Chocolate Chunk Bread

I tend to do things despite knowing they’ll have a bad outcome.

For one, I have to listen to a song I love, loud. In the car, on my iPod, even at our apartment, it has to be turned all the way up. Never mind that some are ballads that make Roo question our relationship.

It may have to do with my yelling, “Oh my God! So much feels!” when they come on.

And they’re all by Rihanna.

Texting while drinking is another; sending messages to people I haven’t talked to in years.

Do you think they want to read ‘Let’s catch up!!!!!’ at 1 a.m with five exclamation points? If they do, well, that’s why I haven’t talked to them for so long. Weirdos.

But the worst is watching reruns of Gossip Girl during my lunch break. (Um, I watch it for the music and fashion.)

Sometimes, I get caught and am forced to bribe my coworkers with baked goods. It’s the only way to keep them from telling me who Gossip Girl is.

Please don’t tell me who Gossip Girl is.

Wait, is it Little J?

No no! Don’t tell me!

Here, have some bread.

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Soft Crunch Banana Bread

“I may have referred to myself as an STD today,” I said, sitting down next to Roo on the couch; my purse and gym bag still slung over my shoulder.

Roo furrowed his brow. “You what?”

“You know how I haven’t been able to take my favorite spin class because of the Lexington job?”

“Yes.”

I sighed. “Well, I finally went. When I walked into the studio, my instructor exclaimed, ‘You’re back!’ and I replied -”

“Do I even want to know?”

I looked down at the floor and muttered, “I’m back. Like herpes.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

Roo shook his head. “No. Just….no.”

“Then I said I made her a loaf of banana bread.”

“I’m guessing she wasn’t too excited to take it from you.”

“She looked at me as if I had put my hair in it.”

“Well-”

“I know!” I whined.

Roo patted me on the back and removed my purse and gym bag from my shoulder.

“Oh, thanks.”

“No problem,” he replied, as he opened my purse.

“What are you -”

Roo looked up. “I’m looking for the banana bread. So what if you put your hair in it.”

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Roasted Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions and Basil ‘Bruschetta’

“I think you may have an unhealthy obsession with Rihanna.”

“Is it because I told you if Rihanna asked me to run away with her, I would?”

Roo took a bite of bruschetta and nodded.

“Well, I had to warn you…in case if you saw us together on TMZ.”

“Really. TMZ?”

“It could happen. Anyway, it’s just a girl crush! You know, where you greatly admire someone -”

“Probably too much?”

“No such thing,” I said, rolling a roasted tomato back onto my bread. “Certainly there has to be someone you’re crushing on.”

“Like a man crush?”

“Yeah, like an athlete or an actor you’re obsessed with. Oh! Like Tom Brady.”

“While I greatly appreciate his Jedi-like skills, no.”

I tapped my finger on my plate. “I got it.”

“I don’t think so. I don’t have a guy -”

“Pedro.”

Roo stopped mid-chew. “Martinez?”

“You’d totally run away with him to a deserted island.”

Roo set his bruschetta down and folded his hands together. “Yes, yes I would.”

I laughed, picturing Roo and Martinez taking turns burying each other in the sand.

“You know why?”

“Because you greatly admire pitchers? Particularly ones that have played for the Sox?”

“That and he’s incredibly talented. He’s also pretty laid back and has a very diverse group of friends.”

“You’ve obviously thought this through.” I paused. “If you were asked, would I be invited?”

“Would I be, if Rihanna asked you?”

I smiled. “Obviously not.”

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Roasted Red Pepper Soup

It’s hard making friends after college. The pool of new people drastically decreases, there’s usually a lack of liquor conversation, with the majority having more interest ‘pinning’ a cookie that’s inside a cupcake that’s inside a pie, than attempt to fill the awkward silence.

It’s not like you can knock on people’s doors to see if they want to be friends. That’s how you get your pic trending under #creeper on Twitter.

Which may explain my desperation behavior at my new job.

Ohmygod. I love Rihanna too!”

Lindsay turned around and removed her earbuds. “What? I couldn’t hear you.”

“I said, ‘I love Rihanna too.'”

“Ok.”

“We should be friends.”

Let’s be clear, I don’t walk around my neighborhood, trying to hear what’s playing on strangers’ iPods. Instead, I’ve convinced myself that a new job is like college, but with paychecks. You know, an absolutely proper place to make new friends.

