Whole Wheat Waffles with Strawberries and Coconut Whipped Cream

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I’m an asshole to sleep with.

I steal the sheets. Sometimes I snore. I drool. Excessively. And I totally hog the bed.

On several occasions Roo has found me in…

the “diagonal,”

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the “L,”

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the “Vitruvian Man,”

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and what Roo likes to call, “the Captain Morgan.”

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Did I mention that I’m notorious for shoving people out of “my space?” Like, onto the floor?

Yup, Roo is lucky to be with me.

And by lucky, I mean I bribe him with waffles for breakfast. Waffles totally make up for being pushed out of the bed, right?

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Not-So-Irish Soda Bread Buns, with Orange Zest and Cranberries

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Roo turned down the car radio. “Do rappers realize that some of their lyrics make no sense?”

“You mean when Chingy raps that he likes, ‘black, white, Puerto Rican or Haitian, like Japanese, Chinese or even Asian?”

“Even Asian?”

I opened my purse and pulled out a ziploc bag. “But that’s not even close to Mase rapping, ‘Young, black and famous, with money hanging out the anus.”

“No. The best is Dre’s ‘Never let me slip, cause if I slip, then I’m slippin.'”

I laughed, tearing the soda bread bun in two and handing a half to Roo. “What does that even mean?!”

Roo grabbed the bun and shrugged, “At least they’re direct, even if it doesn’t make sense. Like Chris Brown singing, ‘I’m gonna make you wet the bed.’ Class act.”

“Ugh, who says stuff like that!?” I groaned, “I still can’t believe Rihanna’s back with He Who Must Not Be Named.”

“Did you just compare Chris Brown to Voldemort?”

“I’m convinced he appears like Beetlejuice if you say his name three times.”

“That’s how I feel about Kesha.”

“You mean you don’t like to feel ‘like a sabertooth tiger, sipping on a warm Budweiser?'”

Roo turned the radio back up. “I want my ring back.”

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Coconut Rum Bread

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Taking classes at night is a whole other animal compared to my glory days of undergrad. After a long day I have no patience for students who only like to hear the sound of their voice. Perhaps that makes me the worst kind of classmate, especially after muttering, “I kill you” when one of my peers asks his eighth non-question.

Nighttime lecture-hall manners are kind of an anomaly: like getting stared at while I licked the lid of my yogurt clean. It was as if my row-mates were accusing me of reenacting a very (very) awkward porno scene; although it was a lid to a 32 ounce container (about the size of my head).

The worst is when you’re seated next to an incessant desk tapper,

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a Red-Bull-drinking-open-mouth-breather

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or God forbid, the I’m-kicking-the-back-of-your-seat-because-I-want-to-see-you-turn-into-my-very-own-fun-sized-Hulk.

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But there’s hope.

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Sharing snacks in class is kind of an icebreaker.

And when you break bread with your classmates, they totally will join you, hating on that guy that won’t stop clicking his pen.

Just stop, guy. Seriously.

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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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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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Yogurt Cake with Lemon and Blueberries

Every morning I walk into the kitchen, turn on NPR, sit at the table and open my laptop. I check my email, Facebook and Twitter.  I scroll through updates/tweets from hours prior, often wondering if other people go through the same ‘ritual’ everyday.

“When you check your Facebook, do you keep scrolling until you see something you remember from the day before?” I asked Roo, as he walked into the kitchen.

He stopped and scratched his chest, his eyes bleary from just waking up. “That’s exactly what I do.”

“I thought I was the only one.”

“It’s the most efficient way to do it.”

“And do you hate yourself for technically wasting all that time?”

Roo laughed, “No, it’s the most efficient way to catch up on the ‘News.'”

I got up from the kitchen table and walked over to the Keurig. “And is that typically it?” I asked, flipping the switch on.

“Well, I check Fantasy Baseball and my email too.”

“And wait for me to make the coffee,” I joked.

“If by ‘making the coffee’ you mean, pushing a button, then yes,” he replied, as he removed the saran wrap from the yogurt cake on the counter.

I pointed at the slice he was about to pop into his mouth. “And make you breakfast cake?” I said.

“I believe this appeared on the counter overnight. It could have been Monkey who made this.”

“Yes, our evil cat has developed a sudden penchant for lemon, blueberries and baking.”

“Correction, our evil genius of a cat.”

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Peanut Butter Banana Donuts with Chocolate Glaze

“How was your mom’s?” Roo asked.

“She cleaned out my old room and found some interesting stuff.”

“Nothing too damning I hope.”

“Well, she found some old diaries. Thankfully they were written when I was 12 and the most horrible thing I could have admitted to back then was throwing a hockey stick at my brother.”

“You what?”

“He deserved it.”

“Says the thrower.”

“She did find something random,” I said, changing the subject.  I handed Roo a piece of paper that had been deliberately folded over and over again.

“What is this?”

“A letter that S gave me before I left for college.”

