Right brain nights, fancy dessert, and sibling love.

My little sister has moved away to college. What. Is. This.

For the longest time it was really okay. I have been so excited for Anna to venture off, have her own experience, be away from home, enjoy having all of her belongings in one location, and make amazing life-long friends and memories. I still am excited for that. However, it took me until last night… 4 days after she moved away, for me to articulate exactly why I’m having such a difficult time with it now. It’s not because I didn’t want her to go, it’s because of what it means when she’s not here. Since I was 8 my little sister has been more of a rock to me than I think she will ever know. Not necessarily because she is the epitome of emotional stability, but because she is constant and always has been. When our parents divorced she was always there, even when mom wasn’t or dad wasn’t. When our parents remarried, she was there when our families were acclimating to new parents and step-siblings. Big or small, my sister has been around to experience point for point what I have when it comes to our family. So when I went off to college it wasn’t a big deal…for me. I still have the sign she made for me: I love you Emily! I’ll miss you while you’re at Luther! Well ditto, kid. I love you Anna! I already miss you and you’ve only been gone 4 days at Luther! Now when I think about going home to mom’s or dad’s it is not the same because I’m not returning to a constant. My constant is in Decorah, Iowa.

Weird. That was more poetic than I intended.

So I suppose in some very appropriate twist of life events, I am the constant now. But I wasn’t before… because I went away first. I hope that being here for Anna’s freshman year will provide some kind of constancy that is welcoming and comforting when things get uncomfortable at home. Because despite the fact that we couldn’t always talk about what it was, a hug from Anna was all I needed. I felt needed and loved and man if that isn’t enough to make me thankful for her and for our relationship every damn day.

I’m sure that in the end, and probably in a few weeks, this will feel more normal. This will become the new constant. I will embrace my justified ability to go and visit the town of my Alma Mater and my sister at the same time, to revisit beautiful memories and beautiful places. And I think that those places will become even more beautiful now that my sister has an opportunity to make her own memories in the same beautiful places with new beautiful people. I know this will comfort us both in moments when it is hard to be apart. But it’s only day 4, so I’m cutting myself some slack, feeling thankful that I get to see her in a week and a half…and a small part of me may still be pretending that she’s upstairs in her room at home.

Miss you kid and love you more than you know. Thanking God that I get to see you soon. My sister, my constant. You’re pretty darn awesome. You know that?

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This.

DSC_0574

It came out of my right brain. Well, I had a lemon and half a red onion, chicken breasts, rosemary, prosciutto, olive oil, salt and pepper, and they all seemed like they went together. So go together they did. In this baking dish at 400 degrees for … I don’t know how long. Until the chicken breasts were no longer pink in the middle. But I was very careful to not OVER cook them, because there are arguably few things worse than dry, chewy, chicken. Except for wet socks. Wet socks win that contest for me a thousand times over.

Here it is:

Chicken with lemon, rosemary, onions, and wrapped in prosciutto.
Chicken with lemon, rosemary, onions, and wrapped in prosciutto.

Then the corn. Corn, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, garlic, scallion, salt, pepper, chili powder, cotija cheese at the end. The only direction with this one is to sauté the herbs in the olive oil before you add the corn. Easy.

DSC_0579

And this BREAD. UM. Yeah… leftover… but oh so delicious. So here is the recipe. Thanks to Savory Experiments for this indulgent and amazing treat.

Dinner on Monday night; rosemary roasted chicken, corn saute, and pull apart cheesy garlic bread.
Dinner on Monday night; rosemary roasted chicken, corn saute, and pull apart cheesy garlic bread.
INGREDIENTS
  1. 1 large, round loaf Italian bread
  2. 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  3. 1/2 cup Parmesan Romano cheese, shredded
  4. 3 scallions, whites and greens, chopped
  5. 3 garlic cloves, crushed for finely minced
  6. 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
  7. 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  8. 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  9. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  10. 1 teaspoon black pepper
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Score the bread loaf crosswise and lengthwise into 1 inch squares, cutting almost through to the bottom, but leaving it intact. The goal is to spread apart the bread pieces to “bloom”, but be able to pass it around and gently pull a piece off.
  3. In a small bowl combine cheeses, green onions and garlic, mix. Stuff cheese blend evenly into all of the slits, nooks and crannies. After stuffing all of the cheese it should be coming out the top- keep stuffing!
  4. In another small bowl combine melted butter and remaining ingredients, whisk together. Spoon or pour mixture evenly over stuffed cheese slits.
  5. Wrap entire bread loaf in heavy duty aluminum foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove loaf and open the top of the aluminum foil to expose the top of the bread. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and tops are nicely brown and crisp.
  6. Remove from oven, allow to cool for several minutes before serving, you don’t want your diners to burn their finger tips trying to get at this delicious bread! No serving utensils required. Enjoy your Pull Apart Cheesy Garlic Bread!

Some nights are like this and I have to remind myself it’s okay. I didn’t feel like it was anything fancy, but I put in the effort. I set out cloth napkins, lit a candle, turned on some Madeline Peyroux and BAM everything was more indulgent.

Then my dear asked about how my dessert stomach was feeling. Empty.

So Barbette catered dessert and after-dinner drinks on Monday night. That was a good choice.

Chocolate and red wine can really make a girl feel amazing.

Monday was a good day. I had an awesome, relieving work out, I talked to a good friend, texted my sister, talked to my mom (who is also a good friend). I made a tasty dinner, indulged a bit for dessert. All in all it was lovely. If only there were more hours in the day. Because when I look back, I want to always cherish those moments where I am sitting by the window with the love of my life, the city lights and warm flicker of a candle dance across his comforting eyes. Moments like that don’t feel real, they are so beautiful and poetic and inspired. But they are real and it’s so thrilling to think that things like that happen in the lives of perfectly, wonderfully, mundanely, ordinary people.

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