Rosemary and Thyme Mushroom Polenta

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“What’s going on with your…” Roo started, waving a fork towards the vicinity of my face.

“You mean this?” I asked, pointing at my eyes.

“Did you…are you trying something new?”

“What, you don’t appreciate the Clockwork Orange look?”

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“It’s just,” he paused, “different.”

I looked down, pushing the polenta onto my fork. “It’s what happens when your eyeliner pencil breaks mid-application at work.   I got my left eye done and then the tip broke off when I was starting on the right.”

“Why didn’t you just wash it off?”

I sighed. “Well, that would have been the obvious thing to do.”

Roo furrowed his brow.

“You know how I am in a panic.” I said, between bites, “I ran back into the office and tried to sharpen the pencil.”

“With a pencil sharpener?”

“With a blunt pair of scissors.”

“It looks fine.” Roo replied, turning his head slightly, trying to hide a smile.

I sighed, grabbing a napkin and dipping it into my water glass.

“What are you doing?”

I started wiping off the botched makeup job on my right eye, “Trying to fix it.”

“Babe, I don’t even know why you put on makeup.”

“What are you talking about?”

“It’s like,” he paused, “you’re like Beyonce. She looks even better without makeup. Unlike Nicki Minaj who just needs more and more piled on.”

“I don’t know whether to be more surprised about the Beyonce or the Nicki Minaj reference you just made.”

“Fine. It’s like this dish,” he said, tilting his plate of mushrooms and polenta forward. “It doesn’t need a whole bunch of stuff piled on top of it to make it better. It’s just great the way it is.”

I smiled. “You know I would have preferred Rihanna, right?”

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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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Quick Pickled Vegetables: Marinated Peppers and Pickled Red Onions

“That book bored me,” my mother said, as she handed me a bowl of peppers from the refrigerator.

I paused, trying to figure out if we were talking about the same book. “Fifty Shades of Grey. Really?”

“The writing was terrible. And there are only so many times -”

“Before getting hit by a riding crop repeatedly becomes hilarious?” I joked.

My mother turned her back to me and stood on her tip-toes to open the top cupboard. “Yes,” she replied, retrieving a parcel of tightly wrapped flatbread.  She set it down on the island and started to unravel the packaging.

Impatient from hunger, I grabbed it from her. “I haven’t read it myself, but I can’t believe you thought it was boring,” I said, ripping off the layers of seemingly never ending plastic wrap. “It’s basically porn for bored suburban housewives.”

My mother folded her arms. “Well I’m not one. Your father and I -”

“Jesus, Ma, I really don’t want to talk about your sex life,” I snapped, finally freeing the flatbread.

“Jesus has nothing to do with it!” my father called from the living room.

My mother smirked as she tore off a piece of flatbread and dipped it into the hummus.

I yelled back, “Dad, are you really eavesdropping on a conversation about Fifty Shades of Grey?”

“Your mother said it was boring!”

“Let’s just go back to where I’m adopted,” I muttered, horrified about what the conversation between the two could have entailed.  They did say it was boring after all.

“You’re not adopted!” my mother protested, “You were a product of love.”

“Will you stop!” I said, stabbing a pepper with a fork.  The vinegar marinade splashed onto the granite countertop.

My mother glanced at the spill but didn’t move to clean it up. “We love you very much.”

I folded my piece of flatbread over the pepper, “I know, but that doesn’t mean you need to pull out the easel from the basement and illustrate ‘How You Were Made,’ again.”

“I wasn’t going to do that.”

I sighed.

My mother tore off another piece of flatbread.  She handed it to me and pushed over a different bowl she had taken out of the fridge. “Try it with the pickled onions.  And I promise I won’t bring out the easel.”

I moved my hand towards the bowl.

“Unless you want me to of course.”

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Vegetable Stir Fry with Quinoa

I’m a lazy friend. Not horrible, just lazy.

I keep secrets. I give the best hostess gifts. And I can make you laugh.

Getting me to actually show up at your house?

Terrible. As in 99% unlikely. Which is why Roo was surprised to hear where I was going on Friday.

“You’re actually driving to Gardner. Gardner, Massachusetts?”

“Yes. Past Framingham, near Leominster.”

“But it’s Friday,” Roo said, sitting down on the couch and putting up his feet, “We get tired on Fridays.” *

I shot Roo a look as I felt for my keys in my purse, “Of course we get tired on Fridays! But I still need to go. I haven’t seen AA in over a year.”

“You can’t reschedule?”

“You are the worst!” I said, throwing a pillow at Roo. “Besides, JL is going to be there and I haven’t seen her in ages either.”

AA and JL are dear friends. And powerhouses.

They are the women seen tearing through a Warrior Dash, just because they got up early that morning and thought, “You know what would go well with this cup of coffee? Mud.”


Photos from JL

I am not built like them.


Photo from AA

I’m deathly afraid of heights, whine when I get a blister on my toe, and despite my love of power yoga, I hate sweating.

But the three of us love to laugh, drink wine and share the most humiliating stories. It’s what we do.

I love it.

Conversation ranged from “how girls don’t fart,” followed by “then I woke myself up by farting. On my boyfriend.” to “do they not see me? why am I always sat on? I’m a person!” that night. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while. And on my drive home I was inspired.

