Made-In-The-Pan Chocolate Cake

I have had the tab with this NY Times recipe open for months, so finally I decided to make it (COVID 19—- 19 pounds over normal weight here weeeeeeeee commmmmmmeeeeeee). Super easy, fun to make, and delicious. Randomly, it is vegan too (which just means no eggs in this cake recipe) so my dairy free friends can make this and love it. It is a great cake to make with kids and when you are sick of dishes.

 

Ingredients:

 

 

* 1 ¼ cups grams all-purpose flour

* 1 cup granulated sugar

* ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

* ¾ teaspoon baking soda

* ½ teaspoon salt

* ⅓ cup canola oil

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

* 2 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)

 

Directions:

 

* Heat oven to 325 degrees. In the dish (8 by 8 square dish or a round dish of similar size), mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

 

Dry mixture.

 

* Then, add 1 cup water along with the oil, vanilla extract and vinegar to the pan with the dry mixture. Whisk together until smooth.

 

WHISK tisket a tasket.

Sprinkle some chocolate chips on top if you want! And then put in oven.

 

* Then, put in oven and bake for 28-33 minutes (or when the toothpick in the center is clear). SO EASY BOOOOM DONE.

 

Beautiful and delicious. Especially with some whipped cream or ice cream (I mean, isn’t everything better with ice cream and whipped cream?!?!?!)

 

Happy weekend! Happy baking! Happy eating! YOLO.

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Knead Love Bakery

A friend of a friend makes the most delicious, dense, European style, filling, and healthy gluten-free bread. Like many things cool and hip, the bread from Knead Love Bakery is handmade in Brooklyn. First started as a ‘joy project’ (perfect term), Sarah now bakes bread daily that can be shipped nationally. All the breads are gluten free, nutrient dense and baked in a “high vibe” way. I recently received my first shipment — sesame and wildcard tumeric — and I can’t wait for future orders and trying out all the varieties and flavors.

 

I even love the packaging — how could I not — neon pink hearts? So cool.

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Zoom Wedding

I attended my first zoom wedding this weekend, which happened to be my sister Courtney’s. Courtney and her now-husband-Evan had planned a small wedding for May 9th with their 3 month old son Alston, and Courtney’s two stepdaughters at their newly finished built home. Unfortunately due to COVID, they had to cancel the in-person ceremony but decided to do it over zoom. Totally zoomed out with the kids’ remote learning, rollerskating, tutoring, I was a little skeptical of how this would take place. But HOLY COW, it went above and beyond any of my expectations. It was extremely beautiful, really emotional, and a uniquely special and intimate experience. There were many many tears and it will forever be a wedding I will never forget. Congratulations, Court and Evan — love you both so much!

 

Courtney is biologically my cousin, but in 1995, her parents (and middle sister) were killed in a tragic car accident. So Courtney and Galen moved from California to Oregon to be raised by my parents. Courtney was 15 at the time, and Galen was 8. In honor of Courtney’s mom, she wore her mom’s original wedding dress. Seeing her walk down the stairs in the Mexican Pink Hippy dress brought tears to us all — it was a way of including her parents when they could not be there.

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A List Of Things I Miss, Don’t Miss, Won’t Miss, and Won’t Forget

The other night while surfing the internet, I came across a piece written by The Man Repeller that really struck a chord with me. It was a simple list of things that she misses, doesn’t miss, won’t miss, and won’t forget — all of the feelings during the COVID pandemic that we are all currently facing. I loved it OH so much and so many of her items rang true for me, too. So I decided that, I too, in honor of Man Repeller’s thoughtful post (thank you!), I would sit down, reflect, and write similar lists. I know these are ever-changing, but these are the items that I came up with today:

 

Oh so true of this time — busy doin’ nothing.

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Key Lime Pie

In the ultimate grocery ordering fail, I ended up with 13 pounds of key limes. Granted, this would be a win if I were having a tequila and taco party (oh please, doesn’t that sound so dreamy????) but since there is no party to be had, I have LOTS AND LOTS of key limes to use! So I went searching on the good ‘ol internet and found this recipe for a key lime pie — thank you Bon Appetit!!!

 

HAPPY!!!!

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Friendship Beaded Pins

Going back old school — friendship beaded pins! When I realized that we were going to be at home for a loooooooong time, I realized I needed more activities that would interest both me and the kids. So I bought a ton of friendship bracelet embroidery thread as well as friendship glass beads to put on pins. It is simple and super easy but also fun and retro.

 

Big box of beautiful glass beads!

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My Necessities

I am very thankful that my family and I have good health, the ability to afford food, internet, a roof over our heads, and options. And yet, our life is not perfectly pink rosy. Natori, like other fashion brands and retail companies, is hurting in our economic climate. There are a lot of unknowns SOOOOO, to keep me sane during these less than perfect times (for all of us), here are my necessities (obviously in addition to the connection to my friends and family, which is #1).