“Do you do yoga?”

Amy took a sip of her tea. “Sometimes.”

“I noticed that you wear leggings a lot-”

She set her mug down on her desk. “You’ve been noticing…what I’ve been wearing?”

“I do yoga too!”

“Um-”

“We should be friends.”

I’m surprised I haven’t been reported to HR. ‘Noticed what you’re wearing?’ She looked at me like I said, ‘it puts the lotion in the basket.’

“You had soup for lunch yesterday?”

“Yeah it was leftovers.”

I pulled two Tupperware containers from my purse. “I brought you some soup I made last night. It’s roasted red pepper.”

“Oh…I already ate.”

“It’s 10 a.m.”

“Like I said-”

“You eat lunch at ridiculously early times too?”

“Uh-”

“Be my friend.”

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Corn Chowder

Dear Young Singleton,

Perhaps you came across this page, hoping to find some nekid pics of Liz Lemon.  Sorry to disappoint, but while you’re here, can we talk about a couple things?  Like, what not to say to girls¹.  I can’t exactly tell you what to say, but if you avoid the following, you may be able to avoid another night alone Googling ‘What’s under Liz’s shirt.’

1) Are you really going to wear that?

I was, until you looked at me like I was rolling around in cheese. Now I hate clothes. All the clothes.

2) Don’t you have enough shoes?

THERE ARE NEVER ENOUGH SHOES! (wipes drool from side of mouth)

3) Are there going to be any guys there?

Yes. It’s actually brothel. And you’re so not invited.

4) You should definitely get a gym membership.

Now I’m just going to spite-eat these cookies while picturing your face melting off. In yoga pants of course.

5) Are you going to eat all of that?

Yes, and so should you. It’s delicious. Asshole.

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Skillet Cornbread

Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and talk some sense into YesterLys.

Who?

YesterLys is me, 12 hours ago.  And she doesn’t realize that her bad decisions screw me every time.

I’m not doing laundry over the weekend!

Come Monday morning I’m taking the T in damp socks I had to hand wash before work. Curse you, YesterLys.

I’ll shave my legs tomorrow.

With the pants, silk sleeveless shirt, jacket and the building’s broken air conditioner I sweat like Robert Hays on Airplane.

At a job interview.

I couldn’t even take my jacket off because I hadn’t shaved my underarms either.  I did try to blot the sweat with a copy of my CV.

I didn’t get the job. Thanks a lot YesterLys.

Just one more slice. No one’s going to notice.

“Where did all the cornbread go?”

“Um…I ate it all?”

“In a day?”

“Damn you YesterLys.”

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Carrot, Raisin and Cranberry Quick Bread

I opened the door to our apartment. “You will not believe what happened at yoga,” I said, kicking off my sandals and walking into the living room.

“What, The Moaner make another appearance?” Roo asked.

“I wish.”

Roo took a bite of toast and set it down on the coffee table. “What happened?”

“Well, as you know, sometimes I come off as a creeper.”

“Go on.”

I folded my arms and threw myself onto the couch next to Roo. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Roo picked up his toast again and took another bite. A raisin fell onto his lap. “Ok.”

I eyed the raisin for a moment. “Well, you know how I love it when a yoga instructor takes a class I’m in?”

“Something about it being inspirational?”

I smiled. “You’re so good. Sometimes I really can’t believe you listen everything I say.”

Roo laughed. “So a yoga teacher took the same class as you -”

“Right. She set her mat down next to mine -” I paused.

“And?”

“And I may have been watching her through some of the poses.”

“And she caught you watching?”

“That’s not even the bad part.”

Roo waited.

“When the class was told to fold in straddle, facing the right side of the room, that was the side the instructor was on. And our mats were really close.”

“And?”

“And when I went to fold, I accidentally brushed the instructor’s butt with the bun on top of my head,” I said, pointing to my hair.

Roo burst out laughing.

“It’s not funny.”

“It’s a little funny.”

“It is not! I had to apologize profusely in a whisper, because it was during class. Do you know how creepy an apology sounds in a whisper?”

“Well I’ve never been assaulted by a bun in yoga class, so I wouldn’t know.”

“I don’t know if I can ever show my face there again.”

“Here,” Roo said, handing me his slice toast. “Have some of this. I’ll make you a cup of tea.”

I picked the raisin off his lap and placed it on the plate. “It’s not enough.”

