Holiday gift guides are one of my favorite annual traditions from within the food blogging community. Since this is my first holiday writing in this online space, I thought I'd take a crack at my own guide combining some of my favorite things from this year, a few things on my personal wish list, and lots of little gift ideas in between. Happy happy holidays to you all. xo
1. Gjelina is by far one of the prettiest books I've come across this year and is brimming with light, California-inspired dishes I want to make commonplace come wintertime. I've already bookmarked oven roasted parsnips with hazelnut picada and chickpea stew with tomato, turmeric, yogurt & harissa" for upcoming weeknight dinners.
2. I don't think there is much else I can say about Heidi Swanson that hasn't already been said. Her taste is impeccable, her photography understatedly beautiful, and her writing elegant yet familiar. Like her first two cookbooks, Near & Far houses an eclectic mix of vegetarian dishes inspired by Heidi's favorite places around the world--Rome, Paris, Morocco, San Francisco, etc. Its a title I continue to get lost in even after ten+ reads and puts a new twist on the run-of-the-mill "world" cookbook. I'm really excited to test out her fennel stew and red lentil hummus recipes.
3. Denmark has long been at the top of my travel wish list, and until I can get there myself, I will continue to bake my way through Trine Hahnemann's Scandinavian Baking book. The recipes range from all of Scandinavia (not just Denmark) and include gems like poppyseed danish, spelt orange cake, and an intriguing rye bread layer cake with red currant jelly and dark chocolate. Yes, yes, yes!!
4. You can never have too many baking cookbooks in my opinion, especially when you find one as stunning as The Violet Bakery Cookbook. Claire Ptak's recipes are a fairly traditional collection of cakes/cookies/breakfast treats but feel modernized through the use of alternative grains like rye, buckwheat, and spelt and less refined sweeteners. I'm thinking of adding her lacinto kale, leek, & ricotta bread pudding to my New Year's morning breakfast lineup.
5. Five words for you: Friday Night Lights: The Musical! Logistics around the show's release date are a bit fuzzy, but it will be debuting at some point next year in L.A. and you know I'll be counting down the days. Now, if only they could lock down Kyle Chandler to play Coach Taylor. A girl can dream can't she?
6. I've been waiting for a Janis Joplin documentary to be released since I first discovered her music. My wishes have finally been answered. Janis: Little Girl Blue opened to a limited release this past week and should be reaching Chicago come Christmastime. What I'm sure will be a much needed dose of hippie in between screenings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
7. I rarely remember to put on an apron when I cook. But with a beauty like this "midi" apron (not too long, not too short) from Food52's online shop, I feel like I would naturally make it a part of my kitchen look.
8. Heidi Swanson's online shop, Quitokeeto, is one of my go-to sources for authentic and artisan kitchenwares/home goods. This Coltellerie Berti Chef's Knife from Tuscany has been on my wish list for a while now, in addition to other gorgeous pieces like this, this, this.
9. Gold accented Le Cruset cookware. Doesn't get much better than that.
10. I am a notorious house plant killer. Even those varieties that claim to be "indestructible" have suffered at the hand of my nonexistent green thumb. The sad part of this reality is never having any plants around to brighten up my living space. That's why an option like this split leaf philodendron (which thrives in dry/low lit climate) is something I really want to help gussy up my cavernous studio city apartment.
11. Hard to say when my love of macrame started, but based on my general affinity for old, outdated things, it makes sense why I'd fixate on it. My dream is to make one of these myself to hang over my bed, but if and when that plan doesn't come to fruition, I'd go for one just like this. Another attempt at the aforementioned gussying.
15. One of my biggest musical regrets is never having seen the Dixie Chicks live in concert. Fortunately, they will be kickstarting the US leg of their new tour this summer. My early holiday gift to myself!
16. Bon Bon Bon is a tiny chocolate company based out of Hamtramck, MI specializing in artisanal bon bons. Their winter collection is a knockout with flavors like figgy pudding, cornbread & honey, and reindeer food. Plus, they have some of the coolest product packaging I've ever seen.
17. I read about Gullah Girl Tea in the most recent issue of Cherry Bombe magazine and have been eyeing founder Charmaine Bee's catalog of teas ever since. Charmaine creates blends geared towards healing and uses as many locally sourced fruits, flowers, and organic herbs as possible. Her peppermint lavender and sencha with coconut and ginger have already been added to my online cart.
18. Every December, my former pie alma mater, Sister Pie, comes out with a line of seasonal shortbreads that always add a fun flair to familiar favorites. This year's flavors include: juniper olive, buttered rum, and Shirley Temple black walnut. I'll be dreaming of these as well as their famous buckwheat chocolate chip and paprika peanut butter cookies all month long.
19. No explanation needed here. #flawless