Secret Single Behavior

Every respectable woman (ha!) is familiar with the Sex and the City reference. For those you of who are unfamiliar, Secret Single Behavior is behavior you participate in when you’re at home by yourself. I think it typically refers to single women who live by themselves (as evidenced by Carrie’s freakout when she decided to move in with Aidan…and also by the fact that it’s called “Secret Single Behavior”), but I think that it can also apply to women (or anyone, really) who live with their significant others who just happen to not be home at the moment.

Jeff has been not home more than is typical for him recently (his friends have been calling this new, social Jeff “dope Jeff”), which is awesome both because he’s broadening his horizons AND I get the house to myself more often. Of course I love his company, but sometimes you just gotta be by yourself, ya know? So anyway, I’ve noticed that I fall into somewhat of a routine when I have the house to myself. My Secret Single Behavior includes:

  • Eating something that does not generally resemble a meal for dinner. Examples include (but are not limited to) a huge bowl of edamame; some semblance of a cheese plate; something dipped in hummus; whatever veggies I have in my fridge thrown together in a relatively unappealing way; or more popcorn than is or should be considered sane. Basically, anything that requires little or no preparation and can be eaten standing up/in front of the TV. Also, I really like to dip things, so if my dinner includes dipping, that’s ideal. Some type of alcohol (usually wine or beer) is always included. (Drinking alone is my favorite – is this worrisome? I say no.)
  • Exercising in a strange manner. This is not always the case, but I have a wedding coming up, sooo…plus, I’ve recently discovered that working out really does work as a legitimate antidepressant. This is especially important to me since winter is coming, and I get killer seasonal depression. Here’s an example of what I mean by “in a strange manner”: last week, I was drinking wine and watching Candidly Nicole (we’ll get to my Secret Single TV Habits in a moment), and I noticed that I was getting dangerously close to my calorie limit on My Fitness Pal, but I really wanted another glass of wine. So I ran a mile…in place, in front of my TV. I was not dressed properly for this (I was bra-less and my hair was down), and I ended up taking my pants off midway through because I got too hot. This is a judgment-free zone, friends. But I felt GREAT after I was done! Another strange exercising habit I have is pacing around my mostly vacant guest room while listening to podcasts.
  • Watching terrible TV. I think a lot of women share this “Secret Single Behavior.” My recent favorite is Candidly Nicole, but I’m also stone cold addicted to Sister Wives, any program on the Food Network involving children competing against each other or bad cooks, Four Weddings (that’s another “just right now” situation), and occasionally I’ll indulge in a little Wife Swap. I’ll also watch TV that I don’t consider to be terrible, but that Jeff isn’t into. Celebrities in Cars Getting Coffee is the main thing that comes to mind, but I’ve also been into Kroll Show (which I think Jeff would enjoy, actually), reruns of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, and I’ll pretty much always watch The Office any time I see it on.
  • Talking on the phone with my mom or best friend for several hours, pacing around my 1st floor. Hey, remember long-distance? That sucked, right?
  • Saying ridiculous things on the Internet. I don’t really do this purposely when I’m home alone; it just always seems to happen. Which is convenient, because while I definitely consider myself to be an introvert, I also have the tendency to get kind of lonely. When I say something ridiculous online (particularly on Facebook), it tends to initiate a lot of conversation. I have a lot of hilarious friends, so this tends to be a lot of fun.

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What weird things do you do when you’re home alone? Judgement-free zone!

Pumpkin Spice: Some Thoughts

I’ve spoken a lot about fall, and the phenomenon of the “basic bitch,” and the uprising of the autumn season and the love of everything pumpkin and spiced. But today, I’d like to specifically discuss my own personal feelings about pumpkin spice as a flavor.

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Okay, so like, I like pumpkin just fine. I like pumpkin pie. I like it a lot if it’s good pumpkin pie, and if it’s buried under a pile of whipped cream. I’ll even take Cool Whip, and I think Cool Whip is gross. I like pumpkin baked goods. They’re tasty. And pumpkin is healthy. So that’s good.

