Unlike the usual expected craziness of the holiday season, this time of year is calm and peaceful in our house. Aaron's shooting schedule is quieter and he's home quite a lot which is wonderful. And I take more days off as my clients are traveling and involved with their own holiday celebrations. There has been lots of time for leisurely cooking, hosting friends and family and just enjoying our home life.
With the many meals shared and gifts purchased over the last two weeks, I have a few favorite things to share...
I made this pretty amazing kale gratin from Renee Erickson's beautiful new cookbook (which is just as perfect, thoughtful but seemingly effortless, as her restaurants). The gratin is a breeze to prepare and so delicious. I served it alongside a braised pork shoulder and polenta. (We also served this rather perfect punch which I think I could make a tradition.)
Still my all time favorite candle.
I could eat a whole jar of this amazing almond butter with a spoon if left to my own devices. Thankfully you can get a much larger 16oz jar at Thrive Market so that you might actually share with your family and not hide the jar for yourself. If you don't know about Thrive, it's like Costco meets Whole Foods AND they ship directly to your house!
While you're adding things to your cart pick up some of this Weleda Hand Cream. It's the best I've ever found. It smells great, absorbs quickly and really does the trick especially during this season of constant hand washing. You can also find it at Pharmaca, PCC or Whole Foods.
I bought a gift subscription to Bean Box for my father-in-law and a few coffee loving friends. There are so many wonderful small independent coffee roasters in Seattle and Bean Box makes it easy to try them all, shipped free right to your door. And if you find something you really like you can order a pound directly from them.
Lastly, I love listening to StoryCorps every Friday on NPR which honors and celebrates the stories and triumphs of our everyday lives. Without fail it always brings tears to my eyes. Being Christmas Eve, listen here how the Santa Tracker came to be in 1955.
Wishing you peace and joy through the holiday season.