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Nutella-Swirl Poundcake

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I love pound cake. It is most definitely in my top 5 favorites for types of dessert. It is easy to make, keeps well, and it seems to be one of those things that you can enjoy any time of day. I enjoying having it for dessert, for a  sweet breakfast, or as an afternoon pick-me-up with a cup of hot tea or coffee. This pound cake is made with Nutella, which is swirled into the pound cake batter, and makes a nice, marbled cake . It was very, very tasty and I will be making it again for sure.

from: Food + Wine
makes: one 9-by-5-inch loaf

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
one 13-ounce jar Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread)

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Polenta Portobellos

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Polenta is a comforting food for me that brings instant happiness to my day. I love it creamy, baked, or fried until browned and topped with salt and a bit of parmesan. This recipe, which places creamy polenta inside Portobello mushrooms and topped with caramelized onions and Brussels sprouts, makes for a delicious, vegetarian dinner for those chilly weeknights. I used small Portobellos , but after making it I definitely recommend using the largest ones you can find. They shrink quite a bit.

from: Forest Feast
serves: 2-4

4 very large Portobello mushrooms (they shrink during baking), or 6 large, stems removed and gills scraped away
4 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
salt + pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
8-10 Brussels sprouts, sliced paper thin
1 medium red onion, sliced paper thin
2 cups water
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons chèvre goat cheese

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Squash, Quinoa & Kale Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

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This salad, aside from being delicious and delivering a burst of healthy energy, is very versatile. You can use delicata squash, butternut squash, or sweet potato. For the grain you could use millet, quinoa, farro or barley. For the dried fruit, cranberries, raisins, golden raisins, or cherries would be good. Though I love the toasted pepitas, you could use any nuts of your choice. For an easy lunch you can make everything ahead of time and then quickly assemble everything when you need it. I prefer to use Tuscan kale (also called Lacinato or Dino kale) instead of curly kale, because it’s more tender and doesn’t need as long to tenderize in dressing. If you can find delicata squash, use it! It is easier to use because it has edible skin that doesn’t require peeling (unlike butternut) and it is easier to chop. I couldn’t find any on my last trip to the grocery so I used butternut (peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and cut into half moons). The lemon-tahini dressing is creamy, a bit tangy, and delicious. I will definitely be using it again and again.

slightly adapted from: The Oh She Glows Cookbook
serves: 3-4

2 delicata squash, or 1 butternut weighing 1 3/4 to 2 pounds, (peeled if using butternut) halved lengthwise and seeded
1 tablespoon grapeseed or melted coconut oil
fine grain sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 cup uncooked millet or quinoa
1 bunch Tuscan kale, stems removed, stacked and sliced into ribbons
1/2 cup diced red onions, left raw or roasted for deeper flavor
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
3 tablespoons raw or toasted pepita seeds

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Rosy Cheek

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This fine white hot chocolate takes a hint from Latin-American rompope and surprises and delights the sipper with the salty, buttery touch and roasted taste of ground nuts. If you have had a white chocolate and macadamia cookie, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. They are a love-match. The pink peppercorns with their rosy flavor and peppery pop, take this white hot chocolate into cloud-level heights of goodness.

from: Winter Cocktails
serves: 4

1/4 cup roasted & salted macadamia nuts
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 cups milk (whole milk or plain almond milk)
1 tablespoon whole pink peppercorns, crushed, plus more for garnish*
6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped (or white chocolate chips)
pinch salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
6 ounces white rum, optional

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Salty Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprints

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Do you like chocolate? Do you like peanut butter? If not, go about your day not knowing what you’re missing. If so, you really should make these cookies. The cookie is chocolate of course, but it has the chewy, fudgy consistency of a dense brownie. You top this chocolate-y cookie with a creamy, sweet peanut butter filling (think the delicious interior of a buckeye), crown it with a peanut, then drizzle it with silky ribbons of melted milk chocolate. I was a happy girl whilst making these, you should have seen me-meticulously scraping the batter bowl, the peanut butter bowl, the melted chocolate bowl…one must taste all the components you know, quality control and all that. ;)

from: Redbook Magazine
makes: 2 1/2 dozen cookies

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1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
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Open-Face Omelets with Spicy Feta and Escarole

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This has quickly become my favorite weekend breakfast. It’s beautiful and so, so delicious. The za’atar olive oil was so yummy I think I could drizzle it on just about anything, but it went especially well with the salty feta. I definitely plan on using it as a finishing drizzle the next time I make white pizza. The original recipe calls for making this is 2 separate pans, or in 1 pan one after the other, which you can definitely do. I just made it in one pan to make it easy. David and I don’t mind sharing- one plate, 2 forks. If you do want to make 2 separate omelets, just divide everything in half.

from: Food + Wine
serves: 2

1 1/2 tablespoons za’atar*
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 ounces sheep-milk feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
1 scallion, white and light green part only, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, de-seeded and sliced lengthwise- 1/2 minced and the other 1/2 sliced into half-moons
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Creamy Piquillo Pepper & Chickpea Soup With Chicken

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This soup is the easiest soup I’ve ever made. Leftover rice, store-bought rotisserie chicken, jarred piquillo peppers, home-made or store-bought hummus-throw it in a blender and boom, you have dinner! Perfect for a weeknight meal or for lunches during the week. It is flavorful with a nice, creamy consistency.

slightly adapted from:  Food + Wine
serves: 4
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