Kitchen Basics - Housemade Ricotta

by Kelsi in , ,


 

One of the simplest, yet meal-altering things you can make in your kitchen is fresh ricotta. It resembles nothing like any store-bought version (even the good ones) and it takes hardly any effort. My lunch yesterday, sun-golds and chives from the garden, Maldon sea salt, olive oil and still warm ricotta…

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HOUSEMADE RICOTTA - originally via Ina Garten’s Cook Like a Pro

4 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar

Line a fine-mesh sieve with two pieces of cheesecloth. Dampen the cloth with water and set the sieve over a deep bowl.

Pour the milk and cream into a medium stainless-steel or enameled pot and stir in the salt. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand until it curdles, about one minute or so.

Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl for 20 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. Transfer the ricotta to a container, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining liquid. Use immediately or cover and store in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.

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There are so many ways to enjoy fresh ricotta, but you can also add it to a frozen pizza for a stellar upgrade. My favorite is this 3 Cheese Pizza from Trader Joe’s (seen below). I always keep a few in the freezer for nights when I don’t feel like cooking. Simply add dollops of the ricotta to the last minute of cooking to warm. Then top with a drizzle of good olive oil, some Maldon salt and fresh basil.

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July 23

by Kelsi in , , , , , , ,


 

Last week we broke ground on a long-anticipated dream project, the building of our backyard studio, which will be a work/art space for my husband. Our little one car garage was demolished to kick it off…

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While watching the demo I made Pamela Salzman’s grain-free chocolate zucchini cake (which is crazy good by the way). My happy version of multi-tasking…

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Speaking of cake, Simple Cake by Odette Williams is a wonderful book and one I’d highly recommend for your library whether you consider yourself a baker or not…

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I’m really enjoying this turmeric tonic from Further Food. I blend a scoop of it with cold water and a little honey syrup (recipe for honey syrup here) and then drink it over ice with my favorite glass straw

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I’ve had a lot on my plate the last few weeks and my advanced food prep has been lagging. Thankfully I’ve found a go-to protein powder that I love and helps me get by if I have nothing to grab before walking out the door. I mix one scoop of this Amazing Grass Protein Superfood and two scoops of Vital Proteins Collagen with 12oz of orange juice and whip it up in the Vitamix for an easy and satiating breakfast. And on really long teaching days when I don’t have a break between clients I will make a double batch and bring it to the studio in this 32oz insulated Klean Kanteen

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This Tony's Chocolonely Almond Sea Salt bar is my absolute favorite chocolate and I always have a few bars on hand…

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I just bought several sheets of these beautiful Ellsworth Kelly stamps

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My husband and I both carry around this Memento Mori as a daily reminder to be present and focus on what really matters.

“Meditating on your mortality is only depressing if you miss the point. It is in fact a tool to create priority and meaning. It’s a tool that generations have used to create real perspective and urgency. To treat our time as a gift and not waste it on the trivial and vain. Death doesn’t make life pointless but rather purposeful. And fortunately, we don’t have to nearly die to tap into this. A simple reminder can bring us closer to living the life we want.”

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I am a big fan of Stoicism and recommend signing up for The Daily Stoic which is put together by Ryan Holiday (he has a book by the same name). His other books The Obstacle is the Way and Ego is the Enemy are also worth a read…

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Wendy Whelan’s line to live by is one I live by too…

Energy produces energy.
Photo via    La Ligne

Photo via La Ligne

Lastly, Esther Perel’s On Being conversation is a delight to listen to…

Photo via    On Being

Photo via On Being

One of my favorite parts near the end of the conversation:

When I say, “The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives,” it’s because I do think that the bonds and the connections that we forge with others give us a greater sense of meaning and happiness and wellbeing than just about any other thing — when it’s good, because it can be exactly the opposite, huh?

