When you buy items from the Amazon links below, we get a small percentage of the sale. That helps us fund the site. And we like you a lot.

  • The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
    The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
    by Deb Perelman
  • Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients
    Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients
    by Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito
  • Savory Sweet Life: 100 Simply Delicious Recipes for Every Family Occasion
    Savory Sweet Life: 100 Simply Delicious Recipes for Every Family Occasion
    by Alice Currah
  • The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier
    The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier
    by Ree Drummond
  • Bouchon Bakery
    Bouchon Bakery
    by Thomas Keller, Sebastien Rouxel


Zombie Cupcakes (a review for

Just in time for Halloween, we've reviewed Zilly Rosen's Zombie Cupcakes cookbook over at Cooks & Books & Recipes. The verdict? Our kids take turns going to bed with the book cradled in their hands. It's a must-buy.

Go check out our review and get the recipe for these fantastic zombie hands shoving through the cupcake grave. 

But before you go, check out Karen's photos below from last year's Zombie Walk at Asbury Park. Because they are awesome.




Recipe & Review: Zombie Cupcakes by Zilly Rosen at Cooks&Books&Recipes


Lavender Bitters, Plum Ginger Gin Cocktails, and Band of Bitters

Here's the thing...

We are terribly alone right now. We are far away from our old friends, the people who helped us know who we are.

We watch documentaries on Netflix streaming. They all take place in NYC. This, maybe, isn't the best form of entertainment choice.

Our house in NJ is trying to destroy us for leaving it. Then there was that hurricane that stopped everything in the real estate market in the northeast. Acts of god are not welcome. We are doubtful and hopeful.

And with a mortgage. And rent. We are squeezed so hard it's making us squirm to catch our breath.

Two months after moving into our rental house, we finally hung two pictures on the wall. Both in the girls' room they share. One is a picture of flowers that I bought at the IKEA in Elizabeth, NJ. It matches the girls' lightshade. The other is a large swatch of fabric from the nursing cover Karen used when she breastfed the girls. For thirteen months. I put them up yesterday in their rooms, right before we loaded the kids in the minivan to go to the pumpkin patch. I stood alone in their bedroom, straightening the pictures. And I was transported back to our house up north which now sits empty. I could feel myself standing at the diaper changing station, looking at the flower picture over and over and over. With twins, so much time was spent looking at that picture. And I remembered my heart breaking a little when Karen cut the fabric of her nursing cover so she could fit it into the frame, only because I knew we were done with it forever, two little heads bobbing under that fabric, Karen tucking them close to her body when we were out in NYC, usually at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park.

To see these two picture, on walls that aren't ours, here in Atlanta. A little something snapped in my head. And instead of going to pick pumpkins, I thought we should pack up and go home. Home to NJ. Go put the pictures back where they belong. In that empty house that soon won't be ours. Hopefully. And not so hopefully.

But in spite of it all. Being poor. Being alone.

In spite of it all, we are happy.

Click to read more ...


the pioneer woman, black dress socks, boxers, and gin

This story about me in boxers and black dress socks while drinking gin will take far too much explanation to ever make sense. But we should try.

Here's the short version:

As part of the #afundforjennie effort which we blogged about previously, bloggers are raising money to support our friend, Jennifer Perillo, after the loss of her husband. Earlier this week, a random tweet from me (Chris) led to a photo of me in boxers, black dress socks, while holding gin during the premiere of Ree Drummond's (a.k.a, The Pioneer Woman) new show on Food Network, being auctioned off on Twitter while I slept.

Never, ever go to sleep is the lesson there.

We love Ree (from experience, we can say she does extremely nice things for people without ever taking public credit for her efforts), and we love her show and her food.

So $200 for Jennifer Perillo? Yes.

Supporting Ree? Yes.

Me in boxers? For these two women? Absolutely. 

The best person in this whole mess? Deb Puchalla, the editorial director of and tons of other related sites. Deb is always encouraging me and Karen, and we like that she's a glutton for punishment for offering $200 for my sad, sad body pics. Deb will receive a pic of me and my gut (not sucking it in) while watching Ree. Gin also makes an appearance. Of course.

Here's hoping that Food Network eventually picks up our show, Cooking in Boxers and Black Dress Socks while Looking for the Gin. Catchy, isn't it? If they do pick it up, I promise to wear the lobster boxers in the premiere episode.

Love to Jennifer, Ree, and Deb. And to Karen for being a good sport and a very demanding photoshoot director. Deb gets a special, gut-centric photo for her office. Or wherever.

Below is the best shot from today. Minus the gut.

If you' like to see the start of the photo shoot, check out this tweet



a fund for jennie (and we're back)

Doors at Big Summer Potluck 2011
Hey. You good? Great. We are, too.
Since we were last drinking strawberry jam sidecars, a lot has happened to us, most of it really, really good. Really.

