Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chocolate in a glass bowl and place in microwave at high for 30 seconds. Remove bowl and stir chocolate with a spatula. Repeat again by placing into microwave for another 30 seconds, remove and stir. Repeat this process until chocolate is melted, which varies althought ususally in total it is 2 -3 times. Stir chocolate until it is completely smooth. Once chocolate is melted add the lemon zest and ground pink peppercorns. Stir well. Pour melted chocolate onto the parchment paper and spread into a rectangle shape. You can top with some additional pieces of pink peppercorn if you like. Place into the refrigerator to cool. Once cool, break the chocolate into large pieces.
We continue to be fighting cold weather and the flu here on the east coast. So my call to action is comfort food for strength. I think a hearty soup is the perfect answer. I used the ham bone I had in the freezer from Christmas , I embarked on making a lentil soup that uses some of my favorite flavors, such as rosemary, thyme, red chili flakes, garlic and some dry sherry. It’s my mother’s lentil soup kicked up a few times for more flavor. I love adding just a touch of heat to the soup with the red chili flakes, and the sherry is purely for medicinal purposes! Lentils are considered a power food, it helps lower cholesterol, helps lower the risk of heart disease and it’s filled with antioxidants. So fortify your family with this delicious and warming soup.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sweet onions finely chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 quarts chicken stock
1 ham bone with some meat on bone
1 pound umbrian lentils
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry sherry
In a stock pot heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sauté the onions until soften. Add garlic and red chili flakes and saute another minute. Add rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves. Sauté until fragrant about one minute. Add the stock and ham bone. Bring to a boil, then lower heat , cover and simmer for approximately 1 hour. Remove the ham bone, chop the meat from the bone and add back into the soup along with the lentils, salt and pepper and simmer covered another hour. Add sherry and simmer another ten minutes. Remove from heat and serve.