When I Am Alone

I am, much like an heirloom sourdough starter, a person who requires an awful lot of alone time in order to become my best and most delicious self. Preferably on top of the fridge.

I am, also, a person who has a lot of alone time. Since I only work outside of the house a few days a week and my partner works out of the house five days a week, I have grown accustomed to a certain standard of introvertedness. Like a touchy houseplant with a delicate ecosystem, not enough alone time can throw me for a loop from which it takes a long time to recover.

Recently LaTonya Yvette wrote about five of her favorite things to do alone in her city and since alone-time is so near and dear to me, I wanted to write about my favorite alone-things, too.

Washing the dishes is my number one favorite alone thing. I can almost never do it when there’s someone else in the house. The dishes get all piled up over the weekend.

Going grocery shopping early on a Monday morning before it gets busy.

Driving aimlessly to a nearby town (usually Lindsborg) with hardly a plan except to grab a coffee and walk wherever I feel like.

Prep vegetables for us to use the rest of the week. My sister and I both are firm believers in chop therapy. If we’re having roasted veggies or fajitas for dinner, you know that I’ve maybe had a hard day.

Wandering a book store for as long as I darn well please. When I go to bookstores with other people I’m always in my head about how much time I’m taking or I feel self conscious about the way I oftentimes audibly swoon over book covers or the photography in certain cookbooks or the way I want to read every single greeting card. But when I’m alone, I can stay forever doing whatever I want for however long I want and it fills me up.

What are your favorite alone-time things?



Let’s Make Enchiladas

Last week I posted a survey on Facebook and Instagram asking about which light-hearted topics you’d rather hear about: what I’m wearing or what I’m cooking? The results were overwhelmingly… split exactly down the middle 50/50 (not counting those who suggested that I share what I’m wearing while I’m cooking—answer: leggings and baggy t-shirts). And since it’s a lot easier for me to photograph what I’m cooking than what I’m wearing, you get a recipe post today.

I’ve been eating these leftovers all week. And a lot of times when I’ve eaten leftovers a few days in a row I start to get sick of it. But every single time that I nuked these in the microwave and piled them high with tomatoes and lettuce, I did a happy dance. They’re gone, now, and I miss them.

Continue reading “Let’s Make Enchiladas”

Page 83: Elevator Recipe for Meatless Monday

I was a vegetarian once and I liked it a lot. It was at that point in my life when I was the kind of person who gave stuff up for Lent and I had decided to give up meat–it lasted way after the Lenten season had passed. I was working at a deli at the time and when you’re surrounded by that much lunch meat, not eating it came to me very easily. But time wore on and who the heck knows how meat got back into my diet but it did. And that’s fine—I sort of wish I was a person with really strong convictions about food and what we should all be eating but I’m not really. Which I hope all of my friends and family appreciate.
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Page 71: Valentine’s Weekend 2016

I first wrote of my love of Valentine’s Day earlier in the month. I believe in love. I believe that it is a powerful and healing force. I also don’t believe that love is only for people who have squishy, lovey dovey feelings at each other. I think that love begets love—in action and in feelings.

So on Saturday, I had some of my best lady friends and their best lady friends over for a Galentine’s Day brunch. We ate a lot of carbs, listened to this playlist, gave one another gifts, read to each other, talked about the hard stuff and the cheap stuff and it was wonderful and lovely. I got barely any photographs because I was having too much fun.


And a lot of people asked me for the recipe for the frittata that I made. Which is sometimes hard for me to do as I barely follow a recipe. I mostly just follow my instincts. But I remember everything exactly this time. So if you’re interested in a recipe with no photographs to back up the lovelieness of this dish and you’re willing to just trust me, here you go!

Galentines Day Brunch Frittata
(Served the 11 people at my house with about 25% leftover)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into a small dice
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 large red peppers, diced
2 or three large handfuls of fresh spinach
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
light sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1 cup shredded itallian cheese blend
10 medium-sized eggs
¼ cup half-and-half
1 ½ tablespoon seasoning of your choice. I used McCormic’s Belgian Style White Ale spice blend (which I love because of the combination of citrus flavors and bold pepper).
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

I used my 12” cast iron skillet—it’s important to use an oven-proof skillet, however. If your oven-proof skillet is smaller than this, I recommend scaling back on the eggs because that will create a more veggie-dense dish.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Over medium high heat, warm olive oil and add sweet potatoes. Cook for several minutes until they just begin to soften and brown. Add in onions and red peppers and stir to coat with oil.
Once onions begin to sweat and soften, stir in spinach. It will feel like way too much spinach but once it begins to cook down, it will shrink up considerably. Stir in nutmeg, salt, and red pepper flakes and turn off heat.
Stir the mixture around so that everything appears evenly distributed throughout the pan. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, and whatever seasoning you would like.
Slowly, pour the egg mixture over the veggie mixture in the pan. Do not stir! Sprinkle the feta over the top and quickly move the pan into the oven.
Bake at 350*–checking at 30 minutes for doneness. The frittata is done when it begins to brown around the edges and when you shake the pan and the center barely jiggles. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before serving to ensure that the eggs are all set up.

