Holiday Gift Guide 2019

Gabe and I are back with our annual gift guide. It’s full of things that brighten our everyday, things we have on our own lists and things that make the world a little brighter. We think there is something for everyone

1. Portland Apron Co. Pinafore Apron  – I love this apron so much that I have two. There are no strings to mess with, there is full coverage for us messy cooks and it washes like a dream. Now I have my eye on the Japanese Smock.

2. Breville Espresso Machine – (We have model BES870XL) Okay, so yes this is a doozy of a gift (check out the refurbished models!) but after using this machine for eight months I still look forward to my coffee every morning. I can count on one hand the number of times I have spent money on a latte since owning this machine. Why buy it when I can make it better at home. Gabe got this for me/us for Mother’s Day and we’ve not regretted it for one minute. Also, our latte art skills are quite impressive. Well, we’re impressed anyway.

3. Braiding Sweetgrass If we have had a conversation for longer than five minutes in the past year or if you have been keeping up on the blog you have already heard me wax poetic about this book. It’s perfect for the outdoor lover, or the nature romantic in your life.

4. A tree!! Earlier this year I read an article about the power of trees to fight climate change. With such a huge and daunting issue facing our world today it’s hard to know what we can do to help. Plant a tree! We have given the gift of trees as wedding gifts and to friends who understand the impact. It’s perfect for the friend or family member who is not looking to add more things but wants to make a difference.

5. Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club Give the aspiring chef in your family the gift of weekly thoughtful and delicious recipes. Every week Sara will send a meal plan to your inbox complete with a shopping list. For those with young kids also check out their new ebook, Little Sprouts.

6. Incienso de Santa Fe – Piñon Incense Gabe and I recently spent a week camping in New Mexico and while we were there I picked up this piñon incense. Every morning I start my day with some quiet music, coffee and the scent of piñon.

7. Wanderlust Candle  Speaking of lovely smelling things this candle is my favorite for this season. For when you want to be in the woods but are cozied up at home instead this candle gives you the scent of a hike without the cold.

8. Kitchen Unnecessary Gift Guide If you’ve enjoyed following our outdoor adventures and have outdoor loving friends in your life be sure to check out our Kitchen Unnecessary gift guide (we also have an amazing giveaway happening!)

9. Cookies! For a very limited time our cookie mix is back. This is the last of them though. We’re closing down our shop and focusing on other things. So if you want to give the gift of cookies this holiday season do it quickly. As always our books are signed and in stock. If you want a personalized message just send me a note!

10. YesPlz Coffee Speaking of coffee we love these beans. Gabe loves the ‘zine that comes with the beans. The perfect accompaniment for the perfect brew. Great beans, good words, delivered right to your door.

11. Drifters Fish Smoked Salmon Canned Salmon has become and staple in our pantry. On those instances when dinner hour sneaks up on you and the kids are asking,  “What’s for dinner?” I’m happy to pull out a tin (or jar) of Salmon that I know was sustainably harvested by our friends Nelly and Michael in Alaska. What a treat to be able to enjoy this bounty and share it with the kids.
12. Sperry Slip-Ons  As we’ve gotten into spending more and more time on the water and at the beach, these slip-ons have come in handy. In addition to being great on the boat, I used them in the rivers as we fly fished our way through Idaho, Utah and Montana this past summer. They dry quickly and don’t take up nearly as much space in the car as my wading boot when the water isn’t too cold.

13. Miir Canister Who knew a canister could be sexy? Whether you’re a miniamlist or not, this canister will store your precious city roast beans with the utmost care. It boasts an accordian-style airtight seal that can be a little tricky when your stock is low, but is fun to fold down in an ASMR sort of way. It’s got some complexity yet smooth.

14. Basil Hayden Bourbon Do you love a whiskey lover? (Who doesn’t?) In a world where there are dozens of whiskeys to choose from on the shelf, Basil Hayden’s is one I like to pick up when camping and I know I’m going to be drinking it straight up (normally out of a flask, likely my Stanley or Filson flasks). If you’re into the whole flavor profile sort of thing, I get vanilla and some cinnamon. (We don’t have a link to online liquor sales, visit your favorite local spirits shop.)

15. Handkerchief  Pro-tip for Dads: always carry a handkerchief. I usually keep one tucked away in my back pocket and it comes in clutch all the time. Some recent uses include: running nose, sweaty hikes, snapping bees / mosquitos away, wiping dog barf, drying a seat, a pouch for carrying trail mix, cleaning up a wound, and as a flag for 2×4’s hanging over the tailgate. You never know when you might need it.

