Macadamia-Nuts

southern hospitality

bitty has outgrown this place, and the people in it.

tw: homophobic language/slurs

word count: 1800

for @stitchedopen, 3rd place winner in my fic giveaway! i hope you like it!


The clinking of Jack’s fork against his plate as he sets it down is very unnerving. It’s not the only sound in the room but it’s by far the loudest, to him at least. Even louder than Suzanne’s pleasant babbling (no wonder where Bitty gets it from) and the gentle lull of music being played on a radio somewhere in another room. Probably the kitchen, where Bitty’s finishing up supper.

There’s a shuffling around the corner and Coach becomes visible as he nears the bottom of the staircase. “Jack,” he mumbles gruffly in greeting, giving him a nod and sitting at the head of the table.

“Hello, Mr. Bittle,” Jack replies, smiling a little. “How’s the season going? Still the reigning champs of Morgan County?” If there’s one thing Jack knows he can get Coach to talk about, it’s football. It might be a much different sport than hockey, Jack surmises, but the passion they share for their sports is more than enough for them to hold a conversation.

“Oh, they lost their first game of the season last week. Nevin’s got an injury and we had to switch around the lineups– you remember, Nevin, receiver, curly hair, he’s in the team picture in the living room– anyway, I’m sure it hurt their chemistry.” Coach would talk strategy with Jack for hours, if it was up to him, but Eric is coming into the dining room now. He’s got on yellow oven mitts with tiny white flowers, and he’s holding a tray with a roast and some vegetables.

“The meat’s a little dry, Lord help me, I should stick to baking,” Eric laughs, setting the tray down on the table. “But all the vegetables should be good and I’ve got some pumpkin muffins with a fantastic cream cheese frosting waiting for us in the kitchen.” Everyone starts to serve themselves. The meat’s not dry at all, but Jack keeps that to himself. Sometimes Bitty needs little things to dwell on, to keep himself busy so he’s not worrying so much about the big stuff. Jack knows that.

“So,” Suzanne starts after a minute, and Jack can tell that this is going to be a long one. He glances up at her, a signal that he’s listening. “The Gardeners are having a potluck this Friday, and they sent us an invitation.”

Bitty nearly drops his fork. “The Gardeners?” he hisses. “As in, Melissa and Kyle?”

“Those Gardeners,” Suzanne replies smugly. Jack and Coach exchange a look, humor gleaming in both of their eyes. The drama is about to unfold, they can tell. “What right do they think they’ve got, inviting us to their potluck after what happened at ours?”

Bitty turns to Jack, waving his hands as he speaks. “Two summers ago, we held a potluck here for the neighborhood, and when the Gardeners showed up, Kyle was drunk as a skunk and knocked over our entire dessert table. The whole thing! It was all ruined! And it would have been okay, but they didn’t even bring anything to the potluck in the first place, and they never apologized, and oh, it was such a mess, everyone tried to act like it wasn’t a big deal but darlin’ you should’ve seen the look on Moomaw’s face, I swear she was on the verge of a heart attack.” He shifts abruptly back toward Suzanne. “Mama, we’ve got to go.”

“Oh, I know that, of course we do. Dicky, what you’ve gotta do is bake the best pie those folks have ever tasted, let them know exactly what they were destroying when they had the nerve-”

Jack hums quietly, making a mental note. Potluck on Friday. Prepare for a spectacle.

-

Bitty’s fingers press against Jack’s neck as he helps him straighten his collar. Jack doesn’t really need the help, he supposes, but the contact is welcome, brief but full of warmth, not the kind of affection Jack usually gets when they’re with Bitty’s parents. They’ve been trying really hard, Jack can tell, and Bitty has too. But he understands why Eric sometimes has trouble being soft with Jack around Suzanne and Coach.

“Don’t you just look dashing,” Bitty says with a smile, placing his hand flat on Jack’s chest.

“Only because you picked my outfit,” Jack laughs. Bitty laughs with him, nodding in agreement. He’s got little crinkles at the edges of his eyes when he laughs, and Jack rubs his thumb over them, absent minded.

“You ready, Dicky?” Suzanne calls from the kitchen. The noises of the coffee pot stop and Jack can hear her pouring herself a cup.

“All ready!” Bits yells back. He reaches up his hand and squeezes Jack’s wrist before whirling around into the kitchen. Jack watches Bitty’s hips swing as he leaves, his jeans a little tighter than usual since he’s outgrown some of the clothes that he left here during the school year, and wonders if wore them on purpose.

-

The potluck is bustling. There are people of all ages, from the tiny toddlers playing in the Slip ‘N Slide far left in the back yard to the old ladies knitting underneath the sugar maple next to the house in a comically stereotypical manner. Jack opens Eric’s door for him not out of chivalry but out of necessity– when he emerges from the car, his arms are full of tupperware containers.

“Let me take some, bud” Jack offers, but Bitty shakes his head.

“I’ve got to bring them over myself.”

-

“This one’s cherry with a lattice crust,” Eric is explaining as he removes the lid from the nearest tupperware container. The egregious Melissa Gardener turns out to be a petite brunette with a smattering of freckles across her upturned nose. “And this one’s pumpkin, I know it’s not really the season but I had some materials left over from the muffins I made the other night and I’m sure it’ll be just delightful, I made the whipped cream myself– now, they’re all desserts. I was sure you’d need some.”

