Make Saint Patrick’s Day even better: pour a mug of Guinness…cake!

guinness-cake-in-mug-square

Your friends are about to come over for your annual Saint Patty's Day bash. They're expecting the corned beef and cabbage, the glittery green shamrocks on walls and hats alike. They're even expecting frosty mugs of beer. But they might not be expecting a cake they can "drink." We've been down this road before: ultra moist Guinness Chocolate Cake with Bailey's Buttercream. But this year I gave the recipe a festive spin by serving it in a frosty beer mug. Not to worry -- this isn't about … [Read more...]

Easy DIY Sushi Doll for a fun Doll’s Day celebration

hina-matsuri-sushi-doll

We grow out of playing with dolls. We bury their plastic limbs in toy boxes - boxes that are now covered in dust or long-since donated. Some even say dolls are for babies. But this is simply not true -- dolls are powerful symbols, and the Japanese festival called Doll's Day (a.k.a. Hina Matsuri) is a great example of how they can be used to celebrate heritage and the art of letting go. A Display of Heritage Doll's Day starts in February, when families display their dolls in a special spot, … [Read more...]

Time to Show Off: What’s on Your Global Table?

Instagram Sasha Martin

  This week, as I was heaving this behemoth fish into the oven, I thought of you all. Specifically, I wondered what you have been cooking. Surely I'm not the only one going through groceries like a madwoman?! I've been doing some more recipe testing for my memoir COOKING MY WAY HOME (National Geographic, Oct 2014). There will be 29 recipes in the book, including this Fire-Roasted Fish from the Maldives. With chili peppers, onion, and curry leaves, it's a flavor explosion! Just … [Read more...]

7 Russian Dishes Worth Celebrating

Julia Lipnitskaia, Russian figure skater. Photo by David W. Carmichael. Gold medal winner Stefan Groothuis during his race. Photo by M. Smelter.

Frankly, I'm embarrassed by the press' coverage of the Olympics - it feels like the popular kids ganging up on the 'outsiders'. While I don't expect everything in the press to be all to be sunshine and rainbows, mean-spirited articles and blog posts whose primary goal has been to "poke fun" of the culture and people is a failure - a total disregard for the true purpose of the Olympics. We deserve more. They deserve better. The Olympics are a time to step up and celebrate each other - our … [Read more...]

Cook a “5 senses” Valentine’s Day Dinner with these world-wise tips

A older couple in love

While I love my husband dearly, there are times that our love feels so comfortable I'm at risk for taking him for granted. But then I smell some garlic frying in oil, maybe some tomato sauce bubbling on the stovetop, and I know he's making me pasta for dinner. It's nothing complicated - a simple gesture, really - but I know in that moment he loves me. Food, prepared with care, is the meaningful gesture that can fix  just about everything, especially an in-the-rut relationship. To me, … [Read more...]

3 Contest Winners & Oh my gosh, the things I’ve been doing…

sewing

For the last two months I've been writing (and rewriting) my memoir. I've been going into work early. Resuming work after Ava's bedtime. And I loved it. I especilly loved the letters L,M, and N. I loved the solitude of deep thought that comes with getting so buried in how to describe something that I cannot hear anything around me. I loved going through the manuscript and marking things "BORING," and then coming back to those passages and trying to think of better commentary, … [Read more...]

I have a mother

Photo by

In celebration of "Tell the Truth Day", I want to tell you about something that happened to me a few minutes ago. I was looking at a photo of a little girl sleeping in the outline she drew of her "mother," tears streaming down my cheeks. Maybe you saw it, maybe you didn't. For those whose hearts were also broken today by the photo, thinking this small child was an orphan, please read this statement by the photographer Bahareh Bisheh : "This little girl is my cousin and she actually fell … [Read more...]

Martin Luther King’s Radical Notion: Extreme Peace

Betsy Graves Reyneau, 1888-1964, Artist

Thanks to this blog many well-meaning, genuinely curious people ask me: "Do you really think peace is possible?" They say "really" with those drawn out vowels that mean they think I'm either a) ignorant or b) naive. When I sit and think about it, I realize they're right, on both counts. I am ignorant. When I was in eighth grade, my class went on a trip to Greece. One night while we were there, an explosion shook the very foundation of our hotel. In the midst of the chaos, the rumor-mill … [Read more...]