A.O.K "trial" Gourmet (8) Angelettis

***For an introduction to A.O.K "trial" Gourmet - click here***

It's hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner. The 2009 holiday season is really creeping up on me and I blame the particularly beautiful month of November (mild, sunny... wonderful!) that we've been enjoying in Montreal. I'm used to seasonal grey and somber weather that tends to push me into thinking about the holidays early as a way to lift my spirits. Not so much this year. With just over 3 weeks to go, I've barely made a dent in my Christmas shopping and I have yet to send out invitations or make plans for holiday entertaining.

I'm not completely unprepared though. I did have the good sense to think ahead and invite a bunch of ladies over for an old fashioned cookie swap. If you've never heard of one of these, the idea is simple and brilliant. Instead of baking up a frenzy during the already busy month of December (trying to have as many yummy baked goods and tasty treats on hand for when family and friends are visiting during the holidays) I will bake a gi-normous batch of one or two types of cookies or bars, invite others to do the same - and then we will "swap". Voila! The results will be a scrumptious variety of home-made desserts to offer my guests. Not bad, huh?

Nothing is ever quite THAT simple or THAT easy. Not for me. If I'm hosting this swap then I want to be sure that my contribution is excellent. So with 2 weeks to go before the cookie party I have begun trying out new Christmas cookie recipes! Way to take the simple out of something that is meant to simplify my holiday preparations! Ah well. I enjoy baking... and it gives me a fun activity to do with Layla. AND maybe I'll find a new favorite recipe??? Maybe.

My search for new cookie recipes led me to marthastewart.com. She has a great article on hosting a cookie swap and a ton of recipes for tasty goodies for the holidays. I started looking at all the possibilities and was overwhelmed to say the least. Not only are there way too many choices and possibilities - I really cannot believe how much time and effort some people are willing to put into making cookies. I know I'm coming from the perspective of a mom of 2 little ones, but still - some of Martha's cookies are either pieces of art or incredibly labour intensive. With that said - I gravitated towards the recipes that looked simple (and that I already had the ingredients on hand for).

The "Angelettis" looked simple - something I could make WITH Layla. Something we could start and finish in one sitting. The recipe WAS simple. The cookies were easy to make with Layla and I had a couple dozen iced and ready to take with me for lunch with friends the same day. Perfect.

The Recipe...
(makes about 6 dozen)

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla or anise extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
coarse sanding sugar (AKA sprinkles) for decorating

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer (with the paddle attachment) cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla; beat until incorporated. With mixer on, gradually add flour mixture. Beat until dough comes together.
  3. Scoop dough into tablespoon-size balls onto a baking sheet line with parchment paper. Bake until golden brown (about 15 minutes) Transfer to wire rack to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, stir together confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and 2 Tablespoons water. Place wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Once cookies have cooled, top with icing. Sprinkle with sugar and let stand until set.

The Result?
(1) A very enjoyable morning with Layla - even with the "don't touch that/no you can't eat that/wait/stop...er... let's try it this way...". Sigh... My little girl is truly her father's daughter. She has a deep love for cookie dough. Once we got the cookies mixed and baked, she absolutely loved putting the sprinkles on the cookies. I think the angelettis were a good choice for this as they're not a cookie that is supposed to look perfect. I can honestly say that our cookies turned out just as nice as Martha's!
(2) A pretty tasty cookie - especially when the amount of effort required is taken into consideration. Although the dough is very sticky, the cookie has a dry (but not too dry) texture. And I really like the lemony icing - it added just enough "zing" and sweetness.

So... Will the Angelettis be my swap contribution? They were good... but... I'd like to try a few more recipes first. Chocolate espresso snow caps, buttered rum melt-aways, cranberry noels and chocolate gingerbread. (What? Believe it or not, I've drastically narrowed it down - Once I started looking at the recipes, there were just too many that looked good...)

My goodness... I am going to have sooooo many cookies!


A.O.K "trial" Gourmet (7) Lamb and Beer Stew

***For an introduction to A.O.K "trial" Gourmet - click here***

What? Lamb... again?! Be warned - this might go on for a few weeks! Now that we have 80 lbs of lamb in our freezer... well probably closer to 75 lbs now... (see Fill the Deep Freeze! if you don't know about that yet) I find myself looking for and trying out new recipes much more than usual. I'm a beef girl. Lamb is all new to me and I simply don't have the confidence yet to put it together without instructions. I have to admit that I'm really liking my "lamb" experience so far (and not just the fact that it's helping me with content for this series - though that is certainly a bonus). Last week we enjoyed delicious rosemary leg of lamb and the lamb and beer stew you're about to read about...

