Welcome to this week’s Seven for Saturday!
1 – Thanksgiving Day
I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving Day if you celebrated. This year Rob, my husband’s younger brother and his wife, Debbie hosted at their home in Sebastopol where I stayed for 11 days last month during our fire evacuation. It was good to return under less worrisome circumstances and always fun to be around our family and Debbie’s.
Debbie and her daughter set a beautiful table in their living room for all 20+ of us. And with the large picture window, we could see the gorgeous sunset over the rolling vineyards.
I am grateful to share holidays with Bill’s family each year as my family all live far away.
How did you spend your Thanksgiving?
2 – A Special Dinner Party
Last Sunday, Bill and I went to a dinner party at my friend Hollie’s home in Glen Ellen. Hollie and her husband recently moved to Sonoma Valley and built a beautiful, modern home on a hill. Hollie is a chef and educator. We met last January at Ramekins where she was teaching a class about clean eating where I also got to know our mutual friend, Jennifer better. Jennifer and her boyfriend also attended the dinner party.
We were treated to the most fantastic food! From mouthwatering appetizers made with puff pastry, local mushrooms and sausage to homemade butternut squash filled raviolis that Hollie and her husband decorated with hearts colored with beet juice, it was a wonderful feast!
Dessert was a birthday cake that Hollie and Jennifer got for me along with some very fancy French bubbly. I felt so special and spoiled by all of it!
As a parting gift, Hollie made me a jar of homemade pimento cheese spread. We are both originally from the south and were raised on pimento cheese. I have been enjoying her spread daily ever since!
3 – Instant Pot Wins
No more delicate veggies will be going in the IP from now on. I decided to try something a little sturdier: spaghetti squash. Talk about fast and easy! It took less than 15 minutes for each half and it cooked perfectly. I made a tasty meat sauce, then poured it over the shredded squash, topped it with some mozzarella and baked in the oven until bubbling. It was so good! I didn’t miss pasta for a second.
Tori made a turmeric tonic this week with the IP too. She found the recipe in a cookbook I bought when I purchased the IP. You just pressure cook fresh turmeric root, ginger root, cinnamon sticks, water and honey (we left out the honey and sweetened the tonic they way we wanted to). It is warming, comforting and tasty. And it’s so good for you!
Next I am going to try making hard boiled eggs. I bought some cooking racks made just for this purpose and am looking forward to trying them out.
4 – The Holidays are Here!
We were chomping at the bit this year to get the holidays off the ground! I am certain our holiday spirit has much to do with the recent tragedies in our region. As a result of them, there is a stronger sense of community here and a greater appreciation for the little things and for traditions.
We normally go to the same tree farm in Glen Ellen every year. It’s a holiday tradition that I believe we’ve been doing for 15 or 16 years. Although Moon Mountain Tree Farm was saved from the fires, it had to close this season because the road into the property is treacherous from the numerous fire vehicles and bulldozers that saved the farm. Plus, there is the threat of landslides throughout the area this fall and winter now that rains are here.
So while that was a bit of a bummer for us, it was also a chance to try a new tree farm. We decided to go to Sebastopol the day before Thanksgiving and see if any of the numerous tree farms in that area were open. We happened to find one called Reindeer Ridge that wasn’t quite ready to open but let us come in anyway. Lucky us! We had the place to ourselves and, after walking all around the farm, decided on a Noble Fir. We also picked up a pretty fresh wreath for our front door.
The lights are on the tree and on the house, we just need to hang the ornaments and decorate the rest of the house.
I came across some dog costumes while unpacking decorations and poor Daisy just happened to be nearby. Don’t worry, she only wore it long enough for me to take a photo and she scored a cookie for her troubles 😊
Do you have your holiday decorations up yet?
5 – Holiday Cardigan
With the holidays upon us, I am pulling out the festive garb. I have been waiting for it to be cold enough to wear my new Double or Nothing Cardigan from Stella Carakasi’s Fall 2017 Collection for ages!
This long cardigan has a removable faux fur collar, side pockets and a slit on the sleeve. I wore it with a High Five Top in the same gray color, Love the Look Leggings, and ankle strap shoes (on sale!).
I also wore my new black hat from Montecristi Panama Hat Company of Napa Valley.
I love this cardigan because it can be worn dressed up or casually, collar on or collar off. I can also wear it over a dress instead of a coat. It’s going to be on high rotation this holiday season – and beyond!
Select items are on sale now at Stella Carakasi, including the cardigan and the High Five top, which come in several colors. Shop now until midnight Sunday (11/26) and use code BLACK50 at checkout.
6 – Fall Salad
You know sometimes you throw something together while making a meal and it just works? Well, that happened to me this week with a kale salad.
I used my homemade vinaigrette (recipe here), which I always have a jar of on hand, and dressed some curly kale that had been washed and torn into pieces. I made sure to massage the dressing into the kale to soften it. I topped the kale with slices of red onion, sprouted pumpkin seeds, fresh pepper and dollops of goat cheese from Pennyroyal Farms in Boonville. Oh my goodness, it was good! My husband raved about it.
7 – Dehydrating Roses
Aside from my Instant Pot, my other favorite kitchen toy is my dehydrator. I dehydrated lots of nuts, summer fruits, and I made some delicious jerky last summer.
I still use it often for bananas, walnuts, almonds and apples but I wanted to try it with something non-edible. I buy bouquets of darling local roses at Safeway every couple of weeks. They are from a Petaluma rose farm called Neve Brothers.
I bought some fresh roses to replace my last bunches and noticed the latter still looked pretty decent. I decided to experiment with them in the dehydrator. All I did was toss the really old ones, trim the roses I wanted to keep, then put them on a dehydrator tray. I left them over night and the next morning, they were dry. One problem is they get smashed a bit because the trays aren’t high enough. I will have to see if that manufacturer makes taller trays.
Not all of the roses survived the dehydration. I was left with just this little bunch which I arranged and tied with a small black elastic band. They aren’t perfect looking, that’s for sure, but it’s a good start. I thought it was interesting how deep the color became when dried.
Have you ever dried flowers in a dehydrator? Have any tips?
December’s How I Wear My is happening December 6th. The theme is Blazer and the deadline for outfit photo submissions is December 4th. Send your photo and a description of your look to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to participate.
Next week I am going to do my best to get back to regular blogging. I have gotten into this weekly Saturday posting routine and I think it’s high time I expand beyond that. To start, I’ll have some wonderful holiday gift ideas from wine country publishing on Monday, so be sure to check back.
I hope you all have a lovely weekend!
Disclosure: Affiliate links have been used in this post. All Stella Carakasi pieces featured in this post were gifted to me as was the hat from Montecristi Panama Hat Company. All other products and services mentioned here, I paid for. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always.