Baked spinach.

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My family was sitting around the dinner table one night in the mid ’90s. I was about eight or nine, still young enough to play with my dollhouse, but old enough to start stressing out about things like our house getting burglarized or burning to the ground. (I was a weird kid.) My sister must have been about six, probably missing a couple of her front teeth and generally being adorable.

Our mom had made zucchini for dinner, and neither of us really enjoyed it. I could handle it, but Katie – ever the typical showman youngest child – could. not. even. We were not rude, spoiled monsters, so we obviously did our best to eat stuff we didn’t like, but at that point in time, neither of us had much success conjuring up any enthusiasm. (Currently, we both dig it. THIS IS GROWING UP, KIDDOS.)

My mom asked us – probably in a sarcastic way that was meant to convey one or both of us was being ridiculous about something – what we thought the worst thing god could ever make us do was. I said something probably apropos of my weird, macabre, overly anxious childhood self, like, “Make you kill the people you love.”

Katie, however, was more…well, Katie about it.

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Broccoli salad.

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I don’t know about you, but I thoroughly enjoy salad bars. I like piling a random assortment of vegetables, fruits, dressings, nuts and seeds on my plate. It’s so much more fun than getting a regular salad assembled by someone else. I mean, maybe I don’t want just Caesar salad. Maybe I want some Caesar salad, and a spoonful of Waldorf salad to go with it. If I want to plop some baby corns or cherry tomatoes on my mixed greens, I can do that. And if my favorite salad bar staple, broccoli salad, is there, then awww yeah.

Sadly, broccoli is not one of the shining stars of the vegetable aisle. Admittedly, I didn’t like it when I was growing up – and I wasn’t one of those kids who eschewed her vegetables at every turn. I generally ate my peas and string beans without a fuss, and considered carrots and cucumbers to be pretty neat snacks, but unless broccoli was slathered in Velveeta, I wanted no part of it – and even then, I’d bite the florets off the stalks, leaving those behind…possibly concealing them under some mashed potatoes.

But now, I can get down with broccoli. Especially if it’s tossed together with some other veggies, bacon, cheese and a creamy dressing.

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Attack of the mac.

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A couple of my coworkers and I came up with a brilliant idea a couple of weeks ago. I’m not entirely sure how we got on the topic of macaroni and cheese, but we decided that, since it’s so versatile and so well-loved, it might be fun to have a macaroni and cheese contest in the office.

Because I’m a little obsessive, I decided to dedicate an entire Saturday to testing out three different mac and cheese recipes. I think it’s safe to say that Colin appreciated this display of insanity … even if it meant that the two of us passed out in cheese-and-bechamel induced comas on the couch by 10:30. Adulthood!

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Mushroom bourguignon

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So, in case your Facebook friends aren’t my Facebook friends and didn’t let you know that it snowed the other day (who needs a weather app when you have Facebook on your phone?), it uh, snowed the other day. Ugh. I feel like snow shouldn’t be allowed to happen until December and/or the trees are bare. Also, I think snow is pretty stupid unless it cancels everything unpleasant and involving operating a vehicle. Or a shovel.

I do an awful lot of moping when it comes to winter. Sure, I love my red pea coat, and Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but once the warmth and joy of the holidays pass, I gird myself for relentlessly gray and cold January (and February, and usually March) with only my pea coat as a bright spot. Unless you have a birthday, nothing good happens in January. Everyone’s in the midst of a holiday hangover, trying to content themselves with carrot sticks and sad salads when really, the weather demands stews and roasts and scoops of mashed potatoes. In December, it’s dark at, like, 5 p.m., but the presence of Christmas lights makes that okay. In January, that early, undecorated darkness is like a giant middle finger.

See? It’s not even Thanksgiving – I have more than a month before the hated post-holiday winter sets in, and I’m already woebegone.

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