For the past three years, I have celebrated Healthy Green Kitchen’s birthday by dedicating a post to the occasion each May. I am not sure how it happened, but somehow I let last month go by without any sort of fanfare :(

I hope you’re ok with me making up for that now by sharing a flourless chocolate cake recipe. I’d also like to share some thoughts on what this particular blog birthday means to me. So here goes.

Flourless chocolate cake from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

In previous blog birthday posts, I have written about how much I treasure my readers. This absolutely still holds true: I would have given up on blogging long ago were it not for all of you!

I have also reflected upon the friends I’ve made through blogging, and these continue to enhance my life in countless ways. I often spend time on the phone and/or hanging out in person with many amazing people I would never have met were it not for this blog (and I hope to meet many more of you in the future); I am beyond grateful for having you all in my life.

This year in blogging hasn’t been exactly like the others, though. It’s been even better! Here’s why:

This was the year I finally stopped comparing myself to other bloggers and accepted embraced the way I write, take photos, “do” social media, etc. I stopped worrying about whether or not I am as good at this stuff as someone else. All in all, this was the year I really got comfortable with my blog. It was the year I feel like I actually settled in.

I believe it’s worth noting, because it’s definitely related, that this was also the year I finally got comfortable with myself. I am almost 43 and it feels good to say that. Also? I wrote a book this year! It feels good to say that, too.

This cake comes from a new cookbook I absolutely adore called The Surf Cafe Cookbook: Cooking and Surfing on the West Coast of Ireland.

the surf cafe cookbook from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

I received a review copy of the book and have found it to be tremendously pleasing to the eye. Also: the writing is relaxed and fun, and the recipes within are delicious. I think you will love it, too.

I have made a few recipes from the book thus far but the one I want to share today is, of course, this flourless chocolate cake. I’ll give you fair warning: if you love chocolate, this cake may spoil you for all other chocolate desserts. Yes, it is that good: my husband said it’s one of the best things I ever made. And I make a lot of things!

Please know that these photos don’t come close to doing the cake justice. I was hell bent on slicing the cake right when it came out of the oven so I could eat some, but I don’t actually recommend doing that. The recipe suggests waiting as long as a day to slice the cake, and I am going to do that next time I bake it. If you slice it too soon, it’s still crazy good, but it’s really, really soft…almost like a chocolate lava cake. It really firms up if you allow it to cool completely before stuffing it in your mouth.

Flourless chocolate cake from www.healthygreenkitchen.com

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I recently made a promise on my blog’s Facebook page that if I got 10,000 “likes” before the end of May, I would host a giveaway. Well, I reached that goal (and then some), so here you go!

For this giveaway, I decided to put together a package of things I love from Amazon.com…that way, I can easily arrange for it to be shipped right to the winner! This giveaway is sponsored by ME. I am paying for all the items and the shipping. I hope you all like everything I chose because these are some of my favorite things…here’s what the giveaway includes:

10K Facebook Fan Giveaway at www.healthygreenkitchen.com

1. Ball Jar Heritage Collection Pint Jars with Lids and Bands, Set of 6 (These are gorgeous and have so many uses in the kitchen; their value is $10.77.)

2. Navitas Naturals Raw Cacao Powder (Organic) (I adore this stuff and use it in place of traditional cocoa powder; the value is $11.00)

3. Light Gray Celtic Sea Salt®, Coarse Ground, 1 lb. (My favorite wholesome sea salt; the value is $6.11.)

4. Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat, 11 5/8 x 16 1/2-inches, Half Sheet Size (Silpats are just awesome for baking; the value is $23.01)

5. Garden of Life Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (32 oz.) (This is my personal favorite coconut oil; the value is $19.13.)

6. Cast-Iron Melting Pot, 14-Ounce (Cooking in cast iron is healthy and this little pot is perfect for melting butter and chocolate; the value is $14.18.)

I will not make any substitutions for the above items…it’s simply too complicated for me to swap stuff out if you don’t like what I chose. So hopefully you do like it, and guess what? As a bonus, I will throw in a copy of my forthcoming book…One Simple Change. It won’t be out until December, but when it is, I will mail you a signed copy!

