Holiday Cards

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Our Christmas cards this year are from Artifact Uprising, a company I’ve loved and patronized for years now. I feel conflicted using design templates sometimes; I feel like I should use it as an opportunity to make my own. But they make it just so damn simple and convenient. Even easier is that we got real live family photos taken by my pal Cody KartarikIt was such a great shoot and I felt like I had to do one of these multi-photo cards.

2017CARDS-52017CARDS-1I love the Artifact Uprising designs because it feels like something I would do. They’re so simple and type-driven. They make it easy to give up control, and it takes like 5 minutes to put together. They’ll even address your envelopes if you’re so inclined. 2017CARDS-6

Bonus: Artifact Uprising is a cool company to make photo gifts for people. I’ve given my mom a little calendar the last few years. They have a big sale today and you should go check it out.

(p.s. it sure looks like this is a sponsored post, right? well, it’s not! I just think Artifact Uprising is neat).

Simple, last minute dishes to bring to Thanksgiving

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Oh festive times! We have some good stuff today and I’m really excited to share it. Addie and I collaborated on a Thanksgiving-centered recipe post, with us both contributing food. If you’re like us, and are going to a big family gathering this Thursday and need to bring something, we have a few ideas for you that are easy and guaranteed to be a hit. I also had a great time styling this shoot, especially the little rotisserie chicken (which isn’t featured in this post, it’s merely decoration) which is like, so tiny. Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!


Appetizer: Rosemary Sea Salt Flatbread CrackersTHANKSGIVING2017-2

(This is Caroline speaking) I think Rosemary is one of the most magical herbs. It smells amazing and I even love it for its aesthetic quality. I love using it in savory dishes, especially this time of year. A few years ago I made some rosemary flatbread crackers using a friend’s recipe for a Christmas party we were throwing and it was just so insanely quick and simple and I thought it would work equally as well as an appetizer for Thanksgiving dinner. They go great with a soft cheese like brie, and Addie whipped up some compote using leftover cranberries from her tart (see further down). 

Ingredients

– 1½ cups all purpose flour
– 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
– 1 teaspoon sugar
– 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
– 1½ Tablespoons Olive Oil
– ½ cup water
– extra sea salt for topping if desired.

Method

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place flour, salt, sugar and rosemary in a bowl, whisk to combine. Then stir in water and oil, stir until fully combined.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper (slightly larger than your baking sheet.) Roll the dough until it is about th of an inch thick. you may need to add a bit of flour because the dough is quite sticky. Try to keep the thickness as even as possible. Trim the edges if you want. The edges tend to be thinner and so they may burn in the oven before the rest of the crackers are done. Cut the dough into squares using a pizza cutter. Brush with a little water and sprinkle with more sea salt if desired. Use a fork to prick each square a few times. Transfer the dough, still on the parchment paper, onto a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Immediately reduce heat to 425. Bake for 12-17 minutes, or until crackers are starting to become golden.

(recipe from Fox and Briar)

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Cranberry Compote

Ingredients

– 1 orange
– 2 cups (8 oz.) fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

Finely grate zest from orange and set aside. Using a sharp paring knife, cut off peel and white pith from orange. Working over a small bowl, cut between membranes to release segments into bowl. Combine zest, cranberries, sugar, juice, and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have burst and sauce has thickened, 5–10 minutes. Chill until cold.

Gently stir orange segments into compote.

Side: Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

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I was so pleased with myself for planting something green that I’m still able to harvest this late in the year. It coincided nicely with the holiday, and since Brussels sprouts are so common with Thanksgiving feasts these days, I decided it was a perfect simple side dish for this post. This preparation of Brussels sprouts was the first way I started cooking them after I started consuming them on a regular basis. There’s about a million recipes out there, but I think the simpler, the better. They just need a good deep caramelization, instead of a quick flash sauté. Once they get a good color on them and soften up, they’re done.

Ingredients

– Trimmed, halved Brussels sprouts (roughly 2 cups)
– 3 Large cloves garlic, minced
– 1/2 large shallot, diced
– 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
– Fresh lemon juice
– Salt and pepper

Method

Melt butter in a sauté pan. Add sprouts, shallot and garlic, and stir around. Let the shallot soften and the Brussels get some color, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add a generous squeeze of lemon towards the end of cooking along with salt and pepper to taste.THANKSGIVING2017-6 THANKSGIVING2017-8THANKSGIVING2017-15

Dessert: Cranberry Curd Tart

THANKSGIVING2017-12I’ve admired this recipe from The New York Times for a long time, but I’ve been intimidated by the process of making the curd and the fussy preparation of the crust. I decided I could start simple and use a store bought crust, which really fits the spirit of what we’re going for here- simple last minute Thanksgiving dishes. The curd was stupid simple to make and it barely took any time at all. The fresh cranberries are pure garnish, but they add a really lovely extra bit of color.