 

1. My rollerskates

 

There are certain things that bring me joy: my loved ones, running, fresh flowers, a fire, and rollerskating. Every time I put on my skates, I smile. I love to dance, skate, glide. We rollerskate as a family, or I do it alone (and take zoom classes from my teacher). It is a time of complete happiness and joy.

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Currently Loving April 2020

So sorry for the lack of posts this past week — there was a technical issue that came up (I found out that the subscription of the posts were no longer being sent out — so I had to deal with that, and as you can imagine, it was a slow process to get this fixed!) but here we are now! Back at it again! PHEW, after being in Florida for 5 weeks, NYC for a handful of days, we are now in Westchester where we will be for the next several weeks…..it’s been hard. Days are super long and repetitive. For all of us. But here is what I am currently loving.

 

1. The Last Dance

 

10 part documentary series on Michael Jordan and the Bulls Dynasty. Even though I am not a fan of basketball, I have been thoroughly enjoying this series.

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Gjelina Warm Date Cake

A month ago when I was in Los Angeles to run the marathon, I dined at Gjelina not once but twice. It quickly became my favorite restaurant with the most scrumptious veggies, pizzas, sides and desserts. Immediately upon returning to NYC, I bought the Gjelina cookbook. This past weekend, I decided to make the warm date cake and HOLY SHMOLY HOT DAMN this cake is amazing. It is sweet, moist, and oh so delicious. I highly recommend this cake and can’t wait to eat it all up (and to make it again shortly thereafter).

 

Ingredients:

 

 

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Wiggle Your Toes

Congratulations to all of us for making it through another week of this pandemic. I know it is not easy on anyone. And like everyone, I oscillate between tears / anxiety and laughter / savoring the quiet simplicity.  For us Natori Family, I am struggling with the fact that the kids and I are currently in Florida away from our own home and more importantly, without Ken. Ken has been at home in NYC dealing with business and as soon as he was planning on driving down to Florida to get us, the board of the building forbade him from coming as he was coming from the epicenter of the COVID crisis. So, here we are; managing, trying to get through one day at a time. It has not been easy on ANYONE — all the uncertainties, fears, unknowns. Running helps me. Talking to friends and family. Laughing with the kids. Mint Chip ice cream. Rollerskating with the sunset. Hot baths. Survivor on CBS…..But what has helped me most is advice my father told me — WIGGLE YOUR TOES.

 

TOES!

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Lounge Bottoms

Right now, most everyone is hunkered down at their home and not going out. As much fun as it is to only wear the same thing over and over again, it also gets tiring and boring. And who wants to wear jeans while helping your kids get homeschooled?? I have been scouring the internet for lots of loungewear bottoms and here are my favorites. So many good ones!!!!

 

1. Natori Winter Peony PJ

 

These are technically pajamas but they are so pretty and happy. They brighten any day or night!

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Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys

Time is flying by and my ten year old soon will soon be a teenager (yes, I know, in a couple of years, but still…..) but I want to be prepared for discussing puberty and the physical – emotional – mental changes that take place during this time. Thankfully, a good friend told me about this book, Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys, and I immediately bought it online. She suggested reading it out loud with my son, and although there are awkward moments, it is something we have been doing (and enjoying!).

 

Guy stuff. They also have another one for girls, too.

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Grass Roots Meat

Introduced to me by my go-to-about-everything-friend, Grass Roots Coop is a farmers’ coop that sells chicken, beef, and pork online and ships it to you directly. This is a great alternative to going to the grocery store during this chaotic time, as well as a great way to get fresh, 100% pasteurized meat grown on family farms across the country.

 

It feels good to know that you are supporting small local farms, buying good quality meat, and not needing to go out in public to get some food! Everyone wins.

How it works.

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March To Do List

I am usually bad at fulfilling any of my “to-do” lists or goals for the certain season, but for whatever reason, I accomplaished a lot of the goals I set out for myself in February and March.  So I give myself a pat on the back and now want to set some new ones as I head into the third month of the year. Obviously top goal: not get corona virus or get quarantined somewhere…..but here are a couple of my less important goals / to do list for the next several weeks.

 

1. See Matthew Broderick and SJP in Plaza Suite

 

How can I miss this? Must get tickets soooooon — anyone want to come?

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Donald Judd @ MoMA

Yesterday was one of those rare days where both kids were gone from the house for a big chunk of the day. So, I decided to take advantage of it and go see the newly opened Donald Judd exhibit at the MoMA. Although it was opening day to the public, I arrived right when it opened and there was no line whatsoever, I literally waltzed in solo to the exhibit.

 

I was first introduced to Donald Judd’s work when we went to Marfa in 2014 and have been a fan ever since. It is simple, geometric, different, and a statement.

