Making Friends As An Adult Is Hard

 Elizabeth and I were twelve years old sitting next to each another on John Bosco’s couch at his 13th birthday party. After a secret exchange of the presents we bought she said “You’re really cool.” With my eyes wide open realizing that we’ve been around each other everyday for the past 8 years without being official friends, “You’re cool too.” I responded. That’s it. Best friends for life. It was that easy…back then. There were no kids, husbands, or socioeconomic concerns that divided us. We didn’t care about religion, politics, careers, or the subtle rhetoric that adults pick out and quickly judge when they meet someone new. Social graces were kept to a minimum – because let’s face it, kids are kind of rude to each other, and it’s accepted.

finding friends as an adult

It’s not easy making friends as an adult, and nearly impossible to cultivate adult friendships as deep and meaningful as the childhood ones we had spent hundreds of hours investing time in. As grown ups it’s impossible to replicate the extreme closeness that growing together embodies in a platonic partnership.

 Being an adult at the playground is much harder than being a kid.

After repeatedly running into one another and having numerous conversations, when do you segue into making official plans with a new friend candidate? How do you know when to turn an acquaintance into a friend?  What determines the extent of my emotional investment in someone is if they’re worth my time. My kids hog it during the day and at night I’m in the studio writing, blogging, painting, etc…  Is this person worth sacrificing a blog post, a TV show, or sitting on the couch with my husband? For the most part, the answer [so far] has been yes.

When the first meet up arises I clean my house and maybe put something slightly nicer on than the usual yoga pants. I’ll have some snacks and possibly a bottle of wine if I’ve been given the green light in a previous conversation. Wine or no wine? Yet another example of the complexities of friend making as a grown up.

finding friends as an adult

What we’re really doing is dating, all over again…

finding friends as an adult The first group date.

A couple of weeks ago I put on a dress  and went a to group friend date. We chose the Raven and the Peach because we’re firstly we’re food people, plus being frugal and in the know I discovered that there was tapas Tuesday. Small plates of culinary divinity, free wine served by the friendliest staff money can buy. I came in my dress – a casual Saturday choice for some, but an all out dressing up dress for me. It was one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time. We all got along splendidly, and it illustrates the fact that I don’t need to be drunk and/or making a fool of myself to have an all out blast. Just as I evolved into the mother and wife I am today, so did my idea of fun. To those of you who think I’m lame and old: I promise you one day you’ll understand that your idea of fun will change because you-will-change.

The tapas were better than any shot of tequila. I should mention that my friends’ lives and mine are surrounded by preparing a meals, shopping in grocery stores like their boutiques, and trolling around the internet for recipes. Food is an inescapable chore, our deepest pleasures, and the prominent content of our reading material . When we have a chance to escape out domestic workhouses we’re going to sit pretty and wait for the best possible food we can get our hands on…and we did just that.

tapas with friends

This article says if our lives lack meaningful friendships we’re more likely to die earlier. In another article, I read that not having close relationships is physically equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Seriously, it’s been scientifically proven that friends, no matter the distance between you and them, play a vital role in our mental and physical we being. We’re people with needs, we need the support of good friends, and you’re husband doesn’t really count. While John is my best friend, sometimes that friendship can come with a list of chores attached to it. There are times when I want to disengage from my domestic job, and just be me as an individual rather than a part of a family unit with a list of responsibilities. I’ve recognized that I possess a set of emotional needs that John cannot fulfill. Just as I can’t be everything to him, he can’t be everything to me. If I completely relied on him for all of my emotional needs I would risk losing a part of my identity that might have very well been the part that he fell in love with.

It’s been twenty years of crying until our eyes hurt, laughing until we lose our breath, and she’s still sitting next to me on a couch on tapas Tuesday at Raven and The Peach.  A best friend, a sister in law, plus two very special “adult” friends is like a plate of tapas from the best restaurant.

Cheers!

