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Sara’s Kitchen: Parcel Torte (Three Rivers Cookbook)

We chose a low-key Valentine’s Day dinner in this year. First Andy offered to cook, but then I suggested we cook together — and then I basically stole the whole plan and kicked him out of the kitchen.

My menu included Pork Tenderloin with Orange and Fennel and roasted potatoes. I served a simple greens salad to start (made my own dressing: avocado oil, Braggs apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper).

I hadn’t planned dessert; it’s not my forte (who has time for that?), and even mentioned to Andy about picking up something.

Instead, I ended up on the phone with my mom during the week who said, “Do you have the Three Rivers Cookbook? You should make that parcel torte. It’s easy, but it’ll seem like you spent all day in the kitchen.”

parcel torte

I was already at the grocery store, so we tried to find the recipe online — tough, but we eventually did find it at the bottom of this Post-Gazette article noting the cookbook’s 40th anniversary from a few years ago. There are just four ingredients, plus whipped cream  — I didn’t bother to read the instructions.

Once I started the process, googling “how to beat egg whites” and “how to fold in egg whites” I was sure I was going to screw this up. Mom didn’t mention all of this egg white nonsense!

However, by some miracle, despite whatever standards the Internet would hold you to your egg white beating process — this was terrific. Would’ve been even better with homemade whipped cream — but I’ll let you guys handle that.

Parcel Torte
from the Three Rivers Cookbook, shared here

  • 7 ounces Baker’s semisweet chocolate
  • 1 stick butter
  • 7 ounces sugar
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 7 egg whites
  • Chocolate shavings (I used a vegetable peeler)
  • Sweet whipped cream (I used Reddi Whip; would be best with homemade)

Melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan. Add sugar and egg yolks, and beat for 3 minutes at high speed.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff (add a little sugar to help hold peaks).

Fold egg whites slowly into the chocolate batter with a spatula.

Pour only 3⁄4 of the batter into an ungreased 8-inch springform pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes.

Let torte cool and fall. Then run knife around edge and remove frame.

Pour the remaining uncooked batter over the top and chill.

Garnish with the chocolate shavings and serve with whipped cream.

Pour: I paired this with The Vineyard at Hershey’s Blackberry Portrait, a nice jammy addition to the rich chocolate flavor. For even more chocolatey flavor, try The Vineyard at Hershey’s Cocoa di Vezzetti, a merlot-based chocolate dessert wine.

Give Beer for Valentine’s Day

How many pieces of chocolate do you really eat out of that heart-shaped box you get every Valentines Day?

Maybe the plain one in the middle before taking the chance to find out which one is the truffle and which one is filled with a disgusting concoction.

So why not take all of the risk that goes with those boxes and treat yourself to some decadent chocolate beer.


Whether you’re going out for dinner or just having a night in there’s a special Valentine’s Day beer for everyone to enjoy.


For the second year in a row Troegs Brewing Company has brought out a chocolate stout just in time for Valentine’s Day. Last year’s brew (Scratch #88) had a lot of vanilla and cocoa powder in it; this year’s — Scratch #172 — was conditioned on cacao nibs and vanilla for a week, for a “luxurious body and rich, decadent finish.”

The beer came out Thursday, so you can grab a growler fill during the day — or make Troegs your Valentine’s Day destination. Troegs also rolled out a new menu, so if you haven’t been to the brewery in a while there is no better time.

Lancaster Brewing Company is famous for their Milk Stout and Strawberry Wheat beers, but what many people don’t know is that you can combine the two.

The bartenders call it a Chocolate Covered Strawberry. Not only do you get the two beers, they also add Godiva Crème de Cocoa and a swirl of chocolate syrup on top. Those additions plus a strawberry garnish make this a unique drink to try while out to eat or for a pre or post dinner drink at the bar.

Appalachian Brewing Company has just added four new flagship beers to their line-up and one is their Chocolate Avenue Stout. It uses large amounts of chocolate malt and roasted barley to give it the sweet chocolate flavor along with hints of coffee.

Heat is always good on Valentine’s Day and Spring House’s Blood Lust has all the heat you need. Blood Lust is aged with vanilla beans, cocoa nibs, cinnamon sticks and habanero peppers to take everything up a notch. [Editor’s note: Must try this!]

If you’re heading out, look for:

While the Troegs, ABC and Spring House beers are available for take out or growler fills, there are plenty of chocolaty beers from breweries outside the region as well.

Yards Love Stout

I mean it has “love” in the name and it’s a staple of this type of beer. Yards Love Stout goes perfectly with sweet treats so pairing this with a chocolate cheesecake to bring it all together.

