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A Gift for You & Gifts for The Kitchen

December 9, 2014

Pssst…If you want to skip reading and just go to a giveaway, scroll to the bottom!

I am almost done Christmas Shopping, thanks to Amazon Prime. (My Christmas cards are another story, however.) I told my husband he could just wrap up a few of these presents I picked out and put them under the tree because I love all of these so much. Or in the case of # 6 & #7, I just couldn’t wait and am enjoying these while I wrap presents. Besides, he got me a hammock a few years ago, and really you just can’t top that as a gift so I figure he already peaked at gift giving.

I don’t love kitchen clutter so when I pick out something for cooking, it has to be something I really think I will use to account for it’s kitchen real estate. I am guessing most people feel the same way. But there is something to be said for a new device or cookbook really lighting the flame of inspiration so here are some items that meet these demands.

1. Cast Iron Skillet:

castironskilletYour food lover may already have one, but if they don’t this is really the most versatile kitchen tool, and it is really inexpensive. I love to give them to young people who are setting up their first apartment. Lately I’ve been roasting my chicken in them too, yum. And I have seen cast iron griddles at TJ Maxx & Marshalls that are great for pancakes and paninis too.

2. Zucchini Spiral:

Zucchini Spirilizer

The Huffington Post recently wrote an article about how this slicer will change your life. I am not sure about that claim, but I have one sitting in a box that I can’t wait to use, and frankly, for $13 it is worth a try. And I learned from trying to eat whole foods that you really don’t miss pasta if your sauce is sitting on a bed of veggies.

3) Monogram Mugs:


I just love the simple yet personalized feel of these mugs, and while I haven’t bought one for myself, I can tell I would reach for it every morning. If you are related to me/married to me and you are reading this, HINT HINT. And if your loved one likes coffee, you can also make their day with one of these:

4) Espresso Percolator:


I don’t make Espresso enough to justify an expensive machine, but this percolator sits in a cabinet and my espresso beans sit in my freezer for when I am in the mood.  A lot of recipes call for espresso, and a lot of people are posting how-to recipes for expensive coffee shop drinks that start with espresso, so it has some versatility. Plus it is only $30, a great price point for a gift, but it is actually pretty heavy so it feels expensive.

5) KitchenAid Stand Mixer Pasta Maker Attachment:

pastamakerThis is probably what I am the most excited for, and it is my ‘big’ gift this year.  I have been wanting to make my own pasta ever since I reviewed the cookbook ‘Extra Virgin’ for Coastal Home magazine for the current issue. But don’t worry if you can’t afford this one. The authors of the cook book said their ‘Nonna’ used to roll out her pasta dough with a wooden rolling pin and cut it by hand, so that works too. And I would definitely recommend their cookbook! I love their show on the Cooking Channel and the cookbook was just as sweet and inspiring.

6)  J Crew Factory Shearling Slippers:


Cooks tend to stand around in the kitchen quite a bit, so treat the one who cooks for you! I bought these on a whim before Thanksgiving and I have just started wearing them non-stop. There is no way the Uggs version could be cozier, because these feel like silk cotton balls on your feet. Spoiler Alert: I may have gotten them for all the girls in my family. When something is this good you have to share.

7) JCrew Factory Pajama Bottoms:


As a polka-dot addict, I had to have these. And I have lived in them ever since even though I was trying realllly hard to wait until Christmas eve. I am the worst.

8) Garlic & Lemon Press:



If you have never cooked with a garlic press, you won’t believe how easy it is to get, say, 12 cloves of garlic into tomato sauce in seconds and only have a tiny tool to clean up. The garlic comes out very fine so no one ever gets a big chunk. My family always had one growing up, so it makes me think about cooking in the kitchen with them. The lemon press is equally as good at saving time and clean up. I have tried a lot of ways to squeeze lemons and this one is tops. Both of these really help when making salad dressing.

9) Monogramed Cutting Board:


Rob got this as a gift a few years ago and we love it! It is huge, which helps to lug in vast amounts of grilled food, and the carvings around the edge really hold in all the juices when you slice meat. It also looks great as a cheese board, too. A great gift.

10) Mario Batali & Ina Garten’s New Cookbooks:


inamakeaheadThere is something about the way that these two produce a cookbook…wait I know what it is, I want to make everything in them. I actually poured over all the cookbooks at Barnes & Noble the other day, and I am really selective about cookbooks, because they are expensive and require storage. But every page jumped out at me as something I would love to try to make!

And since it is the season for sharing, and because I am so thankful to you for reading this blog, I am giving away a copy of one of these cookbooks! These both inspired me SO much, and my goal is to inspire you.  So just leave a comment below and state which one you would like in the comments, and if you have an Instagram account, hit ‘Follow’ on my Instagram button.

I will randomly pick one and contact you to send you a copy!

Happy Merrymaking, Katie






Notes on November

November 2, 2014

I have had a lot of increase in traffic to this little corner of the world, so I just wanted to welcome anyone new who pops over here – hi!

