Thursday, December 13, 2012

Music, Music Everywhere!

I think I might be a music snob. But I kind of listen to everything (except country...I just can't) so am I really? The ancient clock radio I wake up to was accidentally set to a jazz station a few weeks ago and I even kept it for a while because it was such a nice change. I will always love pop - I don't mind One Direction, I love Girls Aloud, I will ALWAYS be a Spice Girls fan, but I draw the line at Taylor Swift. My first delicious taste of hip hop came in college with my first exposure to different races and cultures and I've never looked back. One of my favorite albums in high school was the 1998 Family Values Tour. It had Rammstein on it FFS. As I type this I'm previewing the new Big Boi album and I'm loving it. So it's clear that my taste in music is varied.

Around seven or eight years ago I started listening to BBC Radio 1 and realized that American radio is, for the most part, completely horrific. I love most Top 40 music, but there's so little diversity in popular American music. There's such a broader range in European music (house, drum and bass, dubstep, etc.) that Americans are almost completely unaware of. So thank you, Zane Lowe and others for bringing it to me. Snobbery.

That said, most of my favorite albums this year are from the same genre. Weird? Maybe. I think folksy, old-school sounding music is having a moment right now and I just happen to be really into it. So without further ado:

5. Jack White - Blunderbuss

Blunderbuss is Jack White's long-awaited solo album and it's a masterpiece. It has such a good balance of hard and soft. The conviction with which he sings Love Interruption is contagious and I dare you to not bust out some awkward Mick Jagger moves while listening to Sixteen Saltines. I suppose he can be polarizing, but I don't know what's not to like. The White Stripes are legendary and if nothing else they gave us one of the best football chants going today with Seven Nation Army.

4. Mumford & Sons - Babel

This was on the list before it even came out and I expect it to win a boat load of Grammys. It's a predictable choice, but this album really is that damn good. I've never had the pleasure of seeing Mumfords live. I'm still seething about missing out on tickets for their show here early next year, but I have faith that they'll come back in the fall. I was a Mumfords fan long before they cracked the States (snobbery) and while I suppose it's annoying that they have to be shared, I'm thrilled that they're getting their due. I Will Wait is the obvious cracker. I've heard it a million times and it still makes me really happy. Lover Of The Light also deserves praise. You've never loved a banjo so much.

3. Michael Kiwanuka - Home Again

Michael Kiwanuka is the second coming of Otis Redding and it's glorious. Upon listening to the British singer/songwriter you'd never guess that he's only 24. His words and his voice are so soulful. I saw him play the tiny yet awesome Brighton Music Hall earlier this year and it was one of my favorite shows of the year. I dare you to listen to Home Again and not get all fuzzy and misty-eyed. Tell Me A Tale is another stunner and it's so fitting that the video is shot with a vintage look. It's a colder more British Woodstock. I believe Michael is touring the U.S. early next year and I urge you to check him out!

2. alt-J - An Awesome Wave

Alt-J are a relatively new discovery for me and I have the BBC to thank. Alt-J won the Mercury Prize just last month and I've been listening almost non-stop since. It's indie with a little electronic and it's totally brilliant. Upon listening to the gorgeous Matilda you'll immediately want to know who she is and how to love her. Breezeblocks is catchy and haunting and Fitzpleasure is delightfully weird. I just can't say enough good things about this album. Alt-J will be in Boston in March and I will be pee-my-pants excited on the day.

1. Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls

I haven't been as consumed by an album as I still am by this one in a long time. It's pure genius from start to finish. The first time I heard Brittany Howard's raspy Southern drawl I was obsessed. Not to mention that it's completely bad ass to have a female lead in an all male band. Hold On is without a shadow of a doubt the record of the year. Why it wasn't nominated for a Grammy in that category is beyond me. When Brittany's in love and screaming and gurgling her way through Be Mine you're right there with her and after the breakup you feel her pain in Heartbreaker. I saw them play the House of Blues in October and they are just as good live as they are on the album. I tried to describe their sound to someone who was unfamiliar and after thinking for a bit I said modern Southern rock. To which he replied, country? No. Not even close. So I'll just leave it as awesome.