“Huh,” he said, glancing at the letter then putting it down on the coffee table, “What’s in your other hand?”

“Oh. Nothing.”

“Is that a CD binder?”

“No.”

“What CDs are in there?”

“It’s empty.”

“You brought back an empty CD binder from the 1990s. To our apartment. Which is already cluttered with how many back-issues of Rachael Ray Magazine?”

“Hey, your DVD collection -”

“Which there are of 5. What CDs do you have?”

“Well, ok,” I said, handing it over.

Roo unzipped the binder, flipping it open in the middle. “You listened to Godsmack?”

“I listen to everything.”

He flipped the sleeved page over, pulling out a CD labeled with thick permanent marker, “System of a Down?”

“Yeah, I listened to them in college. I liked the song about chop suey.”

“I don’t think it was really about chop suey.”

“Whatever. So, I was thinking about it on the drive home; after reading the letter, listening to some CDs in the car -”

“You listened to these?”

“Maybe. Maybe Dave Matthews Band. Who are still awesome by the way.”

“Agreed.”

“Anyway, all of this made me remember, how S, L and I ran around that farm, acting like we owned the place.  We would skip out on barn chores to do Dunky’s runs. Do you remember when they came out with ‘the breakfast sandwich?'”

“It was kind of epic. Back when Dunky’s used to be good.”

“I know. And I remember saying, ‘Bagels at Dunky’s?! Uh, no thanks.’ But then I had one and it was delicious! Or so the hungover 18 year old me thought.”

“Now they taste like sawdust.”

I smiled, “And we would order iced coffees with milk and 10 sugars, boxes of donut holes – mostly chocolate of course- and oh! Cumby’s! We would go to Cumby’s all the time, buying pints of Ben and Jerry’s. L would get Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Or maybe it was Peanut Butter Cup? I forget what S would get…”

“That sounds really -”

“Awesome, right?”

“Gross.”

I sighed. “I want donuts.”

“What?”

“Reminiscing about all of this makes me what donuts. Peanut butter, chocolate…”

“Banana?”

“Genius.”

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Lemon (Almond) Cornmeal Cake

A Few Things I Loved About Traveling in Japan

1) The free “old man” pajamas provided by the hotels

The red kimono almost made it into my suitcase. Almost.

2) Springtime is like no other

The daffodils and crocuses popping up around Boston are cute, but they’re just not the same.

3) Excellent customer service

No matter if you pull into a gas station, buy an onigiri (rice ball) from a kiosk at the train station, or ask for directions for a hotel (at the competing brand’s concierge desk), the customer service is excellent. Sometimes I wish people would just say thank you in the States more often. It does make a difference.

4) Public transportation is on time.

Without fail, the trains pull up to the station a minute ahead of departure, allow people to hop into the cars, and leave, exactly on time.

5) There’s always time for tea. And with tea, there’s cake.

Like my jet lag, I have yet to shake the habit of daily tea and sweets.

Any downtime my mom and I had, we’d pop into a cafe – at the train station, in the hotel or down a random road from temple – and order a pot or two of green tea.  With tea came sweets (“Obviously,” my mom would say), and talk of what our plans would be for the remainder of the week.

The 13 hour flight home left me exhausted. But after I climbed the stairs up to the apartment, my stomach rumbled. And it wasn’t a meal I wanted.  It was tea and cake.

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Lovely Lemon Cake

“Remember when you called me after your job interview and you said you were ‘so going to work there’ because it was next door to a Whole Foods and across the street from a Starbucks?”

“It was probably the best day ever.”

Roo stops washing the dishes, “When was the last time you went to Starbucks?”  He looks over to see me hugging myself.  “You’re doing that thing again.”

“What thing?”

“That thing where you hug yourself like those sad monkeys we saw on PBS.  You’re obviously upset.”

“Well, that’s the last time you’re watching Frontline with me. I am not a sad monkey.”

I am so a sad monkey.

Back when I was delusional and living beyond my means living in Cambridge, my apartment was across the street from a Starbucks.  I would go there so often (ie twice a day, everyday), they started making “my drink” as soon as they saw me walk in.

“Grande, skinny, two pump vanilla latte for Lys.”

Sometimes it got awkward when I wanted a different drink.  And by awkward, I mean awesome as they would just give me both drinks for the price of one.

It pays to be nice to the baristas.

“Why are you shaking?”

“I’m not shaking.Youcrazy.Oh!Side note. Igottwolattesforthepriceofone!”

“It’s 2 p.m.  You are shaking and talking like a college kid on ritalin during finals week.”

“Wha?”

“You should lay off the ten shots of espresso in the morning.”

Besides the obvious self-induced caffeine overdose, my love for Starbucks was a $40/week habit.

They’d always find a way to draw me in.

“Buy one beverage in the morning and get any drink for only $2 after 2 p.m.!”

“Starbucks Happy Hour (ie half off frappuccinos between 3 – 5 p.m.)”

And lemon cake.

Yes, lemon cake.

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