Christmas Cards

Last year I drew cards and scanned them in, this year I was determined for them to be entirely handmade.
Halfway through I remembered how much work that was :)

In the end I'm very proud of them though and I think they turned out quite cute.
I carved a linoleum stamp and them mixed my paints together to make ombre trees. Then used gold glittered ink to outline one of the trees. The back reads "hope it's Merry & Bright" because one of the trees is sparkly. It made me smile and I hope it makes our friends and family that recieve one smile.

we put on a fake fire video to make it feel more Christmasy :)


This December...

We've had a very different December compared to the last few months. Hiking season has died down, rain has overtaken the sunshine. But I love what that means for people in Seattle. It means more parties, dinners out, movies, concerts, conversations over mulled wine. Joshua and I always look forward to how it slows down and friendships can deepen.

So far we've gone to a Lego Christmas party, so much food, amazing food! And legos! Yes it was awesome!
Joshua and I played hookie one day a week ago and went to a concert in the middle of the day. It was amazing! So so much good music. Plus we walked around the Christmas decorations downtown and had a nice slow dinner together.

The Farmer's market is even getting in the spirit. My favorite was the potato winter scene :)

Lots of caramel making and wrapping going on at our place for gifts and for fun. These are espresso ones

Went to see the Hobbit with some great friends. The place next door even had Hobbit cupcakes :)
Ah Great movie!!!

Plus lots of dinners and drinks with co-workers and each other.

So that's what we've been up to. Nothing extraordinarily exciting but a lot of fun! A good slow season that we need.


Cranberry Fig Sauce

I bought a bunch of cranberries from the farmer's market about a month ago, but I had no plan for them. I ended up freezing them until I had some inspiration for how to use them. I was still wondering what to do with them when Joshua said he'd never had cranberry sauce that wasn't plopped out of a jar. I knew this needed to be amended immediately, everyone should know what real cranberry sauce tastes like.
It was delicious! I made some challah bread to go with it and we snacked on it all week, yummm

Cranberry Fig Sauce
adapted from Kinfolk Magazine

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups cranberries
1 overflowing cup figs; chopped
1 orange; zested and juiced

1   combine sugar, spices and water in a pot and cook over medium heat
2   stir until the sugar is dissolved
3   add cranberries, figs, and vanilla, increase the heat and bring to a boil
4   cook for 5 minutes, the cranberries will start to pop
5   reduce the heat and cook cook for 20 minutes, it will begin to thicken
6   then stir in the orange zest and juice
7   let cool a little and you're ready to go. tasty with a spoon or on bread

I made this cake for a coworker's rehersal dinner- white cake with salted caramel frosting filling and almond buttercream frosting. I decorated it with edible glitter on the whipped edges so it sparkled really beautifully in the light. I'm really proud of it! I was also a nervous wreck waiting to hear it they liked it since I hadn't tasted it. Plus I've never sent a cake of to a bunch of people I don't know to consume. But she said it was delicious! YAY


Christmas Cookies

I loved our Christmas cookies last year. I was a little weary about it not being as much fun to decorate them this year, or them not being as cute. But then! I broke out the sprinkles and cocoa nibs, marshmallows and even bigger sprinkles, I also accidentally dyed the red icing into a hot pinky-red- then I knew it was about to be awesome! We just let ourselves go, Joshua had mustaches made of cocoa nibs and argyle I had bikinis and optical illusion snowflakes.YES!

This year I made a new cookie cutter- the snowflake! I must say I'm super proud of this one, I actually sat down and worked on one thing for over an hour! And I love the way it turned out, it baked well and the edges were wide enough they didn't burn, plus it opened up really fun decorating ideas :)

This year I wanted to add adultness to the flavor of the cookies a little, because I can't help tampering with things, so I added orange zest to the dough, and bourboun vanilla bean and almond extract to the icing.
Wow the orange zest in the cookies made our oven smell so good I could lick it!

Don't worry it's not just sugar cookies- we also have buckeyes, kiss cookies, thin mints
and we're gearing up for some homeade caramels yummm
and then I'm going to send them all to hubs work so I don't accidentally have cookies for breakfast everyday

Things got a little weird toward the end with American flag trees incorporating the color orange and trees with faces. That's why I love this man he isn't afraid to be absolutely goofy.


