Seasonal Sundays: Chocolate for ♥♥♥ (Week 7)

Seven recipes for Valentines and all times, some cookies, some cakes, some puddings, some fruity things hard to classify ... oh, I do so hope you'll find one or two destined as "keepers" in your own chocolate-lovin' world.

Seasonal Sundays, a weekly newsletter ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

Seasonal Sundays is 100% written by a real, live human, no blah-blah copycat ChatGPT AI plagiarism, thank you very much. Any awkward phrase, unclear meaning, misspelled word, mistaken fact, bad punctuation or overwrought alliteration is the clean, proud product of my own inadequacy as a wordsmith and oversights as an eagle-eyed editor. But when that human says she's grateful that you're here, reading, well, please know, she really truly 100% means it.

Two quick chocolate stories.

Many years back, good friends were having difficulty conceiving. She quit work, eliminating weekly travel and professional stress. Still, no luck. So they crafted a plan: sex every other day, no matter what plus the promise of chocolate croissants and coffee on Saturdays at a lovely little French bakery. Now they're the parents of three (and grandparents to two, so far). They swear, the chocolate croissants did the trick.

Some fewer years back but still a long while ago, a good friend just wasn't into chocolate. It just did nothing for her, she'd skip dessert if it were chocolate. (Ha! I know!) How was her daughter to grow up with a proper appreciation? Enter the Chocolate Mentor, that would be me. It was such fun, those years. Stef and I would taste different chocolates, we'd bake with chocolate, we'd try different chocolate desserts out. Now? She's a fun-loving, hard-working engineer who's crazy for chocolate.

The Magic of Chocolate!

In Praise Of ...

  • ... sleeping cool, helped by new nightdresses made from bamboo aka viscose, a fabric that I'd always assumed would be thin and scratchy and cheap. But it's not! I bought two, the fabric is soft with a little stretch, so comfortable both sleeping and while procrastinating getting dressed in the morning. Check out this pretty blue one with short sleeves and this pretty white patterned sleeveless one (affiliate links). My only wish? Pockets!

  • ... experimenting with a bunch of new recipes for our Mardi Gras party last night

  • ... finally, the full video of Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs performing Fast Car at the Grammy's, it's here. Just watching her hands, her face, such grace. I've been a fan ... forever.

THE SEASONAL SEVEN: Chocolate for ♥♥♥

For this week's recipes, I aimed for recipes with winter flavors and combinations that ...

  • ... are weekday do-able, especially the night before
  • ... cover all sorts of sweets, cookies, cakes and pies, even warm desserts
  • ... won't break the calorie budget, the household budget either
  • ... are definitely, totally, 100% chocolate mode
  • ... are a touch unexpected, not weird, just not the everyday usual chocolate
Light 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding ♥, just five ingredients so perfect for weeknights or late-night chocolate attacks.

Chocolate-Almond Shortbread Cookies ♥, crisp little chocolate shortbreads, easy to ship. Made with almond meal. Gluten Free, Low Sugar and Low Carb.

Old-Fashioned Black Walnut Chocolate Cake in Mini Tea Cakes ♥, a classic chocolate cake, moist and earthy, studded with black walnuts.

Sweet Potato-Chocolate Swirl Pie ♥ A Veggie Venture, a classic sweet potato pie plus chocolate, a beautiful combo.

Chocolate Cream Puffs Stuffed with Strawberries & Cream ♥, barely sweet little desserts just two bites big, perfect finger food.

Homemade Chocolate Sauce In-a-Flash ♥, just ten minutes and five pantry ingredients, you've got chocolate sauce!

Chocolate Decadence Cake ♥, the ultimate chocolate experience, a dense, moist and ultra-rich almost-flourless chocolate cake. Serve in small slivers!

A collection of seasonal chocolate recipes, tips and more ♥

Sweet Endings: Raspberries, Not Chocolate

Lemon Pudding Cake ♥, the old-fashioned lemon dessert, lemon cake on top and lemon pudding on the bottom, now with raspberries or blueberries.

Raspberry & Red Wine Granita ♥, an icy-cold raspberry slushee for grown-ups. Just three ingredients, no ice cream maker, just a freezer and a fork.

Red Wine Coulis ♥, a sweet-but-tart raspberry sauce and a perfect added-touch for desserts, especially chocolate desserts. Just three ingredients!

What's New?!

Wondering about a recipe from the last while? Check Recent Recipes from Kitchen Parade and Recent Vegetable Recipes from A Veggie Venture.

Roasted Pear Salad ♥, pears roasted then steeped in a wine and butter sauce and served on salad greens with toasted goat cheese. An elegant salad worthy of a special occasion.

ISO Last-Minute Appetizers?

Tuna & White Bean Dip ♥, a real crowd pleaser. Low Carb. High Protein. Naturally Gluten Free. Weight Watchers Friendly!