And now it’s like, how much are you investing in your relationships? And I find that, often, people don’t. They talk about “my partner is my best friend,” and they treat them like shit. They talk about “my friend,” and they haven’t seen that person or talked to that person in years. It’s like, no, you can’t just do it like that. You can’t be lazy. You can’t be complacent about this and put all your energies at work and bring the leftovers home — and all of that stuff.

Or I have this question I’ve been playing with lately, and I just asked it in Sydney. I was like, “How many of you go to bed, and the last thing you touch is your phone? OK, stand up. And how many of you, the first thing you stroke in the morning when you wake up is your phone? Please stand up. And how many of you are doing this while there actually is another person lying next to you in bed?” That’s ambiguous loss, by the way. I’m like, seriously? Seriously?

So that’s what I am trying to address at this point; it’s like, interestingly, we don’t look at relational health enough. We don’t connect it to mental health. We don’t connect it to our overall physical health. And we certainly don’t connect it enough to our societal health, if we want to really go bigger. It’s not the freedom that is our problem. It’s not the fact that we have choice, but they have always gone together with responsibility, with accountability.

You can see more of Esther Perel in her TED talk from a few years back and read her book Mating in Captivity.

 

Summer Ready

by Kelsi in , , , , , ,


 

School is out for the summer and we couldn’t be more ready for it. I’m thrilled to have a break from making school lunches and am looking forward to more leisurely mornings.

We had a real scorcher into the mid 90s this week and I’ve been grateful to have these bamboo roll up shades on our exterior west facing windows to cut the heat. They really do the job but I also love the diffused light they create inside the house too…

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Summer to me also means cobblers and crisps and this fantastic apple rhubarb cobbler from Alanna of The Bojon Gourmet is my current favorite. I mentioned Alanna’s book Alternative Baker and her miraculous gluten-free pie crust recipe last winter…

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It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything here because I’ve been spending most of my free time reading (or sewing). A few months ago my son D got hit hard with the reading bug and on a family trip to Palm Springs he brought a book wherever we went. Waiting for his food at the restaurant, waiting for the rental car, sitting poolside. My husband and I exchanged knowing glances of “It’s happening.

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I’ve been waiting for this day and as children often do, he is helping me to be my best self. His new love of reading has helped me make time for my own love of reading and I’m making it a priority and letting some of the less important things on my to-do list slide. Together we are in deep with Harry Potter and these illustrated versions are just beautiful…

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D was also just gifted these super rad Gryffindor Vans from his very cool aunt and uncle…

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When I haven’t been reading, I’ve been sitting here practicing my newly acquired sewing skills (thanks to Drygoods Design)…

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I can sit here working away for hours without eating or thinking about anything else. I’m so enjoying the process of learning something completely new and remembering how wonderful that feeling of “flow” is…

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I have a new full-length linen apron that I snagged from Amazon for $17 that I learned about from Aran via Remodelista

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Speaking of linen, one of the best things I’ve added to my summer wardrobe is this Everlane linen jumpsuit

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I wore it to a my brother-in-law’s 40th birthday dinner (pictured below with my stellar sister-in-laws)…

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Always a sucker for pen and paper, I have a new favorite pocket-sized notebook and pen for my endless list making…

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My friend Rita turned me on to Aria Code. Host Rhiannon Giddens is delightful and I’ve been “binge-listening” (is that a thing?) every chance I get…

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Alison Roman’s olive oil roasted chicken is on the menu for Father’s Day…

And our neighbors turned us on to the solo stove which is now on my summer wishlist…

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Happy summering!




 

A quick breakfast...chia pudding

by Kelsi in


 
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This vanilla chia pudding recipe comes from Amy Chaplin’s beautiful book At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen which has been in my cookbook library for the last few years but I’ve been revisiting. It’s a great one.

