Mid March and Thinking Spring Chocolates!

What is Cigfy up to Mid March? Well, my twins turned 9! And the Cigfy family (four kids, a cat, and a husband) are moving to their new home in 3 weeks. So, the apothecary of chocolates, cacao butter, and herbs has been boxed up for one month! But not without planning for Mother’s Day! Tell me, what special chocolate bar or truffle would you like to see for Mother’s Day?

Of course, I am continuing the intensive Herbalism Studies. Trying to pick up the pace a little even through the move!

Don’t forget to share with me what you would love to taste in a Cigfy cacao bar or truffle…

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A little Cigfy update for some new friends

Holidays continue weekly when you observe Shabbat! And with all the socializing, it seems more holidays sneak in from every angle. And then an order comes from here and there. Some people just knock on my door hoping a truffle is available, others give me a little more advanced notice. Just today, I was sitting in my garage, taking a deep quiet breath before I began another part of my to-do list, and I said “slow and steady win the race”. I took today slowly and accomplished just enough.

*This little picture was taken during my slow and steady day, today.  I found Zac’s snowman drawings on the floor and they gave me a little boost of energy mid day.  So did my constant nourishment of rooibos chai.  Zac said he wants to be a snowman when he grows up.*

 

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Featuring the Cigfy Cherry Rose Raw Cacao Bar

Mid winter Blah’s?
Valentine’s Day luxury?
Pre, post, or maybe (dare I say) during your Cleanse or Detox Treat?

This is the newest (limited edition) Cherry Rose Raw Cacao Bar from Cigfy.  This is luxurious, juicy, very fun, and very raw and vegan.

Ingredients: Raw Cacao Beans, Fresh Dates, Fresh and Dried Cherries and a sprinkling of coconut sugar, rose water, and pink Himalayan sea salt.
Order it by calling 216-789-8811 or email me at deb@cigfy.com.

$7 for 3 oz bars

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A Cigfy Year in Review

 

 

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Come visit Cigfy this Sunday!

At the Murray Hill Winter Art Walk, Sunday only, 1-5pm. Featuring the Cigfy menu, for sale! At Iris Studio, 2026 Murray Hill road, suite 06. Dark raw cacao, date or agave sweetened natural confections. Perfect.

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Pop-Up Shop! This Sunday, December 2nd

At the Murray Hill Winter Art Walk from 1-5pm at Iris Studio! 2026 Murray Hill Rd, #06 the old school house.

Featuring the Cigfy holiday menu of dark raw cacao, date or agave sweetened natural confections. Come visit, taste, buy.

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And a Happy Thanksgiving!

Yesterday was a marathon of producing lots of raw cacao bars.  Today I’m switching gears and making pumpkin pies, a cake and even some “real” food.

I’m grateful for my family, friends, and all that Cigfy allows me to learn, every day.  Thank you for allowing me to share with you.

Cakes and Pies! 

Dipping Dips

Now, while I admire beautiful hostess dresses and any occassion to make an outfit, I do not plan on leaving my pajamas all day tomorrow, even for the car ride to my sister’s home.  (unless I hit a Bikram yoga class)

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Today’s Cacao Reflections

So, today had some high’s and low’s.  A wonderful order came in from a beautiful new friend.  At the same time, I got my first “not right now, call back”, from a local vendor.  Hmmm.  Should I be dissapointed?  Should I be thrilled?  I decided to just stay calm, with no holding on to either and just enjoy the intention of what today brought.

I shared a banana with Leila and then when she went to nap, I got to work on the chocolate order that I did receive.

Of course, thoughts came and went.  I decided that the word-of-mouth orders are very special to me.   My confections are my creative outlet.  My opportunity to give.  Some customers will love them and feel the energy and love involved.  Some will not take to it.  I’m not a foodie, I’m actually not really particular about food.  I nibble on fresh dates dipped in tahini and I like a bowl of boiled lentils with some ume vinegar on top.  I sometimes forget to eat a meal or even cook for my kids (they let me know when that happens).