I'm a little annoyed with myself for not including any female artists (aside from Brittany Howard). I'll give honorable mention to Florence & The Machine's Ceremonials, Jessie Ware's Devotion, and Lianne La Havas' Is Your Love Big Enough. All worthy. I also have to give a shout to The Black Key's El Camino and The Arctic Monkeys' Suck It and See. Both of these albums came out in 2011, but the two combined for one of my favorite shows of 2012. The Arctic Monkeys are probably my favorite band of the last five to seven year so I'm thrilled I got to cross them off my concert bucket list.

I feel like I'm missing so much, but everything above is what's been on constant rotation for me this year. It was a good year for music! Tell me how you feel about any or all of the above or if you think I'm insane. There wasn't too much snobbery, right?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hot Looks Of The Week & My Faves

Image via
Isla Fisher In Willow

Not only is Les Mis one of the most anticipated films of the holiday season, but its worldwide premieres have me chomping at the fashion bit. The London premiere was held on Wednesday night and while its two main female stars (Anne Hathaway in Givenchy Couture and Amanda Seyfried in Balenciaga) shone, there is something about Isla Fisher's Willow dress that I adore. Isla Fisher is not in Les Mis, but her husband Borat is. Yes, I know his real name, but it's more fun to call him Borat. I am a sucker for a tea length dress and I love that this became tea length by default because she's so teeny. It still works. The major cleavage could have been an issue but I think her hair being down helps off-set it a bit. She's stunning. And also very cold. Beauty is pain.

Image via Atlantic-Pacific
Blair Eadie In Michael Kors & Club Monaco

I'm surprised it took me this long to feature Blair, but I just couldn't resist this week. I LOVE this outfit. If you're not familiar with Blair Eadie, allow me to introduce her. She blogs at Atlantic-Pacific and I think she's one of the most stylish people I've ever seen. It would not be inaccurate to say that I'm obsessed a little. She's inspired me, and many others I'm sure, countless times and I think fashion is better off with her a part of it. This is just such a well-put-together look. The gold Michael Kors sweater is an unexpected pairing with the burgundy Club Monaco feather skirt, but they work so well! I never would have thought. And the neutral leopard heels get me every time. Flawless! 

My Faves

I am going to try to keep the Christmas shopping for myself at a minimum this year. I'm desperate to take a good vacation next year and I will be needing to upgrade my iPhone soon so most of the extremely generous holiday bonus that I am lucky to get every year will be socked away. I did, however, just buy this Furla bag on MEGA discount from Bluefly. It will be my schlep all my crap to work bag/carry on for a very, very long time!

I found this to be fascinating - What thirteen people wore on their interviews with Anna Wintour. I will never be getting an interview with Anna Wintour so thankfully I will never have to feel this panic. My wardrobe is full of Gap.

The best holiday windows of NYC according to Tibi designer Amy Smilovic. I think Barneys wins.

H&M is launching a new clothing donation program which is very intriguing. When it starts, you'll be able to bring any clothing that you wish to donate to H&M and be given 15% off one item in exchange. Not bad!

In cooking news, I baked my first round of holiday cookies last weekend that I will be sharing next week. And it's my own recipe! I've mentioned my love of soup many times, but I've never made a fish soup. If this one is half as good as it looks in the photos, it will become one of my favorites. I will report back on Sunday night.

Lastly, my newest manicure discovery is the Sally Hansen Salon Effects French tips. I. LOVE. THESE. I have tried a lot of different kinds of nail polish stickers (Sephora, Maybelline, etc.) and Sally Hansen's are the best. The French tips are a bit of a bitch to put on because they require a few different steps, but just be patient. I've had these on for almost a week and they still look great!

That's it. Happy weekend!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Kale Salad With Roasted Butternut Squash & Shallots

For the past six years I've cooked Thanksgiving dinner for my sister and I and some of her friends who are brave enough to trust whatever comes out of her tiny NYC kitchen. We usually do the standard Thanksgiving dishes, but every year I try to do a new side dish. I made this super yummy kale salad a few weeks prior to Thanksgiving and I knew it would be perfect. The flavors from the roasted butternut squash and shallots go together perfectly with the nuttiness of the cheese and walnuts. The flavors are strong, but kale is such a substantial green that it all works.

