blueberry banana bread

A few years back, I used to go on weekly breakfast outings with my friend Evan. Working restaurant jobs, we both shared a common day off in the middle of the week which gave us the perfect excuse to wake up early and check out different breakfast places around town. One day he recommended Marie Callender’s, of which I was skeptical. I didn’t recall much about the … Continue reading blueberry banana bread

marzipan stollen buns with crunchy sugar glaze

Well, Thanksgiving is over! Time for ornaments, twinkly lights, Bing Crosby Christmas music, and piles of baked goods. Why not start with this one, perfect for wintry morning breakfasts?

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I don’t remember the first time I had stollen, but I think it might have come from Trader Joe’s, of all places. I was hooked immediately! Traditionally made into larger loaf shapes, these little fruit-packed German stollen buns are like a more refined version of fruitcake. All the familiar flavors are there, but instead of a sugar soaked “cake”, the fruits are jammed into soft, lightly sweet buns, sharing space with a sweet center of almond marzipan. Doesn’t that sound good to you? It sure does to me.

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cherry + lime aguas frescas

Looking through my blog, you can find plenty of recipes for desserts, snacks, main dishes, and pretty much anything else. There’s one area where oven&apron is slacking off, though, and that’s in the beverage department.

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You may remember my honeyed peach aguas frescas from last March? I must get a craving for sweet, fruity drinks around the end of wintertime. This drink is similar in idea, but a little less sweet and more complex. I’ve always been enamored with the flavor combo of cherry and lime (and who doesn’t love the Cherry Limeaid from Sonic?) Consider this drink the older, more mature cousin of Sonic’s fruity, overly sweet version.

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caramel pears

Pears are better than apples.

There, I said it. I’ve never been a huge fan of apples, they always smell better than they taste, to me. I do enjoy a few varieties that I’ll snack on if the rare mood strikes (Pink Lady, Honeycrisp), but I’d rather eat a pear than an apple, any day of the week. That’s why I decided to create a new cool-weather staple: enter the caramel-dipped pear!

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honey-almond peach crisp

A few weeks back, I was lucky enough to make a trip down to Apple Annie’s Orchard in Willcox, AZ. I’ve been several times in the past to pick my own pumpkins in the fall, but I had always missed out on picking peaches from their orchard in the summertime. I was super excited to go!

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sparkling fruit sodas!

IMG_1375I’m sure what I’m about to say will shun me from a large part of society, but I’m not much of a coffee drinker. I can probably count the cups of coffee I’ve had in the past 6 years on one hand. Tea is okay, but I find it a bit bland. I know that water is the best and healthiest thing to drink to quench one’s thirst, but sometimes nothing beats a tall glass of fizzy soda (or pop/coke/soda pop; choose your nomenclature!).

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vegan cherry + apricot tart

I’m so lucky this week to be taking some time off work, and I’m doubly lucky that my awesome sister Lindsey is visiting me all week long!

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Me and Linds in 1987. Twinsies!

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And, Lindsey more recently. Ain’t she pretty? She’s got the coolest tattoos.

Linds happens to be vegan, which makes it quite difficult for her to find baked goods that she can eat without getting sick from any sneaky dairy ingredients. While she was visiting, I figured we’d make a tart that’s vegan!

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grapefruit brûlée bars

I have many fond memories of spending time at my grandma’s house as a kid. She lived right next door to us, so it wasn’t unusual to go over and spend the night at her house on the occasional weekend. When it came to meals, breakfast was one that my grandma always wanted immediately after she woke up, even it that meant sitting down at the table around 5:30 a.m. My grandma was never one for hearty breakfasts of fried eggs, bacon, pancakes and the like. She’d make little muffins that she called “breakfast cakes”, usually with healthy things like raisins and bran cereal flakes, or chunks of pineapple. My sisters and I would each get a microwave-warmed “breakfast cake” which she’d pulled from her ever-present stash the freezer, accompanied by a tiny glass of orange juice and a steaming, scald-your-lips hot mug of hot cocoa, always made with water and not milk.

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My grandma’s breakfast of choice, the one that she always came back to after countless batches of tiny muffins, was a simple grapefruit half and a cup of hot tea. I never knew anyone who ate as much grapefruit as my grandma! I don’t recall if she ever put sugar on her grapefruit before she dug in with one of her little sharp-edged grapefruit spoons, but whenever she’d serve me a half for breakfast, I was sure to load it up with lots of crunchy white sugar. My favorite part? Drinking the super sweet grapefruit juice left in the rind once all the fruit had been eaten.

Fancy was not necessarily my grandma’s style when it came to breakfast, so there’s no wonder that she never sprinkled sugar on her half of grapefruit and then shoved it into the broiler to create a thin layer of caramelized goodness on top of the fruit. I’ve never tried it myself, but I’ve always been intrigued by the idea. Grapefruit? Good. Sugar? Good. Grapefruit and sugar? Gooooooood.

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