Jack stifles a laugh. The bite in Bitty’s voice is unmistakable. “Where should I set them?” Eric asks, still sweet as sugar but with a lilt that suggests this isn’t an innocent question. “This table seems a little… unsteady. I wouldn’t want them to fall, heaven forbid.”

“This table’s fine,” Melissa ensures him, smiling. “Thank you so much for the contributions.”

“It’s nothing at all.”

They burst out laughing as soon as she leaves, Bitty collapsing into Jack’s chest. Jack’s arms come around him automatically and squeeze. “Bits, that was cold.”

“Really? Here I was, thinking I was being so courteous.”

They stay in the embrace for a few more seconds before Bitty shifts away from Jack. It’s subtle, but Jack understands. He squeezes Bitty’s shoulder and then takes a step away. Bitty’s out to everyone who matters, but some people don’t know. And some still have their prejudices.

“Bits, where’s the bathroom?” Jack asks. The noise is already getting to him. He knows he’s got a while of this to go, and he’s sure he’ll be fine, but he just needs a minute to adjust. Eric points him in the right direction, then goes back to arranging the pies on the table.

“Eric!” Bitty whips around. It’s a tall guy with acne scars in a red polo shirt. Bitty looks up, his face ghostly stricken for a second, then paints a big smile on.

“Hey, Todd,” he replies as the guy moves closer. “How have you been.”

“I’ve been fine, thanks,” Todd says. Eric tugs on the bottom of his shirt and glances over at Jack, entering the house. “Who’s the guy?” Todd asks, nodding toward him.

“Jack,” Eric says. “My… my boyfriend.”

Todd smiles. He turns his gaze to Bitty. “I’ve gotta say, Eric, I’m impressed! I expected you to come home with some twinky faggot in a pink H&M scarf.”

Eric inhales sharply. “Go away,” he says quietly, looking at his shoes. “My love life is none of your business.”

“We all knew you were a homo, Bittle, I guess it’s just a little surprising that you’re still showing your face around here. Are you queers ever gonna stop shoving your agenda in our faces? Huh? Go back to Samwell, eh?” He’s inching closer now, and Eric’s cheeks are flaming red.

“Go fuck yourself,” Eric mutters, turning his back. He unstacks a tin of macadamia nut cookies from his lemon meringue, and opens it. His hands are shaking as he spreads them out artfully.

Todd ignores his response, instead reaching over Bitty and sweeping up several cookies. “Don’t mind if I do,” he says as he stuffs one in his mouth. “Mmm,” he replies, smirking. “They’re a little bit… fruity, don’t you think?”

“That’s not even funny,” Eric rolls his eyes. “Get the hell away from me.”

“And if I don’t?”

There’s a hand on the back of Bitty’s neck and he’s flinching, he’s freezing, he can’t move he can’t breathe–

“If you don’t,” Jack whispers, his voice robotic and cold. “I’ll beat the shit out of you, and you can crawl home to your mother and tell her you got your ass handed to you by a faggot. Does that sound like a good enough reason to stop?”

Todd takes a step back. “Don’t you fucking touch me,” he hisses at Jack. “You’re not from around here, are you? You don’t know who my dad is, do you?”

“Let me guess. Mayor of some town I’ve never heard of? Principal of the local high school? Do you know who my father is, noune?” Jack puffs up his shoulders. “Because I can guaran-fucking-tee that my dad is a hell of a lot worse to mess with than yours. So you might just wanna step off.”

“Whatever. I shouldn’t be talking to y’all anyway. Just in case it’s contagious, you know?” Todd smirks.

“I’m going to fucking kill you,” Jack says, still matter of fact, balling his fists and lunging toward Todd. Todd flinches, but the blow doesn’t come. Bitty’s caught the back of Jack’s t-shirt in his hand.

“Jack, honey, it’s okay. I can handle it.”

Todd laughs.

“But this– this asshole–”

“Trust me, sweetpea, I’ve got this.” Eric smiles.

“Yeah, you’re sure gonna take care of me, Bittle, what can you weigh, a hundred and ten? I bet you couldn’t even–”

Splat.

“Pity,” Eric says sweetly as the pie tin slides down Todd’s face, then down his shirt, coating him in cherry filling. “That lattice crust was gorgeous.”

“You– you–” Todd splutters, wiping cherry crud out of his eyes, but Bitty and Jack are already walking away.

“Enjoy the snacks, Melissa,” Eric calls over his shoulder as they make their way to the car. “We’re gonna head out.”

Beachy Keen - Sea Salt Spray

Can’t make it down to the beach or landlocked? Want to carry a bit of the sea with you?  This is the salt spray I made for my wife when she wanted sea kissed waves without leaving the house.