Again, this giveaway is sponsored by ME. I am paying for all the items and the shipping as a way to thank to you all for being awesome! The total value of this package including the shipping is about $100. Note that his giveaway is only open to my readers in the USA.

To enter this giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter widget below to sign up for my mailing list. This will ensure you receive my blog email updates and my weekly newsletter. You may unsubscribe at a later date (though I hope you won’t!), but you must be signed up in order to be eligible to win the giveaway. You may gain optional entries for liking my facebook page, following me on twitter, and commenting on this post. GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I adore strawberries. I’ve been waiting ever so patiently for the ones in my garden to ripen; yesterday I picked some and the wait was more than worth it…they’re fantastic.

Homegrown strawberries from Healthy Green Kitchen

I could definitely eat plain strawberries warmed from the sun all day long, but I also love to use them in all sorts of recipes. If you feel the same way, here are 10 ways to use the red beauties.

1. In a Green Salad with Goat Cheese and Almonds
2. Roasted with balsamic vinegar and used as a topping for Crostinis (from Nutmeg Nanny)
3. In a Strawberry Sorbet with Mint (from Nourished Kitchen)
4. Baked into a beautiful Strawberry Pie (from Brooklyn Supper)
5. Atop classic Strawberry Shortcakes (from Smitten Kitchen)
6. Blended into a creative Strawberry Shortcake Milkshake (from A Spicy Perspective)
7. Roasted and churned into Strawberry Ice Cream (from Zoe Bakes)
8. In refreshing Strawberry Coconut Popsicles (from The Coconut Mama)
9. Transformed into an all-natural Homemade Strawberry Soda Syrup
10. Cooked into a Spicy Strawberry Jam

What’s YOUR favorite way to eat strawberries?

Chachouka

Chachouka is a North African tomato and pepper stew with eggs. I’ve read that it’s also popular in homes throughout Israel, where it is known as Shakshuka. I’ve seen it pop up on some of my favorite food blogs over the years but I didn’t get around to trying it myself until very recently. I’ve no idea why I waited so long: I keep chickens so I always have eggs, and it’s so very easy to make.

This particular Chachouka recipe comes from a stunning new vegetarian cookbook called River Cottage Veg: 200 Inspired Vegetable Recipes. I received a review copy from Ten Speed Press and I’ve been cooking from it quite a bit lately: I made the Potatoes Dauphinoise (page 60) the other night and my family went crazy for them.

I recommend cooking your Chachouka in cast-iron skillet. That way, you can easily transfer it from the stovetop to the oven. (Don’t have a cast-iron skillet? You need one! I’ve had mine for a long time, but it is similar to this one.) Chachouka makes a great brunch, lunch (or light dinner) for 2 people (or maybe 4, if you serve it with a hearty salad, chunks of sourdough bread, etc). Cold leftovers are also quite tasty for breakfast.

Chachouka

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*Disclosure: This post is part of my ongoing relationship with the folks from California Endive Farms. I receive complementary boxes of endive and I am being compensated to develop recipes to share with you; all opinions expressed here are 100% mine.

Grilled Eggplant Dip | Healthy Green Kitchen

Since partnering up with California Endive Farms last year, I have enjoyed more than my fair share of endive. I love having a constant supply in the refrigerator, especially in the winter and early spring when my own garden is sleeping. I have showcased a few different cooked endive recipes here on the blog (such as this one and this one), but I also really love endive raw. It is great in salads (like this and this), and the leaves are the perfect receptacle for filling with all sorts of delicious and healthy dips.

This Grilled Eggplant and Cilantro dip was inspired by the recipe for Charred Eggplant with Chile Sauce and Tahini that I found in the May 2013 issue of Saveur magazine. It’s incredibly easy to make and it’s tasty as part of an appetizer spread (shown here with endive leaves, pita chips, and some walnuts). It’s also great in place of more typical condiments in a sandwich.

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