Cook your beans

Looks like a lesson has been learned! Pull up your chairs, open a can of honey roasted peanuts, and let’s get to the bottom of this.

On Sunday morning, I, Brynne, awoke at 8am to check on the black beans I had soaking overnight for a pasta salad for the LAST BRUNCH of the summer. It was a solo brunch, so a lot was riding on my shoulders: the coffee (I don’t drink it! How do I brew it!), the baked goods (bake more scones! worry about scone count!), and the protein source: black beans.

These friendly creatures had been soaked and now it was time to get to a low simmer. The bag said it would take an hour. I was disappointed. I wanted these beans, and I wanted them now!

I waited the simmering out for a good while as I was preparing other parts of brunch and the other elements of the pasta salad (chard, tomatoes, the pasta itself). Finally, I checked them. Not done yet. Waited a while, checked again. Still no cigar. The third check I got two beans that were pretty soft, so I said, “hey, let’s go with it!”

Overall, these beans could have used a few more minutes in the simmering pot. In the pasta salad, they were fine, but problems occurred when I made dinner that night, carrot and black bean veggie burgers, a great innovation you can replicate if you also have lots of carrots and leftover beans in your fridge.

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carrots were better participants than the beans, tbh

The beans were too tough to mash up, but I did my best. I used the masher, but it wasn’t mashing, so I got my hands in these beans and tried to make them see reason: becoming a black bean burger was their next calling! Loosen up a little!

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the final product, somewhat smothered by its toppings!

They kind of listened. I was able to assemble the patties, made with everything just like the recipe, but sub a red onion for yellow or white. Turns out the yellow onions were rotting and juicy in their plastic bag in the cupboard. Eep!

Freezing the patties for thirty minutes was key. Without having that step, we would have been in real trouble. We being me and these patties. If the beans had been fully mashed, I probably wouldn’t have had the spillage I experience. But you live, you learn.

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the spillage. still yummy. 

Topped with some yellow tomatoes, spinach, and avocado, these were a good Sunday meal. Levi came over to partake, and Joey even got to eat the leftovers. Dacie Moses truly is all about generosity these days.

 

Ruby Rose? More like Maura Rosé!

You know what’s deplorable? My genuine inability to remember the difference between Amber Rose and Ruby Rose. Like, up until this moment when I did some internet research (after having a second thought about this title), I thought that Amber Rose was the striking accented beauty that straight white girls would “go gay for” when she appeared in Orange is the New Black. I know–please stop, Lynn. Please get your act together. A quick Google slapped me in the face with the info that Amber Rose is in actuality a 5’9″ American model and actress (you know her from the racist/misogynistic people who don’t want her to be comfortable with her body).

Try to learn from my mistakes and figure this one out on your own. This is all to say that Brynne isn’t the only gal cookin’ up meals after we’ve gone separate ways! Although I was encouraged to make this meal (instead of eating another bowl of Honey Bunches) by my dearest mama, the titular lady Maura. We decided that we were going to have a gals night in consisting of a game of Quiddler (I won), a bottle of pink drink, a homemade dish, and 60 Minutes (Unfortunately, it was a re-run, so we ended up watching an episode of GLOW instead. Maura didn’t love it [Brynne’s note: Does Ellie know????!!!]). For the homemade portion of our evening, we decided to make Curried Lentils with Coconut Milk!

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“I don’t know how it’ll look in a picture, but the taste is good!” -Maura

We started out with the chopping–Maura chopped an onion because of my sensitive eyes, and I used a fancy mincing tool to mince 2 cloves of garlic (note that my fingers still ended up smelling like garlic) and a tablespoon of fresh ginger. We then used a fancy crock pot (thanks, mom!) to sizzle these babies around with some spices–turmeric, coriander, and cumin–for ten minutes until the spices “were very aromatic.” I will note here that I obviously did not set a timer for ten minutes, as is my way, and when my mom asked how long we should let our spices & veggies simmer, she was incredibly disappointed in my Oscar-like behavior. But guess what? This girl’s nose twitched up a storm and she knew when it was time to add the lentils, etc!

