brie + jam pretzel hand pies

I wasn’t sure what to call these. Calzones? Stuffed pretzel rolls? Circles of sweet and savory goodness?

But I ate them with my hands and a pie filled with brie and jam sounds pretty tasty, so… hand pies. Pretzel hand pies, to be exact. With brie and raspberry jam in the center. Oooooh yes.

Obviously I’m currently suffering from a case of post-traumatic house-moving disorder, thus my random thoughts and erratic sentence structure. OK, OK, I’m being dramatic. It wasn’t that bad, really. But if someone wants to come unpack all these boxes for me and put everything where it’s supposed to go while I sit here eating pretzel hand pies, that would be swell.

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plum-blackberry cream cheese bread with oat streusel

I’m officially calling this summer the banner year of busyness. I just returned home from a weekend of potlucking, we’re moving this week to our new (and first — cue the hyperventilating) home and between it all are jobs to attend to, families to visit, friends to see and a whole lot of long to-do lists.

Please don’t misunderstand me — I am in no way complaining about these things, nor do I intend to glorify the idea of busyness. In fact, in my life I strive to do the opposite. For a long time I thought that feeling I got when my heart and lungs felt like they were being slowly strangled by a rope (I think they call it stress) meant I was doing something right — if I feel like I’ve got a lot going on, that’s a good thing, right? That means I’m busy, and our culture tells us if we’re busy that means we must be productive, influential and active members of society. Unlike those hippie-granola types out hiking in the woods right now. Pssh.

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strawberry galette

Elliott and I are going on vacation again starting this weekend — this time with the fam, to a sunny southern beach (a.k.a. MY HAPPY PLACE) — and we could not be more excited to go. But before we leave on a jet plane, I wanted to share with you a recipe for something sweet, and for what I am fairly certain is exactly what summer would taste like, if it had one.

I made this strawberry galette last weekend for Lindsay and Bjork, a.k.a. Pinch of Yum, a.k.a, the kindest, most gracious hosts ever, who had us over to their place for a grill-out. They made us dinner, we made them dessert. Needless to say, it was an excellent eating day.

But you see, I have this problem. It goes like this — I am presented with an opportunity to make food for people, people besides me and my husband. And instead of making something I’ve made hundreds, even dozens of times, I decide that no! This is a perfect moment to make something new and exciting! And then I start to make it and suddenly think to myself, as if I’d never had the revelation before, “What if this doesn’t turn out? What if it tastes like crap? What if I kill these people or make them think I suck at making food? I really don’t! I know how to make enchiladas! I should’ve made enchiladas” and then I start to get all sweaty and nervous (which is an even worse situation when we’re the ones hosting) and I decide to proceed anyway, because what’s the worst that could happen? Besides accidentally killing them, I suppose.

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orange almond meringues

This gal… oh, this gal. In case you don’t know Stephie of Eat Your Heart Out, get thee over to her blog, stat. She is one of the funniest, most talented and sweetest (she sent me a birthday card — with a kitten wearing a party hat. I MEAN…) bloggers I know. Not only do we have the same name, we also share a confusion over how many shallots is one shallot, a borderline creepsville obsession with Adam Levine and a serious love of our cats. Basically, she’s my soul twin. Oh, and she made you all cookies for a guest post while I’m gone, so… yeah. Cue your applause now.

Hello, Girl Versus Dough readers! I am so thrilled to be posting for Steph today. I love everything about her site and her recipes, but even more than that, I adore her! Sometimes I think that we were twins separated at birth –- we are both reality TV-loving, carb and cheese-addicted, Adam Levine-obsessed cat ladies who believe that pants are totally optional at home. Not to mention that we share a name.

Basically, we are the coolest people ever.

I was raised in a home where, when someone was sick or recovering from surgery or going through a death in the family, food was the answer. It was not unusual for my momma, upon hearing that a friend was going through a hard time, to immediately head to the kitchen and pull together a big pan of mostaccioli, some salad, and a dessert to take over to the family.

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black bean-pineapple guacamole

Do you want to know what I’m looking forward to this summer? Two words: Sangria slushies.

Oh, and sunshine and baseball games and cookouts and pool/beach lounging and farmers markets and sandals and neon nail polish and sunglasses and warm nights chilling on the balcony but ALSO: sangria slushies.

Oh, and guacamole and peachy French toast casserole and strawberry grilled cheese and caprese soup and pretzel nachos but AGAIN: sangria slushies.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

If you’re anything like me in that you plan much of your life around food (let’s be honest, it’s how I plan vacations), here’s a handy-dandy recipe roundup of what I’ve been creating for the lovely Tablespoon, Betty Crocker and The Huffington Post — all of which you should put on your to-make list this summer. I know that between these things and probably some popsicles, I’m set for the season.

Get ready for a rumbly in your tumbly!

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pink lemonade bars

Between these bars and pancakes, that’s pretty much all I’ve eaten this week. And I’m totally OK with that.

You see, summertime for me goes two ways. Sometimes, it’s super chill and lazy, reminiscent of the sweet freedom of summers when I was in grade school. Other times, it’s insanity. Parties, weddings, work, errands, yada yada yada — all good things, of course, but just a.lot.of.it. And that’s just the stuff we know is coming.

For us, summer has decided to swell right out of the gate — thus why my diet lately has been all carbs, all day long (also, thus, why I spent some time with Rihanna this week). Not a bad trade, though, when pink lemonade bars are involved. But I’m looking forward to the calm side of summer soon. Of course, I’ll be enjoying these bars during that time, too.

My point is, these summers? They go by so fast. And sometimes, we get so caught up in the hectic crazy-times that we forget to enjoy them just as much as the calmer times. And then there are the times when life throws us curveballs and we have to respond to those, too. Such is the case with my blogger friend, Claire of The Realistic Nutritionist, whose kitchen in her brand new home recently caught fire. Thankfully she and her family are safe and sound, but I can’t imagine having to go through that ordeal, especially when I have breakdowns sometimes over stains in my carpeting. Oy.

So in an effort to give her a little more time to breathe and get back on her feet, I’ve written a guest post on her lovely blog with a recipe for these nummy pink lemonade bars, flavored with raspberries and a buttery shortbread crust. Hopefully, Claire and her family can get back to normal life soon and enjoy the summertime. As for the rest of us, I suggest we do the same.

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