Culinary Cousins: Fluffy Homemade Marshmallows

I’m in full holiday mode. There’s a permanent layer of sugar coating my kitchen counters and coursing through my veins.

Read all about it: Fluffy Homemade Marshmallows

Fluffy Homemade Marshmallows at


Down with the sickness.


It all started at a festive Thanksgiving family gathering.

I mistakenly picked up another’s wine glass and went on my way. When I realized and tried to exchange, she confessed that she hadn’t been feeling well. No problem, I shrugged, what’s the worst that could happen?

Two days later, post Black Friday-induced sleep deprivation and early morning exposure to the elements, I was down for the count. That guest took out four others that night as well.

It’s been weeks, but I’m barely hanging on. I thought I was over the hill last weekend and on the road to recovery, but I woke Sunday with symptoms anew. A complete and total relapse. Continue reading

Reflections of the way life used to be.

I have just realized, as we head toward Christmas and another turn of the year, that 2011 has been quite a transitional year. Most of my pursuits and priorities in December were actually unfathomable to me back in January.

I mean, Oliver joined me in March.

I went to South Africa in May — and if you had told me that I would cross the equator twice to Australia and South Africa in one calendar year, I would have rolled my eyes at you.

I got a new job in July.

Then a couple of weeks ago I (finally) finished my MBA after 3+ years of nose to the grindstone and personal sacrifices. I will desperately miss the learning and the family I found there … but maybe not for a few more months.
Keep reading »

A Christmas baking recap.

I love the holidays. But at the same time they can be challenging. Last week I set off for home with a twinkle in my eye about the four days of rest, relaxation, cocktail parties, presents and time with family I was going to enjoy. In truth, I didn’t sit down for four days.

My Christmas vacation was full of said parties, gifts and family but also a blur of errands, baking and post-Christmas shopping. (Have to stock up on wrapping paper and bows for next year! Even if it’s snowing!) Weirdly enough, it did snow … at Hilton Head Island of all places. That’s especially rare since most years I’m wearing short sleeves on Christmas Day in 70s-degree weather while grumbling about how it needs to be colder. I got my wish this year.

Anyhoo, about the baking. I crossed off a few culinary challenges from my list and added some new items to my repertoire, including: Keep reading »

The year the rat ate Christmas.

While I was growing up, my grandparents lived on a farm in Middle-of-Nowhere, South Carolina. A few days before Christmas one year, there was an outbreak of large rats, who entered the house through some vents and happily scurried around through the walls. (I should note that this was not common; there were always a lot of “creatures” around, but never, ever rats.) My uncle sealed up the entry holes and put out some poison pellets, so by the time my mom and I arrived for Christmas, the whole ordeal was winding down. Or so we thought.

On Christmas Eve, we added our gifts under the tree. I had found some sugar-free Werther’s candies for Mom; she had bought and wrapped up a silver charm bracelet for me.

Come Christmas morning, after the explosion of wrapping paper and ribbons settled, I noticed that the Werther’s bag was missing. Mom also looked perplexed, since she knew I hadn’t yet opened one important gift. That box didn’t seem to be under the tree either. Keep reading »

Obsessions: One Kings Lane

When I bought my house two years ago, I was daunted by the prospect of filling 2,000 square feet with stuff. Well, not just “stuff,” but pretty and aesthetically-pleasing, matched, probably expensive, uh … furnishings.

One day I stumbled on a little website that has changed my life, and my home (and has seriously altered my bank and credit card balances).

The obsession is One Kings Lane. It’s a subscription-only website (like Gilt, the Foundary, etc.) for home stuff — prints, furniture, kitchen tools, bedding, etc., all at majorly reduced prices.

Keep reading »

'Tis the season.

Angie and I bought season tickets to the Blumenthal theatre season this year, so we spent Friday night enjoying “White Christmas,” the stage musical version of the Bing Crosby-Rosemary Clooney movie. The production was just okay, but it did kickstart me into the Christmas spirit. My days before Christmas are a mashup of final exams, furious and stressful present shopping, wrapping, mailing, packing, driving, baking, etc. Sometimes you just have to relax and watch a good movie.

During this time of year, I’m not so inspired by Christmas music, but I love a good Christmas flick. Here are a few of my favorite holiday movies that put me in the Christmas mood. Keep reading »

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

I wasn’t going to get a Christmas tree this year — big exams on the horizon, haven’t bought half my presents, will be traveling for Christmas anyway. Bah humbug.

But Santa knew that I should have a tree. I opened my front door today, and look what Santa brought me!

I think those exams can wait while I deck the halls a bit.

Thanks, Santa!