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:
- Strawberry Yellow Sheet Cake (This is the celebration cake for my blog’s NINTH birthday—pretty wild, right?)
- Baked Apple Cider Donuts
- Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
- Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Recipe, Elevated
- Black Bottom Pecan Pie (This is technically on C&H Sugar’s website, but I’m so proud of the recipe that y’all need to head over there and make it!)
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:
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!
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:
- “For Home Cooks, Burnout Is a Reality This Holiday Season” in The New York Times. Because of the pandemic, many of us are still staying home, cooking nonstop, and preparing all our meals at home. So what does that mean when a food-centric holiday like Thanksgiving comes along?
- “Why We Get Defensive About Our Holiday Recipes” in Vox. Hahaha, I’m just gonna drop this here without any comment.
- “The Real Reason Finance Experts Are So Obsessed with How Much We Spend on Coffee” in The Kitchn. Have you ever read a personal finance article talking about how you could become a millionaire if you just cut out your daily $5 latte habit? Yeah, apparently that’s a lie.
- “The Bittersweet History of Diet Soda for Women” in Jezebel. I’m not a big soda drinker, but I found this history of how diet soda is marketed to women really interesting!
- “I Handled Holiday Orders At A Grocery Store. Trust Me: The Holidays Are Miserable.” in Vox. I know the holidays are stressful for everybody. But please—treat essential workers with kindness! Some of the stories in that article are wild.
- “Why Most of America is Terrible at Making Biscuits” in The Atlantic. I beg to differ! I make an “okay” biscuit (lol). Sincerely—I don’t 100% agree with this article’s conclusion that it’s all about the flour. But maybe I should try my recipe with the flour they recommend anyway?
Recipes and Resources To Save
And here are the recipes and cooking-related resources I saved these last few weeks:
- I’m working on a tutorial on how to send cookies through the mail, but real talk: most of my tips are already covered in this Eater article and this Food52 guide on how to send edible gifts through the mail.
- Because yes, it’s cookie season! The Kitchn recently published a Quarantine Cookies series featuring my ube crinkle cookies (which I am doing a blog post/video tutorial for this month too—hang tight!). I personally can’t wait to try Amy’s new matcha neapolitan cookies!
- Brown. Sugar. Boba. PIE. I am dead.
Finally, On a Lighthearted Note
- I’m the kind of person who waited for all episodes of The Great British Bake Off to be on Netflix before binging them all at once. SO NO SPOILERS. But real talk—with themed weeks like “Japanese Week” and “‘80s Week”, it feels like things have gotten a little off brand? I’m not the only one who thinks so.
- “The Most Popular KitchenAid Stand Mixer Color in Every State.” My first KitchenAid ever was colored Pistachio—the most popular KitchenAid color in my state of Oregon! I guess I’m not original.
- What songs did YOU dance to (or, lol, cry to) when they announce the election results? I personally rocked out to Celebrate! by Kool & The Gang…along with many other people, apparently!
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.