Maybe it seems weird to talk about now because it was so long ago, but I feel like those few short years really help shape us into who we are forever and I can’t help but reminisce with John on occasion.
The college days. He’ll tease me and say he still thinks it’s ridiculous that I didn’t have a boyfriend at university. Which is nice, and flattering... and I’d like to think it’s because I didn’t want one.
I mean as much as I did want a boyfriend, there was a larger part of me that didn’t. I felt like if I didn’t know who I was really or what I wanted to do, why in the world would I want to live my life with someone else yet? I felt if I committed too soon I would have lost a part of myself. I would have lost my freedom. This sounds pathetically like a martyr, but I WANTED to flounder a bit more. I felt I had so much to figure out. I didn’t want a guy in the picture yet. I felt too young for that.
I'm quite positive this is why John and I didn't meet at university. We had so many mutual friends and we were even in a class together (a class of 350+ students where he sat in the front and I sat in the VERY back) but we never crossed paths. I told him I wasn't ready for him yet. "I would have ignored you had you shown interest." I teased.
Why am I sharing this? Because I want to emphasize it’s okay to do things your own way, in your own time. I think I needed that reminder today too because sometimes I just feel so behind and other times I feel totally with it.
I stress about the fact that we still rent and don't own a house. That we don't have kids yet. That I feel at the very start of my career and John recently started a new career too. I feel new. Like the new kid at school all the time and I don't like feeling shiny and new. I like old. I like old and comfortable like a good pair of overalls and birkenstocks. (That's pretty much my wardrobe in a nutshell and as my dad so lovingly reminding me the other day when I was wearing this said, "Oh! It's like the 11 year old Bobyn I know and love is back." I made a stern face. "Dad." I said, "I am never leaving these fashion pieces behind again." And he laughed.)
There's a line in the movie Bridesmaids that I've quoted so many times in my head when I feel overwhelmed: "Get your $#*t together Carol!" And sometimes I text it to one of my best friends and she knows exactly what I'm talking about and our exchanges usually make me burst out laughing. We need people who get us.
There was time when I thought maybe I just wouldn’t get married because I would never find anyone that actually "got me" or vice versa, but I did. It all happened and it was wonderful and being married has actually given me more freedom, encouragement and direction than I ever could have imagined. The very thing I avoided was the thing I needed. Oh the irony.
But I knew when I wasn’t ready for it. And I’m grateful for that. Looking back and reminiscing with John makes me feel like God had such a hand in my life while I was at university too, especially when I learned that John and I were so close to meeting so many times but never did; He got me.
So give yourself time to figure it all out. And while you're floundering and figuring, lean on the people who get you, we're so lucky to have them.
Love to you my friends.
bittersweet chocolate pudding with sweet vanilla whipped cream
adapted from David Lebovitz, The Great Book of Chocolate.
Serves 8-10 (this recipe can easily be cut in half)
THIS PUDDING. I feel all caps makes it me sound insincere but it deserves all caps. I share, because pudding was my favorite dessert to make when I was in my floundering phase. It was simple. Decadent. EASY and it made me look like a champion cook. And for some reason homemade pudding can hit the spot a little more than a scoop of ice cream.
Pudding can seem a little scary, but I promise you, I PROMISE you, it’s not. John and I are working on creating some videos but for now, me talking through these pages will have to do. Plus turns out I hate being in front of the camera so we're working on that. Okay I love you, go make pudding. xo
note: For the chocolate I love scharffen berger, mast brothers or ghirardelli. ghirardelli is the least expensive option but still works beautifully. Just make sure you get unsweetened. I purposefully make the whipped cream sweet here to balance the bittersweet pudding. The combination is heavenly.
