Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake

I have a grand tradition of making a deeply chocolatey dessert each year for Valentine’s Day.

Because Valentine’s Day really is all about chocolate.

Chocolate and more chocolate.

Which is exactly what you get if you make a chocolate lava cake! A tender, dark chocolate cake surrounding a gooey, fudgy center that flows out and sauces the cake. You can gussy this up any way you like, with ice cream or whipped cream or berries. No matter what you choose, this dessert will be a perfect treat (and it will only take you 15 minutes to make it!).

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Honey Chipotle Shrimp and Grits

Honey Chipotle Shrimp and Grits

I was well into my 20s before I ever heard of shrimp and grits. In fact, I was a senior in college before I ever even tasted grits (why eat something gritty on purpose when creamy is so much better?).

Clearly I had been missing out in a huge way.

Shrimp and grits is a Southern classic! Enjoy it for breakfast, or (if you aren’t quite sure about shrimp first thing in the morning) enjoy it for lunch! Either way, you should make this quick and easy dish immediately. It is so full of flavor—thanks to an amazing marinade—that it will just knock your socks off.

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Avocado, Tomato, Egg Sandwiches

Avocado, Egg, Tomato Sandwiches

I think of this as my pregnant-lady lunch.

Because when you are pregnant and have a toddler, lunch must be tasty and ready in less than 5 minutes. And, you know, it should also have some good things in it, like protein and healthy fats and vegetables. Because…growing a human.

Eating healthy has been a struggle for me this pregnancy. I subsist largely on quick snacks like peanut butter crackers and Chobani yogurt, and then I end up neglecting my vegetables.

That’s why these open-face sandwiches make a perfect pregnant-lady lunch! Avocados are full of folate and potassium; tomatoes (whose nutrients are more fully absorbed together with fats) are full of lycopene and vitamins; and eggs are a great source of vegetarian protein!

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Baked Brie with Pumpkin Butter

Baked Brie with Pumpkin Butter

Let’s talk about really easy, elegant appetizers. Appetizers that look like they took a lot of work, but in fact, took you about 5 minutes. Appetizers that are amazing and yummy and full of butter and cheese. Like appetizers should be.

Because it’s appetizer season!

(Around our house, we readily agree that the only reason to be excited about the Superbowl is good food.)

This baked Brie is so simple and so delicious! It will be a huge hit at any party, whether you plan to eat it on the couch in front of a big TV or around a table with a group of girlfriends.

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Grown-Up Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

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It’s a snow day, so you know what’s on the menu at my house: grilled cheese and tomato soup. It’s the perfect comfort food!

I have so many memories of eating this meal as a child, especially after traipsing around in the snow on a winter day. My mother would stand at the stove and stir milk into the Campbells condensed tomato soup, expertly flipping buttery cheese sandwiches on the griddle. She had a special mug that was just for her tomato soup—because tomato soup should always be served in a mug.

We would sit at our old Formica table, slurping our soup and dipping our melty sandwiches, getting warm enough to go out for another round of sledding down the giant hill in front of our house.

But, of course, I have grown up a little. And as much as I still love the classic grilled cheese and tomato soup of my childhood, I also like to let my comfort foods grow a little.

And seriously, I dare you to find anything more delicious than goat cheese, nutmeg, fresh thyme, runny egg yolks, and balsamic vinegar. I dare you! This grown-up version of a favorite comfort food is just stunningly delicious. Thank you, snow days, for being so yummy.

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How to Make a Wedding Cake: Assembly and Finishing Touches

It’s been a while since I began the saga of making a wedding cake for some good friends of ours. First, I told you all about selecting flavors and then we made cheesecake filling, pumpkin spice cake, and Baileys cream cheese frosting.

Now all that’s left is just assembling the cake! And believe it or not, while this step is a little scary, it’s actually not that hard. (We already did all the hard work when we frosted each layer!)

And when we are done, we will have a beautiful, delicious tiered wedding cake! At last!

I also just want to heap some praises on the wonderful wedding photographer, Lisa Rice of Lisa Rice Photography, who graciously sent me a few of the official cake photos after my camera battery died! If you are looking for a stupendous photographer, especially if you are based in Ohio, go take a look at her work!

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Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup

This pregnancy has definitely done something to my taste buds. For weeks I cringed at the thought of an egg (used to be one of my favorite foods). I suddenly find myself interested in eating Chinese food (one of Dave’s favorite things), and I have discovered a love of potatoes!

I have held a grudge against potatoes for a long time. It just gets my goat that people treat potatoes as a vegetable and neglect their brightly colored roots, fruits, and leafy greens. Potatoes don’t belong on a plate next to a slice of bread. Potatoes are starchy! They drive up blood sugar because the body treats them like carbohydrates!

But…I must admit…they are rather hearty for winter. And the body does need some starchy calories in addition to vegetable nutrients. And potato skins are actually quite full of things that are important to vegetarians, like vitamin B and potassium.

So when I found myself randomly craving potato leek soup, something I had only ever eaten once in my life before, I just went for it. I ate almost the whole batch by myself. And then I made another batch (with a few extra veggies, just because). I think I am hooked.

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