Book Roundup: The Cozy Cookbook

Having recently finished Leave Me Alone with the Recipes: The Life, Art, and Cookbook of Cipe Pineles, I realized I have a thing for cozy, story-driven family-centric cookbooks. I devour them like novels, and keep them on shelves faaaar away from the mess of my kitchen. Here are a few in my collection:

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Apples for Jam: A Colorful Cookbook – This delightful book is divided into recipes based on color. My favorite: the hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream. GUH so good. I’m sad I’ve never had a chance to flip through her other books, Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes and Recipes and Dreams from an Italian Life. Author Tessa Kiros is also a delight to follow on Instagram!

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The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time – Hands down, one of the best books ever published. It is so inspiring, and makes me want to have beautiful, sit-down dinners with my family on a nightly basis. With contributors like Tom Hanks and beautiful recipes for the whole family, this is one of those books that’s actually very rarely in my house because I loan it to everyone.

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Barefoot Contessa, How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips – Stephanie is one of Ina’s biggest fans. When we found out she was doing a book signing and Q&A in Kansas City, we left our babes at home and eagerly drove up to see her. It was my first real introduction to her, and oh what a charmer. I went home with this book and have tried almost every recipe in it. Every single one of her books is ten thumbs up.

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Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses – this book is more about if you want to *start* a family (wink wink, nudge nudge). It’s a cookbook that’ll make you blush. I first read it while working at a cafe where we hosted an annual “Aphrodite’s Feast” romantic dinner. The courses all had aphrodisiac properties, and this book was our ultimate resource.

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What are some of your well-loved and well-worn cookbooks, whether you create the recipes or just love the imagery? We’d love to hear!

Mood Board: Winter is Going

Here in SWMO, the sun is starting to shine, the days are getting longer, the weather just a bit warmer. With the arrival of Spring, we are finally saying goodbye to winter. But I won’t lie. I love winter, and this one was particularly cozy. Full of family, nights by the fire, strong cocktails and hot baths, I’ll be taking some of the #hygge with me into Spring. Here are a few things coming along with me:

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That’s What She Said – Started revisiting The Office and it is so delightful. A decade ago I was smitten with Jim & Pam. Now I just want more Creed and Dwight. I rush home from a night out with friends because I want to spend it with my Dunder Mifflin friends.

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Old Books – Book Lovers’ Candle – I have a stack of well-loved library books, just waiting to be opened. And I tipsily went on a buying spree to get some old classic paperbacks that I’ll probably never get around to. Like Mrs Dalloway & Jamaica Inn. Light a candle, draw me a bath, and I’m set.

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Herbivore Botanicals – Dead Sea Bath Salts – Did someone mention bath? My body has been *hurting* lately, and my winter of flu prevention included eating and soaking in pounds of sea salt. I’ve been making my own bath salts and soaks (future post!), but I’m tempted to try this ylang ylang and vanilla soak. Ahhhhh. Light a few prayer candles and listen to some classical music, and you’ve got yourself a well spent evening.

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My avocado toast that I am currently addicted to would taste SO MUCH BETTER if it popped out of this Smeg , instead of my boring ol’ Cuisineart. (Just kidding, I love you, boring toaster. But…pale blue retro toaster!?)

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Did someone mention avocados?? And cozy socks? I’m wearing both right now!

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Are you ready for Spring or sad to see winter go?

{featured Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash}

Peaches, Pie, Guinness, Oh My!

Typically for St. Paddy’s day, one of us will make a dark chocolate Guinness cake with cream cheese icing, a tried and true recipe from one of our Domestic Goddesses, Nigella Lawson.

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image by Suzy Allman for The New York Times

This year, with Stephanie in charge of desserts, we opted for something a little different: Key Lime Pie. We grew up as Georgia Peaches, and according to the The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, key lime pie on St. Paddy’s is a Savannah tradition.

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The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl Day & Griffith Day

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How many key limes does it take to make a key lime pie? At least a dozen!

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The final product, in all its creamy citrus glory!

The icing on the cake was the Freshly Made Whipped Cream. Oh my Irish blessings.

Do you have a St. Patrick’s culinary tradition? Ours is food truck pasties and dessert, lots of beer & Irish whiskey, all after enjoying our city’s famous St. Paddy Parade. And what do the revelers think about that?

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Success!

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More Back in the Day Love:

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Back in the Day Bakery Made with Love: More than 100 Recipes and Make-It-Yourself Projects to Create and Share

And Nigella Love:

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Feast: Food to Celebrate Life

Bells & Whistles

The more crystals and bells in my house, the better. I can hear the crystals ring like bells and see the bells’ jingle flitter like light refracting off the crystals. It brings so much joy and happiness to my home.