Everyone is good at something. We all have gifts and talents in different areas - it's what makes us unique and what helps us find our place in this world. Although I sometimes struggle with where exactly that "place" is for me, I do know that there are things that I'm good at. I have qualities that stand out. One thing that I've often been commended and/or praised for is my efficiency. I have knack for being able to get a lot done, in a short amount of time... and usually it's done well. Usually.

Sometimes I'm so efficient - it's to a fault (and I can't help but note here that it's interesting how my A.O.K "trial" Gourmet series is teaching me some valuable things about myself that have absolutely nothing to do with food or recipes). I have a really bad habit of skimming everything I read. Novels - after which I'm upset because I finished my book in 2 days or less and have nothing else to read. E-mails - I've been totally busted by my friends for this one. Instructions - what? I can figure it out... Recipes - ahem... my case in point! More than once I have missed out on something simply because I didn't take my time to read everything a little more carefully.

I've made little mistakes with recipes because of this problem. I thought I'd learned my lesson. When I decided to make the lamb and beer stew I read the recipe card, I made myself a list of the things I needed to pick up at the grocery store and I headed out... and this time...I picked up the wrong case of beer. I was eyeing a mixed case that included both red and blond beers. I picked up a case of blond. You can't make lamb and RED beer stew with blond beer but by the time I realized my mistake, it was time to put the beer into the stew! So lamb and BLOND beer stew it was.

The result? We don't actually eat much stew in our home to begin with so this wasn't a favorite with the family. Take this initial comment with a grain of salt because my family consists of Brandon - my picky eater of a husband, Layla - my picky toddler and Meaghan - who is too little and hasn't had enough food yet to decide if she's picky or not! Although it wasn't a "hit", Brandon said it was fine and that he would eat it again and Layla ate every piece of meat on her plate and was convinced to eat her vegetables with promises for more meat. My little carnivore. Personally I enjoyed my blond beer stew but would really like to know what difference the red beer and a little mint (which I forgot to add) would have made. I also found the stewed lamb brought out the flavour of the lamb instead of masking it. And I have one more "review" since I actually made a double-batch of this stew to bring some over to a friend for her and her family to share. Her response was "yummy" so let's go with that :-)

So what's next... lamburgers?!?!

Maybe a break from all the lamb... something sweet... and chocolaty...



Recipe for Lamb and Red Blond Beer Stew


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 bottle red beer (or blond... though I have a feeling red is better)
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups leeks cut into rings
  • 2 cups miniature carrots
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups cut green beans
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint


  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over med-high heat; add garlic and cook for about 3 minutes or until golden. Add lam cubes to pan and brown on all sides. Add beer, chicken stock and tomato paste; scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add leek rings, carrots and the bay leaf, and bring to boil. Cover and lower heat to medium-low. Cook for 45 minutes (or until meat is tender). Add green beans and continue cooking for 15 minutes (or until vegetables are tender-crisp). Season with salt and pepper. Stir in oregano and mint.

A little teenage girl left in me...

It happens regularly. I take a step back and look at my life - where I am, where I've come from, the phase I'm currently living in - and I think to myself "I can't believe I'm here... I can't believe I'm already 'grown up'... I have a real job, a house, a car... a pool..." - and of course the big one - "I'm a mom". Seriously? I know time goes by quickly, but sometimes it's as though I turned around a - bam - here I am in the full swing of adulthood, motherhood, wifehood and responsibility-hood!

You would think that eventually it would sink in, that I would accept my status as an adult, as a woman who is now both a wife and a mother - and just move on. But I think there's a part of me (and maybe I'm going out on a limb here... but a part of every woman) that's still a scared teenage girl - uncertain about who they are or who they'll become; in love with the idea of falling in love, scared to make the first move (yes - even with the guy she's been with for over a decade...); needing to be reassured of her worth while trying to seem strong (as if we're supposed to made of steel once we turn a certain age or 'settle' into adulthood).

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I'm the same person I was as a teen. I'm not saying I deal with same issues or have the same hangups. I'm a gazillion times more sure of who I am, I'm so much more confident than I was. (I don't think my friends at the time realized how insecure I was. Heck - I don't think I realized it!) However, it doesn't mean I have myself all figured out. Not at all.

