Breakfast Hash with Baked Eggs

I’d shamelessly fed Mark an omelette and rice for dinner on a weeknight this week. I don’t feel that bad about it though since we’ve both been pretty busy over the past couple of days and it’s gotten to the point where I’m just too tired to even think about pulling off an elaborate meal for two people.

I thought I did a pretty good job with the omelette or egg foo yong, as Americans know it. It was filled with healthy ground chicken, peppers and onions, browned on both sides until it was crisp but still fluffy and covered with a silky brown gravy. I was more than content by having that and a mandatory episode of House of Cards before succumbing to sleep.

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I anticipate the coming weeks to be busier since I’ve finally returned to the workforce. I’m excited because it’s so much better than just sitting at home aimlessly. I’m a little worried about how we’re going to make time for each other though since I’ve been so used to spending almost every night with Mark. But I think we’ll adapt and manage.

Weekends are inevitably our time. Mark cannot sleep in unless he really tried to so at about 7:30 or 8 I will feel him waking up and peering over to see if I’m on the same page. Usually I am and then he takes the chance to offer to make breakfast for the both of us.

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I suppose he had woken up with an appetite because he wanted a big breakfast. I suggested a breakfast hash, filled with all the vegetables, carbs and proteins that he liked. He did not hesitate on the idea because before I knew it, he was already dressed and halfway down the stairs while I lazily tried to mobilize my body on an early weekend morning.

I joined him in the kitchen where he already the carton of eggs in one hand and a skillet in another. I offered to do the prep work and brew the coffee while he sautés. We laugh, talk and poke fun at each other in the kitchen all morning while making breakfast and I find myself counting down the days of the week until I find myself in moments like that again.

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Breakfast Hash with Baked Eggs 

Ingredients:
3 medium Russet potatoes, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cups fresh kale or spinach
1/2 pound Italian sausage or ground beef (we used beef and seasoned it with cumin, paprika, salt and pepper)
4 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a skillet, brown meat and drain grease. Transfer to bowl. Add 1 tbsp butter to pan and cook onions and pepper until soft. Add potatoes and cook until they are half done. Throw in kale and cook until they turn deep green and are fully wilted.

Add cooked meat and mix until well-combined. Transfer mixture to a baking dish. Form 4 wells or holes within the mixture and crack and egg into each hole. Sprinkle with more pepper on each egg and bake in oven for about 10 minutes until egg is cooked but yolk is still runny and potatoes are tender.

Serve with favorite choice of hot sauce and bread if desired.

Brown Sugar Oatmeal & Pecan Muffins

When you say you love me, know I love you more.

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Life can be such a challenge somedays. I barely remember the troubles I had as a teen, much less as a kid, and now problems seem to weigh down on me like the weight of the world.

It will be six months this month since I said I do and agreed to share my life with the most amazing man I know. I’ve always thought I was such a young bride, such a young wife. Even today, I caught myself sulking over something trivial like a spoiled child. In so many ways, I’m still a child at heart. If I had it my way, I never wanted to grow up.

But I’m so thankful and blessed to be married to the person I am with now. We stayed up this past weekend sharing a beer and a cigarette on the balcony of our townhouse. It was almost 3 in the morning and it was so cold but there was something calming about the still of the night.

When the cold was too much to bear, we stepped inside. I sat on the edge of the bed with him across from me. We were troubled and worried but most of all, scared. With no plans or ideas or means even, we stayed awake and stared at the ceiling like it was the sky, both lost in our thoughts. When I did decide to speak, I said it in whispers, afraid to break the quiet, as I laid next to him.

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I’ve had times when I was alone, afraid of the future because it was like treading into the unknown. This time, however, I knew I had someone else by my side. I knew those vows would manifest themselves someday and this was it. At least one of it. For better or for worse. I’ve promised this man my heart and my life and I have to honor that. 

I remember hearing his soft breaths as he succumbed to his tiredness. We have a future ahead of us but no idea where we’re headed and that’s ok. Instead of taking adventures on my own, I have Mark to share them with now. I feel like I’ve been beating myself up over the predicament we’re in these past couple of days but there’s always a silver lining to every situation.

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Today however, I was feeling blue and a little mopey, so I tried turning to the kitchen and oven for some warmth. Or maybe I was just looking for something to occupy my time with. Either way, these look absolutely comforting and I’m sure Mark wouldn’t have any complaints of how I utilized my time today.