Ingredients:

🏝 Spray bottle

🏝 Two cups of boiling water

🏝 Two tablespoons of Epsom Salt

🏝 Two tablespoons of grey salt (can be French or Celtic but if you can’t find either, you can use plain sea salt too)

🏝 Four tablespoons of pink Himalayan sea salt

🏝 One tablespoon of macadamia nut oil (or coconut oil) - this helps your hair as the salt can be very drying

🏝 Four drops of Vitamin E oil - this is optional but it helps your hair as well

🏝 Ten drops of Rose Absolute essential oil

🏝 Four drops of Ylang Ylang essential oil

Method:

🏝 Mix the salts in the boiling water to dissolve

🏝 Add the oils and essential oils into a spray bottle

🏝 Once the salt has dissolved in the water, pour it into the bottle but not all the way to the top

🏝 Seal the bottle and shake shake shake to mix the oils and the water and you’re good to go

🏝 When you spray it in your hair always be sure to scrunch for beachy waves

Vegan White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

sugar mixture:

½ cup maple syrup (I used grade B)
½ cup vegan sugar
2 sticks of Earth Balance Buttery Spread Sticks (vegan butter)
½ tsp vanilla or almond extract
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 medium banana

dry ingredients:
1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 Tbsp vital wheat gluten flour
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger powder
1 tsp baking soda

Fold in:
½ cup vegan white chocolate chips (optional)
½ cup raw chopped macadamia nuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Add sugar blend ingredients to large bowl. Blend with hand mixer until butter is creamy - a little chunky is good for the cookie.
3. Add in the dry ingredients and mixer blend on lowest setting just until the mixture gets thick. Then remove and hand fold.
4. Fold in the chips and nuts. The more the merrier. mmmmm. 
5. Place dough in fridge for at least 30 minutes for easier scooping of dough.  
6. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for about 16 minutes. Cool. 


via kblog lunchbox!

pretty-love-ly  asked:

Isn't supporting bee keepers by buying honey kind of a good thing? Like its a double edged sword bc we shouldn't use animals as food and all but right now with the changing climate and GMO crops and colony collapse disorder it's killing off bees and we desperately need them, so isn't it a good thing that bee keepers are keeping bees alive?

Hi there pretty-love-ly!

We’ve been tricked into believing that honey is simply a byproduct of the essential pollination provided by farmed honeybees. Did you know though that the honeybee’s wild counterparts (such as bumblebees, carpenter and digger bees) are much better pollinators? They are also less likely than farmed honeybees to be affected by mites and Africanized bees. The issue is that these native bees can hibernate for up to 11 months out of the year and do not live in large colonies. Thus, they do not produce massive amounts of honey for a  $157 million dollar a year industry.

Honey and the Different Types of Bees

Honey bees: Honey bees make a large quantity of honey (possible due to the size of colonies – that is, many worker bees collecting nectar). Honey consists of nectar combined with a ‘bee enzyme’ that goes through a process of concentration in the honeycomb before it is capped by the bees.

Bumblebees: Bumblebees, in one sense, make a form of honey, which they collect in nectar pots to be eaten by the colony, including the newly hatched worker females. However, the process of concentrating, capping, and the making of honey combs does not happen in bumblebee colonies, nor is nectar stored over winter, since only the queen survives and hibernates, whilst the rest of the colony do not.

Solitary bees: Solitary bees do not make honeycombs. They construct egg cells which they provision with a ball of nectar and pollen that will be consumed by the new larvae.

Honey bees will pollinate many plant species that are not native to their natural habitat but are often inefficient pollinators of such plants.

The crops that can be only pollinated by honey bees are:

• Guar Bean
• Quince
• Lemon
• Lime
• Karite
• Tamarind

The crops that are pollinated by bees, in general, are:

• Apples
• Mangos
• Rambutan
• Kiwi Fruit
• Plums
• Peaches
• Nectarines
• Guava
• Rose Hips
• Pomegranites
• Pears
• Black and Red Currants
• Alfalfa
• Okra
• Strawberries
• Onions
• Cashews
• Cactus
• Prickly Pear
• Apricots
• Allspice
• Avocados
• Passion Fruit
• Lima Beans
• Kidney Beans
• Adzuki Beans
• Green Beans
• Orchid Plants
• Custard Apples
• Cherries
• Celery
• Coffee
• Walnut
• Cotton
• Lychee
• Flax
• Acerola – used in Vitamin C supplements
• Macadamia Nuts
• Sunflower Oil
• Goa beans
• Lemons
• Buckwheat
• Figs
• Fennel
• Limes
• Quince
• Carrots
• Persimmons
• Palm Oil
• Loquat
• Durian
• Cucumber
• Hazelnut
• Cantaloupe
• Tangelos
• Coriander
• Caraway
• Chestnut
• Watermelon
• Star Apples
• Coconut
• Tangerines
• Boysenberries
• Starfruit
• Brazil Nuts
• Beets
• Mustard Seed
• Rapeseed
• Broccoli
• Cauliflower
• Cabbage
• Brussels Sprouts
• Bok Choy (Chinese Cabbage)
• Turnips
• Congo Beans
• Sword beans
• Chili peppers, red peppers, bell peppers, green peppers
• Papaya
• Safflower
• Sesame
• Eggplant
• Raspberries
• Elderberries
• Blackberries
• Clover
• Tamarind
• Cocoa
• Black Eyed Peas
• Vanilla
• Cranberries
• Tomatoes
• Grapes

Check this chart to see which type of bees can pollinate those crops.