Easy Shrimp Bites ♥, just four pantry ingredients, a snap to assemble.

Herbed Goat Cheese, another Concept Recipe ♥, just a creamy goat cheese base plus veggies and fresh herbs, perfect for impromptu entertaining. Great for Meal Prep.

February: Reader Favorites

Julia Child's Soubise (Onion & Rice Casserole) ♥ Dreamy. Heavenly. Ethereal. Addictive. Yes, it's that good.

February: Lost Recipes

Beef Barley Soup with Mushrooms ♥, hearty, meaty soup packed with root vegetables and earthy mushrooms and the addictive nuttiness of barley.

The Kitchen Parade Almanac: Looking Ahead ...

  • Fridays During Lent - Friday Fish
  • February 19th (Monday) - President's Day
  • February 29th (Thursday) - Leap Day 2024
  • March 1st - Alanna's Unofficial First Day of Spring
  • March 10th (Sunday) - "spring forward" time change
  • March 10th (Sunday) - Academy Awards
  • March 12th - Equal Pay Day
  • March 14th (Thursday) - Pi Day
  • March 16th (Saturday) - St. Urho's Day
  • March 17th (Sunday) - St. Patrick's Day
  • March 19th (Tuesday) - First Official Day of Spring
  • March 28th (Thursday) - Baseball Opening Day!
  • March 31st - Easter (yikes! soooo early!)

Looking Back ...

Veggies Forever

Vegan Chickpea Gumbo, another healthy soup ♥ A Veggie Venture. A Cajun Classic. Low Fat. Weight Watchers Friendly. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Great for Meal Prep.
  • THE RECIPE Vegan Chickpea Gumbo A hearty low-fat plant-based gumbo, packed with vegetables and Cajun flavors.
  • ANOTHER TAKE Gumbo A classic Cajun gumbo, except that the roux is cooked in the oven. (PIN This)

Good to Know!

Slow Cooker & Oven Slow-Cooking Recipes ♥, supper savers, sides and more.

Trader Joe's Test Kitchen

Oh my. What a sweet treat, maybe perfect for a weekday Valentine? The Double Chocolate Croissants do require some planning. They come four to a box, frozen. They must be thawed at room temperature for NINE hours before baking and then take almost an hour to bake. Serving them for breakfast? Plan ahead.

PS Not as good nor as crispy as my favorite good-bakery croissants but not bad for boxed and frozen and ... chocolate!

A Quick Peek Into a Real-Life Kitchen

Just so you know, everything's not all pretty pictures around here, in the background is a pile of dirty dishes. And just like many (all?) of us, come five o'clock, I too draw a blank about what to make for supper, despite so many recipes I so dearly love. Here's a quick peek from the last week.

How to Transform Your Morning Oatmeal with Creamy Oatmeal ♥, half steel-cut oats and half old-fashioned rolled oats cooked in part milk, part water. Great texture. Great for meal prep. Weight Watchers Friendly.
  • THIS WEEK After a few days of restaurant and road food, oh it's so good to be in my own kitchen cooking up healthy, wholesome fare. We stuck with savory versions, frying an egg or two for a bowl instead of the usual. So good!!
  • THE RECIPE Creamy Oatmeal Three tricks for the very best oatmeal, all easy! (PIN This)

Something to Read

Wow. Most science fiction fast-forwards a few years, maybe a few hundred years. This? It moves light-years fast 57,000 years. Yes, thousand. I'm not sure I followed it all or "get" the ending but the sentient creatures, the world-building, the flying moose, well, it's fascinating and all seems entirely ... plausible ... because who in heck can imagine a world that far in the future. This author, she can, she does and she's getting awards and award nominations from all over.

Oh. And for some real sizzle? Get at least as far as Chapter 26. Or was it Chapter 27? Tee hee ...

Don't Be a Stranger ...

I'd love to hear from you. Comment, send me a quick e-mail (my current address is in the FAQs), dot-dash in Morse code, build a fire for smoke signals, launch a message in a bottle, send a Christmas letter, get the dog to yip, toss me a note wrapped in a rubberband, write a message in the sky, scratch a note in the sand, listen to a seashell, tuck a question into a plastic Easter egg, whatever.

  • Any ideas for Seasonal Sundays? Share away!
  • Who's kinda sad that there's so many good holidays smooshed into a few days this year?
  • Who cooks in / goes out for Valentine's Day? Who does Gal-entines? Sounds fun!
  • Who's thinking what fun might be had on February 29th, this Leap Year?
  • Who thinks their gumbo's better than any restaurant gumbo?
  • Who's itching for a little beach time?
  • Anything else? Chime in, chat away.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. When you make my recipes, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below or better still, on the specific recipe's page.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.