The recipe calls for split red lentils, but we only had brown lentils (#galsonabudget), so we used those in combination with a carton of coconut milk (poured in, then filled with water to be poured in) and 1 tsp of salt because Maura had already put in a tsp salt earlier. That’s just the way she does things. Then we turned the heat to high and waited for that baby to boil, boil, toil, and trouble, bitches! When it did, we noticed that there was like a lot of liquid in there, but not to worry! The recipe assured us that it would cook down. Duh. 20 minutes, some stirring, and 1 game of Quiddler later, we were ready to slather our lentils on top of some rice (we used brown, but jasmine would’ve been better), pop a store-bought piece of naan in the toaster (sacrilegious behavior), and enjoy our ladies meal and wrestling (not really) show!

We loved it! Maura suggested that because we used brown lentils, they were a little tougher and needed a bit longer to cook, but we thought it was fun that they gave a little crunch. We also decided that next time, we would include another veggie, like a carrot or cauliflower. It was so yum though–and I’m not just saying that because in the moment I was high on the glory of my card game win! I just had another bowl for lunch and it was still delicious and ginger-y! I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see how Brynne’s going to top this one!

Brynne’s note: Jus

Where is the can opener???

Hi Everyone, 

Just wanted to give  you a quick heads up that this blog experience is going to be less spicy/fun/funky without Lynn here. in case you hadn’t already been worried about that. 

I’m worried because when I googled “vegetarian meals for one,” I was met with a lot of “one-pot” meal recipes that feed about 20 people. I’m alone, Pinterest! Let me have my small return meals in peace! 

So two things have happened since we last spoke:

1. Ellie brought Brynne to a leftovers dinner on Friday, but Brynne didn’t have any leftovers she felt comfortable sharing with the party (bc she was nervous about inducing food poisoning with the leftover quinoa mix Lynn left in the fridge). Instead of leftovers, Ellie and Brynne created new-overs, a sweet potato and black bean “salad.” Salad should be taken lightly here–there were no greens involved! What makes a salad a salad? You can’t just throw that term around! 

All the photographic evidence there is to share of this salad is below, not to be confused with a crime scene. (I couldn’t find the can opener! I looked in every drawer! Except for the top one, which is where it was!) 

The salad was good! Needed more sweet potato, but we were happy to have our veggie protein through beans. 

2. I ate alone for the first time in a long time. It was a harrowing experience. I baked scones while eating and treated myself to a limonata (sparkling lemonade, so good!!!) to make the time fly. Podcasts followed. I read an article on Jane Eyre’s racism that was really thought-provoking and well-written. (Thanks again Maya for sending my way!) More podcasts and baking followed. 

The meal in question was loosely based on this recipe for zucchini boats. Note that this is ANOTHER white woman making food she calls “Mexican” and says the recipe is “full of Mexican flavor.” What does she know about Mexican flavor? Why does she feel she can claim an entire country’s food as something she created/created with?

I did not follow her recipe except for the scooping out the insides of the tomato and making it kind of like a boat and baking it for the time and at the temperature she suggested.

The filling: Lynn’s quinoa, black bean, corn mix from more than a week ago. It smelled not super great. I scooped as much as I could into these green boats and then said “bye!” to the rest and composted it all. I knew I was walking the line between health and food-induced health trouble, but so far I’m in the clear. No trouble.

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not cute, but fine tasting!

Are you impressed? Because I wasn’t!!!! The zucchini was only slightly tender and my cheese had gone completely crusty! Thanks for nothing, Sarah!!! (author of the post that told me how to bake it)

It’s tough to be a zucchini-loving, solo cook out here. Hopefully my next adventures will be more fruitful. I love fruit. Fruit never fails me. I’m going to go buy some now. 

Oscar becomes Felix

So I’m trying to get to the bottom of this whole Felix & Oscar thing. Who are they? What are they from? Are their character traits really as Lynn has described them?

My research thus far has led me to the Wikipedia page for a play called The Odd Couple. So far, so good.

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Yup, they look like an odd couple.

According to the ole wiki, Oscar is a “slovenly, recently divorced sportswriter.” According to Lynn, Oscar is the more rigid, hesitant, rule-following one of the pair. I’m Oscar. I guess I’m slovenly yet rigid, hesitant and recently divorced, rule-following and sports-loving.

