Being a recipe I made up myself because I needed to use all the ingredients before they went bad, from whence I became addicted.

This recipe was created in a spirit of hope and thrift. The hope was born in an article I read in a magazine that promised a person could lose weight if she'd eat five times a day and if she'd make sure each thing she ate were a perfect balance of carbs, protein, fat and fiber. The thrift came from a disappointing moment involving a plastic container of mascarpone cheese and some rather-too-old strawberries. The details would only leave us all weeping into our keyboards. Thus, onward to the recipe.

Have on hand: Four ripe pears Four rounded tablespoons of mascarpone cheese Four tablespoons of hazelnuts, chopped and toasted

I'm having you serve four people with this recipe, assuming each person takes two halves, but it is easily adjustable to serve as many people as you choose. Please remember that all measurements are approximate.

It's best to chop and toast the hazelnuts first, as you'll want them cool. Chop the hazelnuts as coarsely or finely as you choose, and then toss them into a dry, hot pan and stir them. They are perfect when they are a little brown, and you can smell the hazelnut aroma and see a little oil sweating.

Then you'll want to prep your pears. Slice them in half from top to bottom. Then remove the stringy core by cutting a notch down the center of the half. Then scoop out the seeds to leave a small hollow. If you do all this correctly, you'll have something that looks like a lute.

Now you'll want to fill the little hollow with half a tablespoon of mascarpone cheese (about a teaspoon and a half). Then sprinkle the toasted hazelnuts over the mascarpone and tap them lightly to make sure they stay in place.

As is true of any cut fruit recipe, this treat must be prepared and served just when it is wanted, otherwise the pear turns brown and the cheese turns yellowish, and once again there will be tears and possibly wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I am not a nutritionist, so I can't tell you if this IS a perfectly balanced snack. I do, however, have a fairly discriminating palate, and I CAN tell you that it is sweet, light, and refreshing. It does equally well as a snack or as a dessert. I am sharing it with you because my sister-in-law, Anne, is bossy and she told me to.

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