Entries in Holiday (4)


Fake Thanksgiving Stuffing

Ahhhh fall. Changing leaves, crisp mornings, scarves all so nice. Then there is the food. Bring on the roasted root vegetables, squash, soup and rustic desserts - pies, galettes, crisps. Fall feels like gravy weather. Like all your food needs a nice warm blanket to cover it. The height of fall cooking comes at Thanksgiving for most people. All the favorite dishes from candied yams to green bean casserole and in between. 

But why wait - this meal is pretty awesome anytime. You can pull out all the stops and have a "Fake Thanksgiving" or just add one of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes to a roast chicken dinner. The options are endless. Who says gravy calls for grand occasion??

I have had Thanksgiving on my brain. I could not wait to taste the flavors of this amazing meal. Mr. Ramon and I have already planned most of our menu. But I needed a taste - something to get me even more excited. So with dinner guests heading over and celebrating both of their birthdays I decided to really go there with this Fake Thanksgiving. We also found out once they got here that they are going to be out of the country for the holiday so this was the only "traditional" Thanksgiving they were going to get. 

Of course I was not yet ready to handle a turkey so I decided a roast chicken would do. To round out the meal I added roasted brussel sprouts, stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy. Such a great day to cook. The babe took a couple long naps so I could get my groove on in the kitchen. The house smelled amazing with stock simmering on the stove. 

I love stuffing. Bread is my favorite thing on earth - now add aromatic bits of leek, onion, celery and kale and toss it all together with broth, sage and parsley. Bake that until the top is crispy. The crispy bits are the best. This stuffing I married all I know and love about stuffing and it was amazing! So amazing it is gone. Mr. Ramon took some for lunch and I just crisped up the rest in a pan with an egg on it. Yum!

This was my Fake Thanksgiving stuffing - my real Thanksgiving stuffing will be very similar I bet - but there will be a lot more of it!

This can be made a day in advance and baked the day of your meal. This recipes serves 6 hungry adults. 

Fake Thanksgiving Stuffing

1lb loaf of rustic sour dough bread

1 bunch lactino kale 

3 stalks celery 

1 leek 

1 onion

2 cloves garlic 

1/4 c pumpkin seeds

2 teaspoons sage

1 teaspoon thyme

2 cups stock - chicken, turkey or vegetable

2 eggs

3 tablespoons butter 



Tear the rustic loaf into bite size pieces. Place on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven until dry and crisp. Cool and place in a large mixing bowl.

Place pumpkin seeds on cookie sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for about 6 minutes - watch these. They can burn easily. Cool and add to bowl with bread pieces.

Fine dice the onion, celery and white parts of the leek. Heat some olive oil in a large skillet on medium and add the diced vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft and fragrent about 10 minutes. Pour over the bread pieces. 

Rough chop the kale removing tough stems. In the same skillet on medium add some olive oil then cook the kale until wilted and soft about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. When cool add to bowl with bread pieces. 

Mix with your hands or 2 large spoons all the cooked vegetables with the bread pieces until everything is well incorporated. 

Warm 1 cup of broth with the butter. Let cool a little then whisk in the 2 eggs, sage, thyme and salt and pepper. Pour the broth over the top of the mixture and mix again so it is well distributed. If you think the stuffing feels to dry - pour some of the remaining broth over the mixture. You can also add broth if needed during cooking or after to moisten.

Bake covered in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes - uncover and bake another 15 minutes so the top gets nice and crispy. 



Lebkuchen Bars

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and all I want to do is bake. The holiday season is my favorite time to be in the kitchen. I love the tastes of fall - pears, pumpkin, citrus and cranberries. The spices so rich - nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and clove. With that in mind I thought I would begin baking some of my favorite holiday treats. 

Lebkuchen Bars are a a spicy gingerbread type bar hailing from Germany. They are a traditional Christmastime treat and would be delightful with a cup of tea after a cold day outside. Some recipes call for almonds, candied citrus peels or ginger. 

These bars are great the day they are made but only get better over the next couple of days - if they last that long!

Lebkuchen Bars

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons vegetable shortening

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspon cardamon

3/4 teaspoon ginger 

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup molasses

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 


1 tablespoon  lemon juice

1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

3 tablespoons whole milk

Preheat oven to 325. Set oven rack to lower middle. Prepare a 13x9 pan by lining it with foil or parchment and greasing it. 

Melt butter and shortening together and let cool slightly. 

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, cardamom, ginger and salt together in a small bowl. 

In a large bowl, whisk granulated sugar, molasses, eggs and lemon zest loather, then whisk in cooled butter until combined. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. 

Spread batter into prepared pan and smooth top. 

Bake 35-45 minutes - rotating pan halfway through baking. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. 

Let bars cool completely in pan on wire rack - about 2 hours. Lift bars out with parchment/foil overhang. Cut into 24 pieces. 

Whisk the Glaze ingredients in a small bowl and spread evenly over each bar. Let glaze set for 30 minutes before serving. 

Store in airtight container for 3 days. 


Christmas Inspiration

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. I love the entire Christams season. I don't get crazy with my decorating but I do love to come up with a new theme for our tree and other decorations every year. This could get expensive but we try and re-use and make as much ourselves as possible. Mr. Ramon gets to choose every other year and this year was my year. 

I felt really inspired by red and white. Classic and so clean. I wanted it to look homespun but with a modern edge. What set it all in motion was these adorable felt hearts from IKEA. They looked rather handcrafted but still modern. 

I decided to build around this a Scandinavian theme. Red and white, felted accents, white lights, reindeer and graphic patterns for paper and tree skirt. These are some of the images from my mood board. 

 Check back for a post of what our Christmas actually looked like!


Valentine's Day 

My first job at 16 was at a Hallmark store. I am pretty sure this is why I love Valentine's Day so much. Also I had an amazing mom that would celebrate this holiday with cute little gifts like tiny heart shaped erasers, handmade doily cards and sweet treats.

This year with our wedding just wrapped I missed the boat on handmade anything. But I could not let the holiday escape me and sent Mr. Ramon flowers from Seattle favorite Fiori. They always do such a stunning job.

So I want to send a Happy Valentine's Day to my guy - Mr. Ramon will you be my valentine?

Hope you all had a sweet day with your loves!