Asian food · avocado · Dating · dinner · easy · gluten free · healthy · lunch · quick · Rice · Sauces · snacks · vegan · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Vietnamese Summer Rolls and New Pants!

I did it… I retired my private pants. It would have been a sad day, except I now have 2 pairs of the GREATEST PANTS ON EARTH. My boyfriend (that’s right, I said it) refers to them as my “Aladdin pants,” due to their majestic flowy-ness (He was actually mocking me, but I’m sure it was done with love). I had plans with him the other day, and he texted ahead of time asking if we could just stay in. I was like, “Fuck yeah.  I was planning on wearing my fancy sweatpants anyway.” Since my new fancy sweatpants have huge slits up the outside of each leg, I couldn’t actually wear them to his place (it’s too cold for that nonsensical bullshit). That means I showed up in leggings and literally took my pants off in his entryway to put on my new, sexy sweatpants. Yes, sweatpants can totally be sexy (he would disagree, but we’re not asking him). He did agree on their functionality, stating that they are essentially the pants version of “sticking a leg out from under the blanket when sleeping.”

I bought a second pair to keep at his place, so I can stop stripping in his entryway. I’m sure he’s disappointed.

I also wore these to the AcroYoga retreat last weekend. I brought an entire bag of clothes – probably 3 full outfits. But I only wore these fucking amazing pants, and the outfit I drove in (both there and back). I mean, honestly, why put on something that will make me less happy?

Speaking of acro, my lovely acro friend, Jamie, taught me how to make these rolls. The recipe called for cilantro, but she is a kind soul that would never even think of having such a monstrous thing near me. They are oddly filling, so make sure you’re hungry. Also, we ate them with mushroom and tofu miso soup, which was a nice appetizer with it. They’re crazy simple, and really refreshing in the middle of winter. They’d also be nice in the summer when you don’t want to turn the stove or oven on.

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Vietnamese Summer Rolls

Rice paper

Rice noodles (cooked according to package instructions)

Big leaves of lettuce (I used Romaine, but they were a little too huge)

Avocado, sliced (critical to add because otherwise everything just tastes like crunchy water – you need fat!!)

Carrots/Cucumber/Bell pepper, sliced thinly

Bean sprouts (I forgot, which made me sad)

Siracha

Peanut butter and Hoisin (equal parts, mixed together, for the sauce)

YOU WILL NEED WAX PAPER FOR THIS RECIPE

For the rice paper: Use a large saute pan filled with warm water (NOT HOT) to soak the rice paper. You’ll do this one at a time, and they only need to be soaked for maybe one full minute at most (I kept feeling mine, and pulled it out once it was soft-ish).* Once the rice paper is soft and foldable, pull it out of the water and spread it out on wax paper. You can lay out a few before starting to fill them, but don’t let them sit too long (they get sticky).

For the filling: Start by placing one large lettuce leaf in the center of each rice paper. From there, layer avocado and veggies of choice. Top with a small handful of rice noodles and a heavy squirt of Siracha.

To roll: Fold the top and bottom of the rice paper over the filling. Then choose a side to start at – pull that side of the rice paper all the way across the filling and tuck it under the lettuce leaf. Continue to roll in that direction. The rice paper will stick to itself. It takes a few tries to get it right, but the janky ones are delicious, too, so don’t stress about it.

For the sauce: Mix equal parts peanut butter and hoisin sauce together. I ended up adding a tiny bit of warm water as well, because the sauce was super thick. The sauce adds a much needed fat as well, so definitely don’t skip it.

Serve with the sauce on the side. Race your friend to see how many each of you can eat (it’ll be shockingly few). Make more sauce and eat it on everything.

*There is definitely an inappropriate joke to be made here.

