Chocolate Pudding

March 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

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I am a creature of habit. If you know me, you know this. For example: everyday for most of my school years (think 6th-11th grades) my lunch consisted of exactly the same things. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich (creamy pb and strawberry jelly), a bag of chips (Cooler Ranch Doritos, preferably), strawberry-kiwi Capri Sun, granola bar, apple sauce and a chocolate pudding pack. If i was feeling nuts I added carrot sticks. It was all kept in a cabinet in the kitchen where I made it myself. This stemmed from me complaining about the lunches my mom made, because I was a rude and ungrateful (sorry, Mom).

I also went through a phase of only eating honey-nut cheerios for breakfast, a snack of tuna fish, saltines and orange soda after school, but I digress. Now that I have reached adulthood (I pay insurance, so I guess I’m an adult) my inner child gets WAY too excited about chocolate pudding despite having eaten it WAY too much going through school. When I found a recipe from The Kitchn for homemade chocolate pudding it went to the top of my list (or Pinterest board).

The recipe looks overwhelming because it’s a lot of steps, but it comes together pretty quickly (30-45 minutes) plus time to chill. You can be a totally happy camper in no time at all. I made mine mocha by adding espresso powder and love the addition. I didn’t add too much for the sake of my coffee-hating husband but think it added some depth. I also can’t wait to customize it more or take it to the next level (I’m thinking whiskey caramelized bananas and homemade whipped cream). Enjoy, y’all.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tbsp espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

To Make

1) Chop the chocolate into small pieces and set aside.
2) In a medium bowl, whisk together cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt. Then, adding in heavy cream a little at a time, whisk until smooth. It’s a little challenging but comes together when all the cream is added. Finally, stir in the egg yolks. Set this aside.
3) Pour milk, sugar and espresso powder into a saucepan (I used 4 qt). Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a light simmer (bubbles around the edge) and remove from heat.
4) Add warm milk mixture one cup at a time to cream and egg yolk mixture. This is to temper the eggs so they don’t cook when boiled. Once all the milk mixture is stirred in, pour pack into the saucepan. Bring to a boil. Whisk constantly, while boiling, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
5) Add in vanilla in and chocolate. Let sit for several minutes to allow chocolate to melt, then stir in until well combined.
6) Finally, pour the mixture into storage container. Cover with wax paper or plastic wrap (directly in contact with surface of pudding). Chill in the fridge for several hours and then serve and enjoy.

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Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

March 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

I’m just going to start with some boring weather talk. Seattle has been teasing us with sun the last week. We had two gorgeous days that got to 60 last week and it was so glorious. Then it rained for 5 days and now it’s just overcast. Why is this happening? My emotions are so conflicted. The days I want to sit inside and bake are the days its glorious and when I’m ready to get some sun it’s pouring.

One day last week the stars (or sun and clouds rather) aligned and my oven and I got some quality time with this lovely zucchini bread. Feeling inspired by Smitten Kitchen and some almost-old zucchini I whipped up this whole wheat loaf filled with sunflower seeds, chocolate chips and cranberries. The combination is just perfect.

Best part about this? The recipe makes two loaves, one to hoard to yourself and one to share with friends. Feel free (as always) to customize to your hearts content with the fillings. I think next time I would use mini chocolate chips and more dried cranberries.

(makes two 9×5 loaves, based on This Smitten Kitchen Recipe)

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds

To Make:

1) Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 8×4 or 9×5 cake pans and set aside.
2) Beat eggs, then whisk in vegetable oil and sugar until well combined. Stir in zucchini and set aside. In separate bowl stir together flours, baking soda and powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add in to wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. Fold in extras.
3) Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake 50-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans, then serve extra thick slices with some butter and enjoy!

Mimosa Floats!

March 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

This weekend my best gal pals and I are galavanting around St Louis eating donut holes and doing sake bombs (okay, just one) and having an awesome time. This is all in honor of a wedding coming up in a month! Part of this fun weekend is throwing the bride a brunch themed shower. (Of course I love to throw a party focused on one of my favorite meals). This recipe for a mimosa float was made just for this occasion.

I wanted to do more than your average mimosa. (Partially because I’m not a huge fan of orange juice.) So, this is made with sorbet and fresh strawberries. Since I’m throwing it in a town I’m not familiar with I went ahead and got all the ingredients at Trader Joes, since they’re everywhere and have the same food at most of their locations.

I went with their cheapest sparkling wine, the Blanc de Blancs Brut ($4.99 you can’t go wrong), a pint of their mango sorbet ($3.99) and some fresh strawberries ($3). For pretty cheap you can make a lovely, refreshing and sparkly drink. Feel free to customize with your favorite sparkling wine or different sorbet flavors. (Maybe a granita and grapes?)

Ingredients

  • Sparkling wine (Trader Joe’s Blanc de Blancs)
  • Mango sorbet
  • Strawberries, washed and sliced

To Make:

1) Put a few strawberry slices in the bottom of each glass. Pour in 3-4 oz of wine and then add a large scoop of mango sorbet. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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