Salt and Vinegar Chocolate Tart | @thefauxmartha

I had the opportunity to fly to Portland on a #chiptrip with Kettle Chips. We toured their beautiful innovation center and production facility. In fact, it’s so beautiful I didn’t believe they actually produced chips on-site until I saw chips being produced on-site. A modern building straight out of Dwell Magazine greeted us. Lush, thoughtful landscaping stood between the restored wetlands and the innovation center. Could it be possible to love Kettle Chips even more? I knew it was in the realm after having my mind blown the night before at Park Kitchen. We finished dinner with a bittersweet chocolate tart that sat above a pool of salted caramel sauce. Adjacent to the tart was a scoop of hazelnut ice cream with crunchy Salt and Vinegar Kettle Chips underneath. Salt and Vinegar Chips! I’ve never fallen so madly, deeply in love with a dessert. It’s like the first 10 seconds of a Christina Aguilera song when she hits every last note. Bitter, sweet, salty, sour, smooth, rich, crunchy. I was ruined. Read more

Gift Guide | @thefauxmartha

If you’re related to me, stop reading. Especially you, Hallie (the twonager). Your Christmas gift is below. I’m teaming up with Giftry again this year to inspire your last minute holiday gift buying, and hopefully eliminate all the stress (minus the wrapping). I’ve got lists for the Copper Shopper, the Pizzaiolo (pizza chef), the Plaid Lover, the Mixologist, the Stocking Stuffer, and the Twonager. If you’re not already familiar with Giftry, they are a gift giving and list making app. So when your mom, mother-in-law, sister, mister, and brother ask you for gift ideas, you make a Giftry wish list. Send that same list to each of them. Make them create one too. (I’m talking to you, Mom.) When the gift is bought, mark as purchased. No more wandering aimlessly around the mall or spending hours in the return line post Christmas. Save time. Make christmas cookies instead. And download Giftry. Read more

Edible Gift Guide | @thefauxmartha

I’m certain it was Maggie, founder of Eat Boutique, who turned me on to gifting food. Aside from trading turkeys made from Keebler Fudge Shoppe cookies, Rolos, and candy corns with neighbors growing up, the idea never crossed my mind. Two years ago, when we still lived on the east coast, we made the trek to Boston for Maggie’s annual Holiday Market. (Boston locals, it’s going on now! Details here.) The shelves of the market were filled with thoughtful, beautifully packaged, small batch food items. In that same spirit, Maggie recently published her first book, Food Gift Love. It’s full of homemade recipes for gifting—from pickled cucumbers to limoncello to candied blood orange rinds. I dog-eared her Salted Dark Caramel and prayed it was the caramel sauce recipe I’d been waiting for. The one I could actually replicate. It’s been my achilles heal since the first day I stepped foot in the kitchen. Not to sweet, almost burnt in flavor. That’s how she describes it. That’s also how my first successful caramel tasted. It worked! Read more

Blender Eggnog | @thefauxmartha

I have a lightening quick post today, on all fronts. Yesterday, just hours before the annual neighborhood Christmas party, Lucy (my neighbor) and I got together to concoct what some said is the best eggnog they’ve ever had. Now, I don’t usually care for eggnog, but I care very deeply for this one. We tested several versions until we hit perfection, hiccup. Ella Wang, Diddy, Dumps, Wingnut, Mrs. Thompson, Sweet Alice, and Aunt Cleo provided the eggs. Lucy has a chicken coop and 4 tiny humans that come up with the best names. Now about that blender eggnog. It comes together quick, in a blender. It’s light in texture compared to the thick custardy version you might be used to (mostly due to the raw, uncooked eggs) and not overly sweet. I know the raw eggs will ruffle some chicken feathers. Choose your eggs wisely, wash them well before cracking, and crack on a flat surface (like a counter), says my neighbor Beth. Skip the alcohol if you must, but please don’t skip the freshly grated nutmeg. Clink, cluck, cheers! Read more

Make Ahead Orange Clove Rolls | @thefauxmartha

I forgot to post the picture of Hallie throwing a tantrum for the twelfth time the morning after Thanksgiving. And the picture where I threw one too, beet red and angry. And I didn’t tell you how I threw out the stuffing before anyone could take seconds because it didn’t taste right. I bought the wrong bread. And I didn’t record the argument we had about how to best hang the garland outside either. But I did want to tell you about these make ahead orange clove rolls we consumed during those days. That cream cheese glaze, it can cover a multitude of sins. Read more

The Faux Mantel | @thefauxmartha

I haven’t shared a whole lot about our house yet. Everything is almost done but not done, done. I’m also still getting used to the idea that this is our home. It felt like a project for so long. At the very last minute during the build, we nixed the fireplace for another year or so to stay on budget. We forgot all about that until now, when looking for a place to hang our stockings. By next month I’m sure we’ll wish it for other reasons. To right this wrong, I’ve teamed up with Pottery Barn Kids to create a faux mantel, #thefauxmantel. Would you expect anything different? Read more

His and Hers Brilliant Bikes | @thefauxmartha

You may remember the Balsamic Pasta post a couple months back. It was more about marriage than it was about a recipe. It was about how we forgot to have fun together—a simple revelation that we came by the hard way. We found that carefree fun again between a couple of red paddles and a ping pong table from Craigslist. We also found it after renting bikes to trek around the city with out-of-town friends. Afterwards, we decided a set of wheels would be another good investment in usBrilliant sent over his and hers bikes. (Thank you Brilliant!) We’re in love. On all fronts. Read more

Travel Ready Breakfast | @thefauxmartha

Before every trip, I promise myself that this time I’ll pack a homemade breakfast. And then as I’m running out the door to catch my flight because I’ve only just packed my suitcase, I swear it for next time. And you know how the story goes next time. It’s on repeat. What’s also on repeat—the way I feel after traveling. Not good. My body is in such a steady rhythm, that one little hiccup and an order of airport food will throw it out of alignment. Completely. So as we enter into a season laden with travel, either by plane, train, or automobile, I want to pass on a life-saving tip I’ve only just learned. Pack a travel ready breakfast —a bag (or 2) of Seven Sundays Muesli, a bowl and a disposable spoon, and an iPad for reading pleasure. Wherever you find yourself, just buy a small jug of milk.  Read more