Chocolate Stout Tart + 5 Unique Beer Dessert Recipes

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He would say their love story began with a mutual affection for good beer and dessert.  She wouldn’t deny him that bit of nostalgia…most days.  [Lately her moods changed with the tide, the phases of the moon, the direction of the wind.]

She would say their love story began with a conversation, his kindness evident with every word spilling from his sweet mouth. [ His sense of humor, intelligence, opinions, though less appreciated today, fused her soul to his many years ago.]

And what would they say now?  The moon is in the waning Gibbous phase, the tide is low, the winds wild.  A tempestuous phase in their many years together.  Both will agree something was lost along the way. A persistent trickle, not a gash, slowly absorbing into their everyday.  Yet, despite arriving at this volatile juncture they remain in awe of all that followed since their love story began.  So tonight, when the house is quiet, the day almost done, they will split a beer, nibble on some chocolate, and each wonder silently: what’s next in our love story?

Chocolate Stout Tart

tart dough recipe adapted from David Lebovitz

chocolate stout filling adapted from Ambrosia Baking

Serves 6-8

Ingredients for Tart Dough:
1 cup + 5 tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

8 tablespoons or 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cubed

1 large egg

Ingredients for chocolate stout filling:

1- 11 ounce bottle of Guinness, reduced to 1/4 cup

1 + 1/4 cups heavy cream

9 ounces of dark chocolate, chopped

1 teaspoon of vanilla

a generous pinch of kosher salt

Fresh whipped cream and crushed pretzels for topping

Directions:

Using a food processor fitted with a blade attachment mix the flour, salt and sugar until combined.  Add the butter and pulse until the butter is pea-size.  Next add the egg and continue to pulse until the dough comes together and is smooth.  Remove dough from food processor and shape it into a disk.  Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes up to overnight.

Flour a clean surface and roll the dough until it is about a 13 inch circle.  Transfer dough to a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  Press the dough firmly into the tart pan and in the corners of the pan.  Trim any excess by running the side of a knife around the top of the tart.  Hold onto any scraps for patching.  If there are any holes in your tart, use the excess dough to patch them.  Prick the dough five times with a fork.  Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

When ready to bake the tart shell, pre-heat your oven to 400F.  Line the frozen tart with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights.  Bake until the tart is golden brown about 25 minutes but check after 15 minutes.   Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  Next make the chocolate stout filling.

Pour Guinness into a small pan and bring to a simmer.  Reduce to about 1/4 cup.  Remove from the heat and set aside.  Grab a second sauce pan and heat the cream until it just begins to simmer.  Using a medium bowl, add chopped chocolate, vanilla extract, salt and 3 tablespoons of reduced Guinness.  Remove simmering cream from the heat and pour over the chocolate mixture.  Let it stand for 5 minutes, then whisk until completely blended and very smooth.  Pour the chocolate ganache into the cooled tart shell .  Spread evenly using a spatula.  Refrigerate for at least two hours or until the ganache has completely set.  Just before serving, top the tart with fresh whipped cream and crushed pretzels.  The tart is best the day it is made but will last up to two days in air-tight container in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!

5 Unique Beer Desserts You Must Check Out!

Beer + Brownies = Tasty Beer Brownies!  How Sweet It Is has the recipe for you.

If you are a fan of IPAs check out the Beeroness’ recipe for IPA Lemon Bars.  I am intrigued!  While you are there check out her recipe for beer doughnuts with IPA lemon curd.  Again, intrigued!

Don’t wait until the next holiday season to make Food 52’s gingerbread bundt cake with chocolate glaze.  Seize the day or rather the cake.

Gimme Some Oven’s honey beer bread looks like the perfect vehicle for a generous smear of salted butter.  Yum!

 

 

Meyer Lemon Upside Down Poppy Seed Cake + 5 Must Try Upside Down Cakes!

