Chocolate Love In A Bowl

This is heaven in a bowl.  Warm, gooey chocolate with a blast of vanilla ice cream.  What could be bad with a dessert like this?  My answer:  Nothing!  If you are a chocolate lover, this dessert is perfect for you.  It is also pretty easy to assemble and bake which makes it a great choice when you don’t have a lot of time.  I’ve made this dessert for a while and I think I got it from an Anna Pump recipe.  Anna Pump is a wonderful chef, cookbook author, baker and innkeeper famous for her Hampton’s bakery, Loaves & Fishes.  She is not what I would call a “famous” food personality like a Martha or an Emeril, but she is often mentioned by many famous foodies as one of their inspirations.  If you don’t know about her, I encourage you to buy one of her cookbooks and enjoy one of her recipes.  She knows how to cook.  One taste of this Brownie Pudding and you’ll understand what I’m saying. 


  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean (I have also substituted 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract when I didn’t have a vanilla bean in the pantry)
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish.  Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow.

Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside. 

When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds and the cocoa powder and flour mixture.  Mix only until combined. 

With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.  Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan.  Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. 

A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean.  The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.  Allow to cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

The part I like about this dessert is the fact that it is part chocolate brownie and part chocolate pudding.  You sort of get the best of two chocolate worlds in one dish with this recipe.  If you are having friends over for dinner, this is a great one to serve…it always pleases.  We hope you like this dessert.  Anna Pump never disappoints.  What chocolate dessert recipes are your favorites?

The Italian Grandmother Makes Cauliflower Macaroni


This is another great recipe from our Brooklyn Italian Grandmother.  It is quick, simple and delicious.  It is perfect for a weekday supper when you don’t have a lot of time to cook.  It also doesn’t use a lot of dishes which is great at clean up time.  We call it cauliflower macaroni, but feel free to use broccoli or zucchini if you like.  Our Brooklyn Italian Grandmother has made this recipe for quite a while and it is one of our favorites.  Our recipe makes a generous portion.  It feeds 4 to 6 people, depending on how hungry the crowd.  There is something so good when you keep the ingredients simple and fresh.  However, while the dish is simple and delicious, feel free to jazz it up with a few pieces of jewelry like our Italian Grandmother always does.


  • 1 1/2 large heads of cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped (use more or less depending on how much you like garlic)
  • 32 ounces of chicken stock
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 2 pounds penne or pasta of your choice (we used whole wheat penne)
  • Grated parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes to taste


Clean cauliflower by separating each floret from the stalk and wash under cool water.  Don’t worry about the size of the florets because they will break down when mixed with the cooked pasta at the end of the recipe. 

Clean and chop garlic cloves into small pieces.

  Hot Spring trend…pearls, diamonds and garlic.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add garlic.  Sautee garlic until it is a golden color.

Add cauliflower.  Fill the pan with plenty of cauliflower as it will cook down. 

  A trifecta….three rings in one shot.  Isn’t that Catherine Middleton’s engagement ring on one of our Italian Grandmother’s fingers?

Add chicken stock and the chicken bouillon cubes. 

  Diamond ring alert at 12 o’clock.

Place a lid on the skillet and simmer the cauliflower in the stock until it is very tender.  You can do this ahead of time if you would like.  When the cauliflower is tender, remove it from the burner and set it aside or use it immediately.  If you do set it aside, make sure to reheat before you use it.

Place pasta in boiling salted water and cook until done.  Drain the pasta and return it to the pan. 

Place the cauliflower and broth on top of the pasta and mix with a spoon.  When mixing, the large cauliflower florets will break down into more manageable pieces.  Serve the pasta with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes on top.

The pasta is so delicious because there is rich chicken broth at the bottom that is so flavorful after being simmered with the browned garlic.  The garlic and the stock also add so much flavor to the cauliflower as well.  The grated cheese and red pepper flakes also add their own special kick.  Again, if you are not a lover of cauliflower, try using broccoli or zucchini instead.  We’ve used them all and the dish is always good.  The worst part is this–do you use a spoon (for the broth), a fork (for the pasta/cauliflower) or both?  Do you have any easy pasta dishes that you would like to share on Acorns On Glen?