This reminds me of my auditioning days.  Manhattan School of Music (my first choice) said, yes!  Julliard (third on my list) said no!  I laughed and saved both letters in my scrapbook.  Both were special.  Both opened up new opportunities.

 

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Hello!!!!

Hello!  I got a wonderful swarm of new friends from around the globe today!  Thanks to my friend Elenore, over at Earthsprout (I mention her frequently because of her love of yumminess in food, life, and cacao).

Though it’s nearing my bed time, I thought I’d write a spontaneous little re-introduction of myself and Cigfy.  I can go into details during day time hours.  You see, I still have a little one (almost 10 months old) that might wake up through the night.

I am a Mom of 4 cuties (8 year old twins boy and girl, 3 year old boy and the little baby girl).  Before that and before I married, I was a pastry chef and even before that I was a drummer.  A real percussionist who practiced 10 hours a day trying to perfect every stroke on everything from a triangle to a cymbal, drum, xylophone….

But I lacked something, it was passion and letting go.  My teachers told me this.  I was way too technical.  I held something in and wouldn’t let it out.  I was so good, but was not allowing myself to go deep inside, I wasn’t ready.  So, I sold most of my equipment and got a job and then got married.  I snuck in a couple years of part time learning in a local culinary school and came out as a certified pastry chef.  I worked in one restaurant, that was enough!

Then kids came.  I never stop talking about my music background (talk, talk, talk) but the only thing I put my musical void into is baking.  It evolves as I do…kids, yoga, Judaism, friends, marriage, more kids, more yoga, more Judaism, more friends and I just keep tweaking my baking along with my life and all of a sudden I’m trying out beautiful raw food recipies.  And, one day I made a special truffle.  It was perfect, beautiful, inspiring, energizing.  I made them for friends to try.  Besides a few breaks (morning sickness, birth)I never stopped fine tuning my raw cacao confections.  I found that teas helped balance my very full days and my constant consumption and tasting of raw cacao.  And here I am, so fascinated with this part of the journey, enough to return to school (yes, with four kids) and study herbalism for Women’s health with Aviva Romm!

My husband is helping me as much as he can (it’s hard to keep up with me), my kids see Mom in the kitchen with cacao everywhere and sometimes I do forget to make them dinner, I have books open every where, mason jars filled with dry herbs taking over my kitchen, and must make time once or twice a week for a Bikram yoga class.

I love everything I do and just can’t stop, but I know balance is important.  That’s what I work on.  Good thing my husband is so very grounded that he steps in as needed to slow me down.  (and I know a good herbalist, homeopath, and naturopath along with so many diverse friends).

Returning to my music for a moment, I need to explain something.  Remember when I said I was told I was missing the passion, the release in my music.  That it was just too technical?!  Well, that’s where Cigfy comes in on a whole other level.  I’m now learning how to release myself through with my cacao confections.  Because when I create a Cigfy confection, it is only amazing when I just surrender to it.  Might sound odd.  This is my practice in letting something other than my mind take over.  I can follow any recipe.  Following a recipe never becomes a Cigfy confection.  The only recipies that get on the menu are from a deeper place that I’ve opened up to (but I do keep a notepad nearby to make it in the Cigfy “cookbook”).  Yep.  And my goal….is to put that back into performing on stage…kind of soon.  See, I’m still practicing!  But right now, I want to share Cigfy!

Thank YOU for letting me share.  Enjoy the ride with me.

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It’s so Good!

Yesterday I wrote that I was fine tuning one more raw chocolate bar.  And it’s done, it’s good, it’s ready.  The Salted Almond Cacao Bar.  It is so simple.  Raw cacao beans, dates, almonds, australian sea salt, and ginger (just a tad).  Here’s a pic. 

It is delicious!  The picture probably doesn’t do it justice.  It’s salty, nutty, clean.  It’s a chocolate bar, but it’s different.  I mean, no sugars, just the chewiness and sweetness of dates.  Ok, enough.  I’m just proud.   I wouldn’t take the time to peel off the skin from each individual almond for just anything.

