Icebox Marshmallow-Coconut Cookies

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If you are a coconut lover, these cookies are for you!  Soft and chewey with a nutty chocolate outer layer and a pillowy marshmallow center, this retro recipe has become a 3rd generation family favorite of my sons.  If you can find colored marshmallows like these strawberry ones,  the no-bake cookies are even prettier.   The cookies keep in the refrigerator for a month and can be sliced when needed.  They come together easily and you might even have all the ingredients for them in your pantry, left over from holiday baking!

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Winter Warming: Immunity-Boosting Vegetarian Stew

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January is National Soup Month and this fragrant vegetarian stew is substantial enough to enjoy as a meal on its own or over basmati rice.   Chock full of nutritious goodness, it delivers a big dose of anti inflammatory power at a time of year when we all need it.  Chick peas bring a bit of toothsome crunch, fiber and protein. The Jeereem-Meerem spice mix adds exotic flavoring similar to curry. The raisins, sweet potatoes and coconut  add a sweet note. Weeknight friendly, it makes enough for leftovers. Freezes well. Soulful and healthy eating to warm up the coldest winter day.

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Honey Stung~Brussel Sprouts with Grainy Mustard and Hazelnuts

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” We kids feared many things in those days- werewolves, dentists, North Koreans, Sunday School-but they all paled in comparison with Brussel sprouts.”  Dave Barry, American author and columnist

We love brussel sprouts in our household and always look for new ways to enjoy them. Some of us(ahem) are recent converts to the now trendy cruciferous veggie, but others have loved them forever.  We all agree we like them best roasted, to get those great caramelized crispy bits.   Fellow blogger Chef Juliana brought in the New Year with this interesting recipe tossing the sprouts in honey and grainy mustard with walnuts after roasting them in a hot oven.  My version subs whole hazelnuts and a finishing drizzle of balsamic and more honey for a dynamic sweet and sour finish.  Fantastic!  A recipe sure to convert any sprout haters to the other side.  But you might not want to!

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Dark Chocolate~ Cherry Scones for the Final Season of Downton Abbey

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“I know several couples who are perfectly happy.  Haven’t spoken in years.” Relationship advice from Dowager Countess of Grantham’s on Season 6, winner of The Gardian’s #17 Best Quote of the 2015 year in television.

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After 5 captivating years of Downton drama, the final season is upon us this side of the pond.  It is a bittersweet night.  I am joined by millions of ardent fans in not wanting Downton Abbey to ever end.  The final season opens in the mid 1920s with rising hemlines, shorter bobbed and bejeweled tresses and ongoing Upstairs/Downstairs intrigue.  Who exactly is The Dowager Countess addressing above?  Is it cousin Isobel who turned Lord Merton’s marriage proposal down last season or Lady Mary who spurned Lord Gillingham after spending a week in sin with him last season and is now warming to Henry Talbot?  Or will she choose to be independent and stay single?  Lady Mary has requested tea be brought to her chambers so she can ponder her future.  There are changes ahead at Downton but some things remain quintessentially the same:  scones!  After making traditional cream currant scones for Season 4, and Lemon Ginger scones for Season 5, I whipped up a batch of very modern Dark Chocolate~Cherry scones.  This is after all a final season!  With Anna Bates charged with murder, who will deliver tea to Lady Mary:  Mrs. Hughes, Mr. Carson or nasty, scheming Thomas Barrow?  Stay tuned!

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