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I nearly missed these smooth skinned beauties neatly stacked like a pyramid of little suns, nestled between the overpriced organic lemons and limes.  I blame my 3-year-old for the near miss.  Grocery shopping with him is like wrestling a bear while trying to maintain some composure and getting everything on my list.  A nearly impossible feat! And yet somehow, out of the corner of my eye or the eyes that exist on the back of my head, I noticed the plump, canary yellow orbs.  I grabbed one, rubbed my thumb across its glossy skin and held it to my nose.  Sweet, floral, bright; a perfect contrast to the heavy, cheese and meat laced comfort food coming out of my kitchen this time of year.

Unsure of what to do with them or the $2.99 a pound price tag, I placed a few in my cart anyway; picked up my 3-year-old who was elbow deep in the organic (oh c’mon) chocolate malt balls candy bin, which, by the way, is oddly placed in between the produce and fancy cheese, (another WTF moment in a long month of WTF moments); and carried on.

I admired the little lemons sitting in our fruit bowl on our sometimes sticky, sometimes clean, kitchen island for a few days before deciding to make an upside down cake.  Sexier recipes for a lemon curd, preserved lemons, cupcakes and pastry cream enticed me briefly before I settled on this 1920s throwback.  Something about taking an old-fashion dessert and modernizing it with Meyer lemons and poppy seeds appealed to me post inauguration.

So I got to work thinly slicing a few lemons, melting butter and sugar together to create a syrupy, caramel like topping and carefully placing the lemons on top of the delicious goo. Next, I made a butter cake batter adding Meyer lemon zest and poppy seeds which made it taste exactly like my Mom’s famous lemon poppy-seed tea cake.  Fifty-five minutes later I had a tender, sweet, subtly tart and modern upside down cake.  I hope this cake brightens your January as much as it did ours.

Meyer Lemon Upside Down Poppy Seed Cake

recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated Fresh Fruit Upside Down Cake

Serves 8 -10

Ingredients for topping:

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

3 Meyer lemons, sliced 1/4 inch thick, seeds removed

Directions:

Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 inch round pan thoroughly.  Set aside.  Using a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add both brown sugars , stir and cook until the mixture foams, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Pour the butter/sugar mixture into your prepared pan and spread evenly across the bottom of the pan with a spatula.  Arrange the lemon slices in concentric circles.  Set aside.

Ingredients for cake:

1 + 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons cornmeal

1 + 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs, separated and at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

zest of 1 Meyer lemon

2/3 cup of milk

Directions for cake:

Place oven rack in the lower middle position and pre-heat your oven to 350F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and poppy seeds.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, cream the butter at medium speed.  Slowly add the sugar followed by the lemon zest.  Beat until pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the egg yolks and vanilla, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula once or twice.  Next, reduce the speed to the lowest setting and add the dry ingredients and the milk, alternating until both are incorporated into the batter.  Mix until the batter just becomes smooth.

In a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold in one-quarter of the egg whites to lighten the batter.  Then fold in the remaining egg whites until they are completely incorporated.  Pour the batter into your prepared pan, spreading evenly with a spatula.  Bake until the top of the cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 55-60 minutes.

Allow cake to cool on a wire rack for a few minutes.  Run a paring knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan.  Place a serving plate over the pan, hold in place and flip so the cake is now sitting on the platter.  Remove cake pan.  If some lemon slices stick to the bottom of the cake pan, remove them and place on top of the cake.  Serve at room temperature.  Enjoy!

**Cake will last two days stored in an air-tight container, at room temperature.**

5 Must Check Our Upside Down Cakes

Craving  more citrus in your life?  Head to Broma Bakery for an upside down winter citrus cake that is sure to brighten any January day.

Before pear season is gone, make Fix Feast Flair’s cardamom pear upside down cake.

Love grapefruit?  Check out Food on Fifth’s recipe for a grapefruit upside down cake.

Spring will come and when it does make Martha’s plum-blueberry upside down cake.  This is on my must make list.