I see little pieces of "teenage Andrea" from time to time. Selfish, proud, self-conscience, sappy, immature... hormonal!

The selfish part of me that wonders what it would be like to be free again. Free of obligations and responsibilities... and free to sleep in if I want to!

The proud part of me that is terrified that someone will catch on that I don't actually have it all together all the time

The self-conscious part of me that worries that someone won't like me. I know I know... hard to believe, right? What's not to like? Right...if only that were true.

The sappy (and some might say immature) part of me that still loves a story about teenage love (maybe because that's when I met and fell in love my husband?) and is really looking forward to seeing New Moon (can't explain that one... other than the fact that I simply enjoyed the books)!

And of course...

The hormonal part of me that can be perfectly happy and content one minute and then depressed or upset over the silliest thing the next. I blame the fact that I'm still in the first year post-partum/nursing hormonal ups and downs for that one!

The reality however, is that I am not a teenage anymore. Thank goodness for that! I don't fight with my parents anymore. Couple arguments are also much fewer and farther in between. I may have lost a certain freedom to responsibilities and obligations that come with having a family, a job, a house... but I've gained other freedoms. I can't get grounded or be told I can't do something anymore. I make my decisions and live with them - whether they're good or bad. And I look at the young girls and what they're wearing and wonder which new styles I can pull off (totally digging my new "skinny" jeans) and which ones I should not even think about trying (just can't bring myself to do "tights")!

Embracing who I am now doesn't mean letting go of who I once was... or growing up completely! Although I've grown a lot and lived a lot in the decade since high school - that girl is still inside me. She makes an appearance from time to time. She keeps me young - for better or for worse?!?


Wordless Wednesday - Fun at the Park in November!

A.O.K "trial" Gourmet - an introduction

A.O.K "trial" Gourmet is my very first series of posts related to a specific theme -FOOD!
The challenge... Try a new recipe every week for one year (or 52 weeks). Post a blog about each new recipe and rate the experience (easy to make? tasty or not? kid-friendly?)

Start date... Wednesday October 14

End date... Thanksgiving 2010
If you're new or just want to catch up with what I've been up to - here's a list of what I've made so far... (I'll continue to add recipes as I go so that the list is complete)
(1) Thanksgiving Extravaganza (sweet onion rolls & turPIGin turkey)
(2) Pumpkin spice Cake (so good... so so good... seriously - try this one!)
(3) Grilled Tuna & Asparagus (a la "Jamie Oliver")
(4) Raspberry/Apple Jam (my flop attempt at making jam this year...)
(5) A New Take on Banana Muffins (recipe includes Kellog's corn flakes!)
(6) The Lamb has Arrived! (Rosemary sliced leg of lamb)
Lamb and Red Beer Stew (well... more like "blond" beer stew)
Angelettis (the first of many cookie trials)
My not so traditional Christmas (Beef Rib Roast & trimmings)
What does one do with ground lamb? (Tagine of spicy kefta with lemon)
(11) Crock Pot Braised Lamb Shanks (a little undercooked but so tender!)
Yummy goodness in a big glass bowl! (Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle)
(13) Chocolate Espresso Snow Caps (Cookies that just melt in your mouth!)
I have Ramekins (Mini scallop casseroles)
(15) A little help on this one (Lamb kefta in PC's Rojan Josh sauce)
(16) Simplified Beef Wellington (courtesy of Jamie Oliver)
(17) Cranberry-Maple Sausage Chili (sweet with heat - a new fave!)
(18) & (19) Baked French Potatoes & Creamy Tarragon Chicken (Just add green beans...)
(20) Maple-Roasted Chicken Breast (we LOVE maple syrup!)
(21) EASY baked salmon (dinner in under 25 minutes)
(22) Veal Parmigiana (NOT a hit with my family, maybe yours?!)
(23) Not so spicy (follow the instructions Andrea!)
(24) Pancakes (& my first Kilimanjaro fundraiser!)
(25) Sloppy Joes (I kid you not... and they were super tasty!)
(26) Home-made pizza (so much easier than I expected...)
(27) Spinach and Lentil Soup (what a day!)

A.O.K "trial" Gourmet (6) the lamb has arrived!