No more kitchen time testing out new recipes.  Nope.  I’m ready to roll and show everything off beyond (but still including!) my local friends and supporters.  This is where Dan will step in.  Wish us the best!

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Raw Cacao Trio

Non stop cacao melting, blending, tasting in the house morning and night.  It takes a level of concentration hard to find in this house!  But when the moment hits, the creation happens.  For example, I knew I had to make a salted cacao bar.  But I also knew it needed more than just salt.  The melted cacao sat there and waited for that “ah-ha” moment, and it hit me what was needed.  I just had to wait, I knew I’d figure it out.  Dan watched as I paced in the kitchen.  Here’s stage 1 from yesterday.  Stage 2 is going on today.  Which is fine tuning the Salty Dark Cacao bar.

Meanwhile, between these stages, I’m on to another assignment with my Herbalism studies.  This week I prepare one herb each day for seven days.  Each herb I steep for an assigned time, I drink it, I record tastes/emotions/physical changes, then I repeat later in the day.  Seven herbs total.  Since I’ve been quite young (10, maybe 11 years old?), I recognized the reaction of foods in my body…though I had no idea how to relate to it!  And now, at 40 years old, I get to practice and fine tune this skill.  So cool!

Now back to raw cacao. 

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Sunday and a Sea Salt Chocolate

Today is especially cold, dark and rainy.  The morning got off to a pleasently slow start and here’s a little spontaneous picture to prove it.  Leila is my cuddle bug and I can’t get enough of it. 

I ran off to Whole Foods later on and had a nice chat about salts at the cheese counter.  I picked out a beautiful pink salt from Australia.  I think this is my next dark cacao bar…Dan and I are going to make the first prototype later this evening.

Hopefully, Cigfy will have the PoppyDate bar, the Midnight bar, and …another addition by the end of the day.

The funny thing is, that when I get a feeling that something is going to work, it usually does, fast.  But if it doesn’t work in the first couple attempts, then it’s just not meant to be and I move on.  Also, the less ingredients the better for me.  If I start adding this and that, then I just know it’s not working.  So, I’ll know by bedtime how this beautiful salt is going to merge into Cigfy.

 

 

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Darker and darker

Cleveland looks beautiful this week.  This autumn has been especially awesome with the most vivid colors wherever you look.  I drive my son Zac to school every morning and we look at the colors.  Being three years old, we talk about why the leaves change colors, but most important how to embrace the beauty and the change.  I love this daily ritual.  While Leila just listens to our voices.

The night’s are getting longer and I feel my body subcoming to the changes, asking for more rest and deeper sleep.  Lentils, pumpkins, deep greens are always simmering for dinner (and no one has complained).  I look forward to my favorite sites and blogs posting seasonal dinners encourage me with these staple ingredients.  Check this one out, www.earthsprout.com.

Teas are changing with the season, too.  I’m loving black chai with some coconut milk.  Especially after a Bikram yoga class.  Yes, I am become a devoted Bikram fan.  A studio opened 5 minutes away and I couldnm’t reisist trying it.  I treat myself to this chai following the class.  I’ll have to save another post for why I have allowed myself to become a Bikram yogi gal.  Red Rooibos, Licorice (see earthsprout link, above), Matcha, are my go-to tea’s right now.  Simple, straight up, not too many combinations.  Hmmm, the teas are getting darker.

I’ve allowed Cigfy to go as dark as possible with a new bar.  Called  “ta-da”, The Midnight Bar.  With just raw cacao beans, dates, cinnamon, and cracked black pepper.  It’s hard core.  It’s officially on the late fall/early winter menu.

I run into people asking how to order.  Well, the best way is to email me at deb@cigfy.com or pick up the phone.  216-789-8811.  I’m becoming quite active on twitter, facebook, pinterest and instagram (figuring out the link)!  So, follow along.  It’s the best ways to get the full effect of each day, each moment in a Cigfy day.  Cigfy comes out as a raw chocolates, but it’s really about me and my experiences, created.