 Kale Salad With Roasted Butternut Squash & Shallots (adapted slightly from this)

1 lb. peeled and seeded butternut squash cut in 1/2 inch cubes
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
Fresh lemon juice
Large bunch of kale, washed and chopped
4 ounces of Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano, crumbled
1/3 cup of chopped, toasted walnuts

The measurements above will make a large salad that will easily serve 4-6 people, but all of the following photos are for just one serving since I was just cooking for little ol' me when I made this again last week.

Pre-heat your oven to 350. If you buy a whole squash, get to work peeling and chopping that sucker. I was lazy in this instance and bought the pre-cut package. As always when roasting veggies, make sure all the pieces are about the same size so they roast evenly.  Toss the squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper and arrange them in one layer on a baking sheet or dish.

You'll see why I left one side empty in just a minute. Pop the squash in the oven. The original recipe calls for it to roast for 45 minutes, but in my oven I find that this is way too much time. My oven is off, remember. I've found that 35-38 minutes is good for me so I advise checking on your squash at around 35 minutes. If yours needs 45 minutes then by all means leave it in for 45.

Ugh my cutting board. All I want for Christmas is kitchen stuff. I know you're reading this, Mom.

Next chop your shallots. How much do I love shallots? A lot. I think they're kind of under-used. They're such a great hybrid of onion and garlic without the smack-you-in-the-face powerful flavor of either. Sadly, like the onion, they make me cry like a grieving widow when I chop them. Set your shallots aside for you will be needing them in about 15 minutes.

If you have to wash and/or chop your kale, do it now. I obviously bought the packaged kind. Put your kale in a large bowl and dress it with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to your taste. I am pretty picky about how I like my salads dressed (lightly) so I never specify amounts for dressing ingredients. Toss this well and let the kale sit for about half an hour. Kale is pretty sturdy so don't worry about it getting soggy. It needs to sit so the kale can lose some of its bitterness.

With about 15-20 minutes left on the squash, toss the shallots with olive oil, salt, and pepper and put them on the other half of the baking dish in the oven. Now you know what I left it empty! Less clean up.

While the squash and shallots are finishing, chop up your cheese. You can cut it into pieces or shave it. You will obviously eat a few a lot of it before it goes on the salad so do a bit extra. In this instance I used Grana Padano, which is definitely in the Top 5 of cheese for me. It's nutty, and fruity, and chewy and delicious.

Toast and chop the nuts next. I picked walnuts just because I had them on hand.

By this time your squash and shallots should be about done and your kitchen will smell divine. They will have shrunk up, but fear not.

Now all you have to do is add everything to the kale and give it a good toss.

This has become my favorite salad. It's warm, which I love, and everything goes together so, so perfectly. It's great as a side dish or even as an entree with some grilled chicken thrown in. I love that it only has a handful of ingredients but really big flavors!

What are you feelings on butternut squash? I remember being completely grossed out by it as a kid (like most things) but now I love it prepared just about any way. And how about kale? I have my sister to thank for introducing me to it a while ago. It has definitely become one of my favorite greens. Enjoy!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Hot Look Of The Week & My Faves

Image via Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images North America
Kelly Osbourne in Jean-Charles de Castelbajac

I think Kelly Osbourne is like Marmite - you either love her or hate her. I happen to love her :) Kelly appears on E!'s Fashion Police every week and I always find her commentary to be thoughtful and funny. Remember when she used to be a hot mess? Yikes. Luckily Kelly overcame her drug issues years ago and then got fit during a stint on Dancing With The Stars and now I find her to be a very exciting dresser. She wore this amazing JCDC Spring 2013 dress to Wednesday night's W LOVE Hangover Ball. The graphic print is so hip and different and I love how tiny the corset makes her waist look. Her lavender hair is adorable too. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Kelly was named best dressed on her own show tomorrow night!

Image via Gf/Bauer Griffin
Rita Ora In Vivienne Westwood

British singer Rita Ora has been dubbed the new Rihanna and I think it's obvious why. Not only do they look a little bit alike, but both girls take fashion risks. Like Rihanna, Rita isn't afraid to go all out glam like she did at this week's British Fashion Awards. This Vivienne Westwood dress is a dream. The ice blue color works so beautifully with her olive skin and blond hair. And who doesn't love an hourglass figure? I do have a slight issue with the heaviness of her eye make-up, but it's not a deal breaker. The nude lip saves her face. I'll definitely be keeping my eye out for her in the future.