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It is windy and raining and moody outside, we are done with fall sports for the older kids, and it feels like a time to get quiet and be inspired. I am waiting to hear back from editors on my novel – fingers perpetually crossed – and I am distracting myself by writing my next one. Such a fun process and I am learning a lot from this book above.

Here are some things I found around the web that are inspiring me right now.

1. Life in Grace blog: This southern lady is so amazing – she loves books and food as much as I do. I think I ordered every book on her reading list too.


2. These maple roasted veggies and this brussels sprout/squash dish. And I have been making the ones from Gwyneth Paltrow with maple and Dijon for a while.  I am all about the veggies. (See #12.)

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3. I discovered this creative momma food blogger/photographer the SAME week she decided to quit blogging. Like rock stars that die young it has made her stand out in my thoughts. And her photog tutorials are such a gift to anyone who wants to learn more.

4. I will never be as crafty as this momma but Emily is really talented and worth checking out at Jones Design Co.

5. Really obsessed with making deconstructed apple pie. Here is one recipe I may be tweaking.

6. How have I only just discovered the Avett Brothers? I had heard their song ‘Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in’ which is really called ‘I and Love and You’. But their lyrics are so poetic and they fall in a category like The National and Radical Face of this slower, smart, haunting music. Love.

7. This coat at JCrew Factory. I just got it on sale and it is the exact coat I had when I went abroad to London the second semester of my junior year in college and is bringing back lots of memories. I visited Paris, Dublin, Shakespeare’s home town, not to mention wandered around Boston in my college winters, in this coat. Free spirited college days always bring back loads of inspiration to draw from. Tell me I am not just stuck in the past and you feel the same, please.

8. Also love these flower T shirts at JCrew, so pretty.

9. It is almost ski season….just got our tickets to the new Warren Miller ski movie. Cannot wait to ski.

10. Chicken Tortilla Soup. Yum.

11. I am loving this jewelry by Gorjana. Christmas wish list for sure.

 12. I am doing a cleanse with Arbonne that is like Whole30 + supplements. I feel amazing! And will probably feature some pale0/whole30 recipes in the coming weeks. But Kale Chips and Roasted Chickpeas are favorites I will be making long after the cleanse is over. (But I do miss cheese. For sure.)

What inspires you? I would love to hear it.

xoxox Katie

Heirloom Harvest Barn Dinner

September 25, 2014

We finally made it to the Slow Food Seacoast Heirloom Harvest Barn Dinner (or SFSHHBD for short, haha). In all seriousness, we have wanted to go to this since it’s inception six years ago but it always falls the weekend of my husband’s birthday, my daughter Lucy’s birthday, and our Anniversary. (These are all the reasons why it took my 3 days to put this post up.) But we made it, and so happy we did:

The theme this year was poultry, and it was so well carried out in the food, decorations, even feathers on the tables. So let’s break it down in that order.

First, the food:

This is what greeted me at the cocktail hour. Corn Dog Quail Legs with an Heirloom Chili Pepper and Heirloom Onion Aioli at the bottom. This set the tone for all the mind-blowing that would follow, naturally.


I missed a photo for ‘Flint Corn Biscuit and Gravy’ with Duck Leg Confit and Heriloom Tomato Jam, but you can just take my word for it- I am still dreaming about this riff on Biscuits and Gravy. The corn biscuit was like fried polenta…dreamy.

But I did grab shots of this dish, which is Cured Embden Goose Breast, with Skin Cracklin, Crisp Rillettes, Boston Marrow Squash and Foraged Herbs. I love how the squash balls look like egg yolks. Food is life is art…:

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This dish was Chicken Roulade with field herbs, Pekin Duck and Autumn Olive Sausage (SO good) with White Embden Goose and Corn Fritter.

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I can’t tell you what all of these words mean, but I can tell you they were delicious and that they live on in my memory long after eating them.

Next, The Decor.  Nepotism alert (ok, not really. No reward comes from this news to anyone, it is just a fun fact.)  My sister has done all the decorations for the Barn Dinner for the last five years.


And she made these amazing chandeliers and arrangements:

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Processed with VSCOcam with m3 presetIf you are looking for a wedding planner, you could call her! Even though she is a momma and already has a job. So maybe don’t call her. But her husband is crafty too and can build beautiful things.

Lastly, The Cause. These people are chefs but are also making social change – they are letting people know where the food in New Hampshire comes from, keeping heirloom varieties of herbs, vegetables and animals alive, lobbying our politicians, and most importantly creating an amazing evening for us all (just kidding. I don’t really think that was the most important part). But thanks to Evan and Denise Mallet of The Black Trumpet and ALL these amazing people:

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Can’t wait to come back next year. Oh, and Happy 10 Year to my husband Rob. I love you!! I hope our marriage ends up like this barn –  weathered and worn, it still houses love and joy. (Here is a cute shot of him listening to how to support The Slow Food movement).


I love you! xoxo