Cheese · comfort food · Dating · dinner · easy · healthy · lunch · soup · squash · Super Bowl · vegetarian · Yummy

Vegetarian Broccoli Cheese Soup with Roasted Squash

Have you ever loved a pair of sweatpants so much that you continue wearing them far beyond their expiration date? You know what I’m talking about… they’re the pants that are so well loved it’s hard for you to see how bad they’ve gotten. I mean, logically you know how bad it is. You’re not blind – you can see the small snags turn into large rips. You’re aware of how ridiculous it looks with the drawstring dangling down to your knee from a hole on the right side – making it completely fucking useless. But it’s cool, because you never use the drawstring anyway. These pants know your body so well, they don’t need to be held up with a fucking drawstring… they’ve become one with your body.

This carrot is out of control.

I have a pair of these pants. They feel as if they’ve been custom made from clouds just for me… but they look like they were thrown together by a small blind child who thought he might take up sewing one day. My friend Jeni would call these my “private pants.” She encourages me to “wear them with pride… just do it in private.” Her husband has a pair of them that mortify her. He says that I’m allowed to wear them to the grocery store, but only if I shop at Walmart.

Sigh.

So last weekend was the Super Bowl here in Minneapolis. The city was psyched to host such an event, and you could feel the energy in the air. There were events going on downtown for 10 days leading up to it. The excitement is contagious, even if you are like me and think sports are giant waste of fucking time. So I got into the spirit the only way I know how… I rented my apartment to a Patriots fan on Airbnb and became homeless for 3 days. With my cat.

So you remember the Wii controller guy? Yeah, we’re still dating (I know). He’s tall and cute and redheaded… and has deep fear of commitment (just the way I like ’em). I stayed with him over Super Bowl weekend with my cat, Harriet. It also happened to be his birthday weekend, which means we hung out with one of his good friends (and the only friend I’ve ever met) who is a goddamn delight. She calls him on his commitment shit, which I think is hilarious. She also likes selfies with security guys at Super Bowl events, which just makes my heart happy. We spent our Saturday getting hammered and roaming around downtown Minneapolis in subzero weather, desperately searching for the Kitten Bowl. Obviously.

Anyway, Wii Controller Guy housed me for 5 nights, and we never once tried to kill each other (despite me breaking his sink and his cat’s food bowl). He did, however, have to be blunt with me about my “private pants.” That’s right – I wore them over there because we are totally at that level (you know – the “I’m pretty sure you’re not going to bail at the sight of my homeless looking pants” level). I think he said something along the lines of, “I can’t have you wearing these.” But fuck! Those pants feel like goddamn angel wings.

I mean, the jury is still out on whether or not I’m allowed to call him my boyfriend, and he’s trying to tell me to get rid of my favorite pants?! I don’t know, man.

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I ordered new ones online last night. But I refuse to toss my old ones until I know for sure the new ones are just as comfy (they won’t be).

This soup is made to be eaten while wearing your private pants (you know you have a pair). Get cozy, because it’s cold as fuck outside.

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Vegetarian Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 head broccoli, stems removed

1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced

1/2 onion, chopped

4 tablespoons flour

3 cups veggie broth

1 cup almond milk

1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

3 cups cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Garlic powder (just a sprinkle)

Oven roast squash at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. It needs to be soft, since it will all be blended and (ideally) needs to be smooth. Check it about halfway through roasting time to move things around a little bit. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool a bit. Once cooled, puree in a blender with 2 cups of veggie broth until smooth.

Steam the broccoli and separate into 2 halves. Set aside. In a large pot, saute onions in a little olive oil – add salt and pepper. Cook until slightly browned, then sprinkle with the flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix each tablespoon thoroughly before adding the next. It will form a thick paste. Once flour is fully incorporated, cook a few minutes longer to toast it a little bit, stirring frequently. Add in the squash puree, 1 cup of broth, and the milk. Stir well, making sure there aren’t any clumps from the flour.

