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Nutella Bread Pudding

Warm, chocolate Nutella Bread Pudding is destined to put the shimmy back into your step even during these frigid, cold winter months. Heat up for breakfast, sprinkle with powdered sugar and eat slowly or it will be gone before you know it.

I am pretty sure I have the winter slumps guys.

I dream of spring morning, noon, and night. But at what cost? Why am I wishing away pieces of my days regardless if they are filled with darkness, frigid temperatures, ice, and snow?

I tried to visualize the energy that was binding me from enjoying every day. That was washing away all the energy that I only seemed to have in short supply. Bits and bobs of life force would come in during certain parts of the day and I would be able to bee-bop my way through the rest of my existence. But the rest of the time was spent wrapped in the covers, in the confines of my winter hibernation fort as I just wanted the rest of the season to end and to wake again to a sunny 75 degrees.

I’ve collected these moments into memory over the last couple of weeks. Over the last two years, our winters have been worse than it’s been for awhile. We’ve had many a mild disposition for winter weather in past years and yet we still state our grievances.

What I have collected from these memories and what surprised even myself was my adaptation and gratitude for what is now considered to me just another passing season.

Instead of resisting it, I am learning to embrace it. I have found those small bits and pieces of life energy that I recognized in myself and started to sprinkle it into my thoughts about our winters here in Pennsylvania, which in comparison to many other places around the globe, are nothing to get angry about.

Everyday, I look around at the Earth and recite one piece of gratitude that I feel about this particular season. Some days can be more difficult than others. Most days, I still want to live in my hibernation fort and forget that winter ever exists.

But, I throw the covers off of my head, place my hands in a prayer at my heart.

“Today, I am thankful for warm soups.”

or

“Today, I am grateful for my warm bed.”

My thought for today was, “Today I am thankful for Nutella.” As I took a big spoon into the mammoth container. It reminded me of the bread pudding I made for Valentine’s Day.

I used eggy Challah bread for this recipe because it’s rich and soaks up all the custard filling creating a super soft bread pudding. Baking it into my cast iron skillet really gave this a rustic quality while I made sure to really press the bread cubes into the custard and let sit for 15-30 minutes to allow the flavors to really meld together.

I left the cubes large enough so that the resulting bread didn’t end up mushy and you were able to taste each bite.

Nutella Bread Pudding

Adapted From America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients:

1 loaf of challah bread, cut into cubes (My loaf was 14 ounces)

7 eggs

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

2 cups whole milk

1-1/2 cup Nutella Spread

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 finger pinch of salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a baking dish or cast iron skillet & set aside.

Cut bread into cubes and place into your prepared pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, cream, milk, Nutella spread, sugars, vanilla & salt.

Top the bread cubes with half the semi-sweet chocolate chips & then pour the custard mixture over the bread cubes until submerged. Sprinkle over the remaining chocolate chips.

Gently pat down the bread with a spatula so that all the bread soaks up the custard. Allow to sit for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

Place into your preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes -1 hour or until the middle is set and the edges are crisp.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar & serve warm.…

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake

A layer of chocolate cookie crust, peanut butter cream cheese, and melted chocolate topped with crushed peanut butter cups, this Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake is one indulgent bite after the other!

It feels as though I have been gone forever. Lost in translation. I’ve missed being in the kitchen. Missed the flour strewn about on the counter, on my hands and my face. The smell of baking bread in the and then lathered with butter as it comes out of the oven to cool.

I’ve been feeling mass amounts of busy-ness for awhile. We officially finished all the moving into our house and have been slowly still going through the mass of stuff that needs to be packed away for later, sorting through various boxes and organizing piles.

Also, the busy-ness has travelled to the fact that at the end of March I started up teaching yoga at a new studio that opened up near me. I am teaching 3 days a week, so writing classes, compiling playlists, penning guided meditations has taken up a lot of the free time that I had. It is my first yoga job since getting my certification two years ago. It’s thrilling, I get to meet tons of new people, and share another one of my passions to whomever is interested. I think I got a handle on it now so that I feel like I can sprinkle in my other passion again.

The last two months has been an experience. Moving and getting established in a new place, new routines, some days I feel like I am just moving through water. The weeks have been flying by, leading way to months and the next thing I knew it was May.

So can we talk about this cheesecake for a moment? I’ve had this recipe in my arsenal for awhile. I made it back in February for my husband’s birthday cake. I made it the night before the party I had planned for him. Even cut my finger on the blade of my food processor for this cheesecake. But it was remarkably worth it. Because nobody but me would try and separate clumps of Oreo cookie crust by sticking their fingers in the food processor.Not while it was on mind you. I do have some sense.

I had everything ready to go. I did the chocolate glaze and peanut butter topping the morning of and let it sit in the fridge after taking some photos of it. I had chicken wings marinating in the fridge, frozen grapes, snacks galore.

Then I see that all too familiar look on Mr. FB’s face. That look of “I’m ok, but not really.”

He had gotten a migraine headache on his birthday, a mere hour and a half until his party was about to start. He was down for the count. I felt terrible for him. He tried to hold it together that day, tried to tell me that he was ok, tried to push through the pain, but I knew he couldn’t.

We ended up cancelling the party, but celebrated with cheesecake when he recovered around 7 o’clock that night.

This Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake is one of those amazing, comforting, down in the dumps, serious chocolate, robust richness recipes. When you feel like you want to run away from it all, or celebrate it all, it’s there.

So I am looking forward to this summer. We want to take lots of family trips this year, Mr. FB and I want to go away for our anniversary in August, and I have lots of recipe ideas in my noggin to share with all of you.

I love summer trips, I love being able to walk barefoot out in the grass, feeling the sun on my face while cruising around.

Tell me! What is your favorite thing to do in summer?

Oh, and make this cheesecake. Because you won’t regret it.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Adapted from Taste & Tell Blog

Serves 15

Ingredients:

Crust:

30 chocolate sandwich cookies

6 Tablespoons butter, melted

pinch of salt

Cheesecake Layer:

32 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature

5 eggs

1-1/2 cups brown sugar

1 Cup smooth Peanut Butter

1/2 cup cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 ounces mini peanut butter cups, chopped

Chocolate Topping Layer:

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

8 ounces mini peanut butter cups, chopped roughly

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place the chocolate sandwich cookies in a food processor and pulse until they form into fine crumbs. Add the butter and salt and pulse until combined. Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9″ springform pan. Bake crust for 9-10 minutes and set aside to cool. Once cool, wrap aluminum foil around the bottom of the springform pan to prevent any leaks.

While crust is cooling, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs in one at a time making sure to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl during the process. Add in brown sugar peanut butter, cream, and vanilla and continue to mix until combined. Fold in the chopped mini peanut butter cups until incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared cooled crust.

Place the springform pan on top of a baking or broiler pan and add about an inch of hot water to the larger pan. Bake the cheesecake until set but still slightly jiggly in the middle – about an hour and 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool inside for another hour or so. Remove and allow the cheesecake to cool completely before placing in the fridge.

To make the chocolate topping layer, pour the chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl. Heat the heavy cream until just simmering and then pour the cream mixture over the chocolate chips. Allow the mixture to sit together for about 5 minutes and then whisk together until smooth. Pour all over the top of the cheesecake. Sprinkle the top with the roughly chopped mini peanut butter cups.

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.…

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