Felix, on the other hand, is “a fastidious, hypochondriac news-writer (photographer in the television series) whose marriage is ending.” Hmm. Lynn’s idea of Felix is that Felix is a roll with the punches innovator who says “Nah, we can do this,” a lot. Hmm. I guess Lynn is fastidious! And she sees relationships dissolving in our futures! Huh!

Well, when Felix goes home for the summer, Oscar starts to realize that she’s learned a lot from Felix. So much, in fact, that she’s ready to fly by the seat of her pants when it comes to her first meal without Felix.

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A better Odd Couple. 

Oscar goes to Cub with Ellie after dropping off Lynn at the airport to many hugs and a few tears and many Adele and Nicki Minaj songs later. They have a recipe in mind: Creamy Skillet Tortellini with Sweet Potato and Spinach. Sounds easy enough!

Wrong. This rec calls for vegetable broth and heavy cream. Brynne/Oscar thought they had some vegetable broth at the DM, but she was wrong. Heavy cream was also MIA.

Time to innovate!

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She’s ready! 

While Ellie peeled (there she peels! there she peels again!) the sweet potato and chopped half of it up, Brynn gathered rosemary from the garden and pondered how to amend the lack of ingredients in her life. Spinach was added to wilt in the pan.

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Look, ma, I minced some rosemary!

As the sweet potatoes were popped into the pan to cook up, Brynne gathered up the various dairy products to replace heavy cream and settled on three spoonfuls of plain yogurt plus a dash of milk. That should do the trick!

Vegetable broth was completely eliminated. You can make your own, but these ladies didn’t have that kind of time and, surprisingly, not enough spices either!

The combination looked really quite gross when all was said and done.  Brynne/Oscar was nervous and convinced she should never free-ball a recipe like this again. Ellie/Murray (“A NYPD policeman, one of Oscar and Felix’s poker buddies” according to Wiki) assured Brynne/Oscar that it would be ok.

And guess what? It was ok! Tasty! Maybe we should have skipped the dairy additions altogether now that I think about it, but hey, it’s ok! We did it!

Thanks to Lynn/Felix for teaching Brynne/Oscar how to free-ball food, and to Ellie/Murray for forcing her to follow through with these zany cooking substitutions. Thanks to the food for not giving us food poisoning. That was really nice of food.

Goodbye Tour USA

Have you read Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood? Because wow, the Lynn and Brynne from our first post about intercoursing squirrels have essentially transported through time to get to this moment, our final meal crafted together (for the time being). I’m now having second thoughts about this time thread being from Cat’s Eye. Shoot. You know what we’re talking about though, right? It’s like all the time in between didn’t even exist–all we have to remember it by are pictures of our dumb faces shoveling malts and certain intense associations with the song “Ticket to Ride” by The Beatles.

 

We had a ticket to ride on Wednesday night. A ticket to ride all the way to Italy with our Kale Pesto Pizza. [Brynne’s note: insert a 5 second pause before saying the following] Beep beep beep beep, nuh-yeah! If you follow that hyperlink (does anyone? you all are basing your summer meal plans off of ours like in Julie & Julia, right?), you’ll note that this particular meal is advertised as being vegan and gluten free. Would’ve been a super interesting recipe to make, but these ladies don’t own a vegetable spiralizer (and couldn’t find one at Cub [Lynn’s note: @brynnec my local grocer, Fry’s Food & Drug, would definitely carry vegetable spiralizers, so what do you think of your precious Cub now? You still love it? Oh, okay.]) and didn’t want to spend money anyway #galsonabudget, so we instead made this a non-vegan, gluten-full pizza and used the above recipe only for the pesto–which was yummy!

While Brynne took a shower, Lynn prepped the pizza dough. Mind you, we’d stopped halfway through an episode of Grey’s Anatomy to partake in these competing activities, so tensions were running high. This lead Lynn to look for an easy way to get pizza dough, quick! 

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Quickly making dough, blurry lady!