My Faves

The Cosby Sweater Project - This cracks me up. I watch reruns of The Cosby Show all the time and marvel at the phenomenal 80s and 90s fashions on display. You know Denise Huxtable would be a style blogger if this show was set in the present. 

Remember when Gretchen won Project Runway over Mondo and sparked outrage? Well, outrage mostly in me, but that's beside the point. Gretchen was kind of odious at times on the show, but she seems like a decent egg. Here's a look at her completely amazing Brooklyn apartment

Ten quick ways to style long and short hair. Enough said!

I can't remember where I saw this first, but what a cool idea a poster of Instagram shots is. There is some actual nice photography on Instagram and not just photos of cats and food. You can get Instagram canvases here too - a great gift idea!

I clearly and unfortunately do not live in London. I don't know if I've ever been so sad about that fact than right now because "Valentino: Master Of Couture" is on exhibit at Somerset House from now until March 3rd. I love Valentino's designs so SO much and I would kill to see this. I hope at least one of my London friends goes and tells me all about it!

I can't believe it's December tomorrow. 2012, I hardly knew ye. I will most definitely be doing some holiday cookie baking this weekend and I also hope to start compiling some "Best Of 2012" lists. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Life Happenings

From last weekend - clockwise from top left: The most RIDIC BLT from Happy's with pork belly and fried green tomatoes; the Dale Chihuly at the MFA; one of many amazing sunsets Boston has been having lately; and iconic photo of Kate Moss from the MFA's Mario Testino exhibit
The lovely Julie from Orchid Grey does posts like this from time to time and they're always fun to read. So I will try my hand at one and maybe make it a regular. I'm still trying to figure out this little blog here! BTW, Julie has THE BEST modern 70s style so do yourself a favor and look at her blog if you're into that sort of thing.


Thanksgiving! It's the obvious answer since it's only two days away, but I really am excited about it. I've been going to NYC to spend it with my sister for five or six years now and aside from the bus ride down there, I love it. We always go to the Macy's parade, get bagels, watch the dog show (my personal favorite), cook, eat, watch Christmas movies, and enjoy New York. 


Are You Kidding Me? A Journal of First Dates, Flings, and Finding Love by Elizabeth Glasband. Don't read this book. I hate it and am only finishing it because I paid money for it and am hoping the author gets punched in the face at the end (not by a man, obv, but if a girl hauled off and did it I wouldn't care in the least). Harsh, I know. It's a real life "dating journal" written by a girl my age living in Boston that is meant to be outrageous and hilarious. It is neither of those things. I thought it would be fun and relatable and I was excited that it was set in Boston. However, the author is so shallow, selfish, and obnoxious that I've just ended up hating her and everything she does. Next up will be Joan Rivers' I Hate Everyone...Starting With Me. Joan makes me laugh so incredibly hard on Fashion Police every week so I think I'll have a better experience with this one!  

Relieved About... 

Some work/money issues that I won't go in to too much detail about. Let's just say that I'm meeting deadlines well and I'll probably get to take a vacation with some extra cash next year! San Francisco I'm thinking!


I may not be proud of this, but my new reality TV obsession is Made In Chelsea. It's pretty much a British version of The Hills (which I still love) with impossibly rich 20-somethings that have names like Binky, Cheska, Hugo, and Caggie. It's hard to believe that they are real people, but they most certainly are and it is ridiculously fun to watch.

Working on...

Nothing physical, but I have made a conscious effort to go out and be social more. I can get in homebody ruts very easily, which is the antithesis of my Gemini personality so go figure! I had a great last weekend which included a shopping party at Kate Spade and pizza with friends, my first trip to the newly renovated OAK Long Bar + Kitchen in the Fairmont Copley (HIGHLY recommend - especially the watermelon margarita), and a delicious brunch at Happy's and a trip to the MFA to see the Mario Testino exhibit (above in pics). All was very fun!


Thanksgiving carrot cake dessert. All day, every day. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Style Conundrum: J.Crew's Sequined Chevron Dress

Say hello to my new dress. You may recognize it from such stores as J.Crew. I've been stalking it since it was introduced late summer/early fall and waited patiently for the price to fall to something reasonable. I finally pulled the trigger last weekend thanks to J.Crew's extra 30% off sale promotion and it's been hanging on the back of my bedroom door ever since. I like to think of it as art.