 

the Midnight bar (right), Cinnamon “heat” truffles (bottom), Pumpkin “cups” (top)

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Cigfy Fall Menu

Though mid to late summer was filled with packing boxes and moving to a new area of Cleveland, the creating and planning for Cigfy never stopped.  Dan was packing boxes in every room just days before the moving truck arrived, as I was in the kitchen preparing over 100 delightful little cupcakes.  It was crazy, it was great!

My new kitchen is set up and though it’s about 1/8th size of my old kitchen, it has so much more soul and intention.

I couldn’t be happier.  Photo: Fall menu is coming out tomorrow!!!!  Special seasonal treats include Pomegranate Chip truffles, Cinnamon Fire truffles, Poppy-Date cacao bars, cupcakes and The energy bars (that are dipped in raw cacao).  Only raw fruit, nuts, and spices in each treat.  I'll post all ordering information tomorrow.  Love Cigfy!

And Dan noticed something that I had not.  I’m working on Cigfy daily, delivering treats weekly.  I hadn’t noticed the pick-up as I just get into the groove.  All while the kids  transitioned into the school year and now even I’ve picked up the pace with my herbalism studies.

I have such faith that Cigfy is developing with pure, organic intentions and that my family, my friends, my cacao and herbal fans will watch us mature into a beautiful and intimate store!

With that said, please let me introduce the Fall Menu!  You will not be dissapointed.

TrufflesMatcha Tea:  featuring matcha tea, cashews and cacao nibs.  Coconut Almond:  a classic matching of crushed almonds and shredded coconut.  Pomegranate Chip:  raw pomegranate powdered and cacao nibs.  Cinnamon Heat: a lot of cinnamon and a little cayenne for heat.

Cacao Bar:  Poppy Seed Date, featuring four (just 4) ingredients.  Cacao beans, raw dates, poppy seeds and sea salt

The Energy Bar:  This season it has about 7-8 raw nuts and seeds (almonds, chia, hemp, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, flax…) and mulberries.  Yes, still dipped in raw cacao “magic shell” (remember magic shell???)Photo: The early fall menu is a welcoming to autumn. Pomegranate, Cinnamon and Cayenne, Matcha tea, Poppy seeds crushed into fresh dates, seed bars with pumpkin seeds, and little decadent cupcakes. All raw. All nuts and fruits. no flour, no sugar...

Cupcakes!:  OMG, these are all raw cacao fudge cakes and layered with two icings.  The icings are made with cashew cream and cacao butter (one vanilla, one chocolate).  Can also be made into full size cakes….

So, this fall you have a beautiful, invigorating, and nourishing assortment of truffles, bars and cakes.  They mix and match beatuifully.  And I will customize fall teas to your order.

Call for prices, as I am still working on that page of the website…. 216-789-8811

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Mid-Summer Cacao: fudginess and changes

Life is as busy right now as it ever has been!  It’s midsummer and not only am I pushing to study herbalism, make chocolates (with husband) but we are moving!  Now, I have never moved a house before.  And doing this while taking an order, being inspired for a new cacao recipe and nursing a baby through the night.  Life is just, well, full!

While it might seem odd to many people, we are downsizing our home.  Actually, we are downsizing and renting.  We are throwing out or donating half of our home!  We are taking the money from our house sale, saving it for a rainy day (and when we buy our next home).  I’m reading articles all over the place about couples renting apartments smaller than 500 sq. ft!  Maybe we’ll be ahead of a trend to go smaller in family homes?

I’m a little nervous, but mostly excited.  It feels very liberating to be free of a large house, to donate toys (I’m only keeping toys that do not need batteries), to operate on a smaller scale.

I’m very excited about my new kitchen.  Yes, it’s about 1/3 the size of my current kitchen.  But I can’t wait to get Cigfy confections operating from there.  I’m just going to enjoy the ride.  Because that’s what 2012 seems to be!

I can’t leave this post without sharing a bit of cacao. This is my new love and creation, CACAO and DATES!   