Southern Tier Chokolat

Chokolat has the most chocolate taste out of all of these and the smell is so sweet you will feel like you are drinking a rich, creamy chocolate milkshake. This could be a perfect alternative to a dessert wine and you can even “float it” with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Fort Collins Brewing Company Chocolate Stout

The Colorado brewery makes a very smooth and drinkable beer that isn’t as sweet as some of the others on the list. This sweet, malty beer could be perfect for a movie night when you plan on having more than one.

This by no means a complete list of chocolate beers. There are plenty more out there, and we love trying new ones. What will you be drinking with your special someone for Valentine’s Day?

Prepare your Kettles: 2 Upcoming Homebrew Festivals

Are you a home brewer? Do you know a homebrewer? Do you like beer? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then this post is for you! As we get closer to spring’s return, we enter that time of year when festivals start popping up, and you’re ready to leave the house again.

Interest in home brewing is growing across the nation. Bob’s Burgers, one of my favorite shows, recently aired an episode revolving around homebrewing, and even the President has an interest and assists with some White House home brews (the ultimate whale in my book).

I love meeting other homebrewers and trying their offerings. While I don’t get the opportunity to brew very often, I love hearing those who do talk about how they find the inspiration for their creations. There are some really creative and unique brews being made out there, a few of which have surpassed those of professional brewers. Just because people brew these in their homes, doesn’t mean that they aren’t well crafted, and in most cases delicious.

This April, there are two big homebrew festivals coming together, so get those creative juices flowing. Dust of those drinking dresses and your best beer tee shirts and get ready to sample some of the best.  And, to top it off,  proceeds from both benefit charity.

Mac’s Mixed Nuts Brewing for a Cure – April 18

ed tierney mike homebrew 2014

This is the second year of the Brewing for a Cure homebrew festival benefiting the Mac’s Mixed Nuts Relay for Life team. Last year, I showed off my Saison 27 birthday homebrew. This year, I’ll be guest judging!

This year’s festival will be held at Harmony Hall in Middletown with the event running from 1-5 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online or at the door. Entries for home brewers are $10. Your $20 will get you in the door, votes for the people’s choice award, and sweet tunes provided by JT and the Mild Heat.

If you are a home brewer and would like to participate as an individual, or as a home brewer’s club, please contact Todd McIntyre via email for further details.

Harrisburg Beer Week: Battle of the Homebrew Clubs – April 26

tierney homebrewing atl

I am so amped up for Harrisburg Beer Week and can’t wait to start sharing with you some of the awesome events over the coming weeks . We are proud to announce that a home brew festival will be included with the week’s events.

The Battle of the Homebrew Clubs will take place April 26 from 1-5 p.m. at FED LIVE (Federal Taphouse upstairs). Competition will be fierce, and you won’t want to miss it. Tickets are $25 and all proceeds will benefit Harrisburg River Rescue. Your ticket includes your tasting glass, light fare, and all the dancing you can handle while the band plays.

If you are a home brewer and would like to participate as an individual, or as a home brewer’s club, please contact Chris Harvey via email for further details.

Weekend Roundup 2/12

After a mini-marathon of brewer interviews for a special What’s on Tap edition to air during Harrisburg Beer Week, we headed over to the soft opening of 1794, The Whiskey Rebellion last night for great food and whiskey cocktails (there’s more too). It opens tonight at the Comfort Suites in Carlisle, so check it out.

First Lady cocktail at 1794 The Whiskey Rebellion, Carlisle.

First Lady cocktail at 1794 The Whiskey Rebellion, Carlisle.

P.S. You probably also don’t want to miss my latest “Out with Sara” column for PennLive featuring the coming-soon Grain + Verse Bottlehouse.

I’m “taking off today” which means I have only the gym and one appointment, but then plenty of work, housework and errands to catch up on. Woo!

It’s early to bed for me, too, because in the wee hours of tomorrow morning, I’ll be joining the ABC 27 Daybreak crew with some great ideas for singles this weekend.

Later, I’m getting my hair ‘did (wonder what’s next), and Saturday morning I’ll join Bruce Bond on 92.1 from 9 a.m. to noon as we like to do.

Of course, that’s also Valentine’s Day, and I’m planning to stay in and cook and relax with Andy. If you’re looking for some fun cocktail ideas for the weekend, be sure to check out Intern Jimi’s post on the subject.

Need more inspiration? Tune in tomorrow morning during the 7  o’clock hour to Glenn & Bob on The River 97.3 for “Sara’s Weekend Picks.”

What are you doing this weekend? 