After that, my husband and I cleaned up only the most important food items, packed our bags, and drove to Wichita where he’d booked a room and I’d made dinner reservations.

I don’t foresee the rest of our Valentine’s Day celebrations going so extravagantly but between me recently moving to a work-from-home position and our house being in a not-that-relaxing, there-is-so-much-to-be-done state of affairs, Ryan thought it might be best for us to just get out of the house for a night. Which was the right move, if you ask me.

I was/ am obsessed with this grey chair. I want one just like it at my house.


Funny story, though! As soon as we walked into the hotel lobby we found that not only were we staying here but also hundreds of young teenagers! Someone thought that Valentine’s Day Weekend would be the perfect time to book a bunch of teenagers into a fancy hotel for a youth conference!

I had to be very active in recognizing that my expectations are my own business. Maybe I expected to not have screaming kids outside of my door all weekend long—I didn’t run that by anyone else. It’s not their fault I had that idea. They had other ideas. Ryan and I put ourselves into their positions. Being a kid at a youth conference was one of my greatest joys in my childhood and we were going to let them enjoy it. I didn’t stick my head out of my door and scream “shut the hell up already!” even one time! With that perspective shift, I was able to laugh with them instead of scream at them. I’m proud of that.

Also, since we are usually stay-at-home on Valentines Day people, we didn’t realize that my favorite restaurant was going to transform into a seriously expensive, extra fancy place for the weekend! It is no exaggeration to say that we ended up spending more than either of us had ever spent on a meal, before.


I was really proud of the way that we rolled with the punches, though. Rather than getting upset and anxious, which is my natural way, we found a way to just go with it, enjoy ourselves, and not stress at all. And in the end, you know what? We had an excellent time! And our entire dinner was decadent and inspiring (I ate a grilled salad, you guys!!). There wasn’t a single part of it that I didn’t love. The place was packed, too. God bless those servers.

Then, because we weren’t quite ready to go back to the room just yet, we stopped at the hotel bar.


The next morning we slept in so late and watched tv and took long showers. We went to brunch and then to stall going home, we went out for more coffee, and stopped at a bookstore where I found this beautiful copy of Flannery O’Connor stories. I’d given away my original copy so I was really excited to find this magnificent replacement.IMG_7411IMG_7419IMG_7420IMG_7443


And now it’s back to every day real life. It was such an exciting weekend! It was a constant exercise in c’est la vie.

So after that lux, relaxing weekend, this announcement! We are moving to a new house this weekend!! With that being said, things might be really quiet around here for the next few weeks while I get my house and my office set up but I promise that when I come back, it will be so good. Thank you for sticking with me though this transitional phase.

What do you think about Valentine’s Day? Did you do anything to celebrate? Tell us about it!


Page 62: A Riveting Dialogue on Cobb Salad

I live in a small town–it’s not the smallest town that I’ve ever lived in. It’s actually the largest small town that I’ve ever lived in! I mean, we have a Walmart. It’s not utterly rural (one time I’ll tell you about when I lived in a town population 8). But I tell you what, for the life of me I can’t get my hands on a decent Cobb Salad anywhere! So you gotta grab life by the horns.

If you want a great Cobb Salad, you gotta make it your own darn self.

When I was in college, one summer, I worked in the kitchen at the Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, KS (I’m spelling it out because it’s actually, I guess, kind of a big deal kind of thing? I mean Bill Murray golfs there, so what I’m saying is that I’m a very fancy lady who worked at a very fancy job. JK LOL). When I was there, I worked in the salad area. By far, our most popular salad was the CS (we’re on good terms, we call one another by our initials) but almost no one ever wanted everything that came on it as it was. Some people wanted to substitute chicken for shrimp. Almost no one wanted the blue cheese. Some people wanted just lettuce and bacon. Some people didn’t want the toppings striped on top, they wanted it all mixed up together. And if you ask me, none of those can be considered a legit Cobb Salad. But maybe I’m wrong and I should accept the To Each His Own Salad mentality.

So here’s what I need in my Cobb Salad.

I need hard boiled eggs and chicken (though now that I think of it, that’s a scary-bizarre combination). I need tomatoes. I need avocado. I need bacon (though until it came time to make this salad, I didn’t realize that we didn’t have any so this is missing it and don’t get me wrong—this salad is worse for it) I gotta have the blue cheese! And I need it to be layered on top real nice and pretty like. And then I need a lot of black pepper speckled all over the top.

In life–you just gotta take care of yourself, sometimes.

Do you have a do-it-your-own-darn-self situation?