4 cups / 1000mL whole milk, preferably organic
8 ounces / 230g bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate, chopped
¾ cup / 150g sugar (if cutting the recipe in half it’s 6 tablespoons of sugar ;)
4 egg yolks, preferably organic
2 tablespoons tapioca starch or corn starch (I always prefer tapioca, because non-GMO, organic cornstarch is a little tricky to find)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
for the whipped cream:
2 cup / 500mL heavy cream, preferably organic
¼ cup / 50g sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
70% chocolate bar for chocolate shavings, optional (some other great toppings include chocolate sprinkles, mini chocolate chips or cocoa nibs)
In a medium sized, heavy bottomed saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the whole milk and chocolate together, whisking until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, tapioca starch, sugar and vanilla until it forms a thick paste. I find it best to whisk the sugar, eggs and starch together adding the vanilla last. The slurry may be a little lumpy. Don’t stress about that.
Tip! When you are separating the egg yolks try your best to JUST save the pure yolk. No weird stuff attached to it okay? This ensures your pudding will be smooth.
Once your chocolate is melted, turn off the heat.
Whisk constantly as you pour a small steady stream of ¼ cup / 60mL hot chocolate milk liquid into the egg yolk slurry. It’s crucial that you do not add this hot mixture too fast or it will scramble the egg yolks and your pudding will be lumpy with bits of scrambled egg.
Continue to add another ¼ cup / 60mL of the hot chocolate milk mixture, whisking constantly. Add one more ¼ cup / 60mL, whisking constantly. There should be a total of ¾ cup of the hot chocolate milk added to your egg yolk slurry.
Next add the egg mixture back into the chocolate milk mixture, whisking constantly and turning the heat back on the a medium low.
You may have to whisk for 12 minutes or so before the pudding starts to thicken. You’ll notice it starts to thicken because the mixture won’t bubble anymore from whisking and it will be noticeably thicker. As soon as it starts to thicken, remove it from the heat. Pudding can burn easily. Remember you don’t get a crazy thick pudding while it’s hot, it will completely thicken when it cools.
Immediately transfer the pudding into your various serving dishes and cover each dish with some plastic wrap. If you don’t want a pudding skin, allow the plastic to touch the pudding, if you don’t care about a pudding skin like me, don’t worry about it.
Let the pudding cool for at least 4 hours before serving. Top with fresh whipped cream. You can easily top the cooled pudding with your homemade whipped cream hours ahead of time, chocolate shavings and all, then cover it in plastic wrap and it will keep just fine for a few days.
for the whipped cream:
In an electric mixer (with the whisk attachment) beat the very cold cream, vanilla and sugar together until soft peaks form.
Scrape the sides of the bowl at least once while mixing. Be careful not to over mix or you’ll end up with butter! ;) It takes about 3-5 minutes for me to get the whipped cream to the right consistency if that helps.
Tip! Put your bowl and whisk attachment in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before whipping your cream. It helps it whip up a little faster.
why is this good for me?
whole organic grass-fed dairy products - Okay, I’ve been meaning to talk about this for a while but it’s controversial so I’ve been hesitant. I like peace as much as I like pie. If you’d like to bust a bunch of food myths, particularly about full fat dairy, cheese and meat, please read: The Big Fat Surprise and In Defense of Food. It talks about how these rumors / ideas got started that high fat dairy products lead to heart disease, and got claimed to be super bad for us. Now, a lot of us are lactose intolerant, and I’m not going to argue there, but for those of us that aren’t, good organic, grass-fed dairy products are actually a great contribution to our health. Low fat is bad (this we will talk about later), but if you learn nothing else learn this: We need good fat and dairy products that are full-fat are actually better for us than those that are low-fat.
Did I just blow your mind? Study and research it out for yourself, but make sure you know where you’re getting your facts from. You'll learn that our government is sadly aligned with some huge greedy food companies that don’t have our health as a priority, so be careful what and where you read. I can’t recommend these books enough.
dark chocolate - Chocolate is full of antioxidants and anti-cancer properties and these antioxidants strengthen our immune system. This is why dark chocolate, containing 70% cocoa content or more is best, because the higher the cocoa content, the higher the amount of antioxidants.