Power Gardening Before The Rain

This is the garden after a power gardening session that got as much as possible in the ground before the rain hit.  We knew we didn’t have much time on Saturday morning to garden as the weather channels predicted a downpour of rain at some point in the afternoon.  Mother Nature at her finest.  We were actually able to get a lot accomplished before the first raindrops came down.  Our garden probably doesn’t look any different to you than when you first saw our raised bed garden earlier this Spring.  However, this time it is filled with seeds.  There are zucchini and cucumber seeds planted around the wire trellis in the back of the bed, followed by green beans, turnips, golden beets and red beets.  All of these seeds got planted and covered and then the rain started.  We’ll be honest.  We didn’t exactly meet our goal.  We had also wanted to get some live plants into the ground that were scheduled for planting this weekend.  These were some of the plants that are growing under our grow light in the basement.  Our eggplant, cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts will have to wait.  Darn rain…good for the newly seeded lawn; bad for the backyard vegetable garden.  Take a few minutes to see our vegetable garden work this weekend and also see our gorgeous azalea bushes in full bloom.

So we didn’t get all of our gardening chores completed this weekend due to the weather.  Good Old Mother Nature is the hardest part of gardening.  You never know if she will be too cold, too hot, too wet.  The odds are sometimes better in Las Vegas.  Did the weather get in your way of a full weekend of gardening?

Spaghetti Carbonara A Little Lighter Than Normal


This is spaghetti carbonara a little lighter than what you normally see in an Italian restaurant.  We can’t take credit for it.  The recipe came to us from Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide.  Rufus is the hardest working cook we know and his blog inspires you to cook more and think about the food that you eat.  It is a great site and well worth a visit.  He has frequently commented on our posts here at Acorns On Glen so we have spent some time on his blog and found this great recipe that we had to try……mushroom spaghetti carbonara.  This sounded right down our alley and we cooked it up as soon as we had the time.  So hats off to you Rufus and your great recipes and thanks for your support of Acorns On Glen.


  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • ¼ lb pancetta or 3 slices high-quality bacon diced fine.  I used pancetta.

  • ½ cup mushrooms sliced 1/8” thick.  I used shiitake mushrooms.

  • 1 shallot minced

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • ½ cup grated Romano
  • Pepper/salt to taste


Beat egg yolk and cream in a bowl. Season with black pepper. Set aside.

Place diced pancetta or bacon in a frying pan.  Over medium heat, render fat and brown meat.  Reserve two tablespoons of drippings.  If using pancetta, add butter if needed.

Saute scallion on low in the reserved drippings until browned.

Add mushrooms and cook as a single layer flipping as needed.  When mushrooms begin to brown turn off heat.

Meanwhile, in a separate pot, boil heavily salted water.  Cook spaghetti to al dente.  Strain and return to pot.  Season with pepper.  While pasta remains hot add egg mixture.  Stir constantly until noodles are coated to cook the egg.  Add bacon and mushrooms to pasta.  Stir well.  Add cheese and mix again.  Garnish with fresh parsley.

YUM!!  What we loved about this carbonara is that it was not too thick and heavy.  You can actually get a better mixture of flavors than the normal carbonara with bacon floating in a heavy mixture of egg yolks and cream.  I guess this lighter version is also pretty good for the heart and waist line as well.  Again, thanks Rufus for the great recipe.  Please check out his great blog and let him know who sent you.  Do you have any lighter-fare recipes that you can share on Acorns On Glen?

Friday Dance Party – Sheila E And A Glamorous Life

This is another edition of Friday Dance Party on Acorns On Glen.  It’s the time where we give thanks for making it through another week and for being able to celebrate this fact.  How do we celebrate another week of living?  We dance.  So, are you alive this Friday?  Are you and your family safe and sound?  Did you give thanks for that?

Good, now let’s dance.