Brown Sugar Oatmeal & Pecan Muffins
Yields 12

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup oatmeal, cooked and at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions: 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Line muffin pan with 12 muffin or cupcake liners.

In a bowl, whisk eggs, oatmeal, canola oil and vanilla extract together until well-combined. In a large mixing bowl, measure flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder together. Mix well.

Fold in wet ingredients into mixing bowl and incorporate everything until evenly mixed. Using two spoons or an ice-cream scoop, scoop batter into each muffin cup, about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake for about 20 minutes. You’ll know that muffins are done when you prick one with a toothpick and it comes out clean. Let cool and rest for 10 minutes before taking them out of the pan.

Beef Stew with Red Wine // Homemade Crusty Bread

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My house is so silent during the day. Sometimes, like today, it is comforting seeing as it is cold and dreary outside once again, but other times, it can get pretty lonely.

In the past couple of months of change and adaptation, I think I’ve learned how to live with the silence and find things that will complement it instead. Like getting lost in the pages of a book or writing a posts like this to share on the Internet. When I really can’t stand it anymore, I turn on the television for a little background noise or the music player when I am motivated enough to clean and potter around a part of the house.

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Right now, Mark and I are playing the very challenging game of waiting. Each day seems slower than the one before and I grow so impatient, so quickly. They say everything is slower by the water and the living is easy, and I can’t disagree. It is to many extents. But now, I crave the intensity that life can bring. Some aches, soreness and true tiredness that people complain about so often. I must sound ungrateful but I suppose I miss having a purpose.

Somehow, I’ve managed to channel most of my energy to spending more time in the kitchen. From starting out as a novice college cook to finally accomplishing to baking my own bread, I’m not hesitant to give myself a small pat on the back for this tiny yet significant achievement.

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For Sunday supper last weekend, I wanted to fix a dish that would compliment my Sunday baking project, which was a homemade crusty loaf of bread. So I thought what better way to eat it with a rich hearty stew. Mark and I were more than content with the result. I lit candles all around the living room while the stew gently simmered away in the kitchen like a pot of liquid gold and the bread rising wonderfully in the oven.

I was ecstatic when everything came together so perfectly. We poured ourselves a glass of Merlot each, cozied up on the couch and watched episodes of House of Cards on Netflix while dipping bits and pieces of the bread into our bowls and savoring it’s deep flavors.

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Beef Stew with Red Wine
Recipe adapted from Food Network

1 pound beef, cut into cubes (I used some cuts of steak and it worked fine)
1 can diced or crushed tomatoes
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 medium potatoes, cubed
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken or beef stock
1 cup red wine (I used Merlot, but recipe suggests dry red wine ie. Pinot Noir)
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Italian parsley for garnish (optional) 

Directions:

Melt 2 tbsp of butter in Dutch oven or deep pot. Brown cuts of beef until almost cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated. Transfer to bowl.

Add remaining butter to pot. Stir in onions and carrots and cook until onions are translucent. Add bell pepper and incorporate flour to the vegetables and mix well. Stir in beef and pour chicken stock, wine and rosemary to pot. Turn heat up until mixture comes to a boil and then lower heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for about an hour partially covered. Stir occasionally.

Add potatoes to pot and cook covered for another 45 minutes until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally. Garnish with parsley and serve warm.

Homemade Crusty Bread

I followed instructions from Simply So Good for this recipe and it’s the best. She does an excellent job at explaining everything to a tee and even giving solutions or alternatives. My bread turned out great despite using active dry yeast instead of the instant kind. Mark loved it, and so did I.

Classic Chili

I decided to make dinner in my pajamas today. Not because I was lazy and had been wearing them all day, but because I chose to slip into them right after my shower because they were so warm. And comfy. Primarily comfy.

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Winter is definitely upon us now, even here by the beach and today was another snowy day. Well more like a rain and snow mix kind of day, which is really gross and super dangerous to drive in. I chose to stay home all day with Mark and took the time to get out of bed (as usual). Eventually, I wandered downstairs to find him and we lazed on the couch before making lunch together.