I love all things banana flavored so I need to make David Lebovitz’s banana upside down cake, knowing my picky nine-year old will refuse to eat it.  Banana hater.

Warm Rice Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette + 5 Rice Salad Links

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Here it is.  My feel good, good for you January salad straight from Brooklyn Supper.  This beauty contains warm whole grain rice dressed with a light and bright blood orange vinaigrette made more complex with minced shallots and a good squeeze of mild honey. Rainbow Swiss chard is sautéed in a bit olive oil along with a sliced shallot and tossed into the salad; after all greens are a must (for many) in January.  Next come the add-on(s): raw pepitas, dried tart cherries, chives, peeled blood orange rounds and feta.  I could eat this pairing everyday.  And I did, until it disappeared.

Now back to sweets, after all January is almost over.

Warm Rice Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Serves 4 to 6

very slightly adapted from Brooklyn Supper

Ingredients for vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon blood orange zest

3 tablespoons blood orange juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/2 olive oil

good squeeze of a mild honey

Directions:

Grab a small bowl and whisk together the blood orange zest, juice, shallot, mustard, salt and pepper.  Continue to whisk while slowly adding the olive oil.  Whisk until the dressing is well combined and thick.  Add a squeeze of honey. Whisk. Taste.  Repeat if you want it more sweet.

Ingredients for the rice salad:

1 cup dry black rice or wild rice

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup raw pepitas

1/4 dried tart cherries

2 tablespoons EVOO

1 shallot, sliced

1 bunch of rainbow chard, chopped

3 medium blood oranges, peeled and sliced into rounds

2 tablespoons, chopped chives

1/2 cup feta cheese (optional but delicious)

Directions:

Cook rice according to package directions.  Strain excess water and toss cooked rice with 1/4 cup of vinaigrette.  Set aside.

Using a medium skillet, sauté (medium heat) the sliced shallots in the olive oil until they just begin to brown, about 2 minutes.  Add the chopped chard and a bit of sea salt.  Continue to sauté until the chard begins to wilt, about 5 minutes.

Add the shallots and chard to the rice.  Add the cherries, pepitas and more dressing.  Toss.  Taste.  Add salt, if needed.  Place blood orange rounds throughout the salad.  Lastly, top the salad with the feta, chives and a bit of black pepper.  Serve and enjoy!

**Salad will last refrigerated in an airtight container for several days, though it is best the day it is made.  Eat cold, at room temperature or heated up a little in the microwave.**

5 Rice Salad Links You Can’t Miss!

Looking to be or stay healthy this month?  Head to Del Sole’s for Licias’s take on a superfood salad.

If you love pomegranate seeds you need to check out Pinch of Yum’s pomegranate, kale, wild rice salad with walnuts and feta.

If this salad was my last meal on earth, I would die happy.  Head to one of my favorite blogs, Cookie and Kate for the recipe.

When corn and nectarines are once again abundant, I plan on making Not Without Salt’s green rice salad with nectarines and corn.  Summer, summer, summer…

The kitchn’s chopped brown rice salad with grapes and pecans is a salad I plan on making very soon because I am done with grilled cheese crusts and Sunbutter sandwiches…for now. 🙂

Roasted Citrus Salad + 5 Bright Winter Salad Links!

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We are in the thick of it.  Winter, that is.  The days are cold, dense gray clouds hide the sun most of the time.  The plants and trees sleep peacefully, unresponsive to the winter light.  I search for color.  I find it in my daughter’s hazel green eyes, my new nephew’s perfect pink lips, the seldom blue sky; the occasional holly bush I spot on my morning run.  I would welcome a foot of snow, now.  Anything to brighten up this fallow landscape.

