Chocolate and Love, Love and Chocolate

Any of these delectable recipes will make your Valentine swoon with euphoria.  

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Chocolate Sables 

 

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Special Dark Chocolate Pudding 

 

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Double Chocolate Bundt Cake

 

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Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream 

 

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Milk Chocolate Souffle 

 

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Frozen Chocolate Mousse 

 

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Tiramisu Cupcakes

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Black Bottomed Cupcakes

 

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Mocha Pots de Creme

 

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Spring Green Asparagus Soup

There is almost nothing I like to make more than soup.  There is almost nothing I like to eat more than a smooth, pureed soup.  Maybe chocolate.  Make it vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.  I like Better Than Bullion concentrated bases that come in a jar.

  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 small leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced
  • 2 yellow potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 C. chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 large bunch of asparagus, about 1.5 pounds, diced
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 C. buttermilk
  • olive oil, optional

In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion, leeks, potatoes, and celery.  Cook and stir for about ten minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Allow the veggies to boil for about 5 minutes.  Add the asparagus and cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes.

Puree with an immersion blender, until very smooth.  Stir in buttermilk.  Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.  Serve with a little drizzle of olive oil on top.

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Toasted Coconut Energy Bars

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If you regularly buy Larabars, Lunabars, or other energy bar, you should really try these!  They are easy and quick to make, and if you buy ingredients in bulk, you will save some money in the process.  At my local grocery store, I buy Larabars for about $1.25 a bar. This recipe makes 12 bars, and I estimate I spent about 7 dollars on the ingredients. Another terrific thing about these is that they are made completely without refined sugar, they are gluten-free, and naturally vegan, but they are decadently sweet and delicious. You need to look for a product called Earth Balance Coconut Spread. I found it at New Seasons. Do not substitute solidified coconut oil – it doesn’t have the buttery flavor we’re going for. You could try regular earth balance, but I think the coconut spread has amazing flavor.

  • 2 C. raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1 C. unsweetened, shredded coconut, I used the big flakes from Bob’s Red Mill
  • 1 scant C. pitted dates, loosely packed
  • 1 pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 C. Earth Balance coconut spread

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.  Spread the cashews and coconut on a parchment lined baking sheet and toast for about 5 minutes, or until they just start to turn golden brown. Set aside about 1/4 C. of the toasted coconut.  Pulse the nuts, the rest of the coconut, dates, salt, and cinnamon in the food processor until crumbled.  Add the coconut spread and process until a dough-like ball begins to form. Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper.  Press the mixture into the pan evenly. Sprinkle the reserved coconut flakes on top and press in lightly to adhere.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least two hours.  Cut into 12 bars.  Wrap the bars in parchment or wax paper individually so that they don’t stick together. Store in the fridge.

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Posted in Gluten Free, Healthier Options, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Festive Aperol Spritz

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Aperol, where have you been all my life? You delicious, bitter-in-a-good-way, orangey, golden-pink, teensy-bit-sweet, apertivo! If you like Manhattans, or other not-too-sweet and slightly bitter flavors, you will really enjoy Aperol.  It’s an Italian apertivo that’s made with bitter orange, and has the most incredible cantaloupe color, perfect for festive holiday mixing.  Makes 2

Combine the gin, Aperol, and bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts over, about 15 seconds.  Strain into a cocktail glass and pour the prosecco on top.  Garnish with an orange peel twist.

 

Posted in Drinks and Cocktails, Holidays and Special Occasions, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Almond Apricot Amaretti

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Hands down, my family’s favorite holiday cookie! Amaretti are traditional Italian cookies made with almonds, sugar, and egg whites.  If you buy amaretti they are usually quite crispy and crunchy.  These amaretti are soft and chewy on the inside and a bit crisp around the edges.  In Sicily these would have a candied cherry in the middle.  The dried apricots give them a really nice fruity flavor and chewy texture.  Adapted from Eat The Love.   They are also naturally gluten free!

  • 2 1/2 C. almond meal or almond flour (the ingredients should list only almonds)
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 chopped dried apricots (mine were soft and chewy, not too dry)
  • More sugar and powdered sugar for rolling

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.  In the food processor, pulse the almond meal and sugars until combined.  Add the extracts and egg whites and pulse until a dough forms.  Pulse in the apricots until combined.  The dough will be sticky- that’s ok.  Roll the dough into 1 inch balls.  It will stick to your hands, just go with it.  Roll the balls first in white sugar, then in powdered sugar.  Place the dough balls about an inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for about 24 minutes.  Let them rest for a minute before removing them to a wire rack to cool.  Keep these wrapped at room temperature, but they also freeze very well.  You will want to make a second batch of these, they are sooo good.

Posted in Dessert, Gluten Free, Holidays and Special Occasions, Italian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Holiday Leftover Recipe Roundup

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Potato Chive Fritters

You have a fridge full of leftovers.  If you are like me, you made extra food on purpose so there would be a fridge full of leftovers.  Don’t pass up the opportunity to make a batch of stock with your turkey bones, ham bones, or beef bones.  Throw it all in a big pot with a few veggies and water and you’ll have stock in your freezer for months. Click on the chicken stock recipe link below for more details.  Here are some ideas for your leftovers!

Turkey Macaroni Bake

Ham and White Bean Soup

Ham and Egg Pies

Turkey Croquettes

Potato Chive Fritters

Savory Meatloaf with Leftover Stuffing

Creamy Cauliflower Bake

Making Chicken (or Turkey) Stock

Posted in Holidays and Special Occasions, Leftovers, Quick Dinners | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is a collection of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes for 2015. Enjoy! 

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Apple Cider Brined Turkey

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Turkey Roulade with Prune and Pine Nut Stuffing

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Classic Brined and Roasted Turkey

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Herb Marinated Turkey with Toasted Bread Salad

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Holiday Turkey Roulade 

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Vegan Mushroom Sage Stuffing

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Herb Garden Stuffing

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Wild Rice Stuffing 

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Creamy Whipped Butternut Squash

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Spiced Moroccan Yams 

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Simple Cranberry Orange Sauce 

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Balsamic Glazed Delicata Squash 

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Spicy Caramelized Squash 

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Spinach Salad With Oranges and Bacon

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Orange and Fennel Salad 

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Company Cashews

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Freeform Apple Pie 

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Classic Pumpkin Pie 

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Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes in Mason Jars 

 

 

 

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