Nine Favorite Things. – Half Baked Harvest
(all festive with Camille Styles)
Nine Favorite Things…
Everything this holiday season feels the most heightened it’s ever felt…in both good and bad ways. I love so much that we all seem excited to celebrate the season and be with one other. But in other ways, it feels kind of overwhelming.
It’s only mid-November and I feel like I’m already behind on Christmas…what happened to Thanksgiving, you know? Don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited for the holidays to be here, Christmas is my favorite. I just think there may be too big of an emphasis on making the holidays “perfect” and “the best ever”. I’m a little concerned this could be a recipe for disaster…just speaking the truth.
But I’m doing my best not to get too caught up in it all. And to remember what the holidays are about for me and my family. Good times, good food, lots of Christmas music, favorite movies, and ideally plenty of snow too.
Speaking of the holidays, I spent Friday in Austin cooking and shooting some fun stories with Camille Styles that turned out really cute. Austin is such a cool town, I was there only 24 hours, but I can’t wait to get back soon!
I flew home Friday night and didn’t get into bed until about 3:30 am, so I’m still feeling slightly run down. I love a late-night flight, but man they sure can be brutal. Getting back into the groove today though!
And aside from that, that’s pretty much the scoop around here. Keeping this week’s recap on the shorter side since there’s some exciting news below (FINALLY).
Have a great Sunday guys!
1. Things i’m loving, wanting, and excited to try…
wanting to try…the Chanel Multi Use Glow Stick. I’ve heard so many good things about this. It’s certainly a cute stocking stuffer idea too.
ordered…Peppermint glasses and Red Ribbon Steamless wine glasses from Pottery Barn. Holiday cocktails!
loving…the Tumblers from Max ID New York. Just got a few of these and they’re even prettier in person. They would make a really nice hostess gift too.
drinking…Spicy Pomegranate Ginger Paloma.
using…Mussee shower steamers and soaps. Our team member Margaret recommended them. Not only are their products handcrafted with natural ingredients, but they hire women in recovery, people with disabilities, and people who’ve lived in chronic poverty. Their holiday items would make great stocking stuffers!
excited to try…Avaline Wine. They sent a few bottles to enjoy over for the holidays. Avaline makes clean wines with organic grapes and is free of unwanted extras.
using…Dryper bamboo diapers. Well, my mom is. These are her favorite bamboo diapers (she’s tried several). She loves how soft they are and that they’re free of harmful chemicals. They can also be safely composted (a disposable diaper takes 550 years to break down!). But most importantly, they really work!
2. An announcement…finally!!
I know some of you remember a few weeks ago I said I had some exciting news to share. Well, we had to push things back a little and I never shared a thing. But I’m so excited to finally announce that yes, you guys…
We have a new cookbook Half Baked Harvest Every Day coming very soon! February 22nd to be exact!
This book has been a long time coming and took a full year to process. So I’m both super nervous and super excited to be able to share it with you all! HBH Every Day really focuses on everyday, simple recipes that feel wholesome and balanced. With this cookbook, I made an effort to intentionally use more vegetables, fewer sugar, and well, still a good amount of cheese. Because I don’t believe in depriving ourselves of anything, ever. It’s very well rounded and, as with the last two books, there really is something for everyone. From vegetarians to gluten-free eaters, there are even some vegan recipes as well. I also did my best to include ingredient swaps when possible. Because as with all my recipes, I really want everyone to be able to enjoy them!
3.Favorite preps for your holiday bar cart…
4. Favorite questions of the week.
q: most challenging part of this season of life for you?
a: the pressure I put on myself for sure. It’s a lot sometimes. I always want everything to be perfect and the very best it can be. I’ve been overthinking everything recently so that’s been a struggle!
q: what’s something we don’t know about you?
a: – I don’t love going out to eat unless I’m traveling.
– Making huge messes is part of my daily routine…but I always clean them up. – I’m actually really shy.
– In middle school/high school I really struggled with anxiety.
