Pre-shopping breakfast

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Lately,  I’ve been craving some balance in this busy, decadent season. So instead of going out for brunch, or making an omelette and/or a mimosa at home, I found myself reaching for some humbler ingredients.

I cooked rolled oats in water with a little bit of butter and sea salt and then stirred in some fresh, whole milk and a little maple syrup once they were soft and thick. I topped my oatmeal with toasted almonds and local hazelnuts, really amazing dried cranberries from Vincent Family Cranberries, and cinnamon-rich baking spice. And then gave it an extra drizzle of milk and maple syrup.

Paired with an earl grey tea latte and a clementine, I found that winter bliss I was looking for. Maybe have a bowl before you head out for your last-minute shopping, ice skating, cookie swapping, Elf marathon watching day? Enjoy!

Cinnamon and spice scented zucchini bread

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This past winter, I was on a bit of a weekend muffin-making kick. This fall, I’m really feeling breakfast/snack breads. Up first… zucchini bread scented with fall spices. I wanted to make a simple and wholesome version that was gluten-free, moist, and of course, delicious. This fits the bill. And ohh… the smell.

Let me introduce you to a secret ingredient that makes this bread wonderfully fragrant and adds subtle background spice– Penzey’s Baking Spice. This is that special something, that makes people ask “What is in here?” as they gobble it up. It has notes of anise, allspice, mace and cardamom, along with two kinds of cinnamon. Of course, you can use all cinnamon and the bread will be delicious. But if you can get your hands on this, it is so worth it.

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Sunday round-up

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I’m loving the Thanksgiving invitations over at Paperless Post. So many great designs for all your Thanksgiving soirée needs and they can be sent online or through the mail.

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Taking time on Sunday to bake some muffins for the week has become a cold weather ritual for me. Having a couple of good-for-me muffins to go with my latte makes Monday mornings so much better. This week I baked these pumpkin oatmeal muffins from Dishing Up the Dirt. They’re gluten-free and vegan. Thanks, Andrea!

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I was surprised to find such a great selection of perfect-for-fall (and Thanksgiving!) cloth napkins at World Market. Bonus: they’re currently on sale.

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Image via NPR

I had the chance to taste several Kopke Ports over the weekend. I’ve never really drank much (if any?) port, but that tasting made me realize I should. This warming and somewhat sweet fortified wine seems like just the thing on a cold evening, especially with something chocolate. Any port suggestions for me?

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I’m making some more of this paleo (and vegan) salted caramel sauce for dunking apple slices and swirling into hot beverages like coffee, chai and apple cider to add creamy sweetness. It’s super easy to make and so good.

Happy Sunday!

Warming thoughts for a rainy day

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An almond milk earl grey tea latte sweetened with honey and warm-from-the-oven millet apple oatmeal muffins (recipe from this book).

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So good with a pat of ghee or coconut oil. Try Créme de la Earl Grey from Townshend’s Tea if you get the chance.

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Rugged yet streamlined, warm and waterproof boots. Love the caramel leather and grey wool combo. More waterproof leather boot picks here.

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Cozy fleece-lined boots in a blue denim leopard print.

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So-soft Japanese cotton washcloths and towels. I ran across these at Totokaelo on a recent trip to Seattle. I was so taken with the color and feel of these that I had to bring a few home.