Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies: Gluten Free & Vegan

These dark chocolate peppermint brownies taste like Christmas!

These dark chocolate peppermint brownies taste like Christmas!

This past weekend, we had a big family party to celebrate my aunt’s birthday and the start of the holiday season.  I know for most people, family parties are kind of hum-drum, with a handful of relatives sitting around a table and falling asleep in front of a football game.  My family, though, is a little bit different.  My Grandma is one of six siblings, and to this day they all gather for all of the holidays.  Instead of one giant family reunion, this group gets together regularly.  Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, Thanksgiving dinners were regularly a sit-down dinner for forty-plus.  Although the whole sit-down thing only happens once a year, this gathering was still absolutely full of people.

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Chocolate Truffles

Super simple, absolutely delicious chocolate truffles

Super simple, absolutely delicious chocolate truffles

Recently, my husband has started eating egg whites in the morning.  Which means I’ve had some extra egg yolks sitting around feeling neglected.  And you guys know how I am; I couldn’t leave those yolks there all sad.  So, like anyone with a quandary, I turned to Google.  I found quite a few pages telling me what I could do with extra yolks.  Creme brulee?  Nah, I didn’t have any cream in the house.  Hollandaise sauce?  I’m making neither steak nor Eggs Benedict.  Chocolate truffles?  Now that I could do…

I clicked on the link, excited.  I mean, truffles are delicious and far too often they are “processed with wheat.”  So I was going to use my sad little egg yolks and make my tummy happy all in one!  But then the page loaded.  In French.

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French Macarons

French Macarons. As addictive and delicious as they look.

French Macarons. As addictive and delicious as they look.

Am I the only person who watches TLC?  You know, that channel that pits brides against each other to compete for the best wedding, and features catty wedding parties as they go shopping for dresses at these adorable little boutiques with sassy-as-heck consultants.  No?  Good.  Because that channel is so my guilty pleasure TV.  Add in some David Tutera and you have the makings of a wonderful night of television.  All of those junky shows, however, had me completely freaked out about bridesmaid dress shopping.  What if it was as drama-ridden as Monte makes it out to be?  Fortunately for me, I have the world’s most down to earth bridesmaids, and dress shopping was a breeze.  But in case it wasn’t, I made sure I had a snack waiting for me when I got home.

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F is for France: Buckwheat Crepes

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Buckwheat crepes stuffed with ham, gruyere, and caramelized onions

I’m an American girl.  Born and raised in Jersey, I love the beach and refuse to pump my own gas.  But I’m of French heritage.  While my lineage says I’m just as (if not more) Irish, Italian, and German, the French part of me is pretty deeply ingrained.  One of my Grandma’s favorite stories about me occurred when I was under three.  Along with my mom, she took me to my pediatrician for a well check.  When the doctor asked if I could say my ABC’s, I quipped back, “In English or in French?”  He was apparently taken aback for a moment, then quickly regained his composure and responded “Both.”  I proceeded to recite the alphabet in both languages, quite pleased with myself.

As if that weren’t enough, my great grandmother had me cursing in French before my fourth birthday.  I vividly remember a family dinner around my grandparents’ dining room table.  My uncle tried to pull something over on me, I thwarted his attempts, and when he said “Hey” I loudly retorted “Tant pis!”  As the room erupted in laughter (much to my confusion), my Grandma asked if I knew what that meant.  “Yeah,” I replied, “too bad.”  She nodded through her laughing, and everyone was impressed by my proper use of the French and my far less vulgar English translation.  Quite frankly, I think everyone at that dinner (with the possible exception of my parents) thought my French swearing was the most adorable thing ever.

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