peace berry

You probably have enough time in the “hustle bustle” of the season to read this email as I have enough time to write it…which means you have about 35 seconds before moving on to hiding the heavy Amazon box labelled “trampoline” delivered begrudgingly from your fave UPS guy (sorry, you’’ll get cookies!), ordering Fresh Direct before your guests arrive, wrapping your teacher gifts and finally getting the stamps on your Christmas cards.  I know it’s not just me, right?

So I’ll keep it brief. (if you want to skip to the recipe at the end, go for it)

It’s been a big year for me and Relish Your Chef.  Kind of tremendous, really.  In short: I wrote a small cookbook, had fun on instagram, was on the Rumson Education Foundation Kitchen Tour (serving 600 people!), did a show at Jersey Shore Restaurant Week, was featured in online articles and REAL live publications 4-5ish times, threw some great parties, fed a lot of happy people, opened a pop-up restaurant and won a NJ Small Business Success Award.  I hope I didn’t forget anything. Phew!  The one thing I will not forget though is YOU.  I really could not have done all of this without your support and encouragement.  Thank you.  Feeding people and giving you folks food inspiration makes me a very happy girl.

How did I do it? (other than the hard work part)

Let’s get back to the title of the email.

Peace – I meditate every day.  Just for about 6 minutes, but it helps.  I repeat a simple mantra, still and quiet, and try to stick to it.

Love – I love to love.  I have learned to love myself.  And be more comfortable with myself knowing I’m coming from a good place.  I have been through a lot these past 6 or so years and sometimes it’s hard to not feel self loathing.  When I love myself, I am able to love everyone in a more honest way.  “The love you take is equal to the love you make” a wise Beatle once said.

Happiness – I choose to be happy and not fearful.  It’s that simple.  I am not perfect and sometimes I ruminate on things too much, but I made a choice several years ago to be happy.  I always return to the “Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!” that Ren and Stimpy taught me years ago…

Peace, Love and Happiness, that’s the key.

Oh wait, I promised you a recipe.  Here is a recipe for a chocolate cake.  This is part of the “naughty and nice” gift  cake set that I made for my personal chef clients this year.  Double chocolate sour cream cake sounds kind of naughty, yes? It’s freaking delicious.  You can bake it in a loaf pan, cake pan, whatever.

If you’re good, you’ll get the “nice” cake recipe for the New Year!  It’s a bit more nutritious and will be good for healthy breakfasts after all of the holiday decadence.

Cheers!  Here’s to a happy and healthy 2017!



Double Chocolate Sour Cream Cake
Makes 2,  9 inch layers
Or two loaf pans



3 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (Callebaut or Ghiradelli are good here)
2 ¼ cup all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 ⅓ cups packed light brown sugar (just under one 1 lb. box)
4 oz, 1 stick, unsalted room temperature butter
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
3 large eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract or espresso
1 cup room temperature water
1 cup chocolate chips, more to taste if desired.


  • Butter and flour cake pans
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Melt chocolate in microwave, stirring often (like every 10-15 seconds) or melt in double boiler; over hot, not simmering water, stirring often.  Let chocolate cool down to room temperature.
  • Place the flour, baking soda, salt and light brown sugar into the bowl of a heavy duty standing mixer (can also do by hand or mixer).  Mix to blend on low
  • Add the butter and sour cream and mix on medium low speed to make a thick batter, about one minute.
  • Add the eggs, melted chocolate and vanilla or espresso into the mixing bowl.
  • Increase the speed to medium high and beat for 2 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl.  Mix again to create homogeneous batter, about 5-10 seconds.  Add in chocolate chips and mix by hand until thoroughly distributed.
  • Reduce speed to low and slowly pour in the water until thoroughly blended.  Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake in warm oven until the tops spring back when pressed lightly in the centers and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.
  • Let cool.  Remove from pans.

Download the Recipe: sourcreamchocolatecakebakersdozen