Drink to your health

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Now that it’s January, you may be looking for a more virtuous beverage. Allow me to recommend the cider, thyme and tonic mocktail courtesy of Offbeat + Inspired. It’s seasonal, bright, and not too sweet.

I love how the apple, herbal and lemon flavors play off each other, creating a balanced and complex drink– so rare for a mocktail! Plus, it was fun making my own thyme simple syrup.

This was a hit at my house on New Year’s Eve. I used fresh-squeezed meyer lemon juice (in season and so good right now) and Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water (quality tonic is a must and this one’s the best). I also splashed in some sparkling mineral water to amp up the bubbles and bring down the sweetness a bit further.

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Cider, thyme and tonics would also be a perfect match for brunch or a baby shower. If you’re feeling less virtuous, you can always add your favorite alcohol. Apple brandy, gin, or even whiskey could all be wins here.

Salud!

November wishlist

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All things cozy yet refined feel very right now. Here are a few items that strike the perfect balance:

  • I can’t wait to get my hands on Flavor Flours— an exploration of non-wheat flours by baking genius Alice Medrich. This has “new favorite baking cookbook” potential written all of over it.
  • I want to wear these wide-ish leg, cropped, pleated and pinstriped wool pants everywhere and with everything this fall.
  • I cannot tell you how good this Smoked Tea Vanilla botanical syrup is. I’ve been putting it on vanilla ice cream, in my earl grey tea and chai lattes, whipped with heavy cream for desserts, in hard cider, ginger beer and whiskey. This would also be a win on a sweet potato or baked into desserts like pumpkin bread. It has a few simple ingredients that mingle together to give you a smoky-sweet and complex, yet subtle flavor. Handcrafted by two amazing women in Portland, but also available in Seattle, Denver, New York, and online. They have two other delicious flavors, plus a gift set of all three if you can’t decide (great present!).
  • The folks at Kate Spade Saturday have nailed it with this gorgeous Colorblock A Satchel. I love the black/rosewood color combination. It’s rich and sophisticated, neutral enough to go with everything, but not at all boring. And it’s the perfect medium size.
  • These homey stoneware plates are both pretty and rustic. Their simple design is elevated by thoughtful details– the eye-catching design around the side, and the 1″ lip that helps make sure you’re dinner stays put while you’re cozying up on the couch. They’re made in Portland by Kati Von Lehman and available only on Provisions.

Happy November!

Currently loving…

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Plummy and browned-down red polishes like this one. Exactly what I want to wear this fall.

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This leopard-spotted number with an exposed back zipper to dress up or down, and of course, to layer up when it gets chilly.

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The moody autumn colors of this custom handmade leather wrap bracelet from Flor de Noche Studio. I’ve been wearing mine non-stop.

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This mismatched set of quirky-cool geometric studs. Perfect with everything.

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The gorgeous color, unique details, and versatility of these ankle boots.

See more favorites on Pinterest. Happy fall!

Thyme-scented tomato orange soup

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Elephants Delicatessen in Portland makes a terrific tomato orange soup. It’s creamy and comforting with some brightness and zing from the hit of orange. Perfect on a winter day.

Unfortunately for me, it has quite a bit of dairy in the form of butter and cream, so I’ve had to skip it. The good news… I found that Elephants published their recipe in the local paper, and not only is it quick and easy to make, it was a cinch to adapt it to make it dairy free.

Continue reading

Maple cranberry sauce with ginger and lemon peel

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I love cranberries and have been making homemade cranberry sauce for years. I’ve played with adding lots of different flavors to this sauce’s simple formula and have finally landed on my ideal. It’s sweet and tart with the complimentary flavors of maple, lemon and ginger. They lend the sauce a bit of complexity, but don’t overwhelm it. Continue reading

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!

Friday finds: Curl up for the weekend edition

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EAT + DRINK: All things apple. Sip some cider from the experts at Finnriver. Their elegant and easy-to-drink champagne-style artisan sparkling apple cider perfectly balances crisp and tart notes with the slightest bit of sweetness. Great on its own, but also pairs easily with food from apps to dinner to dessert. Bake this apple gallete from La Tartine Gourmande, my hands-down favorite source for simple and delicious gluten-free baked goods. Mix up some fall warmth with this simple cocktail made of bourbon, ginger beer and apple cider, courtesy of Portland’s own Tampopo Press. And last but not least, dig into this slow roasted pork shoulder with apple onion gravy from Simply Recipes. It’s nearly effortless and super delicious. Did I mention it’s paleo?

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READ: Ann Mah’s Mastering the Art of French Eating. Think of it as a food-focused French vacation for your brain for less than the cost of dinner. According to Ann, eating is every bit as much of an art form as cooking. I pretty much love her and will be curled up with this book over the holiday weekend.

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TABLETOP: It’s the time of year when Heath Ceramics releases its limited edition winter seasonal collection. The serving bowl and mugs featuring their striking seasonal color, blue pine, are my favorite.

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WEAR: Handmade porcelain and gold jewelry with a flair for the nautical from Boston-based jewelry designer Kimberly of Porcelain and Stone. Her love for her craft is evident in each of her unique and stunning pieces that work equally well with jeans or a wedding gown.