Cocoa Hazelnut Overnight Oats with Sweet Cherries

Just over two weeks ago, I received word of my grandmother’s passing and not long after that, we were off on a plane to Hong Kong.  Having lived to reach 101 years old, my grandmother had a long and full life, and her memorial service was a celebration of that.  We spent ten days in Hong Kong, connecting with family I seldom see, and soaking in the culture of the bustling city.  After indulging ourselves with all the dim sum, noodles, roasted meats, and delectable pastries you could possibly imagine, we were ready again for simplicity and the comforts of home.

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Blueberry Almond Breakfast Crisp

Every July I make the same blueberry pie– it’s a favorite mid-summer tradition that I look forward to every year.   Lately however, we seem to be eating more than our fair share of dessert, so I thought I’d change things up a bit and turn our summer dessert into a treat worthy of eating for breakfast.  The almond paste crumble is what makes the pie truly special, but since almond paste is fairly dense with sugar, I increased the oats to almond paste ratio to make a crumble which is still markedly almond in flavor yet more subtly sweet.  I also replaced the sugar in the blueberry filling with a mere touch of maple syrup for a more natural sweetness.  Coconut oil took the place of butter and the resulting crisp was just what I had wanted-  sweet but not too sweet, and with plenty of the almond oat crumble.  When served warm from the oven, the blueberries are plump and juicy; if you prefer the filling to be on the thicker side, it sets up a bit more after it’s chilled.  We enjoy it both ways.  For an extra treat, serve with a dollop of vanilla bean creme fraiche.

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Grilled Pork Tenderloin Tacos

Sometimes when it comes to entertaining, I fall into the trap of thinking that a meal needs to be complicated and time-consuming in order to be special.  I forget that the most important part of getting together are the people, and while food plays an important role in gathering us around the table, I find that most people are just as appreciative of a simple meal as they are with a more elaborate one.   So lately in order to keep the stress levels low when we have friends over, I’ve been trying to plan meals that are crowd-pleasing but also manageable and straightforward.  I think most would agree that tacos makes excellent party fare-  a taco bar set out with bowls of salsas, guacamole, cheeses, and a variety of fillings can be so festive and colorful, and there are endless possibilities.

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