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Coolhaus Ice Cream

Hands down, my favorite ice cream of all time is Coolhaus Banana Foster. Decadent, rich, creamy and oh so delicious — it tastes exactly like Banana Foster (my all time favorite dessert) but in ice cream form. Then I found out, *ALL* of the flavors Coolhaus makes are incredible, and that you can’t go wrong. Right now, I am especially fond of their ice cream sandwiches aka “sammies“. And believe it or not, they have dairy free sandwich options so vegans and lactose-intolerant people can still enjoy these scrumptious desserts.

 

You should see my freezer — I like to hoard ice cream. But we also eat a lot of it — 4 pints, 2 boxes of Ice Cream bars, and multiple sandwiches PER WEEK.

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Green Pancakes

I realize that blogs are a dying breed and have been replaced by instagram, tik tok, snapchat, twitter, etc….That said, I still read two blogs on a daily basis and I love them dearly. I dropped most other blogs when I realized most of their content was sponsored or no longer of interest. But I am thankful for Cup of Jo and Cupcakes and Cashmere that continually publishes authentic, honest, beautiful, helpful, and interesting content. Earlier this week, I found a post on Cup of Jo about green pancakes and I knew immediately that I had to make them. So glad I did because they are DELICIOUS. So whatever you are doing right now, stop, and make the green pancakes. Thank you, Cup of Jo!

 

Ingredients:

 

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Winter To Do List 2020

I know Winter is almost over (or is that wishful thinking?) but here is a list of activities that I want to do in NYC in the next couple weeks (doesn’t winter feel like eternity?)

 

1. Groove (in my seat) at Hip Hop Dance Performance Off Broadway, Beyond Babel

 

Read about this performance in the NYTImes and I canNOT wait to go. I am buying tickets STAT.

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Currently Loving January 2020

2020 here we are! And here is what I am currently loving this month!

 

1. Lovers in Auschwitz, Reunited 72 Years Later

 

I read this article over a month ago when it came out and yet I still think about it. It is extremely powerful and moving — an incredible story that is worth the long read. Gotta love a good ‘ol love story.

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Paleo Style Muesli

My favorite breakfast of all times is muesli. Whenever I go out to breakfast (usually when on vacation), I will never NOT order muesli (aka will always order). In hopes to eat a tad bit healthier at the start of the New Year, I made paleo muesli every day while on break. Instead of oatmeal based, this muesli is coconut based. Very delicious and easy to make — the key is the Bob’s Red Mill Paleo Style Muesli.

 

Grain free. You just add this with some fruit, cover it with milk, place in fridge and wait until the morning and VOILA, delicious muesli with less carbs.

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RESTORE Face Cream

As most of you know, I am highly obsessed with anything from Dr. Roger’s RESTORE product line. I don’t leave my house without the healing balm and have a tub of it in every room. I use it on my lips, under my kid’s noses (to prevent bloody noses which they seem to get all winter long due to the dryness), on bruises and scratches (I had a bad fall last week and have been using the healing balm to keep it moist), and I even use the healing balm as a face cream when in super dry climates (high altitude). SOOOOOOOO, I am ecstatic that there is now a face cream that is available to purchase. And even though I just bought it, I feel like I am going to be equally obsessed with it and won’t leave my house without it. RESTORE face cream! Soft, pillowy, and rich!

 

These products make me so happy — they are made with natural ingredients and make such a difference on my skin.

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They Called Us Enemy

Please, oh please, immediately after you read this post, order the book They Called Us Enemy. It is an ever so powerful and important book and a part of our American history. The graphic novel is the story of George Takei’s personal story of the years he and his family lived behind barbed wires, prisoners due to his ethnic background. Although this story touches me personally due to my own connection to the Holocaust, I was unfamiliar with how the Japanese-Americans were treated in America during the war. It is crucial that we all know about this part of history and how this legalized racism existed, not so long ago.

 

MUST READ. NOW.

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Christy Schnabel’s Bike Path Photographs

Thanks to friend and interior designer, Lucie Ayres, for the guest post! Always love hearing slash reading what she has to say! Take a look!

 

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Want to know a secret? An interior designer’s hardest job is finding good art for our clients.  It is a process that can take months or even years. Often more than one person is involved in the decision making which is what makes it extra challenging.

 

So, when I saw Christy Schnabel’s Bike Path images, I was floored.  Not only are the colors of the photographs so beautiful – but the characters and details are just perfect. I said we must collaborate! Our clients (and friends and family, I mean almost everyone) are always searching for stunning, unexpected art and photography pieces that can be rendered on a large scale and convey a strong sense of place.

 

To me, Christy’s work celebrates the diversity of Los Angeles in a simple, joyful, and strikingly original way – with the artist’s punk-rock spirit and sense of humor shining through – using one of the city’s most iconic locations as a backdrop. Several of our clients, including one of LA’s premiere fitness chains, have become fans and collectors of Christy’s work.

 

We had a launch event at her house where we framed and hung about 45 pieces and the feedback was tremendous – people engaged and discussed who these characters could be.  The breakout stars from the show were the athletic California woman and the young girl walker below. Both embody a clear female confidence with a good dose of intrigue.

 

Bikini Girl Star

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