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Posts Tagged ‘Heidi Swanson’

1.  Mint flavored anything.  The flavor of mint instantly transports me into holiday season mood.  Pair chocolate and mint, and I am in a winter wonderland.  I can’t get enough of the stuff, and the trails of foil wrappers left around the house prove that.

2.  My kidskin leather gloves (made in a small glove shop in Florence, Italy).  I’ve had them for years, and every winter when it is time to take them out, they are buttery soft.

3.  The cold weather.  Yes, I love it.  The bare trees, the feeling that the air is so crisp it is made of glass, how amazing it feels when you hold a hot drink in your hand, or walk in a warm building after facing the blustery cold, and how even more amazing it feels to slip under the warm covers of the bed at night.

4.  Speaking of cold weather…I love how everyone looks like Eskimos around winter time…the hats, the gloves, the boots, the scarves, and the red noses.

5.  Eggnog.  When I first heard of eggnog, it sounded disgusting.  And the first time I tried it, I thought it tasted gross.   But now, I love the stuff with its creamy, sugary, nutmegy goodness.

6.  Homemade hot chocolate made with 1 heaping tablespoon of Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa, 1 cup warmed milk, 1/4 cup warmed cream, sugar to taste.  And topped with these mini marshmallows.  Not only are they delicious with a mild vanilla flavor, but they are made with fish gelatin (not bovine or porcine), which means I can eat them!

7.  Homemade fudge.  I love fudge anytime of the year, but especially in the winter.  Best fudge recipe: Heidi Swanson’s Fantasy-ish Fudge.  It has the sugary smooth texture of fudge that I prefer over the creamy kind, and it tastes yum!

8.  The anticipation of Z-Bear’s first snow!  Which means we get to bundle him up and take tons of cute pictures of him.  Let’s just hope the weather doesn’t disappoint.

9.  Creams, lotions and body washes that are scented like holiday baked treats. Especially the Philosophy holiday collection.

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I love to cook.  If I could make a living by cooking, I’d do it.  But two snags : I am not that great a cook (but I do alright), and the repertoire of things I know how to make isn’t that expansive.  When I step into the kitchen to make something, I either just envision the final dish and add stuff as I go, or I meticulously follow a recipe to make the final product.  I want to share a few of my sources for tried and true recipes:

 101 Cookbooks

I love this website because it compiles Heidi Swanson’s own recipes with those of so many other cookbooks (hence the name). I am willing to go to the mat for this: Heidi is a food genius!  I don’t know how she churns out recipe after delicious recipe without an ounce of meat, fish, or poultry. (And I am by no means a vegetarian!)  Her compilation of recipes focus on ‘natural, whole foods and ingredients’.  I have yet to try something from her website that doesn’t turn out scrumdiddlyumptious.  Her featured desserts make you do a double take with some of the ingredients she uses, but they always come out fabulous!  And her website is not just about food, but also her travels and her photography.  Awesome + Awesome + Awesome = Crazy Awesome! 

Savoring India

Part of the popular Williams-Sonoma Savoring series, you will fall in love with this book even before you make a single recipe.  The book is worthy based on its lush and vibrant photographs and mouth-watering descriptions alone.  Julia Sahini writes about food the only way it should be done: with unrestrained passion and reminiscence of fond childhood memories.  The recipes are easy to understand and easy to follow.   The book is peppered with personal experiences and fun facts.  Every recipe I’ve followed has turned out picture perfect and delicious.  And for those who are curry shy, fear not: the spices give a mélange of flavors, yet are never overpowering. 

Curry, Kabab, and More

This book of Pakistani recipes includes classics such as mattar pulao (rice and peas), shalgam gosht (meat with turnips), and yakhni (meat broth).  All the yummy offerings are the ultimate comfort food for this Pakistani girl: pulao with raita followed by zarda are the equivalent of pot roast, mashed potatoes and apple pie.  The recipes are well thought out and easy to make.  But what I love most: it’s a labor of love, the wife wrote the recipes, and the husband took the pictures in their house on their dining table, complete with white plastic doilies and silk flowers in the backdrop.

Alton Brown’s Recipes

This quirky man’s recipes are fun and flavorful.  His classic American dishes always hit the mark, and don’t be daunted by his rapid-fire pace and gizmos and gadgets, the recipes are quite easy.  Plus, I like the fact that he proves that cooking doesn’t have to be all Martha Stewart-y (no disrespect, I like Martha) and still be really tasty.

Happy eating!

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