The Outer Banks was first introduced to me by a friend. It’s a chain of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, with a collection of beach communities. The word summer as a verb, simply means you spend weeks away from your primary residence during the summer. — Robin Birkel

We're travelling to the OBX this summer for some much-needed rest and relaxation. We're sharing a rental house with Bhavana's parents, her siblings, their spouses and children -- 10 adults and 8 kids.

While I am there I am hoping to take some images of sunsets, sunrises, lighthouses, and beaches. Robin's article should help me be prepared. I've also exchanged a few emails with the photographer, Jim Denham, who took the image above and the one embedded below.

Rum Balls

A few weeks ago, my friend Dave shared with me some homemade Mexican spiced cake and brandy with brandy. They were so delicious that I ate three of them and ended up taking a large dose of Novolog to compensate at lunchtime. The memory of the delicious desert lingered and I decided I had to attempt to make my own.

Dave's wife, Elizabeth, mentioned that I could use brownies to start my batch so that's what I tried to do. I found and modified a Martha Stewart recipe on the web that used brownies and rum. Martha's recipe uses brownies made from scratch. I don't have Martha's skill or time so I improvised with a packaged brownie mix.

This was my first time using an electric mixer. The mixer belongs to my sister-in-law. The machine is heavy but easy to use.

I ran into one issue while making these. The mixture was as first quite sticky. I added the corn starch to thicken the mixture so that I could make balls. Had I done a little more research I would have found out that putting the mixture into the fridge for 15 minutes would have helped. I would not have needed the corn starch.

I was hoping these would be a hit at the party at my sister-in-law's house. Guests seemed to like it but perhaps they were just being polite.


  • 1 package brownie mix
  • ¾ cup corn starch
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • cocoa powder, for rolling


  • Make the brownies and let cool.

  • Break brownies into small pieces; transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the corn starch. With the machine on low speed, pour in rum, and mix until crumbs start to come together.

  • Shape into 1-inch balls, and roll in cocoa powder to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet; refrigerate, uncovered, until cold, about 2 hours. Serve chilled or at room temperature.