While you may spread a heaping tablespoon of honey on your morning toast without thinking, creating each drop is no small feat. To make one pound of honey, a colony must visit over two million flowers, flying over 55,000 miles, at up to 15 miles per hour to do so. During a bee’s lifetime, she will only make approximately one teaspoon of honey, which is essential to the hive for times when nectar is scarce, such as during winter. At times, there may be an excess in the hive, but this amount is difficult to determine and large-scale beekeepers often remove all or most of it and replace it with a sugar or corn syrup substitute. Can you imagine someone removing all the fruit juice from your house and replacing it with fruit-flavored soda? It may still give you energy, but eventually, it will probably make you sick.

BEES DIE FOR YOUR HONEY

Another thing to think about while you sit by your beeswax candle and contemplate the lives of these little fellows is that bees must consume approximately eight pounds of honey to produce each pound of wax! And the more we take from them (bee pollen, royal jelly, propolis) the harder these creatures must work and the more bees are needed, which isn’t good news for a population that is dwindling.

When you see a jar of honey, you may think of the sweet cartoon hives depicted in childhood stories such as Winnie the Pooh. But most hives are now confined to large boxes (a completely foreign shape to bees) that are jostled and shipped around the country to pollinate crops and produce honey. This is stressful and confusing to the bees’ natural navigation systems. Along the way, bees are lost and killed, and may spread diseases from one infected hive to another. The practice of bee farming often limits the bees’ diet to monoculture crops, introduces large amounts of pesticides into their systems and causes the farmed bees to crowd out the native wild pollinators that may have been otherwise present. Beekeepers (even small-scale backyard beekeepers) will also kill the queens if they feel the hive is in danger of swarming (fleeing their file cabinet shaped homes) or drones* that they deem unnecessary to honey production. * The drones’ main function is to fertilize the queen when needed.

We have got to the point where we mass exploit honeybees as pollinators to fix a problem that should be fixed from the roots and not partially.

“At certain times of the year, three or four trucks carrying beehives rumble along Highway 20 every week. Their destination: California, where the bees are required for pollination services. During my time in California researching dairy farms, I learned about an extraordinary consequence of intensive farming taken to extremes: industrialized pollination - a business that is rapidly expanding as the natural bee population collapses. In certain parts of the world, as a result of industrial farming, there are no longer enough bees to pollinate the crops. Farmers are forced to hire or rent them in”
— Farmagedon. The True Cost of Cheap Meat

The Case of the Disappearing Bees

The question of what will happen if bees disappear may not be far from being answered. Over the past couple of years, stories about bees disappearing and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) have been popping up in the The New York Times, Star Tribune, Huffington Post, PBS, Discovery News and more. If nothing else wakes us up, perhaps the fact that the disappearance of bees has become front page news will. Scientists are rushing to discover what’s causing this problem before it’s too late and before we lose the important environmental link created by bees.

Thus far, there are three main theories/contributing factors:

  • Pesticides

Pennsylvania State University published a study in 2010 that found “unprecedented levels” of pesticides in honeybees and hives in the United States. (If it’s in the bees and hives, what do you think is in your honey?) Some of these chemicals are killing bees, and guess what? The EPA knows about it.

“The EPA identifies two specific neonicotinoids, imidacloprid and clothianidin, as highly toxic to bees. Both chemicals cause symptoms in bees such as memory loss, navigation disruption, paralysis, and death.

Both chemicals have been linked to dramatic honeybee deaths and subsequent suspensions of their use in France and Germany. Several European countries have already suspended them. Last year Slovenia and Italy also suspended their use for what they consider a significant risk to honeybee populations.”

– Mother Earth News

This is old news; this story came out in 2009. But has anything changed here? Not as far as I can tell.

  • Mites and Viruses

With weakened immune systems (stress, inferior food sources, pesticides etc.) bees have become more susceptible to viruses, fungal infections, and mites. Many of these invasive bugs are spread as hives are moved around the country or transferred from country to country.

While there are a number of treatments on the market for the mites, viruses, fungus and other pests that are attacking our colonies, none have solved the problem completely. These treatments can also introduce antibiotics, pesticides and other chemicals into the hives in an attempt to prevent or heal the infection. If these chemicals (often on strips) are not removed from the hive after they lose potency, they can, in fact, help the viruses or mites become resistant to treatment in the future.

  • Cell phones

This is one of the newest theories on CCD and may need further testing.

“According to a Swiss researcher who recently published a paper on the subject, the electromagnetic waves from mobile phones have a significant impact on the behavior of honeybees and could potentially be harming honeybees around the world.”

“To test the relationship between honeybees and buzzing cell phones, he placed phones inside bee hives and then monitored the bees’ reaction. He found that in the presence of actively communicating cellphones (those not in standby mode), bees produced the sounds known as “worker piping,” which tends to indicate disturbance in a bee colony.”

– ABC News

Cell phones, pesticides and viruses aside, commercial bee farming – whether organic (where bee deaths are fewer, but still occur) or conventional – does not provide bees with the opportunity to live out their normal life cycle. No matter how small the animal, farming is farming. Whether you choose to buy backyard honey or a large brand, eating honey and using other bee products encourages using bees for profit.