I've been a little "dis-connected" this past week and so this post is coming a few days late. I have learned however, that when I spend less time online, I am much... MUCH more efficient. Although I'm on mat leave right now - between the girls, my blog (which I love love love writing!), book parties (if you didn't know, I recently became an Usborne books consultant... something else I'm really enjoying!) and whatever else (...) I swear I am busier than when I was working. Is it having 2 kids? Do I just have less energy? Is this a sign that I'm aging...?

This post is supposed to be about food isn't it? Not how efficient I am... or my lack of energy. Focus Andrea... focus!

So the lamb has finally arrived. 80 lbs of a variety of different cuts of lamb has been added to the deep freeze and I was pretty anxious to start trying recipes with the lamb as it's a meat that I've only ever bought pre-marinated and ready to BBQ. The next few weeks will be a learning process as I start to integrate the lamb into our regular meals.

Tranches de Gigot d'Agneau au Romarin

For supper tonight we tried "Tranches de Gigot d'Agneau au Romarin" (Rosemary sliced leg of lamb doesn't seem like a proper translation but let's go with that!). My very first and most important comment on our dinner experience is that I am once again THRILLED with the meat bought from a nearby farm. Maybe it's partly in my head... but I swear it tastes better than store bought meat. We're already convinced that we'll buy our beef the same way again. And we'll wait and see how much we enjoy the lamb before making any decisions about buying another one (besides - we seriously have NO freezer space left right now).

The lamb we had for dinner was excellent... in texture, in flavour... yummm. I'm sure it would convert those who think they don't like lamb. My recipe (see below) came from an IGA recipe card - an "aide-gourmet" - and was very simple and easy to execute. The only thing that required extra time was making sure that I had the meat in the marinade 2 hours before dinner.

Marinate the lamb slices for recommended 2 hours. It's well worth it.

The instructions suggested serving the lamb with brown rice and Brussels sprouts. I opted for a rice medley and asparagus. So about 30 minutes before dinner, I prepared my rice (I use 1/2 water and 1/2 chicken stock to give it more flavour) and asparagus (which I almost always cook in the oven on a cookie sheet, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt, at 400 for 5-10 minutes). Brandon helped by cooking the lamb on the BBQ.

The end result

The end result? I liked it. Brandon liked it. Layla liked it (the meat... we had a harder time convincing her to eat her vegetables). The recipe is a keeper and one I'll be doing again for sure. The mix of Dijon, maple, garlic and rosemary was very tasty!

We ended our dinner by sharing a bowl of plump Mexican picked raspberries. Layla enjoys putting them on the end of her fingers and eating them one at a time. She also loves it if you put a raspberry on the end of your finger and "kiss" one of her raspberry fingers with your own. Of course... Brandon and I join her for fun and then exchange a grin at the things we now do because we have kids. (As Layla gets older, these "grins" are occurring more and more often... when we find ourselves singing silly songs, doing silly dances, making animals out of pipe cleaners...).

Layla's RASPBERRY fingertips

What can I say? I love dinner time with my family. I love that we can be silly together. I am really enjoying this time in my life...



The recipe for Rosemary Sliced Leg of Lamb


  • ½ cup apple juice
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary (coarsely chopped)
  • 2 slices of leg of lam (about 1 in. thick)


  1. In a small bowl, mix apple juice, oil, maple syrup, mustard, garlic and rosemary/ Place slices of lamb in a freezer bag (or Tupperware container); add marinade and close tightly. Leave in fridge for about 2 hours.
  2. Preheat BBQ. Grill lamb about 6 minutes per side (until the inside is just pink). Remove it from the flame and cut into the appropriate sized portions.

Oh Reggie...

I introduced you to our family dog - Reuben - a few weeks ago. Now I'd like to introduce you to the cat. You know... the other creature that adds substantially to the accumulation of pet hair in my home (and has me vacuuming at least twice a week!).

Meet Reggie. The cat I thought I wanted. The cat Brandon swore he'd never have. The bain of Reuben's existence. And the reason I plan on never owning another cat - ever.

Reggie was the cutest little orange kitten (on a side note, did you know that almost all orange cats are male? there's a "fun" fact for you!). We bought him at a shady pet store and paid almost nothing for him. He "matched" the dog. We brought him home to our very first little condo, showed him the litter box and the rest is history... well not quite. He's only 5 1/2. We've still got a ways to go. I bet he'll be one of those cats that lives to 20 or something crazy like that!