From a combination of online recipes, she scrounged together that she’d need 2-ish cups of flour, 1-ish tablespoons of yeast, less than a cup of warm-ish water, and maybe some salt and sugar. She experimented a little, then finally had a ball of something to let rise in the oven. While the dough rose, so did the happiness of one Brynne as she spoke to her mom (and the first-ever Dining Ynn subscriber!) on the phone. Lynn, with the help of Brynne’s taste-testing, pesto-d it up with kale, walnuts, garlic, evoo, and lemon juice. “It’s too salty” said Lynn. “It’s pretty lemony” said Brynne. Brynne was right. More kale in the food processor!

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Pesto! Kale Pesto!

At this point, we excitedly took out the eggplant we had bought as a “substitute” vegetable for the zucchini called for in the OG recipe–we’ve been eating a lot of zucc this summer, you should know–but when we cut into the purple demon, we found that it had gone bad! Strike two for Cub Foods!!! [Brynne’s note: I don’t think we can completely blame Cub on this one. I think we just don’t know what a good eggplant looks like??] So with some quick thinking, we pulled out a potato (interestingly enough, the potato we had been planning on using for the GF crust of this pizza pre-spiralizer dilemma) and sliced it up real thin (to the effect of a French Meadow flatbread we had shared some days earlier). We took out some yellow tomatoes and grape tomatoes from the garden #galswithagarden and sliced those up too. Brynne was aiming for a rainbow-inspired ‘za.

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Rainbow!

After the pizza dough had risen and the veggies had been sliced, we rolled out our dough on a lightly greased & floured cookie sheet (#thecookiehouse), spread on some kale pesto, then a layer of veggies, then sprinkled the top with some goat cheese (leftover from our yummy Summer Salad #galswhouseleftovers), a layer of spinach and garden basil, then more cheese. Wow. Spectacular. We had some leftover slices of potato that we threw on the pan and seasoned with rosemary–and then Lynn got excited about spices and put some oregano on top of the pizza for shits & giggles. We baked it at 375 for 20 minutes while we went on the porch to admire some roses!

When it came out of the oven, Lynn brought it out to her porch ladies to inspect/show off, rightly so. It looked like this:

 

After that, we dug in. Big time. Hard core. All out. There were leftover slices of potato in the oven and yeah, we forgot about them! Whatever. Our pizza was delicious.

What happened next? We stayed parked on that porch until Brynne said, “It’s time for something sweet! Cake balls, babies!!!” [She didn’t really say that but that’s what she thought.] These were a last-dinner extravagance we knew we needed, and a good activity for us to divert our minds and stress during our Grey’s Anatomy watching.

We created these by making a cake mix from a Valentine’s day red velvet heart-shaped situation. The dye was very intense. Turned everything pink. Yeesh. Baked it up, cooled it, crumbled it, combined with Deirdre’s secret recipe for delicious frosting. Nice! Next up: cover it in chocolate and sprinkles.

 

The chocolate situation should be noted: Don’t just melt hot chocolate in a microwave. Put some butter in that baby and melt it in a pan, you freak. Just don’t mess with the radiation!! It won’t work!! Drizzle chocolate on top of the cake ball creations and shake sprinkles on top, then pop them into the fridge to cool off!

After chilling for a few hours, they were delicious. The chocolate tasted rich and buttery. The perfect end to a perfect dinner and summer.

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Cheers, ladies.

Brynne’s note: Thank you, Lynn. Thanks for being my co-chef and an inspiration to innovate in the kitchen, among many, many other things. Miss ya much, roomie/friend/love/co-worker/did I mention friend?. Can’t wait to keep blogging and chatting with you “Call Your Girlfriend”-style.

Lynn’s note: Lady B, you are the joy of my world. Thanks for enduring a summer of my bullshit and bringing me along many walking and some pastry-inspired journeys. You’re my favorite face to look at underneath my armpit a la “thread the needle,” and my favorite little bitch (in the feminist sense!).

Every Day Is A Flaming Shine

So picture this: you get back from traversing a waterfall and burying a corpse, and you’ve worked up quite an appetite. Yeah, you shared slivers of apple dipped in peanut butter and chunks of the walnut date bread that Lynn wouldn’t stop talking about, but hey! That was more than a 0.8 mile loop! You did some jumping! You need something to satiate the void your husband left!