Why I hate running in pants

I hate running in pants.

kelly running

I don’t know why, and it hasn’t always been this way. I used to pull out my running tights as soon as winter hit, and cycle through them until spring. In fact, I once wore two pairs to a January half marathon in 2011. Pants and I were friends.

But I think it was after last winter that I really started rebelling against pants while running. I was so sick of the never-ending, freezing winter, and I don’t know, maybe shorts made me think “spring!” While I ran on the treadmill more than I’d have liked, I also ran outside pretty frequently. And I think, maybe, my body adjusted to the super low temperatures. So, when the temperature climbed above freezing, it felt  much warmer than it actually was.

kelly running

So, I slowly began ditching the pants. “Well, it’s 35 degrees out. I can probably wear shorts.” I don’t remember exactly how low it had to go for me to dig out the pants, but I do know it was a battle. Pants means it’s COLD OUT. And I HATE COLD.

This year, my cutoff temperature is a “real feel” of 28. If it is above 28 degrees, I am in shorts. A few weeks ago, I ran in a snowstorm in shorts because it “felt like” 30 degrees out. YES! Shorts weather!

“Aren’t you, like, really cold?” asked a guy passing me in the other direction. “No, I AM HAPPY!” Truly, the cold doesn’t bother me when I am running.

kelly winter

Later that day, a woman walking on the path yelled after me, “Put some pants on! Where is your mother?”

Thanks, but I am 29 years old and my mom is in Wilkes-Barre, actually. She probably isn’t interested in what I am wearing at the moment.

I have tried to run in shorts in sub-28 degrees, and I had to turn around with my tail between my legs. After two miles I was so cold, my legs physically ached. I learned my lesson that day as I begrudgingly changed into pants and went back outside.

So, a “real feel” of 28 it is. I know it’s oddly specific, but hey, it works for me. The past two months have been more pants than not, but the shorts are still making their appearance. I think we may actually be inching towards spring? I can only hope.

Tell me, what temperature do you switch to pants for? Do you hate wearing pants when running or is it just me?



Drinking outside the box on Valentine’s Day

A glass of wine on Valentine’s Day is like having beer while watch the Super Bowl, you can’t have one without the other, right?


There are so many more options when trying to decide what drink to have to wind down or get going with your special someone.

Now to get you in the mood, you can do what I am doing right now and listen to You Make Me Wanna… by Usher. There’s nothing smoother than Usher on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day Cocktails

Chocolate is another thing that you can’t help but associate with V-Day, but instead of just the heart shaped box this year, why not pour that chocolate into a glass?

A chocolate martini could start any date off on the right note or be perfect when snuggling in for a movie at the end of the night. Since it’s also Chocolate-Covered February in Hershey, it’s just the right time to break out your mixology skills to master the HERSHEY’S Kisses Signature Chocolate Martini (check out the Chocolate Martini Mixology class offered later this month — a great date idea).

Hershey's Kisses Signature Chocolate Martini


CATEGORIES: Food/Drink, Holiday

Giveaway: metalledwith Bleeding Heart Necklace

Looking for a one-of-a-kind Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetheart (or maybe just something pretty for yourself)?

Check out metalledwith original, handcrafted jewelry inspired by nature. Each piece is original and unique wearable art often featuring items like a pressed leaf, notes from an old hymnal or avian images. metalledwith is based right here in Harrisburg, Pa.

Richelle Dourte is a certified naturalist with a background in environmental science. She is largely self-taught in metalworking and draws inspiration from nature. Richelle creates metalledwith jewelry, which incorporates organic elements into handcrafted metalwork. The ideas are original, wearable art made in and from Pennsylvania. When choosing materials, preference is given to those that are organic, native botanical species and recycled.

metalledwith jewelry is sold at a number of local retailers, including Stash, as well as through an Etsy store.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, this week we’re giving away a special piece from the metalledwith collection featuring a Bleeding Heart flower.

metalledwith bleeding heart

According to Dourte, it grew last spring and was handpicked, pressed and cast in a crafted brass bezel on a 16-18″ adjustable chain.

To enter, complete the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bears win thriller in overtime

Saturday night provided another classic chapter in the Hershey Bears and Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins rivalry and it ended with the Bears making a tremendous comeback.

hershey bears

The Bears erased a two-goal deficit in the third period and forced the fifth overtime game of the season between these two rivals.

Jim O’Brien laid a pass right on the tape of Mike Moore who ripped it behind Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff that set off a roar in the Giant Center that is usually only heard during the playoffs.

Moore’s first goal of the season couldn’t have come at a better time.

hershey bears

The game had a playoff feel from the opening face-off. At the start of the game only four points separated the two teams in the standings and every point matters.