But, ya know…pumpkin spice isn’t my favorite flavor. Of anything, really. I’d say it falls solidly in the mid-range of things that I enjoy. Pumpkin spice to me is more about the feeling of pumpkin spice. It really emulates that warm, cozy, homey fall feeling. But the flavor, for me? Honestly, I find most pumpkin-spiced flavored things to be “meh.” I honestly really like Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte. I think it’s very tasty. But most other places pumpkin-flavored coffee type beverages are way too syrupy and sometimes too aggressively spiced, and I think they’re kind of gross. I’m pretty sensitive to sugar overload as it is, and with pumpkin spice, sugar overload tends to be quite prevalent. And honestly, I just tried a Toasted Graham Latte from Starbucks, and I have to say, I found it to be even tastier than the elusive PSL.

So, anyway…why do I feel compelled to try every single pumpkin spice flavored thing? I can’t stop! I just bought pumpkin spice flavored fudge stripe cookies. They’re okay. I don’t know why I needed to buy them, though. I’d never normally buy novelty cookies. Why the pumpkin spice ones? I was just thinking about my next Naturebox order, and you better believe I put the limited edition pumpkin spice Nom Noms in my pantry…but when I think about them, I bet they’re not going to be very good. That’s not stopping me, though. I always buy all the pumpkin spice flavored candy (like M&Ms and Hershey Kisses and stuff), and they’re always VILE. But every time something new comes out, I NEED to try it.

Do you guys actually like pumpkin spice? Or are you like me, and just get caught up in all the hype?

#VOTEREUBEN

Ooh! I almost forgot!

My dear friend Jeff (not to be confused with my fiancee Jeff) is one of the top 4 finalists in the Lay’s Do Us a Flavor contest. HOW EFFING COOL IS THAT?! The flavor that he came up with is New York Reuben, and not that I’m biased or anything, but they’re definitely the best flavor. They legitimately taste like a Reuben sandwich straight from a Jewish deli, right down to the pickle.

Voting lasts until October 18th, and you can vote for Jeff by visiting here, texting VoteReuben to 24477 (make sure not to mix up the ‘e’ and the ‘u’ in Reuben…I do that all the time :-/), or post any picture on Instagram with #votereuben (your profile needs to be set to public for the Instagram voting to work).

Every vote helps, and is GREATLY appreciated…let’s make Jeff a winner!

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Big on wow, small on ow.

I used to be a professional baker, but my presentation could definitely use some work. Most of the things I make are delicious, but they’re…well, we’ll call them “rustic” in appearance. Most people are surprised to learn I can’t decorate a cake to save my life. Not really even in a quaint, “that looks homemade” sort of way. I’ll typically make cupcakes (anyone can pipe icing from a bag!), or slap together a sheet cake if I’m just craving cake myself and will just be serving it at home.

I had a casual little dinner for my bridesmaids recently, and while I’m very comfortable with all of them and know that I don’t need to impress them, I wanted to serve something nice. Plus, I always feel a little bit of (self-imposed) pressure whenever I serve any kind of baked good. I actually saw this recipe for an apple galette with sour cherries, almonds, and goat cheese on one of Giada DeLaurentiis’ cooking shows, and it looked amazing, so I decided I’d serve it for dessert at my get together.

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As it happened, I ended up running out of time and plopping down some Oreo Thins instead, because I’m me and that’s what happens when you’re me. By the way, those Oreo Thins are kind of the bomb. You can eat like 100 of them and not worry because they’re Oreo THINS (duh), and the filling is perfectly proportionate to the cookie! Way to go, Oreo. Way to go.

Anyway…I ended up making the galette for dessert for just Jeff and me the other night, and it was FREAKING DELICIOUS. But my original point was, it uses frozen puff pastry so it’s super simple to make, and it’s beautiful and looks (and sounds! and tastes!!) super fancy so you can make your friends think you’re Julia Child instead of Elaine Benes. Except why wouldn’t you want people to think you’re Elaine Benes? What’s wrong with you?

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Apple Galette with Goat Cheese, Sour Cherry, and Almond Topping

(Just barely) adapted from foodnetwork.com

  • 2 TBS unsalted butter
  • 3 large apples, peeled, halved, cored, and cut into 6.5 inch wedges
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • The juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 8 oz sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • All-purpose flour, for sprinkling
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 4 oz package goat cheese (I used pre-crumbled)
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup tart dried cherries (I found mine at Trader Joe’s)

Pre-heat oven to 375. Melt your butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples and sprinkle with the salt; sauté until almost tender (about 10 minutes). Remove the skillet from the heat. Whisk together the sugar, spices and cornstarch; sprinkle over the warm apples and toss to combine. Squeeze lemon juice over the mixture and give it another toss. Set aside.

