Girl Versus Dough

rosemary peasant bread

slices of rosemary peasant bread

“Live simply.” It’s so hard to do, isn’t it? This phrase has been mulling in my head over and over again for the past year. With the accumulation of more and more and more stuff over time despite efforts to de-clutter my life, sometimes I wonder if it’s ever possible to follow the mantra: “Live simply.”

Though it’s not easy, I still do think it is possible.

Elliott and I are not perfect people. We still throw out more paper towels than we can count in a single day; we still leave the water running sometimes while brushing our teeth, or leave lights on in a room that no one occupies. Our closets are maxed out with boxes, all filled with things: Old books, old movies, wedding gifts we never opened, clothes folded in a bag that someday will make its way to Goodwill. We have crappy hand towels we got from a Vikings football game last year that will have absolutely no use to us — but we still have them, rolled up and stacked alongside a slew of other kitschy, meaningless treasures on top of a bookshelf, all collecting dust. And I’m not even going to get into the state of our desk drawers. Let’s just say we could probably rebuild a forest with the amount of paper we have tucked away.

I think about the people at my college who walked around for a week carrying their trash with them as a demonstration (and an effective one, too), and I realize that if I did that today, I’d probably break my back.

bacon, spinach & onion galette

Bacon, Spinach and Onion Galette

As of last Friday, we’ve been living in Iowa City for a year.

I still can’t believe it.

I thought about making cupcakes to celebrate the occasion, but alas, I made them instead for a co-worker’s birthday and was too cupcaked out to repeat the process for myself. I thought about making a cake, but then I realized I just made cupcakes, which are too similar and therefore, I was caked out, as well.

So instead, I decided to celebrate with a galette. Naturally.

ginger pecan scones

Ginger Pecan Scones

Often when I’m typing these posts, I’m singing to myself. These days, it’s generally a mix of Ra Ra Riot, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Cold War Kids and Cloud Cult. Sometimes, when it’s rainy and drab outside, it’s all Bon Iver, and when it’s sunny and warm, it’s Los Campesinos. In any case, the husband likes to surprise me from behind by suddenly applauding at my stellar — read: Terrible — singing, causing me to squeak out the note stuck in my throat with a horrible, piercing sound.

I’d say it’s embarrassing, but I’d be lying. It’s not. Heck, if I didn’t think it’d annoy everyone around my desk at work, I’d do it there, too. But only a few are privy to my vocal talents.

But we’re not here to talk about my singing. We’re here to talk about these Ginger Pecan Scones — or, as I decided to call them after realizing how much they looked like cookies after baking, “scookies.” Let’s see if that catches on.

pesto cornbread muffins

Taking a week off from work is the best medicine.

So is laughter. And visiting friends in the city. And drinking strawberry milk on an unusually warm spring afternoon.

And so is comfort food, like these muffins.

sifted words — haters gonna hate

When I was little, I hadn’t a care in the world. I’d frolic around in sprinklers and on swing sets, and the biggest event of my day was making sure I pedaled my Tonka three-wheeler fast enough to make it home in time for dinner.

My favorite place to be was at my neighbors’ house. I was there often — my two best friends, a brother and a sister, lived over there, so why would I be anywhere else? Plus, they had cool toys to play with that were way more fun than playing alone with the Barbies I had strewn across my bedroom floor.

There was one toy at my neighbors’ house, however, that I hated. It was a video game, actually, called “Sesame Street 1-2-3” or something like that. One of the settings brought you to outer space, where Grover, dressed in an astronaut’s uniform, would float in the air over a series of numbers. There also was a face in the moon. Whenever you got a math problem right, the moon face would shake its head in delight and make a happy noise. But when you didn’t get the problem right, well, all hell broke loose for me. The face would frown, and the sound the game made in response to the mistake was a fiercely negative — and for some reason, frightening — sound for me to hear in my young age.

Every time I heard that sound, I’d scream and run out of the room, tears streaming down between the tiny fingers that covered my face.

cheesy garlic knots

Cheesy Garlic Knots

I’ve had to make a lot of grownup decisions lately.

Like, deciding that I can’t eat cookies and cake and chocolate peanut butter swirl bread three times a day, every day. Well, I could, but I probably wouldn’t like it after a while.

Or deciding to watch my husband’s intramural basketball game in a gym that smelled like 100 smelly, sweaty guys (because there were about 100 smelly, sweaty guys there) watching a sport I know nothing about, when I could have been watching “The Bachelor” at home. But it was important to him to have me there, and therefore, the decision was easy to make.