Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Feel-Good Stuff

Do you guys know about Network for Good? I didn't until just now, but apparently they've featured it on the Today Show.

One of my dear friends has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In my pathetic attempt to try to do something useful about it, I went looking for researchers I could throw money at. A pitifully small amount of money, granted, but still. I don't know what else to do. She's too far away to wrap her up in a ball and hug her for hours until she's so thoroughly suffocated with love and support that she couldn't escape if she tried.

Anyway, so Network for Good is a database of not-for-profits that you can search by name or keyword, compare, and donate via credit card or Paypal. They also sell gift cards in case you want to let a giftee give your money to the charity of their choice. You can hit multiple charities at once through one shopping cart, and one transaction. You can send e-cards through the site, alerting giftees of donations you've made in their names. You can see how individual charities break down their spending, or just study the ratings Network for Good has given them. You can choose whether to make your donation anonymously, or to let the charity see your contact info. There's more; it's a pretty great site. You should check it out.


On a completely unrelated note, except in that way where I've eaten four brownies since getting my friend's email with the definitive diagnosis, I wanted to share the Best Holiday Brownies Ever! recipe with you. These are delicious, and even the Husband likes them. He of the "I don't mix chocolate and cinnamon" and the "If you're baking something, it better be chocolate chip cookies" variety. I highly recommend them. A classic brownie texture, with holiday spices to make it special.

Cappuccino Brownies from Everyday Food:

Cappuccino Brownies

Be careful not to overcook these brownies; they should be moist, not dry. This recipe is from Lisa Kim of Brooklyn, New York.

Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour


Makes 16

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, with rack in center. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan, and line the bottom with parchment or wax paper. Coat paper with butter. Set aside.
  2. In a large heatproof bowl, combine the butter and unsweetened chocolate, and place over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until completely melted. Let cool slightly. Whisk in sugar, espresso powder, vanilla, and eggs.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add to the chocolate mixture, and stir until just combined (do not overmix). Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly wet, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely. Remove from pan. Using a damp, warm knife, cut into 16 squares, wiping knife blade after each cut. Peel off parchment paper and serve.

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