Nov 232010
My tip for entertaining? Don't burn your house down.

Good idea: A pre-party trial run. Bad idea: Setting the kitchen on fire. Okay, I didn’t actually set the kitchen on fire. Just a cookbook, but the kitchen is alive and well only thanks to my quick-acting husband. To explain: A couple of years ago I learned (kind of the hard way) that it’s not a good idea to make a recipe for the first time when preparing it for my Open House. Most recipes don’t tell you how long they really take to make – at normal human speeds, not Rachel Ray 30 minute speeds – not to mention […]

Nov 162010
Open House - T minus 4 weeks and counting

As I write this, it’s mid November and I feel drastically behind for the Open House. But I feel that way every year, so what’s new? Actually, my work load in my design job has been at capacity and beyond for several weeks, so I’ve had a hard time juggling that and OH prep. (At least I’m earning money to help pay for the Open House.) Here’s where I stand so far: Decorating: Carolina Panthers tree done. This tree sits on top of the entertainment center, topped by a Sir Purr angel (made the wings and halo with pipe cleaners). […]

Oct 152010
The 2010 Open House Menu: First Thoughts

After each Open House, as we pack up the leftovers and get ready for the game night that immediately follows the party (my reward), my husband and I take notes about what recipes worked and which ones didn’t. Basically a post-mortem. What worked? What didn’t? Here’s what we thought about 2009.

Sep 302010
Anatomy of a Holiday Open House

I throw a huge Open House every Christmas that, despite my best efforts, gets bigger and more ambitious every year. But after 10 years of learning from my mistakes, I’ve gotten pretty good at organizing, planning, and prepping 50+ dishes so we’re (mostly) done in time for the party and I get to enjoy my guests. Here’s the first in a series of posts about the Open House and my preparations for it.

Aug 202010
Kitchen Gadget I Love: Melon Baller

I love my melon baller, and this time of year I use it nearly every day. No, not because fragrant, delicious cantaloupes are in season. I can’t recall ever using a melon baller to, um, ball melons. (Is there a more polite word than that?) Yes, they look pretty in the little ball shapes, but it wastes too much of that wonderful flesh. (Not to mention takes too much time! Much quicker to chop a melon in nice chunks, and just as presentable.) No, I use my melon baller on other types of fruit. For instance: If you’ve ever cut […]

Jul 212010
My Six(ish) Favorite Cookbooks

I love cookbooks. All the ideas and yummy food, just waiting inside those pages! You can never have too many, though I should confess I often turn to the Internet first. Sometimes I’m so lazy I’ll search on the Internet for the cookbook recipe, so I can work from the printout and not juggle a book in the kitchen. But there are a few cookbooks that are my go-to resources, and I thought I’d share them with you. These are in no particular order, as my favorite would depend on what I’m in the mood to eat!