In the last two months, we decided to move to Atlanta so I (Chris) could start a new job. And I love it. Really, really love it. Love it more than any job I’ve had (sorry to all my old colleagues. I love you lots, but I really love this job and this company).

And Karen and I have had to spend a month with me traveling home on weekends to NJ, getting the house ready for sale, having an offer on the house fall through while we take out the garbage, say good bye to friends, mow the grass, pack the cooking books, make sure all the important stuffed animals for the kids made it into the minivan before we left NJ, return cable boxes, cry periodically because the stress is all too much even if it’s really good stress, sign up for a new preschool for the kids, buy a second car, rent a new house in Atlanta, go to Big Summer Potluck 2, say good bye to our son’s Tae Kwon Do teacher who is much loved (orange belt!), get our minivan towed in NYC when we went to visit Sarabeth at her amazing bakery in Chelsea Market, explain to the kids four Sundays in a row why they couldn’t get on a plane with me to go back to Atlanta, go into the city to buy a box of Doughnut Plant doughnuts one more time, make the drive down to Atlanta for a second time - this time for good, sleep on bad air mattresses, get new child locks on the doors of the rental house because our children assume all doors should be opened at all hours of the day causing us to run around screaming their names until we find them hanging out in front of the new house, hold each other a lot, and drink several glasses of wine. Several.

So that’s what we were doing.
And we are good, if somewhat stirred and shaken. We are good.

And then our friend’s husband died. 



The news came across Twitter, and I sat frozen for 10 minutes, unsure of what to do. 

I have never ached for my family quite so much as I did that moment, that entire week, with me in Atlanta and them back in NJ. We had just seen Jennifer, a fantastic food blogger and special friend, a week before at Big Summer Potluck as she played most of the day with the beautiful daughter of GlutenFreeGirl and GlutenFreeChef. I shouted her name early in the day, echoing across the field where we had breakfast and raised a hand high in the air, getting a smile from her. I remember thinking how kind it was of Jennie to focus her attention on their daughter so Mom and Dad could focus on the conference/potluck. And then I realized how this wasn’t a sacrifice for Jennie at all...this is just who she is. Of course she was focused on making the day easier for Shauna and Danny. Lucy with her dad, Danny @glutenfreechef

That’s just who she is.

It’s hard not to personalize someone else’s loss, but I can't help it this time. The death of Mikey, Jennie's husband, isn’t about me and Karen, and I cannot imagine the pain and confusion Jennie and her daughters are experiencing every single day as they figure out what to do next. But I do know that I cannot imagine life without Karen, and I do not want to imagine their lives without me. Not because I’m so great, so wonderful, but because I adore my wife and my children in ways that I simply cannot explain, in ways that I feel so deeply that it shatters me to my core to think about leaving them behind. Because I do not want them to have to figure out what comes next for them without me. 
And also because I find it impossible to type these words without closing the door so no one can hear me cry.

So a big part of me cannot help but think of how much Mikey would never, ever have wanted to leave his girls, all three of them, behind. That he never wanted to saddle them with a burden of him being gone. And that thinking about leaving them would absolutely shatter him to his core.

A group of beautiful friends have set up a site to help bloggers in need. The group is called Bloggers without Borders. They’re collecting donations to help Jennie with the mortgage and insurance and life without Mikey.

As a husband and a father, I would want to know that my family was surrounded by people who loved them almost as much as I did, if I couldn't be with them anymore.

So if you can spare anything at all, please donate to Jennie and her daughters. And for three of you who post below in the comments that you donated, we’ll send you a batch of Chocolate Chunk Cookies to say thanks. It doesn't matter if you donate a dollar or a thousand, if you've clicked on the button on our site or someone else's site. Just drop your name down below and you entered and good to go. These are the cookies from our first recipe post here on the site, those best chocolate chip cookies ever from Alice at Savory Sweet Life. They're good. Really good.

We just want to say thanks.

Really. Thanks.


Donate to Bloggers Without Borders 


Strawberry Sidecars with Fresh Strawberry Jam and Lime Sugar

Last year, when we picked strawberries with the kids, it felt like we had placed ourselves on the banks of a Dantesque river leading to a green and red hell (4th Level with Plutus, the wolf-like demon, which maybe was just the ugly donkey the strawberry farm keeps in a pen).

We drove out to our local u-pick farm (local being defined as a 45-minute drive), bought a flat to carry our hoped-for bounty, passing by tables of bright red jewels that seemed to be screaming silently at me, “Abandon all hope. Don’t go into the fields! Also, you forgot your diaper bag, you fool.”

Any excursion into the world outside of our backyard fence last year could be complicated, especially one to the side of a hill, far from bathrooms and the forgotten diaper bag in the van. It’s not that any one thing went wrong, it was that life had handed us more than we thought we could carry. Literally.

Too far from snack time and not close enough to lunch, we walked down a dusty road toward the fields, two wobbly twin girls and their older brother, riding on flatbed wagons that Karen and I pulled.

Click to read more ...

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