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Posted on Dec 19, 2012 in Food | 11 comments


You know that person? That one friend who is so eerily similar to you, it’s a little bit frightening? I like to think that most people have someone like that in their lives. And for me, that person is my good friend Aileen.


Our friendship story has either been in the works for a very long time, or it’s still pretty new–I can’t really decide which. In the grand scheme of life, we haven’t actually known each other that long, but I think we all know that time isn’t everything. Aileen is the sister of Joanna, my freshman year college roommate. I’d heard about this mystery sister quite a bit that year, but we didn’t actually meet until many years later. Joanna and I reconnected after we graduated from college (go Dukes!) due to the amazingness that is social media, and it was at this point that I connected with Aileen as well.

And thank goodness for that.

See, Aileen and I are basically twins. Which hopefully Joanna won’t get mad at me for saying, since she and Aileen are ACTUAL twins. Like, born-60-seconds-apart, shared-the-same-womb twins. (…as opposed to the other kind? Hahahahaha.) But there is just so MUCH that Aileen and I share: a tendency to stray toward the melodramatic, lifelong battles with the neuroses that actually make us totally awesome and super good listmakers, and a deep, unyielding love of Harry Potter, cheese, and American Musical Theatre. Oh yeah, and there’s this:


That’s right, in case you hadn’t already pieced it together from the numerous mentions I’ve made of her before, Aileen is my glorious, patient, wonderful book editor as well. In fact, check out this interview article where Aileen talks about what the painstaking editing process for Terra was like, or her own blog post on it!


Aileen has been such a HUGELY integral part of Terra being as awesome and kickass as it is (in my, y’know, totally unbiased opinion, hahaha), and last night we finally got to celebrate the book’s launch together… and in the best possible way. With a homemade meal, mini bottles of champagne, and pumpkin-spice rice krispie ball pops (!!) that Aileen brought over.


Being the good sport that she is, she happily (?) helped make my garlicky dreams come true by helping me whip up my delectable Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic recipe.


We also had roasted Brussels sprouts (uh, duh) and I found this particularly huge B-sprouts stalk at the grocery store… which reminded me that while it really does look cool, but it’s such an extra pain in the patooty. Which I guess is why I’m lucky that Aileen was willing to shuck the stalk, hahahaha.


Aaaanyway, the two of us got down to business in the kitchen, chopping and dicing and drinking champagne–as all truly great chefs do, I’m sure–whilst simultaneously taaaaalkingtalkingtalkingtalkingtalking because we’re really, really good at that.


Also, we peeled so much garlic that my hands still smell like garlic as I type this. I keep vacillating between whether that’s a good or bad thing.

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Ultimately, garlicky-fingers or not, we ended up with a feast fit for kings. Er, queens. Er, modern day self-proclaimed princesses. We also made the recipe for Celebrations Quinoa with Dried Cranberries and Spiced Pecans that was served at Anne’s wedding.


I have been sitting on this recipe since Anne sent it to me and now I do not even understand why I waited. It. Was. Phenomenal. Seriously, make it, make it now. SO easy and SO delicious. I don’t even love quinoa that much, and I’m still saying it.

ANYWAY. Basically, it was kind of a perfect Tuesday evening. Which is actually awesome, because I make no attempts to hide my general hatred for Tuesdays. They are typically the very worst day of the week, after all. But not this one! There was delicious homemade food, booze, baked goods, and my amazing friend. Also, schnauzers in Christmas sweaters. Win-win-win…win.

(Also, I know I linked to it way at the top, but it bears mentioning again that Aileen’s blog, Army Pants and Flip Flops, is amazing. It’s seriously fracking funny, and you should read it. Her writing is legitimately laugh-out-loud hilarious and there are many, many, MANY references to cheese. And Harry Potter. And basically all things awesome. Okay, I’m done now.)

Happy Wednesday! My sister flies into town tonight and is going to be here through Christmas, and I’m SO EXCITED!! And scared, because I haven’t seen her in over a month and I really have no idea what to expect with regard to her super-preggo-baby-belly situation. If you feel like winning a bet tonight, I suggest you put money down on me crying.


  1. CAN I TELL YOU. I was in the shower this morning, pouring shampoo into my hands and I was like…what…what is that smell? On my hands? It is not good. Then I was like, oh yeah we peeled/ate enough garlic to kill the entire population of Transylvania last night.


    P.S. I’m crying now, which means I’ll need to spend the morning complaining to my boss about my terrrrrible allergies. So weird to have allergies in December! Must be the inconsistent waves of winter heat.

    P.P.S. <3
    I haven't spent enough time thanking YOU for allowing my neuroses and me to slobber all over Terra. It has been dream-fulfilling to be part of your dream. I srsly can't wait for what's to come.


  2. My best friend Lauren and I are twins, despite being polar opposites on almost everything. I’m tall, she’s short. I’m heavier, she’s skinnier. I’m conservative, she’s liberal. Those are our only differences, it seems like (ya know, except for finger prints). Everything else, we are exactly the same. It’s a little erie, but it’s nice to have someone that you can talk to about everything.

    Question for you and Aileen. Do people watch you guys talk, like you’re a reality show? Lauren and I got that ALL THE TIME in college! My cousin, Brooke, even said it was like watching two people speaking Portuguese (as she didn’t speak Portuguese), and she had no idea what was happening.

    • Oh my gosh. We’d be like the Truman Show except with a lot more glitter.


    • Lololol, with her adorable tiny petite frame and curly locks and super long eyelashes that I’m not jealous of nope not even a little, we are definitely physical opposites. But otherwise…? I think I literally said the words, “She’s like the tiny jewish version of me… or I’m the giant whasian version of her” at some point last night, hahahaha.

  3. haha I totally understand the Twin thing. My cousin Crystal is 100% my twin, to the point where sometimes I feel like she is actually my real twin! I can’t wait to buy a copy of your book! Comes out friday? is that right, or did it come out 12/12/12? I remember it was some awesome date, but was it the 12/12/12 awesome date or the 12/21/12 end of the world date lol

    • Hahaha, yep! It came out on 12/12/12, which was a very lucky coinkidink for me since I didn’t plan it that way! Here’s a list of all the places you can snag one: http://gretchenpowell.com/book/where-to-buy 😀

  4. I really want to try that recipe! Did you serve it hot or cold? I’m looking for something I can prepare ahead of time and bring to a party without heating it up.


    • Yep — served it cold! I think it tasted even better the next day, so it’s a make ahead dish for sure!!


  1. Guest Post: Army Pants and Flip Flops | Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen! - [...] face behind today’s guest poster, and that’s because today we welcome my good friend Aileen to the blog! Aileen, for…
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