8 Cupcake Decorating Ideas

 

8-ways-to-top-a-cupcake

Some things are best left to the professionals…You’ll never find me in the kitchen with piping bags and fondant because—-

A. Fondant tastes awful.

B. I’m one to make many mistakes, and piping can be most unforgiving.

C. It’s time consuming which is NOT very AW2SL.

I have to admit that I’ve become a total slacker in the mom:preschool department.  I’m always forgetting to bring stuff in, I cut far less box tops than I should, and I’ve allowed Alice to pick out her own clothes everyday.  It’s partly due to the fact that I’ll be homeschooling next year, so I haven’t found it important to invest too much energy into her school life. When asked to contribute a snack for one of her bazillion school “parties” I felt a tinge of guilt [from my carelessness] but entirely too lazy to put in a lot of effort…and that’s the story of how these cutesy little cupcake decorations were born.

Making the decorations—-

Luckily the package of Fruit By the Foot had perforated lines dividing the fruit leather into perfect thin strips.  If you don’t have perforated lines in your fruit leather use a pizza cutter and put some canola oil on the blade to prevent sticking. Mine were cut into thirds.  Go ahead and cut a bunch now…I’ll wait.

The letters, stars, and tic tac toe X’s and O’s seem pretty self explanatory, so I’m not going to make tutorials for those.

I’ll show you how to make the slightly complicate rose and bow cupcakes below.

cute cupcake topper ideas

 How to make a yellow bow cupcake topper.

Take a piece of fruit leather and make a loop by pinching the ends together.

Pinch it in the middle.

Pinch the top and bottom of the center of the bow together.

Wrap a small piece of fruit leather around the center.

Done.

cute cupcake topper ideas  cute cupcake topper ideas

How to make a rose cupcake topper.

Start with three strands of fruit leather.

Braid the strands together and pinch the end together so it doesn’t fall apart.

Roll the braided fruit leather into a spiral.

Plop it on top of the cupcake.

You’re finished, and totally awesome.

*Seriously—- if you’re going to make this one I suggest making enough roses for all the kids.  They’ll fight over it!

cute cupcake topper ideas

How to make a loopy bow cupcake topper.

Take a thin piece of fruit leather and twist it one time.

Pinch the ends together to form a loop.

Wrap a small piece of fruit leather around the center and pinch it to keep it from falling apart.

cute cupcake topper ideas

One tip for making the “O” – You’ll need to give the fruit leather a little twist to get a nice looking circle!

If you’re looking for something less kid friendly and more adult friendly here 5 cake hacks for you’re next party.  No baking skills required.

Peppermint Patty Cake

Pineapple Coconut Cake

Chocolate Bundt Cake With Rose Petals, Chocolate Ganache, and Bourbon Black Walnut Sugared Blackberries

Pecan Caramel Cake

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Strawberry Hibiscus Syrup

If your fruit leather is not perforated like mine was use a pizza cutter and a little canola oil to keep the blade from sticking.

It was easy to make letters or X’s and O’s for tic tac toe cupcakes. This would be a fantastic party idea, but I would lean towards mini cupcakes for that idea.

Leek Salad with Burrata

This is a salad? It’s hot. It’s cold. It has cheese. No other details should be necessary.

leek salad with burrata and breadcrumbs

It kills me that I wasn’t the first to think of this master salad. You can find something similiar at Mozza in Los Angelas.  Even though I’ve never eaten there I can attest to the quality of the menu from their cookbook.

By the way, I checked it out at my public library.  The cooking section has become a serious source of inspiration, and the best part is…it’s entirely free. Yay!

sauteed leeks

breadcrumbs

Burrata is fresh cream combined with mozzarella encased by more fresh mozzarella.  It’s available at Trader Joe’s for a good price.

burrata for leek salad

You can prepare all of the ingredients hours or days in advance and heat the leeks before serving. If you don’t feel like washing another pan, this salad is just as good served at room temperature. How pretty would this be served family style on a big platter speckled with big chunks of burrata? I love taking composed dishes like this and serving it for a crowd.  If you chose soup over salad try this family style recipe. It was my most popular post during the late days of Winter.

