Everything Chocolate: Blackout Cake with Chocolate Crunch

There’s not many people I know who hate chocolate. Whether used in desserts or breakfast, it’s one of those special treats that can be extremely versatile and very delicious. So coincidentally enough, when I got my January issue of Food Network Magazine, this month’s Fun Cooking featured “A Year of Chocolate.” I think I instantly gained five pounds just looking at the array of chocolate goodies each month had to offer. From mousses to bread puddings, parfaits to pies, my mouth was instantly watering and my hands were itching to make as many of these recipes as possible. Challenge accepted! Lately, it seems I’ve been succumbing to one challenge after the next, what with my 2015 Reading Challenge and all (see Taking a Page from ‘Julie and Julia’ for more details). Nevertheless, if it must be a challenge at least its a chocolate one. Our first recipe for the month of January features a behemoth of a cake, much like the one Miss Truchbull made poor Bruce stuff his face with (the exception being much more enjoyable, of course). So if your a chocolate lover, such as myself, take a look at how to make your own Blackout Cake with Chocolate Crunch.

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A Book with More Than 500 Pages

Attention readers, bloggers, fans and resolution enthusiasts. I’m happy to report I’ve finished my first book in my 2015 Reading Challenge conquest! For those of you who don’t know about this year of literature, check out my previous Book Worm post at Taking a Page from ‘Julie and Julia’ and find out more about my New Year’s resolution to read 50 books by the end of 2015. Starting right with number 1, “A book with more than 500 pages” seemed like a good way to kick off the challenge and get my reading juices flowing. And after doing a little bit of research, I found the perfect book to match not only the category but this challenge as a whole: “The Book Thief.” Written by Markus Zusak, many of you may recognize this title after its motion picture version came out in 2013. The title of the book clearly spoke to my renewed desire to read more, and I must say it’s one of the fastest books I’ve finished in a while (and not just because of the sake of the challenge). With that said, here’s a little taste of what “The Book Thief” has to offer and what makes this book such a fantastic page-turner. Let’s begin . . .

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A Hydrangea Love Obsession

I don’t think I’m alone when I say winter is my least favorite time of year. Once the Christmas and New Year holidays come and go, it seems like a lifetime before the air begins to warm, the lawnmowers are out and people can stand being outside for longer than five minutes. Despite my birthday coming up next month, I sometimes wish I could just fast forward to May (or move someplace where temperature never goes below 70 degrees). To give myself a reminder of what I have to look forward to this spring, this post honors one of my favorite things about warm weather — new hydrangeas in bloom. Hydrangeas are my absolute favorite flower, and most recently have gained a lot of meaning for me. A couple months ago, the love of my life Jacob proposed to me and I said yes! It was one of the happiest moments in my life and while we have a ways to go as far as planning, I know without a doubt that the hydrangea will be the feature floral at our wedding. And who says I can’t go ahead and bring a little summer into this bleak and dreary winter now? With that said, here’s a little  idea I had to make a DIY flower wreath, reminding myself of all the things we have to look forward to  this summer.

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