Ooh, my favorite!


Happy Christmas
December 24, 2012, 1:08 pm
Filed under: Personal

merry christmasTaking a few days off to savor how wonderful life really is. I hope you have a safe and happy Christmas. Kiss!



These are a few…
December 21, 2012, 9:56 am
Filed under: My favorite things

Can you believe the holidays are upon us? I often joke that I’m still stuck somewhere back in August (as I can’t remember anything much between then and now). But here we are in the midst of it all, and in the blink of an eye it will be over. I’m hoping to savor the next few days so that I don’t have to lump all of this into the abyss of autumn.

I hope that you, too, are able to enjoy every moment of your holiday.

Here are my faves from the week. Kiss!

cookiesDetoxMultitasking. The other night while laying in bed I found myself simultaneously planning cookie baking and post-holiday detox. There’s something very wrong with me.

A dose of holiday nostalgia. Why does no one talk about The Snowman during the holidays? Perhaps it’s more of a British thing, but my season’s not complete without it. Watch the whole thing here.

kissing ballsOh, Whole Foods. Whatever happened to a simple mistletoe? Yes I realize I followed something as lovely as Walking in the Air with talk of Christmas balls.

Happy Holidays!



Dead Head
December 20, 2012, 4:51 pm
Filed under: My favorite things, Smile

games

Was anybody else dead tired today? I don’t know what happened but I could barely get out of bed to make it to work today: and by that I mean make it to work, like, right now…at four o’clock. Perhaps it’s the shortness of these days, or the impending apocalypse, but regardless my body is run over and lazy.

Lately in order to help me feel less lazy and lethargic I feel like I’ve accomplished something if I’ve done nothing else other than played one of these puzzle games. I have to say the brain exercise helps, and it’s so nice not to have the telly on. I’ve suddenly realized that even without Cable television I have substituted it with Instant Netflix, and there’s not much on there either!

So, here’s a list of some of my favorite games…in case you’re in need of some brain exercise fun with family during the holiday next week. And a big thanks to Thani and Mari for sharing the first two with me this summer.

Quarto – Create a line of four pieces that share a commom characteristic: tall or short, dark or light, square or round, hollow or solid. The trick here is that you pick the piece your opponent plays. A game of strategy, perception, and reasoning…but so fun. There will be many a face palm when you accidentally hand your opponent the precise piece they need to complete their set.

Pentago – I like to think of it as Connect Four on crack. The object is to place five of your color marbles in a row, but the twist here is that after each play you must rotate one of the four quadrants!

Memory – Again, how much I love these colorful Patrick Hruby cards. And really, it’s pretty alarming how much I can’t remember during the course of this game.



CollaBARations by Askinosie
December 19, 2012, 11:45 am
Filed under: Chocolate

AskinosieCollab

Askinosie is one of my all-time favorite chocolate makers, and their CollaBARation bars have been quite a special treat. Like Askinosie, the collaborators focus on small-batch, artisan, direct sourcing, and all-around goodness. Learn more about each bar here and perhaps pick up a set of all four for the gourmet chocolate lover in your holiday circle.

I’ve declared my love of the Malted Milk + Dark chocolate collab with Jeni’s, but just last week I enjoyed the Vanilla bean and sugar crystals bar from Zingerman’s (one of my favorite stops in Michigan last summer). The bits of vanilla bean on the back of the bar were really interesting.

Order online from Askinosie, $35

[For my Seattle friends try stopping by Sugarpill. She is expecting more Askinosie bars very soon. (And also try their White chocolate + pistachio bar while you’re there.)]



Cookbooking 2012
December 18, 2012, 10:16 am
Filed under: Food, Health, My favorite things

Cookbooking

Heston Blumenthal at home / Japanese Farm Food / Home Made /

Gastropub Classics / Japanese Hot PotsGrow Cook Eat

Have I ever mentioned that my sweetheart, Andrew, is a classically trained chef? Oh, yeah. Aside from the natural and fluid grace he has to his method of cooking, I love that he has helped me fine-tune my appreciation for cookbooks. I find it to be incredibly overwhelming to seek out and find a great cookbook, but with his eye for a well-curated book of recipes we have added some truly wonderful books to our collection this year.

Most of these aren’t just for the skilled cook either; in fact, the only one that I would consider to be advanced would be Heston Blumenthal at Home (an amazing book!). The others are just as special and would make wonderful projects to take into the new year…for me least.

Heston Blumenthal at home – advanced, but straight-forward and exciting recipes

Japanese Farm Food – life, community, and seasonal food on an organic Japanese farm

Home Made – easy and approachable “from-scratch’ recipes with lovely photographs and illustrations

Gastropub Classics – finally a gourmet’s guide to good British fare from the chef of The Fox Dining Room in London

Japanese Hot Pots – gorgeous and simple Japanese one pot dishes (donabe), clean comfort food

Grow Cook Eat – from the garden to the table, an urban gardener’s (new or seasoned) guide to seasonal cooking



Milk Punch
December 17, 2012, 9:52 am
Filed under: Drinks, Entertaining

Milk punch

I’ve never been an egg nog kind of gal but I’ve always felt a little lonely without it during the holidays. There’s something so wonderfully festive about a richly coated glass of boozy, milky goodness. Thankfully this season I happened upon this vintage concoction (but still a southern favorite) and was immediately giddy, I mean with a name like Milk Punch how could you not get excited?

In the most non-alcoholic way possible I must admit we’ve been enjoying this on our weekend mornings while still in our pajamas. There are many a variation out there, and of course heritage recipes are always being rediscovered and reinterpreted, but after playing with proportions I’ve included our favorite here, for two. It’s really easy to size up though, so if you’re thinking holiday get-together I’ve seen recipes where you’ll whisk instead of shake. (In this case you’d get to serve it in a fancy punch bowl too!)

I used organic raw whole milk and half & half, but there are recipes where cream is used. Ultimately you’ll want more than one, there’s no need to make it richer with cream…I’d say start here and go the cream route later if you wish.

Milk punch

 

Milk Punch for Two

–  3 oz. organic whole milk

–  3 0z. organic half & half

–  2 oz. bourbon or brandy

–  1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

–  1 tsp. superfine sugar

–  Ice

–  freshly grated nutmeg (to top only)

Add all of the ingredients (except the nutmeg) with ice in a shaker and shake vigorously until sugar is dissolved and a nice this foam is made. Strain into two small glasses. Grate fresh nutmeg on top of each. Sip and enjoy!



These are a few…
December 14, 2012, 10:41 am
Filed under: My favorite things

Many times when Friday rolls around and the time comes to start thinking about what I’m going to write I realize that I have no recollection of what I actually did all week. This week was especially bad with our intensely thick and gray days…without even a speck of sunlight. I must have gotten lost in the haze because I have nothing of much interest from the actual weekdays. So here’s a list of my faves from last weekend!

Kiss!

Picture 28

We made some yummy Snickerdoodles…

Picture 29

…and we shucked, and shucked, and shucked for some yummy Oysters Rockefeller




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