You make Brown Butter Brussel Sprouts Pasta with Hazelnuts

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She looks so Young and Hip! The sign behind her says “DONT MESS UP OUR KITCHEN” 

We had a brief debate over whether to make this recipe with or without the pasta–we’ve been on a pasta heavy diet this week–and decided that to make the best of our leftover situation, we would use some spaghetti from our VEG spaghetti and meatballs situation as our /noodle of choice/ #galswhouseleftovers.

Three ladies get to work: Lynn browns the butter, Ellie roasts the hazelnuts, and Brynne chops the brussels sprouts and garlic. When the hazelnuts became FRAGRANT (i.e. Brynne said “It smells like hazelnuts!”), Ellie took them aside in a towel to begin shelling them (“Their skins are not coming off!!”).

 

 

 

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Ellie sheds her non-cook skin

While Ellie cranked away, so did Brynne and Lynn. We olive-oiled up the hazelnut pan and made it into a brussels sprout & garlic pan. We then realized for the nth time this summer that we had not learned from our past mistakes (check the archive), and our pan was too small to accommodate our large number of sprouts AND all that spag(hetti). So Brynne wok’d it up and we tossed together all of our ingredients to tenderness, smothered the whole thing in the brown butter (or what was left of it… the recipe says to skim the foam off, but it all looked like foam! ah!) then served it up.

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Honestly she was much happier than she looks.

Truly this meal was one for the books. As Brynne noted “I think it’s the brown butter” that made it so, so delicious (Brynne Says Things, 4). The combo of tender, cooked sprouts and crisp, skinned hazelnuts was unbelievable–and the spaghetti was there to give your hand something to do while your taste buds exploded. Would recommend making this recipe. Would recommend listening to Sheryl Crow’s “Every Day Is A Winding Road” while making it. Would recommend exchanging these lyrics for the ones in our title.

With luv,

Brynne & Lynn (and Ellynn)

The Forgotten Apple

Once upon a time there were three young women. There names were Lynn, Brynne, and Ellie. They hadn’t seen each other in a whole week!!!!! Which is Too Long. Emphasis.

On a Sunday afternoon, Lynn and Brynne came home to find Ellie in their room and they squealed with delight, unloaded the groceries they bought at Cub, and swapped stories of the weeks they’d had. Drama, gasps, and laughter ensued.

They spent most of the afternoon in this way, until the clock struck 6:00pm. That’s dinner time, ladies. We got cracking. On deck: leftovers plus a brand new friend we’d like to call Fruity Spinach Goat Cheese Salad.

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That’s a summer salad if I’ve ever seen one.

The leftovers included pad thai from a week and a day ago that Brynne felt obligated to eat because #wastenotwantnot was the lesson she learned from her favorite American Girl Doll, Kitt Kitterdge. Brynne and Kitt looked a lot alike when Brynne was a young girl with a bob-style haircut and dreamt about making dresses out of old flower-patterned flour sacks in the Depression era.

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Ugh! The hair! That sweater! 
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Brynne takes a lesson from Kit and wastes not, wants not.

Lynn and Ellie dug into the pasta and veg meatball creation from the night before (see previous post, duh!) and Brynne had a little on the side as well.

The real star of the show was our spinach and berry salad. Easy enough to assemble: bed of spinach greens, chop some strawberries and lay those on, add blueberries (aka bluebs aka boobs), garnish with some walnuts and GOAT CHEESE!!!!!! Lynn and Brynne had gone all summer without eating goat cheese until this point, and I wonder, how the heck did we manage to do that??? Goat cheese is so important to me. The recipe called for feta but I’m glad I could redirect our attentions to this most valuable cheese. We also skipped the red onion because that’s unnecessary and would ruin this salad. [Lynn’s note: I really like red onion. Brynne was like “we could do it without” and I cringed and said “okay.”]

Lynn did the real work here by assembling the dressing for this salad. Yeah, we used a food processor to make this baby. No, we don’t have a blender, so don’t ask for one! Follow the recipe for this dressing and you will be pleasantly surprised, but it won’t be what we made. Bc we are #galsonabudget, Lynn blended up strawberries, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder (instead of real garlic), and, yeah, that’s it. It was delicious.

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Good innovation, Lynn! 

