My holiday break left me feeling very refreshed and optimistic about the year to come.  There is something about spending time with family and friends that just seems  to re-center me and remind me of what is truly important in life.  It is our relationships and how we treat each other that makes our lives meaningful and that will leave a lasting impression after we are gone.

With my job, I get to develop at least 10 new relationships every 4 months or so and I just love it because I always get to interact with different personalities.  Have you ever met someone and you are just instantly drawn to that person because he or she seems to exude a positive energy and attitude?  That is the type of person I strive to be.  Some people would consider this to be a negative desire.  They would say that “you cannot please everyone and this is an unrealistic goal”.  But getting everyone to like me is not what I mean.  I know and accept that not every single person that I interact with will like me.  But regardless of how they feel about me, I can sleep well at night knowing that I treated people nicely that day.  I think if we all made a small effort to be conscious of the way that we communicate with others  and do some simple good deeds, it could greatly improve the condition of our society.

Hold the door for someone behind you.  Ask someone if they need help carrying their groceries.  Tell someone that you appreciate their service.  You do not have to be rich or Mother Teresa to make a difference.

Ok, I will get off of my soapbox now and move on to the sweet of the day.

I love recipes that are fairly simple but result in something that looks fancy and impressive and tastes delicious.  When I saw recipes for these pastry braids over at Willow Bird Baking I hoped that the recipe was as easy as it seemed and that the resulting pastry was as yummy as it looked.  I was not disappointed.  The filling in my braid was a simple mixture of strawberry preserves and frozen blueberries, but you could really be creative and use anything you can think of to fill it (i.e. apple butter, nutella, fresh or frozen fruit, etc.).

The pastry itself is flakey and pie-crust-like and it is scrumptious when drizzled with a simply glaze and eaten warm out of the oven.

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 combine flour, baking powder and salt in a food processor

add butter and cream cheese and pulse to combine

add other ingredients and pulse into a loose dough, then turn out onto floured work surface and knead for 15 seconds

roll out dough between two sheets of was paper until long rectangle is formed and place formed dough onto baking sheet

cut outer thirds of dough into 1 1/2-inch strips at a diagonal

place filling in the center leaving 1/2 inch between filling and cut strips

fold strips over on top of the filling alternating sides to give the braided appearance

 bake about 15 minutes or until lightly browned

make glaze and pour over warm pastry

slice and enjoy while still warm (or re-warm)

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17 Comments ( Reply )

  1. emily (a nutritionist eats)
    Jan 05, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

    That looks like it is so much easier to make than I thought – the braiding is beautiful and I would have never thought it would be that easy!


  2. Cassie
    Jan 05, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

    This is beautiful. I love pastry braids. Strawberry sounds like the perfect filling too!


    • Mercedes
      Jan 05, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

      Thanks Cassie! I know, they really are beautiful and are so much easier than they look!


  3. Erin
    Jan 05, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

    I’m so glad I was there to experience this delicious recipe with you, Mercedes! So wonderful to see you over the holidays – hope to see you again soon!


    • Mercedes
      Jan 05, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

      I was so happy to share it with you! It was great to see you too and Happy New Year!


  4. Laura
    Jan 05, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

    Yum, I love the braiding – I also love your attitude about your job. “Always radiate sunshine” is something I try to remember as I go through my day – we never know what kind of impression we’re making on the people around us!


    • Mercedes
      Jan 05, 2012 @ 8:31 pm

      Thank you Laura! I love your phrase about “radiating sunshine”! What a great image to try to carry with you through the day!


  5. Anna @ hiddenponies
    Jan 05, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

    Well, this looks delicious, but mostly I love love love what you said about having positive energy and just a cheerful attitude being enough to make a difference in a person’s day – I don’t always feel I have a lot to give, but I’m thankful positivity and joy are part of my nature and can definitely be something valuable to give to those around you!


    • Mercedes
      Jan 06, 2012 @ 9:31 am

      I really believe that a positive attitude can make a difference and from the sounds of the correspondence we have had, you sound just like the positive person I am drawn too!


  6. sara
    Jan 06, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

    Yum, this looks so tasty! I love this sort of pastry and I bet it is a million times better homemade, warm out of the oven! 🙂


    • Mercedes
      Jan 06, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

      Thanks Sara! It is wonderful warm out of the oven and so easy to make! I can’t wait to make it with other fillings!


  7. beti
    Jan 08, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

    your photos are lovely! it looks so simple to make and really delicious


    • Mercedes
      Jan 09, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

      Thank you Beti! This braid is surprisingly easy and so yummy! Thanks for reading!


  8. mary beth
    Jan 16, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

    catching up on your posts. this looks and sounds amazing. can’t wait to try it!


    • Mercedes
      Jan 17, 2012 @ 9:24 am

      Thanks Mary Beth! It was really fun to make! Hope you are doing well!


  9. Riga
    May 22, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

    I just made this. It is amazing, I love it! Thanks for the recipe!


    • Mercedes
      May 22, 2012 @ 6:50 pm

      Wonderful! Thank you for letting me know and I’m so glad you enjoyed it!


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