Warm Fuzzy Valentine

Here's a quick little Valentine's decoration with a twist: It holds chocolate!

  1. Felt
  2. Fabric glue
  3. Needle and thread
  4. Embroidery floss
  5. Pins
  6. Scissors
  7. Ribbon
  8. Chocolate!
Cut heart shapes out of felt. I cut two sizes, one for the front sides of the pockets that will hold the chocolate, to decorate the pockets with. Glue (or sew, if you prefer) the smaller decorative hearts to the larger (pocket) hearts (you can also do this second step later; I just happened to do it at this point).

Pin large hearts onto another piece of felt and cut around it to create the back sides of the pockets.

Set front sides of pockets aside and lay the back sides out in a line. 

Measure out a piece of ribbon and position lay it on top of your row of pocket-backs. Pin in place

Sew (or glue, if you prefer) the ribbon to the pocket-backs.

Pin the front sides of the pockets to their corresponding backs. Using embroidery floss, sew most of the way around, leaving the top open (pic below is out of sequence).

Fill the pockets with chocolate and hang (use push-pins, magnets, or sew a ring to the top of the ribbon -- I used magnets to attach my chocolate-pocket heart garland to a lamp).

Happy Valentine's Day!

Purty Bird

Chocolate Chip Pear Bread

I have a baking buddy. I think everyone should have one. Each of us adds something to the mix - and the result is usually really good - it's different every time!

My baking buddy, Lisa, & I came up with this recipe. We've been baking breads together since last summer and take bits and pieces from different recipes and put it all together.

I wanted to make a pear bread & my buddy added the key ingredient that I think makes this bread so good - ground cloves! It gives it a very light, almost minty flavor. Hope you like it as much as I do - it's my absolute favorite!

1/3 cup brown sugar
3 TB unsalted butter or Ghee (softened)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce

Mix dry ingredients, add to above mixture & crack 2 large eggs into it:
2 cups flour
2 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda

Fold in:
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 large Asian pear or 2 smaller pears peeled & cut into chunks

Bake at 350 degrees in a loaf pan (9x5x3) for 1 hour. Let it cool & enjoy!



Fabulous Chocolate Pudding Cakes

I have always shown my love to family and friends through my creations from the kitchen. From the time my kids were little, time spent around the dining room table was precious - time to share our day, our humor, our stories and our love. And fabulous food. Here is a recipe for one of my family's favorite desserts, perfect for a Valentine's Day dinner. They are easy to make and can be made ahead of time. Just pop them in the oven 10 minutes before you want to serve them.

This dessert is all about the chocolate and butter so, first, you must let go of the worries about cholesterol and calories! Here is what you will need:

5-1/2 oz of bittersweet chocolate (don't skimp here - it is all about the chocolate)
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter
3 whole eggs and 3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
5 tbsp flour

Lightly butter 6 ramekins with the 1 tbsp of butter. Set aside. Melt the chocolate with the remaining butter in a double boiler over gently boiling water. If you don't have one, set a heatproof bowl over gently boiling water. Stir them together as they melt until they look like this.
Set aside to cool. If you put the chocolate mixture in a clean bowl, it will cool faster.

In another bowl, mix together the eggs and yolks, using a hand mixer on medium speed, for about 5 minutes - until they are a nice lemon color like this.

Add flour and mix again, just until blended. Add cooled chocolate mixture and mix one last time, just until blended. Pour this equally into the ramekins. At this stage, you can cover with wrap and set aside at room temp until you are ready to put in the oven.

Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for only 10-11 minutes. The outside should look like a brownie but the inside should still be moist and shake a bit. Don't over cook them! They should look like this (or even moister in the middle, if you prefer).

Sprinkle a little confectioner's sugar, add a dallop of whipped cream or even top with a little vanilla ice cream.

That's it. All done and to die for. Off to show my family some love ... and share my pudding cakes with them. Happy Valentine's Day!