Cut to: The ladies have parted ways and are in separate locations. Brynne receives a text message from Lynn that says “WE FORGOT TO ADD THE APPLE.” Brynne chuckles and puts her phone down. She thought the salad was great without the apple. [Lynn’s note: And the red onion, apparently.]

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Us @ red onion: bye! 

Back to this: Don’t ever underestimate the power of spinach, goat cheese, and strawberries. Thank you, BuzzFeed, for inspiring Lynn to make this salad. It really was a refreshing summer salad that left us feeling so good. To top it all off, Ellie brought some TJ’s (Trader Joe’s) Italian breadsticks. I’m sorry, it’s actually Trader Giotto’s. My bad. Thanks, Beth, for treating Ellie to a TJ’s run! Does Beth read our blog, do we think? Does her son? He should. He’ll be friends with Brynne soon enough–and she sounds like fun! [Brynne’s note: Lynn wrote the above sentences. Brynne’s face :/ ] These breadsticks made all of our salad and crunchy bread dreams come true. (I started to sing Hall & Oates “You Make My Dreams (Come True)” and now we are bopping our heads along to the beat in the kitchen. Good bop.)

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the HEIGHT of fine dining!! Breadsticks!! 
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The face of fine dining. 

Oh Neptune.

So lyk whats the deal with a whole song being written about a meatball? You know the one–“On top of spaghetti, all covered in cheese…”–essentially someone sneezes, and the meatball rolls off of this mound of spaghetti and out the door. It’s gone/lost forever/not forgotten/memorialized in song. We’re all for a song being written about pasta. We’re all for a song being written about cheese. But one singular meatball? Hmm. Not impressed.

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How we feel about this song

[Lynn’s note: Something I realized in my research to find that particular .gif was that meatballs are kind of iconic in pop culture. They come up again and again–there are a lot of really freaky parts of the internet devoted to armed and legged meatballs walking around places. Look it up.]

If we had to write a song about a meatball, though, it would be a quinoa meatball, like the ones we made last night to deliciously top of our own spaghetti.

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YUM CITY

If you’re thinking “Hey girl, where’s the meatball?” please direct your attention down and to the left, and open up your mind to wider conditions under which you might describe a “ball” shape. See it? Yeah. That’s it. Let us explain: If you’ll recall from Lynn’s Diary Entry the other day, this recipe was pretty made-up. Free-balled, if you will. Brynne was about to return home from her WILD family VAYCAY, and Lynn thought–we need something romantic, yet vegetarian, yet hearty, yet able to incorporate leftovers. Thus the idea was born: quinoa meatballs crafted from the quinoa/black bean/corn/tomato/mozz cheese filling from Lynn’s solo stuffed pepper!

A note from Lynn: My dad cooks meatballs (IRL meatballs) by placing them in a giant vat of homemade sauce for like 6 hours because a Guido (in the feminist sense), and I think that that is the way to do it, so I started off by attempting to craft my own pasta sauce loosely based on this recipe. Only thing was, we didn’t have a can of crushed tomatoes #galswithoutcannedgoods, so I decided to use a tub of grape tomatoes from our #BOGO deal a while back. The thing is that you’re supposed to *skin* tomatoes before you make them into sauce, but I thought NAH!

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The tomat sauce shrouded in steam

So the sauce was pretty thick–it was essentially all onions and tomato chunks. Not ideal for cookin’ meatballs, even if they are made of quinoa. So here’s the save: I took a can of generic “tomato sauce” and put it in it’s own pot to heat up. That’s when my attn turned to the meatball-making. In true Felix Freeballing, I decided to make the filling into balls by mixing it with 1 egg and some pasta-y spices, like rosemary, oreganosage, and cinnamon (that one wasn’t very pasta-y, but that’s something that goes into meatballs). If your name is Maya, please let us know whether you think any of these spices are good ones to bring to Europe. Mixing these things together made a pretty sticky, solid masterpiece, which I rolled into ballz and then plopped in the pan with the sauce.

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This is what it looked like (above).