If you truly want to save bees as a whole and not only honey bees because is much more convenient.. then support bee sanctuaries, boycott the agribusiness and its use of chemicals everywhere. Here I leave some ideas and ways to help bees.

  • Sanctuaries
  1. Spikenard Farm  Honeybee Sanctuary | • Virginia, USA •
  2. New York Bee Sanctuary | • New York, USA •
  3. Native Bee Sanctuary | • Australia •
  4. Artemis Smiles - Honey Bee Sanctuary | • Hawaii, USA •
  5. Urban Evergreen Bee Sanctuary | • Washington, USA •
  6. The Honeybee Helpers | • North West, Ireland •
  7. Bee Sanctuary - The Bee School | • North Carolina, USA •
  8. Bellingen Bee Sanctuary | • Australia •
  9. Morgan Freeman Converted His 124 Acre Ranch Into A Bee Sanctuary To Help Save The Bees
  • Plant your garden with bee-friendly plants

In areas of the country where there are few agricultural crops, honeybees rely upon garden flowers to ensure they have a diverse diet and to provide nectar and pollen. Encourage honeybees to visit your garden by planting single flowering plants and vegetables. Go for all the allium family, all the mints, all beans except French beans and flowering herbs. Bees like daisy-shaped flowers - asters and sunflowers, also tall plants like hollyhocks, larkspur and foxgloves. Bees need a lot of pollen and trees are a good source of food. Willows and lime trees are exceptionally good.

  • Encourage local authorities to use bee-friendly plants in public spaces

Some of the country’s best gardens and open spaces are managed by local authorities. Recently these authorities have recognised the value of planning gardens, roundabouts and other areas with flowers that attract bees. Encourage your authority to improve the area you live in by adventurous planting schemes. These can often be maintained by local residents if the authority feels they do not have sufficient resources.

  • Weeds can be a good thing

Contrary to popular belief, a lawn full of clover and dandelions is not just a good thing—it’s a great thing! A haven for honeybees (and other native pollinators too). Don’t be so nervous about letting your lawn live a little. Wildflowers, many of which we might classify as weeds, are some of the most important food sources for native North American bees. If some of these are “weeds” you chose to get rid of (say you want to pull out that blackberry bush that’s taking over), let it bloom first for the bees and then before it goes to seed, pull it out or trim it back!

  • Don’t use chemicals or pesticides to treat your lawn or garden

Yes, they make your lawn look pristine and pretty, but they’re actually doing the opposite to the life in your biosphere. The chemicals and pest treatments you put on your lawn and garden can cause damage to the honeybees systems. These treatments are especially damaging if applied while the flowers are in bloom as they will get into the pollen and nectar and be taken back to the bee hive where they also get into the honey—which in turn means they can get into us. Pesticides, specifically neo-nicotinoid varieties have been one of the major culprits in Colony Collapse Disorder.

  • Bees are thirsty. Put a small basin of fresh water outside your home

You may not have known this one—but it’s easy and it’s true! If you have a lot of bees starting to come to your new garden of native plants, wildflowers, and flowering herbs, put a little water basin out (a bird bath with some stones in it for them to crawl on does a nice trick). They will appreciate it!

  • Let dandelions and clover grow in your yard.

Dandelions and clover are two of the bees’ favorite foods – they provide tons of nourishment and pollen for our pollinators to make honey and to feed their young (look at this bee frolicking in a dandelion below – like a pig in shit!) And these flowers could not be any easier to grow – all you have to do is not do anything.

I highly recommend also taking a look at this article too as honey is tested on animals, yes, as it says and the article explains honey is tested on dogs, cats, goats, rabbits, mice, rats…

As you can see, there is much more than saying “let’s help the bees by eating honey, vegans are dumb, they need to eat honey because what they eat relies on it”... We can save the bees without taking away the honey they produce, that’s a fact.

Honey is meant as a health food; a healthy food for bees. The more we interfere with their natural processes, both by relying on farmed bees as pollinators (rather than other native wild bees, insects or animals) and to feed our desires for “sweets,” the close we’re coming to agricultural disaster.

Sources

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OK so Breakfast looks small but it’s very filling. Eating ½ cup of almonds in the morning is no easy task. I usually eat macadamia nuts, but almonds are way cheaper and easier to buy in bulk. They can be raw or dry roasted, salted or not salted, it doesn’t make too much of a difference.

Eggs are always cheap - and filling.

I included a couple of options for lunch depending on what’s on sale. Be smart with the lunch meat choice. When in doubt, always chose smoked… honey has sugar. You can also go for more quality deli lunch meat depending on budget. Tuna is the same - get what you can, or opt for higher quality.

For dinner there are a lot of choices depending on what is on sale. As far as the butter is concerned, I know many tell you to only go for the Organic/Grass Fed/Kerry Gold stuff, but you could also get organic store brand butter, or… you know, just BUTTER! The same can be said about salad dressings - sometimes the only thing I have in the house is the kids’ basic Hidden Valley Ranch. 2tbsp of dressing is not going to kill you… just make sure you’re reading labels, checking carbs, and not buying anything that says “lite” or “fat free” and you’ll be fine.

DIY ELECTROLYTE DRINK: Don’t waste $$$ on sports drinks!

