Valentine’s Chocolate Mousse

After recently watching Robert Irvine whip up a chocolate mousse on Chopped, I needed to experiment and make my own. I made one or two as a kid, but I had somehow tricked myself into believing that they were too difficult for me to make now, boy, was I wrong! This treat came together in just minutes, sat for the afternoon and was the perfect chocolate bite after dinner. These would be great for a dinner party when you want to make dessert ahead of time, as a chocolately delight for your Valentine or just for those nights when chocolate starts calling your name.finish

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Honey, Vanilla and Orange Panna Cotta with Fresh Garden Strawberries

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The first strawberries of the year are coming in! These berries a small, alpine variety that are jewels of summer sweetness. Pop one in your mouth and you’ll hear the sound of an ice cream truck and feel the cool of your neighborhood pool on a hot July day.

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I wanted to do something special with these delicacies and I wanted to make sure that I highlighted them as the star of the show, rather than muddling their flavor. To that end, I went out of the box to create a fresh, colorful summer dessert that shows off the berries and compliments them with other sweets from the earth.

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Red Velvet Cake

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I love making birthday cakes for my friends and family. Even though making cakes for events can really be stressful when you’re trying to make sure everyone loves the cake and that nothing goes wrong at the last minute (haha), it’s such a joy to be able to make the people you love feel special. I’ve made cakes we’ve enjoyed while camping, made cakes that got sat on (repeatedly), made cakes that were elegant and make cakes that were…..hideous special…

This cake, inspired by an Alton Brown recipe, turned out quite well and was a special treat for my mom’s birthday. I added some berries within the cake layer and on top to break up the thick cream cheese frosting and to contrast the cocoa of the cake. Here’s a fresh twist on a classic cake sure to bring everyone together!

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Zucchini Bread Muffins

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I love zucchini bread. No, really; if I see if from afar, I will go out of my way to capture it and consume it as soon as humanly possible. I love the moist center, the holiday spices, the crunch of the squash-but what I love the most about zucchini bread is the memories it brings back to me. When I was little we went to the beach every summer and we always stopped at this one special farm stand. They had the best corn picked only moments before being sold, amazingly sharp white cheddar, incredibly sweet fruits and the world’s best zucchini bread. Even now, zucchini bread reminds me of that stand and lazy summers spent in the salty air. I’ve tried in vain to recreate that stand’s recipe for years, and come to the realization that maybe muffins are the way to go, rather than the traditional bread. I’ve had more success keeping the muffins moist than I have with bread, and it seems that the spices are more aromatic in the smaller form. I really like the contribution of the applesauce in this recipe, it gives the muffins sweet flavor and keeps them moist and the holiday spice blend in this recipe makes your house smell amazing! Give this recipe a shot and let me know what you think!

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Mom’s Banana Bread

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Once upon a time, I hated bananas. Something about the mushy texture and the smell combination. I carried on avoiding these awesome fruits until one fateful night when I had leg cramps so badly that I forced my way through a banana in hopes that the potassium would cure me. Not so surprisingly, the banana saved me from the leg cramps and suddenly bananas were back on the scene. I still avoid the perfectly ripe ones and really only eat mine when they are still just a bit green, but I now try to incorporate bananas into my diet frequently.

In my new-found acceptance of bananas, I’ve tried my fair share of banana breads. Some with nuts, some with dried fruits, some filled versions and some muffins, but I have to say this classic recipe from my mom is my favorite. This delicate and slightly sweet bread showcases the flavor of the bananas and is extremely moist.

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Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Apple Cinnamon Cake with Maple and Walnut Glaze

As much as I tried to pretend it wasn’t happening, I can no longer ignore the fact that fall is coming. The trees are starting to turn, the nights are cold, the Broncos are back every Sunday and pumpkins are showing up everywhere. Sigh…goodbye summer! Time to embrace the fall!

In the spirit of the season, and in an attempt to bring a sweet snack to choir that everyone could eat, I whipped up this cinnamon apple cake. I made the cake twice, tested the first attempt on my gracious coworkers and then make some tweaks to make it more to my own liking. This is a simple, moist cake with great spices and a moderate level of sweetness. I’ve added loads of apples so that every bite has a little bit of the tart crunch from an apple mixed with the moist, spicy undertones from the cake. This is a great recipe for a potluck or Sunday dinner in the fall, enjoy!

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