Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Things I Love Thursday // NYE 2020

Merry New Year's Eve, Friends! May 2021 bring you health, light, and happiness! Here are the Things I Love right now.

My Teens Humoring Me (with genuine love)

They humor me with lots of things: tucking me in at night, holding my hand occasionally, laughing at my "rad" jokes, greeting me each morning with a hug... I'm grateful that we not only love each other fiercely, we still really like each other as well. I think that's pretty big and I never want to take it for granted.

Geneva's Annual Yule Log

I certainly love the cake. It's rich and creamy --but not too heavy at all. Everything about her version of this treat is whipped and light and decadent. I love that she wraps on her great-grandmother's apron and tackles the project all on her own. Then, she lets us have some!

Unpretentious Palate's "8 Best Old Fashioneds"

I bought this gift for Greg knowing I would benefit from the gesture as well. Charlotte's Unpretentious Palate teamed up with Basil Hayden's and asked 8 of Charlotte's bartenders to join on the project. The gift contained a beautiful glass mixing vessel plus recipes, garnishes, and ingredients (minus the booze --which I gifted separately) for 8 different versions of the classic Old Fashioned. So far, we have had 2 versions: one spicy and one with figs. Both were incredible! 

Piper's (continued success with her) Service Project 

As I mentioned last week, every 8th grader at our middle school plans, executes, and reflects on a service project of their choosing. Piper and her girlfriend teamed up this year to collect gently-used books for Promising Pages, a local nonprofit that distributes books to homes where there are few, if any. Given the circumstances around COVID, their collection efforts were somewhat thwarted. However, through the generosity of friends, neighbors, and classmates, she has amassed a huge number of books to donate!

Le Labo (Rose 31)

A few years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to a company that makes incredible fragrances. If you're interested in reading more about the company, use this link. The website is gorgeous. The text is super-dramatic and they really could not take themselves more seriously... but the product is worth the hype (IMO). I bought a small "discovery set" of their classic/most popular scents and picked my favorite (hard to do) from among those. If you like a more robust offering of choices, you can order a sampling of all 17 signature fragrances to make sure you don't miss one. A small sample of each one can be ordered individually. Or, if you live close to a brick and mortar establishment, your selection will be far more robust. I also love that the packaging can be customized (see below). Do you have a signature scent?

Cards Against Humanity (Family Edition)

Thanks to my friend, Amy, we have enjoyed at least one round of this hilarious game every night since opening her gift (a few days before Christmas). The set is played the same way as the original game but far less offensive --and so "appropriate" for you to play with your kids. The box says 8 years and up and I think that's fair. Both my teens enjoy the game. We can play while we eat dinner, as there is no board  or pieces to the game. It would be easy to pack on a trip or take/play in the car on a long journey. You must enjoy potty humor to enjoy this game. Obviously, it's just right for us! If you think it might be right for you too, use this link to check it out. What is your family's favorite game?

"Keto" Chicken Taco Soup

This is far and away the BEST chicken taco soup I've ever had (and I've had a lot). You all loved when I shared the Tuscan Sausage soup a few weeks ago. We make that sausage soup and this taco soup almost every single week now that the weather has turned chilly and we always love it. As with the other "keto" recipe, I adjust the ingredients for the family and everyone is happy. I've only ever made the recipe using the InstantPot method; however, there are instruction for a crock pot version too (though, I'm not putting the same stamp of approval on that version, as I've never tried it --and I can't imagine the chicken would get as tender without also taking on the "chewy crock pot chicken" texture I've come to expect from the crock pot). Though not in the recipe, always add the following garnishes: shredded cheese, diced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, fresh cilantro, a few dashes of Tapatio. For the non-keto version, add a few spoonfuls of rinsed black beans and whole kernel corn to the bowl, ladle the hot soup over. Garnish as listed above and add a handful of crumbled tortilla chips. YUM.

Holiday Bling

My family hit it out of the park this Christmas. No robe for me. My stocking was stuffed and my gifts were thoughtful, lovely, and right up my alley! Thanks to my sister in law, I received my favorite calendar. (May this tradition never end.) I got ALL the books on my list (from our favorite local bookstore) --but if you're in immediate need: Obama, Glennon (which I listened to recently and decided I wanted to own so I could revisit it every January), and Rupi (now I want her newest). Normally, I just check my books out from the library's e-catalog; however, these were books I felt like I needed to own. I already mentioned my scent. Another favorite was the letter pressed fern postcard set --printed on the yummiest paper. I also received these amazing baubles! Anyhoo... Thanks, SNL. I think you made an impact. ;)

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