And This is Real Talk

Mehhhhhh. That’s how I feel about writing this post right now.

However, I know that once this post is over and out of my head, we can return to our regularly scheduled Shananigans, so I’m just gonna DO IT.

I’ve been quiet on here lately because the past two weeks have been rough.Sucked out loud, really. Also, I think there is fine line between “personal blog” and “inappropriate online diary open to public consumption” and I KNOW which side of that line I want to be on.

But I also think being real and honest is important to connection, so I don’t want to just brush off the Hard Things like they don’t happen and have an online persona that implies my off-line life is a happy, carefree frolic in a Disney forest of books and cookies and wine glasses.

(I made sure that last weekend, my Dance It Out Weekend, was definitely all of those things.*)

*I didn’t get to put actual wine in the wine glasses because I gave up wine for Lent and I can’t have any wine until Sunday. I KNOW when Lent is over, but the first day of Lent was National Wine Day and long story short, my 40 days are up Sunday. I don’t want to hear it. I. Know.

Anyway, what with taxes and paychecks and life and snakes and goals and taxes and broken cars and the little annoyances that feel like HUGE annoyances when the day already blows and stress and oh my word taxes… the end of March was a welcome thing. (Seriously, Taxes, why are you the worst? Pretty sure Husband and I actually cried rage tears.)

The thing that really did me in for a few days, though, was not getting a job I really wanted.

It took me a while after graduating college to figure out my degree did nothing to help me get a job and then even longer to figure out I could turn hobbies and passions into vocations and then even longer than that to figure out what that might mean for a broke newlywed with a useless college degree in a strange city

Finally, finally, this year the puzzle pieces in my head started falling together and my Type A Brain started formulating a plan wherein my Free Spirit Nomad Brain could have a job and make money at a job I truly enjoyed. The whole “It’s not work if you love it” kind of thing, you know? I finally figured what I wanted so I could start working towards the Goal.

Type A Shannon LOVES putting A Plan into Action.

Our one-car family turned into a two-car family, which meant my job search was so much easier and could have a wider range. My Soul Friend wanted to move to Texas and pursue this goal with me and she was coming here for spring break to scout the town. This JOB opened up and it was the exact start Type A Shannon thought we needed to start the networking. It was all just amazing and falling into place the way Right Things often do and I was thrilled because my life doesn’t really work that way, the effortless way, but SOMETIMES it does and I was soooooo hopeful that this was one of those times.

It wasn’t. I did not get the job. So after the stress and the taxes and the job, I took a few days to be melancholy and listen to angry music and bake furious cookies. (No, I did not bake furiously. The cookies were furious on my behalf. Very thoughtful of them, really.)

The thing is, I’m not very good at staying angry and melancholy. Don’t get me wrong, I am fabulous at being melancholy. I have too many minor key/thumping bass playlists to be anything other than great at that. But I’m not good at staying that way. Once I take my space and (more than likely) cry out the rage tears, I’m spent and done and ready for the next step.

Which isn’t always what I want. After a good cry or a few hours of letting music squeeze my heart, I feel so much better, but I want to throw things all over again because I WASN’T DONE BEING ANGRY, DAMMIT.

I think I can blame my need for efficiency because days upon days of throwing things is just a waste of time, but mostly I think it is just because I’m willing to face and to feel the problem. And once you face something, name it, and embrace it, the issue is already pretty much dealt with. (Shannon’s Number One Rule.)

SO.This week, it was back to the drawing board and more job applications and new plans. Unless any of you know someone who is willing to pay me to read books and photo edit from this moment on?

Personal Book-Shopper and Photoshop Guru Who Works From Home = My Life Goals.

It IS spring, though, and some really beautiful things happened this week, too. Remember, Shannon wants Gratitude.

I’m leaving you with pretty pictures of a random hidden garden Husband and I found at the farmer’s market and my all-time favourite recipe, Fruit Pizza. I never know if this is a well-known, too obvious thing, or if it is a family thing or if it is a southern thing or a really weird oddity. I’ve encountered all reactions to my fruit pizza, so maybe it is all of the above.

However you feel about it, it was a staple in our household growing up and I’m almost positive I could exist on fruit pizza and queso alone. I really, really shouldn’t. But I COULD. Fruit pizza always cheers me up, so if you’re wanting a fun spring snack or if you love fruit as much as I do, try this. So good.