Ingredients

-Pastry Crust

For the curd
-2 cups fresh cranberries
-Peel and juice of 1 large orange
-1 cup sugar
-1 stick unsalted butter (softened)
-2 eggs plus 2 yolks

Method

In a large sauce pan combine cranberries, sugar, orange juice and peel (be careful not to include any of the bitter pith with the peel) over medium heat. Heat for about 10 minutes, until the cranberries have softened and popped. While the cranberries are cooking, crack two eggs plus two egg yolks into a large mixing bowl and whisk gently. Set aside. When the cranberries are finished, pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve (like a chinois) using a ladle to push as much of the liquid through as possible. (Side note: the leftover pulp was turned into a compote that we used for our cheese and crackers spread- waste not!) Whisk the softened butter into the cranberry liquid until completely melted. Slowly whisk the warm cranberries into the eggs to temper until totally combined. To thicken, return to the pot over a low heat until it starts to boil. Stir to make sure the curd has thickened and there are no lumps. Let cool completely to room temperature and set aside.THANKSGIVING2017-10

While the curd is cooling, prepare the crust. Grease a fluted tart pan and press the pastry crust into the sides, cutting off any excess crust. Prick the crust with a fork and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Once the crust has lightly browned, take out and let cool completely. Once the crust is cooled, pour the cranberry curd into the tart shell and smooth out the top. Bake for about 10 minutes to set the curd.

Optional garnish of fresh cranberries.THANKSGIVING2017-16THANKSGIVING2017-14THANKSGIVING2017-22

 

 

 

 

Season’s Greetings

xmas-card-4I was debating with myself whether it would make sense to send Christmas cards out this year so soon after sending Alexander’s birth announcements, but since it is his first Christmas, I didn’t want to miss the chance for marking this tiny milestone. I decided on designing them myself, like the announcements, and again printed them through VistaPrint. His adorable little gnome hat is from Hanna Andersson. And while “Peace on Earth” is a pretty general Christmas card greeting, it’s especially referential to the [ICONIC] Bing Crosby – David Bowie duet “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth”, a favorite of mine since I was a kid.xmas-card-6EH? So good. And, I feel like this is a really strong message right now, in light of recent political events. xmas-card-5The family photo was the tricky part though. We had the tiniest window for everything to go smoothly, as the cat was in her reindeer antlers, which she hates, and Alex had just woken up from a nap and had *not* had a clean diaper put on. Whoops. Plus I was controlling the camera from my phone! It was uber stress. So, I scrapped the original card design I had planned and stuck our photo on the back. xmascard-1xmascard-2

Christmas Wrapping

WRAPPING-2I am the (or a) middle child in my family (of 4 siblings). My older sister, who is in the middle with me, is quite traditional in many ways. But I have made it my life’s mission to stand out as much as possible in my family. Not out of spite, probably, but just like, because I want everyone to think I’m weird.

This is especially true at Christmas. Long ago I stopped buying regular Christmas wrapping paper in favor for making my own (like one year I made a lino cut and stamped kraft paper). Other years I’ve done plain white, or black with white crosses. This year I have ALL these Stendig calendar pages. They’ve been sitting in my closet, some for a whole year, waiting to be used. What better way to leave my mark on this Christmas by crowding the tree with a display of black and white typography? WRAPPING-3I also hate wrapping presents, it should be noted. The least amount of effort I can put in is preferable. Of course a festive red bow would be very complementary but ehhhh, too lazy. WRAPPING-4My office scissors are from IKEA, of all places. WRAPPING-1The problem with these pages is that it’s much thicker than regular wrapping paper, and I don’t like using regular tape; I use washi duct tape. Anyway, the presents don’t like to stay super wrapped.

Alan isn’t anal about how his presents are wrapped, so, bless him, he has to buy his own paper at the store, which I think is really sweet and adorable (since he didn’t really grow up celebrating Christmas. He does this all for me. Awwwww).

BTW, if you’re looking for one of these calendars, they are way sold out. I tried to warn you. Better luck next year.

Holidaze

Hello, how was your holiday weekend? Mine was all over the place. I ran a 5k on Thanksgiving morning! And then Alan and I drank bloody marys and went to my parents’ house for food and family time. A record 40 family members were in attendance; the 60th year of Royce Thanksgiving. And all the tiny ones were out in full force because my siblings and cousins have been procreating like rabbits.TG-WEEKEND-1So many tinies! TG-WEEKEND-2TG-WEEKEND-3TG-WEEKEND-4TG-WEEKEND-5It was a rare gloomy Thanksgiving, and our annual walk wasn’t the usual crowded affair. Just me, Alan and my dad. It was about 4 o clock, and everything was very moody and atmospheric. Really got me in the mood for impending Christmas.

TG-WEEKEND-7I joined my parents and sister on their annual trip to cut down their Christmas tree. This used to be my tradition as well, and I don’t think I’d been along for like 7 years. TG-WEEKEND-9(note – I don’t know these people)TG-WEEKEND-12TG-WEEKEND-13TG-WEEKEND-16

And then of course there was my own Christmas decorating which was in FULL FORCE. I cranked the tunes, got out the pine candles and decked the muthafuckin’ halls.TG-WEEKEND-17TG-WEEKEND-19TG-WEEKEND-20TG-WEEKEND-21TG-WEEKEND-22TG-WEEKEND-24Even hit the ground running by baking a batch of sugar cookies. This time of year always feels so fleeting and in past years I don’t feel like I got into the season as much as I could… So I’m packing it all in. TG-WEEKEND-18This season also turns me temporarily lutheran again and I lit a candle for the first Sunday of Advent. Gosh, Lutheranism has the best and coziest of holiday traditions. Played summa dat Old World Christmas a lot too.

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