The first period started off like a lot of the meetings between these two rivals, with hard hits and bloody noses.

Wilkes-Barre had the best chances but they were unable to capitalize on any of them and the first period ended scoreless.

The Bears were able to break the tie a minute into the second period when forward Stanislav Galiev slid the puck passed Zatkoff.

Giant Center was rocking but it didn’t last for too long, as the Penguins were able to rattle off three unanswered goals including their first short-handed goal of the season.


CATEGORIES: Hershey, Pennsylvania, Sports

4 Weird Beers to Try Now

One of the cool things about craft beer is the freedom that brewers have to create pretty much whatever they want. This experimentation has led to many staples we enjoy today such as a coffee stout, apple ale, or even the spicy Habanero Sculpin.

Sometimes, these ideas get a little weird. That doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily bad, but they may raise some eyebrows. Who knows, someday these could be the new standard! Looking for something off-the-charts?

Check out a few of these weird beers pushing the boundaries of drinkers everywhere.

Snitz Creek Seltzer’s Smokehaus #7

snitz creek

Is there anything more local than Lebanon Bologna? I don’t ever want to live in an area where I can’t pop into the grocery store to get what I need for bologna roll ups. What better way to show local pride than by creating a beer with this Lebanon staple, right? Snitz Creek’s Seltzer’s Smokehaus #7 is a rauchbier that doesn’t actually contain bologna (you’re welcome vegetarians/vegans), the grains used are smoked in the Seltzer smoke-houses creating that same smoky flavor. You should be able to find it on tap around Harrisburg, and soon in bottles, too!

Rogue Beard Beer


The following information may gross some of you out. When beer is brewed, malted grain and hops are used first, and then it is fermented with yeast. In brewing, there are many types of yeast out available for use. Some use basic Belgian strands, some use souring strands like brettomyces, but Rogue took it even further by collecting yeast from their brewer’s beard. That’s right, random yeast that was collected from brewmaster John Maier’s beard, which he claims to not have shaved since 1978, was used to make this beer. So what’s it taste like? Well, I had no fear tasting this one at McGrath’s awhile back and found it to be a bit like a saison with just a little bit of funk to it.

 Sprecher’s Hard Root Beer

sprecher hard root beer

In comparison to some of the other beers on this list, the idea of an adult root beer seems tame. I mean, we have vodka in every flavor under the sun and hard lemonade and tea, why wouldn’t we have adult sodas? When I get beered out, I go one of two directions: cider or mixed drink. With this, I don’t have to choose either, because it 100% tastes like I’m drinking a root beer I picked up at the Broad Street Market. Only, this  has booze so win-win. You can usually find this on tap at Al’s of Hampden – how fun would a crowler be at your next party?

Dogfish Head Ta Henket 

dogfish head ta henket

Four years ago I took my first trip to the Dogfish Head brewpub in Rehoboth and accidentally found myself drinking one of the four final glasses of their Egyptian brew Ta Henket. Dogfish Head had a short-lived show on A&E about brewing, and during an episode on the show they went to Egypt to investigate ancient beer recipes. They seriously had hieroglyphic translations it was awesome. While they were there, they picked up regional ingredients, including yeast strains collected next to a pyramid, to create this ancient ale. While I may have gotten one of the last glasses of the original batch, you can still get some of your own in bottles, when available. So what does it taste like? Pepperoni pizza combos. Yes, I’m serious. That’s exactly what it tastes like.



Weekend Roundup 2/5

Happy almost weekend! It’s been another whirlwind week around here as the countdown to the Jersey Mike 5K (Registration now open!) and Harrisburg Beer Week near — my two top projects at the moment.

I spent last night investigating a new bottleshop set to open in New Cumberland — oh, tomorrow soon. Check my Instagram for a little preview; OWS column hits next week.

sara blogger grain

A food/drink blogger captured in her native habitat.

Trying to keep tonight and tomorrow pretty low key, but Saturday morning I return to the airwaves with the one and only Bruce Bond. Tune in to 92.1 from 9 a.m. to noon for The Bruce Bond Late Afternoon Show on Saturday Morning. Afterwards, I’m off to ring in the 3rd anniversary of The Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey. It’s a packed day filled with new wine and beer releases, music, food and fun.

On Sunday, we’re heading to State College for my first and looks like only Penn State Wrestling match of the season. It’ll be my first time at the BJC — another sold out crowd.

Need more inspiration? Tune in tomorrow morning during the 7  o’clock hour to Glenn & Bob on The River 97.3 for “Sara’s Weekend Picks.”

What are you doing this weekend? 


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