Things were going pretty well at this point! So I thought, let’s shake it up a bit! And dumped the OG sauce (you remember) on top of this new pot that contained the quinoa balls. Then, to mix it all up, I moved the whole shebang into one big pot–and this is the part where the quinoa balls started breaking up a bit. It was not quite a TSwift level break up, but it was a Lynn writes a song on her ukulele about someone she never dated level break up. I should’ve used a bigger pot.

At this point, Brynne ARRIVES HOME AND STICKS HER CUTE LITTLE FACE IN THE KITCHEN AND WE REUNITE AND ARE HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

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WHY IS SHE READING WHEN SHE COULD BE TALKING TO ME????

So we plop the now meat-y (veggie, of course) sauce and some meatballs on top of a thin whole wheat spaghetti (not for nothing, but whole wheat spaghetti is SO MUCH better than REG because it has a flavor! The impromptu combo was actually really good and I can’t wait to eat it for the rest of the week.

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Serve it up hot, bitches!

Brynne’s break from the Kitchen

Betcha never thought I’d leave Northfield. Well, here’s the deal: I did. And it was painful to say goodbye to Lynn, but I made it through this vacation and thought of her all the while and how much we like to eat food together.

Day one of break:

Connor and Cian really only wanted to go to Lion’s Tap, which is a restaurant in Eden Prairie that only sells burgers and fries and beers. This was a troubling prospect to me as a newly minted almost-vegetarian. I thought, “Hey, maybe, just maybe, they’ll have a veggie burger and I can swing it.” Nope, they didn’t. Cian desperately wanted to try this restaurant and so I did the supportive big sister thing and went to the restaurant and ate a burger. It knocked me out of vegetarian world but it was worth it to sing along to Drake songs and travel the suburban/rural roads with my brothers. Plus, I didn’t have to make any of this food on my own, which was a plus. (++!)

Day two:

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Just a few Rapunzels in a tower. 

The trip to Duluth commences. A family unit of 5 drives 3 hours to get to this northern town and makes a pit stop on the way to climb some rocks and see some running water. We later leave said rocks and water to reach different rocks and water: Lake Superior. Which is the coolest lake. Hands-down. Reach them down and feel that cool cool water which is the nicest water you will ever feel.

Leave the waterfront to head to Fitger’s, a one-stop shop for trail/hiking gear, kitchen supplies, clogs, and food. (Mabel and Maya, if you’re reading this, I got clogs. They were on sale and I’m really excited to wear them but I don’t know what socks to get so if you have any recommendations, let me know!)

This meal was a chance to redeem myself as a vegetarian wannabe. I ordered a wild rice burger. Which, wow, was not a cow’s meat! It was rice! In a circular shape! Fun! With sprouts, tomato, garlic mayo, and a side of sweet potato fries, this meal could not be beat.

The only minus: Seen below, the beer-cheese dip we got with pretzel appetizers. Gross! Thumbs-down!

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Yes, I asked him to do this. 

Let’s not let the beer cheese dip distract from the main win of the night.

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Day 3:

We’re in a rainy summer haven aka Duluth in August. We walk around in the rain, and I’m glad I brought my raincoat and rain boots! This girl loves to step in puddles. Our lunch is a stop at Amazing Grace Bakery and Cafe. We wait a long time for a table to open up and I’m glaring at all the people parked at their tables who don’t show signs of moving but are clearly done eating. I get it, the rain is gross, but I’d like to sit to eat my TLT! Which is a tempeh-lettuce-tomato sandwich if you wanted to know. It was served on a cranberry walnut store-baked bread if I remember correctly? Yum! Tempeh: good. Vegetarian status: secure. Protein: consumed.

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Thick slices! Yes! 

Dinner is a whole other story. We geared up to go to Burrito Union, which, if you’re from Duluth, can you let me know what the marketing strategy is? Is it playing with the idea of socialism/capitalism? Or is it focused on 1930s football? Unclear.

Aside from the confusion, the food was delicious. I ordered a shrimp salad, which involved shrimp (duh!), lettuce, guacamole, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion (ew), and some secret spicy sauce I was unsure of where to locate. It was great, and I liked the shrimp; does this make me a pescetarian?

We went to a malt shop/ice cream shop that I didn’t mention earlier but this was our second night going there and the second night I got a peanut butter cup ice cream with hot fudge, which was a great decision.

