Double Chocolate Cherry Cobbler

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So, I turned forty recently. FORTY. For the most part, I like birthdays and I have no problem getting older. But for some reason, this one is throwing me for a bit of a loop. Maybe it’s because I’m a mom now, and being a mom is making me nostalgic. And being nostalgic means I’m remembering all the fun things I’ve done over the years (many, MANY years) and for the first time feeling like the door is starting to close a little in my life. Continue reading

Lemon Lime Icebox Pie

I should not be allowed to go into Walgreens.  Fact.  Particularly when I have a baby sleeping (finally!) peacefully in the stroller, and absolutely nowhere I have to be any time soon.  Recipe for disaster.  It’s like strolling right back into my early teenage years . . . right up to and including the bad soft rock music playing on the store’s sound system.  I can sing along with “Rocket Man”, oh yes oh yes I can.  And “Dream Weaver”, and “Wildfire” and “Killing Me Softly.”  All that nostalgia almost makes me want to shop for fake nails and a hair highlighting kit.  Almost.

I should probably not admit these things. Continue reading

Quick and Easy Easter

Chocolate Truffle Bunny, from Truffle!

I know, I’m late to the Easter planning party!  Most of you have probably already made all your plans, picked your menus, and dyed your eggs.  I’m always a little behind with holidays like Easter, since the chocolate biz is crazy for a couple weeks before the big day – I never seem to have time to do any of my own stuff in advance!  But, if you are behind the eight ball, like I am, the least I can do is share some links and ideas with you.  Most of these things are right up my alley – as in, not a ton of ingredients, simple to make/do, not a lot of time or prep involved.  That’s how I roll.  Otherwise, I’d never get anything done!  Wait, actually . . . I don’t get much done.  Never mind.

Ideas for eating:

Easter definitely means pastries, don’t you think?  From the Chocolate & Toast archives, I’m eye-ing these babies:

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Wonton Fruit Cups

Did you have a nice holiday weekend?  I did!  It was an All-American Good Time in my neighborhood – a block party, beer, barbecue, music and games in the street, all topped off with some fireworks lighting up the faces of kids and adults alike.  Even the cloudy, not-so-warm weather couldn’t get us down.  Perhaps because that is the same weather we have every year for the 4th.  But in good weather news – we’re headed toward 85 today and up into the 90’s for the rest of the week!  Stay tuned, I’ll be complaining about the heat soon.

But I digress.

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Olympic Nanaimo Bars

Ever heard of a Nanaimo Bar?  They are a delightful little treat from Nanaimo, British Columbia–not all that far from Vancouver and the 2010 Olympic Winter Games!  You can find these goodies all over the Pacific NW, particularly in coffee shops, and usually in a mammoth sized portion.  They have a chocolate base which often includes graham crackers, coconut, and nuts.  The base is topped with a thick layer of buttercream, which is then topped with a layer of semisweet chocolate.  Heavenly.  And sa-weeeeet!  The original version has vanilla buttercream, my family’s version was always made with a mint buttercream, and commercial versions come in all kinds of flavors and colors.

I actually grew up with Nanaimo Bars, which in my family were called “The Dessert”.  As in The Only Dessert.  The Best Dessert.  The Don’t-Get-Between-Me-And-The-Pan Dessert.  My earlier memories of the treats always include Namo (pet name for my paternal grandmother), who I don’t recall caring much about baking or cooking, but I sure do recall her slapping together a batch of these anytime we went to visit.  And never once snitching on me when I had an extra serving (or five).  Grandmas are the best!

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Banana Bourbon Bread Pudding

banana bourbon bread pudding

So this is what you do with that stale loaf of challah bread.  Whaaat, you don’t have a stale loaf?  Because you ate it all? I know, I know, it’s good stuff.  I had to hide our second loaf, my husband and I polished off the first one in a space of an evening.  Okay, maybe it was half gone when he got home, whatever.  So, go make some more challah, and let’s get on with the show.  The Bread Pudding show.

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Fresh Fruit Galette

fruit galette

Did someone say raspberries?  Oh yeah, that was me.  I’m overrun with raspberries these days, I can’t keep up with picking them.  Our patch is all of 4 feet long, one row, but I have never seen this many berries before!  Blueberries, too–our two little bushes are literally falling over with the weight of all the berries.  We’ve been putting them in drinks, blending them into smoothies, and tossing them back by the handful, but there are still more just waiting . . .

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