International Dishes…Guess I’ll Have to Try Them Now!

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Okay, confession time. I know next to nothing about international desserts. Nobody in my house divulged in the baking world. Dishes like baklava and tiramisu would never be made in my house. No sir. If we went out to eat? My family gravitates towards the chocolate anything variety.

So, I know NOTHING about any of these dishes. It’s a travesty, a shame, a sad little state of affairs. We must rectify this immediately!

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Have I Got Something Special For You!

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Hey y’all! For you college students, you guys are probably swimming with finals and papers and projects. My finals week is shockingly mellow. A few presentations here or there. Nothing too scandalously crazy.

This left me a lot of time to craft this elaborate post for you to devour (Pun: Intended).

I’ll give you a wee little hint. It centers around international desserts. Will it but churros, cannoli, crème burlee, or tiramisu? Well by golly gee, you’ll just have to tune in to find out!

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I’ve actually never had a churro before (and as you will soon learn, not many other international desserts). However, deep-fried dough and cinnamon? What more can a gal need?

I’ll also let you know that I crafted some surveys, timelines and maps for your viewing pleasure. I even did a little research on the said dishes to learn a little history on food. It will all be in a nice, concise little post for you to read while you’re taking a break from those dreaded finals. I hope to have it up sometime this weekend. If not, it will definitely be up by Monday!

It will get you something to look forward to as you become a slave to school. So get your excited caps on!

‘Tis the Season for Food…and research!

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. This has been my motto for the past week. Let’s be real, past month.

 In case my manic fall posts didn’t make it abundantly clear, I am fanatical about festive spirit. I can’t wait to snuggle by the fire with my snowman mug filled to the brim with coffee. Here’s to hoping it’s actually cool enough in Kansas to warrant such behavior.

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Look at the snow! Look at the lights! Look how the all meld together to form this perfect Christmas snapshot!

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

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I can’t believe how fast this semester went. I am already beginning to packing adventures for my month long vacation back in Kansas. What? Wasn’t it just yesterday I was packing for the long haul to college? Unfathomable.

Despite finals looming, there is only thing on my mind right now: Holiday baking! There’s something immeasurably better about baking in the cold December air. There’s nothing quite like making a batch of our family’s almond joy balls with the sounds of Michael Buble’s Christmas album in the background. Since I’m all about “honesty is the best policy” here, I am going to go ahead and say Michael Buble’s voice is crafted specifically for Christmas carols. Step aside Frank Sinatra, there’s a new man in town. Sssssssssh! Just listen…

Way back in September, I made a commitment to make goodie baskets for our close family and friends for the holiday season. As if that wasn’t daunting enough, I agreed to make desserts for my dad’s side of the family’s Christmas. I found out this week that so far, that Christmas dinner entails approximately 25 guests. Now I don’t know for sure, I’m just spit balling here, but I think, I think, I may regret these commitments. By the end of next week, you may find me buried beneath a mountain of flour and sugars.

Another issue: Most of my close friends are scattered across the country. I had to do a little research to determine the best recipes for shipping and storing dough to make them as fresh as possible. Luckily, I found this link that allows me to make big batches of cookies, then cook them right before I am ready to mail them.

So, I started compiling the lists. My sister and I made a pact to go on a baking binge when I get home. It’s debatable whether it will actually happen or not. Funny tangent story time! My sister and I have a tendency to think of these grand plans that sound wonderful in theory (like going to a cider mill or re-watching the first season of American Horror Story) but usually leave us thinking, “Why did we think that would be fun again?” We call these moments “Goober” moments inspired by the peanut butter and jelly jarred mystery concoction. In theory, putting the peanut butter and jelly in the same jar deters from your peanut butter becoming jelly-fied. However, there’s just something about the two sitting in a jar together that’s a tad off-putting.

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Don’t tell me this isn’t a tad alarming. You know once you start eating, those clearly delineated lines will be no more.

I have a feeling these goody baskets and Christmas dessert and sisterly bonding baking will fall into the “Goober” category.

However, without further ado, I present to the current (and ever growing) list of things I plan to make for the holiday season!

Cookies:

Bars and Bark:

Breads:

Chattin’ with a Brazilian

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Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve come curious about foreign foods. As you well find later this week (Oh, the mystery of this tiny hint!), I even have gone so far as to do a little research on international dishes. That’s right, a student doing unrequired research. Teachers around the world rejoice. I figured what better way to learn about the culture of another country than go directly to the source?

This year, my aunt decided to host a foreign exchange student, Lorena. A mom of two boys, she was tickled pink to finally get the daughter (albeit temporarily) she’s always wanted.

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This is pretty much any family gathering at my house. A card game called Five Crowns, my grandma being a goofball, and my aunt taking pictures. I’m also convinced my grandma cheats because she wins. Every time.

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Fresh Green Bean Casserole

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Well, ladies and gents, I finally made the long, long trek back to Kansas last week. I couldn’t even imagine home would feel so good. My bed. Oh, sweet lord. My bed. If I didn’t have a mountain of things to do and people to see, I would have sprawled on that bed all week.

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is sitting next to my momma with my morning coffee in tow, watching Macy’s Parade. I was enthralled this year with all the musicals out there. There’s an Elf musical? A Bring It On musical? A Cinderella musical? Who knew?

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The Life of Giada de Laurentiis

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Hello, folks! Guess what I am doing? Guess! Guess! Guess! I am writing this from a living room. That’s right. A living room. This means only one thing: I am home! Aaahhh….home sweet home. Home is where the heart is. There’s no place like home. I could throw in any cliché about home, but the essence is just the same. Home equals a happy place.

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My Baking Trivia Challenge!

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Whew! The big push before break. It seems as though all my classes are beginning to wind down. I can’t determine if they are winding down or if my mentality is “eh, it’s almost break, so who cares!” Either way, my workload seems to be dwindling.

This leaves me faaaaaaar too much time to indulge in my cooking shows. I soaked up all the Thanksgiving meals being whipped up on Semi-Homemade, Giada at Home, and Pioneer Woman on Saturday morning (coconut hot chocolate? Sign me up!).

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Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving? Lordy where did the time go?

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Map Mashup

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As y’all are well aware at this point (and if you aren’t you really need to work on your observation skills), I am from Kansas. Seeing as I have only been in Pittsburgh two months, I haven’t had a ton of time to try all the different bakeries and food niches here.

However, back home, I knew all the spots to check out and all the places to bring out-of-towners. I know eastern Kansas like the back of my hand. I decided to share some of this knowledge.

Here is a map of some of the well-known dessert eateries in the area. Most of them have specialties (cupcakes, cookies, donuts), but all of them have an aspect that makes them a unique experience.

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Let’s get to reviewing!

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