YOU NEED: 

fruit pizza 1

  • A batch of sugar cookie dough.
  • A few cups of your favourite fresh fruit: peeled, cored, cut, rinsed, whatever it needs
  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar or half a jar of marshmallow cream
  • Pay no attention to the cantaloupe. The store had a sale, so Coco and I ate cantaloupe for a week. Unless you want it on the pizza. Then whatever, dude. Stare all you want.

WHAT TO DO:

fruit pizza 2

  • Roll/flatten/place the cookie dough onto a sheet pan or pizza pan, until it’s a between a quarter-inch or a half-inch thick. It seems thick, but you’re going to put “sauce” AND fruit on it, so you want the crust to hold up.
  • Whatever dough you use, bake the dough according to the recipe instructions until the entire giant cookie is golden brown. This is not a time for soft, chewy cookies.
  • When the cookie is done, it needs to cool completely, or the cream cheese will melt.

fruit pizza 3

  • While the cookie is baking, mix together your cream cheese and sugar or fluff until it is thoroughly combined.
  • Lick the spoon. I won’t tell.
  • Cut the fruit. Or peel it. Or hull it. I rinse my fruit and kind of…pat it dry. You don’t want to put watery fruit on the pizza later, trust.

fruit pizza 4

  • Once the cookie is cool, gather all the supplies and get started assembling
  • Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the top.

photo 1 copy 2

  • Now, place the pieces of fruit all over the pizza in whatever geometric or wild or reckless pattern you’d like.
  • Sometimes I spell things. Sometimes I make shapes. Sometimes I shove it all in my mouth without shame. You know, whatever you like.

Once everything is on the pizza, you can either serve it immediately or let all the ingredients settle together for a couple hours. You need to store it in the refrigerator if you don’t serve it right away. It does well overnight, but after a few days in the fridge, it starts to fall apart. If you need help eating yours, call me. What?

photo 2 copy 2

I made this pizza with what I had on hand, but I didn’t have blackberries and I just can’t have fruit pizza without blackberries, so Husband brought me some later.

IMG_2678
AH! Much better.

photo 5

Final product. I wish my kitchen counters were better for photographing food, but oh well.

There are so many different way to do this. I’ve started playing around with my recipe in the past few years and every time I make this pizza, I do something different. The only fruit I use EVERY time is strawberries because they are the best, but really, you can use ANY fruit.

I would stay away from apples and bananas, though. They tend to brown so quickly and the bananas leak banana flavor onto it all and then it’s really just Banana Pizza and… gross. If banana and apples are YOUR ABSOLUTE JAM, try making the pizza and putting the fruit on each fresh piece as you serve it.

Even though my family tries to eat food without any of America’s delightful preservatives, I often use store-bought dough for this because I have yet to find a sugar cookie recipe that doesn’t end up dry and gross when baked in pizza form. If you have one such recipe, share it, please! Don’t be selfish. I’m trying to be HEALTHY here, obviously.

(NOTE: Thought I had while editing this post- I’m trying the lemon crinkle cookie as a crust next time. Oh MY that sounds good.)

Ree Drummond makes hers with marshmallow cream instead of sugar, but when I tried that, the cream cheese layer was soupy and it did not end well, even though I loved the flavour. So now, I double the cream cheese, use 1/3 cup of sugar and half a jar of marshmallow cream (if i don’t make my own) and save the extra cream cheese mixture for fruit dip* later on.

Some people put vanilla in their cream cheese mixture. I’ve tried it and don’t love it because it masks the cream cheese flavour, instead of deepening it, but you could try it!

Sometimes, instead of making a whole pizza, I make a batch of large cookies and then turn them into individual fruit pizzas. If you’re serving a crowd, that makes divvying up this snack SO SIMPLE.

(Also useful if your household people don’t like fruit pizza and you don’t want to be forced to eat a whole pizza before it goes bad. I’ve absolutely, positively, never, EVER done that in my life. Ever. But one can’t be too careful.)

Fruit + cream cheese + sugar cookies. That’s the outline you need. Go from there and explore and delight in spring and flowers and fruit and pretty things and send me fun pictures of all the fruit designs.

Flowers

Flowers

 

More flowers

More flowers

I LOVED these

I LOVED these

 

Dangerous Beauty

Dangerous Beauty

That last flower is the one that Husband basically dubbed “Shannon As A Flower” so… you know. There’s that.

Happy Spring, April, Easter, End of Tax Season, and Gratitude, y’all.

Cheers! -S.

*By “dip for later” I definitely do not mean “take a giant spoonful directly from container as a midnight snack.” Definitely don’t try that at home. Tonight.

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