Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish Braids

A few weeks ago, I got to buy a few new kitchen toys — a food processor, a gorgeous NordicWare bundt pan, and a mini tart making set (thanks to a generous gift card that was given to us, which David promptly handed over to me and told me to go nuts ūüėČ what a great husby!). My sister keeps telling me that I’m going to make her fat with all of the baking that I’ve been doing. That’s what you get for luring us here to Sacramento, Mollie! ūüôā

Anyways, with the help of these new kitchen toys, I’ve gotten to branch out a little bit in my baking adventures. ¬†Mini tarts galore, strawberry cupcakes with fresh strawberry puree, and most recently these blueberry cream cheese danish¬†braids. ¬†I don’t usually like danishes because they are always sickeningly sweet, stale tasting, and way too rich. ¬†But these homemade ones¬†were absolutely divine.

Danish 3

I was pretty pleased with my first attempt at making these pastries. ¬†Yes, there were some issues….the bottom of the pastries browned way too quickly, the layers weren’t as flaky and puffy as I would have liked, and there didn’t seem to be enough cream cheese. ¬†But regardless, they tasted dangerously good – buttery, crispy, flaky, creamy sweet, and tart deliciousness.¬†Between me, husby, sister, and other friends, both braids were devoured in less than a day. ¬†Oops. ūüôā

I followed the exact recipe and method as detailed at Sally’s Baking Addiction. ¬†It was actually surprisingly easy with this quick method that does not involve laminating the butter or anything like that. ¬†Still time consuming, but not difficult. ¬†I ended up making the dough first and then doing the shaping, filling, and baking the following day.

Danish1Specks in the dough = chunks of butter. Oh, yeah!

 

Things to do differently next time, because there will most definitely be a next time:
(1) figure out why they browned so quickly on the bottom (oven temp off? baking sheets too thin? heat uneven)
(2) make my dough more neat and uniform especially around the edges
(3) figure out how to keep the cream cheese from falling out of the pastry during baking


Danish4

 

If I can make these,¬†then so can you. ¬†Happy baking! ūüôā

Running Thoughts

So I recently started running regularly again, after a 5-ish year hiatus.  Since moving to California, I have absolutely no excuse since the sun shines every day, the mornings are beautifully crisp and cool, and we live right next to miles of trails, parks, creeks, and sidewalks.

While some people are natural runners and feel rejuvenated by it, I’m actually¬†exhausted just thinking about it. ¬†I feel pumped up for about 2 minutes, but then after that, every single step is agony. ¬†Within 5 minutes, my legs start burning, my chest tightens, and I am gasping for air, all the while wiping sweat and snot off of my face. ¬†But I persist so that I can continue to fit into my pants and because I need to be in shape for when I climb Kilimanjaro someday.

Today, I realized that running parallels my life lately — it is hard¬†and not always fun. ¬†Not that life is difficult right now. ¬†It’s actually pretty sweet.¬†I love where we live, husband has a great job, and I have gotten to hang out with my sister more in the past month than I have in the past 2 years. But with regards to pursuing God, finishing up my residency application, and finding purpose in each day, it is hard. It’s hard to stay motivated, hard to keep my legs moving, and hard to see the point of putting in a lot of effort.

I have been noticing, though,¬†that running¬†is easier if I just keep my head down and focus on taking the next step without tripping. ¬†And then I think about what will make that next step easier¬†– taking good deep breaths, swinging my arms efficiently, keeping my tummy in and my back straight, etc. ¬†If I look at the long stretch ahead of me, I start to feel discouraged because the end seems to be¬†too far away. ¬†But If I just think about the next step, and the next one, and the next one, before I know it, I’m at the end of my run.

So it is with God and with life. ¬†He¬†is impressing on me lately that I don’t need to know the¬†10-year plan or even the 1-year plan, but only enough to take the next step. ¬†Even if I don’t see where this residency application process is headed, even if there are days when I can’t see or hear God, and even if I wake up¬†fearing the¬†long, lonely¬†day stretched out ahead of me. ¬†Jesus¬†wants me to simply¬†follow Him, even if all I can muster¬†is¬†one small step at a time. Eventually He’ll lead me to where I’m supposed to be.

So….on that note, I guess I should go back to working on my personal statement now ūüôā