Domestic Details: 10 Essential Kitchen Tools

10-Essential-Kitchen-ToolsOutfitting your kitchen can be a daunting task. If you’ve ever been in a Williams-Sonoma or spent a nice little Saturday at Bed, Bath & Beyond, you’ve undoubtedly been exposed to an endless array of awesome/terrifying kitchen tools stacked to high heaven. While such a sight makes me happier than the Dude at an all-you-can-eat buffet, I recognize that most of you may find it slightly overwhelming. That's where I come in. There are literally millions of fancy gadgets and accessories that you could buy, but I’m guessing most of you won’t be using a special pomegranate tool, a grease separator, or a stainless steel ravioli former on the reg. So, in the interest of keeping your kitchen as functional and fuss-free as possible, I have compiled a handy list of the ten tools that you actually need. You’re...
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Spiced Pumpkin Punch

Spiced-pumpkin-punch-with-bourbon-1I used to be really good at Halloween. As a kid, I started planning my costume in August, and to be perfectly honest, I always killed it. Just to give you a point of reference, in sixth grade, I was Sweetheart Barbie. IN THE BOX. Sure it was hot/disorienting/claustrophobic trick-or-treating inside a spray-painted refrigerator box lined with cellophane, but it was worth it. The universe paid me back for my discomfort in appropriate amounts of candy and compliments. My teenage Halloweens were pretty underwhelming because I went to boarding school, and wearing costumes to class wasn’t really a thing. Needless to say, I still dressed up, but my outfits were much less impressive than in my Halloween heyday. I did make my own Ninja Turtle shell out of a printer box my sophomore year, but it was rather unwieldy in class and some teachers...
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Mexican Mac and Cheese

mexican-mac-and-cheese-01My roommate turned 30 this past Sunday. I got him a fancy briefcase because 30-year-old men should not carry brightly colored computer bags to work. I also gave him the gift of Mexican Mac and Cheese. Just to give you a little background, I promised Logan last month that I would make him whatever ridiculous food item he could think of for his birthday. This was risky, since Logan spends a significant portion of his daily life thinking about disturbingly unhealthy food creations, and I wouldn’t put it past him to demand something like a deep-fried, pizza-wrapped bacon cheeseburger. I mean, the dude asks me to make him homemade meat lover’s Hot-Pockets on average days, so who knows what craziness he could dream up for this special occasion. Logan did send me a flurry of “inspiration texts” a couple weeks ago, mostly involving...
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Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette and a Fried Egg

warm-spinach-salad-with-bacon-vinaigrette-and-a-fried-egg-5-3When I think about my shortcomings (which I try to do as little as possible), poor brunch ordering is definitely high on the list. It’s probably sandwiched somewhere between “hoarding” and “always forgets to buy toilet paper,” and like those, it’s a pretty serious issue. For some unknown reason, I tend to panic every time I’m presented with a brunch menu. I’m usually tempted by the sweeter options like French toast, waffles and pancakes of all kinds, but then I worry that I’ll be jealous and dissatisfied with my choice when I see someone else’s savory order. Logical solutions to this problem include a.) ordering something both sweet and savory b.) splitting several different items with my brunch companions, and c.) asking the waiter to bring me the best thing on the menu and leaving it at that. Sadly, I rarely go...
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Quinoa “Falafel” with Avocado-Tomato Relish and Yogurt-Tahini Dressing

quinoa-falafel-with-avocado-tomato-relish-and-yogurt-tahini-dressing-1Late last spring, my mom and I got into a pretty serious fight. It started small, but it eventually escalated to insulting each other’s taste and values, and using embarrassingly loud voices in an otherwise quiet restaurant. We barely ate our dinners, I almost cried, and our waiter was very uncomfortable. I blame Gwyneth. Although I was a big fan back in her Shakespeare in Love days, I’ve become significantly less enamored with good old Gwynnie in recent years. I obviously questioned her decision-making skills when she named her daughter after a common fruit, but it wasn’t until she launched her lifestyle website Goop.com, that I really turned on her. Goop actively stresses me out. How will I succeed at the elimination diet if I don’t have a sauna in which to sweat out my many toxins or an assistant to...
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Domestic Details: Everything You Need To Know About Caring For Cast Iron