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Cute and malty! Deirdre pays for malts!

Day 4:

Garret’s Birthday! He’s 17! How and when did this happen, that all of my siblings and myself are entering late teens/young adulthood?

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Swapping hand sanitizer and stories. 

To celebrate, we went to brunch at Amazing Grace Bakery and Cafe. Yup, again. It is amazing! It’s in the name, and name’s don’t lie! I got a plate with veggies, scrambled eggs, sourdough toast (Mabel, I learned to rekindle my love for sourdough through you fyi) and home-made jam. The plates all around looked great, and I’m glad to say I was able to steal from everyone’s, except for Garret’s. You don’t have to share food on your b-day.

Then we went on our big adventure day up to Split Rock Lighthouse, Gooseberry Falls, and Betty’s Pies for a b-day dinner. Deirdre and I split a spinach-tomato-pesto-cheese grilled cheese and a blueberry salad. As Lynn would say, mwah! *kisses fingers and flicks them out to share the delicious-ness with the world*

The pies: Smore’s, bumble berry (which I always thought was just one berry that I’d never seen, but is actually just a blend of all the berries), and Deirdre and I shared again. Thanks for sharing, Mom!

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Day 5:

Continental breakfast with the brothers! Oatmeal is on deck. Don’t forget eggs and lemon poppyseed muffin on the side. Don’t forget that check out is at 11! Don’t forget anything in the room!

We didn’t forget anything! We went out to a beach where you can swim in Lake Superior on our way out of town, and that was when I fell truly in love with the lake water. So good. We wistfully drove back to Chanhassen/Minnetonka, made it home, and I went through stressful mail before driving my mom to return the rental car and get back on the road to Nofo and to Lynn and the lovely meal she had prepared for me.

That’s all! What a break from the kitchen! Thanks for all the food, Mom!

 

Lynn’s Diary 8/5/17

Dear Diary,

I’ve been withholding my emotions till now–and I’ve just learned that withholding has two h’s. Seems unnecessary. Well, Brynne has been gone since Tuesdeh, and my meals have been few and far-between. That’s actually not true–my eating has increased in her absence, but the meals I’ve made have been what you might consider compiled of “scrounging” and “sloppiness.”

Let’s begin.

In a sort of ends-of-a-cirlce-coming-together (a circle has no ends), the night that Brynne left, I stirred up a broccoli/carrot/tofu fry with some soy sauce. How does this resemble a circle, diary? Flip yourself back to the first night Mabel and I stayed here together at this house. What did I have for dinner? That’s right: A broccoli/carrot/tofu stir fry with some soy sauce.

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Here she is. Mostly tofu, not enough rice. 

Wednesday was a blur of broken stares down broken staircases, but at least I had one thing to look forward to–that night’s meal. A classic, taken from the books of mine own shared food blog–Stuffed Peppers. Or rather, stuffed pepper–I’ll say to emphasize the fact that I was alone. I took what I could remember from the recipe we previously used (actually, if you’ll recall, Brynne did most of the work on that one, so I was at a disadvantage) and poured it in–No roommate, No recipe.

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Loose Cannon Cook 

Unfortunately, while I remembered the quinoa, black beans, corn, cheese, and tomatoes, I forgot a key element to this delicious din–the SPICES, God DAMNIT!! Upon bite #1 I thought, Well this is too hot. But upon bite #2, I was like Oh NO this doesn’t taste like much!!! Failure, she is alone.

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It looked damn good though

Suffice it to say, I did not learn my lesson (AND NEVER WILL) as evidenced by the meal I am currently attempting to make, which was taken from fleeting memories of things my dad sometimes did in the kitchen. You’ll see how that one turns out in a few posts.

For now, though, I’m afraid to admit that no more recipes did come from my hands during this hiatus. On Thursday, I was whisked away by my boss and her friends (an adult family, actually) for some tacos by maria. I got a burrito, and it was the best taco I ever had. And–I struggled with whether to confess this–yesterday, I wrapped up some of the ample filling from my stuffed pepper creation, put it into a tortilla, and smothered it with salsa. Bon appetite.

Thanks for listening, Diary.

Love, Your Lynn