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Sunday
Apr032011

Honey Rolls

Honey Rolls

Bread and I have grown close together over the years—at times, almost too close. You see, bread is one of those "dangerous friends" that your mother warned you about (except she was probably talking about those kids in high school instead of the food you eat, but the lesson is the same). Bread is the friend that is oh so fun (and tasty) to be around in moderation. But the more you spend time together, the more you'll realize that Bread also has a hidden agenda.

Bread loves to encourage you to make bad decisions (like eat moremoremore). You see, bread is insecure about her own bulky weight—she thinks she's a heavy cinnamon log when she's really just a light dinner roll—and would love to see you gain a few (dozen) pounds to make her feel better about herself.

Honey Rolls

Over breakfast, she'll hint that a fifth piece of toast might hold you until lunch. Over lunch, she'll ask if you want another helping of bread and cheese (and have you ever been able to turn that down?). Over dinner, she'll softly encourage you to grab another dinner roll to soak up that last bit of gravy.

Whenever I try to distance myself from bread for more than a week, we'll end up bumping into each other in the supermarket. She'll complain that we don't spend nearly enough time together and ask me if we're still friends because I haven't called in awhile. She'll make me feel guilty enough to plan a dinner date for the following evening (where I'll eat an entire fresh baguette with baked brie).

Bread and I have fallen into this trap before. We'll spend too much time together (like an entire week) and suddenly my pants are a little too tight. I think I need to start listening to my mother and be more careful of those dangerous friends.

Then again, maybe I'll get on that after I finish eating another one of these...

Honey Rolls

These honey rolls are soft, tender, and sweet. The rolls are sweetened with honey and coated with a layer of honey and butter. They are a little on the denser side, but no heavier than your average dinner roll. These are the perfect beginning or side to any meal. You'll definitely have a hard time eating just one or two. I caved and ate three; can you really blame me?

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Friday
Apr012011

Strawberry Toasted Oat Yogurt Parfait

Strawberry Toasted Oat Yogurt Parfait

Dear Mother Nature,

I need a little spring in my life. Six months of winter is a little much even for a Northern-dwelling, frostbite-resistant me. I know you have a flair for creating frigid temperatures, snowflakes, and winds that rival a hurricane (which, don't get me wrong, I do appreciate so very much), but I could use a little break. A hiatus, if you will. Just a month or two (maybe three?) of a little sun and some non-snowy terrain. I don't think that's asking too much of you.

It's April. I want to see flowers. Green grass. Birds singing. I wouldn't say no to a bit of rain. Even thunderstorms, if you're not finished making enough of this fierce weather. Though, I must admit you were really clever with that thundersnow a week ago. I haven't seen that one before—a little bit of spring and winter at the same time.

Strawberry Toasted Oat Yogurt Parfait
Strawberry Toasted Oat Yogurt Parfait

I know you're busy wreaking havoc around the world and the desperate pleas of one of its inhabitants probably doesn't mean much to you. I think I've been pretty complacent until now—few complaints, fewer protests. I don't ask for much. I even forgave you for that freak snowstorm in the middle of May a couple years ago. You remember it, don't you? That day I was packing up and moving? You certainly made that day one to remember.

Now, I didn't want to come out and say this but you've left me no choice. I think you've gotten a bit callous and spiteful these past few years. Cold-hearted, even. You're supposed to be Mother Nature, not Tyrant Earth. Have you forgotten your gentle and nurturing instincts? Perhaps you are hanging out on the beaches of sunny Florida without a care in the world, but I'm knee deep in a snowbank and I'm not liking the weatherman's forecast. Another month of winter, Mother Nature? Really? What did I ever do to you?

Your disgruntled friend,
Kristin

Strawberry Toasted Oat Yogurt Parfait

This parfait will bring a bit of much needed spring into your kitchen. The parfait features layers of subtle vanilla yogurt, sweet strawberries, and toasted honey oats. Although this parfait is simple to make, the flavors are complex enough to keep you coming back. This is the perfect breakfast or afternoon snack.

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Wednesday
Mar302011

Almond Joy Tart

Almond Joy Tart

One of the more interesting things I like to do when traveling abroad is to go shopping in foreign grocery stores. This may sound ridiculous. This may sound like a waste of time. Many of you may even be appalled that I'd take time out of sightseeing to peruse something so commonplace as a grocery store, but I'm going to stand behind myself on this one. It's quite amazing what you'll find.

It's one thing to dine in the unfamiliar restaurants of another country to get a sense of the food culture (and the flavors!), but dining out isn't how most of the population eats. I'm lucky if I dine out once a month. If you want to get a true idea of how people eat (and everybody eats), the market will show you just about everything you could wish to know.

Almond Joy Tart

I like to marvel at the differences from my own store and the foods I'm used to. Depending on where you live and where you are traveling, the fruits and vegetables vary. I've often picked up fruit I couldn't recognize, tried to translate the sign I couldn't read, and ended up snapping a photo to identify it later. The amount of boxed and processed foods scattered throughout the store can say quite a bit about the culture you're visiting. I've noticed that there seems to be a much greater focus on fresh food everywhere but the United States. I also find the sweet treats to be fascinating but, then again, my life tends to revolve a bit around butter and sugar.

Food says a lot about a culture and the people who live there. Next time you're in a far away land, eat as much as you can! But when you get full, take a minute or two out of your day to walk through a market and explore. You might just learn more than you expected.

Almond Joy Tart

Believe it or not, this tart tastes exactly like an Almond Joy. It is as if you've placed an Almond Joy on a flaky shortbread cookie and taken a big bite. Seriously. The sweet coconut is covered in just the right amount of chocolate—neither overwhelms the other. Sliced almonds are spread over the coconut giving each bite that rich and subtle almond flavor instead of the occasional big crunch in a real Almond Joy. This tart converted my coconut hating boyfriend into one who now requests I make more coconut treats.

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