Finely chop half of the broccoli and add to the pot along with the carrots. Simmer until soup is at desired thickness (add extra broth if too thick) and carrots are cooked through (about 10 minutes). Incorporate the cheese 1 cup at a time, making sure each cup is fully melted before adding more. Roughly chop remaining broccoli and add to the pot.

Throw on your favorite pair of pants (because it’s too cold to be pants-less right now), and don’t let anyone tell you they aren’t the best pants in the world.

Cheese · comfort food · Dating · dinner · easy · gluten free · healthy · lunch · potatoes · quick · soup · vegan · Vegetables · vegetarian · veggies · Yummy

Vegan Baked Potato Soup

Y’all. I have been a hermit lately. And by hermit I mean not going to 8 yoga classes a week while also going out with friends/going to friends’ houses several times per week while surviving on 6ish hours of sleep per night (that is like zero to me). Instead, I am spending a lot of time home alone watching The Mindy Project or frequently joining another for some quality Netflix time (while discovering Stranger Things! ZOMG). During my Summer of Anxiety last year, I made the habit of socializing NONSTOP. In fact, I even retook the Meyers Briggs personality test and had actually changed from introvert to extrovert. My personality literally changed due to my anxiety level. How is that even possible?

After that summer things got better, but my schedule did not slow down. In fact, I replaced a lot of my friend time with dating. Remember that one time I went on 6 dates in 5 days? Within that same week I had my “soul crushed” by one of those 6 dates (we’re actually still friends, and were clearly not a good romantic match, so it all worked out). It was all very exhausting. I kept trying to slow everything down, but that seemed impossible while I was still swiping on Tinder.

Being alone often triggered my anxiety, so I made myself as busy as I possibly could.

In the last few months, I have finally been able to actively slow down my life. My anxiety has calmed, and I have found time for myself in a way that hasn’t been possible in a really long time. You know what really helped with that?

Deleting Tinder. Fuuuuuck. Those dates made for good stories, but that was definitely more exhausting than 8 yoga classes a week.

It’s that time of year where many of us start hibernating. Hibernating means comfort food. I literally ate various forms of bread and cheese for 4 meals on Sunday. Yes, four meals. In my defense, I was hungover from the 12 hours of drinking the day before, on top of having a cold that won’t quit. So, no, I haven’t slowed down completely. I’m just finding new things that bring me joy, and not saying yes to everything.

I’m also budgeting like crazy. I made this cozy soup last week without making an extra trip to the grocery store. My new rule is only one trip a week, and only $60 MAX. Last week I only spent $42, and that included 3 different types of cheese. Even shopping at a co-op, this shit is possible. This potato soup is rich and creamy without the cream (cream is expensive). You could definitely add other veggies to it, or even some chickpeas or quinoa for protein. I kept it pretty simple, but did top it with some fancy-ass smoked cheddar cheese (I know that means it’s no longer vegan, but I’m not vegan, so I don’t care).

Side note: These photos aren’t great because of the lack of daylight since daylight savings time ended. It’s been impossible for me to cook and photograph mid-day. It’ll get better, I promise!

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Vegan Baked Potato Soup

3 stalks celery, chopped

2-3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

1 small onion, diced

4 cups veggie broth (I suggested keeping the concentrate around, as it is cheaper and easier – or you can make your own to be really thrifty)

3 medium potatoes, peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced

1 cup vegan milk of choice (I used cashew, but canned coconut would be creamier)

3 tablespoons flour (to thicken) – can easily be subbed for gluten free flour, or omitted

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional toppings: Cheddar cheese, green onion, bacon/fake bacon

In a large pot with a heavy drizzle of olive oil, saute the onion, carrots, and celery over medium-high heat until they soften (3-5 minutes). Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and the flour. Mix well – the veggies could clump together. Cook for another minute, stirring consistently. Add the potatoes and broth, making sure to incorporate everything well (no flour lumps! I believe in you!). Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Then you have 2 options…. 1. Use an immersion blender (or regular blender in batches) right in the pot to blend everything smooth, OR 2. Scoop half of the soup into a blender and blend until smooth, then return it back to the pot. Option #2 will leave you with chunks, which is my preference. You do you. Once blended, add the milk and some more salt and pepper. Scoop into bowls, top with cheese and green onion, brown up a motherfuckin’ grilled cheese because you’re sick and deserve to have melted cheese with every meal, and go back to watching Stranger Things in your PJ’s.

