I don’t keep a diary, but I do have a small notebook that I write my favorite quotes and song lyrics in. This little book has been in my possession since I was 15 or 16, and I occasionally like to look back at the lyrics that meant the most to me in years past. I recently came across one particular verse that I scribbled in my little notebook the summer that I lived in Pensacola, Florida. I was 1,000 miles away from everyone I loved, and Ani Difranco’s words really resonated with me. “Strangers are exciting, their mystery never ends, but there is nothing like seeing your own history in the faces of your friends.” This past weekend, I helped celebrate the wedding of my sweet friend, Julie, and the extra time I got to spend with some of my oldest girlfriends made me realize how truly blessed I am. Not everyone can say that the majority of their closest friends have been a part of their lives for 10, 15, or even 26 years, but thankfully I can. There is something remarkable about friendships that are strong enough to weather the storms of distance, time, and the struggle of simply “growing up.” A few of these strong, incredible women have been by my side for my highest highs and lowest lows. In particular, my three best friends Annie, LT and Lo all stood next to me on my own wedding day to celebrate one of the happiest days of my life thus far. And all three of them have stood by my side during some of the worst times in life. I can still remember the day my Grandpa passed away and the look of love and compassion in Lo’s eyes when I gave her the news. She took one look at my tear stained face, ran towards me, and held me as I cried. And in high school, LT rescued me from a mortifying moment when I forgot all of the words to a solo I was singing in front of 200 people. Instead of joining our choir for the final song in the concert, LT walked me off stage, drove me home, and sat on my parent’s couch and cheered me up until my embarrassing moment was nearly forgotten. And when my first boyfriend broke up with me, Annie came home with me after school every day to eat ice cream and discuss why we were “absolutely done with men.” So although it is exciting to meet new people and form new friendships, there is nothing quite like having friends who have been by your side every step of the way. Even though months often pass between our visits, having these wonderful women by my side always makes me feel a bit more whole. I’m sad to see this weekend of togetherness come to a close, but theses three are always in my heart.
And when the “Sunday blues” hit, I like to turn to the kitchen for a little baking. This recipe is a simplified and speedy apple crisp. Top with some vanilla ice cream, and your Sunday blues will diminish in no time.
Ingredients: Serves 2
- 2 apples, peeled, cored and cut in half vertically
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
- 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
- 2 tablespoons old fashioned oats
- 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
- Preheat oven to 400
- Starting at the outermost corner of the apple, cut most (but not all) the way through the apple in 1/8 inch intervals. Place apple halves cut side down in a 8inch baking dish, coated with cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Brush mixture evenly over apple halves
- Cover pan with foil and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Remove foil, bake at 400 for 10 minutes, or until apples are tender. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes
- Combine remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, oats, flour and salt.
- Carefully fan open apple halves, and spoon oat picture evenly over apples. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Turn broiler on high and broil for additional 2 minutes
- Remove from the oven and serve topped with vanilla ice cream