Hello from the Methow Valley! We’re here for the week playing in the snow, skiing, getting cozy by the fire and enjoying the peace and quiet. The dogs were simply euphoric to be out in the snow (check out IG stories to see Scarlet romping around) and we were pretty excited too. When we’re not skiing we’re writing holiday cards, snacking on gingerbread and marveling in the awe inspiring beauty of nature. Being here makes me appreciate and love the natural world all the more and has reinspired me to do everything I can to preserve and protect it. For me this means educating and affecting change surrounding sustainable agriculture. As many of you know, this blog has always been a place for me to share my thoughts on sustainability in hopes of influencing the daily decisions people make about what they eat. Well, I’ve recently decided to take my commitment to a new level and donate a percentage of my income from every sponsored post to non-profits in the agriculture and food sectors. I’ll have more details on this soon so stay tuned. In the meantime… This date gingerbread is moist and rich with just enough spice and a crunchy streusel topping. You could also add pecans and/or chocolate chunks to dress it up even more. Wishing you all a holiday full of peace, joy, gratitude and gingerbread.
It’s been a hectic few weeks, but Anders finally wrapped up his thesis and we’re getting ready to head to the Methow Valley for a week of skiing. I can’t wait! The first snowfall here made us giddy and I keep imagining the dogs romping through the snow, running free. I’m looking forward to the meditative rhythm of gliding across the snow, cuddling up by the fire, and snacking on holiday cookies…but only the healthy ones (fingers crossed). Anders’ mom always makes springerle cookies which are pressed into anise seeds before baking. They’re not too sweet and the anise improves digestion. I’ll also be snacking on these Almond Macaroons. They’re gluten free and refined sugar free, crispy around the edges and chewy inside. I added almond extract to bump up the flavor and the optional satsuma marmalade filling adds a bitter note to balance out the sweetness and aid digestion as well. What are your favorite healthy holiday cookies or snacks? And how do you prevent over eating during the holidays? I’ll be posting on IG during our travels, so stay tuned…
*This post was created as part of the #calmandbrightcookienight hosted by The Modern Proper. Be sure to check out all the other great cookie recipes here.
In anticipation of the upcoming holidays, I’ve curated a wonderful gift guide for you. It features elegant, sustainable, locally made goods for everyone on your list.
And, if like me, you’re feeling empowered to give back this holiday season by making donations to important causes, I’ve also put together a list of worthy non-profits to make it easy for you.
These groups work to PRESERVE CIVIL LIBERTIES (ACLU), LITIGATE on behalf of the environment (Earth Justice), combat FOOD WASTE (City Fruit), provide REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH services (Planned Parenthood), promote FREEDOM OF THE PRESS (Pro Publica) and create economic opportunities that benefit COMMUNITIES AND THE PLANET (Eco Trust). I’ve personally donated to all of these groups and feel confident that they are run by passionate, well-informed, forward thinkers. Check out the work they do. If it’s not in your budget to make a donation this year, look into other ways you can get involved.
Wishing you all a joyful holiday full of gratitude and generosity.
- The HAND SPUN CAHSMERE SHAWL is part of a new line from Skida, a small company in Vermont, owned by a college friend. They’re known for their colorful hats and neck warmers but I’m loving their new cashmere goods.
- The LE CREUSET DUTCH OVEN is a classic and I love the clean look of the matte white.
- BEE’S WRAP is a beeswax coated muslin that does everything plastic wrap can do without the waste. And it’s made in VT!
- I’m loving the simple design of this IRIS GUY NECKLACE made by local Pacific Northwest artists.
- The MARLOW GOODS WALLET is made from leather from small farms in upstate NY. I just bought one to replace my old wallet from goodwill and love the feel of the leather and the fact that it fits a passport and my phone.
- These UASHMAMA WASHABLE PAPER BAGS are really innovative and great as planters or produce bags.