Fake it til’ you make it.  Do what you need to.  So I hop in my car, crank the heat and drive to the grocery store.  I linger in the produce and flower sections.  The colors and fragrance sooth my winter weary spirit.  I grab as much citrus as I feel necessary.  Blood oranges, lemons and a few apples.  Every so often, I grab a bouquet of out of season tulips or daffodils.  Spring will come, it has to.

rsc0006DI eat one blood orange, hoping the vitamin c will help my immune system fight the latest stomach bug that plagues our house.  I slice another blood orange, remove the seeds and marvel at the color.  I grab a lemon and slice it.  The bright smell wakes me up.  I toss the citrus with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them at 425F for about 15 minutes.  Roast? Yes.  According to Bon Appetit, the high heat will caramelize the natural sugar and add depth to the fruit.  They seem to know what they are talking about.  While the citrus cools I prep the rest of the salad.

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I rip apart the kale and massage it with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Within a few minutes the kale softens and becomes edible.  I toss the kale into a large bowl with the prepared onion and roasted citrus.  Add a quarter cup of silvered almonds for crunch and a bunch avocado slices for creaminess.  I drizzle the entire salad with a tablespoon of agave nectar and season it with a bit more sea salt and pepper.  After I gently toss the salad, I take a big bite.  Healthy and fresh, this citrus salad is just what I need to get through these winter days.

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Roasted Citrus, Kale + Avocado Salad

A healthy kale salad with roasted citrus, avocado and silvered almonds.  A few slices of red onion add a nice bite and a drizzle of agave nectar balances the subtly tart lemons.  Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 blood orange, sliced 1/8″ thick, seeds removed

1 lemon, sliced 1/8″ thick, seeds removed (try to get a Meyer lemon, as they are a bit sweeter than a regular lemon)

4 tablespoons olive oil

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 of a small red onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

1 bunch of kale, washed, dried, ribs removed and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup mint leaves

1 avocado, sliced into wedges

1/4 cup silvered almonds

sea salt

1 tablespoon agave nectar

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 425F.  Toss orange and lemon slices with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a bit of kosher salt and pepper and place on a rimmed baking sheet.   Roast the citrus for 10-15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes, until citrus starts to caramelize and is a bit charred.  Allow to cool.

Using a large bowl, mix onion with lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and let stand for about 5 minutes.  (This process helps the onion soften a bit.)  Set aside.

Place prepared kale in a separate large bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Massage the kale with your hands for 3-5 minutes.  The kale will soften a bit and that is a good thing!

Add kale, roasted citrus, mint and silvered almonds to the bowl with the onion.  Drizzle with scant 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of agave nectar.  If necessary season with sea salt and pepper.  Just before you are ready to serve the salad, add the avocado and gently toss.  Enjoy!

5 Winter Salad Links  You Must Check Out!

I love candied pecans, especially when thrown into a salad.  If you like them too, check out two peas & their pod’s recipe for apple, grape, candied pecan salad with maple mustard dressing!

Need a go to green salad? Head to Cookie + Kate for Kate’s green salad with apples, cranberries and pepitas.  Yum!

Smitten Kitchen’s endives with oranges and almonds and spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette are on my must make list this month!

I love fresh dates.  I especially love when stuffed with cheese.  If you are a fan of cheese stuffed dates, check out Food 52’s recipe for citrus salad with goat-cheese stuffed dates.  My mouth is watering!

As many of you know, I am running the Boston marathon (my first marathon!) this year for a fantastic non-profit, YES, that helps Boston’s inner-city youth with outdoor, enrichment and leadership development programs.  Please consider making a donation to this fantastic charity.  Any and all donations are greatly appreciated.  Thank you in advance for your kindness and generosity.  Head to https://www.crowdrise.com/youthenrichmentboston2015/fundraiser/kellyfitzpatrick1 to donate online or learn more about YES.

Baked Chicken Meatballs + 5 Must Try Meatball Recipes!

 

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resolution: noun:

the act or process of resolving: the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones: the act of answering: solving, the act of determining

Cross the finish line, even if I have to crawl.  This is my New Year’s resolution.

