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I've been blogging over at Our Sleeping Flowers these days. Still me, and still delicious, come join me!

leung family christmas 1980-something

wanna know something funny? I have that same haircut still. and the outfit; just a different size. it's my favorite.

wishing you the happiest of happy christmases and into the new year. I will be taking the next two weeks off, and hope you take the time in the following days to make a snow angel, or sip a mojito by the beach if you prefer, learn (or cook!) something new, make new and happy memories, and eat lots of good food.

see you in the new year.


what does yours look like? meaning, your "to-do-before-it's-entirely-too-late" list. mine was full of things to bake and share, places to go, things to get, people to see.

then I took a breath.

you know, the kind that you take when you realize you've barely been breathing at all. I saw from another perspective that I was filling my time with good things, but things that were taking me away from what I love most about this season, the moments I get to share with my two favorite people in the world.  Moments that, if I allowed myself to be consumed with my to-do list, I would miss. It happened just in time for a big snow storm that came through our town yesterday. Just like the yards surrounding our home, I was given a clean slate. Or rather, the chance to create one.

I looked at my list, eliminated the things that would only be taking me away from that handsome devil and sweet + sassy mini-him, and took another breath. This time one that cleansed, one that enlivened. Instead of spending my time in the kitchen, craft room, wherever it was I thought I needed to be, I was outside making a snowman in 12 inches of the best packing snow you've ever seen. It was an unconventional snowman, with cranberry eyes and an old granny-like knit hat, but it was a perfect early morning on the first day of winter. Pans and pans of peanut brittle can't compare to the happiness that wet snowboots and damp socks hanging near the heater vent can create; my love tank was overflowing.

But that doesn't mean I'm not going to share my granny's peanut brittle recipe with you.

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 {a vintage hand painted ornament, by my mother}

This weekend we will be coping with the loss of our city's beloved tabernacle, making gingerbread cookies, my great grandmother's peanut brittle, sending out christmas cards, filling our window with a few more paper snowflakes, maybe going to brunch, and wrapping presents (did you see my thrift store find for the babe? I am so excited). We may fit in a viewing of elf and the muppet christmas carol too.

Can you believe there's only a week left before Christmas day?

a few things for your weekend:

.make some hot chocolate.
.plan your christmas morning breakfast or brunch.
.sign up for our seasonal foods class in January:: comfort foods for every day.
.tune in on twitter for the launch party of simply the sweet life magazine, april atwater's newest venture.
.remember to breathe.

here's wishing you a wonderful weekend full of christmas preparations.

Hot chocolate. A widely misunderstood confection that deserves clarification.

I'm no stranger to the watered down and sometimes intensely powder milk versions served at gatherings like football games, the classiest of gas stations and church functions. I'm not exactly turning up my nose, they have their place and function, but when I want to indulge in something warming and intense, I want it to live up to its name. I have heard about places like Angélina in Paris where the famed hot chocolate is almost as important an attraction as its eastern neighbor - the Louvre. Or Madame Constantin's chocolat chaud served at Steiger (also in Paris), which she lovingly called, "grandmother's hot chocolate" that was also described as angelina's on steroids. Storybooks talk of chocolate drinks that can only be experienced while in magical places, and I am willing to bet you wish you could have a cup. right now.

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Another post about gifts, I am in the giving mood. Or maybe it's the gimme gimme's?

Whatever it is, I have had less and less time to photograph our meals in natural light, and even less time to blog about them. But even with all my busy-ness that permeates this time of year, somehow I've still been able to shop. Or rather, accumulate this small list of things I've seen around the internet that have caught my eye and heart. They would be lovely gifts to give the foodie in your life.

happy giving.

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I wanted to show you the gift ideas that we shared at our class last saturday. They aren't your typical Christmas cookie gifts, although we do love a cookie plate every year.  If you are interested in watching the class (and skipping over the silliness) you can watch it here.

gift basket with ingredients to make elizabeth hayley's christmas cake

a small spice jar with equal parts of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves layered for a touch of drama, a large glass jar with 1 cup walnuts, 1 cup raisins, and 1 cup mixed dried fruit, paper loaf pans purchased from here, a copy of the recipe, and an ornament, to make it pretty. Of course you can give the cake, already made. I am sure some people would actually prefer that.

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Even though it is raining outside (where's the snow?!) today feels quite christmas-y. It may be because students in our small college town are preparing for final exams, and will soon be venturing home for the holidays, or maybe it's because Christmas parties are being held and people are really beginning to celebrate. I think it also has to do with the seemingly-dusted-with-snow candied peels that are garnishing our kitchen table. But it's more likely the organized mess of dishes in the sink that remind me of the holidays.

Our home is already decorated, our tree(s) up and alight, music heralding the season, and goods being baked far too often not often enough. This weekend we will attend a couple parties, bake more christmas cake, and I will find the time to put together a few more gifts, the type that will be used in the kitchens of those I love, (sorry to spoil it!). A few of the same gifts that Melissa and I will be sharing with you, live, from jacob's cove farm. I hope you will join us!

recipe for candied citrus peel at zupas today

p.s. enter to win a spot at our class this saturday, leave a comment on facebook!

{photo by becky}

Guess what? The seasonal foods class Melissa and I are teaching this saturday, the class where we will be sharing a few Christmas gifts to give your friends and family like homemade garam masala spice mix is going to be streamed live over the internet!