- The SARAH KERSTEN EVERYTHING BOWLS have a simple speckled glaze and are great for everything from soup to salad.
- EATING ANIMALS was the book that really changed my mind about eating animal products. It’s a must read for anyone interested in food and how it is produced.
- How pretty are these COPPER MEASURING CUPS with wooden handles?
- The Trilogy ROSE GERANIUM AND LAVENDAR MIST smells delicious and is soothing and relaxing.
- HERBIVORE’S COCO ROSE BODY POLISH is a luscious blend of coconut oil, rose, shea butter and clay and is made in the Pacific Northwest.
- I’ve been lusting after this FILSON DUFFEL. It’s got plenty of pockets and is just the right size for a short trip.
- SAGITTARIO IMPRUNETA’S BALSAMIC VINEGAR is thick and sweet and so luxurious. It is the best thing ever drizzled over fresh tomatoes and mozarella.
- The KAVU SUNDOWNER JACKET is stylish and functional and perfect for winter in Seattle.
- These Japanese TAWASHI SCRUB BRUSHES are a great replacement for disposable sponges and look cool too.
- These LE PARFAIT JARS are great for storing bulk goods or for gifting homemade holiday treats. I love the classic look of the lids.
- MARY OLIVER POEMS always bring me back in touch with nature, humanity and the present.
- ANDREA RAMSAY makes beautiful wooden bowls and utensils out of Port Townsend, WA.
- Last year we bought four of these MAUVIEL CARBON STEEL PANS and love them. They conduct heat well, are relatively non-stick and are oven safe.
- And if you need a few more ideas order some ROSEMARY SEA SALT VEGAN CARAMELS from Lagusta’s Lucious, my favorite WHITE TEA from Stone Leaf Teahouse, Frankie and Joe’s PLANT BASED ICE CREAM or some MAPLE SYRUP from Lincoln, VT. So good!
Happy Holidays folks. I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving. We have so much to be grateful for and I’m starting to realize that I can channel that gratitude into action. One thing I’m doing this holiday season is requesting that instead of material gifts my family and friends make donations to a selection of non-profits. It feels like a really easy way to focus on appreciating all that I already have while opting out of the supply chain that produces so much environmental damage and waste. And there is so much work that needs to be done in our country and our world right now and so many great organizations who are already doing a great job and need our support. That said, I’m totally in favor of supporting small, local makers and making homemade edible gifts too. I’m looking forward to putting together a gift guide with some suggestions for you soon. In the meantime, here’s a recipe for your next holiday celebration.
I’ve made this recipe probably five times now and am obsessed. It’s very forgiving and so luscious, creamy and rich. It’s perfect for the upcoming holidays and can be made in advance. The crust is made with toasted hazelnuts and dates and the filling is a classic combination of coffee, chocolate, bourbon and maple syrup. I topped it with Vermont Creamery’s mascarpone and a little cardamom for some holiday spice. I sampled several brands of mascarpone in the process of developing this recipe (because believe it or not I plowed through all six containers Vermont Creamery sent me) and theirs really is the best. The other brands I tried were too thick and dense and didn’t have the same depth of flavor. So if you can get your hands on it, Vermont Creamery is the way to go!
Vermont Creamery is generously giving away a care package containing creme fraiche, mascarpone, butter and a pie box with a leather strap so you can transport your holiday treats safely. This giveaway is open to US residents only. A winner will be randomly selected on December 7th at 12am EST. Enter to win HERE.
This post was sponsored by Vermont Creamery. Thank you for supporting Tending the Table by supporting its sponsors. All opinions are my own.