On April 20, 2015 I will run my first marathon, the Boston Marathon, for a fantastic, local non-profit called YES or Youth Enrichment Services.  I will train all through a long cold winter. I will run until I hit a wall and then somehow keep running.  My muscles will ache and my toenails may fall off.  Beyond all logic I will continue to run.  While I prepare my body for this 26.2 feat, I will fundraise month, after month, until I reach my $10,000 goal.  You read that right.  $10,000.  I will call on friends and family for help; send letters, make phone calls, beg for donations.  I will do what it takes.

Run 26.2 and raise $10,000.  This task feels daunting, yet, somehow, possible.  I am terrified, but excited.  I am pushing and stretching myself further than I have in a long time.  I am ready.

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I should eat more protein smoothies, kale, quinoa and hemp seeds.  Maybe I should even attempt the Bon Appetit’s food lovers’ cleanse.  Or maybe I will listen to my body and eat meatballs and carbs, after all, I am training for a marathon.  It’s January.  I need comfort food.  Food that will stick to my bones.  Food that will keep me running…

Baked Chicken Meatballs

Tender chicken meatballs flavored with oregano, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes and a bit of fresh parsley are perfect on their own with a big salad.  Want pasta? Go for it! Put it on a sub roll and add some provolone cheese for an awesome meatball sub.  Freeze and save for later. So many options.  Enjoy!

makes about 24

recipe slightly adapted from Joy the Baker

Ingredients:

6 slices whole wheat bread, torn into medium chunks ( Italian bread will work here too)

3/4 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 small cloves of garlic, minced

2 pounds ground chicken

2 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

pinch of fennel seeds

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley

3 to 4 cups tomato-based pasta sauce ( I used Rao’s marinara sauce.  When I make marinara sauce from scratch I like this recipe.)

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 375FSet aside 2 9×13 inch pans.

Place bread crumbs in a medium and pour in whole milk.  Soak for 5 minutes or so.

Using a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil a bit.  Add diced onions, a pinch of salt and cook until softened and light brown, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Place the ground chicken in a large bowl. Squeeze excess milk from the bread.  Add only the bread to the chicken.  Toss the milk!  Add the cooked onions and garlic.  Next, add eggs, salt, red pepper flakes, oregano, fennel seeds, parmesan cheese, tomato paste and parsley.  Use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix all of the ingredients together.  I used my hands.  Be sure the ingredients are completely combined.

Spread 1 cup of marinara sauce in each 9×13 pan.  Use your hands to shape the meatballs into a golf ball size.   You should end up with about 24 meatballs. Place 12 meatballs in each pan and top each meatball with a dollop of marinara sauce. (You could also use a steel cookie scoop! I tried this and it was much faster and less messy. I used this scoop.

Bake meatballs for 25-30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the meatballs are cooked through.  Serve with pasta and a simple salad.  We ate them one night with pasta and the next night on slider buns.  The meatballs will last for up to 4 days stored in an air-tight container, in the refrigerator.  You could also freeze any leftovers for an easy weeknight meal.  (Freeze for up to a month in an air-tight container.) Enjoy!

5 Must Make Meatball Recipes!

Looking for a classic Italian meatball recipe? Head to Simply Recipes for Elise’s Italian meatball recipe.  I want to eat 5 of them now!

Need a meatless meatball? Cookin Canuk has a recipe for cannellini bean vegetarian meatballs.  Perfect for meatless Mondays!

If you love chicken parm, check out What’s Gaby Cooking? chicken parmesan meatballs: all the ingredients found in the beloved dish in one delicious meatball!

Serve a spicy and smoky meatball at your Superbowl party this year.  Head to Food 52 for their Korean-style Gochujang meatballs. Yum!

Any meatball in just 5 steps? Yup, it is that easy! Head to Food 52, they’ll walk you through it.