You’ll Need…

¼ tsp Morton Lite Salt

1-2 tbsp Lemon Juice

½ Packet of Sugar-Free Sweetener

16-20 oz Water

4

I dunno, I thought it was pretty funny to see only Erron Black sitting in this scene, like a naughty kid brought to the principal’s office because he was caught out doing something wrong like flirting with the sassy-mouthed enemy.

Poor Ermac just looks disappointed …

2012 Domaine du Bagnol Cassis

So I tried something a little different with this dry Provençal white. I tried it over the course of a few days. Day 1 - the nose was a bit closed but you get hints of white peach, honeydew, grapefruit, raw almonds and macadamia nuts. Gentles peaches on the palate with honeysuckle, white flowers, Okinawa sea salt, melon, white tea, and a hint of anise on the finish. Day 3 - the nose was much more expressive with more pronounced white peach, melon, grapefruit, nuts, lemon curd, and green herbs. The lemon curd gives way to pineapple, melon, donut peach, and almond powder on the palate - more expressive but still rather gentle. I’d have this with seafood, like with a nice bouillabaisse

3/5 bones

$

Marsanne, Clairette, Ugni Blanc

13% abv

Provence, FRANCE

The signs as Christmas Cookies

Aries : Chocolate Chip M&Ms Cookie

Taurus : White Chocolate Raspberry

Gemini : Peanut Butter Cookie

Cancer : White Chocolate Macadamia Nut

Leo : Chocolate Chip

Virgo : Reindeer Tracks Cookie

Libra : No-Bake Oatmeal Cookie

Scorpio : Peppermint Swirl

Sagittarius : Peanut Butter Blossom

Capricorn: Sugar Cookie

Aquarius: Snickerdoodle

Pisces : Gingerbread

Macadamia Nut Cheese – super simple with minimal soaking time 😊

Just throw 75g of macadamia nuts in a blender and cover with 125 ml of boiling water. Blend for a couple of minutes, until the nuts are broken up into fine pieces. After 30 minutes, blend for another couple minutes and you’ll get a fairly gritty consistency (depending on the power of your blender). After another 30 minutes, add 1 tsp of vegan bouillon powder, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp onion powder, ½ tsp sea salt and ½ tsp of mustard. Blend until smooth.

Serves 4, about 150 calories per serving.

On that note, I’ve decided that I’m going to stop counting calories. I’ll still calculate rough estimates for the recipes I post because a few of u lovely people have messaged me to say you like that, but I personally don’t think I need calorie counting anymore :)

Imagine your first fight with Chris.

A/N: Part 3 😭 Did I cry? Oh, I definitely would’ve if I wrote this in the privacy of my own home. But seeing as I was in public, I had to take a few deep breaths and get through it without crying. You can read the previous parts here: (Mini-series - Masterlist; Mini-series Spin-off: ‘Unexpected Reader - Masterlist’, ‘Little Ways Away - Part 1/Part 2)

Friday came and that meant it’d been five days since Chris last spoke with you, and five days since you started ignoring his calls. Both of you were going insane not being able to speak to the other, but that was where you were at and needed to be. So Chris took Sebastian’s advice into consideration and stopped pushing, he ate up whatever lie you gave him and hoped you’d call soon because he was seriously missing your voice. You wanted to call, God, you wanted to call. You wanted to hear his voice; you wanted to see his face on your computer screen; you wanted to tell him about how Jack dropped a fork down a customer’s dress and hear him bellow with laughter, but you couldn’t.

Things with you hadn’t improved; you were still stressed and on the verge of having a mental breakdown that you didn’t want to bother your very busy boyfriend with. As frustrating as you knew you were being, you still believed Chris was better off not knowing. You believed that because you hadn’t talked to him, you couldn’t hear how worried he was about you; how stressed he was because he couldn’t talk to you; how much he needed you while he was pulling sixteen hour days miles from the girl he loved. He, too, was on the verge of having a mental breakdown but was too afraid that you’d do what Sebastian said if he pushed too hard. So he left you alone, gave you the space you apparently needed, and suffered in silence.

The two of you really were too similar, incredibly good at repeating history, and becoming increasingly insufferable to those around you. If you’d just let your incredibly wise best friend give you some brutally honest advice, you wouldn’t be in this situation and the last five days wouldn’t have been your hell on earth.

“Hey, babe,” Ava called from the kitchen as came through the front door; Dodger barked.

“Hey, sorry.” You gave them both a quick wave as you rushed down the hallway to your room; you were running late for work due to an impromptu meeting with Professor Killian, who was concerned about your recent decline in mood. They followed you; Ava with her bowl of Lucky Charms, and stood in your doorway, watching you bounce around your room gathering your work clothes. “I’m running so late, Jack’s texted me twice already and-” you stopped and looked around, frowning, “where the hell is my apron?”

“I think it’s in the wash, but you can use mine.” She told you and walked over to her room to grab it while you got changed. “What were you doing at school anyway?” She asked as she walked back towards your room; she stood in the hallway and waited for you, whereas Dodger left for the living room. “You don’t have classes on Friday, did they change your timetable?”

