Pumpkin Sourdough Waffles (& baseball)

It’s not news around these parts that I listen to podcasts. Most of them related to Gilmore Girls or true crime.

Pumpkin Sourdough Waffles

However, sometimes I listen to ones that are as inspiring and they are humorous, as insightful as they are heinous. One such podcast was Off Camera with Sam Jones, the episode featured Jason Isbell. I listened to it months ago – in early spring – walking Edgar along the damp sidewalk in the morning mist.

Pumpkin Sourdough Waffles

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Maple & Vanilla Bean Granola (& envy)

When I met Jen, I didn’t like her.

Maple & Vanilla Bean Granola

Not actually. But I didn’t like how she made me feel. Behind, inexperienced, and so uncool it was painful. Of course, this had nothing to do with her or her actions towards me, and everything to do with myself. And my insecurities. It was a new job, I was still unhappy in SC, everyone else in that kitchen knew the rhythm and how things worked. How they worked. I didn’t. And it killed me not knowing.

There were inside jokes I wasn’t a part of, techniques I’d never heard of before, a storage system in the fridge that was entirely new to me. Next to her – tall, blonde, round blue eyes behind the hippest glasses – I felt as if I could bathe in a thimble. And often wanted to hide under one during my shifts.

Maple & Vanilla Bean Granola

My dislike for her was solidified the day she showed me how to make gnocchi (something I’d never done before, phony food connoisseur that I was). Her technique was simple and quick and almost effortless. She was as fluid as the water simmering between us. I was green with envy at her abilities. During conversation, I found out she was a few years younger than me and turned the deepest shade of forest. I felt so behind, she seemed so ahead.

Maple & Vanilla Bean Granola

And then, one day, she messed up. She left granola in the oven too long. Way too long. It was burnt. Charred. Inedible. She’d ruined a dish.

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Cheesy Grit Breakfast Bowls

Museums are boring.

Cheesy Grit Breakfast Bowls

There, I said it.

When I’m visiting somewhere – either totally new or a place I used to call home – the last thing I want to do is be stuck in a giant building full of hallways staring at things I can’t touch or taste or buy.

I realize this may make me sound like an uneducated, classless plebian…well then, ok.

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Buttermilk Pancakes for Seth (& a proposal)

You held my hand. You didn’t have to. I’d been swimming for two decades, gone to this lake during summers growing up. There was no reason to be scared. But I was.

Scared and excited. And with you.

I shook and smiled. It was too dark to see the bottom. Your hand was warm. Warmer than I thought it would be.

“Three.”

“Two.“

“One.”

We jumped. Feet pushing off the dock, metal leaving indentations in our skin.

The water was warm. Warmer than I thought it would be.

And, unfortunately for you, shallower than you thought it would be. How is your ankle? Still sore?

We got acclimated to the water, the waves, the seaweed, the sand. Swimming. It had been one year for me. Two for you.

I dove under, came up for air. You swam out further, bobbed and buoyed. Floating apart and coming back together, over and over. Talking, playing, loving.

You held me, supported my back as I floated, your arms still in the moving water, palms flat on my back. I was nervous, unskilled. I’d never mastered this part in swim lessons. I didn’t want to sink. You steadied me, spun me. Slowly. We kissed. You didn’t let go until I was ready, certain.

I was free. For the first time in weeks. Happy to hear the sound of my own breath beneath the water. In, out. In, out.

I don’t know what it’s like to love someone with depression, I’m sorry you’ve had to learn.

The clouds came, your eyes turning grey with the sky. But it never opened up, never rained. You explained why. Why that lake saved us from so many storms. You were detailed, descriptive. Talking with your hands, you lifted your arms, opening up. My heart followed suit. Swallows swooped overhead, catching a late dinner.

I knew then what you had asked my dad. I knew what you were going to ask me. I knew what I was going to say.

Now, everyone else knows too.

Just like that day on the dock, you held my hand. Just like our time in the water, you steadied me. Just like the lake itself, you protected me from storms.

You asked.

I answered.

We shook and smiled.

The ring was warm. Warmer than I thought it would be.

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PB&J Scones, Two Ways (& preferences)

Serious question time.

Do you prefer your PB&J with grape jelly and creamy peanut butter or strawberry jam and crunchy peanut butter?

If I’m being totally honest I would go with grape jelly and creamy peanut butter. On whole wheat bread.

I know not everyone is in that camp. This is a point that has been hotly contested amongst my friends many a time.

The last time I got into this discussion, I was at Bunny’s house. She made Nick and I some PB&Js before Royal Rumble started and honestly, that’s one of my favorite memories from my visit to Greenville. There’s something perfectly comforting about a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Especially when it’s made by someone you love.

Nick had never been to Bunny’s house and it was my first time back there on my trip. It was drizzling outside, Bunny’s place was warm as it always was. One of the first things she did upon our arrival was offer us some snacks. She got down to the task of making us sandwiches while Nick walked around her house in wonder. I had done it too on my first visit. Bunny and her husband, Justin, have curated and cultivated a beautiful space. One totally their own and entirely representative of who they are and what they love. There are prints and pictures and Pyrex in every corner. The walls are striped and the ceilings painted bright colors.

Nick and I sat with our food while Bunny bustled around in the kitchen – preparing for the Royal Rumble party. I reclined into my vintage loveseat, now at home in their sitting room, Nick across from me on an old church pew. The coffee table between us held stacks of books and comics and candles and records. Bruno and Lulu, Bunny and Justin’s teacup Yorkies, ran around underfoot. We talked and chewed, took everything in as the rain fell outside.

I wanted to recreate that moment with these scones – warm and comforting, and full of familiar, well-loved flavors. Whatever your preference, grape or strawberry, crunchy or creamy, I think we can all agree that the result is delicious.

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Cake Batter Waffles (& Galentine’s Day)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Cake Batter Waffle Recipe via Midwest Nice Blog

Or Galentine’s Day!

Cake Batter Waffle Recipe via Midwest Nice Blog

Or Palentine’s Day!

Cake Batter Waffle Recipe via Midwest Nice Blog

Or Mardis Gras!

Cake Batter Waffle Recipe via Midwest Nice Blog

Or Anna Howard Shaw Day!

Cake Batter Waffle Recipe via Midwest Nice Blog

Or Wednesday!

Cake Batter Waffle Recipe via Midwest Nice Blog

I made these waffles in honor of Galentine’s Day’s largest and most well known supporter and perpetuator – Leslie Knope. She loves her friends. She loves her waffles. She loves her work (but work always comes third). Making them cake batter waffles seemed like a decision she would applaud, as did the copious amounts of whipped cream. And I think she’d also understand them going up a day after Galentine’s Day – seeing as how I was too busy actually Galentine-ing with my bestie since birth, Mandy, to get it up in time. Work comes third, remember?

Cake Batter Waffle Recipe via Midwest Nice Blog

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