“What’s not enough?”

“There’s like two bites left. And they’re the worst ones. No cranberries or raisins in either one.”

Roo smiled. “Alright, I’ll cut you another slice. Thankfully you made two loaves last night.”

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Basil Pesto Bread

Roo walked into the kitchen. “How long have you been in here?”

I looked up from the cutting board. “I don’t know,” I replied, “I’m kneading.”

“Why aren’t you using the stand mixer?”

I picked up the ball of dough and pressed it down against the cutting board. “Because I needed to clear my head.”

“This is how you clear your head?”

“Some people have moments of clarity in the shower-”

“My best ideas come from there.”

“I knead.”

Roo pulled out a chair from the kitchen table and sat. “Does this have anything to do with dinner at your parents’?”

I reopened the bag of flour sitting on the island and coated my hands.

“It’s 10 at night. And you just decided after an hour’s drive from your parents’ house to start making bread?”

“Nipples,” I muttered.

“Um, what?”

“There were so many nipples.”

“I don’t follow.”

“My mother,” I said, taking a breath, “she asked me edit a Powerpoint presentation for her breastfeeding class. And there were all these photos-”

“Of nipples?”

“Endless images of nipples. How to properly breastfeed – which is fine – but then there was a part about what could go wrong.”

“With your nipples?”

“Horrifying,” I said, leaning my weight onto the dough again.

“So -”

“I think I’m done obsessing about having children….those images set me back a good year or two.”

Roo pushed his chair out from the table and walked out of the kitchen.

“Where are you going?” I called.

“To see your mother,” Roo replied, “I need to give her a high-five.”

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Zucchini Stuffed with Basil Caramelized Onion Pesto and Fresh Croutons

I turned off the television as Roo walked into the living room.

“What were you watching?”

“Nothing.”

“It was obviously something,” Roo said, sitting down on the couch.  He motioned his hand towards the remote.

“Don’t judge,” I said, handing it to him.

Roo turned on the television. A loud Yuuuuuuup! emitted from the speakers. Roo smiled. “Storage Wars?”

“I can’t help myself. It’s like a redneck treasure hunt.”

“Well, that guy who has something against sleeves, is hilarious.”

“That’s Darrell,” I laughed, “I pretty much love everything he says.  His voice? Classic.”

“Who’s the one in the hazmat suit?,” Roo said, pointing at the screen, “He looks like he walked straight out of American Grafitti.”

“That’s Barry. And I’d totally buy him a drink.” I paused, “I wish I didn’t like these shows. It’s bad enough that I make you watch The Biggest Loser every fall.”

“Honestly? I prefer this, than watching that ex-marine yell at obese contestants. It gives me heartburn.”

“Watching that show after eating dinner is a bit masochistic.”

Roo muted the television. “What are we having for dinner by the way?”

“Do I even have to tell you?”

“Something from our CSA?”

I nodded and started walking towards the kitchen.

“Using up some of the zucchini?”

“Yuuuuuuuuup!”

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Roasted Summer Vegetables with Tomatoes, Basil and Pasta

Zucchini or summer squash, sweet corn, bell peppers and red onion

I scooped up a piece of zucchini with my fork. “I feel like a lot has changed.”

Roo looked up from his plate. “What are you talking about?”

“I saw a child today; thirteen, maybe fifteen-”

“So you saw a teenager.”

“A child,” I reiterated, setting down my fork, “who was walking in front of me at Fenway and I could see her butt.  Hanging out of her shorts.”

“Like her pants were falling down?”

“Like they were so short, that I wanted to hug her and give her my yoga pants.”

“You do realize you sound about eighty five right now.”

I picked up my water glass and took a sip. “That’s kind of my point. I mean, when did I become so conservative?”

“You’re really asking me this.”

“I know! But I can’t remember caring about how short a girl’s shorts were when I was in my twenties. I don’t think I even noticed what children were wearing.”

“Well, we all change. It’s part of growing up.”

“I guess.” I said, fumbling with my napkin. “Like, when I was in college I didn’t eat carbs.”

“What?”

“I know. This,” I said, tilting my pasta dish towards Roo, “is delicious. Why would I give that up?”

“But I thought you drank Natty Ice in school.”

“Correction, The Beast.”

“So you didn’t eat carbs, but you drank beer?”

“I know, totally logical, right?”

Roo laughed, “I am so glad we all change.”

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