Good morning! I hope you are all enjoying some euphorically warm and sunny spring weather . . . because here in Montana, we are not. This morning I woke up to this:

No, that's not weird grizzly bear dandruff, it's snow. I took this photo sometime after 6:00 AM, and the snow is still falling quite heavily as I write this two hours later. It's okay, springtime will be here soon . . . right?

In the meantime, I'm keeping myself busy with writing and, of course, cooking. If you subscribe to Kitchen Courage, you should also be receiving my Delicious bookmarks as well. I use this bookmarking tool not only for myself, but to share my favorite finds on the internet. I bookmark recipes more often than anything else, but fail to follow through on trying most of these.

This morning, however, I did quite the opposite. I recently made two discoveries: May's Cacao Euphoria and Kate's Wine Poached Prune Plums. Since these concoctions both looked insanely delicious, and because both fit into my new food plan (more on that later this week) and I happened to have a few less-than-amazing plums that needed some sprucing up, I made both of these recipes. Yes, at 6:00 AM. I guess I'm a morning person.

The verdict? You must make these. Both of these, and soon. You will not regret it. May's coconut cream is better than the best frosting I've eaten, which is saying a lot because I love cake frosting. I don't care much for the actual cake, but I go crazy for the frosting. Case in point: at our wedding, the Best Husband Ever and I shared a slice of cake. I ate the frosting while he went for the cake. A match made in Heaven, wouldn't you say?

Kate's wine poached plums are also delicious. I of course had to try a bit (or two) straight from the pan, but as she recommends letting time in the fridge enhance the cooked plums' flavor, I'm holding off. I am also already dreaming of dessert tonight (my favorite maple vanilla whey protein ice cream topped with plums). If I'm feeling extra decadent I might add a dollop of coconut cream -- but since both of these recipes are about as healthy and nutritious as they are wonderful to the taste, dessert won't actually be too decadent at all.

Are you drooling in anticipation yet? On to the recipes! I've copied May's and Kate's original recipes and included my own notes and adaptations in italicized parentheses.

May's Cacao Euphoria

1/3 cup + 2 tbsp packed coconut cream*
2 tbsp cocoa powder (Ghirardelli) (I omitted this)
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I used what is seriously the most exquisite vanilla of all time)
1 tbsp agave nectar** (I used honey)

With a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the cream, cocoa, salt, vanilla and agave. Mix for two minutes until light and fluffy.

(I actually used my hand mixer for the first time in years. Why was I so afraid of it before?)

Slather on everything you eat.

*To find coconut cream, open a can of cold, regular coconut milk. The solid top layer is the cream.

**Substitute 2 packets of NuNatural’s stevia, if desired.

Kate's Wine Poached Prune Plums

Wash, split and pit any quantity of prune plums- I used a full container from the grocer; it probably had about 1-1/2# in it. In a deep skillet, combine 2 T. chunky fruit jam of choice (I used Thomson’s Sweet Cherry Preserves) (I used Smucker's Simply Fruit Blueberry Spread), 2 T. red wine (I used a syrah) and 2 T. of water. Heat gently to melt jam, stirring to combine everything. When warm and a few bubbles have been seen around the edges, add as many of the halved plums as you can, cut side down. Cook gently, without stirring, for about 5 minutes. Turn plums over. Cook about 2-3 more minutes and remove to a bowl. Add remaining plums and cook, adding to bowl when done. Pour any juices over the plums and gently turn to coat the fruit. Allow to sit as long as you can. The more time, the deeper the flavor. Chill in fridge.

So . . . which recipe are you going to try first?

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