– I swear more than you’d expect 🙄
q: living near and working with family is tough. how to keep business and family time separate?
a: I’m horrible at it personally, but my family is a pushy bunch and they make me make time for them. Especially over the holidays. They kind of just show up and I gotta drop the work for a bit and hang with them. Honestly, they help keep me grounded and not working all the time.
My dad always says to me, you have to make time for what’s really important because things never stay the same. Value the time you have now and try to use it as best you can. When I look at it that way, it makes it easier for me to take time away because you never know what tomorrow will hold. I’m still horrible at actually putting this into place. But I’m working at taking more time off, and my Dad’s words help!
q: what would you tell your younger self?
a: I don’t think anything. Everything I struggled with then just shaped me into who I am now. I learned a lot along the way. I’d probably tell myself to just chill the F out and enjoy being a kid. I was a ball of anxiousness growing up!
q: advice on taking the leap to make a scary career/life decision?
a: You have to just bite the bullet and do it. We waste a lot of time “sitting” on things and never doing. You just have to go for it, if it fails, you’ll learn a lot in the process. Trying something new is never a waste of time and you’ll come out smarter/stronger. But you never know until you try!
q: have you ever talked to a therapist for anxiety? do you recommend it?
a: This is an unpopular opinion, but for me personally I don’t love it. I’ve seen a therapist, but for me, at least as a teen, it was not a good experience. I’m sure it’s different now, I know people who LOVE it and it’s helped them so much! I think if you’re struggling it’s something you need to decide for yourself. Make sure you really take the time to find someone you mesh well with!
q: notebook/planner suggestion?
a: My favorite is my Golden Coil planner, I love it.
q: what Williams-Sonoma product would you recommend the most?
a: I love their goldtouch baking sheets.
q: what are your favorite vegetable sides for Thanksgiving?
a: I love a big, big salad, Brussels sprouts, and then the sweet potatoes! These are one of the most popular recipes on HBH. I make them every year
q: where do you get your cookie box boxes?
a: I make them each year! The one I photographed isn’t usually shippable. I’m looking for better options this year! If anyone knows a great cookie box source, please, let me know! I’d certainly love to find a favorite!
q: do you like meeting followers in public?
a: yea! It’s really fun and always boggles my mind that you guys are really out there in real life following along ☺️
5. Our favorite charity of the week…
THERAsurf is a diverse collective of parents, professionals, and members of the surf community committed to the healing energy and power of the ocean. Our goal is to provide children with special needs the opportunity to benefit from that positive energy by safely getting them into the water and up on waves.
We embrace the notion that surfing is therapy and believe in its transformational power and its ability to instill courage and confidence. Witness a child who uses a wheelchair, dropping down the face of a head-high wave and feel what it means to be inspired. We honor the life-altering effects of these experiences and the unforgettable memories they provide for the kids and their families.
6. Thanksgiving tips of the week.
Thanksgiving tip 6 stock up on essentials now
Lots of tools, bakeware, and tableware are on sale this week. Below are a few of my picks: Copper ladles, glasses, roasting pans, salad servers, cheese boards, and Crate and Barrel measuring cups.
Reader tip: set alarms on your phone with times to put the food in. Label each alarm per dish, then there’s nothing forgotten.
Do this! I’m taking this advice too! Better to be organized and not miss a beat!
Thanksgiving tip: 7 make an oven food schedule
I feel like this is obvious, and I say it every year, but this is the best tip to easily getting dinner on the table…and at a reasonable hour. An oven schedule is essential for staying on track on Thanksgiving Day, especially if you’re working with limited oven space. Just like you plan out your day, plan the times you’ll be putting in the bread, the casserole, and desserts in/out of the oven. Check things off as you go! This helps relieve so much stress. And creates a much more relaxed Thanksgiving Day.
Reader tip: At each place setting I write a note inside their place card asking a silly question. It keeps conversations flowing and now people look forward to it.
Love this personal touch, really cute!
Thanksgiving tip: 8 Don’t cook the stuffing inside the turkey
If you cook the stuffing inside the turkey, you’ll have to overcook the turkey in order to actually cook the stuffing to a temperature that’s safe to eat. And even then, you end up with soggy stuffing…and dry turkey. Not good. Instead, bake the stuffing separately until it’s soft on the inside and crisp on top…stuffing that actually tastes good.
