Authentiqué Prague

What? Brynne, Lynn, you aren’t together! One of you is in Minnesota, the other is in… Europe, somewhere? Right? How could you possibly be dining ynn together?

And I’ll admit, neither of us bridged this thousands-of-miles gap to physically cook in the same space, but we formed a special bond this summer that essentially means every meal we cook is a Dining Ynn meal. And today is no different–though we do have a guest cook to introduce! More on her later. Because now it’s time to talk about our…

Soup de Potimarron

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Above you’ll see:

a) guest cook Maya

b) what looks like half an entire loaf of bread

c) THE REAL DEAL! THE SOUP!

Here’s the scoop (rhymes with soup) on the Potimarron: it’s Yum. It’s not a pumpkin, but it is a squash. Square/rectangle deal. Our host mother here in Prague has a cottage in the country (no joke) where she grew this particular potimarron and left it for us to make us of, so we found the hyperlinked recipe w/ honestly relative ease after doing some research about what the name for a small misshapen pumpkin might be, and then we made it! First, we chopped up our potimarron, drizzled it with olive oil, sprinkled on some s & p (salt & pepper), and popped the slices in the oven for an hour at 190 degrees C (sorry, baby, we’re in Europe now. make your own c to f conversion)! Here’s what they looked like when finished roasting:

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Would be a great pic if that one hadn’t broken in half.

Let me tell you, we could’ve stopped right here. This squash smelled SO GOOD we could barely STAND it–it was this nutty, buttery smell apparently very characteristic of the Potimarron. We wouldn’t know, but we do now. Unf. As these good-smellin’, good lookin’ slices were cooling off, Maya began to sauté a red onion in a soup pot w/ some olive oil. Lynn chopped up 3 small carrots (also probably from the host’s garden!) and threw them in. Then, it was 3/4 cup of milk–HANG ON, we have to stop here to put in a quick note: We chose to use coconut milk because of Lynn’s newfound possible lactose intolerance and Maya’s chronic lactose intolerance. This is important to note because it will come back later. You’ve been warned–and 1/4 cup of water, but we added a teensy bit more water because the coconut milk was a little thick. Foreboding music.

 

 

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Maya stirs away like a SoupPro!

 

As the carrots became more tender (like Maya’s heart & aura), these ladies got scooping! No, not ice cream. Yes, the potimarron. Obviously. We scooped the squash in all its deliciousness out of its skin and into a lil bowl, which we then dumped in the soup bowl. Splash.

And now we’ve come to a first in Dining Ynn history. Don’t worry, Brynne won’t be offended that she wasn’t there for the ceremony–it was a small gathering anyway. She’s just glad she didn’t have to bring a gift. But in all seriousness, it was a big fucking deal when we broke out the soup blender.

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A little phallic, no? That’s right, no. We aren’t phallocentric on this blog or in this life

This tool was a little anticlimactic because when we placed it in the pot, it didn’t seem like much was happening. But much was, on the micro scale! I’m no chem major, but damn I knew that mixture was getting more homogenous with every “buzz” of the blender. We blended it up for like maybe 7 minutes? HOWEVER, it should have really been blended more. Like maybe an additional 5-7 minutes. More on that later.

Actually, more on that now. The soup… wasn’t that great. It seemed to have a chalky feel about it, and the taste seemed like it couldn’t decide whether it wanted to be sweet or savory. Even when we added salt, it wasn’t… right. We think it was the coconut milk! It was too creamy and perhaps not blended well enough to sub for plain old regular milk! And we should’ve blended it more! Damn!

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blendini 

So what did we do? 

We ate most of our soup & planned to fix it the next day–which we did by adding a ladle-full of water and blending, blending, blending! And surprise! It tasted SO MUCH BETTER! It was really, really yummy & had a good buttery flavor. We ate our whole bowls that time AND went back for seconds. Turns out, this is a good soup! Just needed a little bit of love and care. Thank GODDESS we had Maya.

 

That’s all for now, and maybe all you’re gonna get from this side of the pond, because Prague has a lot of pubs to offer, and these gals might not dine ynn too soon.

love ya

ciao

ahoj

 

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Ina Garten’s lies

So the solar eclipse is happening today. Which is special, if you’re into stars and stuff. I’m more worried about people damaging their eyesight. If you’re going to stare at the sun today, use protection, people! Eyes are the windows to the soul, and they’re the only ones you’ve got! Lynn, are you going to look at the eclipse today?