 

 

Curry · Dating · dinner · easy · gluten free · healthy · Indian food · quick · Rice · Sauces · vegan · Vegetables · vegetarian

Vegan Chickpea Curry

I’m doing this new thing where I actually have some kind of schedule with posting blogs. You know, like a responsible adult that actually wants regular readers. But, fuck… having a deadline is exhausting. I thought I’d start posting every Sunday… then last Sunday passed without a post. I got one done by Tuesday, so then I was like, “Great! I’ll just post every Tuesday.” But now, here I am… Tuesday night. No post yet. I’m working on it, but I really just want to watch The L Word and go to bed early. I was going to do it earlier today, but then I got tired after therapy and decided to take myself to a movie (it had to be done).

I made this recipe a few days ago, and can still smell curry when I walk into my apartment. The smell reminds me of this guy I dated last winter who claimed to have a housekeeper. He even made up this elaborate lie about having her over for Thanksgiving so she wouldn’t be alone (I know this was a lie because I actually hung out with him on Thanksgiving and he said he hadn’t done anything earlier in the day). He told the lie a few weeks prior. I suppose I could give him the benefit of the doubt, right? Maybe plans had changed for some reason. Or maybe he’s a goddamn liar that was trying to seem like a really sweet, thoughtful guy. Anyway, the first (and only) time I walked into his apartment, I was hit with the smell of curry. Seems to me like an apartment that is professionally cleaned regularly might smell of cleaning products (and not look like a dirty bachelor pad). Honestly, I didn’t mind the smell. Curry smells delicious. The issue I had was the filthy kitchen that was just packed with shit. I mean, why does one dude need all those gadgets? And why is absolutely NOTHING clean? Where has this housekeeper been? Oh yeah, she doesn’t fucking exist and you’re a goddamn liar. I mean, honestly, if you’re going to lie about something like that you should at least see it all the way through and clean your apartment. BE CONVINCING AND CONSISTENT.

We didn’t see each other again after that because I just wasn’t that interested. He insisted upon texting me once every month or two afterwards, though, just to see if I’d changed my mind(I didn’t). I had deleted his number, but always knew it was him anyway by the fucking ridiculous string of emojis that accompanied every. single. fucking. text. I would still play the game of, “I’m sorry… who is this,” which always pissed him off (and made me laugh). If I tell you to delete my number, just fucking do it. I don’t say something like that lightly. It means you fucked up beyond repair and we both need to move on. Plus, we only went out a few times and I just wasn’t that invested. If I’m on the fence about it anyway AND you’re being a dick… it’s not gonna happen.

I would like it noted that I didn’t stop seeing him because of his dirty kitchen. I’m not that shallow. I stopped seeing him because he was ambivalent about seeing me and would often forget to respond to my texts. I felt like a back-up plan, and that’s just not good enough for me. At 32, I now know I deserve more than that.

I’m finally putting the final touches on this post today (Thursday), though it was mostly written on Tuesday with the intention of posting that day! Fuck. Next week, maybe. I’ll get my shit together one of these day and post on a regular basis. Gotta keep my 20 or so readers happy! Also, I have to keep creating content for Humberto’s English class to read in Brazil. My blog is literally teaching people English. What is your’s doing?

Though, to be honest, this blog is really not appropriate for young teenagers. Am I right? I mean, I guess it’s no worse than me watching Pretty Woman at 5 years old, or obsessing over Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love To You” at the tender age of nine. This is definitely more appropriate than that. Why was no one concerned about that?

