This weekend, the husbabe and I drove up to Seattle to help West Coast Best Friend Gina ring in her 30th year. (First friend bites the dust!) Being the overachiever that she is, G-Nar wasn’t content to simply start a new decade of life, throw a little party for it and host overnight guests for the weekend. She also happened to be moving into a new place while we were there.

And yet the birthday girl still found time to help me knock a couple things off my 30 Before 30 list, including riding a jet ski (which is kinda like a motorcycle, so it almost counts as #23), and cooking, two days in a row. (!!)

In addition to a giant pot of bacon-and-cheese risotto (which I totally helped stir like half the time), we tried out a Homemade Pop-Tarts recipe I’d found a few days earlier. If you want to try these sprinkled treats for yourselves, you can find the recipe here. But after attempting them, I’d like to offer for your convenience, dear reader, a slightly—edited—version here.

Homemade Pop-Tarts:

  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling and chasing around the counter for 20 minutes, trying in vain to wipe up
  • 1 tsp salt that we don’t have since G just moved into this house, so just forget it
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar, which is a surprisingly small amount for a recipe called “Homemade Pop-Tarts,” but OK, we’ll trust you
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, that we probably didn’t let get cold enough or dice small enough
  • 4 – 5 tbsp ice water that’s really just lukewarm cuz that’s as cold as the tap gets
  • 3/4 cup strawberry preserves, divided (or other preserve of choice, i.e. whatever happens to be in the fridge at the moment as long as it’s not apricot jam because apricot jam is the worst)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar that’s worth a cheer, because we actually have some and who just has this lying around?
  • 2 tbsp half and half, plus more as needed to pour into the extra coffee this experience is forcing me to consume
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract because it’s too early for real alcohol even though lord knows I want some

In an adorable kitchen your bestie just moved into, set out ingredients. Notice your chipped fingernails. Lament letting 4 months pass since your last mani, thereby ruining this could-be Instagram-worthy photo op. Don’t read the directions yet–at this point you should just be mixing the first few ingredients on the list in the one big bowl that’s been unpacked.

Put one handful of mixture (because that’s all that’ll fit) into a tiny food processor that can only be turned on by jamming a fork into its side. Next, dump the lumpy mixture directly onto the counter because the only two plates you have are dirty. Read ahead in the directions and realize dough is supposed to sit for an hour after mixing. Laugh. Decide that’s just not happening.

Working with one fistful at a time, put more clumps of flour and now-nearly melted butter into food processor. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, as you realize dough is supposed to sit another hour, after kneading. Decide to skip that step, too. Realize that no matter how much you work the dough with your fingers (and probably because of how much you’ve worked it with your fingers), the flour is just not gonna combine with the butter to form a perfect, flaky crust.

Transfer “dough” to 9 x 13 inch cake pan. Have a mini freak-out. Stick lumpy flour in the freezer, where you can’t see it and it can’t hurt you anymore. Put on real pants. Walk to cafe and buy 4 pastries. Walk home, dig in, and enjoy!

Yields: 0 Pop-Tarts, 2 chocolate croissants, 2 scones and 1 great story.