Obviously it's a perfect special occasion dress for the quickly approaching holiday season and I will wear it for holiday parties and NYE, but I really want to be able to wear it casually as well. What's the point of buying such a lovely dress only to wear it a handful of times? Herein lies the problem - I have no idea how to style this casually! Furthermore, is it even appropriate to wear to the office?! I don't think I've ever worn anything with sequins nor can I think of anyone else in my office who has. The dress code at my office is business casual, but that basically means wear anything but jeans. Some women wear leggings and zip up hoodies. At a law firm. For real. I know.

When one is faced with a style conundrum, one should take to the Google to see what the blogosphere has to say about it. Unfortunately, the blogosphere has very little to say about it! The only way I could find this dress styled semi-casually was on Kelley of Low Maintenance Divas:

I think this is ADORABLE. However, I have neither a polka dot blouse nor silver metallic flats. That doesn't mean I couldn't do something similar though. I love the idea of putting a button down under this and I think chambray (obviously) would be perfect.

I also love how Rosalyn of Just2Fancy paired it with hot pink heels. The hot pink is a nice punch for a relatively neutral color palette.

That's about all she wrote on this one though! This dress seems like a style blogger magnet so I'm kind of surprised. Please tell me, friends and stylish people of the Interweb, how I should do this. First, is it okay for the office?; and second, what the heck should I wear it with?

Many thanks, sincerely! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Life Happenings

Well, this has been a week. Or should I say two weeks? Between hurricane Sandy and all the horrible things she did, traveling to NYC and back, the ELECTION, and this most recent bout of crappy weather, all I feel like doing is sitting on my couch and/or going to bed at 9:30.

First things first, Sandy turned out to be so much worse than anyone imagined. Not so much up here in New England, but New York, New Jersey, and surrounding areas were completely devastated by flooding and high winds. Entire neighborhoods were wiped out. That's something I'm still struggling to comprehend. The Red Cross is a great organization and if you are able to, I encourage you to donate what you can. If you're in need of a closet clean out, which I most certainly am, here is a great list of places you can send the clothes and shoes you no longer want. I assure you there is still a need for them!

My trip to NYC last weekend was meant to be for one reason - to watch my sister run her third NYC Marathon. Mayor Bloomberg and the race organizers were defiant and did everything in their power to try and make the race happen, but at the eleventh hour it had to be canceled. It was a total bummer, but obviously it was not without good reason. I was already halfway there by the time the cancellation was announced so there was no turning back for me!

Pizza, cupcakes, and beer were necessary to drown marathon-related sorrows as was a delicious Sunday brunch at Spring Street Natural. Have you ever seen an omelet served with fries before?! I had not, but it's GENIUS. NYC still had to carry on despite the horrible circumstances because that's just what NYC does. We took in the Regarding Warhol exhibit at The Met and I really enjoyed it. I love The Met. It's massive. I've been there three times and I'm sure I've only seen about 10% of everything in there.

I don't recall the details behind the Chanel chainsaw (it's not Warhol), but it's obviously the most chic chainsaw of all-time.

I got home from NYC late Monday night and immediately went into panic mode over the election. I make no secret about being an Obama supporter so obviously I was scared sh*tless over what could happen come Tuesday night. When NBC (I love Chuck Todd) called Ohio for Obama at approximately 11:13 PM a wave of relief 20 stories high washed over me. That's four more years of leading this country in the right direction as far as I'm concerned. A champion for women's rights, gay rights, universal health care, and the middle class is a friend o' mine.

I haven't had much time for fashion-related things lately, but I will talk about this:

Image via Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America

This is Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in a Spring 2013 Gucci dress at an event a few weeks ago and I think it's safe to say that this is one of my favorite looks of the year. Maybe ever. It looks quite simple from the front, but the back is stunning:

Image via Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America
The ruffles, the side boob, the simple hair and make-up... it's just perfect. I am a self-confessed Gucci junkie, but even a hater could appreciate this. I think. Even Joan Rivers named her best dressed on last week's Fashion Police so it's all good.

