Christmas at our house is usually a sprint — we decorate mid-December, get the tree a few days before the 25th and tear around the grocery store hours before it closes for the holiday. But this year I’m approaching it more like a marathon: slow and steady wins the race. I’ve got a leg up on the shopping, brought in a few bits of greenery to make the house festive and tried some new recipes that made the kitchen smell like Christmas. Including a couple from Yvette Van Boven’s wonderful new cookbook, Home Made Christmas. The prolific writer, editor, illustrator and television host (the Dutch cooking show Koken met van Boven is filmed in her kitchen) shares more than 100 recipes, a variety of menus, and many helpful tips to help relieve some of the stresses that come with holiday entertaining. (And just entertaining in general, really.)
Abrams Books and Penguin Random House Canada sent me the books pictured in this post. All opinions are my own.
“I told my wife she was drawing her eyebrows too high. She looked surprised.” HA HA HA HA. Forgive me for not sharing a Halloween joke — I couldn’t find a gourd one. (ZING!) Today’s post is mostly a rehash of things I’ve shared in the past week on social media but if you want to see what’s coming up I’ve included that too.
Abrams Books sent me a copy of What’s Gaby Cooking: Everyday California Food in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.
Ottawa summers are like Zac Ephron: short and hot. California hot. Too hot to think about what to have for dinner, but too short not to make the most of all of the fresh fruits and veggies in season. Luckily people like Gaby Dalkin have done the thinking for us. The LA recipe blogger from What’s Gaby Cooking just released a cookbook with the same name, and it’s full of everyday dishes designed to be made and enjoyed in an easy, carefree, Cali state of mind. The 125+ recipes use fresh seasonal produce and readily available pantry staples for dishes for any occasion, from a day at the beach or a picnic at the park, to a Mexi-Cali fiesta and outdoor pizza party. Nourishing smoothies and salads and veg-and-grain-packed bowls are balanced with indulgent treats like Strawberry Shortcakes, Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares (sooooo deelish!) and a Summer Fruit Galette. Here’s a look inside the book and a recipe to try (we did!), the Heirloom Cherry Tomato Tart.
Abrams Books sent me a copy of Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat, and Entertain the West Coast Way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.
Although Nathan Turner didn’t get as much air time as the other stars of Million Dollar Decorators (probably because he stayed pretty clear of the drama), I always wished we’d seen more of his California Casual style. “To me, it means a laid-back room, a friendly host, and a beautiful table with simple recipes and fresh ingredients,” the decorator/author/entertainer and California native says in the introduction to his new book (and my wish come true), Nathan Turner’s I Love California: Live, Eat and Entertain the West Coast Way.
I received some of the products mentioned in this post free of charge and name the sponsors below. All opinions are my own and from the heart.
For a couple of years in my teens I worked at the only Tim Hortons in town. The steady stream of customers kept us counter girls hopping, but the instant we caught a break and stopped to chat our manager would waltz through the swingy saloon doors dividing the back from the front and say, “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.” (Which naturally we resented.) I remembered that this weekend when I had some time to lean, but instead of
avoiding the mess like I usually do, I leaned into it and cleaned my little heart out. Then rewarded myself with a good chunk of my book — I’m finishing Calypso — a few episodes of Queer Eye, and a couple of awesome spin classes at The Dailey Method. (This coming Saturday marks the end of the latest 30-day challenge where you try to do as many classes as you can in 30 days. I wanted to do 26 but will probably only get to 17.) And then we had that incredible rainbow last night! Good things are coming.