This is the documentation of the last true meal at Dacie Moses in the summer of 2017. Ellie said “I have some spinach we need to eat.” I said, “I have some pasta we should cook up and eat.” Upon looking in the fridge, Brynne happened upon the carrots that always seem to appear in our fridge for no apparent reason and the parmesan cheese she hadn’t used once this summer. From there, a dinner was born.

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Need I tell you how to cook pasta? I hope not. I went rogue/Felix and went without a timer. Lynn has taught me so much, like how to guess when your pasta is done!

We didn’t want to have just some ordinary carrots. No, sir, we wanted our carrots to be cooked! Tender and flavorful! So we turned to the internet. And the internet gave us Ina Garten’s recipe for roasting carrots.

Now, we only chopped up two carrots to roast because we are just two gals making a two serving meal. We followed Ina’s recipe to the T, except when we added rosemary to the carrots because YUM, and thought all would be fine. It would not be!!! Luckily we thought to check on the carrots as soon as our pasta was done, because some of the carrots had turned into un-munchable, blackened-to-a-crisp pieces. Never trust a recipe, ladies. (jk trust a recipe but just know when you are roasting smaller quantities of vegetables you should account for less cooking time!!)

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hmmmmm…. can we trust her? this corn-holding woman? 

When all was thrown together, it was a very respectable meal to go out on. The carrots were a good touch and brought out the crisp, green nature of the spinach, even if we lost some of them to the flame. Still skeptical about Ina.

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a vision

In lynnbo

Just as a precursor: the next post will be significantly more put together and aesthetically  pleasing than this one. I know Lynn kind of put the presh on me to make this interesting, and I won’t make excuses, but here’s the deal.

It was a Tuesday night. I had been baking/cleaning/emailing up a storm all day, and was semi-confined to the DM. I had the foresight to pick up a sweet potato at Cub the other day, because I had a plan in mind: loaded sweet potato for dinner, bb.

I was excited for this meal because 1. i LOVE sweet potatoes, and 2. I haven’t had a baked potato in years (hyperbole? not sure how to fact check this one but I feel like it’s true, I never opt in to the LDC/Burton baked potato bars). What better way to get back in the game than with my college-awakened love, sweet potato?

I poked some holes with a fork into my precious potat, then let it sit in the oven for a long while. As the potato was getting toasty, I sautéed some kale and black beans. As a note, don’t start this step until there are about 15 minutes left in your potato baking time. The greens were really, really tender by the time the potato was done. Which was fine! But I would hold off on the sautéing time if I were me next time.

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“plz could you be tender”–me @ Kale// Lorde’s 3rd greatest lyric

I retrieved the potato from the oven after the longest 45 minutes of my life (hyperbole//time is a social construct) and sliced it down the middle, topped it with the sautéed kale and black beans, and finished it all off with the leftover kale guacamole I had in the fridge. Press play on 30 Rock and laugh at Liz Lemon (which the show needs more of, by the way! Not super interested in the other characters.). Queen for a day!

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Mhmm. Yup! Ok. 

 

Lynn Falters, Then Fails

Hey. God, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do this. But… it’s been three days, and I’ve made nothing. Nada. Zilcherino. Pathetic, no? I’m trapped in my AZ home all day and I have nothing better to do than prepare a meal for my mother and myself, no? No. So here’s what I’ve got for you on this fine Friday morn (MST).

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ugh please ignore the rubber band in the upper right quadrant of this photo 

I kind of (but not really) made a fruit salad. A mini one. Like, this is a one-serving fruit salad. I know because I put the remnants in the refrigerator and they were gross the next day. I didn’t use tupperware. Why is this “not really” a fruit salad? Take a look, dummy! I didn’t even toss the “ingredients,” if you can even call them that! I literally filled a bowl with watermelon and thought “huh, this could use something else” and then added grapes, blueberries, and half a banana. A note on the banana: weird thing to mix with the other parts of this salad. Would not recommend.

So… like… I guess I would describe how I put these things together, but I don’t think I can burden you with those details at this point. I cut the watermelon–that was a step–but the grapes and bloobs just got thrown in. And let’s ignore the banana. All in all, it was pretty tasty??? But like… obviously….???? Ugh. Pray with me that Brynne has something interesting and delicious planned for the next blog post. In the meantime, here are 2 more pictures of this FFS (fake fruit salad):

 

 

PS: while I was writing this blog post, I could have been writing the essay that I desperately need to finish today!!!!!!!!!!

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!).