How-to-season-and-maintain-your-cast-iron-skilletIf I had to pick a favorite kitchen essential, it would be my cast iron skillet. Hands-down. It conducts heat evenly and consistently, it’s perfectly non-stick, and you can use it for everything from searing meat to baking cornbread. Plus, cooking and serving things in a cast iron skillet is very rustic chic. Unfortunately, I’ve found that many peeps are confused by cast iron, and they either refuse to mess with it or they mistreat it horribly. So I thought I’d clear a few things up today in the hope of converting some of you to cast-iron. I promise that with a little love and understanding, you and your cast iron skillet will have a very long and happy life together. If you don’t own a cast iron skillet, please invest in one immediately. What kind should you...
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Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot-cake-whoopie-pies-with-maple-cream-cheese-frosting-10, pinthisWhoopie pies are pretty boss. I didn’t grow up eating whoopie pies on the reg, but I was always a huge fan of these handheld sandwich cakes. At least I was until an unfortunate experience in 2008, involving the consumption of approximately 15 late night whoopie pies after my 21st birthday party. Not only did those pies make me very ill, but they also ruined my fancy party dress, which was unforgivable. As a result, I swore off whoopie pies for good, and I managed to stay strong for five full years. Then last weekend happened... The gift bags at my sister’s Maine wedding were filled with a smorgasbord of awesomeness, including an old school mix CD, pine pillows, and three different types of whoopie pies, which are apparently the official “state treat” of Maine. I left the reception with this bag of...
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The Dude Diet: Cheesesteak Edition

Dude-eating-philly-cheesesteaks-2I hate to say it, but it’s been a rough few weeks for The Dude Diet. The wedding triple-header and its associated finger foods did the expected damage, and the Dude's new job has left him with very little time to exercise. There has also been some aggressive pizza and barbecue consumption, as well as an unfortunate incident involving Logan coming home with an array of gummy bears and chips, claiming that I was “trying to starve him to death.” But that’s neither here nor there. While I’m worried that starting a new job has exacerbated Logan’s stress-eating tendencies, I’m more concerned about the toll that football season is going to take on his wonderland body. As much as Logan loves football, he loves the food that he eats while watching football even more, specifically, pizza, Read More >>

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Herbed Goat Cheese

Roasted-Root-Vegetable-Salad-With-Herbed-Goat-Cheese-and-Arugula-3My sister is getting married on Saturday, and I am currently up in Maine for the last and most important event of my wedding triple-header. The leaves are turning, there’s excitement in the air, and 124 bottles of Prosecco just arrived on my Mom’s doorstep, so things are looking good. Not going to lie, I was pretty nervous about how this wedding was going to come together. My wonderful sister, Olivia and her fiancé, Will, have been engaged for two years, but it wasn’t until July that they decided they wanted to tie the knot on October 12. 2013. This three-month time frame made me understandably anxious. I imagine it would take me at least that long to decide on a veil length or the type of horse-drawn carriage that I’d like as my personal transportation, let alone plan an entire wedding. Insanity. However,...
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Balsamic Roast Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms

Balsamic-Roast-Chicken-With-Tomatoes-and-Mushrooms-2I am currently recovering from wedding number two of a three-week triple-header, and it’s not the prettiest. I’m weak, I’m bloated, and to be perfectly honest, I’m seriously concerned about my brain cell count. The past two wedding weekends have been those of Logan’s best friends. As my super popular roommate was in both wedding parties, I was happily left to amuse myself for long periods of time amongst groups of mostly strangers. Luckily, small talk is my third best wedding strength, after curling my hair and being overdressed (Logan likes to tell me things are black tie when they actually aren’t), so I totally killed it. As you may know, wedding small talk usually includes what I like to call "The Big Three": Where are you from? How do you know the bride or groom? What do you do? Personally, I’ve found...
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