Hot Cocoa

Weekend links, checking in and a holiday author event

Hello. It’s me.

I’ve missed you so. Despite having no recipe to share, I had to update you on the transplant recovery process – and just say hello, Adele-syle.

When I signed off in October, we were in the height of fall beauty, and now the days are true November grey. The clocks fell back when we were in the hospital, and we returned home to eat our dinners in darkness. I have to force myself to see the beauty in the bleak landscape, and indeed in our lives right now. We’ve just been a little out of sorts – even in the kitchen.  I’ve been having one recipe failure after another. But we’ll get back on track soon.

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Cranberry Quince Conserve with Goji Berries || Simple Bites #recipe #preserving

Cranberry Quince Conserve and a break

We’ve been under fickle skies for the past week.

In the time that it takes to stroll five minutes down my leaf-strewn lane, an afternoon of sunshine is overtaken by clouds. Painted in every colour of grey imaginable, they bring a dreamy rain that slides down the exposed tree trunks and slicks the leaves underfoot. Then, in a moment, rain changes to flurries of snow that never seem to land, only whirl around and around as if lost in the October winds.

The sensation of feeling adrift is a familiar one; being tossed around similarly to those golden-hued leaves abandoned to the tendencies of autumn gales. We have no normalcy these days, I confided to a friend one evening. While many things factor into this unsettling times, a certain upcoming surgery certainly plays a lead role.

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Jam Swap | Simple Bites

Weekend links and photos

Happy Sunday, all, and Happy Thanksgiving weekend to my Canadian readers. I wouldn’t be lying if I said I had pie for breakfast…

We have giveaway winners! Congratulations to our grand prize winner, Rebekah, and two runner up winners, Adrienne and Shannon. Ladies, check your inboxes for a email from me this morning.

A big thank you to all who entered the giveaway. Be sure to check out The Homemade Kitchen on Amazon where it is currently discounted.

Here’s what I’ve been loving around the web this week:

Hit the jump for a few of my favourite fall photos from the homestead and beyond…

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Pear Gingerbread || Simple Bites #cake #recipe

Pear Gingerbread {The Homemade Kitchen giveaway}

There is a new cookbook on my shelf, a recent arrival from the Berkshire kitchen of my friend, Alana. Actually, it hasn’t rested on the bookshelf yet; I’ve been keeping it with me in the kitchen for daily cooking, baking and tea-time reading.

The Homemade Kitchen: Recipes for Cooking with Pleasure is the second cookbook from Alana, and a long awaited companion to The Homemade Pantry. It’s a personal and passionate ode to home cooking without an ounce of pressure. Alana encourages aspiring cooks with memorable lessons such as Do Your Best and Then Let Go, Be a Beginner, and Do the Work. In fact, these guiding principles form the outline of her book, and she explains and expands on them in thoughtful essays that undoubtedly come from a place of learning.

I’ve been cooking plenty from The Homemade Kitchen already, so read on for more thoughts on the cookbook and a splendid giveaway, too.

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Fall cooking and Thanksgiving menu ideas

Temperatures have dropped around here, sending us scampering to dig out warm sweaters, matching socks and windbreakers. Fall is indeed in the air; invigorating me in a way the warm summer winds never can.

I’ve taken refuge from the cooler weather in the kitchen, which is no surprise, I am sure. A quick trip to market on the first day of October was all I needed to get in the spirit of fall cooking and baking. I filled my basket with pears, leeks, winter squash, fresh cranberries, beets and sweet potatoes  – all locally grown – and rounded out the haul with herbs from my garden.

Then, I fell to menu planning: weeknight meals, recipe development, and the upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. We’re hosting a small gathering for eleven people this weekend, with turkey and all the usual trimmings.

Today I’ve rounded up my favourite recipes for Thanksgiving — and fall cooking in general. Whether you are setting a holiday table for for family, or serving up Sunday dinner to friends, you’ll want these recipes within reach.

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