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}

Mixed Print Book Club

In our recently formed “Mixed Print Book Club,” we try to pick books for the group that are charming, fun, and an escape from reality (for better or for worse). The group consists of mostly working women (and yes, that includes full-time mamas!), so when we have a few minutes to slip away into another world, it helps when the main characters are swoon-worthy and silly.

Our picks so far have included:

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Next Read: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel

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Attachments: A Novel, by Rainbow Rowell – Oh holy night, this is a heart-swelling, laugh-and-cry-out loud, swoony moony charming book. It’s told mostly through emails, so it reads quickly, and we guarantee you’ll be cheering by the end.

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The Rosie Project: A Novel,
by Graeme Simsion
 – This quirky romcom novel is fairly predictable but oh so enjoyable! The narrator is a man with Asperger’s, who is determined to find the perfect life partner, using a complicated set of rules and regulations. Also a quick read, and part of a series, for those who can’t get enough of Don.

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Kiss Carlo: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani – Our friend, book clubber, and surrogate sister Missy loves loves loves the author Adriana Trigiani, and has gotten us hooked. The Big Stone Gap series series is ten thumbs up! Kiss Carlo is a sumptuous throwback with beautiful descriptions and a world to definitely get lost in.

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette: A Novel – The book that kicked it all off! Hands down, across the board, a winner. Told in a series of emails and letters, this Seattle-set satire is funny, smart, and delightful. Plus, that cover!

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What are you reading? Interested in joining in from afar? Message us and we can set up a post for commenting on each book!

{featured photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash}

Book Love: Folk Art Techniques

My personal artistic style is messy, dreamy, and intuitive. I very rarely sketch out ideas or work with a final image in mind. This might be why I’m compelled to buy every art-technique book out there, because the process is so foreign and fascinating.

I LOVE folk art, and folk design, from all regions of the world. Lately a few new books have been published with step-by-step techniques and ideas, and are welcome additions to my collection.

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Imagine A Forest: Designs and Inspirations for Enchanting Folk Art

Enchanting folk art! Mermaids and sirens, beetles and butterflies! Wallpaper inspiration for daysssss. Usually I check out a book from the library before purchasing, but I went with my gut and bought it. So happy I did!

Then, it wasn’t enough. I needed MORE. So, again, sight unseen, I purchased Creative Folk Art and Beyond:

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This fun book caters toward those who require more instruction and steps to create their work. It’s like a sketchbook and journal all in one. Also a good keeper!

If you are wanting to add even MORE folk art instruction books, here’s a list I found:

Folklorique: A Folk Art Coloring Book: A Unique Antistress Coloring Gift for Men, Women, Teenagers & Seniors with Relaxing Patterns, Stress Relieving … Relief, Mindful Meditation & Relaxation)

Modern Folk Embroidery: 30 Contemporary Projects for Folk Art Inspired Designs

European Folk Art Designs (Dover Pictorial Archive)

Etchart: Hidden Forest: Reveal the wonders of the wild in 9 amazing Etchart scenes

I’ve also put together a Pinterest Board on swoon-worthy folk art, both traditional and contemporary.

One snowy day, sitting by the fire, I decided to try my hand at folk-style art. This was extremely satisfying, and maybe now I should set my career sights as a wallpaper artist? Yeah? Maybe.

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pattern play by Nicole Chilton

Golden Milk

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Flu season has been no joke. Having kids in elementary school and an office job is practically the same as living inside a petri dish.

I don’t want to get sick, and I don’t want my kiddos to get sick, so I’ve been eating raw garlic until my breath bursts into flames, and then cool it down with clementines and water. When I want something *really* wonderful, I make Golden Milk. It’s a sweet and spicy chai-like creamy drink. It’s golden, because of the turmeric, which has amazing anti-inflammatory properties. It does wonders. Make it. Drink it. Brag about how earthy you are. Recipe below.

Hygge-based Gratitude

Every morning for the past few years, I’ve jotted a quick note of something I’m grateful for. It helps start the day on a positive note, and puts my mind somewhere cozier.

This year, I decided to focus each month with a theme. Get really specific. Inspired by one of my Christmas presents, “The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, I decided to write down all things “cozy” (the definition of Hygge – pronounced hoog-a).

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Being cozy is an enormous luxury, as I found out by these daily notes. Warm water, dry socks, and sweets aren’t something any human should take for granted, because not everyone is so fortunate to have these.

Hope you enjoy and find ways to embrace your good fortune of hygge!

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  1. warm water
  2. coffee
  3. dry socks
  4. candlelight
  5. Yoga Blankets
  6. pashminas
  7. fireplaces that work
  8. rainy nights
  9. brisk walks
  10. grilled cheese
  11. kid snuggles
  12. reading by firelight
  13. book shopping
  14. SNOW DAYS!
  15. dinner with family, sitting around the fire
  16. slow cooking (making whipped cream by hand)
  17. easy chairs
  18. a warm house
  19. jazzy radio
  20. a drawer full of clean pj’s
  21. hugging my husband
  22. thunderstorms
  23. Amber Incense
  24. QUIET TIME
  25. well-loved scarves
  26. tarot by candlelight
  27. brunch with my daughter
  28. a clean bedroom
  29. misty mornings
  30. writing letters
  31. golden milk

What are YOU grateful for that makes you feel all warm and cozy? We’d love to hear.

Originally published over at NicoleChilton.com.