Thursday, December 30, 2010


My Grandma Pat & Uncle Jeff - circa 1965
I hope everyone has been having a wonderful holiday break, I know we have. I'll be back with more regular posts after the 2nd - and back to DC then too. Until then, happy 2011!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cookie cookie

You Can't Catch Me......
Photo by Flickr user endless beauty
So in case you've been wondering where I am and what we've been up to the answer is cookies. I guess that's only the answer to the latter question, but it sums it up.

The gift guides are over for the year, I didn't mean to end them abruptly - I knew I was going to wrap up this week, but i guess I should have told you.

Thank you so so much for all of the kind messages about the guides, I was delighted to lend a hand in your holiday shopping and I hope everyone loves your gifts. If not you can write me and tell me that my digi-ninja was not enough ninja or my homebody too homely.

Back to cookies, I am about to share the absolute best, hands-down fabulous gingerbread recipe - if you're into that kind of thing. It's not really mine, it's Martha's - and it's delish.

Gingerbread MEN (and ladies, and donkeys - at our house)

3 1/2 c. Flour
1 1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 1/4 tsp. Ground cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp. Ground ginger
1 1/4 tsp. Ground allspice
1/4 tsp. Ground cloves
2 sticks unsalted butter room temp
3/4 c. Sugar
3/4 c. Brown sugar
1 tbs. + 1 tsp. Grated ginger
1 lg. Egg
1/4 c. Molasses

Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together.

In the bowl of an electric mixer (or another large bowl) cream together butter and two sugars with fresh ginger until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses, mix until combined

Add dry ingredients gradually just until combined- do not over mix.

Split dough in half and flatten into disks - cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove dough from fridge and allow to soften slightly - so it doesn't crack when rolled. Flour work surface and rolling pin- roll out dough until 1/4 inch thick. Place dough on cookie sheet and stick in the freezer until frozen stiff.

Use cookie cutters and work quickly cutting - place cookies on parchment lined baking sheet and directly into 350* oven - if dough has gone soft - re-freeze cut cookies until stiff.

Bake cookies until lightly browner - about 12 minutes, rotating half-way through.

Follow the same process with the rest of the dough- re-rolling scraps and cutting cookies until a small enough amount of dough remains that you can justify eating it raw because you really can't fit another cookie cutter on it.

This is round two of my holiday baking - and no one should do two rounds of holiday baking. Also on the list, biscochitos, Christmas crack, goofballs and more...It's a good thing that leggings are acceptable enough to be my life uniform from December until April.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gift Guide: The Last Minute

From Flickr user trentphotography
As the final shopping days descend and shipping days are limited, I always turn to Amazon for last minute gifts for anyone and everyone on my list. Here's a pick for each of our gift guide recipients, in case you need to pad out your purchases. All available on Amazon!

For the kitchen chemist - a book that teaches the science behind saucepans and tricks to tastier meals. Also up his alley, What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained, The Hungry Scientist Handbook and for those interested into even greater culinary pursuits (and with a mega-budget) Modernist Cuisine.

For the pop star - a pair of shades for staying incognito at starbucks, lounging by the pool, or just looking cool. The "Agent" from Arnette comes in a wide array of punchy brights.

For the hibernating homebody - a series of woodland creature mugs, perfect for sipping tea or coca by the fire. By Danica Studio.
For the digi-ninja - a state-of-the-art Cyborg gaming mouse with adjustable grip, a light-weight aluminum chassis, rapid-fire capabilities and a lot of other things you would appreciate if you were a gamer. 

 For the cowgirl - a Blu-ray version of a western classic, in preparation for the re-make out this week. True Grit.

For the mountain man - a flannel that's fashion forward in a western way. By Lucky Brand.

For the socialite - a classic watch that makes a statement in an unexpected hue. By Michael Kors.

For the team captain - a TuneBelt keeps her iPod or phone secure so she can train to top 40, or anything else she fancies.

For the gentleman - a pen that writes at any angle, even in zero-gravity, and has been to the moon. The Fisher Space Pen - design un-changed since its maiden voyage on the Apollo 7 in 1968.

For the baker - a flexible French silicone baking mat with proven results (the best cookies). Silpat.

For the class clown - something to add more danger to Dominos. Circular saw pizza wheel by Fred

For the frequent flyer - a contoured eye mask that allows for uninterrupted REM sleep and comes with a carrying pouch and bonus earplugs. Call it the red-eye survival pack. Dream Essentials sleep mask.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Gift Guide: The Frequent Flyer

Miniature Airport
From Flickr user disparkys

He's a 1K member, she lives in Red Carpet Clubs. Always coming, always going and spending a lot of time up in the air. Make their travels a little more comfortable with pieces that offer form and function, along with a few treats along the way. 