Let me just teach you an introduction to this method.  Get some very high quality raw cacao powder.  And get some raw, plump dates.  Mash those dates by hand, fork, blender and mix them with a little cacao powder (to your liking).  Don’t worry about how much or measurements.  Just enjoy the mixing and use your hands.  Roll the fudginess in to little balls and enjoy.  Let me take care of the complicated cacao confections with herbs and special touches, while you enjoy these little treats.

 

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Joy!

I was talking to a dear friend late last night.  I should’ve been heading to bed, but I still had groceries to put away, camp lunches to pack, and needed to take a deeeep breath while there was calm in the house (i.e. the kids were sleeping).

I was sharing my fear and excitement of the recent sale of our house (it wasn’t for sale, but it sold to a great family!), moving a family of six in three weeks, and maintaining some sanity since we still haven’t found the house (therefore a chance we are renting and putting about 80% of our “stuff” in storage).  Yet, CIGFY orders keep rolling in!

I asked her, “Do I put Cigfy on hold?  Do I shut Cigfy’s door for a while?”  She told me NO.  And she’s right.  I receive Joy from Cigfy.  And taking an order is such an honor!  As I can share my love and my own way of nurturing other people.

But how will I embrace Cigfy as I move, as I am still woken up once or twice a night to nurse Leila, as I nourish my own family through change?  I’m going to remember the Joy I have received as I created Cigfy and keep moving forward.  And with a sense of humor, I will embrace the chaos and imperfections, the occasional panic attack, and eat some chocolate while sipping tea!  Off to make some chocolates now….and pack a few boxes.

Hugs and Peace.  Deb

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CIGFY honors Dan and Father’s Day

Lots going on as we enter our fourth week of transitioning CIGFY to full time status.  It hasn’t been without drama!  Sometimes I think blogs and facebook sugar coat their posts!  Nope.  There’s been a few panic attacks and a few mistakes.  But the good outways the bad.

And the best is that Dan is awesome at making chocolates!  I think he found his calling.

To celebrate Dan’s patience and talent in making dark raw chocolates, we are making extras for Father’s Day.  So, for the men in your life, YES I believe men love chocolate as much as women, here’s what we are offering.  Dark Raw Chocolate Bars with cacao nibs and The “Energy” Bar loaded with goodies such as hemp seed, nuts, goji berries, and dark cacao.  Call with interest and orders.  These treats might add a little stamina into a long day that starts with golf and ends with a cookout.  Though Dan will probably prefer some landscaping at home.

I have to say it was hard getting these babes to smile for the photo.  But it gives you a good idea of the intensity of these treats.

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the week in review

This is me at 6am this morning.  Yes, I was up every 3 hours nursing Leila.  But at 6am I heard the rain and I couldn’t resist breathing in the not yet congested wet air and washing out the sleep in my eyes with the cool rain.  My hunter boots might look cute and trendy with leggings, but today they served a purpose.

 

It’s been a very full week with Cinnamon.  I’m providing truffles and treats at an art studio opening as well as selling the truffles and my summer tea.

Dan and I have worked on packaging, selling the summer menu at a local cafe that’s opening at the end of June, smelling delicious herbs, testing my raw cacao bars, brewing tea, and tasting 2 styles of matcha tea powder from a store in L.A.  http://www.matchasource.com/.  I don’t think either of us realized how fast a day could fly by before the twins get off the bus.

Physically, I’ve been working in chocolates 7 hours a day.   Dan walks downstairs in the morning looking so relaxed in his shorts.  (yes!  his blood pressure dropped to normal this week).  I’m more tired than usual and working on embracing the beauty of dark circles under my eyes as a Mom building a nourishing business.

It’s a bumpy road ahead.  I don’t want to make this journey sound easy.  I have more anxiety than ever before.  Dan tries to ground me in faith.  And I feel so much passion and drive as I introduce my home, Cleveland, to the world of herbs and earthy raw ingredients into nourishing sweets.