Cold days often mean lazy days for me. I thought this was also true for Mark as I found him comfortably falling back asleep on the couch right after lunch. Honestly, I cannot wait for spring and the luscious vegetation it will bring, especially in our region. I’m anticipating a lot of colorful produce in my kitchen for the next couple of months and can’t wait to try recipes with it.

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I’ve been spending less time on the Internet now, which I think is a bit healthier and instead finding more time for myself. Currently, I’m reading a book by author Kazuo Ishiguro, titled Never Let Me Go, that is part of my reading list. The first couple of pages were a little difficult to get through, just because I hadn’t read a book in a while but now I can’t seem to put it down. I’m hoping it will be a good read.

Since it’s cold again today, we decided to turn to comfort food for dinner and nothing spells w-a-rmth like a good bowl of chili. I’ve alwaaays liked chili because it’s so hearty and you get all your necessary food groups in one bowl. Carb, protein, fiber, vitamins… Not to mention it’s absolutely delicious and just bursting with flavor.

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Chili’s also one of those dishes that you can make to suit your taste. I found this easy recipe while browsing one day and decided to make it again because it was so good. I think you could easily customize and add to or subtract from it as you please.

Classic Chili
Recipe adapted from The Turqoise Home

Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef (or meat of choice)
1 can Pinto beans
1 can diced or petite diced tomatoes
1 onion
1 green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Hot sauce to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

In pot, saute garlic, onions and green pepper until onions turn translucent. Brown beef and drain grease. Stir mixture back to pot and add cumin, chili powder and Worcestershire sauce. Cover with water and simmer on low heat for 1 hour.

Add can of tomatoes and salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes. Add beans and heat to the pot.Serve with cheese, sour cream, corn chips and garnish with cilantro if you like.

Homemade Wonton Soup

Sometimes I find myself at a dead end with conversations.

As much as I love to find myself engaged in interesting dialogue with another person, to listen to perspective and learn about experiences, sometimes talking just leaves me…tired.

When that happens, I find myself shrinking like a turtle into its shell and being content with sorting my thoughts into words. Sometimes I feel like I run through over a million thoughts in a day and the process of sorting each one out with relevance becomes therapeutic and so personal.

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I started writing when I was 12. I kept a purple journal, the first one I ever purchased on my own. It was $1.50 from the bookstore by school and I carried it home like a trophy. I filled its pages with events from the day, lyrics from favorite songs and magazine cut outs of 90s boybands and heartthrobs.

When I first had a crush on a boy in middle school, I started to write about him like any other pre-adolescent girl would. I daydreamed in my journal and wrote about premature feelings of heartbreak in its thinly lined pages. Since I knew it held my vulnerability, I started hiding it– under the layers of my clothes, behind my dresses in my closet, under my bed– until I was ready to open and fill it with more parts of myself again. Suddenly this cheaply bound book became my biggest secret.

After that, I kept three more journals before moving my writing online onto blogs that I shared with friends. By that time and age, I’d learned to mask myself up a lot better by writing vaguely because I was sharing a part of myself, yet I still found the same comfort in turning my thoughts into words.

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I’ve been writing for over a decade now. Each year more different than the last but I still get the same feeling of familiarity when I’m able to turn an empty canvass into a space filled with thoughts and emotions that make sense– to me at least. But after all this time, I still don’t know how to explain to people exactly the purpose of why I write. I’ve came up with a bunch of reasons over time, most of which are reasonable but only half truthful. Maybe one day I’ll be able to work up the courage for an honest answer.

Last week, Mark and I got into a small kick of making wontons (see cream cheese wontons in previous post). This was the first batch we made that were classic meat-filled wontons, half baked and half cooked in broth, which we turned into a soup fit for dinner. It’s really easy and the process of making these could almost become a date night activity if you really wanted to turn it into one. Either way, they’re delicious and the possibilities for the wonton fillings are almost endless.

Homemade wonton soup 

Ingredients:
1 can chicken broth
3-5 slices ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tomato, quartered
3 cups water
3 cups Napa cabbage, chopped
1/2 packet rice vermicelli, or rice sticks
Salt and pepper to taste.
Wonton skins

Filling
1 lb ground pork
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-inch ginger, minced
2 stalks green onion, sliced thinly
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp corn starch

Directions: 

In a medium-sized pot, heat some oil. Brown garlic and ginger until aromatic. Pour chicken broth and water and bring to boil then turn the heat to low and let simmer. Bring some water to boil in another pot and cook rice sticks until al dente. Strain and let cool.