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It is fantastically easy and my go-to make ahead breakfast. Top it with berries, stewed apples or my favorite, simple fruit sauce. I often take it with me on long teaching days when I need something quick and nutritious to eat. My favorite container is this Klean Kanteen insulated canister

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And this is my favorite on-the-go cutlery from Black + Blum

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VANILLA CHIA PUDDING

serves 6 - 8

1/2 cup chia seeds

1 vanilla bean

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for an hour or two

4 cups filtered water

7 Medjool dates, pit removed

pinch of sea salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons coconut butter or coconut oil

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place chia seeds in a medium bowl.

Drain and rinse cashews, and add to blender with 4 cups water, dates, salt, cinnamon, coconut butter or oil, vanilla extract, and the scraped seeds from the vanilla bean (add the vanilla bean pod to the bowl with the chia seeds). Blend on high until completely smooth.

Pour only one cup or so of the liquid into the bowl with the chia seeds and whisk thoroughly to prevent clumping. Add remaining liquid and whisk again. Let mixture sit for 10 minutes, whisking a few times. Place in fridge for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight) or until completely chilled. Remove vanilla pod before serving. Store in the fridge for up to five days.

 

Snow Dayz

by Kelsi in , , , ,


 

We are coming off of a long week of epic snow here in Seattle…

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School closures allowed for some good sledding runs in the backyard…

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There was also boredom (my son’s). So I made him read “Let Children Get Bored Again” in the NYTimes. Kidding, but it is a great article that you should read. It’s a good reminder for us adults too…

And in a throwback to my childhood, we made Shrinky Dinks. While my son was busy drawing characters from Zelda, I traced a favorite photo of him…

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I made the soccatas from Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook The Clean Plate for breakfast and they are super easy and so satisfying, especially on a cold winter morning…

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I harvested the remaining kale from the garden that I planted back in August, just in case it didn’t survive the heavy snowfall…

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Which reminded me to make a Row 7 seed order. I ordered two pounds of the Upstate Abundance Potatoes that were a hit last summer and a packet of these new absolutely beautiful Tetra Squash

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I had my eye on that classic Filson briefcase to carry my laptop but my husband just gifted me his AER Commuter Bag that I love…

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Brandi Carlile’s 2007 album The Story may be the last cd I ever bought before everything went digital. I used to listen to that title track over and over when I was alone. I would crank it up so loud, her powerful voice overwhelming everything. I have now watched and listened to her recent grammy performance over and over which brings tears to my eyes every time and I can only think “what a badass.” Thank god for artists and thank god for music…

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Go-to Weeknight Pasta

by Kelsi in ,


 

This perfect spaghetti is my go-to throw it together weeknight pasta. It is so satisfying, and even my very picky son will eat it.

During the summer when my garden is overflowing with tomatoes I will use fresh, but for the rest of the year I love these Bianco DiNapoli whole peeled tomatoes

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One of my most favorite shortcuts in the kitchen is having a container of peeled garlic in the refrigerator. It may seem like such a small thing but it makes a huge difference in getting something pulled together quickly, especially when you don’t really feel like cooking…

And the brown rice pastas from Jovial are incredible and the only ones I use. The texture and flavor are stellar and you’d be hard pressed to distinguish it from regular wheat pasta. You can find them at PCC, Whole Foods and on Thrive Market

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SPAGHETTI WITH TOMATOES + ANCHOVY BUTTER

adapted from Alison Roman

12oz SPAGHETTI

KOSHER SALT

6 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER

3 OIL-PACKED ANCHOVY FILLETS

4 GARLIC CLOVES, THINLY SLICED

1 28oz CAN OF GOOD QUALITY WHOLE PEELED TOMATOES, DRAINED (OR 2 LBS FRESH TOMATOES)

CHOPPED TARRAGON AND/OR PARSLEY

MALDON FLAKE SALT

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook anchovies and garlic, stirring often, until anchovies are broken down and garlic is soft, about 4 minutes.

Add tomatoes; season with kosher salt and and cook, stirring occasionally, until falling apart, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the pasta in generously salted water (it should taste like the ocean) according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking liquid.