Vegan Chickpea Curry

2 medium onions, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons curry paste

1 can coconut milk (full fat, unsweetened)

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 large handful of Swiss chard, chopped

1-2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 handful cherry tomatoes, chopped

1 handful basil, chopped

1 teaspoon maple syrup

Cooked rice of choice

Cook the onions with the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add in the curry paste, coconut milk, and a pinch of salt. Stir well, letting the curry paste dissolve. Then add in the chickpeas, Swiss chard, and soy sauce. Let it simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. It’ll thicken a little bit. Throw in the tomatoes, basil, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Taste that shit. Add more shit if needed. Serve with rice and some fucking delicious naan bread.

If someone tells you to delete their number, just fucking do it. Don’t be a dick.

baking · cake · Cheesecake · chocolate · comfort food · Dating · dessert · vegetarian

Brownie Cheesecake for a Visitor

As previously mentioned, my love language is “acts of service,” which is primarily demonstrated through cooking and baking. Since the guy was visiting from Hawaii last week, and I had missed his birthday by a few weeks, I made him this birthday cheesecake (which is better than a boring normal birthday cake). He mentioned in passing once that he loves cheesecake. I pay attention to these things. He also mentioned that he doesn’t like cream cheese, which obviously doesn’t make any fucking sense. Honestly, it was almost a deal breaker, but I was able to move past it. I’m mature like that.

The cleaning frenzy was out of control to prepare for his visit. I bleached my bathtub for God’s sake. WHO AM I? I just kept hearing my friend, Liz, teasing me for the mold and soap scum during her last visit. To drive her point home, she drew a heart in the soap scum with her finger, which was both cute and disgusting.

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Y’all. This visit was incredible. We saw so many things, and had so many conversations and experiences. He tried AcroYoga for the first time. He attended a Yin class that I taught. We drove to Duluth and walked along the shore of Lake Superior (where he picked up trash and I swooned). We went to the science museum and the sculpture garden. I cooked dinner while he made cocktails. We went to fancy ass restaurants. We ate the most marvelous food together, including peanut butter stuffed jalapenos (The Butcher and the Boar) and a hamburger that was sauteed in duck fat (New Scenic Cafe). I ate meat despite my vegetarianism (FML, that shit was good). I don’t know why he has that effect on me. I just so rarely have dinner with someone else that loves food as much as I do. It makes me want to try everything being served.

Despite all the fun things we did together, my favorite part of the whole trip was simply walking around the city. We sat together. We people-watched. We talked. We held hands. We watched the sun set. I was basically living inside a movie. Obviously.

At the end of the visit, I cried a bunch at the airport. Like, a bunch. It was messy and embarrassing, as most human experiences are (at least the ones worth having). When I apologized for crying and “being weird,” he simply said, “Don’t apologize. You’re open and honest. I appreciate that about you.” I’m sorry… what? Who the fuck is this guy? What the fuck is happening? Am I being punked?! (Does that reference make me sound old?)

There’s still a 4,000 mile barrier and a lot of uncertainty. I get that. But, fuck it. I’m holding on as long as I can, while remaining open and honest. Isn’t that what life is all about? Staying open to the experience? #noregrets

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Anyway! There are several steps in this recipe. I sort of enjoy the fact that it looks really complex (and comes across fancy as fuck). While it can be a bit time consuming, it’s actually fairly simple. Don’t let all the steps scare you! Go make this for someone you care about, or just for yourself. I have a friend that likes to eat this cheesecake in the bathtub while listening to Tom Waits. My guy ate it for breakfast in his underwear (which is the biggest baking compliment I’ve ever received – also, y’all know how much I love eating sweets in my underwear). This is a judgement-free zone. You do you.

The trick to making this pretty is not skipping the ganache layer. Ganache provides it with a smooth, luxurious finish. Otherwise it can look sloppy as fuck. Don’t be a sloppy fuck. Plus, why would anyone even consider skipping an extra chocolate layer? It’s absurd.