I got home yesterday from a week in Vermont. I was there for a yoga workshop and it was the perfect thing to do after the election last week. While it was hard to be away from Anders and the dogs during such an emotional and confusing time, I was able to spend my time away reflecting on purpose, reconnecting with community and recharging for the holidays ahead. For me, the past week has been full of emotions including disbelief, sadness, anger, confusion, guilt, frustration, hopelessness, and hopefulness. I’ve been reading and listening to the news obsessively and trying to wrap my head around what is happening and how to move forward. I certainly haven’t figured it all out but I’d like to share with you a few things that I believe are important to do right now:
- Listen to Others. So many people have said to me that I’m lucky to live in a place like Seattle where I am surrounded by like minded, progressive thinkers. But am I really lucky, or has my privilege blinded me to what is going on in other parts of the country? So, instead of shaming or shutting out the other, let’s take this opportunity to reach across the divide and listen to how people feel. I for one have started a dialogue with my extended family about their values and why they believe what they do. I’m working hard to remain open and compassionate and to listen without judgement. We can’t assume to know anything about someone else’s values, beliefs or motives and broad generalizations and demonizations of others only fosters more hatred and fear. (I recognize that in writing this I’m assuming that you all share my beliefs and values. If your views differ from mine, don’t close our browser or delete this email. I’d love to hear from you).
- Practice your Beliefs. All religions and faiths have moral codes and tenets that provide instruction on how to live righteously. I’ve found inspiration lately in the yoga sutras, particularly the idea that we should have joy for those who are happy, compassion for those who are suffering, delight in the virtuous and equanimity towards those who are unvirtuous. Each time I find myself reacting to a person or situation I try to remember these guidelines and act accordingly.
- Listen to Music. Here are a couple of songs I’ve found particularly inspiring, poignant and relevant. Here, here and here.
- Take Action. Simply being well informed and voting doesn’t feel like enough any more so I am making a concerted effort to become more engaged and fight complacency in the long term. I’ve been signing petitions (like this one, this one, this one and this one), creating calls to action, calling my senators (encouraging them to do everything they can to block the appointments of Stephen Bannon and Myron Ebell. You can look up your representatives here), researching opportunities for community outreach and am working towards shifting my finances to support banks and companies that support the values I hold dear.
- Laugh Often. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and burdened by the negativity these days so I’ve been seeking out humor and levity wherever I can. Soak up those moments of pure joy and let that energy carry you forward. Maybe you’ll enjoy this one as much as I did.
- Donate. More than ever I feel it is my duty to use the resources at my disposal to support non-profits and organizations that work to support communities and people in need. Here are a few that I’m supporting or planning to support: Planned Parenthood, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, NRDC, Pro Publica.
And in the spirit of Thanksgiving please also consider joining Julia Turshen’s Friendsgiving for No Kid Hungry campaign to provide meals for kids in need. In her book, Small Victories, Julia says:
This cookbook, like most cookbooks, assumes that whoever is reading it has access to food and not only the desire, but also the time, energy, and means to cook. How great would it be if that were the case for everyone? I firmly believe that if you have the privilege of eating however much you want whenever you want, you should spend some time ensuring that others have the same opportunity.
To join the campaign click here.
Wishing you all a weekend full of loving kindess, wellness, peace, and joy.
We moved our bedroom upstairs this week and the process got me all excited about redecorating. As a result I’ve been spending way to much time on Pinterest and way too much money. I also decided to re-paint the living room which means that I’ve spent the last few days covered in paint, breathing in fumes. My arms are sore and the dogs are really hyper as a result of being locked in the bedroom all day. I had to lock them up because Roux is an idiot and likes to lean on things…even freshly painted walls. Anyways, enough about my house projects. Let’s talk mocktails.
I’m not a drinker…except for champagne. And only really good champagne. I know… I’m a snob. With the holidays approaching, I decided to develop some mocktail recipes so I won’t feel left out when everyone else is sipping fun drinks with garnishes. So, I’ve got two recipes for you today. One is for a Ginger Apple Spritzer which is simple but full of rich spices. The ginger is warming and the cardamom bitters are aromatic. If you like you could add some bourbon to this one. The other recipe is for a Ginger Pear Fizz. I pureed the pear with ginger lemonade for an intense pear flavor and topped it with kombucha and rosemary. These mocktails will make you feel fancy and they’re both great for your digestion too so you’ll feel great even after the party is over.
