The List Lady

basic cakey brownies

Before all of my vacations, I pull out a pen and notepad to write lists. I jot down everything, from the individual shirts and earrings on my packing list to the sights and restaurants on my daily activities list. But every time, I forget to make one very important list: the what-to-do-with-what’s-left-in-the-fridge list.   Continue reading for recipe.


August 27, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss. 8 comments.

Hiking Trails and Tuna Tales

Every childhood summer, we piled into our minivan and drove up to the mountains to pitch a tent and escape humanity for a while. Sometimes family friends joined in, and we all swam in the lake, cooked burgers in the fire, and munched on gooey s’mores.


But everyone loved hiking the most. Mom packed a backpack with all sorts of fruit gummies and peanut butter crackers and granola bars, and we stopped in the shade to sit on boulders and enjoy the snacks.


One girl always begged her dad to bring a can of tuna. While the briny fish smell repulsed my brother and me, she peeled back the lid and happily ate the fish plain or with a bit of mayo using her little fold-up spork.   Continue reading for recipe.

June 28, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Satisfying Sides. Leave a comment.

Wine: The Secret to Making the Perfect Apple Pie

A few weeks ago, I gassed up my car, bought two pounds of apples, and drove 80 miles on the southbound freeway. After an hour and a half, I dropped my grocery bags on the kitchen table and gave my friend a huge hug for the first time in four years.


We planned on making an apple pie, but somehow our lines got crossed. He thought I came over to bake the pie for us to enjoy, but I had the better idea: I would teach him and his roommate to make it themselves! And while I remembered all of the necessary ingredients—apples flour, shortening, sugar—as well as the pie tin, I completely forgot one key part: the rolling pin.


How do you roll out a pie crust without a rolling pin??   Continue reading for recipe.

May 10, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss. 1 comment.

Road Trip Remnants

A while ago, a friend and I spent a couple weekends driving up and down the state. Rolling along under the stars, watching the occasional pair of headlights flash past, we talked our way through the road trips, stopping every few hours for gas and caffeine.


Before leaving home, I bought a few standard snacks (chips, pretzels, and chocolate) to munch on in between pit stops, but placing them on the floor in the backseat left them out of sight and out of mind. When we returned, I found the 1-pound bag missing only a handful or two of the salty twists.


Still, I snack on a daily basis—not just on road trips—so I bagged up a bunch and brought them to work for when the 3 pm drowsiness set in. After two weeks, my salty taste buds begged for a break, and my sweet and sour ones eagerly jumped at the chance to be employed once again. But the pretzel bad still contained a few serving, which sat in my pantry, slowly staling and losing their crunch.


When I rediscovered them (well before any mold did), I couldn’t bring myself to eat them straight from the bag, so I created a different solution to avoid wasting the snacks: I baked with them! Paired with the stereotypical sauces—mustard for soft pretzels and chocolate-dipped for crunchy rods—these pretzel pancakes were the perfect epilogue to our road trip adventures.   Continue reading for recipe.

February 2, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals. 1 comment.

From Parkas to Palm Trees

Although the clouds dissipated to let the sun peek through, the winter chill still nips at my nose and bites at my toes. I look like the Michelin tire man when I bundle up in my scarves, gloves, and jackets any time I venture outside! (Wussy, I know, but some girls just weren’t born to live at the North Pole.) Dreaming of slightly warmer climates, I moseyed into my kitchen to make dinner.


With warm sandy beaches and sunny blue skies on my mind, my thoughts drifted to summer vacations on Kauai where we sipped coconut smoothies and snorkled to see the rainbow fish. For a few years, Grandma bought boxes of fresh pineapple to ship home for festive appetizers and juicy fruit salads. My mouth watered at the memory, but I had to make do with canned. Even so, I baked myself a delicious pizza and enjoyed my slice of paradise.   Continue reading for recipe.

January 26, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals. 9 comments.

Packing and Purging

In the 24 frenzied hours before boarding a plane, the place is always a madhouse. Clothes fly everywhere the second the dryer buzzer dings, suitcases leave scuff marks as they’re dragged across the floor, and dogs bound happily into the car to ride off to the kennel. Oh, and somebody is left with the lovely task of cleaning out the fridge.


I felt guilty throwing away fresh produce, and a fat zucchini and half-eaten can of pineapple (okay, so it technically used to be fresh!) sat sadly on the shelf. They begged not to be tossed in the trashcan, and they easily suckered me into spending my precious packing time on the internet, searching for any recipe that called for both.   Continue reading for recipe.

September 11, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss. 2 comments.

Navigating Old-Town Annecy

Find the canal, turn left at the fish mongrel, and walk past the first two restaurants. The third, with its little candy-cane-striped poles bordering the entrance, is the most delicious and affordable food you’ll find in Annecy.


We stumbled upon this gem our first night there. As of 9 am that morning on our train ride to Switzerland, I desperately wanted a salad, and at 7:30 pm, my craving had yet to be fulfilled. Strolling down the cobblestone streets, we meticulously inspected every menu we passed, but the first 9 didn’t offer dishes that could satisfy everyone’s picky palates.   Continue reading for recipe.

August 6, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals. 2 comments.

Market Culture

Californian Farmer’s Markets come once a week, and they sell ripe, delicious produce to regular people. In France, their markets open multiple times throughout the week, and both townspeople and restaurant chefs buy from the same vendors. So that whole-wheat artisan bread we smelled in the morning as we bought some carrots showed up on our table in a restaurant’s bread basket later that night. 


Which means that French menus are constantly changing. In the US, only the restaurant’s special tends to vary and depends on the fresh produce or catch of the day. But across the Atlantic, chefs adjust their salad toppings, side dishes, and especially their desserts according to what they bought earlier in the day.   Continue reading for recipe.

August 4, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss. Leave a comment.

I Spy… A Tourist!

It’s easier to spot American tourists in Paris than fireworks on the Fourth of July. The expensive digital cameras, huge detailed maps, and shopping bags of souvenirs are all pretty good clues. But the dead give-away? Their shoes.   Continue reading for recipe.

July 31, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Midweek Meals. 2 comments.

Boulangerie Bliss

If Gustave Eiffel never designed his infamous Eiffel Tower for the World’s Fair in 1889, the baguette would be the unofficial national symbol of France. French culture entirely revolves around this irresistible bread. Every other block in Paris contains a boulangerie, and picnic lunches always include bread and cheese or a sandwich on a baguette. Every café or restaurant begins its meal with a basket of fresh bread, it’s impossible to get on the metro without spotting a Parisian wielding a baguette, and Marie Antoinette never would have said, “Let them eat cake!” if the French didn’t depend so heavily on their bread.   Continue reading for recipe.

July 27, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss. 4 comments.

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