Feliz día de San Valentin! [Vanilla Bean Pudding]

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Une surprise de mes élèves et collègues!


This week my students have been writing words of love and compliments on hearts to display around the school. It’s amazing: even the boys who scoffed at the assignment came up with some of the most beautiful little quotes — this proves my theory that everyone is a little romantic. Vive l’amour!20130214-203019.jpg
Last year I put some Valentine loving into these sugar cookies and meringues; because what’s February 14th without some dessert? So, if this (sexy) pink quinoa salad leaves your heart wanting something a little sweeter, I’d recommend trying this vanilla bean pudding.
20130214-234211.jpgI’m sending my love across the ocean today, y a toda la gente maravillosa de mi vida aquí — and to you, of course, for reading! You make my heart happy.
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Sexy Pink Quinoa Salad

beet4I have my wonderful roommate to thank for this gem of an endorsement: “This salad is perfect for Valentine’s Day! It’s pink, but it’s light and healthy so you’re able to have a great time in bed after.” (Thanks, Shamora!)beet2I’ve always liked quinoa salads; they are so versatile and easy to throw together. My enthusiasm for cooking the grain here in Huelva has given me a bit of a reputation amongst my friends — I’ve been called the quinoa queen (a crown I’ll accept!), and they’ve joked that my first born will be named Quinoa (definitely not.). But despite their teasing, my pals have jumped on the quinoa bandwagon too, and some kind of quinoa dish is almost a guarantee at any of our dinner parties.beet1beet3 So, if you were worried about a too heavy meal when you celebrate this day of love, or just something a little healthier to add to a celebratory spread, Shamora and I give you this quinoa dish. Bright pink with a crunch from the beets, creamy goat cheese, a touch of nuttiness, and a kick from the Dijon vinaigrette, I hope you fall in love with this salad, too!
(Sexy) Pink Quinoa Salad

Sweet Heart

Heart shaped foods might be reserved for Valentine’s Day (which I hope was lovely, by the way!), but this quick dessert will taste good any day of the year.


Good news: meringue does not kill poodles. Our silly puppy manged to pull a meringue down from the kitchen counter when I wasn’t looking. These hearts are a little fragile, so make sure you keep your curious puppy away…you don’t want any broken hearts!

The meringue thief. Guilty puppy.

I just took a simple meringue recipe and made the individual hearts by spooning the meringue within a heart shaped cookie cutter on the baking sheet.  Topped with vanilla whipped cream, lots of berries and a drizzle of chocolate sauce this was a light and scrumptious way to end the meal.

For an easy chocolate drizzle, just melt chocolate chips! The higher quality, the tastier it will be.

Capture hearts with this dessert any time of the year!

(XO)llent Sugar Cookies

Valentine’s Day is coming right up (as in tomorrow!), and I love it.  No, I don’t like the overly corny marketing and yes, if you love someone you should show it all year ’round. But despite all the reasons so many people love to hate it, I’m a fan. I mean really, no matter your relationship status, there’s always someone you can send a little special love to. Family, friends, the puppy…all good candidates for getting a shoutout on the day of love. 

Sugar cookies should be simple; the appeal lies in the old-fashioned sweet buttery goodness.  This recipe (which is really an awesome master recipe for about 14 variations — I went with regular and toasted coconut this time) is great for beginner bakers and experienced cookie monsters alike.  These cookies freeze really well, so you can start making your holiday cookies wayyyy in advance! (One day I will be that organized.)

 Another reason why I love Valentine’s Day might lie in my weird penchant for conversation hearts. I know, they don’t even taste that great, but I bet if they were home made they would be delicious! Check out this recipe for the little treats, sounds awesome! http://bravetart.com/recipes/ConversationHeartsGF

You could ice these sugar cookies with some colourful royal icing to make your own conversation hearts; all the fun of a conversation heart in a cookie! Yum.
Want to show someone a little love? Say it with sugar…