In a separate bowl, mix all the ingredients for filling until well combined. Spoon small spoonfuls of filling into center of wonton and seal edges by wetting the sides with a diluted corn starch mixture.

Bring pot of broth up to boil and add tomatoes. Gently ladle each wonton in, letting cook for about 4 minutes or until wontons float to the surface. Remove wontons and divide them into bowls. Add Napa cabbage to the broth and cook for about 6 to 7 minutes, until cabbage is soft.

Divide rice sticks into bowls with wontons and ladle soup into each bowl. Garnish with more green onions if desired.

Udon Noodles with Meat Sauce and Green Onions

Sometimes the heart loves hating and sometimes the heart hates loving, but more than anything, the heart just wants to feel. 

The past couple of weeks have involved numerous road trips, which meant long hours in the car, on interstates that seem to go on forever and favorite songs on the car player that eventually became background noise.

Driving always makes me think. For some reason, I get lost in my own thoughts and they wander. My drive home after spending a couple of days in Washington D.C. was exhausting. The bitter cold didn’t help and the fact that I was missing home and Mark made it worse.

But there was always something so comforting about stepping through my front door and into his arms. It’s all I could think about as I drove across state lines and past every exit and some days I still wonder how we wound up here. I caught myself thinking about it out loud as we were waiting on a couple of friends to head out for dinner last night.

At one point, I glanced to look at Mark who was right beside me, took a deep breath and contently accepted that this was my life now.

Sometimes it is so easy for me to cower away and doubt all that we share. Sometimes I beg for honest conversations with him, wanting to hear him tell me me that love can be concrete and not flailing only because I’ve never had the privilege of experiencing something as beautiful as this.

I remember falling asleep on the couch that Friday night while he stayed up watching movies on Netflix. Every so often, I’d awake only to sleepily catch him watching me. It surprised me. I think it still scares me to the core to be in love and to love somebody like this.

Meeting my best friend from home who bravely battled the cold in the Northeast just to spend some time with me was exciting. One, we haven’t seen each other in nearly three years and if anybody knows anything living abroad, you’d agree that trying to keep in touch all the time is sometimes easier said than done.

But getting the chance to see her and catch up was nice. It felt as if no time has passed but we’ve both grown up a little bit more. She was thoughtful enough to bring me some snacks from home and I was elated. We drank wine, exchanged stories and gave each other advice.

Watching her cross the doors into the airport at the terminal made me wish I was the one going home for once. Just for a little while.

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So while I am still homesick, I naturally gravitate towards anything that would come close to remind me of home and one of my favorite things from home is the abundance and variety of noodles. Even if you didn’t like noodles, you would end up finding something you like.

I made this super easy meat sauce with green onions and udon noodles a couple of weeks ago. It’s so yummy, I think I could eat it every day. If you have vegetables like zucchini, cucumbers, carrots or anything at all lying around, feel free to add to it for texture and color.

I think I’m about to go make some right now!

Udon Noodles with Meat Sauce and Green Onions 

Ingredients:
Udon noodles
1/2 pound ground beef (any type of ground meat would be fine)
3 stalks green onion, chopped
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (adjust to heat preference)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Bring water to boil and cook udon noodles

Brown meat in a pan and drain grease. Add sauces to pan and mix well. Add a little bit of water if you want a saucier consistency.

Pour sauce over cooked noodles and garnish with chopped green onions. Mix noodles with noodles until even coated.

Soy Ginger Pork Stir-Fry

Rain and clouds never fail to make me extra lazy. I didn’t manage to get anything done until Mark got home at about 4 in the afternoon yesterday because I was tucked snugly under the blanket on my couch.

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It’s my first autumn/winter in North Carolina and I’m mildly surprised at how warm the weather still is in November. We had a short shower yesterday, which brought temperatures down into the mid-60s and me under the blanket, on the couch.

Gloomy days also has this way of making me miss home, so I decided I’d whip up a quick dinner that never fails to remind me of home. I also got Mark to eat an entire serving of choy sum this week; a type of Chinese cabbage found in many popular dishes back home — a staple when I was growing up. 