Toss pasta with the tomatoes (and reserved cooking liquid if it looks dry); cook until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Toss in herbs and sprinkle with Maldon to serve.

IF USING FRESH TOMATOES

You will need to remove the skins first. In a pot large enough to fit the tomatoes, fill ¾ with water and bring to a boil. Cutting through the skin, make an “x” on the bottom of each tomato with a knife. Turn the heat off and submerge the tomatoes in the water for 20-30 seconds, depending on the size of the tomatoes. Remove the tomatoes from the water with a slotted spoon and place on a cutting board. Slip the peels off, core and chop into quarters. Then proceed with the recipe.

 

Polentina alla Toscana

by Kelsi in ,


 

This was a lovely meal to welcome the New Year. And proof that simple can be extraordinary. It is from David Tanis’s One Good Dish.

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POLENTINA ALLA TOSCANA

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling

1 large onion diced

1/2 pound carrots peeled and diced

4 celery stalks diced

1 large fennel bulb trimmed and diced

salt and pepper

1 medium leek trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch squares

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup polenta

6 cups chicken broth

1/2 pound Tuscan kale

1/2 teaspoon grated or finely chopped garlic

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Leaves from 1 rosemary sprig

In a heavy pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and fennel, season generous with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes or so, until barely softened. Add the leek and bay leaf and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the polenta, stirring to distribute it, and raise the heat to high. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and allow the soup to simmer for about an hour; the broth should be just slightly thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Meanwhile, wash and roughly chop the kale. Drain in a colander but do not dry. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a wide skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the greens, stirring as they begin to wilt. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium and cook until the greens are tender, about 5 minutes more. Set aside.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top with the kale. Sprinkle with the finely chopped rosemary, drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan if desired.

 

December 31

by Kelsi in , , ,


 

It has been a spectacular week of rest and celebration. And we’ve spent so much time at home, our little clan of three, finding immense joy in just being together. We’ve had more than a few days of lighting a fire and then never leaving this spot for the entire day…

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On Christmas Eve dear friends joined us for dinner. The kitchen was sparkling clean and the sun was shining…

We took the kids to the park for some fresh air and then came home, opened a bottle of Champagne and our friends put together a spectacular clam chowder with smoked marrow from Ox in Portland. Even without the smoked marrow, I’d make this my default recipe for chowder or even an elevated potato soup. It has a hefty amount of cream so it is rich, but without any flour or roux it isn’t thick but instead broth-y and pretty darn special…

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For dessert I made a flourless chocolate cake and my new favorite holiday cookie, grapefruit-fennel shortbread. (Side note: shortbread are incredibly easy to make gluten-free as they depend on butter rather than gluten as the binder. I subbed brown rice and oat flour for the AP flour.)

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There were also small, but delightful discoveries this week like giant pyramids of Maldon in the salt dish…

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And I have a few favorites among the gifts I gave and received this year, starting with these Starry Knight booties I found for my niece. My son had a similar pair that I loved. They are the perfect shoe for little feet that are just learning to feel the ground beneath them…

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I bought matching Grace Lee diamond disc bracelets for myself and my bestie - a pretty good upgraded friendship bracelet if I may say so. And I love that whenever I catch sight of it, I am reminded that she’s out there in the world…

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I also upgraded my rather tattered robe with this beautiful waffle weave one from Coyuchi

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I mentioned Askinosie Chocolate in my holiday gift guide. I bought a few bars to give as gifts, but to be honest they never made it out of my house. This Askinosie vegan milk chocolate is hands down the best chocolate I’ve ever had. Just incredible…

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I also fell hard for these Zwilling Madura nonstick pan. (I now have the 8” and 11”.) Bon Appetit proclaims it “the best nonstick pan we’ve ever used.”

We got rid of all of our chemical laden non-stick pans years ago and had a single 8” Greenpan for the sole purpose of making Spanish tortilla. However when we redid our kitchen, that little pan was the only one that wasn’t compatible with our new induction cooktop.