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Brownie Cheesecake (originally from Smitten Kitchen)

For the brownies: Follow the instructions here. Set in fridge until cool (I made these the night before). Once cooled, cut into smallish squares (approx. 1″).

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For the crust:

1 1/2 cups finely ground chocolate Teddy Grahams (or Annie’s brand Bunny Grahams)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix all the crust ingredients in a medium bowl. Press into a greased pie pan, getting some up the sides as well. Set in fridge until ready to fill.

For the cheesecake:

3 (8 ounce)  packages of cream cheese, softened

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sugar

2 cups brownie cubes (You will have extra! You’re welcome!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat cream cheese in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. On a lower speed, add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla and sugar.  Make sure to scrape the bowl occasionally to get all that good stuff mixed together. Once everything is fully incorporated, fold in the brownie cubes. Pour filling over the crust and bake for 45 minutes. Outer edges will brown slightly. Let cool completely. I usually throw it in the fridge right away, but that’s not what the pros do because it can cause the top to crack. We’re not worried about cracks, though, because we have some motherfuckin’ ganache to cover all of our mistakes. Only cover with ganache once fully cooled.

For the ganache:

3/4 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Bring heavy cream to a simmer (basically once the edges start bubbling), and pour over the chocolate chips. Let sit for a minute or two, then whisk together. Pour over the cooled cheesecake and place back in the fridge. Once set, dig in!

Now then, I’m off to finish the last piece of this… while watching Netflix in my underwear. I suggest you do the same.

baking · breakfast · brunch · comfort food · Dating · dessert · easy · Fruit · jam · pie · snacks · Tarts · travel · vacation · vegetarian

Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts

I texted Cortney today, “I miss you. I want to come visit and drink iced coffee in the rocking chairs. Then we can go for a swim at our beach.” She responded with, “I’m ready. Let’s do it.”

Don’t have a lid for your sauce pan? Just cover with another pan! Lids are for rich people.

The rocking chairs are special for us. They’re all along the front porch of the Moana Hotel in Waikiki. Cortney took me there on my first trip to Oahu 2 years ago because it’s a great spot for people watching. I had ordered iced coffee from the coffee shop attached to the hotel and impulsed a few macaroons as well. We settled into our chairs with our fancy cookies and proceeded to check out all the hot people that walked by, having one of our many epic conversations. That experience stuck out to me. It’s silly, because we also went snorkeling and hiking and touring and did a million other amazing Hawaiian things. This was just one random morning. But for some reason, every time I think about visiting her again, I imagine those rocking chairs.

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During my most recent visit we recreated it. It was the morning after my second date with the guy. I refused to tell her anything about it until we were comfortably seated in our chairs with iced coffee and macaroons. She was dying. Keep in mind, Cortney has never met the guy. He is merely a friend of a friend. She didn’t actually have a clue how our dates were going to go, or if he was going to be a crazy person that sends unsolicited dick pics. For all she knew, he could have been a fucking murderer. Honestly, it’s mostly just dumb luck that I’m not dead right now. Okay, I’m being dramatic, but after my Tinder experiences I have become a little (understandably) guarded. So we sat down in our beautiful wooden rocking chairs, taking bites of our tropical flavored macaroons, and I finally launched into the story about the night before, when I discovered that I had found someone incredible. And we did what Cortney and I do best… we talked it all out. She let me gush, and then offered up her thoughts/feelings/encouragement. She allowed me to be unapologetically myself, just like she always does (and what I try to always do for her), and encouraged me to feel all my feelings. While I skipped zero details with Cortney (often starting statements with, “This is a little TMI, but….”), I will skip almost all of the details with you, dear readers. Just know that this person made me feel like I was enough, just as I am… in all of my very human glory.

(Side note: He’s coming to visit me next week. “Excited” is an understatement.)

