Chocolate Kahlua Bread Pudding

I remember the first time I had bread pudding. I was in college, a time where I was exposed to so many new things outside of my (wonderful!) sheltered small-town upbringing. Armed with a dessert coupon to an upscale local restaurant, I remember reading “bread pudding” on the menu and wrinkling my nose. What an odd thing to have for dessert! “No, it’s good!” my friend tried to convince me — and from that first creamy bite, I was hooked.

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Sichuan Peppercorn Noodles

Here’s a fast, tasty, and very flexible meal that seems more special than the typical weeknight dinner. Cooked noodles are tossed with a somewhat spicy, incredibly flavorful oil, tender-crisp veggies and a protein source — for a balanced, one-bowl meal.

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Pear and Kale Smoothie

I’ve had a couple people mention the kale smoothie post, and it tickles me. I guess I just became acclimated to eating them, so the green-ness is no longer strange. To be honest, I sometimes crave them and all their green goodness, like last week when I ran out of kale and was seriously bummed at the thought of “just” a berry smoothie.

When I originally wrote this in the spring, pears were abundant around Trader Joe’s (although not at the local market — only fruit available are still strawberries), so it must’ve be pear season somewhere? 🙂 Pear and kale make a particularly nice flavor combination, and the light-colored flesh of a pear allows the smoothie to stay bright, bright green.

I used a bosc, which I think might be my second favorite type of pear due to its sweetness, softness, and grainy texture. (My favorite being Asian pears! Although, are those technically pears?) It was nice and ripe, and I left the skin on (note that I gave it a good scrubbing and it also was organic). You can freeze your banana if you wish.

I had originally hoped to also include a chopped apple in this, but forgot. Whoops! I think the apple would’ve provided a bright spot to the flavor.

But after all this talk of fresh food, I have to say I’m not 100% virtuous. I did pair it with a chocolate cookie chaser (yes, this was breakfast)… They were made with steel-cut oatmeal, so, not all bad, right?

Pear and Kale Smoothie
Serves one

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe pear, chopped
  • 1 banana
  • 3-4 leaves of kale, chopped
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 4 ice cubes
  • Additional sweetener, if desired

Directions

  • Blend

Soy Chorizo Scramble

A story I remember fondly from my childhood involved some Chinese monks who wanted to reduce the aggression of their king so he would be a more equitable ruler. They developed a mock meat that tasted so good the king never knew the difference, and after a year, he became more placable through reduced meat consumption. Whether this story is true or not, it gave me quite the soft spot for traditional Chinese meat analogues such as the “mock duck” or “gluten chicken” that occasionally made an appearance on our home menu.

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Chinese Stir-Fried Bok Choy

In classic southern Chinese style, this simple vegetable preparation allows the fresh produce to shine through.  This is one of my favorite ways to eat vegetables: tender-crisp, flavored in its own juices (au jus, perhaps?).

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