“No, thank God,” you took the apron Ava was holding out and shoved it into your handbag. “I got an email from Professor Killian because he’s concerned about me. Apparently I’ve been very distracted and unproductive in his class.” You rolled your eyes and Ava pursed her lips in response because she knew your professor was right. “What a ridiculous accusation, I turned in two drafts yesterday.” You headed for the bathroom to quickly fix your hair before you left for your fine-dine restaurant job; Ava followed, quietly eating her cereal. “Have I been distracted and unproductive?”

“I don’t think you want me to answer that,” Ava said with a wince.

“Seriously?” You narrowed your eyes at her. “How have I been distracted and unproductive?”

“Babe-” Ava sighed and followed you as you headed for the front door. “Since you decided to stop talking to Chris, you haven’t been particularly focused on anything.” You stopped and turned to her with raised eyebrows. “You go through your days upset and distracted, and yes- you still do your writing and you go to work, but you’re lacking your usual perky personality and it is very noticeable. I mean- If Killian noticed, you know you’re on rough terrain.”

“God, I know,” you sighed. “I know you’re right. I just- I’m trying,” you told her and she nodded, knowing very well you were. “And I want to talk to him, I just feel like if I do- I’m going to freak him out and make him worry and- I don’t want to do that while he’s busy with work.”

“You know he’s never going to be too busy for you, right?”

“I know,” you managed a smile. “But I still don’t want to add more to his already very full plate. I know I’m being very frustrating and ignoring him is not one of my best ideas, but it’s all I have right now.” Ava reached for your elbow and gave your arm a light squeeze because she was starting to understand why you were doing what you were doing. “I’ll talk to him soon, I just need to figure out how to explain everything to him so he doesn’t worry about me after I hang up. Am I making sense?” You chuckled wearily with limited humor. “I feel like I’m just blathering.”

“Perfect sense,” she assured you, smiling. “You care about him, that’s why you’re doing all this. Props, sweetheart. Really, I’m very proud of you and the way you’re coping with everything.” She gave you a quick one arm hug and you smiled, hugging her back. “You’re going to be fine, like I told Chris- you’re a tough nut to crack. But y'know, in a positive light- not the mysterious, hard-to-deal-with meaning. Though you are a puzzle sometimes, a very complicated puzzle.”

“Yeah, I’m a fucking macadamia nut,” you joked and both laughed. “I really gotta run,” you told her and she nodded, making her way to the couch to join Dodger as your phone started ringing. The ringtone was your average, day-to-day, every-man ringtone so you picked up without looking at it; you’d no idea Chris had borrowed a phone so he could trick you into picking up his call. He didn’t want to push, but he had a terrible day and he needed to talk to you. “Hello?”

“Here I was thinking you’d let this call go to voicemail too,” Chris’ voice came through and you felt your breath hitch in your throat. “Um-” He chuckled with limited humor. You were too stunned to process the emotions wrapped in his tone; you couldn’t even tell that he’d been crying. “Hey, um- God, it’s so good to finally hear your voice. How are you, sweetheart?”

“I’m good,” you found yourself lying again. “I’m actually on my way to work, so can I call y-”

“Of course you are,” Chris muttered bitterly; his hand tugging at his hair as he tried not to swear.

“Of course I am?” You felt your eyes narrow even though you knew you deserved whatever Chris was throwing your way. “What is that suppose to mean?” You bit as Ava turned; she saw the expression on your face which meant the call you’d been avoiding had arrived. She found herself lowering her bowl and planting both feet on the ground, preparing to intervene if she needed to- if the fight became bigger than it should. Dodger was on alert too, like he could sense the storm brewing between you and his best friend.

“What is that suppose to mean?” Chris bit back with a scoff. “Are you kidding me right now, Y/N? You haven’t spoken to me in five days! Did we get into a fight, did we break up? I don’t know because we haven’t talked!” You tried to interject, but he didn’t let you. “You’ve avoided all my calls and attempts at FaceTiming you, you reply to all my texts in less than five words- like what is your problem? Did I do something to piss you off, because if I did- please, let me know.”

“Chris-” you began then sighed, “I’m sorry, but this sounds like a fight I can’t get into right now.” You heard him scoff on the other end and you wanted to kick yourself. “It’s not you, okay? I’m just-” you glanced at the clock hanging on your wall, “I need to go. I’ll call you after work and we’ll talk about this then.”

“No,” he practically growled. “We’re going to talk about this now, Y/N. I’ve given you enough time to sort out whatever the hell is going on with you, I want to resolve this now. I don’t care if you’re late for work, this is a lot more important than a shift where they can easily get someone to cover for you. What is going on? Did I do something to upset you?”

“No! God, Chris- not everything is about you.” Your heart ached at the sound of his voice, it ached for him. “I already told you, this isn’t about you.” You said, as you realized how much it was; you missed him dearly and it was affecting your entire being- mind, body, and soul. Up until you heard his voice, you didn’t realize how much your life was in shambles. Sure, school was great and work was good, but- you were alone and apart from your soulmate that you took nineteen years to find. You were not okay, you needed the next seven months to be over. “I’ve just been busy, okay? And I’m busy now, so I really need to end this phone call and call you back later.”

