Category Archives: NaBloPoMo 2013

Thanksgiving Timing Advice from Allrecipes

Like thousands of people across America, I am in a slight panic because Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and I AM NOT READY.

My husband is the youngest of five siblings, and we will be cooking a Thanksgiving meal for 16 of his family members. SIXTEEN! Neither my husband or I have prepared a turkey before. We will be roasting a 22-pound bird, which will take 4 to 4 1/2 hours to cook.

We only have one oven. What I’m finding most daunting is orchestrating a cooking strategy that will enable us to get all of the food on the table at the same time and to serve it hot.

Fortunately, the culinary brain trust at Allrecipes created this useful chart and a video that provides a comprehensive plan for getting it all done–including wine breaks. Brilliant.

Thanksgiving Timed Right by Allrecipes

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Filed under Holidays, NaBloPoMo 2013, Savory, Sweet

Online Bake Sale and Auction for Typhoon Haiyan Survivors Starts Tonight!

Online bake sale and auction for Philippine Typhoon Haiyan diaster relief

Nutella banana bread. Pumpkin pie granola. Cupcakes in a jar.

These are just a few of the fabulous items that will be up for bid during The Chic Life’s online bake sale and auction to raise money for Typhoon Haiyan survivors in the Philippines. Proceeds will benefit the American Red Cross and World Food Programme.

Bidding opens at 9PM ET on Thursday, November 21 and will run for 24 hours, CLOSING at 9pm ET on Friday, November 22.

I’m happy to be a part of this fundraiser, and I look forward to making Gluten-Free Brown Butter Rice Krispies Treats for my winning bidder.

For a full list of bake sale and auction items, please visit:

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Filed under Good causes, NaBloPoMo 2013, Sweet

It Gets Better

When I was 12, I had a frizzy, layered perm. I was overweight and had to buy all of my clothes in the “husky” section. If that wasn’t bad enough, my mom didn’t think it was appropriate for girls to wear jeans so I wore polyester slacks or dresses. I was horribly nearsighted, and ugly, enormous glasses covered nearly half my face.  I was weird. I loved taking tests, Broadway musicals, and reading.

Sometimes cruel kids would taunt me and call me a nerd or a fat cow. They would tell me to watch out because the dogcatcher was coming. But mostly I was invisible.

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Filed under Essays, NaBloPoMo 2013


“I need doughnuts,” my co-worker Paige whispered urgently.

I nodded. I understood that this was a serious matter and that it needed to be resolved quickly. But how? I considered our options. They all involved leaving the office and either driving or taking a cab.

Could there be another solution?

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Filed under NaBloPoMo 2013, So right, Sweet

My Third Place

I’ve always been envious of people who saunter into a coffee shop, restaurant, or bar and are greeted by name by the staff. They have a special place where they sit. They know the menu backwards and forwards, even though they almost always order the same thing. They’re regulars.

That’s not me.

I do not crave routine, and while I have my favorite places, I don’t go there on any kind of regular basis. So when my friend Laura asked me to write about my third place, I was somewhat at a loss.

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Filed under Essays, NaBloPoMo 2013

Low to High

The spectacular rise in popularity of pork belly over the last few years has always perplexed me.

As a pork-loving Filipino, pork belly is a cut of meat that I know well and have enjoyed for a long time. I’ve come to appreciate it even more after marrying into a pork-loving Chinese family.

Before it cost $18 a plate in high-end restaurants, pork belly was a humble cut of meat. It is not pig stomach but literally the belly of the pig. And yes, that is the same place where bacon comes from. Some people describe pork belly as uncured bacon, but this cut of pork is actually a lot fattier. For pork belly, the ideal ratio is basically half fat, half meat. This much fat freaks out a lot of people, but many others love its lusciousness.

I was reminded of the ascendance of pork belly while listening to a radio interview with “New Yorker” writer Dana Goodyear.

She was promoting her new book, “Anything That Moves.” The book explores how foods that Americans once considered gross are now celebrated as high cuisine.

One of her comments in particular stuck with me. She said, “The high and low have converged. Elite dining in America now is being substantially reshaped by the foods of poverty or the foods of desperation.”

What does it mean when food that poor people eat out of necessity becomes a food of choice among richer people? Is this discovery or slumming?

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Filed under Essays, NaBloPoMo 2013

Love Is a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I wished I had a hat.

The sun had already surrendered to the night, and a fierce wind nipped at me as I left work and hurried to my car.

I got inside, cranked up the heater, and headed home with one thing on my mind—dinner.

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Filed under Essays, NaBloPoMo 2013, Savory