During the Winter, we have been giving the house on Glen Road a major makeover.  If you remember from my first blog post, our house was getting a new beginning.  The good news is the addition we have been working on seems to be almost complete.  Yes, there are some odds and ends that need to be finished, but for the most part, we have attached our house to our garage and have created several new rooms.  The place is pretty big now.  We walk around and think how are we going to afford enough furniture to fill this new addition.  Trust me, we’ll figure out a way.  A friend that came over to take a little tour told us that we were living the ‘glamorous life’ now that we had increased our square footage.  So, if this is true, why not give us a moment to think about it while dancing to a song of the same name by that oldie but goodie singer Sheila E.  Remember her?  She was an early Prince protegé.  So put on something purple, rat your hair up big and get down with Sheila E and her ‘Glamorous Life’.  Dance because you have made it through another week.  Dance because you are alive.  Dance on over to Glen Road and help us clean up our new addition.  Have a great weekend.  What other songs would you like to hear on Friday Dance Party on Acorns On Glen? 

Bird Thoughts By A Bird Brain


This is a sad fact…I am not a fan of birds.  Spring is the time to confess as birds seem to be everywhere now that the temperatures are warmer.  It’s not that I hate birds…it’s more the fact that they scare me to death.  This is not a new fear.  I have been scared to death of birds since I was a little boy.  If I can sit and watch them parade around by looking through a window, than I am fine.  If you remove the window and I see one, I go cold.  God forbid that a bird flies at or near me.  I involuntarily scream, sweat, run and have even been known to cry.  In fact, I remember my first bad experience with a bird. 

Mrs. Curtain lived behind one of our first houses in Iowa.  At the time we moved there, I was 3 and she had to be at least 83.  I have to be honest.  Women at 83 in those days did not look that great.  We say today that 60 is the new 40 for a woman.  That was not the case in the ’60s.  83 looked 83 or older.  Mrs. Curtain wore long dresses, had unkempt gray hair, wore black horn-rimmed glasses and not a stitch of makeup covered her face (not at 83 and probably ever).  To this day, here is how I remember her.  

However, the strange part is that I was attracted to her.  She didn’t scare me.  She was my friend.  Mrs Curtain was a widow, her children had moved away ages ago and she did what a woman of her age did in those days in a small farming town in Iowa.  She lived in a small house, tended to a large garden of flowers and vegetables and kept chickens in her fenced-in back yard.  Who came over every day to bother help her?  Yes, it was me.  I would watch her garden, watch her mow, watch her do laundry, watch her do most anything.  However, I was not allowed to help with the chickens.  She repeatedly told me that they were off-limits because I was too young to be around them inside their fence.  So I sort of obeyed her command.  That means that I would not go inside the fence but I would make sure that I found various ways to make the chickens crazy.  I would yell at them, throw rocks at them, poke them with sticks.  Anything to taunt them because they were off-limits to me.  One day, they had had enough.  A rooster broke loose and came at me.  There were claws, feathers, clucking, screaming and then the rooster laid a hard, sharp peck with its beak on my forehead before Mrs. Curtain came to the rescue.  I have never enjoyed a bird since that day.

I have done well in my life staying away from birds.  I’ve lived most of my life in the concrete jungle.  I have warned friends with free flying birds in their homes to lock them up or risk harm to them (I wouldn’t kill a bird, but if a parrot flew at me, I’m not sure what I would do in my panic).  Any event that I am at where there are also birds means that I either leave or sit in a secure, inside area.  All this changed when I moved to Glen Road.  Here in the country, birds are everywhere.  They literally are your neighbors.  I can tell you who lives in what nest.  I can tell you which birds are meaner than others.  I have even been able to shyly look at a few birds without running (remember the cardinals).  However, I would like to give them a few pieces of advice so that I can expand my love even further.