That means you will get to watch from the comfort of your own home, in your pajamas, while noshing on those smacks cereal, although I'm pretty sure you will be wishing you could be slurping down some winter squash and roasted garlic soup with nutmeg and chives instead.

The stream is being brought to you free of charge, but with a catch. There are commercials that run on top of the stream, you can hear us but we can't hear you, there's a possibility for delays and freezing stream and you won't get to savor the incredible food that will be there. So if you can, come to the class in person because it'd be a shame for elizabeth hayley's christmas cake to go to waste.

WATCH the class here, friday saturday (sorry!!) morning 11a.m. to 1p.m. MST

REGISTER for the class here to come in person, then neener neener at everyone at home in their pj's while savoring winter squash masala.

follow me on facebook because I am giving away two seats to the class!

follow me on twitter and look for the #jacobscove hash tag to send us questions and comments while you watch, so even if we can't hear you, we can read you!

Some days I like to mix things up, you know, to keep husband and baby on their toes. Like making pancakes instead of oatmeal on a weekday. And on a wednesday for cryin' out loud! But these weren't just any pancakes. They were all nogged up and served hot with real maple syrup, frozen raspberries, and a dallop or two of peanut butter for the moma bear. Chocolate milk filled our glasses (and sippy cup) and we were in luxe comas until noon. I like celebrating the middle of the week.

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a little something for your wednesday.
(feel free to skip to :45)

isn't it incredible? someone in utah needs to offer noodle making classes.
and yes. this is from the kung fu panda dvd. jane's current favorite.
every time po comes on screen she waves and says "i po!"

p.s. the winner for the communal giveaway was announced here.

p.p.s. you may think the mr.ping character (the duck) is a typically westernized idea of an asian, but he reminds me way too much of my silly silly father.

My middle name means "victorious". It was because of this that since I was young (and before the spice girls) I wanted to change my first name to Victoria. I was sure that once it was changed it would be more fitting to who I was and wanted to be. But then I was a silly girl, and I learned to love Jennifer because it could be sweet and coy as Jenny, intimate and practical as Jen, and timeless in its fullest form. No, my name suits me well with all my whims and changing fancy. My great grandmother in law had similar sentiments, although she followed through with them. She was named Lizzie, but everyone knew her as Elizabeth. She knew what she wanted and made it so, even with food.

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Here is some information on the seasonal foods class being held at Jacob's Cove this saturday. We will share some great gift ideas to give from the kitchen, but not the sweet ones people usually give. Well, there is one. We will be demonstrating the recipes and you will get to taste as much as you want of everything! Come share your kitchen gift giving ideas, holiday traditions, recipes and stories.

hope to see you there!

Creating Delicious Holiday Meals with Gifts from the Kitchen
december 11, 2010 - 11a.m. to 1 p.m.

the menu:

winter squash masala with gifted garam masala mix
winter squash soup topped with winter greens
elizabeth hayley's fruitcake with gifted spice and dried nuts and fruit

we will also be teaching how to make spice mixes from whole spices and how to grow greens indoors.


Earlier this week I made a pot of my father's jok. Even though I know how to make it I still find myself calling him to make sure I am making it correctly and to troubleshoot when something isn't quite right. When I called earlier this week he was already on the telephone with my brother, for the very same reason. I got some good tips like I always do when I talk about food with my dad, and then updated the recipe so you can benefit from them too.

The first step for good jok? Making your own stock from the remnants of your thanksgiving turkey (or any other meal's) and water, that's it. today's zupas post is about how to do that, and includes a tip for making vegetable broth too, if you prefer.

This weekend we have plans for a fruitcake, a few different types of cookies and candies, and a GMAT. It is sure to be an epic weekend.

A few suggestions for yours:
.check out the events page (see the new link on the left?) and mark your calenders
.bake some cookies
.enter my giveaway for a $25 giftcard to Communal
.if you haven't already, trim a tree
.pull out those gaudy christmas sweaters you can't bear to part with
.and listen to festive music while you're at it.

Whatever you end up doing this week's end, here's wishing you a wonderful one. And if you (or your better half) is taking the GMAT too, well then bonne chance!!

I'd love to get my floury hands on this.

I have a soft spot for cookbooks all about simple and beautiful bread.  I have been particularly fascinated with natural leavening, which is what they use at Tartine bakery & cafe. In gwenyth paltrow's newsletter a number of weeks ago, co-owner and author Chad Robertson shared his recipe for whole grain seeded bread and a few other recipes using it, like grilled cheese and onion sandwiches.
be still my beating heart.

have you ever been to Tartine? I think we may have to make a trip when we visit northern california year.

get the recipes, or buy the book.

their other cookbook would look great with flour and watermarks scattered between the pages as well.

I find it incredible that other people, oftentimes strangers, can explain my own thoughts and ideas better than I can myself. I love talking with people and finding that their passions are the same as my own. It's easy to find kindred spirits this way, and I always feel inspired and even more passionate about my philosophies after meeting them. This very thing happened when I was invited to attend a breakfast at communal with a number of fabulous utah bloggers. I felt like a guppie at the long wooden table full of incredibly inspiring women, but it was wonderful sharing conversation, company, a breakfast that you may get to experience yourself, and a food philosophy.

but first, the breakfast.

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