When Cortney visited last fall, we made hand pies. This is a variation of that, but better (in my opinion). The only annoying part is the fucking dough. All the freezing of shit and the waiting. I’m not great at waiting (duh). It turns out that it’s worth the wait, and it’s easy as fuck to make. Get on it, y’all. You won’t be sorry.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts (inspired by Smitten Kitchen)

1 1/2 pounds rhubarbs stalks (or approx. 6-10 stalks depending on size), cleaned and trimmed of leaves/dirty ends

1 cup dark brown sugar

a splash of vanilla

2ish tablespoons strawberry jam (Thanks, Stacy!)

Slice rhubarb in half, length-wise, and then chop in approximately 3/4″ pieces. You should have about 4 1/2 cups, but it doesn’t have to be exact. Set aside 1 1/2 cups. Combine 3 cups of the chopped rhubarb with the brown sugar and vanilla in a sauce pan on the stove over medium-low heat. Cover and let sit for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should become pretty saucy. Uncover and increase heat to medium, cooking for another 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and causes the spoon to leave a trail at the bottom of the pan. Once finished, stir in the strawberry jam, letting it melt in. Finally, add in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of rhubarb. Pour into a bowl and set in refrigerator until cool.

For the crust: follow instructions from Fruit Hand Pies. Except you’ll just put a scoop of the filling in the center of a piece of dough and mush the sides up around it. It’s like a little bowl for jam… that you can eat!

Place them on a greased cookie sheet (or cake pan!) and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. This should make about 8-10 tarts. I only had enough rhubarb for 4 tarts. Then I ate one before the final photo, which is why there are only 3 finished tarts. Fuck it. I’m human, and I was hungry/had a craving. My only regret is that I didn’t make more.

breakfast · brunch · Dating · eggs · mushrooms · Sauces · tinder · travel · vacation · vegetarian

Veggie Eggs Benedict and Hawaiian Magic

I don’t even know where to begin with this post, so I’m opening with a photo of Cortney and me in Hawaii last week. Y’all. This trip was magic. I can’t.

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A couple posts ago I mentioned that Cortney was setting me up with someone in Hawaii during my visit. This ended up being an ongoing joke between the two of us, with her talking about how I was going to fall in love, and me trying to bring her back to reality (while desperately hoping this guy wouldn’t take up too much of my time and/or be a murderer). I rolled my eyes every time she brought him up, but was also oddly intrigued by the idea of going out with someone on a tropical island (Was I living in a movie?!). I’m naturally an open person, so I just went into it with no expectations, but stayed open to any good that could come from it. I knew that, at the very least, it would be a learning experience and a fun story.

I had no idea what I was in for.

First, I nearly scared him away with my blog post that mentioned how Cortney wanted me to fall in love and move there. Let’s get one thing straight… I never once thought Cortney’s plan would ever work, and that’s exactly what I told him. I’m not stupid – this was a vacation fling. Obviously. And don’t you dare judge me. I’m a grown ass woman, and I’m allowed. I also recognized that it might not even develop into a fling. It was likely going to be one disappointing date, and nothing more.

Holy shit, you guys – I was so stupid.

Remember how I’m always talking about being vulnerable, having feelings, and avoiding a gray world of “meh”? The spectrum of human emotions is a beautiful thing, and I got to feel a lot of it throughout this experience. Yeah, sometimes it’s painful, but fuuuuuck… it’s worth it. If you’re not feeling anything, then what is the fucking point of being alive?

There is nothing sadder than indifference.

Our first date was my second night in town. It was the first of five, each one better than the last. Real feelings got involved, which I recognized around the 3rd date (and he mentioned it first, because he’s a secure dude, which is hot as fuck). I remember getting back to Cortney’s apartment and recapping it to her. She cackled manically like an evil mastermind and pretended to pet an invisible cat, exclaiming that her plan was working. I rolled my eyes. But the fact was, I was now invested and a little bit scared of the repercussions. I knew this couldn’t end like a romantic comedy. We live 4,000 miles apart. I knew that, and I dived in anyway. Why? Because it’s fucking worth it. Because he is interesting and smart. Because he’s secure as fuck and non-judgmental. Because he wasn’t afraid to hold my hand and communicate. Because he reminded me that I don’t have to compromise on what I want in a partner. They can have all of those qualities. People like that exist. He exists. It’s fucking possible.