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What reminds me most of home and family often is my mom’s simple home-cooked meals. Her soy ginger pork stir-fry is one that’s incredibly easy yet delicious at the same time. I used some leftover pork chops and marinaded them in soy and oyster sauce and some fresh cracked pepper plus salt to taste.

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Ginger is also common in a lot of Chinese cooking. Growing up, my grandma and mom would say that its pungent and slightly bitter heat is good for keeping warmth in the body. Adding some Chinese rice wine, this dish is often served to women after childbirth with the belief that it will help nourish and heal the body after labor.

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I brown the ginger with garlic in a pan to start and the smell in my kitchen is divine. Towards the end of cooking, I like to throw in a handful of chopped scallions just for color and a little bit of crunch. I love scallions, or green or spring onions, as some would call it. I’d put it in everything if I could!

Here’s a cool trick I learned. When using scallions, save the ends where the little roots grow (as pictured above) and submerge them in a glass or jar filled with water. Place them on a sunny window and the onions will start to grow, meaning you get to use them again! And again. Anddd again. Rinse the root out about once or twice a week and replace with fresh water. This should help you save at least 50 cents from the grocery store.

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Last night I also wanted a good serving of veggies with my dinner so I stir-fried some broccoli with garlic and oyster sauce and made a cup of brown rice as sides for both Mark and I. Needless to say, I went back for seconds.

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I think mom would be quite proud that I’m finally able to prepare some of her simple dishes and hopefully, she’ll pass more recipes to me as I grow older.

Soy ginger pork stir-fry

Ingredients:
2 pork loin chops, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
A knob of ginger (I used one about the size of my thumb), peeled and julienned
Handful of scallions, chopped

Marinade:
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
A pinch of salt

Directions:

Add ingredients from marinade into a bowl and mix well. Stir in pork slices and mix until evenly coated. Set aside for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Using a medium to high heat, heat pan or work with vegetable oil.

Brown garlic. Be careful to watch as it browns (sometimes burns) quickly. Add ginger and fry until fragrant. Then, stir in the pork marinade and cook for about 10 minutes or until it is almost done. Add water to help scrape the pan and giving the dish its luscious sauce. You can always add more water if you want it saucier. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes, until pork is done and tender.

Toss in scallions and a little bit more salt and pepper to taste. Serve with steamed rice.

What’s your favorite hand-me-down recipe?

Banana Granola Muffins

I’ve been approaching life with the same negative outlook for as long as I can remember.

I remember the growing pains that came as a low-esteemed 14-year-old. The angst I had as a confused 17-year-old and then the depression in my late teens and early 20s. Unwillingly, I had carried some of the pain throughout the years into adulthood and today, I’ve decided to get rid as much of it as possible.

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Somehow, someway, I must have done something right to have met a man who loves me for who I am. And though it is still taking me time and effort to accept this fact, I can say today that I am the best I have been in a long while.

My day today comfortably ended with a cup of chamomile tea and a pleasurable bite into one fresh banana granola muffin. It’s nice how certain foods bring you that sense of familiarity even in a sea of change. Banana muffins have always been one of my favorite breakfast foods and being able to make it from scratch in my very own kitchen makes it that much more satisfying.


Life has been mundane but not mediocre for me lately. I left my job a month ago and moved to live with Mark in Havelock, NC — a small military town right outside of a Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. He found a cozy townhouse where he works in and right now, it’s just me and him. I have yet to get a job here but am actively looking for one. There is still what seems to be a mountain of paperwork I have yet to complete but I’m doing the best I can and hopefully, I will have it all filed before the end of the year.

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Other than that, living with my significant other has been a challenging yet exciting adjustment that I’ve made. Before this, Mark and I were in, what I would call, a “short” long-distance relationship. Long enough that we didn’t get to see each other as frequently as we would like, but short enough that we could make it to each within a day’s drive.

We lived three hours apart and got to see each other only over the weekends, so our relationship consisted of a lot of texting and FaceTime dates. We took turns visiting each other over, which got old (and expensive!) really fast.

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I would be lying if I told you that the transition went smoothly. I think it has been harder for me simply because I was moving again to a new town, losing my income and friends but I’ve been coping. Mark has been incredibly supportive of my needs and I’m sure that it’s just a matter of time before I feel at home again.

