Chocolate Orange Cake

My goal was to have this recipe posted for you lovely readers so that you’d have a nice dessert option for Valentine’s Day… oops, it’s the 18th of February. Finding time to write new posts has honestly been challenging. I absolutely love this blog. I love the people we meet, the recipes we make, the stories that are told, (I could go on), but since we’re not full time bloggers, our posts can be a little less frequent depending on what else is going on. If you’re interested in more frequent updates, be sure to check us out on Instagram. That being said, it feels great to be writing a new post.

So, since this recipe was intended for Valentine’s Day, I’ll ask… how was the big day? Did you go out with friends? Cook with a spouse? Binge watch This Is Us? (I’m only on episode four, but so far I’ve cried during each one). On V-Day we cooked one of our favorite meals of tenderloin filets, twice baked potatoes, and ate this cake for dessert. Side note: Let me tell ya, Neil grilled those filets better than he ever has- medium rare with a nice crispy outer sear. Whew. They were good. Anyhow, back to dessert. When deciding what to make for Valentine’s Day, Neil had the idea of making a chocolate cake with orange in it, topped with chocolate orange ganache. So friends, that’s what I made.

 

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It’s perfect for special occasions like Valentine’s Day or birthdays, but also makes for a great dessert to bring to dinner parties, work events, or showers. I hope you enjoy this recipe and file it away for when you need a chocolate cake with a little bit of an elegant twist.

If you’re in St. Louis, go enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend. If you’re elsewhere, we’re sending some sunshine your way.

Chocolate Orange Cake

Prep Time: 15 min. Cook Time: 35 min. Rest Time: 40 min.

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon orange extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup brewed coffee

For the Ganache:

16 oz. high quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon orange extract

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 9 x 13″ glass pan and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs, orange extract, vanilla extract, and coffee.

Turn on the mixer and slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix well to combine. Pour batter in the buttered baking dish and bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Set glass dish on a wire rack to cool.

While baking, prepare the ganache. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream over medium high heat. Right when cream barely begins to boil, turn heat off and add the chocolate. Whisk until chocolate melts and becomes very smooth. Add the orange extract and continue to whisk. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before pouring on cake.

Pour ganache on the cooled cake and smooth it with an offset spatula. Allow ganache to set at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Beef Brisket

Update 1/28/17: This giveaway has ended. Congrats to our winner, Barbara Martinez! We’ll e-mail you with details on how to claim your prize. Thanks to all who entered, and check back next month for another Lagostina giveaway! 

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lagostina and 5WPR. The Newlywed Chefs received a Lagostina Domina Vitamin Pressure Cooker as compensation for this post, however, as always, all opinions are 100% our own.

If you think this beef brisket looks good, you should see the cookware that made her so beautiful. Lagostina is one of the premier brands of cookware available. Period. Their products are stunning and perform even better than they look. Today, we are featuring the Lagostina Domina Vitamin Pressure Cooker. Don’t be scared and run off because you’ve seen horror footage from the 1960s of pressure cookers exploding. Nowadays, most pressure cookers are built with safety technology to prevent any mishaps from occurring.

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Photo Credit: Williams-Sonoma

We like this pressure cooker because it reduces cooking time by AT LEAST half, while providing the same end result as slow cooking all day. Also, even if you aren’t going to use the pressure cooker option, the pot itself can be used for everyday cooking.

Here are some great facts about this stunning pressure cooker:

Domina Vitamin Pressure Cooker

·         7.4 Qt. capacity

·         Exclusive, patented one-handed drop lid opening system

·         Superior safety: lid clicks to let you know when it is hermetically sealed

·         Two pressure settings: 6psi is ideal for vegetables and preserves up to 35% more nutrients; 10psi is ideal for meat/fish and cooks up to 2x faster

·         Exclusive LAGOPLAN® 3-layer aluminum and stainless bonded base for optimal and uniform heat distribution

·         Set includes steam basket, recipe book and measuring cup

·         Available at WilliamsSonoma.com: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/lagostinapressure-cooker-with-steamer-basket/

·         Retail Price $249.95

We used this pressure cooker to make a flavorful and melt in your mouth brisket within just an hour, which usually would have taken two or three times as long in a slow cooker. This recipe is super simple to make. First, season your beef brisket with salt and pepper.

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Brown all sides of the brisket using the Lagostina Domina Vitamin Pressure Cooker pot and then take it out to rest.