To keep their necessities orderly and attractive. Jack Spade and Orla Kiely travel bags. 

For her, a snuggly scarf to ward off airplane chill. What appears neutral gray from a distance is actually green and purple, adding a fun pop of color to business travel basics. From Nordstrom.

For him to keep his feet warm and avoid trips to the bathroom in socks only - rollable, packable slipper socks from LL Bean.

A homeopathic remedy that travelers swear by. To get them on their feet and running upon arrival. Available on Magellan's.

For her, a pretty travel wallet in punchy brights. Perfect for stashing passports, foreign currencies, boarding passes and bus tickets. From Bosso.

Luxurious travel size products that can make any hotel feel five star. From Molton Brown

A flat folding speaker to make tunes, or iPad movies all the more engaging without taking up too much space. By Kikkerland

So they'll never leave their cell phone on another plane, or encounter a foreign sticky substance when reaching for their inflight magazine. The seat back organizer, everything handy and easy to stash when disembarking. On Magellan's

Better in flight snacking from Meduri - delicious dried fruits in unusual varieties. Get them a sampler, travel-sized and tasty. 

Neat-freak packing made possible by Flight 001's spacepaks. Also available in black if these brights are a little too brilliant. 

Also from Flight 001, a system of sacks for everything from a wet suit to shoes. Keep it separate, keep it clean. 

A luggage scale with old school styling and total accuracy - to avoid overweight baggage fees. From Restoration Hardware.

A carry on that doubles as a scooter for racing from gate to gate. Unfortunately your frequent flier might be getting an IOU for now, it's not coming out until later this year. Now it's available from Samsonite

Finally a pocket full of in-flight reading from the news to Nancy Drew and everything in between. On Amazon

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gift Guide: The Class Clown

Bart writing on chalkboard.

He has love for comics and the comical - video games and classic toys. Tickle his funny bone with gadgets and gear that support his hijinks and keep his inner child thriving.

A marshmallow double crossbow. What more can be said? On Hammacher Schlemmer, bonus points for correct pronunciation of said merchant. 

Breakfast defense, egg soldier cup, available online at REMO general store.

Quirky cool tees from Threadless. So many good ones I wouldn't know which to choose, but with their $10 and $5 sale prices, I guess our clown could get a sock full. 

Rad DIY dino lamps made of precision cut plastic that he can assemble himself into a glowing sculpture of cretaceous coolness. 

Instructions for just about everything presented through a gallery of graphic art. Not enough tips for your clown, add their newest edition More Show Me How for even more how-to. Both available on Amazon.

Like and Dislike stamps to make paperwork a breeze and provide the instant ability to publicly judge everything around him with the flick of the wrist. Designed by Nation.

A fast and furious word game that comes in a banana. Bananagrams

A clock that rolls its eyes instead of waving its hands. One eye minds the minutes, the other minds the hours.  From Moss where they issue the disclaimer that "this clock may not be the most practical, but it is the most understanding."

Lego dude cufflinks that keep those french cuffs from being too fussy. From Etsy merchant cufflinks, who has a wide array of lego professions available from spaceman to skeleton, Darth Vader to doctors. 

Bacon bourbon carmel corn. Best beer munchie ever? On Foodzie

Super-size sandwich swords for his next soiree. Good for spreading paté and jousting around the crudité. By Fred

A case for his super-hero specs from animator Ben Hall on Pop Deluxe

Monster socks - because they're monster socks. From Urban Outfitters

Books from the blogosphere to bring his online irreverence to the coffee table. Some hilarious reads, all available on Amazon.

A beard balaclava, although also appropriate for our mountain man, the clown will truly embrace it. Available in lumberjack, grandpa, pirate and viking (shown here). Not satisfied with just one stache style? Additional nose warmers can be purchased and changed out with a few buttons. From Beardhead.
Arrested Development, the full series. Because I'm convinced there still hasn't been a funnier show on television. Already has it? Box sets of 30 Rock and Modern Family come close. All on Amazon.

A calendar that requires some construction, the perfect excuse for playing legos at work. Puzzle Calendar from Paper Source.

Moon boots for men. Adult anti-gravity airkicks put some spring in his step from Edmund Scientific.

A rad retro robot for his desk. Tin Toy Arcade has so many cool ones, it will be hard to pick. I like this green gentleman that spits smoke out his mouth.

To add more firepower to those post-present snowball fights, the Snowball Blaster from Arctic Force.

Finally to capture his best moves and funniest moments - a Flip Ultra HD cam. With seemingly limitless custom design options, crystal clear picture, digital zoom and a built in USB plug, he'll be a YouTube sensation in no time. At the Flip store.