Eat Make Read: Arepas

Today’s guest post comes from Kelly of Eat Make Read, a blog I’ve been loving for more than a year now! In addition to her clean layout and beautifully photographed posts, Kelly has a knack for picking recipes I want to try (case in point: apple chips, orange coconut silver dollar pancakes, homemade ketchup). I am so happy to be able to feature her here today!

emr_arepas_01

Hi there! I’m kelly of eatmakeread. I’m thrilled to be guest posting for Shannalee. I’m also pretty excited about this recipe for arepas. One of my favorite weekly activities is going to my local farmers market and seeing all the lovely fruits and vegetables local farmers have grown. I am constantly amazed at how incredible and varied produce can be. Lately I’ve been really into corn… cornbread, corn cakes, corn pudding, you name it, I want it. So when Mark Bittman wrote about arepas a few weeks ago, you can bet I got busy whipping up a batch.

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These arepas are a great recipe to make after a long day at work because they’re easy to make, super fresh and oh-so-delicious, plus chances are you’ll have leftovers for the next days lunch. Simply make the batter, let it sit for about 15 minutes (may I recommend sitting down with a glass of wine and relaxing), and then you’re ready to go.

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My First Kitchen: On Cooking

You are in for such a treat with this beautifully written post from Kendra of My First Kitchen! I don’t even remember how I first found Kendra’s blog last year, but I have read every post since, both because the recipes are so approachable and because she is a true kindred spirit. She shares a passion for the important stuff—you know, like back-and-forth e-mails discussing LOST episodes, of which we have traded many. Side note: if you are in the North Carolina area, she teaches cooking classes (!), and I envy everyone of you who goes. Kendra, come to Chicago!

kendra

I used to take myself way too seriously. Like waaaaay too seriously. I made lists about everything. I made lists about what I should make lists about. I documented how well I did on sticking with my list and berated myself if I didn’t completely follow through. Everything was quantified and justified and rationalized. Then the guilt started.

In all honesty, it’s not terribly calming to live life where you experience some measure of guilt everyday from self-inflicted tasks and self-inflicted consequences. It’s pretty exhausting actually. I got tired of being the drill sergeant to myself… and yelling in my own face proved to be quite difficult. I lived most of my life that way, and it’s a tough habit to break. I didn’t leave myself any room to fail, and anything close to not doing what I arbitrarily intended equaled failure.

The one place where I seemed to allow myself freedom to fail was in my kitchen. When I cook, I can’t go wrong. Sure, I make food that doesn’t taste as good as I had hoped, but I don’t beat myself up over it. I laugh, eat it anyway, and think about the next thing I get to cook. Why do I give myself such freedom with food? For a long time, I didn’t experience that anywhere else, but I knew that was the feeling I wanted to permeate my life.

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Special: from the Archives

group post

In the spirit of finishing, I welcome you to a first ever at Food Loves Writing: a five-part recap of recipes and other things that could have been whole posts in themselves but, for one reason or another didn’t make the cut and almost didn’t make it to you, but, today, at their good fortune, are getting a second chance.

These are the didn’t-make-its and misfits of the kitchen, the ones set aside for later or forgotten about as soon as they were photographed, so now, like the vegetables in my fridge I’m always thinking about, they are being pulled out, in order to not be wasted. Here goes.

green beans in basil dressing

1) First there were the green beans, boiled until cooked but still crisp, and covered in a homemade basil dressing. The dressing was bleh, at best, but the blessed beans were still edible, as green beans usually are, and I can’t remember now, but I think a few days later they were washed off to become green beans cooked with butter or something brainless like that. The lesson here is that you really can’t ruin green beans or, at least, it must be very, very hard, and if I were in the mood for a longer post, I might say that’s just another reason to love them.

2) Then there were the sugar puffs.

sugar puffs

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where it all came from

taking a step

Reading last Monday’s post, where everything was long naps and sunshine, it’s hard to remember the way things were going back in early May, when I told you I was standing on the cusp of several big changes, feeling unsure and afraid, willing my legs to take a step but standing motionless instead.

I don’t really want to talk about those days now, or about how anxious I tended to be in them, but I will, for one reason: what they gave me.

See, what I’m not telling you when I talk about a great weekend, or today when I say, I made homemade cinnamon bread and ate thick slices Sunday morning while I stood in the grass and watched the sunshine, is that those changes—the very ones I’d feared and avoided and tried not to make back in May—while they turned out to be a lot of what I’d dreaded, yes: painful, scary, lonely; they also turned out to be a lot of what I hadn’t expected: led by strength not my own, filled with grace I’d been given—the kinds of things that make blue skies and good conversation and a slice of homemade bread that much sweeter.

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that which I’ve started

banana bread

Can I tell you something? I don’t mean to toot my own horn or anything, but, I’m good at beginning.

Name a hobby: Knitting? Taking a photo every day for a year? Running regularly? I will jump in with both feet—I have, I should say—and I’ll tell you about it, filled with energy.

This would all sound pretty exciting if I didn’t have to tell you the second thing, a little something that goes hand-in-hand with this enthusiasm—brace yourself; it’s a little tragic. The equal truth is I am a terrible finisher. Truly awful. Those hobbies above? I knitted two scarves and got bored. I took 88 photos and stopped. And thank goodness I finally talked Alicia out of the 5K I talked her into, because, gosh, I haven’t run in weeks.

It’s bad, I know. Not the kind of character quality that great souls are made of. It gives me more admiration for people like marathon runners or, even, people who are married—there’s that commitment and follow-through that says you are serious and steadfast and faithful.

I want to be like that, and I’m taking small (ok, teeny-tiny!) steps to improve. Starting with this banana bread.

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it’s come to this

zucchini

It’s not very interesting to hear that someone’s content or that she’s counting her blessings, but that’s really all I’ve got for you today, all frustrations and disappointment eclipsed by other, fuller emotions, so I’m sorry. What can I say? At least there’s a recipe at the end.

This weekend, I went antiquing in Gurnee (where I bought seven white plates, a gift and a vintage camera, all for under $35!) and had dinner at Cracker Barrel, after which I fell asleep in the car, just like I did when I was eight. I stayed up late watching television, I went to church, I phoned an old friend from freshman year who still makes me laugh like crazy, and the skies were always blue, and the sun bright, and people I loved nearby.

One of my best friends went on a first date this weekend, too, after we spent the morning shopping, and she looked so nice, I was so proud of her for giving it a shot, and even though she and the guy had an only OK time, the whole thing reminded me how much I love her and am glad to know her. I tried on a jacket at H & M and a random stranger came over to tell me it was supercute, I had to buy it, so I did, and I wish very much I could take him with me every time I go shopping. And there were bike rides and fresh tomatoes from the garden and DVDs of Life that my friend Becky gave me for my birthday, and I just think, you know, in the seasons of life, there are some times that are especially good, and this is one of them.

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