 

 

 

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RAW

Day #1 of my having my hubby home and pushing Cinnamon into full time status.  So what did we do?  Spend times with my good friends that are visiting from San Francisco.  Hey!  We need at least one day to transition. Of course, I couldn’t let the day go without some Cinnamon effort.  So, I ground up some cashew butter, mixed it with cacao butter, agave/maple syrup mix, cacao powder and I have fudge!  It was an accident, but it’s good.  I will continue sampling tomorrow.

Now let’s focus on the title of this blog, RAW.  I introduce Cinnamon as vegan, organic, and RAW inspired.  Now, what does that raw mean?!

Let me explain.  Raw in the culinary world is a word used to describe foods that have not been cooked.  The enzymes are kept intact by not heating any of the foods over 108 degrees.  Raw can be a salad.  Raw can be a lifestyle.  Raw foodists will say they eat 50% raw or maybe 100% raw.  Most are vegans (though a few might eat raw fish or cheese).

When I was training as a pastry chef I had no idea what Raw meant.  I used eggs, cream, and an oven.  But, as a curious type, I dabbled into the raw world for a few years.  Actually, I was a raw foodist and claimed to be 100% raw for over a year!  I was so proud.  Ok, the reality was that I was quite gassy and a little too energetic.  I came back to the cooked world though never left my appreciation or taste for the amazingly gorgeous raw desserts.

A raw foodist will probably test my knowledge on the true source of my raw nuts.  (Gosh, this sounds like kosher talk…what hechshers do you use?!)  That’s why I say Cinnamon is RAW Inspired.

I use the natural ingredient.  The vanilla bean (never the extract), I crack open the coconuts for the meat, water and milk (that’s fun to watch, just stay back cause I use a huge knife)!, I pit the dates by hand and use my dehydrator as an oven (never over 108 degrees).

The taste, textures, the fun is all RAW.  Now dare to try something off the summer menu.  I have cupcakes waiting….

photo by Simone Jowell
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You have to read this: Cinnamon News

The day has come.  I am excited, nervous, and completely in the moment.  A practice of mindfulness. Or I’m just numb.

Somehow on this wonderful Cinnamon journey, my husband, Dan, has decided to join me for the ride.  His last day of work is today.  When he comes home, he will not be going back “to the office” on Monday.  He will be home.  He will have his hands in cacao.  He will help me find the best boxes for the cupcakes, he will be behind the scenes, he will help make my dream come true by feeding and nourishing through Cinnamon.  When I first met Dan, I was half way through my pastry chef training.  I was working at a restaurant that kept me from seeing him more than once a week.  When I knew he was potential “husband material”, I left the restaurant so I could see him more.  Little did I know, 11 years and 4 children later, we would return to my love of baking, together.

This is a spiritual journey for him.  Dan is not the same man I married.  But he is now the man I always dreamt I would marry!  It’s an adventure with him.  I learn from him and he learns from me.  These days, after the kids are all sleeping, instead of turning on the t.v. (well, we do turn it on to watch Weeds or a little Dr. Who) we sit down with teas and open up our books.  The kitchen table is filled with books from 9pm till at least midnight.  Sometimes he takes his guitar out and practices a little.  It’s so quiet and peaceful in the house.

I study my Herbalism books and baking trends.  He brings out Kabbalah, Jewish law, and Homeopathy.

Cinnamon is going to be our adventure, together.  Our kids will watch us work together.  We have no paycheck coming in soon.  We are going to learn to cut the budget down to the bare minimum.  But we will not sacrifice our organic foods or natural living, in fact, we will enhance it.  We will find a smarter way to live.  We will prioritize what luxuries really are.  We will teach ourselves and raise our kids with happiness and gifts that come naturally.  Not from toy stores.

This is going to be hard!  And I’m sure there will be some good tantrums (especially from me).  But I feel up for the challenge.  Dan and I have been blessed in this life.  And we both want to slow down and be gracious for it all.

This journey will be blogged.  How can it not be?!  Please watch us grow.  We will be open and share it all.  This is just too crazy to not share.  With love.  Debbie and Dan
 

 

Dan carrying our sleepy Zac to bed.

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