On a large sheet of parchment paper, sprinkle a little flour and unfold the puff pastry. Roll the puff pastry to a 12-inch square, lifting and turning to get an even thickness. Once rolled, cut off the corners with a rounded cut, so that you have a 12-inch circle. Brush the circle all over with the beaten egg, and dump the apple mixture into the center, leaving about a 2 inch border. Fold the border up and partially over the apple filling, pleating the pasty every here and there. You can be as precise or as rustic as to want here, but I think the easier you make it, the better it looks. Brush the folded-up border with the egg wash.

Slide the galette onto a heavy baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes. While the galette is baking, mix together the goat cheese, cherries and almonds. Keep refrigerated while the galette finishes baking.

Remove the galette from the oven and sprinkle the topping evenly over the exposed part of the filling. Pop it back in the oven for about 5 minutes, just to soften the cheese and the cherries. Cool until just cooled enough so that you don’t singe the roof of your mouth (or don’t, you wild animal). I was going to serve this with a dollop of creme fraiche with a little honey mixed in at my get-together, but since it was just me and Jeff I just served it with some vanilla ice cream. I regret nothing (although creme fraiche is delicious on literally anything).

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Guilty Pleasure Snacks

What’s your guilty pleasure snack?

You know, the thing you eat that’s kind of gross, but so delicious you can’t stop won’t stop? Not necessarily something super indulgent (although it certainly could be!), but something that you’d be a little embarrassed by if someone you didn’t know that well caught you doing it? For example, I know some people who dip french fries in mayonnaise…not fancy aioli or artisanal roasted garlic saffron mayonnaise; just straight, plain ol’ mayo from the jar. My childhood best friend used to eat white bread with butter and sugar. My old roommate used to eat spaghetti with peanut butter!

Mine is tortilla chips with sour cream.

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My roommate (a different one) and I used to walk to the convenience store and buy a bag of tortilla chips, a jar of tostitos medium salsa, and a tub of sour cream, and then we’d go home and eat the whole bag of chips. While I do love to throw salsa in the mix, maybe even some chunked up avocado, I can eat the chip dipped in only sour cream and enjoy it. Immensely. I continued this tradition when I worked in a Mexican restaurant…I’d just keep a thing of chips and a little ramekin of sour cream at the bar, and munch on it all night long. It’s gotta be yellow corn tortilla chips, though…none of those gross white ones (although I think it was the white corn tortillas that started the whole thing with my roommate). And the chips need to be nice and salty.

Disgusting, right? What’s your guilty pleasure snack? We all have ’em.

Oh, hello.

First post! First post!

For those of you who know me, I decided to start a fresh blog. I was going to just revive my old one, but I changed my mind. I always felt that it was a little all over the place – and that’s fine, but I wasn’t fine with it, and it showed. I worried too much about “my audience” (ahem, basically just people my mom forced to read by blog) and whether or not I was staying authentic to myself, and when I WAS staying authentic to myself, whether I was being too offensive and scaring people off.

Nah, yo. I’m done with that.

My life has changed a lot since I first started my old blog – I changed careers a few times, bought a house, got engaged, and developed a real, albeit very dull, adult life. I became less angry, by nature. I developed a major interest in design and found somewhat of a personal style. I think a new blog that more appropriately reflects who I am today is in order.

Anyway, let’s just assume you don’t know me.

Hi.

I’m Jessi. I’m in my early 30s, I live in Delaware, and I work for a major bank (it’s cool, and that’s pretty much the last we’ll discuss it – believe me, it’s not interesting enough to discuss). I was briefly a professional baker, and plan to be again at some point in my life. I’m a writer by nature, and always have been. If I were to do my life over, I’d be more serious about school and write for some type of publication (back then, it probably would have been a magazine). But I don’t want to do my life over, because my life is dope. And so I blog.

I’m currently engaged to a wonderful, sweet, funny, handsome, obnoxious, high-strung, messy, gross man (hi Jeffrey), so you’ll probably hear about my wedding planning at some point. I don’t forsee it being excessive at this juncture, but who knows how wedding obsessed I’ll become. I’m not promising anything. We get married next August.

I’m going to try to just go with the flow here, and not worry too much about keeping the content consistent or trying to gain any specific audience. I guess you could say I’m going to try not to SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF (see what I did there?!) I’m an open book, so feel free to get in touch if you want to chat. Let’s have some fun.

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