Sweet and Tangy Wings

For me, chicken wings have sentimental value. That might sound like a stupid thing to say, but I think most people have at least one food that makes them feel happy, or nostalgic, or something gushy like that. Chicken wings are one of my happy foods.

Wings were a staple of my junior and senior year of college. Every Thursday, my friends and I would race to Cornerstone, our favorite local bar, to take advantage of 25¢ wings. The thing is, you had to arrive before 10pm to get the deal. If you couldn’t get there by 10, we would call in your order to one of our friends who was already there (and if you were first to arrive you usually had to order about half a dozen varieties of wings). But what made wing night so great, is that it was a standing date with my friends. We’d eat a ton, have a vodka cranberry (pretty much all of our drink of choice at the time), and then we’d dance all night. It was a blast, and today wings still remind me of happy times with my college buddies. Below are some college pictures, circa 2007.

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Citrus Squares

DSCN0563I’m on a constant quest for the perfect lemon square. I love the combination of tart and sweet. Now, this recipe is a mix of citrus fruits so it’s not technically the perfect lemon square. But I was drawn to it because it uses blood oranges, which are so pretty and tasty. This recipe is sweet, just a bit tart, and has a nice blend of yellow and pink colors. I think it’s the perfect non-traditional Valentine’s Day dessert.

The reason it’s perfect is because of the balance of tart and sweet. I think it mirrors the opposite ways people feel about this holiday. Some people are very anti-Valentine’s Day and some people love all the decorations, chocolates, and flowers. I’m lucky that Ryan is so accommodating because I both dislike and want to celebrate Valentine’s Day, all at the same time. Yes, I think going out to a fancy dinner is an important thing for couples to do, but why do I have to go out when it’s going to be crowded with an over priced prix fixe menu? So he took me out last week to a place I really really wanted to go, even though it was in Bethesda. And he buys me flowers because even though I don’t want fancy plans, I want pretty red roses that make me feel girly. So, I want it both ways and that’s why citrus squares are perfect. Continue reading


Happy Three Kings Day! If you’re not familiar with Three Kings Day, it’s also called the Epiphany and you can read about it here. To summarize though, Three Kings Day is the 12th day of Christmas and it’s when the three kings (or wise men) found Jesus and brought him the gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It’s a holiday celebrated by lots of different cultures, especially in Latin America.

DSCN0358To celebrate this year, I decided to have a dinner party for 10 people in our tiny apartment. I invited three of my former coworkers, their significant others, my parents, and my brother. It was a tight fit (Charlotte and Craig had to bring chairs and a table), it was a little hot (I had to open the sliding door), and we used every single dish we own – but it was a blast and I’m so glad to have thrown a little party to catch up with friends and family. Continue reading

Reindeer Noses

noviceThis week is going to be pretzel week! That means you are going to get three pretzel related recipes – and we’re starting with reindeer noses.

I’ll be honest with you, I got this idea and name from Pinterest about 3 years ago and I’ve loved it ever since. It’s my favorite thing to make during the holidays. This time of year, I want to give presents and contribute to parties but it can get really time consuming and expensive. I love this recipe because it’s quick, inexpensive, and always a crowd-pleaser. In grad school I used to make huge batches of these for my doormen and after the holidays they were always asking for more. The recipe is also great for parties because they are crunchy-sweet-salty bite that you just pop in your mouth. It’s easy to make and eat a ton. Continue reading

Bullseye Cookies

Eric, Abraham, and me circa 2010

Eric, Abraham, and me circa 2010

It’s the holiday season, and that often means cookies out the wazoo. Growing up, one of my favorite things about preparing for the holidays was making cookies with my brother, Eric, and my cousin, Abraham. As we got older, I often had to bully them away from their video games to come decorate cookies with me, but once we were there, we always had a blast together. Continue reading

Apple Pie with a Crumb Crust

Authentic pie my mom made

Authentic pie my mom made

This apple pie is my favorite dish during the holidays. I will eat this pie for dessert, breakfast the next day, and then again for lunch if there’s any left. I want to make sure I get as much of it as possible so that when the slices run out, I have no regrets. I am jealously possessive of this pie in a way that goes against the holiday spirit.

When I was a kid, my mom would make an apple pie for me and a pumpkin pie for my brother. Dessert time would come around and she would ask, “what do you want?” Sometimes, Eric said apple and I would boil with rage. That was my pie and he was doing this on purpose to infuriate me because he knew I wasn’t going to eat his pumpkin pie. I have no evidence to prove this is true, but it’s how I felt at the time. Continue reading

Whole Cranberry Sauce

noviceThanksgiving is a week away, and I’m sure many of you are planning your menus or debating what to make. Me too. I still don’t know what I want to contribute, although my mom has requested last week’s key lime pie. But, if you’re  looking for something a bit simple that will also be a crowd favorite, might I suggest you consider homemade cranberry sauce?

Now, some of you might be saying, “Mariel are you crazy?! I love canned cranberry sauce and it is a Thanksgiving staple.” And I hear you. Canned cranberry sauces is sweet, predictable, and tastes pretty good. But let me give you four reasons to consider making it yourself. Continue reading