I am happy to say I can once again cook tortilla española but these pans have also been wonderful for making hashbrowns and fried rice and since we don’t have a microwave, reheating leftovers like pasta…

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I bought two of these extra-large LL Bean hunter totes that were perfect for toting gifts to and fro…

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Plus they have a coated lining so they wipeout and clean up like a dream. I think the large size would make perfect grocery totes…

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And the one thing I really hoped to receive this year was a pair of these short Hunter Chelsea boots (thank you in-laws!).

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Happy 2019. Wishing you peace and joy into the New Year.





 

The Only Pie Crust You'll Ever Need

by Kelsi in


 

For most people, even seasoned bakers, making really great flaky pie crust feels intimidating. Over the years I’ve learned a lot from pie classes at The Pantry, I’ve used a pastry blender, the fraisage method, the food processor and I think without question, Stella Parks’s “No-Stress Super-Flaky Pie Crust” recipe and method is the most accessible and foolproof way to do it, even if you are a complete novice and have never attempted pie crust before.

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The recipe can be found in Stella’s fantastic book Bravetart as well as the Food 52 Genius Desserts book which I think hands down is one of the best books of the year.

Watch this great video on how to do it on Food 52 and find the recipe here

Now what if you wanted to make a gluten-free version that could stand up to the all-purpose flour one and no one could tell? Impossible you say? Not any longer. Enter Alanna Taylor-Tobin’s Alternative Baker which has actually been out for a couple of years but is completely new to me.

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There are so many talented people who are reimagining and redefining what it means to bake gluten-free. Many are trained pastry-chefs. Liz Prueitt of Tartine fame is one. Her book Tartine All Day is really great. And Aran Goyoaga (who’s second book comes out next fall where she’ll help us all make gluten-free sourdough bread that looks like this) has been a long-time inspiration with her blog and book Small Plates and Sweet Treats.

It is completely possible to bake pretty much every cookie and cake that you can imagine and that you wouldn’t tag with a “these taste gluten-free” label. Really stellar, flaky pie crust however, at least for me, has been a little more elusive, until last week…

I used the gluten-free all butter pie dough recipe from Alternative Baker which is also available on Alanna’s great blog The Bojon Gourmet. However instead of using the fraisage method she favors I simply used Stella Parks’s technique to make the flaky layers. I wrapped the dough and let it rest in the fridge for at least one hour and then proceeded.

And now I can’t stop. I made Pamela Salzman’s salted maple apple galette over the weekend…

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Next up is this savory potato radicchio galette I’ve had bookmarked for months…

Image via    New York Times

Image via New York Times

Go forth and get your pie on!

 

On a Sunday

by Kelsi in , ,


 

We are coming off of a restorative long holiday weekend at home. After a quiet Thanksgiving, we haven’t left our house since. Lots of time for reading, movies, baking and of course getting started on handwriting exhaustive Santa wishlists (my son).

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We are finishing the rest of our leftovers this evening for dinner. I love using these Kohler silicone mats as trivets. They also roll up so storing is a breeze…

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And a different type of silicone mat, this one has been great for doing crafts this weekend - painting, Perler beads and even Legos…

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I’ve also done a fair share of online shopping, some gifts but mostly taking advantage of the sales to stock up on my usual staples like these Uniqlo cashmere sweaters. They are my most favorite and I wear one almost daily. They wear and wash well and you can’t beat the price. They do run a bit small and I like to size up in this style (for reference I’m usually a small but order these in a large)…

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I also added the Alternative Baker (from Alanna of The Bojon Gourmet) to my cookbook library this week and it is already indispensable. I’ll have more to say later in the week but it completely changes the game on making gluten-free pastry dough and pie. OMG.

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And some words of wisdom to take with you into the week…

This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.
— Dalai Lama
From    here   .

From here.