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Sauté veggies, add tomato paste, add liquid, and place your brisket in the pressure cooker.

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Follow the instructions to safely lock the lid and bring to the right pressure.

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About an hour later, remove the brisket and allow to rest before slicing.

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Discard vegetables and strain the remaining beef jus through a colander. Return this juice to the pot and cook over medium heat until liquid reduces by 1/2. Serve jus with the brisket.

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We are excited to start a partnership with Lagostina and to celebrate, we’re giving away one of these beautiful Lagostina Domina Vitamin Pressure Cookers to one of our readers. You can win by entering here, and also by heading over to our Instagram account for a bonus entry. To enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post
  2. For an additional entry, head over to our Instagram account (@newlywedchefs), follow us, and tag a friend that might also be interested in winning

Winner must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of the USA. All entries must be received by January 27th at 11:59pm CST. Maximum entries per person: 2 (one blog comment and one Instagram comment). Winner will be selected at random and announced on this blog on January 28th.

Beef Brisket

Prep Time: 15 min. Cook Time: 10 min. Pressure Cook Time: 60-75 min.

Ingredients:

2 lb. beef brisket

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

5 cloves garlic, smashed

1 red onion, quartered

1 6-oz. can tomato paste

2 cups beef stock

1 cup beer

1 bay leaf

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Black pepper

Preparation:

Generously salt and pepper all sides of the brisket. Remove the lid and heat Lagostina Domina Vitamin Pressure Cooker pot over medium heat. Once hot, coat the bottom with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Brown all sides of the brisket, allowing each side to cook for 2 minutes. Remove the brisket and set aside.

Continuing to cook over medium heat, add the celery, onion, and carrot to the pot. Stir with a wooden spoon, and add a pinch of salt and pepper. After 3 minutes, add the garlic and tomato paste. Continue to stir for 1 minute.

Add the stock, beer, and bay leaf to the pot. Stir and scrape up any brown bits that may have formed on the bottom of the pan. Set the brisket on top of the vegetables and liquid, so that the liquid reaches up on all sides of the beef.

Place lid on the meat/fish setting and seal according to the Lagostina Domina Vitamin Pressure Cooker instruction manual. (We found that using our gas stovetop, our heat needed to be on high to seal, then medium low throughout the duration of the cooking. Please become familiar with the instructions, as cooking time/procedure may vary depending on your stovetop.) Carefully release the steam according to the instruction manual and remove brisket. Allow brisket to rest for about 15 minutes before slicing.

While brisket is resting, prepare the jus. Using a colander with a bowl positioned underneath, strain all remaining contents of the Lagostina Domina Vitamin Pressure Cooker, discarding the vegetables but keeping the jus. Return jus to the Lagostina Domina Vitamin Pressure Cooker and cook over medium high heat for about 15 minutes or until liquid has reduced by half.

Serve sliced brisket with jus.

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Tropical Smoothie Bowl

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lucky’s Market. The Newlywed Chefs were paid for this post, however, as always, all opinions are 100% our own.

Ah, January. The time of year where our jeans and budgets have somehow become a little more tight. Neither of us made resolutions, but this time of year, like the rest of the world, we seem to watch what we eat a little more. We’ve tried a lot of “cleanses” (read: diets) over the years, but my goodness, food and drinks bring us joy, and when you take away that joy completely, it’s just sad! For us, cooking is a way for us to reconnect with each other and the ones we love. We break hot crusty bread and pass the soft butter across the table to a couple we’d like to get to know a little better. We clink wine glasses in celebration of our new neighbors and their first house purchase. We grab coffee with friends at a local coffee shop to hear about their adventures as first-time parents. For us, food and drink go beyond simply food and drink.

So, that’s the hardest part of dieting for us. When you limit the food, the craft, the joy of cooking, you also limit other things in our life that we don’t so easily want to sacrifice.

That being said, we can’t eat dessert every night. We can’t make mac and cheese every weekend. We can’t split a bottle of wine too frequently. Why? Because it’s not healthy. Hmm… now we’re faced with a difficult situation: how do we balance a healthy diet, enjoy the culinary world, and not sacrifice the other aspects of life associated with food and drink? We’re still trying to figure that one out. The best we’ve come up with is that as with most things in life, it’s about balance.

The diets that work for us are the ones that still allow us to feel like we have some joy while balancing the satisfaction that what we ate was actually healthy.