If you need to cook the stuffing in the turkey, try this: cook the stuffing inside the turkey, then scoop it out before the turkey is done. Then just spread it out in a dish and finish it up in the oven. This way you don’t sacrifice the amazing flavor the turkey drippings give your stuffing.
Reader tip: I buy extra cooked turkey breast so I have enough to send home with guests.
Love this idea! So thoughtful! Guests will be super appreciative and excited to go home with leftovers.
Thanksgiving tip: 9 cooking multiple dishes in the oven at once
If you’re like most people, cooking a number of dishes with very little oven space can be quite a challenge. Here are some tips for the best results!!
If one dish calls for a roasting temp of 325°F and another calls for 375°F, you can meet in the middle and cook both at 350°F or cook at the higher temp and cook the recipe calling for the lower temp a shorter time. Don’t do this for baked goods, which do require specific temperatures.
In general, I usually roast at the higher temp and then cook the dish/dishes calling for a lower temp a short time.
Leave a couple of inches for air to circulate between the dishes in the oven. This will help everything cook more evenly.
Note that the temperature on your oven isn’t always accurate, and shifts up or down depending on how full your oven is. Or also how long you leave your oven door open. Get an oven thermometer to tell you the temperature and adjust as needed. This is more important for baking.
Reader tip: we keep spices mulling on the stove, so the house always smells festive.
One of my favorite tips!
Thanksgiving tip: 10 create a Seasonal Tablescape
When setting your table, don’t stress too much about making it perfect. I love the imperfect, perfect look. My best budget tip for creating an elegant tablescape is to incorporate the food on the table. My favorite thing to do is to use fresh produce around my table to add pops of color. I love a bouquet of flowers, but food can be equally beautiful, if not prettier. I like to surround the table with candles, use fresh herbs for greenery, and seasonal fruit for color in addition to or in place of flowers.
This year I used a mix of produce and flowers. I used mini pumpkins from the store, eucalyptus, and then darker ranunculus.
tip: get creative with the tablescape. I didn’t have a runner I loved, so used a scarf in the perfect shade of green! And no one ever knew!
Reader tip: rent the plates and glassware.
This is a great tip whether entertaining a big or small crowd. Rental companies usually deliver clean dishes and pick up dirty dishes, which means a lot less work on your part. I certainly love not having dirty dishes!
Thanksgiving tip: 11 roast your sweet potatoes
Option 1: peel, then bake the sweet potatoes instead of boiling them for your sweet potato casserole. No extra water and the potatoes also caramelize, which makes for an even more delicious casserole.
Option 2: leave the skin on the sweet potatoes and roast them whole. Then easily peel away the skins and mash the potatoes. Don’t throw the skins out though! Save them and make sweet potato skin chips, they’re addicting and make a great appetizer!
Reader tip: tape all the recipes on the cabinets.
Love this one! So simple, but so smart!
Thanksgiving tip: 12 freeze your dough before baking
Whenever I’m working with any kind of pastry dough or pie dough. I like to put the cut dough (or rolled out pie crust) in the freezer for 15-20 minutes before baking. This helps to re-chill the butter and maintain the shape of the dough while baking. It produces perfectly shaped cookies and flaky crust every time.
Roll the cookie dough out, cut, then freeze the cut cookies on the cookie sheet before baking for 10-15 mins. Saves so much time.
Reader tip: tell guests to bring Tupperware with them for dividing up the leftovers at the end.
7. Favorite links i’m loving…
Terrain’s garlands.…I love
…a lot of cute, affordable holiday decorations.
…some really good finds I’d be excited to try.
…get in that holiday shopping now.
…what a great idea for leftover pieces of stone.
…tis’ the season to wear all things red.
8. Cold Weather Accessories…
9. This week’s dinners + weekend eats…
Wednesday: Creamy White Wine Mushroom Stuffed Shells
Saturday: Spicy Pomegranate Ginger Paloma