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photo by Nicole Chilton

In what felt like an intuitive decision, I hung a strand of bells on my front door, in lieu of a working doorbell (plus, who answers the doorbell anymore anyways?). Little did I know that hanging bells on your front door is a centuries-old concept in Feng Shui, warding off negative energy and inviting harmony in the house.

Want to add some extra oomph and harmony to your own front door? Here are some fun bells to try:

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Caravan Bells with Glass Beads via Etsy

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Colorful windchime bells

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De Kulture Bell Metal Cow Bell Wind Chime 6.5X3.5 LWH (Inches) For Hanging Bells Garden Decoration Balcony Decor Ideal For New Year Anniversary Birthday Gift For Girl Woman (Brown)

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Maybe you are a cat person?

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Do you have anything on your front door? What is it and why did you decide to put it there? We’d love to hear!

Dark and Stormy’s

It was a dark and stormy night…

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Thus begins many a tale of wonder, magic, and mystery…

Oh, I’m not talking about A Wrinkle in Time , but one of my favorite drinks,  the rum-and-ginger-beer “Dark & Stormy”.

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Photo by Wine Dharma on Unsplash

A Dark and Stormy:

  • 2 oz rum
  • 5 oz ginger beer (please, do yourself a favor and find Goslings)
  • lime
  1. Pour the rum over ice in highball and fill with ginger beer. Squeeze in the lime wedge
  2. Drink

If you are feeling extremely adventurous, here’s a version I created for friends during an autumn getaway in the cabin (warning: it is potent!), called “Lost in the Storm”:

  • 2 oz Kraken Spiced Rum
  • 2 oz apple cider
  • Ginger Beer and apple wedges

Pour Kraken and cider over ice, and top with ginger beer to taste.

I also personally LOVE how easy it is to now find Moscow Mule Copper Mugs, These keep the drinks ice cold, and they’re so pretty to drink from!

 

Pure Magic: A Wrinkle in Time Set Design

WHO wouldn’t want to go see the new adaptation of the classic children’s book “A Wrinkle in Time“, a tale about the power of love and light in the time of darkness? Women directed, a diverse cast, and a story of the enduring power of love. What more could you ask for?

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(this was the copy I grew up with, and I just trashed my house trying to find it…no luck, sadly.)

Stephanie took her 10-year-old daughter to see the movie this week, and said she was smitten with the details of the home. Cozy, full of plants and crystals, and Craftsman-style were her exact words. Um. Sold. I’m seeing the movie tomorrow. But not before I look at inspiration for the set.

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Photo Credit: Atsushi Nishijima

This article from Architectural Digest talks about the home inspiration and challenges, which include altering the paint color from a cold yellow to something cozier, and adding wooden beams to hide the camera technician’s cables.

It reminds me of the book I just checked out (and then immediately purchased), The New Bohemians Handbook: Come Home to Good Vibes, in which the author says to clear out clutter and trash, let in clean air and energize your house with…you guessed it, crystals and plants. Um. Sold.

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That lamp! Those pillows! The books! Guhhhhhhh.

Here are some finds to inject your own magic into your charming house:

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Embroidered Pink Cotton Suzani Indian Cushion Cover These Suzani style pillows add a vibrant touch to any space.

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Cozy reading light – GIWOX 4.7″ Rechargeable LED Ball Light, Dimmable Children’s Bedroom Lamps Night Indoor Mood Lighting with Remote – 16 Colors, 4 Dynamic Models Indoors Outdoor

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Fresh flowers! In your house. All the time.

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What makes your house feel magical?

 

Head Vase Case

Between the two of us, Stephanie and I own at least a dozen vases in the shapes of heads. We can’t stop! Here are some favorites:

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Adorable Plum and Punch Bright Eyed Yellow Pencil Holder, which now holds a zipper cactus. Its Green Companion is still waiting to be filled.

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These sleepy ladies come in all sizes and shapes (just like us!), and we are addicted. Whenever we find them at local gift shops, we snatch them up.

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Her name is “Wabi Sabi Mama,” because she broke into 100 pieces, and while I cried for her loss, my husband glued and puttied her back together. She always looks fabulous, despite her scars. Currently she rocks a feather headdress, collected lovingly by a zookeeper friend. This one is from a greenhouse in Ozark, MO, but here is a similar one: Venus Head Garden Planter .

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Not in our current collection, but on my wishlist for sure! Head of a Lady Indoor/Outdoor Resin Planter

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And we can’t forget THIS GUY, from one of the local greenhouses in town.