I saw.  A trailer leading up to the full sized video, coming soon! Click HERE to enjoy the video!

A Cup of Chocolate Cake

Sometimes a girl (or guy) just needs a little chocolate. As one who loves to bake, I enjoy being in the kitchen and whipping up something sweet, sometimes spending hours baking, cooking, creating.  But, there are many who don't enjoy the process but love the end result.  If that is you, this is a recipe right up your alley!

From start to finish, it takes 5 minutes.  That's it.  You need a coffee mug, ingredients, a microwave and you're set... ready to bake.  Does it get easier?

5-minute Mug Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 3 T milk
  • 3 T neutral oil (I used vegetable)
  • 3 T flour
  • 4 T sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw)
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 3 T semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Add wet ingredients, including the egg, to the mug and mix well.  Add the dry ingredients and mix.  Add chocolate chips and the vanilla extract.  Mix.

Put the mug into your microwave and cook for 2-minutes.  The cake will rise up over the top of the mug, but won't spill over.  Just in case, I put the mug on a small plate before putting into the microwave.

Remove the mug from the microwave and let it cool for a few minutes before turning it out onto a plate.  You could also eat right from the mug, but let it cool down a bit, as the chocolate chips are ooey gooey and still hot.

The recipe says it's meant for one, but even with my sweet tooth, I couldn't finish it all myself -- It's that rich and delectable.  It would also be perfect as the bottom layer of an ice cream sundae.

*Recipe adapted from Lucky Peach

Chocolates Galore and More

On Friday night, I traveled to Loudoun County, about an hour outside of Washington, DC in beautiful rural Virginia for an event to help raise money for children’s programs, by way of food. In it’s Silver Anniversary, the Chocolate’s Galore and More event brought over 800 people to the National Conference Center in Lansdowne to sample the sweet and savory foods of over 20 local restaurants, caters and bakers.  The money raised benefits the YMCA “Send a Kid to Camp” program, allowing children to experience overnight camp, gets children outside and connects them with nature.

My role in the event was to sample 16 delectable treats from the “sweets” category.  Not a bad gig, right? There were three judges for the sweets: Stephanie Holguin of, Sue Ann Gleason of Chocolate for Breakfast and myself.  We were tasked with selecting one winner for best taste and another for best presentation.


The desserts ranged from Aztec heat truffle to Fresh Raspberry Chocolate truffles to macarons to bread pudding, each with its own flavor, texture and presentation.  Early on, I was generous with my bites, enjoying the entire sample that we were given to taste.  Towards the end, one bite was enough, because as we walked out of the event space and back into the deliberation room, there was at least one judge shaking from excess sugar consumption and all three were requesting savory food to balance out the sugar we had ingested over the last hour.

We selected the sour cream chocolate cupcake with a salted caramel buttercream from Lansdowne Resort as the Critics winner.  The baker shared with me her process and how she created the salted caramel, saying she couldn’t find one {recipe} she liked, so after 45 batches in one week, she created the one we were sampling.  She created the buttercream by taking the sugar to a softball stage before tempering it into the eggs.  Ayrshire Farms had a creative take on a childhood favorite by creating a Concord grape macaron – the shell was flavored with Concord grape juice (which the baker freezes when it’s in season, so she has fresh batches of juice throughout the year) and had a smear of creamy peanut butter as the center filling.  It was as delicious as it was creative.  Another creatively delicious treat came from Sweetz Bakery, by way of their whipped cream cupcake with white chocolate goat cheese mousse, topped with a drop of raspberry coulis; creamy, tangy and delicious.

Just as there were sweet judges, three critics were savory judges as well: Mary Beth Albright, a Food Network Star Season 7 finalist, Steve Mannino, executive chef at Rustico Restaurant and Leigh MacDonald of  They were tasked with finding the best tasting dish and presentation for the savory dishes.  Lansdowne Resort won the taste, with their shrimp and grits, with Ayrshire Farms veal pancakes with pickled vegetables winning presentation.  (These were delicious and socially conscious, as all of their meats are locally produced and humanly raised).

All in all, a fun night for attendees filled with dancing and delicious dishes and one that I look forward to attending next year. Most surprising? I woke up the next morning hungry!

{Click here to find the write-up in the Loudoun County Times}

November 14th PM P.S.

Here's my "must reads" for this Monday, November 14, 2011 Culinary: It's a special occasion, a night on the town, and you decide to go to an upscale steak house.  Before you go, watch this video to see what the restaurants don't want  you to know!

Culture: The Live of Evelyn Lauder, Breast cancer advocate and Pink Ribbon Creator.

Fashion: With the Olsen twins on the cover of an upcoming Vogue and the Fanning sisters gracing the cover of December's W Magazine, is there a such thing as sibling rivelry? And more importantly, is it common in families or just in fashion?

Fitness: There are days when motivation seems to escape you.  Check out these easy ways to get in a workout when it's the furthest thing from your mind!

Veterans Day PM P.S.

Happy Veterans Day and a heartfelt "Thank You" to the families of service men and women, and of course, to all those who have served our country, to preserve and protect our freedom. Today's PM P.S. brings one piece from Culture, Food, Fashion and Fitness. Let's take a look:

Culinary: The New York Times brings us an article from culinary creator Mark Bittman, on the multitude of uses for brown rice, claiming "it's not just for hippies."  Filled with recipes and detailing the difference in various types of brown rice, this piece is a win-win for a girl who could live on this grain.

Culture: Giorgio Armani opens a new hotel in Milan, with 95 rooms decked out in chic decor. Vogue Magazine calls it "a grown-up space, that bucks the traditional baroque theme, found throughout Milan.

Fashion: "Reading Between the Lines, This is a Big Day for Corduroy Fans" shares with the reader the excitement of the corduroy fan club for today's date: 11/11/11, as it most closely represents the look of the pant.

Fitness: With holiday season knocking on our door, eating is sure to take center stage in the next few weeks and through the New Year.  Take a look at 58 ways to burn 100 calories, so we can still enjoy all the deliciousness the Holidays have to offer.