Oh, and because he bought me fucking donuts.

I desperately hope this isn’t the end for us… but the fact is that it might be. I know that. Yet, still… I wouldn’t take any of it back. I’d do it all again in a second. Fuck it. The feelings involved (even the bad ones) made this so fucking worth it. 

I’ve completely reevaluated how I’m dating here in Minneapolis. And with this newfound knowledge… I’ve deleted Tinder. Not forever, just for now. I need to just sit with this feeling, and have a little space to myself. I’m not closed off (and I hope I never will be), but I’m taking a little time away from seeking out a relationship. I’m too raw right now, and it’s important to be self-aware enough to know that.

As much as I like to share my version of the human experience… this post is feeling very vulnerable to me (plus, I know he’s going to read it, and I’m feeling unsure about that). For now, the rest of this story will remain private. More Hawaii stories with Cortney yet to come, though! Including (but not limited to) snorkeling with a sea turtle, singing to the Moana soundtrack, teaching Acro to a few friends, giving a miniature horse a bath, horseback riding in the rain, and half naked men dancing. Oh, and eating alllll the mochi. Seriously. I spent probably $50+ on mochi. I’m out of control.

Oh, and I ate pork (gasp). I’m not sorry.

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My last breakfast in Hawaii was with Cortney, her husband, and a couple friends. Cortney and I couldn’t decide what we wanted, so we ordered eggs florentine and cinnamon apple pancakes to split. I fucking love doing shit like that. When I got home, I was really missing her, so I opted to make eggs benedict/florentine. This seemed logical at the time.

Veggie Eggs Benedict

1 egg

3-4 button mushrooms

1 handful of spinach

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 slice of bread (or half an English muffin)

2 teaspoons white vinegar

For the hollandaise sauce:

2 egg yolks

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 stick butter, melted

salt and pepper

To make the sauce, whisk together the yolks and lemon juice in a metal mixing bowl until it fluffs up and doubles in size. Then place the bowl over a sauce pan of slightly simmering water (making sure the water doesn’t actually touch the bowl). Continue whisking, and do not let the eggs get too hot or sit for too long, otherwise they’ll scramble. Slowly whisk in the melted butter until the sauce has thickened and doubled in size again. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste, and set in a warm spot while you get everything else together. Makes enough sauce to cover 2-4 eggs (I like a lot of sauce, so it’d only be 2 for me).

Saute the veggies, minus the spinach, in a little olive oil or cooking spray, stirring frequently and adding salt and pepper. Once the mushrooms brown, add the spinach and allow to wilt. Place bread/English muffin into the toaster.

To poach an egg! First step: Believe in yourself! If the egg isn’t beautiful, who the fuck cares? It’ll still be delicious. This was my first successfully poached egg, and I did a little dance to celebrate. You should, too. First, grab a deep skillet and fill it up with water. Place over high heat, and add a little salt and 2 teaspoons of white vinegar. While waiting for the water to boil, crack the egg into a small glass/ramekin. Once boiling, stir water with a spoon to create a whirlpool effect. Once it’s really circling, slowly pour the egg into the center. The movement of the water will help keep the egg together, preventing it from looking like a baby octopus. Turn off the heat and cover pan. Allow to cook for 2-5 minutes, depending on how runny you like your yolks.

To assemble (does this really need to be explained?): Cover toast/English muffin with the sauteed veggies. Top with the egg and as much sauce as you’d like. The sauce will not keep, so eat it all in one sitting!

Then go out and collect every single human experience possible. Feel everything.

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