16. Lamy Tipo Ballpoint Pen If you’re in Seattle stop by Peter Miller Books. If you’re like me you’ll be drawn in to his well curated collection of pens and notebooks not to mention the shelves of design books. On a recent visit I picked up this beautiful Lamy Ballpoint Pen and it quickly became my daily writer. German design and craftsmanship make for smooth and precise penmanship. Takes Lamy rollerball refills.

17. Traveler’s Company Journal  I received this beautiful notebook as a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law. It was in the category of ‘too beautiful to use’ for a little while. Once I got the courage to put it to use, I learned that I could customize it in a million different ways. Pro Tip: I found many great paper and pen insert options at Tortoise General Store in Los Angeles. Love that place.

18. Nips (coffee flavour) great for fishing. You don’t have to be an old man to act like one. Grab your favorite grandpa sweater and fill the pockets with toffee’s. They help keep me warm when it’s cold outside and give a little boost of energy when needed (usually on the steep part of a hike).

19. Orvis Encounter Fly Rod Outfit (we like the 5wt, 9’0″, 4pc) This rod was recommended by guides both young and old out of Utah. Affordable, yet fishable. This rod and reel combo is a really great place to start if you’re considering getting into fly fishing. It’s also a respectable option if you’re looking to add a 5wt to your arsenal.

20. Adopt a dog We may have said it last year, but we feel it deserves another mention. Open your home to a new dog and your family will love you forever. If that sounds like too much responsibility, consider fostering a dog (or cat). Shelters and the humane society are often looking for loving homes to care for their animals in the interim before they’re adopted. It’s a win-win when these animals receive all the more lovin’ right up until they find their forever homes. Just beware, you may end up being that forever home.

I also have some of my favorite things on my Amazon Influencer Page. Please note, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you.

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Thinking of you


Hello friends. 


I’ve been thinking about you all. I think about you when I bite into a cake so perfectly tender and dense with spice. I think of you when I artfully draw a salmon on my puff pastry with a paring knife and I think of you when I fry fresh caught squid to a delicate crisp then not so delicately submerge it into a pepperoncini aioli. 

I also think of you when my heart flutters while reading about Tom Hanks and watching the trailer with him as Mr. Rogers for the 1,249th time. I’m thinking of you while doing a deep dive into mindfulness and thinking about how we all could benefit from the continuous reminder to put everything into perspective. 

All of that to say, I think of you all so often. More often than I share here or even on my Instagram. Just as I’m trying to work on actually expressing the thoughts and words of affirmation to the people in my life as I think of them I thought I would like to do the same of you. Because I think of you often and appreciate you so very much.


  • This is the pumpkin cake of my dreams. I know I just shared a pumpkin cake. One can never have too many recipes for such a classic cake. Just after I shared mine I read about Tartine’s version which uses 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. I was skeptical but the glowing reviews calmed my fears and now it’s my go-to. Heavy with brown sugar and pepitas on top.


  • Last night I made salmon pot pie for the first time using this recipe from Food & Wine as my starting point. We have a pescatarian in the family so I skipped the bacon and added miso and Worcestershire to add depth. 


  • This is that lovely Tom Hanks article in the New York Times that I loved so very much. I’m so moved by his gentle kindness that seems to accompany everything he does. I aspire to be so thoughtful. 


  • Speaking of puff pastry (it’s on my mind from that pot pie I mentioned) this simple pear tart (from my latest book) is my absolute favorite dessert this time of year (maybe even more so than pumpkin pie) and the recipe can be found over at Woman’s Day. 


  • Things in my kitchen have taken a more practical spin as of late. I’ve been busy working on a project and have also felt more and more inclined to do more with what we have. We can easily waste a good bit of food when I’m deep in the swing of recipe development and right now I’m trying to cook down our fridge and pantry before doing more shopping. This often means we’re cooking pantry heavy meals like curried lentils or simple pastas. 


  • This summer we spent so much time outside and we’re trying to do the same while we still have a bit of sunshine this fall. We’re working on putting together some more adventures with Kitchen Unnecessary and having adventures on our own like squid fishing in downtown Seattle. Seriously, it’s a thing



More soon because I’m thinking of you. But not in a creepy way.

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