Hot and Cold Leek Salad With Burrata and Toasted Breadcrumbs

serves 2

  • 2 medium leeks, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/8 C white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 piece of burrata, halved

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat.
Add mustard seeds and leeks until they’re soft.
Scrap the leeks into a bowl.
In a small bowl whisk the mustard and white wine vinegar until combined.
Drizzle the olive oil into the pan while whisking.
Pour the dressing over the leeks.
Carefully wipe the oil from the pan.
Melt butter over medium high heat.
Add breadcrumbs and toast them until they’re a deep golden brown.
Remove from heat.
Arrange the leeks and breadcrumbs onto salad plates.
Top with a piece of burrata and serve warm or at room temperature.

leek salad with burrata and breadcrumbsHere is an unadulterated close up of the burrata’s intimate details.

Creative K  Kids

A Tomato Jam Story

homemade tomato jamI’m excited to announce that today’s recipe will be posted at Life With The Crust Cut Off.  If you’re one of my earliest readers you might recognize this old condiment recipe.  The original tomato jam recipe was one of the first recipes I ever posted and believe me it shows.  I want to give you my best work but this fresh condiment couldn’t go into the trash.  So I Photoshopped the images, optimized them for Pinterest, and added a missing step in the instructions to give it this old post some true AW2SL flair.  Speaking of Pinterest, how has your traffic been lately?  If you want a couple quick tips check out this post from last week.  Click here to read the new and improved tomato jam recipe.

How was your weekend?

longstreet farm holmdel parkWhile John was working I decided to take the girls to Longstreet Farm.

longstreet farm holmdel parkEarlier that morning I sensed that they needed to run around.

longstreet farm holmdel park

Probably their favorite “farm” animal.

longstreet farm holmdel parkDottie May loved climbing the fences.  She didn’t seem too interested in the cows, and being a cow enthusiast, this is something I’ll never understand. Going to the farm reminded me of how different Alice and Dottie May’s early childhoods are from one another.  At 2 years old Alice was living in the quiet country where cow sightings were an exciting daily occurrence.  Dottie May gets pumped over the hope that the Sonic sign brings for a milkshake. She was born a little too late for rural Army life.  Sorry Dot. Here’s a little shot list (of what Dot missed out on) from our life in the North Country, New York. And yes they really call it that…The North Country.

farm in the north country

When we lived in Fort Drum, NY we would often drive past countless dairy farms.

crogan new york

 About 45 minutes from Fort Drum is Crogan, New York >> Claim to fame >> bologna!

farm in the north country

A typical view on my 30 minute ride to town.

road in the north country

We’re entering the Adirondacks and at the time I’m foolishly wishing we were going to the mall instead.

Now I’m all nostalgically weepy…

Back to Saturday….

Alice, Dottie, and I left the farm and I decided to treat them to pizza. On my way home I noticed an extra twenty dollar bill in my wallet—-> I never paid for the pizza. This is not the first time this has happened. Years ago on my way home from a tequila soaked night I walked out of a deli with a free cup of coffee. I ran back down the block and the owner was so amused he ended up giving it to me for free. Maybe he thought I was homeless? It was a long night of partying in the east village, and [like most art school kids] my general look leaned towards homelessness on most days.

I’m heading back to the pizza place on Monday to pay my debt. While the trip to Longstreet Farm was free, the pizza was not. Have an excellent and productive week.

I love you all.

jessica

The Best Roasted Chicken

The secret ingredients to the freshest spring roasted chicken – young garlic and lemon leaves. You can substitute large pieces of lemon zest and garlic for these special ingredients.

roast chicken recipe

This cooking method was inspired by Julia Child’s roasted chicken recipe.

roast chicken recipe Here’s my little friend all roasted and ready to carve.

roast chicken recipe

My family surrounded this dish like a pack of wolves, we even ate it with our hands.

 

roast chicken recipe

For the full story on the best roasted chicken (ever) click over to The Best Blog Recipes.

Have a great weekend!

 liked to Fluster Buster, Be You Tiful Link Party.