 

Grapefruit Pudding Cake + 5 Delicious Pudding Recipes You Should Try

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I feel preoccupied and overwhelmed. I am 5 weeks away from giving birth to our third child. The kids and Bubba are anxious to meet him. We play the name game at least once a day. G wants to name him Gus or dude. C thought of Owen. Not bad. In fact, Owen was on our short list before G was born. I play along with the name game. I act excited about our new baby; but really I am scared, anxious and overwhelmed. I am not worried about labor and delivery, I know what to expect. I know months of sleepless nights are ahead of me. I know it will take a year before my body looks and feels good. I was here, in this place, twice before, but it feels different this time. This is my last pregnancy. He is my last baby. I will never go through this again, yet all I can think about is not dropping the ball on the other two. All I can think about is: how will I manage this? Bubba is more confident than I am. He reassures me daily that I/we will figure it out. We will, we will, I will…a mantra I’ll repeat to myself over and over again.

I debated for a long time about what to make this week. I crave citrus in the winter so I had to make something that would satisfy my craving. Torn between making a healthy dish or a dessert; I opted for dessert. I know this is a month to eat more kale and wheat berries, and possibly even try a detox smoothie, but I said no thanks. Instead, I made a grapefruit pudding cake. This pudding cake is the perfect dessert to eat after the holidays. It is light and refreshing; something I welcome after several weeks of heavy, yet, delicious desserts.

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There are many lemon pudding cake recipes, but I opted for grapefruit. The zest and the juice from the grapefruit gave just the right amount of tartness to this dish. I do love lemon desserts, but sometimes I find lemon a bit overwhelming.

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A couple of days ago, I bought 6 ramekins at Sur La Table. This was my first time baking with ramekins and I think I’m hooked. They really take the presentation up a notch. gpc0033When the cakes come out of the oven they are puffy and golden with a warm and gooey pudding/curd waiting underneath the light and airy cake. I think they taste best warm or at room temperature. I like them topped with fresh fruit like blackberries or raspberries.

The batter only takes about 15-20 minutes to make. The cakes bake for about 40-45 minutes. You can prep the batter up to 4 hours in advance. Just refrigerate, covered, until ready to bake. This dessert is a nice option for entertaining since it doesn’t require too much effort, but makes you look like a dessert making rock star!

Grapefruit Pudding Cake

recipe adapted from Real Simple

serves 6

Ingredients:

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 large eggs, separated

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup milk ( I used 1% but whole milk will work well)

1 tsp. finely grated grapefruit zest

1/3 cup fresh grapefruit juice

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350° F. Place six 4-ounce ramekins inside a large roasting pan. ( You can also use a two-quart baking dish instead, but the baking times will change.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and flour and set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and melted butter until well combined. Whisk in the milk and grapefruit zest and juice. Add the grapefruit mixture to the sugar mixture. Whisk until smooth.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt on medium-high until stiff peaks form about 3 minutes. Do not overbeat! Gently fold the egg whites into the lemon-sugar mixture in 3 additions.

Pour the pudding evenly into the ramekins or baking dish. (At this point the pudding cakes can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours before baking.) Add enough hot water to the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins or baking dish. Bake until tops are golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes for cakes in ramekins. (It will take 30 to 35 minutes for a cake in a 2 quart baking dish.) Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with fresh berries. Enjoy!

5 Delicious Pudding Recipes To Try Now

Do you like chocolate pudding? How about midnight black chocolate pudding? Head to Joy the Baker’s Blog for her recipe. This might just be the perfect dessert to make for Valentine’s Day.

I loved instant banana pudding when I was a kid. The addition of salted caramel sauce takes this banana pudding up a notch. Yum!

Tapioca pudding sounds a bit retro for dessert these days, but I still love it. Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for coconut tapioca pudding with mango makes it fresh again. Try it!

Want to learn how to make your own instant vanilla pudding mix? Head here.

How about a healthy pudding full of fiber, anti-oxidants and omega-3 to keep your January health kick going? Martha has a recipe for you.