Hey friends! Hope you’re having a good week. I spent the morning the New York Times Magazine issue about big food and it really got me thinking about the food movement and my role in it. The feature includes some really eye opening images that emphasize the massive scale of food production in our country, a fascinating article about candy companies struggling to create natural food colorings, an article about the oversight of meat processing facilities or lack thereof and an article by Michael Pollan about the obstacles to new food policies. Pollan argues that unless we have a widespread shift in our food culture that shifts consumer demand and puts pressure on companies and politicians, nothing will change. I’m always trying to figure out the best way to inspire people and I’m not sure I’ve figured it out yet, but I hope that if I continue to do what I do and continue to share my thoughts on current issues some of you will be moved. For me, the take home message after reading this feature was that our daily choices really do matter. We cast a vote every time we buy something at the grocery store and shopping mindfully, with ethics, human rights and the environment in mind is more important than ever. If we all choose healthier, more sustainable food by supporting our local small-scale farmers, organic, and non-gmo we can shift demand and start a movement. Let’s start a movement!
I made a big batch of applesauce the other day. It’s one of my favorite fall activities and one of the few things I still put up for the winter months (I’ve stopped making jam because of all the sugar. If anyone has a good jam recipe that doesn’t use refined sugar please let me know.) These muffins aren’t too sweet and I love the way the tart, juicy cranberries pop as you bite into them. I added cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to the muffins to pump up the fall coziness factor. Enjoy.
A teacher once told me, “We are not programmed to be afraid. We are programmed to be courageous.” Despite having heard these words many years ago, I still often lay in bed at night, my body riddled with nervous energy, trying to fall asleep. As I try to relax, I listen to a guided meditation and repeat an affirmation to myself. Now, I’m not sure if telling people my affirmation will jinx it like when you say your birthday wish out loud, so I’ll just paraphrase it for you. The jist is that I envision a future where I am strong and brave. Sometimes you need to hear something multiple times to really get it. I think that’s the case for me with this idea of being inherently courageous.
Today someone told me, “we are designed to deal with hard things.” Hearing this brought tears to my eyes. It’s been such a crappy year and more often than not I’ve felt burdened by grief, fear and anxiety. But maybe, instead of thinking of myself as overcome by these fearful thoughts and feelings I should remember that I’m on a journey and that every day I’m learning how to be stronger and braver; I’m learning how to deal with the hard things. Maybe those feelings aren’t so bad after all and I should learn to appreciate them the same way I appreciate the moments of peace. Easier said than done I suppose. Here’s to the practice of life!
This recipe was developed as part of the annual #virtualpumpkinparty. It’s a hearty salad full of textures and flavors. The barley is nutty and chewy, the pumpkin sweet and creamy, and the radicchio is crunchy and bitter. I dressed it with a molasses maple balsamic that is perfectly sweet and sour. It’s great as a main dish or as a side. Feel free to play around and use other types of squash in place of the pumpkin if you like.
You can check out all the other pumpkin recipes here. Enjoy!
Okay. You asked for it, so here it is. The recipe for these Matcha Marshmallows as seen on IG was adapted from Molly’s new book Molly on the Range. You really need this book! It’s full of delicious recipes, playful illustrations, and witty essays that will have you laughing out loud. I’ve never seen a cookbook quite like it. A few things I’ve made or want to make: Molly’s oven fries (they’re cooked in butter and sooo crispy!), brussels sprout rosti, matzo brie (haven’t made this in such a long time but remember it fondly from my childhood), dark chocolate marzipan scone loaf, cardamom orange kubaneh, cauliflower shawarma tacos, and of course challah! I’ve bookmarked at least a dozen recipes and can’t wait to keep cooking from this amazing book. Congrats Molly!