Don’t Tell Me What To Do…

“You needn’t tell me that a man who doesn’t love oysters and asparagus and good wines has got a soul, or a stomach either. He’s simply got the instinct for being unhappy highly developed.”

-Saki,  The Chronicles of Clovis

Vegan Brownies

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_ _ If you’re anything like me, cleaning out your wallet is like taking a time travel back through the last 7 years or so. If you’re like my sister, you’ll only be traveling about a week, because she loses her wallet and/or cellphone on an infuriatingly regular basis… But I digress, this blog is about ME, after all… me, me, me!

_ _ As I rummaged through all the superfluous pockets and dark corners of my very old wallet, I found about 20 yellow Post-Its that I had scribbled all over, mostly while in a blind rage during one ridiculous job or another. Some of them were incoherent to me at this point, but some of them I greatly enjoyed: “life is a joke… existential. My life is a joke… fact.” I must have been having a good day. But most of these little notes were rants about my various supervisors, my feelings of their incompetence, and the way that they walked around as if they were better than me.

_ _ This frustrating attitude of superiority is something that I have encountered in many of my vegan friends, which, if they knew me at all, is exactly what makes me resist trying vegan food… But I finally caved when I found this recipe, and you would never guess they weren’t made with eggs or butter. Amazing.

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Couldn’t You Just Die?…

“Mr. Tulkinghorn, sitting in the twilight by the open window, enjoys his wine. As if it whispered to him of its fifty years of silence and seclusion, it shuts him up the closer. More impenetrable than ever, he sits, and drinks, and mellows as it were in secrecy, pondering at that twilight hour on all the mysteries he knows.”

-Charles Dickens, Bleak House

Mini Mason Jar Peanut Butter Cheesecakes with Brownie and Caramel

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_ _ Nothing goes together better than peanut butter and chocolate, except maybe bacon and everything… I may not have the most advanced palette when it comes to food, but only a fool would dislike these. That’s really all there is to say.

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Homemade Fried Dough

“When Squire Cass’s standing dishes diminished in plenty and freshness, his guests had nothing to do but to walk a little higher up the village to Mr. Osgood’s, at the Orchards, and they found hams and chines uncut, pork-pies with the scent of the fire in them, spun butter in all its freshness– everything, in fact, that appetites at leisure could desire, in perhaps greater perfection, though not in greater abundance, than at Squire Cass’s.”

-George Eliot, Silas Marner

Fried Dough

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_ _ Every year at the end of July, my hometown of Ithaca, New York comes alive… The aging hippies put down their bongos, pull on their Birkenstocks, and pile en masse into rusty Volvos to make the drive out to Grassroots, a music festival featuring both famous and local (but mostly local) artists. As a teenager, I used to drive out and hop the fence because tickets were too expensive for me to afford on my dishwasher’s salary, but as the years passed, security got tighter and I was politely escorted from the premises more often than I got to stay… Damn the man! Grassroots, and, by the transitive property, summers are now inextricably linked, in my mind, with zydeco music, dancing shamelessly, muddy feet, and the constant concern that so many people could not know how truly awful they smell… oh, and fried dough. It used to be that I only could get fried dough at places like Grassroots or state fairs, but I realized the other day, to the detriment of my waist line, just how easy it is to make at home.

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I Used To Think I Was Boring, But Then I Got A Lot More Boring…

“All the knives and forks were working away at a rate that was quite alarming; very few words were spoken; and everybody seemed to eat his utmost in self-defense, as if a famine were expected to set in before breakfast time tomorrow morning, and it had become high time to assert the first law of nature.”

-Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit

Chocolate-Strawberry Jam

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_ _ Despite being the target of significant mocking from my friends (who have now been downgraded to “associates” for their unsupportiveness), I’m proud to have channeled my inner 70-year-old woman this past week. Putting my slow cooker to more use than I had since I purchased it, I spent my days making chocolate-strawberry jam, homemade pizza sauce, and peach butter, as well as baking scones, homemade brownies, and handing out Werther’s candies to the neighborhood children… and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I spent the hours while the slow cooker was at work, watching an excess of “pawn” shows, including but not limited to, Antiques Road Show. I also successfully canned all these homemade jellies and condiments, and thus began my love affair with mini mason jars.

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Grilled Peaches…

“…People who love downy peaches are apt not to think of the stone, and sometimes jar their teeth terribly against it.”

-George Eliot, Adam Bede

Grilled Peaches with Raspberry-Balsamic Sauce and Whipped Cream

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_ _ As I snuggled into the couch this morning and began to eat this delicious concoction, I sighed and looked around contentedly, thinking “what a lovely Saturday morning.” ….And then I remembered it’s not the weekend, it’s Thursday. I have way too much time on my hands. Someone give me a job!! The reality is however, that this is a very easy thing to throw together and can be breakfast but is sweet enough for dessert.

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Excellent Day To Run A New Metaphor Up The Flagpole And See If Anyone Salutes…

“He ate a supper of soup and cornbread with them that night, at the table in the middle of the kitchen. They’d had plenty of soup left from the day before, and Janey had made the cornbread herself, though it was never as good as her mother’s, which her mother always found ways to point out.”

-Marlin Barton, Into Silence

Individual Blueberry Pies

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_ _ One of the last nights out on the town with my boyfriend before he deployed to Afghanistan, we found ourselves at a bar in Colorado Springs that served buckets… yes, buckets… of booze. In honor of this great country, Nick decided to get the bucket with “red, white and blue” drink in it (whatever deadly concoction that consisted of). As he and his friend drank from the bucket, they became increasingly possessive of it and began telling people that they would NOT share, because they were defending “Amurrica”! I’m also fairly confident he got a couple of hapless bar-goers to salute the Amurrica bucket… Nick didn’t appreciate it when I asked why he was pronouncing it that way… He’s from Connecticut.

_ _ As the 4th of July approached I became increasingly excited to make a ton of BBQ-style food, and in turn, increasingly depressed as I realized that I still don’t have enough friends in Colorado to have a proper get together. So, much like my Valentine’s day this year, I invited Ana over to be my little guinea pig for some new recipes. Nothing makes me feel more American than over-consuming, watching cable TV while I digest, and then getting terrible road rage as I try to find somewhere to park and watch some patriotic fireworks! Hooah.

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