It's Me! Just Checking In!

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 2.17.00 PM OH HELLOOOOO. It's been a bit since I've visited this space, but I've got solid reasons, I swear. Namely a huge move that's landed us in a new house and all the stress and insanity that comes with it. And when you throw two little kids into the moving mix (one of whom personifies The Terrible Twos), even the simplest to-do list takes about five times longer than it should. There's been a lot of running around like a crazy person, eating too much take-out, not knowing exactly what day it is, and many learning curves when it comes to sprucing up a 100-year-old house. (And no, I'm not exaggerating on that number--she was built in 1917. Which is how I've been feeling most mornings lately. Creak, ow, crackle.) It enough to make anyone a little nuts. I've downloaded two Justin Bieber songs this week. I don't know who I am anymore, is what I'm saying.

But! Things are slllloooowly coming together. Lots of painting, lots of caulking (Me! Caulking! I told you things were getting crazy), endless organizing and reorganizing, lots (and lots) of going up and down stairs (so, so many freaking stairs). I will supposedly finally (!!) have a working refrigerator in my kitchen this Tuesday--please, sweet baby Jesus--so I can stop keeping everything in the old refrigerator in the basement and operating like a pack mule multiple times per day to avoid having to encounter more of those aforementioned trips up and down stairs. I've baked a couple things so far in the new kitchen, which always helps even the most chaotic house feel a little more like a home--a big batch of blondies and a little testing for an uncommonly good Thanksgiving dessert that I'll share with you this coming Wednesday (which will accompany a grand old giveaway bound to blow your holiday baking-loving minds, so watch this space).

In the few spare moments I've had to catch my breath (read: drink a large wine), I've found a few things that are making me super pumped to spend the holidays in our new home. Any port in a storm, right? Here's a few of those things that have been bright spots over these past few whirlwind weeks.

Right before things got super crazy with the move, I was able to visit the offices of Ten Speed Press in Berkeley, purveyor of basically every cookbook you want right this second, including the new Baking from the genius crew of Food52. It's a compact volume of just about everything a home baker ever wants to create. So straightforward, so lovely. So permanently part of my cookbook collection. Love.

If your Amazon cookbook shopping clicking finger is getting itchy, I also have to recommend Samantha Seneviratne's debut book, Sugar & Spice. I've been keeping it on my bedside table and flipping through it right before I pass out. It's been my lifeline to a much calmer future of baking in my new kitchen. I've been dreaming of all kinds of her amazing ideas, and have a few bookmarked for upcoming parties. I'll updating you as soon as I bake something up. It's not often that I recommend a book without testing recipes from it first, but this book is one of those rare gems that inspire you to use new ingredients in baking and get up and get into the kitchen. I love it for that alone. Oh, and also for the great writing and jaw-dropping photos. I will report back.

It's not everyday that you find a food blogger who is wildly hilarious and innovative with food, all with a keen eye for design and photography. Not to mention superior skills when it comes to GIF usage. I can't say enough about Billy Green from Wit and Vinegar, but it doesn't really matter because I don't have to tell you anything now that you can buy his first cookbook Whip It Up!, and get a snapshot of all that is wonderful about him. This is a book for food lovers and art lovers alike. Color galore! Hooray, Billy!

Holidays mean entertaining. Or if you're me, it means shoving all your unpacked boxes in any available closet to hide the chaos, and then attempting to entertain as you realize that half of what you need is buried in a box in an overstuffed closet. I'm trying to be better at adulting in this new house, and put my nice serving dishes and silver in a proper cabinet so I can be fancy and not have to be tearing through cardboard as the doorbell is ringing. At any rate, there are some of us who are very on top of the entertaining thing, like Maria Saba who blew minds and took names with this hack for polishing a huge batch of silver in five minutes. WHAT.

Like a lot of families, mine has had the exact same menu for Thanksgiving for my entire life. And that is completely and totally perfect. However! Every once in a while it's good to throw in a wild card, and this Rosemary Farro with Roasted Grapes, Shallots, and Almonds from Molly Yeh would fit the bill just fine.

I'm also feeling like this almost comically extensive list of 45 Thanksgiving Desserts could bust you right out of that pumpkin pie rut. Holy options.

See you back here in a couple of days!

UncategorizedShauna Sever