Smoothie bowls are all the rage on Instagram. They’re pretty. They’re healthy. They’re easy to make. The flavor combinations are endless. Maybe they’re a little too trendy. As Neil put it, “I really didn’t want to like that smoothie bowl… but I really like it.”

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They’re a great way to pack in your serving of fruit and also sneak in healthy seeds such as flax or chia. After watching our sugar intake the past few days, fruit tastes incredibly sweet. I feel like even though these bowls are healthy, we actually are cheating and shouldn’t be eating them.

The frozen produce at Lucky’s is perfect for making smoothie bowls. They have a new line of private label frozen fruit that comes in premixed flavors so you don’t have to buy a bunch of random fruits. In this recipe, we used their tropical mix, “Life’s a Beach!” (clever). When you buy private label items at Lucky’s, 10% of the profits from the purchase are reinvested back into the community. Also, all of their organic produce is 10% off on Sundays (our preferred meal planning/grocery day) through the month of January.

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We hope you enjoy this simple recipe and enjoy a healthy, yet delicious start to the new year.

Tropical Smoothie Bowl

Prep Time: 15 min. Cook Time: 0 min.

Smoothie Ingredients:

1 (heaping) cup Lucky’s Market Tropical Blend frozen fruit

1 fresh banana

1 cup almond milk

Suggested Toppings:

Shredded coconut

Fresh fruit (Kiwi, strawberries, mango, pineapple, etc.)

Seeds (Flax seed, chia sheed, etc.)

Preparation:

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour smoothie in a bowl and top with suggested toppings.

Makes 1 large smoothie bowl

Eckert’s Ice Skating Package Giveaway

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Photo Credit: Eckert’s

Update 1/13/17: This giveaway has closed, and we have a winner! Sara Couch! We’ll e-mail you with details regarding how to claim your prize. Thanks to all who entered.

If you grew up in St. Louis, the name “Eckert’s” might bring back fond memories of apple picking with your family, going on a hay ride during a class field trip, picking up Eckert’s peaches at your local farmer’s market, or finding that perfect Christmas tree at their farm, as we did this year! To many St. Louisans, Eckert’s is more than a farm. It’s where memories are made. This year, they are offering another exciting way to make lasting memories: ice skating! The Belleville location has installed a synthetic ice rink outdoors complete with lights and music. Learn all about the new skating rink here.

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Photo Credit: Eckert’s

Eckert’s invited us to try out the new ice rink, sip on cocoa, and eat at their restaurant this past week. The skating was a little tricky for these 30-somethings, but it was fun nonetheless. We were both laughing the entire time. Since it was a freezing cold night, we only stayed out for a little bit before needing some hot cocoa to warm up. We’ve had a lot of hot cocoa in our day, and theirs was extra thick and chocolatey. We wandered around the country store while sipping on our cocoa before making our way to the restaurant for dinner.

All you can eat fried chicken. Fried biscuits with apple butter. Country fried steak. Mashed potatoes. We filled up on all of the aforementioned deliciousness (and more) so much so that we skipped out on the pie because we were too stuffed! The food and the service were both warm and comforting.

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Photo Credit: Eckert’s

It was a fun trip to Belleville and we want to send your family to Eckert’s, too! We are excited to offer a special giveaway, thanks to Eckert’s, for those of you near the St. Louis area. The Eckert’s giveaway package will include:

Ice Skating for 4

Hot Cocoa for 4

$20 Gift Card to the Country Store or Restaurant

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post by Thursday, January 12th at 11:59pm CST. Winner must be 18 years of age or older with a valid e-mail address in the comment submission form. The lucky random winner will be announced on Friday the 13th! Good luck to all!

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Photo Credit: Emily Elly

Pumpkin Spiced Pecan Cookies

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by RawSpiceBar. The Newlywed Chefs were paid for this post, however, as always, all opinions are 100% our own.

Most of you know that when it comes to anything baking-related on this blog, it’s most likely done by me (Whitney). I love to bake. I’m fascinated by the balance between science and spontaneity, and I look forward to weekends and days off when I simply have time to throw on the apron and get my hands in some flour. One of my fondest memories of Christmastime is making cookies with my mother. She makes mean sugar cookies with a bit of almond extract that makes the cookies that much more delicious. As a child, I was in charge of the cutting and the decorating, a job now passed on to the little ones in our family.

