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I have this ridiculously decadent recipe for Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies that Jason won’t let me make… dammit!

He simply doesn’t trust himself around anything chocolate, especially if it’s merged with peanut butter (or even sat next to it for that matter), as he knows both his poise and self-control would instantly strip naked and offer themselves in exchange for the aforementioned delight.

Unfortunately, it puts me in a very awkward situation on days like today when, after 48 hours of mood swings due to estrogen overdose I’m stuck in the wall teeth first…  In desperate times nothing can stop me from satisfying my various PMS cravings, plaster included. One day it’s calcium, then iron, and most commonly magnesium. When the levels of the latter deplete, my mind goes blank for a split of a second, and when I recover my senses I realize the control panel in my head has turned on the red emergency light that flashes: CHOCOLATE.

NOTHING will prevent me from finding a piece of chocolate and holding on to it with the whole might of my jaws, like a rat that escaped from a sinking ship clenching to a raft with all that it’s got – nails, tails, teeth, harpoons, anchors, etc. Nothing, not even the stack of brand new jeans (two sizes down from the last pair I purchased mind you!) recently piled up in my closet, will stop me from satisfying THE craving.

Those jeans will stick around and I’m determined to use them as long as they fully cover my ass. One day their status will become a reminder of my “pre-pregnancy weight”. (Thanks, Heather, for your post. I’m learning so much ahead of time!) On those days I’ll be desperate to get the chocolate OUT of the grasp of my jaws, and lock it away in a chocolate jail with no option for a bail out.

Until then, however, play that funky music, white boy! Give me some of that rich and bittersweet chocolaty bite that will melt on my tongue and coat it with sheer satisfaction. I know my heart rate will rise, shivers will run down my spine, and I’ll salivate releasing serotonins that will ultimately take me to the peak of that mountain called O. Meanwhile, perfectly oblivious to all of it, Jason will continue to put out various work related fires instead of going on this hike with me… if you know what I mean.

How might I satiate this craving when the house is chocolate proof and the closest thing to sweets I can find is a half empty jar of Dijon mustard in the refrigerator? My eyes hopelessly slide down the carton of eggs, pickles, sliced turkey, my cheese-less pesto… EGGS! I got it! Suddenly it all comes together and I know what steps to take to get me to my Happy Ending!

The answer is… KOGEL-MOGEL. I’m going back to my roots again. Kogel-Mogel is – I assure you – a real word and not an Agi-ism. It is a Polish name for a kind of mousse we used to make back in the day when sweets were scarce, and all one could find on shelves in a grocery store was vinegar. Yes, it was a very different world from everything you know.

To make Kogel-Mogel you need at least one egg, 2-3 tsp of sugar, and as much of cocoa powder, plus a mug and a teaspoon to mix it all with. If you’re lazy, or want to get fancy, go ahead and grab your handheld mixer – life is hard enough as it is. Now, separate the egg white from the yolk. Save the egg white for later in a closed container inside of your refrigerator. You can use it tomorrow for the Scrambled Eggs with Roasted Acorn Squash for example, or merengues, or whatever else you want.

Drop the egg yolk into the prearranged mug, add the sugar and whip it together using the mixer. It will take a couple of minutes until the sugar is fully incorporated, thus making the egg yolk fluffy and thick at the same time. It will at least double if not triple in volume. Now turn off the mixer and add your cocoa powder (70% and organic is my preference). Whip it again for 30 seconds and YOU ARE DONE, my friend!

Chocolate Kogel Mogel

Go ahead and lick the mixing whisk… clean it good. You don’t have much in that mug, so take your time and dress your tongue with small servings of the chocolate mousse you’ve just made. Delight in it. Close your eyes, open your mouth and feel the pleasure with all your senses. Start climbing that mountain, and don’t look back. The world will pause and observe with envy as you get higher and higher. Forget the world, let go, breathe, relax, moan, and be free… Experience the O.

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Sometimes a craving hits me in between meals, and I am not one to ignore that angry stomping and loud cussing in my tummy. I swear, sometimes I’m convinced that inside there must live one vicious little Belly Brat who jabs tiny spoons into the membrane of my stomach screaming at the top of his lungs: “FEED ME! FEED ME! FEED ME!”

Just like NOW.

What is Agi to do? I can’t focus on a single thought. I stare at a computer screen, but in fact, with my mind’s eye I’m scanning the inside of our refrigerator. On the top shelf rests an almost empty jug of Aloe Vera Juice (Jason puffs at me: “You don’t love me!” every time I hand him a glass with a 4 oz shot of the swill. “Yeah, I know baby, it’s pretty nasty, but SO GOOD for you!”). On it’s right, the last drops of almond milk in a carton box. One floor below, I see a bowl of raw chicken that’s been leisurely marinating itself for tonight’s dinner. Right beneath the chick rests a large container with a green lid – those are my herbs. Three lazy lemons keep them company. I pull the door wide open and on its inside shelves I find two eggs and jars full of all kinds of things: pickles, low fat mayo, Dijon mustard, capers, sun dried tomatoes, sesame oil, flax seed oil, and almond butter. Downtown, the veggie compartment is almost empty, and there are certainly no baby carrots to be found to save my life.

