Peanut Butter Balls | @thefauxmartha

“Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things. What I do takes long hours of studying and uninterruptible concentration.” —Donald Knuth, a computer scientist

I added that quote to my email signature after Kev shared it with me. He knows my struggles. As of right now, the number 8855 is barely legible, set in white text on a red background, and hovering to the right of my email application. I’m a minimalist in most areas of life except my inbox. It’s a complete disaster. It gives me hives when I think about it, so I don’t. I have trouble pressing delete and unsubscribing from reoccurring emails. I mark every email as unread. And replies take at least a couple days for me to formulate my thoughts and sentiments. I live a paralyzed life when it comes to email. Read more

Minimalism and Vegetarian Tacos | @thefauxmartha

They called me quirky growing up. Repeatedly. I just assumed they meant to say funny. Miss Sharp, my first grade teacher, reserved the last 10 minutes of class for me to do stand up. Everyday. I thought I was funny, but now I know she was probably just tired of standing up. I’ve never been good at delivering punch lines, and I can’t imagine I was any better at age 6. They meant what they said. Read more

Brussels Sprouts Roasted in a Peanut Harissa Sauce | @thefauxmartha

I’m not good at good-bye. Neither is Hal. She avoids it about as well as she avoids nap-time. Twenty minutes after our guests leave, she rhythmically ask where they are. Somehow she’s forgotten the awkward, prolonged good-bye or lack thereof. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I understand that phrase better now that we have an apple tree in our backyard. The poor kid never had a chance. Read more

Tar Cherry Pie | @thefauxmartha

“So I said, “I better start thinking about having my own language in cooking.” I didn’t invent anything really. I just went down to my knees, looked around and remembered all the tools from my childhood. I looked around a bit into the mountains and saw what the natives had been doing. I grabbed all that and I started cooking with it.” —Francis Mallmann
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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