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Entries in orange (19)


Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread

Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread

A glimpse of spring came earlier this week, with rising temperatures, freshly revealed patches of brown grass, and a collective sigh of relief. However, just as soon as it came, it left, drowned out by a new layer of white and acknowledged with a thick scarf wrapped around my neck. Winter is not ready to leave yet. I tucked my spring clothes back in the closet and, with a hint of reluctance, pulled on another winter sweater.

Soon, I must remind myself. Soon.

Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread

In an effort to knock the winter doldrums away, I've been trying to brighten up the kitchen with more color and brighter flavors. It was this spirit that guided me back to an old family recipe, a favorite of my Grandmother Irene. She would make her orange rolls as a welcome to spring and the arrival of Easter, adored and devoured by friends and family alike. Though I have never met her, I feel as if I know her, just a little bit, through her food.

I played with her recipe a bit, decreasing the sugar and adding a touch more orange, but keeping the essence of the recipe close to heart. There are too many family memories and remembrances wrapped up in the layers of dough to alter it any further.

Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread

Though I took an easier route with the dough—cutting it into squares and stacking it—instead of creating individual rolls, I feel as if my grandmother would not have minded. A little short cut now and then never hurt anyone, right? Once baked and soaked in glaze, I took my first bite. And then second. And third. This bread holds the heart of spring in each layer. I find myself easily saying just one more slice before repeating the phrase a few minutes later as if it was my new mantra.

While the wind may still blow and the snow may still fly, in my small apartment it is spring.

Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread

Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread is a riff on a dear family classic. Though it may take a new form, the flavors are still full and bright. A sweet, rich dough is painted in melted butter and topped with a mixture of orange sugar and coconut. The dough is sliced, stacked, and baked, wafting sweet aromas throughout the home. When it emerges, it is drowned in an orange glaze, which soaks deeply into every nook and cranny of the loaf. This loaf is a special one; it should not be missed nor failed to be shared.

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Frozen Strawberry Bars

Frozen Strawberry Bars

Last weekend I took time to do something I don't do nearly often enough—relax. I put away the computer, closed the textbooks, and spent some quality time with my family. While I did do some baking in the kitchen, most of the weekend was spent enjoying home cooked meals, conversing over the dinner table, and wandering about in the great outdoors. After a long, difficult month, the few days I spent recuperating have left me feeling like a brand new person. There's less stress, more laughter, and a better outlook on the months to come.

We need to remind ourselves to take breaks more often.

Frozen Strawberry Bars

This summer in particular, I've been feeling a little sun-starved. It's halfway into July and I haven't detected a trace of any of my traditional tan lines. While I only have a few more weeks before I wrap up my masters degree, I can't help but stare longingly out the window, wishing my textbooks would disappear and I could go outside and play. My inner camp counselor misses the day of running in the grass, having picnics in the sun, and listening to the silly stories of excited children.

One of my favorite parts of summer is eating popsicles when the weather feels like it can't get any warmer. The act becomes a competition as I try to lick up the frozen treat before the sun melts it into a puddle at my feet. Popsicles were a part of camp culture, the reward for a well-played game of capture the flag. The aftermath of sticky faces and bright colored tongues was a mess I would never wish away.

Frozen Strawberry Bars

Last weekend, during an overcast morning, I wanted to bring a little of that sunshine into my kitchen. With a pint of strawberries in the refrigerator, it took only a few minutes to transform the fruit into frozen treats. Once the sun found its way out from the clouds, I took one out from the freezer and enjoyed it on my balcony, savoring the feeling of the sun on my face and sweet berries on my lips.

A week later, I still have a few left, waiting for moments when I can take a break in the sun.

Frozen Strawberry Bars

Frozen Strawberry Bars are a delightful summer treat. Strawberries are macerated in sugar to sweeten and bring out the flavor of the fruit. Half of the berries are left sliced while the other half is pureed with orange juice. The fruit is layered in the popsicle molds with the puree, creating a frozen bar that has a great bite. These popsicles are refreshing for those hot summer afternoons.

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Sparkling Lemon Drop

Sparkling Lemon Drop

The sun has a longstanding history of becoming oppressive in late June. The humidity in the air swells as I walk outdoors in the afternoon heat, wishing I had something to fan myself. Living in the heart of the Midwest, I am continually astounded at the extreme cold and heat I experience each year, spanning a temperature range of 120 degrees between January and July. Perhaps that's why when summer finally arrives—heat, humidity, and all—I close my mouth against complaints about the soaring humidity and learn to embrace the beautiful weather instead.

Enjoying the summer heat would feel incomplete without a tall glass of fresh lemonade.

Sparkling Lemon Drop

Last Wednesday, after a long day in the middle of an even longer week, I decided that my glass of summer lemonade could wait no more. As I rooted around in the refrigerator, I came up with a single lemon, not nearly enough to round out the pitcher of lemonade I had dreamed of all afternoon. Instead of shutting the refrigerator door with a sigh (as I so often do), I found another use for the lemon. With a little club soda and liquor, the lemon transformed itself into a sparkling cocktail.

With the spirit of that tall glass of lemonade alive in my new drink, I put my feet up and gladly sipped it down, the evening sun shining brightly through the window.

Sparkling Lemon Drop

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Sparkling Lemon Drop

Sparkling Lemon Drop takes the classic summer lemonade and turns it into an adult cocktail. A squeeze of lemon juice is mixed with a shot of vodka and a touch of orange liquor to round out the citrus flavor. A pinch of sugar brings out sweetness while the addition of club soda makes it bubble and pop. This cocktail is lovely on hot summer afternoons, when the day is long and the weekend is too far away.

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