No Toaster Needed

Homemade S’mores “Toaster” Pastries

[NOSTALGIA ALERT]  The majority of my childhood breakfasts where wholesome, homemade, and totally Mom-approved.  However, my sister and I would occasionally delve into the world of pre-made breakfast items.  Our favorite?  S’mores Pop-tarts.

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There’s something so inexplicably tempting about those foil-wrapped, shockingly sturdy, rectangular pastries.  Tasting almost as good right out of the package as they did toasted, they were perfectly portable for a track meet snack or breakfast on the run.  As I grew up, though, I wandered away from Pop-tarts, starting my day, instead, with oatmeal.

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While I in no way regret my transition to oatmeal, I do still occasionally think back to those chocolatey, marshmallowey, graham crackery treats.  So, I figured I would give them a go this weekend.

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Bar for the Course

Black-Bottom Coconut Caramel Almond Bars

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Did you ever have those Seven Layer Bars as a kid?  You know the ones.  Graham cracker crust, coconut, 3-4 different flavors of baking chips, all smothered in sweetened condensed milk…  Yes, those ones.  So rich.  So decadent.  So gosh darn delicious.

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My version has just a couple more steps and some surprising additions and swaps.  I wouldn’t really call it a Seven Layer Bar even — more like a 7th Heaven Bar 🙂

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“You can’t beat a babka”

Babka Dough 2 Ways:

Dark Chocolate Babka & White Chocolate Couronne

I wish I was cool enough to be an actual Seinfeld fan…I just play one on TV.  I truly believe that I have all the makings of a die-hard Seinfeld fan:  I’m originally from NY, I love smart-funny shows (The Office is my #1), I think I have a great sense of humor, & I make a killer babka (more on that later).

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At this point, you’re probably wondering, why doesn’t she like Seinfeld then?  Well, my friends, the answer is simple:  the universe is against me.  I don’t have Netflix or Amazon Prime, I refuse to purchase the DVD set (plus, I don’t even have a DVD player), & my cable package channels only play Seinfeld at midnight.  Mein kampf.  Thus, I have never been able to give Seinfeld chance.

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Someday — when I have positive net worth — I will rectify this great wrong.

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Pie Time

Mini Pink Lemonade Meringue Pies

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I was shocked, SHOCKED to discover that an internet searched yielded no results when I typed in “Pink Lemonade Meringue Pie.”  How is this not a thing??  Lemon meringue pie is a thing.  Pink lemonade is definitely a thing.  So, why is the combination of these two things not a thing??

Well, I took matters into my own hands and made it a thing.  A good thing.  Possibly one of Oprah’s new favorite things.  Possibly.
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Fa la la falafel

Baked Falafel

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Greek food and Mumford & Sons — two of my absolute favorites!  They really have nothing to do with each other, except for the fact that I was listening to The Road To Red Rocks (Live) whilst coming up with this recipe.  My 2nd favorite quote of all time happens to come from Marcus Mumford:  “My mother calls me a sweater…because I sweat a lot.”  So raw.  So real.  So me.

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Back to Greek food.

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The root of all evil

Root Beer Float Cookies…TWO WAYS!

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As a kid, I was significantly less invested in my long-term health and wellness than I am now, and, as such, I had a MASSIVE sweet tooth (and quite a few cavities to match).  During this troubled youth of mine, I was a big soda drinker, with my favorites consisting of orange soda, rare cans of cherry soda (only found in the vending machine outside of Price Chopper), and, my absolute favorite, root beer.

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As I have gotten older & wiser, my taste buds have also grown older and wiser.  As a result, I no longer crave a can of soda on a daily basis, though I do still love the flavor of root beer.  I think it would be impossible to describe its flavor to someone who had never tasted a root beer – it’s simultaneously sweet and spicy, with hints of pepper, cinnamon, & maybe a tad of licorice?  Like I said, hard to describe, and now I’m just making things up.

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Remember Dum-dums?  The root beer ones were the only ones I’d eat. Continue reading

Love in bloom

Cake Batter Blossom Cookies

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Blossom cookies are a thing.  The original blossom cookie was a humble peanut butter cookie with a milk chocolate HERSHEY’S(R) Kiss in the middle (a staple in my childhood home).  Simple and simply delicious.  Recently, however, the basic concept has skyrocketed.  Chocolate cookies, red velvet cookies, Nutella cookies, cookies rolled in sprinkles, cookies rolled in nuts, etc…  And THEN, to add to the variety, there are approximately 1 million (+/- 50) different flavors of HERSHEY’S(R) Kisses in the candy aisle, depending on the time of year.

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CE #3: Souper!

In the dental world, CE stands for ‘Continuing Education,’ courses that you pay to take to keep yo’ skillz fresh; here, though, CE will stand for ‘Cheap Eats,’ meal recipes that are both affordable and delectable.

Carrot Ginger Broth

for individual noodle bowls

Let’s just get this out of the way now…IT’S FREAKING COLD OUTSIDE!!!!  Okay, not that we have fulfilled the obligatory weather comment requirement, let’s do something about it!  No, I don’t mean “do something about it” like Storm from X-Men, I mean, let’s just find a way to cope with the cold.  You know, soup!!
Noodle bowls, pho, ramen — whatever you want to call them — seem to be all the rage these days and for good reason!  They’re pretty easy to make at home, and they’re so incredibly versatile.  You can put whatever proteins, veggies, noodles, grains, etc, that you want, and you can prep all of the ingredients ahead of time for your busy workweek.
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Checkmate!

Spiced Chocolate Chess Bars

This Southern thing is really rubbing off on me.  I’ve been in Virginia for 6 months, and I’m already swapping my New England clam chowder for shrimp and grits.  Guess I’m basically just the cultural equivalent of tofu — I just take on the flavors of my surroundings 😉

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This being Christmastime, our clinic has been totally inundated with sugary tidings of festive good cheer.  After all, nothing says “Merry Christmas” quite like hyperglycemia!  We’ve had the standard variety of cookies, huge caramel corn tins, brownies, chocolate-covered everything, and even two massive boxes of assorted Greek desserts.  What spoke to me most, however, was something entirely new to me:  a chocolate chess pie.

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