Steel Cut Oats with Poached Pears, Pomegranate Seeds and Almonds + 5 Healthy Breakfasts for 2014

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“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”  Alfred Tennyson

A box of steel-cut oats sat in my pantry for far too long. They kept staring at me, begging me to make something with them, but I avoided it. I am a bit intimidated by steel-cut oats. I know they are healthy, but they seem like too much work at 6:30 in the morning with two kids begging for breakfast and a dog whining to go out. This past weekend I decided to give them a shot. Maybe the new year motivated me or maybe the bitter cold, but either way I set out determined to make a tasty and hearty breakfast. I researched recipes and found one on the vegan food blog Oh She Glows. The recipe mentioned making it ahead and reheating them for up to 4 breakfasts. Perfect. The kids won’t touch it, but Bubba and I will have a hearty and healthy breakfast for two days? Sounds great!

sco0002Here are the very intimidating oats. I know that sounds crazy! I am so glad I gave them a shot. The oats are packed with fiber, protein and iron, so I feel good eating them. 1 cup will serve 4 people. If cooked properly the oats are creamy, warm and comforting: perfect for cold, gray winter days.

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Nearly every morning we eat some sort of fruit with breakfast. This week it is pears. I found a recipe for poached pears by David Lebovitz. This recipe is so easy and the result is soft and sweet pears with just a hint of vanilla and cinnamon.

sco0027Seeding a pomegranate is difficult, but the Kitchn has a great tip that makes the whole process a lot easier and less messy. The seeds are a nice addition to the pears and chopped almonds. They add a little tartness which I enjoy.

sco0045The steel-cut oats taste best served immediately. If you want to save the oats for the next day; allow them to cool to room temperature and then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. When ready to eat, add a little milk and reheat in a microwave or on the stove. Give them a shot this winter. Your body will thank you!

Make Ahead Steel Cut Oatmeal with Poached Pears, Pomegranate Seeds and Almonds

recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

serves 4

Ingredients for Oatmeal:

2 cups of water

2 cups of milk (I used 1 percent)

1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats

2 large bananas, mashed

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

1 tbsp. ground flax seeds

3 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)

1/2 cup chopped, raw almonds (optional)

Directions for Oatmeal:

Combine water and milk in a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil. Add steel-cut oats and a pinch of salt. Stir and reduce heat to low.

Stir in mashed bananas and flax seed. Simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When oats are creamy and soft, remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla extract. Top with poached pears, pomegranate seeds and chopped almonds. Serve immediately. If making ahead, allow oats to cool to room temperature and then transfer them to an air tight container and refrigerate. When ready to eat, add a little milk and reheat in the microwave or on the stove. Enjoy!

Poached Pears

recipe barely adapted from David Lebovitz

serves 4

Ingredients for Pears:

2 cups of water

2/3 cup of granulated sugar

2 Anjou pears, peeled, cored and sliced

1 vanilla bean

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 cup golden raisins

Directions for Poached Pears:

In a medium sauce pan, heat water and sugar until warm and the sugar has dissolved. Add vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Add sliced pears and keep water at a low boil for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pears to cool in the liquid. While still warm, add the raisins. When ready to use as a topping for the oatmeal, strain pears and raisins, reserving the liquid in a separate bowl, and add to the cooked oatmeal. Refrigerate any leftover pears in their liquid for up to 5 days. Reheat gently on the stove. Enjoy!

5 Healthy Breakfasts You Should Try in 2014

If you are a fan of smoothies, try Martha’s fruit and oat smoothie recipe.

Looking for a delicious gluten-free scone recipe? Head here.

I love pancakes and I don’t plan on giving them up now or ever. Brooklyn Supper’s buckwheat pancake recipe with poached clementine syrup is definitely on my list of recipes to try this year.

Tacos for breakfast? Head here for the super-food packed recipe.

I know I should eat more kale this month and maybe try a detox smoothie, but I want a muffin. This pear and hazelnut muffin looks delicious.