  • Do not begin to sing until 10:30 AM and cease your songs at 8 PM.  Oh, and all birds must sing the same song….just in different harmonies so they can distinguish themselves between species.  Cardinals can be like the sopranos, blue jays the baritones and sparrows the altos.  You see, at 5:30 AM, your loud and non-coordinated singing is just annoying.  You wake me up and it is not a pretty sound.  Get an alarm clock and a chorale director and let me sleep.

  • Get a pair of sensible shoes.  Your claws are sickening.  There isn’t a pedicure invented that will make your claws look better, so cover them up.  If you can find stockings, buy them and put them on as well.  There is just something about seeing a bird claw that makes me shudder.  Is it the scaly part?  The long toenails?  The way it moves?  Whatever it is, cover them up and don’t show them.  Admit they’re ugly and you are embarrassed by them and put some shoes and socks on them.  You’ll be a step ahead.

  • Install a toilet in your nests.  I don’t want to see it, clean it or worry about it.  More than this, I don’t want to feel it on me…EVER.  Get some class and install a little toilet to do your business.  You’ll get more dates.  Enough said on this one.

I’ll try to like birds better this year.  I’m taking little steps though.  I would like a hummingbird to come live on Glen Road.  That’s a good step forward, right?  Honestly, I am scared about the long beak thing.  Has anyone ever heard of someone losing an eye because they got too close to a hummingbird?

What’s Blooming On Glen Road?


 This is Spring in full bloom.  It doesn’t take long to go from snow to full throttle Spring in the garden.  There is so much going on in the garden right now it is hard to keep up.  Look at the beauty (above) of an allium almost ready to explode into full bloom.  Soon, this bud will be a total sphere of purple blooms.  There are so many plants and flowers blooming and growing in the garden right now, here is a little tour for you to see the progress.  Come take a look with us.  Feel free to click on any picture in the gallery to get a better view.

Things change so fast in the garden.  I wish there was something that you could invent that would make these beautiful flowers and plants last longer.  What plants and flowers are blooming in your garden right now?

JoJo’s Journal – I Hate Bath Time!

 Who, me?  I’m not dirty!

This is another edition of JoJo’s Journal here on Acorns On Glen….bark!  Hello, my loves, it has been so long since the last time I wrote to you.  Spring has been so busy for me given that I can actually leave the house now and run around the back yard and investigate everything.  All of this running around leads me to my post today.  When you are an inquisitive young pup like I am, it comes with a cost.  The cost is that you get dirty a lot more often.  It only makes sense.  There are sheds to crawl under.  Grass and mud to run through.  Gardens to jump into.  Here I am after a long and hard (and dirty) weekend.  If only I could play outside and not get dirty.  Why you ask?  Because I hate to take a bath.

On Glen Road, which answer below let’s you know that it is time for me to take a bath? 

  1. I stink.
  2. I don’t smell very good.
  3. My roommates on Glen Road pick me up and then put me down and say P. U.
  4. Everyone on Glen Road keeps saying ‘what’s that smell?’ and it turns out to be me!
  5. My roommates let a skunk come into the house last night and left me out in the yard.
  6. All of the above.

If you guessed number six, you would be correct.  So this weekend, it was off to the tub for me.  Never a pretty picture.  So you can understand what it takes to make me so glamorous, I have authorized the release of these bath pics to the general public.  Here I am after my initial spray….I am trying to flee by running up the side of the tub and out of the room.

  I’m so humiliated, I can’t even show my face!

Finally, I just surrender and let nature (and soap and water) takes its course.  When I’m wet, I look about 10 pounds lighter.  See how sad my little face looks in this one.

 Don’t get any soap into my eyes!  I don’t want to have to attack!

Then it’s a towel dry and under the hair dryer.  I guess it is worth it because here is how I turn out.

 Who can resist such a hot young thing?  Bark!

I’m so happy to be done with my bath.  I am also glad that you got to see that beauty is a lot of work.  It is worth it in my opinion.  As I’ve always said, “Beauty may only be skin deep, but ugly is all the way to the bone”.  Take care my lovelies and I’ll talk to you again soon.  I’m off to play in the back yard some more.  Do you have a favorite pet that can talk to me here on Acorns On Glen?