Since launching this blog I've struggled to find a way to properly portray the place that sweet, yummy, calorie-rich eats have in a healthy diet. It's not that I struggle personally with where they fit. It's that I struggle with where they fit in this blog format, which ultimately gives equal weight to every post. It's difficult to illustrate that a recipe about a caramel sauce isn't equivalent to grilled chicken with fruit salsa, in judging which one is a better choice for overall health.
Many people who visit a blog hosted by an R.D. expect to find nothing that even resembles a calorie-rich indulgence.
Mine is not that blog.
After more than a decade of working in the field of nutrition I have learned this - for the most part, the people who are most successful in achieving an overall healthy diet are the ones who learn to approach healthy eating as a lifestyle, NOT a quick-fix diet. For me, that lifestyle includes dessert. Beautiful desserts. Yummy desserts. Real desserts... on occasion.
Don't misunderstand. I don't eat dessert after every meal. I don't even eat dessert every day. But I do believe in really savoring, enjoying and celebrating sweet confections when the time for dessert is right.
That's where my "cake stand" comes in. The name says it all. It's a very unassuming, display dome that's a fixture around my house... and has been for years. When I first married, my boss (and dear friend) would ask nearly every Monday morning, "What's in the cake stand?" It was almost a joke. I like to bake sweet yummies that much... she knew then, and it still applies, that there's almost always something in our cake stand.
And here's what's in the cake stand right now - Strawberry-Fig Bars.
These are based loosely off the Apricot Bars* in Very Merry Cookie Party. The main difference was my filling- I cooked down a cup or so of fresh strawberries with sugar until thick, added dried figs and let re-hydrate, then pureed with hand blender (rather than re-hydrating dried apricots).
They are buttery rich and look beautiful in the cake stand (although admittedly, I'm questioning now why I didn't photograph them that way. But I'm a sucker for a white plate). I hope shortly to post a picture of this old family friend... with something new behind the glass. I may not visit the cake stand every day. But when I do, it's always a tasty treat.
What about you? Do you eat a "healthy" dessert daily or save calories now to savor something decadent later? Any suggestions for something delicious to bake next?
*Out of respect for cookbook copyrights, I avoid publishing recipes from cookbooks that aren't reproduced online. I would suggest these as a good substitute for those wanting to try their hand at this type of bar cookie.