First things first: a big THANK YOU to everybody who baked one of my recipes on Thanksgiving. I loved seeing all your photos and stories on social media. It was such an honor to be a part of your celebration in some way!

The end of the year is finally here! For the first time in our 10-year-plus relationship, Erlend and I are getting a real live Christmas tree! Our new house finally has space for one. I’ve never had a real live tree before. I’m envisioning the tree filling our space with fragrant pine smells while I bake batches and batches of holiday cookies. But lol, who am I kidding? The cat will probably tear down the tree immediately.

All joking aside, for the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful. I’m optimistic about the new government administration on the horizon, as well as the promising news about several vaccines. It’s funny—when I started this monthly “check-in” series, I intended it to be a space to discuss all my upcoming plans for the blog, travel, and life. However, since COVID cancelled all future plans, these posts became summaries of the last few weeks. But maybe 2021 will change all that soon. I hope that we can all finally start looking forward again.

In Case You Missed It: New Recipes

And in case you missed it, I published and updated the following recipes in the past month. Here’s a round-up of everything new:

Below are pictures of the two most popular recipes from the month—Baked Apple Cider Donuts and The Elevated Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Recipe—to inspire you:

baked apple cider donuts
libby's pumpkin pie recipe

New Cookbooks

So many of my friends, acquaintances, and peers wrote amazing cookbooks that came out last month (or are about to)! Here are a few of my faves:

  • Baked to Order by Ruth Mar Tam of @rushyama and Cook Til Delicious
    I follow Ruth on Instagram and am always in awe of her beautiful baked goods. I can’t wait to bake from her new book!

  • Even Better Brownies by Mike Johnson of @mikebakesnyc and Mike Bakes NYC
    Okay, technically, Mike’s book just came out today. But I’ve been so excited about it that I’m including it in this roundup! Mike’s book is just filled with the most delectable brownie, blondie, and cookie bar recipes. Seriously—check out his feed for more inspo!

  • The Book on Pie by Erin McDowell of @emcdowell
    I am SO proud of my friend Erin (a former columnist for Food52, and a contributor to New York Times Food). In my head, I’ve always known her as “the reigning pie queen”. Her new book fis all about pie (duh) and is just a STUNNER. It even made the New York Times‘ Bestseller List!

  • You Wanna Piece of Me? by Jenell Parsons
    Another pie book! This one comes from the baker at The Pie Hole, a famous pie bakery in Vancouver, Canada. So many amazing pie books came out this season!
december 2020 cookbooks

Food For Thought

This past month, I also spent a LOT of time thinking and reading about food beyond the baking recipes you see on this blog. Here are the ideas and issues that resonated with me:

Recipes and Resources To Save

And here are the recipes and cooking-related resources I saved these last few weeks:

ube crinkle cookies kitchn Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk
Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Finally, On a Lighthearted Note

Now, I hope you all are staying safe and healthy! Please let me know how you’re doing in the comments below, and feel free to share the ideas and issues that are floating around in your heads, too.