AA recently became a home owner and JL has two children. They both train for whatever endurance event is coming up while living very busy lives.

When they get home they need a quick, easy meal that can refuel them while satisfying the taste buds of little ones and in AA’s case, her big guy.

Stir fry was the first thing that came to mind. It’s a one pot meal (especially if you have leftover cooked quinoa) and can be thrown together less than 30 minutes.

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Baked Baby Artichokes with Crunchy Scallion Breadcrumbs

“Hello Monkey! Hello Stink!” Roo said as he walked into the apartment.

“You will not believe what happened in yoga today,” I said, calling out from the kitchen.

Roo dropped his messenger bag on the floor and took off his shoes, “What happened?”

“There was a girl,” I paused, “moaning.”

Roo laughed, “Sounds hot.”

“No! No it was terrible.” I said, ripping the outer artichoke leaves off in frustration.  “It was like I was trapped in a porno movie.”

“It couldn’t have been that bad.”

“It was!” I said, dipping another artichoke into the acidulated water. I removed it and gave it a good shake. “It was so distracting,” I continued, grabbing and ripping the leaves off. “Shit!”

“What’s wrong?”

“I stabbed myself with a thorn.”

Roo came into the kitchen and gently took my hand into his. He looked down at the tip of my ring finger and then back up at me. “You’ll live.”

“I know. I’m just…” I said, taking back my hand, “I couldn’t relax.”

“Maybe you just misheard her.”

“How can I mishear -” I started, then proceeded to moan as I heard in class.

“Like I said, sounds hot.”

“You cannot be serious.”

“Since when did you get all uptight about yoga? Isn’t it about being connected with your true self or something?”

“Perhaps. But my true self isn’t someone who listens to a porn track for 90 minutes.”

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Oven Roasted Tomatoes

I’ve been holding onto some news.

What took me so long to tell you?

Well…I forgot what Roo said when he asked.

I’m a horrible fiancé.

It wasn’t until last night that I mustered the courage to ask Roo what happened.  I wanted to know more than what I had been telling my friends,”he laughed, then I laughed, and I said ‘Yes.” Because, really? Even a friend doesn’t want to hear an engagement story like that.

“I was going to write up that I we got engaged.”

“Oh. You haven’t done that yet?”

“Not yet.  It’s just that,” I paused. ” I kinda forgot what you said.”

Roo smiled, “Did you blackout from overwhelming emotion?”

“Perhaps. I remember you joking, saying that I had to take my sunglasses off so you could see me cry.”

“And you didn’t!”

“I know! Are you disappointed?”

“Not really.”

“I do remember somethings. Sitting on the bench with you, watching the rowers go by on the Charles…wondering aloud if those girls from Wellesley College actually started in Wellesley and paddled down to Boston -”

“Wellesley girls? That’s what you remember?”

“No! There’s more! I remember you getting down on one knee, removing the ring from your wallet – which was so sneaky by the way – and,” I laughed, “I remember saying ‘No’ as a joke.”

“But what I actually said to you -”

“Something about being a better man?”

“Yes. I said you make me a better man, even when you’re away, and I would be honored if you spend the rest of your life with me.”

“Oh. No wonder I blacked out.”

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Baked Gnocchi Alla Puttanesca (Kinda)

Sometimes when I have to make a first impression I freak out.  Just a little.

In protest, I put off getting ready till the last minute.  And when I can’t any longer, I run around the apartment with such fervor you’d think it was on fire.  Hair thrown into a sumo bun, trying on clothes that never seem to fit me the way I want and wondering why I just don’t invest in spanx already.

I get wound up.  I start…to sweat.  Especially when I’m freaking out in the bathroom because the light is too dim to actually see my face to put makeup on.

“Stop it Lys.  Seriously, stop sweating.  STOP. IT.”

“Are you having a breakdown?” Roo calls out from the living room.  He’s already dressed, shoes on and car keys in hand.  He’s been ready for thirty minutes.

“No.”

“Are you sure?”

“Talking to yourself while looking at yourself in the mirror stops underarm perspiration.”

“I don’t think it -”

“It’s a thing!”

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Mushroom Soup

“Someone fell on me on the train today.”

“So they knocked into you? Doesn’t that happen all the time?”

“No. Someone fell on. to. me.  I was on the ground face up, with them on top of me.”

“What?”

“He was too busy eating a delicious looking lemon poppy seed cake out of one hand and a drinking a coffee out of the other to hold the rail.”

“Well obviously it was because of his delicious looking cake. I mean, lemon poppy seed? Screw. that. rail.”

“Really?”

Roo looks up from his iPad, “Are you ok babe?”

“I cried.”

“Cried and didn’t give a damn what anyone else thought?”

“No, this isn’t an episode of HIMYM on what makes a Real New Yorker. This is real life. ”

“Meaning -”

“The anger cry.”

“I know that cry. It’s kind of…confusing.”

“Yes, a snotty nosed, yelling to getoffofme, anger cry occurred as soon as I realized he was on top of me…And that he was still holding his coffee and cake.”

“Not a drop spilled?”

“Not a single drop.”

“He must have gone to UMass.”

“So not the point Roo. So not the point.”

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