so long, 2016

As the end of 2016 approaches, I am feeling like it can’t come soon enough. I am ready to say goodbye and face the new year (and all of its challenges) head on.

I started this blog with the intention of getting my creative juices flowing in the kitchen, and sharing the many recipes that mean a lot to me. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the last six months have been busy for me professionally, leaving me not as much time as I’d like to dedicate to the blog.

New Year’s resolutions are the worst, but the idea behind them is great. I resolve to do better about setting aside time to continue building and sharing what I love to create in the kitchen.

What I really want to do is say thank you. Thank you for reading, commenting, and for giving me a reason to continue Planks and Sticks.







holiday decadence

‘Tis the season for excess. I seem to be making that my mantra during the month of December. It all started at the beginning of the month with a handful of cookie baking sessions with my very pregnant girlfriend. She needed distractions to keep her mind off her current situation, so baking seemed to fit the bill. The closer she got to her due date, the more these baking  sessions ramped up. We baked, we cooked, we rolled rum balls, we did it all.  Continue reading holiday decadence

father-in-law mapo tofu

My father-in-law lives in a ‘small village’ outside of Shanghai. He moved there from Taiwan to retire. The first time my husband and I went to visit him years ago, we were both expecting the quintessential village he made his new home of Kunshan out to be. I still tease my father-in-law about his misrepresentation of his village, because it’s in fact a mid-range (by China’s standards) city of 1.65 million people. I guess it’s all perspective. When you live in a country of 1.3 billion, a mere 1.65 million can take on more of a village feel.  Continue reading father-in-law mapo tofu

homemade maraschino cherries

Gone are the days of bright pink maraschino cherries. You know, the ones that topped your Shirley Temples when you were a kid.  Now is the time to graduate to the big leagues of adult maraschino cherries for your grown up drinks and sophisticated sundae toppers.  Continue reading homemade maraschino cherries

the sadness of chia pudding

It has taken me almost a year to write about chia pudding. I know it’s been a while because the original draft I started was dated last October. No, I’m not a terrible procrastinator. The truth is, this mango chia pudding recipe is closely linked to memories of my dear friend Michelle, who passed away on July 30, 2015.  Continue reading the sadness of chia pudding

chocolate makes everything better?

The onslaught of news about violence seems to be endless these days. I find myself asking a lot of questions. Are these horrific things happening in the U.S. because of our Republican presidential nominee? Do certain people think bad behavior is ok because they hear the Republican nominee regularly threatening, valorizing and inciting violence? Is a ‘lone wolf’ inspired by a terrorist group’s ideology going to be the new normal? Is it now socially acceptable to stir up the pot, get in confrontations and fight with strangers? Am I just being dramatic, and this has been happening for years, but we tend to hear more about it now?

Continue reading chocolate makes everything better?

exploration in the kitchen, and restaurants near and far.