Monthly Archives: March 2014

Single in my 30s: The Art of Being Picky

Being an unmarried woman in my 30s, I spend a lot of time (way more than I should) trying to figure out why I’m still single. I even took a “Why Are You Still Single” internet quiz (entirely unhelpful as the answer I got was “We don’t know either! You seem great!”) Thanks for nothing, Internet.  In my 20s, being single was something to be proud of. I had plenty of time; I could play the field, enjoy being young — it seemed much more like a choice back then. As the years went by, it became more alarming. All of a sudden, I felt like I was running out of time, and I started wondering what I was doing wrong.  I know I’m not the only one who’s found themselves in this position, and everyone seems to have an opinion on why single people are still single.

A few things I’ve heard over the years:

You need to put yourself out there more.
You’re too intimidating.
You should stop running away from men when they approach you.
You should move to [insert city here]
You need to get involved in more things. 

But I think the most common critique single people get is the classic, “You’re too picky.”

I’m sure there are some people out there who are legitimately too picky;  I know there are ridiculous people who refuse to even talk to someone if they don’t look a certain way or drive a certain car, and those people deserve to be called out.  But I think most of us just have a reasonable set of standards for the people we date. The problem is that as we get older, the dating pool decreases significantly in size, and we start to wonder if our “standards” are hindering us from finding the right person. Maybe if we just relaxed a little, we’d find someone great that we’ve been overlooking.

I’ve wondered this a lot – am I being unreasonable? Am I really too picky?

I don’t think I am. I’ve been set up on so many dates that ended up being a complete waste of time for both of us because we had absolutely nothing in common except that we happened to be the only two single people our well-meaning married friends could think of.  Just because we’re in the same age range and haven’t found a spouse yet doesn’t mean we’re meant for each other, and it really isn’t even enough of a reason to go on a date. It’s so easy to fall into this trap of “I should give everyone a chance just in case.” Sure, widen your net a little — maybe you don’t really need a strict 6 foot height requirement, but I think it’s important to know what it is you won’t compromise on and stick to that.

When I was in middle school, I broke up with my very first boyfriend.   I remember writing in my letter (this is back when people wrote letters – I’m that old) that we needed to break up because “we couldn’t base a relationship on soccer.” Of course, at 13, I had no idea what a “relationship” was — my experience didn’t extend beyond holding hands at summer camp and few a angsty letters.  I probably put a little too much thought into the whole thing, but the point is that I knew if we could only find one thing to talk about (soccer), that was going to get old pretty quickly.  I wanted more, and I still do.

It can be a hard balance – trying to figure out if you’re being overly choosy or just sticking to your standards. My brother asked me the other day why I wasn’t seeing a particular guy anymore and I answered, “Because he insisted on putting steak sauce on everything.” While I want to think this is a valid reason for a break up, I realize that on its own it is a ridiculous reason. Of course I didn’t really end it over steak sauce, but that was just one of a lot of indicators that there wasn’t anything solid there, and it wasn’t going to go anywhere.

I realize that no matter who I end up with, there will be things they do that drive me crazy.  But I’m going to keep holding out for the best, and if I do find it — someone who I love, who I respect and admire, it’ll be worth it.  And for the record, if they insist on putting steak sauce on everything – you bet your ass we’re going to have a serious discussion about it, but I will be willing to overlook it for the right person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan pie

 

Pecan pie is one of my favorite things to make.

Chocolate is one of my favorite things to eat.

Bourbon is one of my favorite things to drink.

Obviously, I needed to put them all together into one sweet, boozy pastry.

My philosophy when it comes to baking with booze is that if you can’t taste it, there’s no point.  This is the first thing I’ve made that was truly polarizing.   The consensus among my coworkers (my usual test subjects for new creations) was either that it was bourbony goodness, or way too much of a bourbon taste to handle.  The flavors work well together, regardless of your affinity for booze so I would suggest making this anyway. The recipe below lists a smaller amount of bourbon than I used, but I would just follow your heart when it comes to how bourbony you want your pie.

Also, in case you were wondering, there’s something very therapeutic about rolling out a pie crust.  It’s not therapeutic of course when the crust sticks and falls apart, but luckily this crust recipe worked like a charm.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie
Adapted from Taste of Home

Crust
1 c. flour
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter – cold
2-4 Tbsp cold water

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.  Cut in the butter, piece by piece. You can do this with two knives, a pastry cutter, or just use your hands. Do this until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  Add the water, a little at a time, and continue to mix slowly until it starts to form a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll out the dough into a large disk – large enough to fit your pie pan.  Flute the edges and prick the crust with a fork. Refrigerate again for 10 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Once heated, cover the pie crust with foil and weigh it down with pie weights or something else like dried beans or uncooked rice. After 10 minutes, remove the foil and weights and let it cook for another 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

Filling

3 eggs
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/2 c. dark corn syrup
1/4 c. bourbon (1/8 c for less of a bourbon taste, a 1/3 c for a very strong bourbon taste.)
2 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c. pecan halves, divided
3/4 c. bittersweet chocolate chips

Coarsely chop 1 cup of the pecans and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrups, bourbon, butter, and salt.   Mix in the cup of chopped pecans and the chocolate chips. Sprinkle with the remaining pecan halves.

Bake at 325 degrees for 55-60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

 

 

 

 

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