planes, trains, and automobiles: my trip to martha stewart’s studio

dove-chocolates

The night I brought my son home from the hospital, the reality of my life hit me like a punch in the gut: I was a mother. And I would now be a mother forever. It wasn’t a bad thing to realize—just startling—that there would always be a person on the earth that I would worry about. I loved my little guy—smart, adorable, funny. But as he grew, I found myself just surviving until the day was over and my husband came home, not understanding at the time that I was depressed. It just felt like part of myself was dying, disappearing—the part of me that never fully came into being. Now I was a Mother, doing a very valuable and honorable thing, but the Me I had wanted to get to know, was lost somewhere, and I had no idea how to find her. I found myself wishing I had gotten in just a few years of living out some of the dreams I hadn’t known I would have wanted—like living in New York, or living in Europe for awhile.

It’s no secret I’ve always been a fan of Martha Stewart. I really think it was her magazine that saved me from going crazy during that time of such limited adult interaction. I was a brand new mom, I would pore over her magazines, read every page, take in every detail. For awhile, I was self admittedly a Rain Man of her magazine. If someone would say, “Hey, do you remember that article in Martha Stewart with the cinnamon sugar waffles?,” I’d say, “Oh yeah, that’s June 1999.” I would daydream (and still do) that I could work in New York, even though I was beholden to my husband’s work and career.

So, working with the Martha Stewart team on a few projects with my blog has been kind of a dream come true. I had a lot of fun last year working on the Crocs ad, and this year, when they invited me out for a video shoot with Kevin Sharkey, the Senior Vice President at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, I jumped at the chance.

all natural red velvet brownies

all-natural-red-velvet-brownies

 

You know the expression, “beat a dead horse?” I’d say it’s probably time I moved on from the all-natural red velvet cake thing, but a lot of you keep asking for brownies, so read on, my friends, and I’ll give you my recipe.

But first, I want to turn your attention to the sidebar. Not too long ago, it read: “I’m Jaime, a single mom of three. I love the classics, French pastries, and British accents. Welcome to my blog.” Notice anything different?

I got married!!!!

wedding-sophistimom

Meet Matt, my wonderful new husband. Many people know him as Matthew J. Kirby.

I met him last July while I was at an event in Salt Lake City signing my cookbook. He came up after my presentation and wanted to know more about what I liked to cook. On my drive home, I thought, That guy’s gonna ask me out. Sure enough, the next day, I got an email from him, telling me who he was and asking me if he could take me out for lunch or coffee. When I googled him, I realized I had bought the first book he had written, The Clockwork Three, for my oldest son, three years earlier.

Our relationship started slowly at first, and then there was no stopping it. We are so happy. The children adore him, he adores them, and we are very, very, VERY much in love.

Enough of that mushy stuff. Now to the brownies . . .

apple and chestnut stuffing with herbes de provence

pepperidge-farm-stuffing

Pepperidge farm provided me with a stipend for my time and materials to create this post.

It’s been such a long time since I shared a stuffing recipe with you! Remember that one I did with the apricots and sausage? Seriously, that has been my favorite one for a long time, so I really haven’t ever wanted to come up with a new one. But this year, I thought I’d try something new. So I recently took a challenge from Pepperidge Farm to use their new Unseasoned Stuffing, to see if I could come up with something good for Thanksgiving this year.

I’d heard of lots of recipes for stuffing that use chestnuts, and I finally decided this was my year to use them. First of all, I’d like to say, though, that chestnuts are my new favorite food. Their soft and sweet, and really low in calories, and really high in fiber. I’m not kidding. In one serving of five big chestnuts, you get two grams of fiber and only 50 calories. Pretty amazing. They can be pretty pricey, though. Which is okay if you’re getting them for Thanksgiving, right?

a little something hazardous for halloween, anyone?

donner-dinner-party-review

When I tucked everyone into bed the other night, my ten-year-old daughter started reading this book. When I woke up the next morning, her light was on, and she was finishing it up. I’m sure she got some sleep in there somewhere, but whether she did or not, I was a happy mom. Anytime my kids read something because they want to, I’m overjoyed, and if it’s about history to boot? I’m over the moon.

All my kids fell in love with Nathan Hale’s first two graphic novels in his Hazardous Tales series, One Dead Spy and Big Bad Ironclad, when he first introduced them to us last year. They present history in a way that is not only accurate and informative, but entertaining and funny as well.

The kids and I came up with some questions we had about his series, most particularly about his latest installment, Donner Dinner Party. So we had a little interview. Here’s how it went (I love how he answered the last question):