So, first came the funny and wacky (annoying and destructive) kitten phase... Reggie clawed and climbed on the furniture (as well as all the way to top of the patio door screen!). He would run from one end of our little place to the other - jumping up to sit on the window sills in the bedroom and the kitchen. Not only did he turn Reuben into a crazy jealous pup, but he would "fight" with him, scratching and biting. And he kept me awake - driving me absolutely crazy playing with my hair at all hours of the night.

No matter what we tried, he was destroying our furniture and so we opted to have his front paws de-clawed. I know this is considered cruel by some but (in my defense) we did pay the extra for the pain killers afterwards in attempt to give him as much pain relief possible. Even so... I can still remember him shaking his little paw as if to say "y-ow" when he tried to jump up on the windowsill the first few days after his surgery.

Maybe that's when the "anger" started.

Reggie went from this wild little kitten to an anti-social and in some cases even hateful cat. He rarely comes out when there is company, only wants to be pet by Brandon (and only when he feels like it) and has terrorized a few different house/cat sitters that we've asked to come and feed him when we were away. He turns into a raging lunatic for 3-5 days whenever we bathe Reuben (which thanks to the type of hair Reuben has - isn't very often). I'm telling you though - the sounds that come out of him are straight out of some freaky horror movie (creepy!) He tolerates (and steers clear of) the girls and I am almost 100% certain that he doesn't like me at all - unless he wants to be fed - then he's Mr. PURR.

Isn't part of the joy of having a pet that they just love you for you? I guess that rule only applies to dogs? I know when I write this that not all cats are as anti-social and hateful as our little Reggie... but still... if he'd just love me a little... maybe I'd love him a little back.

You get more if you give more, right? Not so in Reggie's case. Layla still adores him. She gets incredibly excited if he sits still for more than 3 seconds and she can pet him (I think it's happened twice). Brandon thinks he's funny - though he actually does "cuddle" with Brandon from time to time - I guess he too, has some need for affection (once every 3-5 weeks or so). Even Meaghan has started watching and smiling at him. And... although I hate to admit it (and this doesn't mean I actually enjoy having him as a pet) I know I will be upset when he's gone.

But mark my words. I will not "replace" him. I will not own another cat. Reggie will be my one and only pet cat... ever. With that said, I will always be grateful to him for one thing - helping me to realize that I am NOT a cat person(!)


AOK "trial" Gourmet (5) A New Take on Banana Muffins

(for an introduction to AOK "trial" Gourmet, click here)

If you're anything like me, your old (and bruised) bananas end up in the freezer. Eventually you go to add another one to your stash and you realize that you have accumulated a gazillion (OK... maybe more like 5 or 6) ugly black masses that may have once resembled bananas and you say to yourself... maybe it's time to make banana bread?

There are so many different recipes for banana bread out there, most of them including the optional addition of chopped nuts. My husband has an aversion to the texture of nuts so even though I like what they add to banana bread, I never actually include them when I'm making it.

So when I stumbled upon this recipe for Kellogg's Corn Flakes banana muffins (on the side of the cereal box of course!) I thought that the addition of corn flakes "crumbs" might be an interesting compromise.

Since my baking bananas were frozen, I had to plan ahead and take them out of the freezer to thaw. Once thawed, they're really quite a mess to handle (slimy... mushy...). I've always found that the best technique to get the banana out of the skin when it's like this, is to simply cut the tip at one end and squeeze the contents out. It's not pretty, but it's quick and it's clean.

So... back to the recipe...

With a toddler at home, I decided to make "mini-muffins" for snacks and I've included my modifications to the original recipe below. I'm starting to think that mini-muffins are a bit like Halloween candy. The portion sizes are fantastic for toddlers or kids... but as an adult (...a food loving, glutenous, nursing woman!) I think I actually end up eating more. It's just too easy to have another one, and then another one... and then... I think you get my point.

So... mini or not... how would I rate this recipe? It's good. It was super simple and it gave me something to do with banana AND cereal leftovers (you know... the last little bit of cereal at the bottom of the box that for some reason no one ever wants to eat). Although the corn flakes didn't add the texture I was hoping for, the recipe seems to make a really moist and bready muffin. At least - that' s how mine turned out.

Totally worth a try. Check out the recipe below...

