I have been following blogs for quite a while now and when I started mine, I couldn't wait to post a 'Favorites' list. Not that a writer of a blog is some authority on awesome things, but it is a chance to be inspired by someone else's taste, discoveries, and a chance to click and explore their special items. I thought the first week of December would be the perfect time to create my little list and shine some light on some of my treasured products and vendors. And supposedly it is 'Cyber Monday,' and a great day to buy online. Go for it! Here are my top 15!
1. The Green Chile Seasoning from the Colorado Kitchen is my latest obsession! Buy a bottle for your favorite cook and one for yourself! This new business is run by a friend of mine who is a super Dad as well as a fearless cook!
2. Do you know Zingerman's? Their catalog is like a comic book for specialty food. If there is someone you love and you are looking for the perfect gift to express that love, send them a loaf of Zingerman's bread. It arrives frozen and when they bake it, the perfect crunchy crust is created while steaming the pillowy dough inside. Heaven. Bread Heaven.
3. I'm sure at this point you've heard of The Fabulous Beekman Boys. Before they won the 21st season of the Amazing Race in 2012, they bought a farm in Sharon Springs New York and have truly brought back the art of hand crafted items with their brand Beekman 1802. I have visited their farm and mercantile, I've traded recipes with them, and I am inspired by the community of artisans they are creating. Their Holiday Shop is open! (I can't wait to try the Cinnamon Creamed Honey!)
4. Sister Bliss Extreme Aromatherapy is my chemist of well being. This little bottle of Dream Weaver is my travel elixir. I fall asleep effortlessly no matter the time zone. I am lulled into relaxation by the lavender. The blue bottles hold such purity and are hand poured. The labels and descriptions of the products are so evocative, I want to buy them all.
5. Best Made Co. is the place you will find something for the man in your life. Sometimes I go into their store in Soho thinking I will FIND the man of my life there! They sell fantastic things like axes and pocket knives and compasses (I'm sure girls play with those too) but they also sell sweet little patches for $6 that say BE OPTIMISTIC. It is the perfect stocking stuffer.
6. Julie Burton is a wizard with glass. You can find her at Verre. She is one of the most generous artists I know. She is constantly sending out 'seconds' and overstock for free to her loyal customers. Go to her site and fall in love with those little tear drops of glass. Enjoy 25% off your order: enter code 'yay' in the shopping cart. This expires 12/2/13 (today!)
7. Guenevere Rodriguez is another preferred jewelry designer of mine. She works with energy, similar to Reiki, and summons up the good stuff to embibe into every item. She says on her website that "Jewelry is powerful. It can make you feel beautiful, protected, and loved." I wear her pieces and I feel those three things completely.
8. One of my best-loved companies is Glassybaby and their candle holders might be my number one gift to give. These little glass vessels are very special. They are hand blown so literally no two are the same. They all have names and you can select THE perfect color for THE perfect person. My pale pink 'Smooch' brings such warmth to my home.
Cookbook Round Up from my favorite chefs!
Ottolenghi-by Yotem Ottolenghi. I have cooked out of his first two books, Plenty and Jerusalem religiously this year. 2014 will be all about this new book! Your cookbook shelf is in need of at least one of these.
Super Natural Everyday-by Heidi Swanson. Heidi and her site of 101Cookbooks.com was my gateway to food and travel writing. She truly is the inspiration for so much of what happens in my kitchen and on this blog. I'm sure she will bring such goodness into your kitchen as well.
The Catch-by Ben Sargent. My local Brooklyn boy is finally getting the opportunity to share his passion for seafood with the world. This is such a great read with pictures from his adventures in fishing as well as modern recipes preparing his catch. Ben Sargent is the REAL catch!
Little French Kitchen-by Rachel Koo. I watched her BBC cooking show and fell in love with her. What a surprise when her sweet book arrived at my doorstep as a gift from a dear friend. I am transported to Paris every time I make her Mousse aux eclats de chocolat. (Chocolate Mousee with Cocoa Nibs!)
If buying THINGS isn't your THING, here are two charities I am supporting this year:
14. HealthClass 2.0- This organization is dedicated to empowering young people and their communities to think critically about health, food, and exercise and transform their own lives and the world around them as a result.
15. The Half Fund -The Half Fund was created to illustrate the realities of a cancer diagnosis, the good and the bad, through commercially viable mass media projects such as films, documentaries, books, and music. The first nonprofit of its kind, the Half Fund is a truly self-regenerating fund that will benefit existing cancer charities as well.