“Don’t you dare hang up on me,” he warned; his voice broke but you were too distraught to notice. “Y/N, we need to communicate. We may be perfect for each other, but God- we are terrible at being in a relationship.” Your eyes narrowed at that. “Couples are meant to be honest with each other. We’re meant to tell each other everything, yet here we are arguing about something that could’ve easily been avoided if we just talked.”

“I don’t even know what we’re arguing about!” You cried with a deep frown; Ava noticed your hand clench into a tight fist and she knew you were about to lost it. “You started this argument, Chris,” you accused and he scoffed. “I was just trying to get to work.” There was a long pause where neither of you said anything, then you did, “I know we need to talk, but I don’t have time to talk to you right now.”

Remember love and how it was a strange concept? How it could either be the simplest of things, or the most complicated? How a wrong move, a poorly chosen word, bad timing- how all of these factors were capable of tearing a soul into pieces? Well, the two of you were about to experience that ache and anguish.

“Make time,” he bit, trying to hold back his tears. “Have Ava cover your shift so we can talk, Y/N. I’m not asking for a lot here, I’m asking to talk to my girlfriend.” You turned your back towards Ava so she didn’t see you starting to cry, but she knew. “All I want is a second of your time, Y/N, a second of your time to just talk. Can you give me that? Can you give me that and ask me about my day? You’re not the only one who is having a hard time with all of this. I miss you too, and I need you too.”

“This is not how I imagined this conversation would go,” you mumbled under your breath instead of keeping it in your head. That was your mistake; the straw that broke the camel’s back; the prompt that brought forth words Chris didn’t mean and regretted immediately.

“Of course not,” Chris bit. “'Cause everything is just fucking perfect in your stories, isn’t it?” You felt your heart break at the harshness of his tone as well as the bitterness of his words. “Newsflash, Y/N, this is real life and I am not perfect. I am nowhere near fucking perfect,” he spat and you bit the inside of your cheek to stop yourself from having a full on breakdown.

“What is your problem, Chris?”

Chris could hear your voice shake and he knew you were crying. He knew he was hurting you and it broke his heart to think that you were crying because of him, but he couldn’t stop the foul words from spilling out of his mouth. “I can’t be the perfect guy you want me to be,” he told you and a whimper escaped your lips. “Your expectations are too high and I don’t know how to live up to them. I thought I did, but-” he swallowed, “I don’t.”

“What are you trying to say?” You breathed and Ava jumped up; she knew exactly what was happening. You waited for him to say something, but he didn’t, so you did. “You know I never asked you to be anyone you weren’t, I never expected anything from you.” Ava tried to take the phone out of your hand, but you moved out of her reach. “But clearly, I was wrong. Clearly…” You trailed off because you couldn’t breathe. “I overreached and this was a huge mistake.”

“Y/N, no! Hang up, hang up now!” Ava hissed at you, but you ignored her with a shake of your head and tears streaming down your face. Both of you were tired and stressed out, neither of you knew what you were doing- you were just doing it. “Give me the phone,” Ava urged, reaching for your phone only to have you dodge her attempts, “give me the phone now!”

“If you don’t want to be with me anymore,” you continued before Chris could process what was happening. “If this is too difficult for you, Chris…” You took a shaky breath, doing everything you could to hold yourself together. “Then let’s just quit while we’re ahead, okay?” You didn’t wait for him to confirm, you just muttered a “okay.”

He finally processed what you were saying and frowned because that wasn’t at all what he wanted, or where he’d imagined your first fight would end. “No no no,” he quickly said before you hung up on him. “No, that’s not what I want. Y/N, I made a promise-”

“It’s fine,” you whispered. “I didn’t expect you to keep your promise anyway, you’re Chris Evans after all and I’m just…me.” You couldn’t hold it together anymore and you knew it was time to hang up. “Consider that letter void,” you managed with your quivering voice. “Like you said, Chris, this is not a story- it’s real life.” You hung up before he could say anything else, slamming your phone on the dining table as your hand flew to your stomach where you felt like you’d just been stab. “Oh my God,” you covered your mouth with your other hand. “What did I just do?”

“Hey,” Ava was quick to go to your aid, placing a comforting hand on your back that you shook off because you knew you’d lose it if you accepted that comfort. “Y/N, you can’t possibly go to work.” She tried to stop you as you grabbed your bag and made your way to the front door. “No!” She ran in front of you and blocked the door, pushing you back with one hand. “You are not going anywhere, you need to process this.”

“I need to go to work,” you told her in the firmest tone you could muster. You heard Dodger bark, but you couldn’t even look his way because he reminded you too much of the guy you’d so carelessly broke up with. “I’m fine, really,” you tried and failed to assure her. “Now please move out of my way because I am really, really late. Please,” you demanded and she reluctantly did as she was told.

The second you stepped out of the house and the door closed behind you, you broke down. You staggered down the first flight of stairs, hiding on the second so Ava couldn’t see you if she came out. You buried your face in your hands and sobbed, wishing you could take back the past five days so you could do it right this time. You had the perfect guy- the man of your dreams, and what did you do? You tossed him aside like he was nothing when he was actually your north, south, east, and west. You wished Chris was wrong, you wished real life was like your stories so you could be less of a fucking idiot and not ruin everything good in your life.

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Part 4