The fridge is sadly vacant and void of any possible snack-worthy objects, which reminds me that it’s time for grocery shopping. What do you know? It’s Friday. The Belly Brat, on the other hand, doesn’t give three flying mosquitoes what day of the week it is, and keeps yapping and moshing about at the bottom of my esophagus as if he was rocking out at a Metallica concert. I’ve had it! At this point I’m desperate to find something, ANYTHING, so I can shove it into his little brash mouth so he shuts up and keeps quiet! …at least till dinner-time, so I CAN FINALLY WRITE!

Wait. Did I say ALMOND BUTTER? Instantly, a bright, energy-saving eco bulb lights inside my skull: FOOD. I unplug my head from the refrigerator’s chamber, crane my neck around, and… realize in wonder that it’s been 20 minutes and I’m still sitting at my desk staring bluntly at the tabula rasa hoping to become my next article for the blog. Wow. …

… What was I saying? Oh, yes, the Almond Butter. FOOD! Please, god, make sure we have at least one green apple on the counter, because desperate or not, I am NOT going to patch my mouth-hole with spoonfuls of a NUT PASTE. Ain’t happening.

I cut corners hustling to the kitchen, air whistling in my ears, and arrive at the fruit bowl, a pearl of sweat sliding down my chin. Alleluia! On the platter there are three Granny Smith apples. One is most likely inedible – judging from the wrinkles, grey hair, and a hump. The other two look perfectly perky, firm and juicy – not unlike the sensual orbs flitting about within the mind of any healthy 16-year old boy or the day dreams of a woman after having breastfed three babies.

With no further ado, I proceed to core one of the apples and cut it into wedges. I catch myself squeaking in excitement. Impatiently, I place the pieces on a flat plate around a small bowl filled with my Almond Butter “dip”. With the first bite I can hear – loud and clear – church’s bells ring!

Green Apples with Almond Butter

I feel I should amend my Spaghetti Marinara story to paint a complete picture. I’m warning you, however, it may slightly affect your viewpoint and perspective of the event. And most importantly, I HOPE you’ll revise a possible judgment you may have formed about yours truly.

Do you remember the giant plate with the enormous amount of pasta on it, all drowned in Marinara Sauce, topped with rolling stones of veggie balls? Remember how I then placed it all in my mouth, bite by bite, to finally have it disappear entirely into my cow’s stomach? And what did you think just then, ha? Now, let me explain one thing – the act of devouring the monstrous serving of Spaghetti Marinara was directly preceded by an intense 2-hour training session at the gym under the strict supervision of my no-bullshit-when-it-comes-down-to-working-out boyfriend. I was STARVING!

Spaghetti Marinara 2

To further plead for your sympathy, I will now attempt to bribe you with the recipe for the infamous Marinara Sauce.

MARINARA SAUCE with AGI’s TWIST

First, arrange for the following:

– half of a large onion

– 3 cloves of garlic

– 1 tbsp of good olive oil

– 30 oz can of crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce

– 1/2 cup of red wine (the kind you would drink, a good one) or low sodium chicken stock

– 1/3 cup of Mascarpone (not mandatory)

– bay leaf

– 1 tbsp of dry oregano

– 1 tsp of red paprika powder

– 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg

– kosher salt + fresh ground pepper to taste

– fresh flat leaf parsley & basil, 1/4 of a cup of each

Heat the oil in a large and deep skillet. Throw in chopped onions, sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper, and sauté for about 5-7 minutes over medium-low heat. Add minced garlic, stir and cook for another minute or two. Now pour in the wine (or chicken stock, what have you) and continue cooking over medium-low heat, until it reduces a little. Next, empty the can of tomatoes into the skillet, then add oregano, paprika, nutmeg and more salt and black pepper. If you want it extra creamy, now is the time for the Mascarpone. Mix it all well using a wooden spoon, let the cheese melt and incorporate into the sauce. Cook for about 3 more minutes and add freshly chopped parsley and julienned basil. Stir once again, taste, ad more salt and pepper if needed, and turn off the heat. Remove the bay leaf – it is NOT edible.

Your sauce is DONE. It should be of a beautiful, deeply red color (or pinkish if you went the cheesy route). You’ll smell all the spices, and the fresh basil will give your dish a whole new dimension.

Happy cooking!

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