Another thing: sneaker wedges. Thanks to Isabel Marant and Marc Jacobs, they're the trendiest bit of footwear out there right now. I have been skeptical and said that they make even the skinniest of legs look like a pair of sausages. Then, I saw these at Topshop last Sunday:

My sister's reaction, "those shoes are hideous." I know. But I love them. I tried them on and they didn't make my legs look any more sausagier (not a word) then usual. Had it not been for their $90 price tag and the fact that they won't be popular long enough to justify that amount of money, I let them go. But I'm still thinking about them, which is usually bad news. I'll try to stay strong. If I happen to find $90 on the sidewalk any time soon I will be getting these though.

That's enough rambling. Tell me your unfiltered opinion on sneaker wedges, please. Also, Rosie H-W - perfect or perfect? That's what I thought!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Brownies

Is everyone on the East Coast surviving this bitch of a hurricane so far? I hope so! The worst of it hasn't hit Boston yet so I'm trying to crank out this here blog post before the power goes. I have little optimism that it won't! This is a good one though and it may end up being a good post-hurricane treat. If you're nowhere near the East Coast of the U.S. then they're just a good any time treat.

About a week ago my roommate said to me, "Feel free to make anything in the brownie book I have!" Er, what?! You have a brownie book? Yes, she has a brownie book. These don't come from said brownie book, but the brownie seed was planted in the garden of baking ideas in my brain.

Pumpkin season is still going strong and I love baking with it so I set out to find a pumpkin brownie recipe. Obviously Martha had the perfect option!

1 stick (8 tablespoons) of unsalted butter
6 ounces chocolate chips or chopped from a bar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 ground nutmeg

Pre-heat your oven to 350. Butter a 9x9 baking pan and line it with parchment paper. I like to have some of the parchment paper hang over the edge of the baking pan so the brownies can pop out easily. Butter the parchment paper as well.

Using a double boiler, which is just a heat proof bowl placed on top of a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate and the butter until their smooth. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water and that the water never really comes to a boil. If not, the chocolate can burn. Ain't nobody got time for that.

It will look a little gross for a while, but just keep stirring.

Smooth as a baby's bottom :)

Next, mix the flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Don't let the cayenne scare you. It's just there to enhance the flavors and you can't taste it in the end at all.

That looks like just flour, but trust me, everything is in there!

Put the sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high for at least 3-5 minutes until it's fluffy.

Turn the speed down to low and slowly add the flour mixture until everything is well combined.

It's a thick batter, but that's exactly the way you want it. Take half of that batter (it turns out to be a little more than 2 cups) and put it in a separate bowl. Fold in the chocolate and butter until its combine and you want to pour the whole thing in your mouth because it looks and smells so amazingly delicious.

To the other half of the batter that's still in the mixing bowl, add the pumpkin, oil, cinnamon and nutmeg and fold them in until their well combined.

Now we're ready to start layering the batter.

Pour half the chocolate batter in the pan and spread it evenly with a spatula.

Gently pour half the pumpkin batter on top of the chocolate batter. The batters are thick so they shouldn't mix. Spread the pumpkin batter evenly with a spatula.

You're going to do the exact same thing with the last two halves of each of the batter. When all the batter is in the pan, take a butter knife and swirl the batters together until they look like marble.

Bake these for 40-45 minutes. Even with my wonky oven I found the 45 was necessary to bake the middle enough so keep an eye on yours too.

YUM. Let them cool in the pan for a bit and then you can lift them out using the parchment that's hanging over.

Now, Martha's recipe calls for a topping of hazelnuts, but I don't think nuts have a place on or in a brownie. It's just not right. Frosting, however, has a place on a brownie. I really wasn't planning on frosting these because I thought they would be tasty enough, but after an overwhelming (meaning about five people) positive response for frosting on Twitter I decided to frost them.

Here is the simplest of simple chocolate frostings and a perfect amount for a 9x9 cake or brownies -

3 Tablespoons of softened butter
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of milk
1/2 a teaspoon vanilla

Beat with a whisk attachment until is fluffy.

Frosting was a really, really, really good idea! These are so incredibly delicious! It makes a pretty cakey brownie, but the flavor is all that really matters

 Extreme close up of swirlyness!

I'm pretty happy that my hurricane preparedness includes these. I've only had one as of right now, but I expect to have many more by the time Sandy moves all the way through today. The pumpkin and chocolate mix perfectly and the frosting ads a perfect bit of extra chocolatiness. I highly suggest making these before all of the pumpkin is gone for another year.

Tell me how you feel about brownies. Also - frosting or no frosting?