Recipe for 12 muffins (see my modifications for 44 mini-muffins**)

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups Kellogg's corn flakes cereal (crushed to make 1 cup crumbs)
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup mashed fully-ripe bananas (about 3 medium)

1. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, spices and Kellogg's corn flakes cereal. Set aside.

2. In large mixer bowl, combine egg, milk and oil. Stir in bananas. Add flour mixture, stirring only until combined. Portion evenly into twelve 2 1/2 in. muffin pan cups (coated with cooking spray) **For mini-muffins I used a 1 in. cookie "scoop" to portion evenly - the perfect size!**

3. Bake at 400 F (220 C) for 20 minutes **only 15 minutes for mini muffins** or until lightly browned. Serve warm

Did it fade? Did it fizzle? Did it crash--bang--die?

One of my goals for this blog is to be honest with my readers. I want to keep things real. So here's what's been on my mind these last few days...

I've been thinking a lot lately about the relationships in my life that have faded away, fizzled out or crash-bang-died (!)

I'm a "boy-friend" girl. I got that line from the movie I LOVE YOU MAN where the main character (played by Paul Rudd) is a "girl-friend" guy. He has great relationships with girls but is a little dysfunctional when it comes to friends of the same gender. How does this apply to me? Well... I am the girl who married her high school sweetheart at 22 (so I obviously didn't have a lot of different boyfriends in my teens or early 20s) - I pour my heart into my relationship with Brandon. If I'm totally honest with myself, it has been a different story when it comes to my girl-friends. Although there are a few (you know who you are) that have stood the test of time and are still very close - there are many that have come and gone. A part of me says "that's normal, right?"... another part of me wonders... "what's wrong with me?"

Brandon doesn't understand why I think about these things. He's very matter of fact and as a supportive husband "takes my side" in all situations (where there is a side to take). This is great, but it doesn't help me to pin point the areas in my life that might push people away... that might need work. He encourages me to forget about the negative friendship losses and to foster my current relationships. Here's a good example: Ever since e-mail came into the picture, I'm really bad at calling friends and Brandon is always the first to tell me to PICK UP THE PHONE. It's quick. It lets the person know immediately that you're thinking of them. And it's so much more personal. (I'm working on it... I am.)

Some of my friendships simply faded... some people moved away and although there were very good intentions of staying in touch, time and distance took their tole. For others it was physical distance - it was more that we were living two totally different things and had lost our common ground. You know - the kind of "friend-break" where there's no bitterness or hang-ups. It's mutual and you don't really have anything wrong with other person. You still enjoy chatting if you see each other... but you accept that you've gone your separate ways. I have one friend in particular (one of my longest friendships) with whom I have am on-gain and off-again closeness status. I love her and care about her a great deal but we go through phases and we both know it. When we're close, we're very close. When we're distant, we can go months without talking. Ours is a rare and bizarre friendship because in the distant times... I always know that we'll be close again someday.

Some endings were a little uglier... and this is where I'm stuck right now. Whether the end of the friendship was because of something I did or something the other person did (or a nice mix) - I simply don't want "bad blood" with anyone. I'm tired of trying to figure out who is more to blame in situations that occurred years ago. Was it their fault? Was it my fault? I'm pretty sure that no one is blameless (myself included). I may not think I did anything wrong... it may be a question of misunderstandings and perspective... but I don't want to absolve myself when someone may have been hurt by something did or said. And if I am guilty... I want to know. I want the chance to say I'm sorry and then move on.

So what is the right thing to do? If these "ex" friendships are on my mind, should I try and reconnect if simply for a chance to apologize? Or is that selfish on my part? An attempt to "absolve" myself of blame and in doing so risk the chance that I will open up an old wound for someone else...

I don't think I'm a bad person. I don't even think I'm a bad friend. Any situation where there might be "bad blood" happened several years ago. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since. I've changed and matured.

Maybe you agree with Brandon. I should let bygones be bygones and move on. Invest my time in the friendships that I have now... the tried and true ones and the ones that are just starting to grow. In my current friendships I always try to see both sides of the fence. I lower my expectations (and try to remember that nobody else's life revolves around me). I recognize that being a good friend can sometimes mean saying I'm sorry and doing my best to avoid situations that lead to the need for an apology(!).

So... what about the old friends? The ones that I might have hurt (or who might have hurt me) along the way. Have they forgotten about it, about me? Would they appreciate or resent the idea of being able to reconcile?

Have you ever felt this way? What would you do in my shoes? (there's place for your feedback below...)


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