RawSpiceBar reached out to us this holiday season and gave us their latest spice kit to try out. We really do like their products. All of the spices we’ve received from them are high quality, and it’s nice to have a perfectly blended spice packet when we’re in a hurry, or don’t want to search the globe tracking down specific spices for a recipe. They do that work for you. If you’re looking for a holiday gift this year, you can give the gift of spices with 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month subscriptions. And with the secret code NEWLYWED, you can save $5 off any of those subscriptions!

Since I love baking so much and making cookies this time of year brings back happy memories, I decided to make pumpkin spiced pecan cookies to celebrate the season. The Unpumpkin Pie Spice blend from RawSpiceBar came right to my door along with two other blends, and just begged to be used in a sweet holiday recipe. I’ve seen other versions of these cookies named “Italian Wedding Cookies,” “Mexican Wedding Cookies,” and more. They’re similar to shortbread: buttery, crumbly, and sweet. I used roasted pecans in this recipe because, well, ’tis the season.

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Pulse the pecans in a food processor until they are finely ground.

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Cream together the butter, powdered sugar, and Unpumpkin Pie Spice.

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Add the ground pecans, flours, and vanilla and continue to mix. Using your hands, roll cookies into 2″ rounds and place them on the mat.

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Bake for about 15 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, roll the cookies in powdered sugar.

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Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

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And that’s it! They’re super easy to make, and I love that and you don’t even need to measure out the spices. Simply add a packet of the Unpumpkin Pie Spice and the cookies will boast the flavors of the season with ginger, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, black peppercorns, star anise, and other spices.

Pumpkin Spiced Pecan Cookies

Prep Time: 30 min. Cook Time: 15 min.

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 cup + 2 cups (divided) powdered sugar

2 cups toasted pecans

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 packet RawSpiceBar Unpumpkin Pie Spice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°. Using a food processor, pulse the toasted pecans about 12 times until they are finely ground and set aside. Cream together the butter, 1 cup powdered sugar, and Unpumpkin Pie Spice until smooth. Add both flours, vanilla extract, and pecans and mix until well combined.

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Using your hands, roll dough into 2″ rounds and place them on the cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and once they are cool enough to handle, roll in powdered sugar. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool completely before serving.

Makes about 45 cookies.

Chicken Artichoke Soup

I think it was Shauna Niequist who wrote about how we all go through seasons of feast and seasons of fast. December = feast. January = fast. That how it’s worked for me in the past, at least. In any typical holiday season, you could find me raising a glass to celebrate the season, baking my heart out, and sneaking extra pinches of my mom’s Christmas cookie dough. This season, however, is different. I’ve made a commitment to finding a healthy balance throughout the holiday season. I’m working out regularly (I hate running), tracking calories, and making healthy meals at home so that when I do go out with friends or to a holiday party I can enjoy myself without feeling guilty.

After trying Paleo, Whole30 (twice), and 10 days of Real Food, we’ve gathered a collection of healthy go-to recipes. One of our favorites is a chicken and artichoke soup with basil from Christine at Once a Month Meals. The thing I like most about this soup is that for some magical reason, when the artichokes are blended, the consistency of the soup becomes creamy, without the use of cream!

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We changed the recipe and preparation quite a bit, so much so I think we can call it our “own” now, but I like to give credit where credit is due, and we totally got the idea for this soup from Once a Month Meals. I’m really bad at photographing soup, so just roll with me here and trust that it’s delicious, healthy, and probably what your body is craving between all the holiday indulging. Enjoy!

Chicken Artichoke Soup

Prep. Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes

Recipe Adapted From Once a Month Meals

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, sliced

4 stalks celery, chopped

3 handfuls spinach

1 handful fresh basil

2 14-oz. cans artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed

1 quart low-sodium chicken stock

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon paprika

1 lb. chicken tenders

Kosher salt

Black pepper

Olive oil

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°. Place chicken on a lightly oiled baking sheet and drizzle with additional olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Shred chicken and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large dutch oven, heat the coconut oil and add the onions and celery with a pinch of salt. Sauté until translucent. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, and another pinch of salt and pepper. Continue to cook for another minute. Add the artichokes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add spinach and basil. Stir until spinach and basil are wilted. Transfer soup to a bowl that won’t get scratched (or be very careful blending in your dutch oven) and blend using a stick blender until creamy and smooth. Add shredded chicken and stir. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Serve soup with freshly cracked black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and hot sauce (optional).