Butternut Squash Pizza

I'd had this squash for a little over a week and was too lazy to come up with what to do with it, and hubs wanted pizza. So I thought I'd try just putting it on pizza, everything can be pizza, right?
Suprisingly it turned out absolutely delicious - amazingly delicious!
Butternut Squah Pizza
1 head of garlic
1 onion
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
4-5 tbs goat cheese
1 butternut squash
olive oil

1   heat oven to 400 degrees F, cut squash in half and brush cut sides with oil, S&P
2   place cut side up on a baking dish and bake for 30-45 minutes, should be able
     to easily stab it with a fork
3   while it is baking pour about 1 tbs of olive oil into a head of garlic and bake it in
     the oven for about 25 minutes, or until well roasted, remove from oven and pop
     the garlic cloves out of the head
4   also head up the balsamic vinegar with a touch of oil in a pan and place the sliced
     onion in and saute for about 8-10 minutes, until they are carmelized onions
5   sprinkle some cornmeal or flour on the bottom of a baking dish and roll out the
     pizza dough
6    then bring the squash out of the oven, remove the rind and dice it into cubes
7    sprinkle the pizza with the squash, onions, and cloves of roasted garlic
8     top with dolops of goat cheese
9     bake for 10-15 minutes, depends on the dough type you use
10   remove, slice it up and be suprised by deliciousness


Decorating Bartholamew!

Again like last year we didn't deck our tree while listening to Christmas music, this year we listened to of Monsters and Men. Something about dancing around to beautiful voices and decorating a Christmas tree go together really well in our minds. I love that we can just be goofy and stop for mulled wine breaks or pretend to eat our food related ornaments.

Our lives have felt busy lately and it was so nice to take a night to ourselves and just be fully present. To string up lights and enjoy traditions that we've taken from our families and added ourselves to.
I miss not doing our families traditions all together but I also love that we've gathered them and carried them on with a little of our own quirk and personalities. Remembering our childhood Christmas traditions in our own ways with the new family we've made.

And now we get to snuggle up surrounded by these beautiful lights and pretend we have a fireplace with an armful of lit candles every night. It really does make it feel a bit warmer. Plugging in the lights is the first thing I do when I get home!


Sausage Apple Stuffing & Mulled Wine

When we camped over Thanksgiving we made pretty much everything you need to make a good Thanksgiving dinner, except stuffing. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since we got back, I really love the stuffing part of Thanksgiving dinner! So I decided to make it solo for dinner one night. Great decision!

Since we weren't eating it with turkey I put sausage in it to liven it up and help make it a meal. Stuffing plus the candles and mulled wine = great food night.

Sausage Apple Stuffing:

2 tbs olive oil
1 lb spicy pork sausage
about 1 cup of celery; diced
about 1 cup of white onion; diced
1 granny smith apple; peeled and diced
1 honeycrisp apple; peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic; minced
2-3 tbs fresh parsley; chopped
3-4 tbs fresh sage; chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1 lb loaf rustic bread; stale and cut into cubes
(I cubed mine and set it out until the next day, if you forget to do this you can toast them in the oven a bit to help speed that all up)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 tbs butter
3 eggs

1    heat olive oil in a pan and add in the pork sausage in chunks
2    brown the sausage and make sure to break it up into small pieces
3    transfer the sausage to a bowl, leave behind the juices
4    toss in the celery, onion, apples garlic, parsley, sage, bay leaves, S&P and simmer
      for about 5-7 minutes
5    mix the vegetable mixture in with the sausage
(this mixture can be made a day in advance and kept covered in the fridge, this helps all the flavors have time to come out as well, just make sure it is back to room temp before you toss it with the bread)
6     lightly grease a 9x13 pan and preheat oven to 350
7     in a pot heat the milk, broth and butter over low heat, this helps it from curdling with
       the hot sausage mixture
8     then mix the bread, milk mixture and sausage mixture together in a large bowl
9     lightly beat the eggs and mix them in as well
10   transfer it all to the 9x13 dish and bake for 45-50 minutes, uncovered
11   you can top it with some more fresh parsley when it comes out if you'd like

Mulled Wine:

Our friend Liz introduced us to this and then I couldn't help but try mixing it up on my own
(I think of it as the sangria of the winter, you can customize it in almost any random way you choose and it still turns out great)
also this is awesome for a group of people but be sure to make more than one batch, 1 doesn't go too far

1 bottle of red wine; I used Merlot
1 orange
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1/4 cup orange liquoer
3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
4 tbs honey
(I would have thrown some whole cloves in if I had any)

1   pour wine into a large pot and turn heat on medium-low
2   using and apple peeler peel off large pieces of the orange zest and place in pot
3   then peel apart the orange and place the slices in too
4   dump in the rest of the ingredients and keep on heat for at least 20 minutes to allow the
     flavors to blend
5   remove the orange zest and serve, you can just leave in on the stove on low and people
     can keep coming back for more hot mulled wine