Would you look at that? I’m eating fried eggs now. That only took 27 years. In other inconsequential personal news, I’ve coaxed my African violet into blooming again. Apparently it likes to be watered every seven days. Go figure!
Maybe it’s silly or childish, but I often catch myself craving recognition for these tiny everyday accomplishments. Living and working by myself is totally awesome, most of the time. An occasional “good job,” or pat on the back goes a long way, though.
Sometimes I think it would be nice to have someone around. Like the other day, when I lifted up a heavy vintage desk and dragged a thick wool rug underneath all by myself, no one was around to see it. If they had been, I would have flexed my arm muscles and paraded around the apartment like a champion. Actually, no, I would have just asked for help.
I have Friendsgiving on my mind. Not Thanksgiving and its boring, beige, turkey-mashed-potatoes-and-gravy plates, but the boozy Thanksgiving-with-friends edition that we call Friendsgiving. Friendsgiving features turkey, of course, but also offers many colorful, vegetarian sides and at least two pies. At least.
I’m attending two Friendsgivings this year: one this weekend and one the next, which will be shortly followed by the real Thanksgiving with my family. I’ll be rolling into December in my stretchy pants.
I thought I’d share this pear and cranberry crisp in time for your Friendsgiving(s) and Thanksgiving feasts. No, it’s not pie, but it’s fresh, simple and gluten free. The recipe is based off this summer’s popular strawberry rhubarb crisp. I filled it with fall-appropriate pears (apples would also be great) and tart cranberries, which sweeten up as they bake. I also mixed in some walnuts, brown butter and spices for even more fall flavor.
I wanted to be able to share this dessert with my gluten-free friends, so I searched around for gluten-free topping substitutions. I found my friend Dana’s recipe, which had similar proportions and called for almond meal instead of wheat flour in the topping. So simple!
What’s your idea of heaven on earth? Not in a heavy philosophical sense, but what would your dream world look like? In my utopia, the clouds are made of cream cheese frosting. Fresh coffee appears in a mug on my nightstand every morning (splash of cream, please). Daylight lasts until 9 pm every night. Cookie lives forever by my side and I only have to go to one grocery store to get everything on my list.
Better yet, the ingredients magically appear in my kitchen when I need them. That would be beyond amazing. I spend so much time tracking down the right ingredients for blog recipes between the three grocery stores that I frequent. It’s exhausting.
I got a little taste of what my heaven would be like this week when I received a box containing ingredients and recipes for three wholesome dinners courtesy of Blue Apron. I picked up the box at the UPS Store and worked up an appetite carrying it all four blocks back to my apartment. Once I finally got home, I tore into the box and found a giant head of fresh escarole on top. Greens! Delivered! I was starving and wasted no time getting to work on dinner.
On the evening of Halloween, I found myself stretching at a familiar pace during my regularly scheduled yoga class. Arms up, forward fold, flat back, jump to plank. Somewhere between upward dog and downward dog, my mind started wandering. What happened to my favorite holiday? Why hadn’t I dressed up this year? Inhale, exhale. Where are the Halloween parties? If I’m not hearing about the parties, does that mean I’m doing something wrong with my life? Or am I just too old for them?
There I was, hanging upside down on my hands and feet, flashing back to college. At this time five years ago, I thought, I’d be asking my roommate Grace for help with my Princess Leia buns. Later that night, I’d be dancing around to Thriller with my friends—each a different character with a sloshing red Solo cup in hand.
I went home feeling all stretched out and sentimental. I poured myself a glass of wine and nibbled on a dark chocolate mini peanut butter cup. That wasn’t cutting it. I missed my roommates and our three-day Halloween extravaganzas. I briefly considered taking a shot of whiskey for old time’s sake (bad idea). Then I recalled that Grace wanted a pumpkin scone recipe. She mentioned it when I went to visit her in Minneapolis this summer. Grace loves to spend quiet mornings with a cup of black coffee and a scone.
I set down my glass of wine, got up and made pumpkin scones at midnight. Two batches later, I ended up with a whole wheat, vegan pumpkin pecan scone topped with a sweet maple glaze. I think you’ll like these, G.
Mention a recipe that requires a rolling pin and I’ll probably respond with a few blinks. Tell me I have to let dough rise for an hour and I’ll probably say, “Nope, not happening.” I recently won a gorgeous new Kitchen-Aid Mixer, but it’s been hanging out next to my dirty socks in my closet ever since I made a disappointing batch of soft pretzels. I have no patience for fussy baked goods (I always mess them up). Also, I’m lazy.
In my defense, I’d say that my laziness contributes to this blog’s appeal. I gravitate toward simple methods and will search to the ends of the internet to find an easier way that doesn’t sacrifice flavor. Trust me when I say I searched to the ends of the internet to find a simple, foolproof, quick whole wheat pizza dough recipe. I went through a couple of bags of flour in the process. Things got messy.
First, Jim Lahey’s no-knead dough failed me at least three times. I think it was because I was making it with whole wheat pastry flour. (Lesson learned: whole wheat pastry flour and yeast don’t get along.) I also tried Cook’s Country’s skillet dough, which turns out to be fried flatbread. No thanks. Finally, I turned to one of my favorite bloggers and sweetest friends, Melissa of The Fauxmartha. She posted an adaptation of Cook’s Country’s quick grilled pizza dough.
My version is a combination of the two. It’s made with 100% whole wheat flour and is mixed together in the food processor. It requires just a few kneads and a few rolls with a rolling pin, but the effort is minimal. Dinner is ready.
Hey guys. Shhh. Don’t be loud. There’s a baby sleeping in here. My friend asked me to come over and watch her while she runs to a doctor’s appointment. Little Miss Mirabel June is looking cozy in her pale pink cocoon. All I can see of her is her sweet pink face. I wonder what two-month-olds dream about.
I bet they dream about food, but not the kind of food that I like to eat these days. Definitely not coleslaw. I never ate coleslaw as a kid so it’s a novelty to me now. I always avoided the mysterious mayonnaise-laden salads at potlucks (what was hiding under there?). Looking back, I suspect that I missed out on a few wonderful slaws and a lot of terrible Jell-O salads. Oh well.
Coleslaw got my full attention on a warm night this summer. A few friends and I drove to Justus Drugstore, a family-owned, former-drugstore-turned-gourmet-restaurant in a quaint town outside of Kansas City. We sat on the patio, which has a more casual menu than the inside. Three swanky cocktails later, our food arrived. My veggie burger came with a side of coleslaw. I took a bite and my taste buds did a little happy dance. That slaw was something else. It was crisp, fresh, tangy and sweet all at once. It teetered on the border of being too sweet or too tangy but never fell off the edge. It was perfect.
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