Last Sunday, Lynn and I arrive home from a weekend with the family. But now we’re back on our turf (a Dinkytown apartment shared with someone else we can’t help but hope is gone whenever we are there and another person who pays rent but never spends time here, and I guess we’ll never see her again because she came abruptly in the morning last week to pick up her Wii game system [Lynn’s note: we didn’t touch that thing once, but when it was gone, we both… started to miss it?]??).
We take stock of what we gained (spring roll wrappers left over from our minnetonka meal adventure, some berries, and a sparkling cherry drink) and lost (a bra left at home, a prescription not picked up, the opportunity to do a full week’s grocery shopping). [Lynn’s note: Excuse me, but a lot of these things are skewed towards Brynne’s personal losses. When’s the last time you saw me wear a bra or pop a pill?] What’s there left to do next but cook?
I have to admit that I wasn’t able to actually partake in the cooking aspect of this meal, so I’ll have to give you an outsider’s perspective.
As I sat on the couch studying, I heard the sounds of chop-chop-chopping. After doing all of that cutting of veggies for spring rolls the night before, Lynn still had it in her to cut up a bunch of carrots for our enchilada bake! How, I will never know. Such endurance. Such grace. [Lynn’s note: It was my own damn fault for not looking in-depth at our recipe, which—surprise!—called for a food processor that we obviously do not own.]
At the point when I am done studying, the bake is in the oven and cooking away. It smells good and we are confident that it will be done soon. There’s even a little cheese burning to a crisp on the top! So fun! So crispy!
Sure enough, we are able to eat the carrot sofritos enchilada bake. It’s got: cheese, carrots, salsa, whole wheat tortillas. What more could a girl ask for? Put some sriracha on top if you want some spice. You’ll be happy! You’ll finish the last little bit of it as leftovers at the end of the week when you’re babysitting as a supplement to your Annie’s mac and cheese!
I’ll be adding this meal to the list of reasons why Lynn is angelic (list currently includes: she is able to listen to SO many podcasts, she loves to fold laundry, she flexes so many recipes to just go with the flow [Lynn’s note: this is sweet, but I’m still a little insulted that Brynne wouldn’t share headphones with me on the bus yesterday.]).
p.s. the title is just a fun statement I said today, doesn’t have anything to do with carrots, but like and subscribe if you agree
Some of you asked if we would blog again this summer, to which I say, “Is it July? Wow, look at that, summer’s over!” I blame the big city for the lag of witty blog banter Summer 2018. [Lynn’s note: Brynne has been saying “summer’s over” for literally months.]
Ah, to live in Dacie Moses and be confined to the city limits of Northfield. That’s a blogger’s dream! You work 10am to 4pm, go to yoga, and make a good meal. You’re about to be a junior in college, you don’t have any pressing existential crises to attend to right this minute (you can schedule those for later in your five year plan!), and you have time.
Fast forward a year. You’re further along in your five-year plan [Lynn’s note: one year forward, two steps back], and guess what, those existential crises are arriving right on time! One after the other! Those fatal personality flaws and mildly destructive behaviors you could forget about during a relaxed spring term? They’re back! I’m not trying to be *dramatic*, but a girl can really be her own worst enemy out here. (Don’t worry too much, pals, it’s just a classic case of “Thinking I Can Do it All” and “Not Putting a Priority on Myself When Making Plans.” Totally work-through-able situations, if one had the time to get to ther-ther.)
Anyways, the real culprit? The real thief of blogging?The big city. And not just one, oh no, these are the Twin Cities. Double the city for your girls. As stranded Northfield summer dwellers, we dreamed of the big city and how many opportunities there would be to do “fun things” and “explore.” [Lynn’s note: One might say we didn’t realize we would need a “car.”]
Here’s what I thought Big City Living would be like:
Grocery stores so close you could spit on them! (No more driving down Highway 19 to get to Cub!)
Going to Trader Joe’s
More interaction with other humans??
Overall feeling like you live in the hustle and bustle of human life
I love ground PB
Lynn has leftover Pho
I have lentil leftovers and salad! Mm!
Here’s what Big City Living actually is:
You pay $2 to take the bus 10-20 minutes away to get your groceries
Admittedly, you can shop at Whole Foods or Fresh Thyme or Lund’s and Byerly’s, but I weeped about the lack of a Cub Foods in the vicinity. I love my Cub.
There’s no Trader Joe’s close enough to justify the trip there yet, but wait until late July when a new one opens in a gentrified part of Minneapolis
You bike to your internship in the morning
Haven’t gotten too sweaty yet! Stay tuned!
Lynn’s bullet point: I get sweaty every single time I bike to my internship. I actually bring a second shirt, AND a second pair of undies. I’m not about to get a UTI like Brynne’s dog!!
You take the bus an hour to work, and an hour back later
Pros: Time to read, listen to podcasts, observe the hustle and bustle of human life [Lynn’s note: Not if you get motion sickness, bb!! Please do something about your Dramamine-Privilege.]
Cons: Bus shaking and rumbling turns bumps ya all around, when you’re on the phone with Lynn she asks if you’re crying because your voice is vibrating from all the shaking (you’re not, but if she asked again you probably *could* cry)
You sleep in queen-sized bunk beds
Lynn makes you din, or you make you din! We’re European now (that’s ignorant of me to say) and eat at 8pm.
If someone says me eating scrambled eggs for dinner is “sad” once more I will not stop doing it but I will be “sad.”
So, maybe you can sense that cooking up delicious meals and sharing them with you has fallen to the wayside a bit in the big city. Maybe it’s making us more rushed? More callous? More bitter?
A chickpea gyro-inspired wrap. Yum!
Lynn’s claws hide her leftover lentil soup.
Who can say. (I’d say, no, we’re just more tired!) What I can say is: we’re having a good time. We’re cooking. We’re watching Grey’s Anatomy. We’re buying reusable produce bags. We’re taking the big city day by day.
I hope you enjoyed the collection of a smattering of what we’ve cooked and consumed so far. Maybe this will give you some inspiration. Maybe you too are a gal on the go and are scrapin’ by this summer. We’re here for it all.
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.
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!!)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
fun & flirty
serious & smoldering
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.
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.
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!)
bean juice splattered everywhere
can opener comes to the scene
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
far away: EW!
up close: eh?
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!
Where is she?
Is she in there?
looking for Lynn!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.]
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.)
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. (++!)
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!
Let’s not let the beer cheese dip distract from the main win of the night.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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!