Today, I tried my hands at some baking and the results were pretty satisfactory. Mark isn’t that much of a picky eater, so I’m lucky I get to try out recipes without wasting any food either. I might make some adjustments to the recipe in the future but I’m glad I have these banana granola muffins to look forward to for breakfast this week.

Banana Granola Muffins
Recipe adapted from Kelly Senyei, from Just A Taste.

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup granola of choice
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup vanilla non-fat yogurt
6 tbsp butter or margarine, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking soda. Then mix granola. In a separate bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, eggs, butter, yogurt, vanilla.

Slowly fold in the wet mixture to the dry mixture, adding in batches until both mixtures are combined.

Scoop batter into the muffin pan, and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick or knife inserted into the muffins comes out clean.

Tire

It’s just another warm Tuesday afternoon in my small town of Lumberton.

I am sitting cross-legged on an old couch in a fairly clean laundromat on the north side of town. The 5 o’clock news and the steady hum of the dryer serves as background noise.

The place is empty.

The Mexican lady and her kids who were running around earlier have left. It is almost time for dinner and soon, when autumn comes, it will get darker sooner too.

It’s weird how I find solace in odd places like these. The laundromat. A coffee shop. An airport terminal. I found myself thinking, as I separated the whites from the blacks and colors, about my day. What I’d eaten. Pizza. Yuck. Could’ve done better there.

Jeans. Tank tops. New underwear. My boyfriend’s t-shirts.

Interesting how my life has come to this.

Just about an hour ago I was taking pictures of an intersection in town that may or may not be getting new stop signs installed. Then I find myself washing the shirts he left behind after his weekend excursion with me, which, since then, I have barely heard from him at all.

I seem to transition seamlessly from work to dealing with my precarious emotions. I find myself craving a conversation. I used to wake up to texts from him that were sent at 5 a.m. Now, I’m lucky if I even got one before 5 p.m.

I hate to sound like I’m complaining. The past few months have been blissful. From bouquets of roses to candle light dinners, whispers of sweet phrases to honest confessions, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. I felt sad for girls who are alone, amazing women who deserved love more than anything else, but had no one. I finally had him, and we were in love.

When he said he loved me, we were half-drunk of a red wine and a bottle of whiskey. The room was dim and a really cheesy R&B love song played in the background. Yet, I said it back without being sure why, only knowing that it felt like it was the right thing to do and once I had said it, I wanted to say it over and over again to him.

I don’t know what love is but I know I’ve been in love.

I know I was in love with B when I stayed with him for a year and then longed for him even more for another year after that. I know I loved A when I convinced myself that I was still special despite all the other girls he had. They were love, in a mutilated way. It was the only kind of love I knew and inevitably, it hurt.

As I try as hard as possible not to fall into the labyrinth of love this time, I find myself holding back so much of myself to this person who deserves so much more than just part of me. But despite knowing that, I don’t know if I can chip away the walls that I’ve spent so long building.

My clothes are sitting in the dryer and I’m holding back tears in an empty laundromat as dusk approaches.

I cry when I think about the day he no longer wakes up and looks forward to talking to me. Or when our conversations turn into routine. When he already knows every inch and nook and cranny of my imperfect body and is tired with me.

I mostly cry when I think about the day when he realizes how mediocre I am, will always be.

Present

They say timing is everything.

Maybe in another time, place or space, we would be perfect. If only I was the girl you met in that bar two years ago. Or the girl you meet in coffee shop five years from now. Maybe we wouldn’t be faced with this.

I sit alone again tonight with words as my company, thinking of the last time I held your hand, wondering of the next time I will feel them again. Afraid of the possibility that I will never be in the same room with you again.

Life is unfair like that and God hurls tests like these towards us.

I don’t know why I said hello, or agreed to have dinner by the river with you that Friday night, but I never did regret it.

I never regretted the time I drove six hours just to hear your voice. Or the time I stayed up with you driving across state lines to get to your house. I never regretted that one more shot of tequila with you. Or the time I had to tuck you into bed — I would do it all over again.

I don’t know how it’s going to be when I have to say goodbye permanently. I already hate it when we say goodbye on Sundays, but if it’s inevitable then I would say it, even if it kills me.

Odds are you will meet somebody else someday and it will break my heart when you do, but if you were standing in pictures and at the altar with her, feeling fully happy, then I will find it in me to share that with you.

I promise I will always remember you.