Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping (& cake stands)

Two weeks ago I broke one of my favorite coffee mugs. It was vintage, stoneware, and had “Home, Sweet Home” written on it in a glorious script. It slipped out of my hands while doing the dishes and the handle broke right off. It’s still lying in the sink drain – I can’t bring myself to throw away the last piece of it.

I don’t know why we form attachments to material objects like that. But it’s happened to me time and time again (my china cabinet full of Pyrex and coffee cup collection can speak to this). I’ll come across something and feel tethered to it, wanting it in my world – to make it fuller, brighter.

It happened earlier this week with a cake stand. Seth and I were in a local furniture store, perusing the floors for items to fill his new home. Then, in the corner, I saw it, made a beeline straight for it, grabbing it hungrily. I held it in my hands, felt the smooth glass, the weight of it. It was unique, beautiful. I wanted it. Desperately.

But it was too much. More than I wanted to spend on a cake stand, a prop for photos, another dust collector. I put it down and we continued up the next two flights of stairs – testing couches, mattresses, chairs. Three floors up, we sat on a couch together, the steel colored fabric matching the overcast sky outside. The large windows behind us let in more than enough light despite the clouds, the constant drizzle quietly tapping against the panes. We dissected the couch, its pros and cons, compared it to others we’d sat on, imagined his home, someday our home. My head rested on his shoulder, my mind drifted to the ground floor, back to the display.

We readied to leave, heading back down the stairs. I wandered back over to the shelf holding the cake stand. I picked it up again, made a mental note to come back for it some other day, and put it back.

“We can do 30% off,” the saleswoman said.

“No, no, that’s ok.” I said.

“She’ll take it,” Seth said.

“What? No!” I protested.

“We’ll take it,” he insisted, reaching for his wallet.

I couldn’t believe it. I never expected him to do this, let him know he didn’t have to, it wasn’t expected of him.

“I can. I want to. I’m going to.”

He smiled down at me, paying the saleswoman. She gently wrapped up the cake stand between layers of tissue paper and bubble wrap. I took it gingerly – my cheeks aching from smiling so big, my eyes bouncing between the bag in my hands and the man by my side.

Outside, Seth opened my door, (something else I have told him he doesn’t have to do, but am grateful whenever he does.) and I looked up at him, stood on my tiptoes and kissed him. Despite the rain and the gray day, I felt bright, light. In awe of my gift, and the cake stand he’d just bought me. The heft of the bag, still in my hands, was the only thing keeping my feet on the ground.

“Thank you.”

He knew it was thanks for more than just opening my door that time.

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Thursday Things

  1. Seth and I attempted to forage for some wild asparagus along his fence line on Tuesday. We came up empty. And every other spot along shoulders and ditches had been picked over by other eagle-eyed searchers. Maybe next year. Sigh.
  2. Made out like bandits on rhubarb though.
  3. My friend Alice has a birthday this weekend. I made her a modified version of my Chocolate Coffee Stout Cake for her – with a chocolate buttercream instead – and it’s one of the best cakes I’ve made in a long time!
  4. I found a GORGEOUS vintage coach bag at a local thrift store for only $12!!! It’s not one of those purses covered in Cs with a bunch of different colors. It’s quality leather, the perfect size, and in excellent condition. It’s also a twin to a bag my friend Jen in SC has. I thought of her as soon as I found it!
  5. This song on repeat. All day.
  6. I’ve started giving Edgar these treats throughout the day and I’ve noticed a marked difference in his anxiety. He’s calmer, listens better, and hasn’t jumped out of any more windows!
  7. Just ordered another one of these rollerballs. I’ve really gotten into quality perfumes in the last two years and this is one of my favorite scents! Plus, I think a rollerball lasts longer than a spray – in terms of the actual product longevity and the scent lingering on your skin.
  8. I need to share this because it boggled my mind! Y’know in the midst of the Royal Wedding craziness (guilty as charged), there were all those “What’s your royal wedding name?” thingers? Listing your first pet, grandma’s name, street your grew up on, or some amalgamation of that? Dudes. It’s a scam!!! If you comment on those posts with all that info those people can easily figure out your security questions for things like your bank account and credit cards! That thought never even crossed my mind! Bless Jen for telling me!

Coffee & Cola Pulled Pork (& strangers)

My grandma has never met a stranger.

Do you know someone like that? Can meet anyone, anywhere and find some common ground, some topic to discuss, or a mutual acquaintance.

It happened two weekends ago when my grandma finally met Seth. I knew immediately they would hit it off – as Seth also has a touch of that gift. He’s open and welcoming, able to hold a conversation with anyone (including the befuddled bartender who thinks he’s dreamy and sheepishly slides him her number ahem.)

They sat and chatted in the sunshine, eventually coming to realize they had mutual friends in common – decades apart and separated by miles. I drifted in and out of the conversation – remembering a story my grandma had told me.

She had been at the grocery store, surveying the pork butts that were on sale. She selected hers; put it in her cart, ready to head for the checkout. A woman stopped her, “Um, excuse me? But…how do I cook this?” Gesturing toward the roasts, at a complete loss, looking for guidance.

My grandma explained her routine, the different seasonings and a bit of liquid in a crockpot.

“I like to use a nice dark soda or a cup of coffee,” my grandma told her.

Listening intently, the woman nodded and asked, honestly, “With cream and sugar?”

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Thursday Things

  1. Make banana cream pie. Then make an individual ‘nana pudding with the leftover custard. Put it in a vintage sundae glass. Feel fancy.
  2. Molly Yeh got her own Food Network show!!!!!!!!!! And I’m going to get cable just to watch it! OMG!
  3. One of the best texts I’ve gotten in recent history was from my friend Bunny who told me she’s been listening to Hanson a lot. She likes them! My work here is done.
  4. Current favorite nail color. I don’t want anything else on my fingers this season!
  5. I’ve had fresh flowers in my house almost consistently since I moved in and it’s such a lovely ritual to practice. Brightening and beautifying. Highly recommend.
  6. Joy the Baker wants me to make a kitchen altar. I think I want to too.
  7. Nicole Byer’s podcast Why Won’t You Date Me? has had me in stitches the last week. It’s a bit rude and a bit crude but endlessly entertaining. Although I’m sure my laughing out loud while walking Edgar is giving the neighbors cause for concern.

Brioche Burger Buns (& barbecues)

‘Tis the season, y’all!

It’s warm enough for a cookout!




You name it, I want it on the grill. Piled high on a paper plate. Served with a side of corn on the cob. Or coleslaw. Or Jell-O salad (God bless the Midwest and the ability to call something that’s half Cool Whip a “salad”).

All those burgers and bbq need a soft place to land, a comfortable place to rest. Enter, these brioche burger buns! Buttery, soft, tender as all get out! They will elevate any backyard shindig and are the perfect beginning and end to a summertime sandwich.

You can thank me later.

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