Holiday Gift Guide 2018

Gabe and I are back with another gift guide. This year I’m happy to report that we are publishing this about four days before last years so hopefully that gives you a bit more time to make the purchases.

The items are our list below are a few things that brought us joy throughout the year or in some cases, they are the very things on our list. Many of them are products produced by friends who I adore and I think are doing amazing things and the entire world should know about it.

We’d love to hear your feedback on our list and I am always excited to know what other people are gifting.

cookbook, gift, holiday

I’ll admit, this year I was a bit preoccupied with finishing my book and trying to share it with the world so I haven’t had as much time as I’d like diving into new books but here are a few I have, have spent some time in their pages and am eager to get cooking:

1. Now & Then

Julia Turshen’s latest book is filled with recipes that I crave daily. They are simple, creative and the recipes work!

2. The Noma Guide to Fermentation

Every winter I like to tackle a project. This year; fermentation. I want to understand how this little bubbles work without making me sick. If you have someone in your life who loves an in depth kitchen project this book is for them. It’s properly nerdy and full of beautiful and practical imagery.

3. The Flavor Bible

This one never leaves my kitchen. In fact as I’ve been doing a bit of recipe planning this morning I have this book sitting at my feet. I’ve talked about it often but it’s worth repeating.

4. The Campout Cookbook

Elevated camping food full of unique ideas for cooking food over the fire. Which we all know, is one of my favorite pastimes. This book makes the often overwhelming task of preparing food on the campsite feel very doable and fun. I adore the illustrations and handy charts.

5. Wine Food

One of my goals for 2018 was to learn more about wine. I’m not so sure how much I learned but I sure drank quite a bit of it – which really is essential in the learning process. This book is a great guide to so many varieties and then pairs the wine with some of the most delicious sounding food – FALFEL WAFFELS!!

6. Drifters Fish

Nelly and Michael are two of my favorite people and they just so happen to produce the best smoked salmon around. If you want to send a taste of the PNW this is what you need. They were also our guides for the Alaska episodes.

7. Schotts Cardigan

I treated myself to this sweater about a month ago and I’ve not taken it off. They say it’s a men sweater but I say it’s mine.

8. Suribachi (Japanese Mortar & Pestle)

I purchased one of these at Uwajimaya here in Seattle. It’s been on every Kitchen Unnecessary adventure with us as it’s both functional and beautiful and it is used almost daily in my kitchen at home.

9. Culinary Knife Roll

This particular knife bag is on my Christmas list this year. I bought myself an inexpensive bag earlier in the year and wondered why I waited so long. It’s perfect for traveling (but of course you need to check it in a suitcase) or for moving from one place to the next. I love having everything I need and all of my favorite tools in one place. It’s perfect for cooking outside as I want to take only the things I need and nothing more. Great for the kitchen enthusiasts and chefs in your life.

10. Artifact Uprising Calendar

These stunning calendars have been gifted a few times. We have so many pictures gathered throughout the year and this is such a stunning way of highlighting them.

11. Hugh Forte Print

I’ve been a long time fan of Hugh’s food photography but his water prints are so calming and beautiful. I want them all.

I LOVE to give subscriptions for the holidays – it’s literally the gift that keeps on giving. Here are a few favorites.

12. SK Cooking Club

For the person who loves a little help in the kitchen planning recipes, grocery lists, etc. Sara’s friendly voice pops into your inbox weekly to deliver healthy and delicious recipes to help with the never ending question – “What’s for dinner?” Her recipes are approachable yet exciting, heavy on vegetables with a bright freshness that I just adore.

13. YES PLZ Coffee (and zine!) subscription

Never run out of coffee again. That is a gift I can get behind.

14. Sounds Delicious

Kasey and Matt are kindred spirits in the kitchen and around the turntable. I gifted Gabe with a series of Sounds Delicious albums and it’s a delight every time they arrive in the mailbox. Matt has curated an incredible list of artists who cover an entire album. I love the design of the albums themselves and each one has been so fun to listen to.

15. Modern Huntsman

This magazine is incredibly inspiring visually and has also been such a powerful voice for me as I’ve delved deeper into the outdoor world this year and have spent a large part of my life wrestling with hunting. It’s a biannual journal with the heart to change the narrative around hunting. It’s perfect for outdoor photographers and people just generally interested in living an outdoor lifestyle.

From Gabe:

16. Biscoff cookies – let’s be honest, I’m married to someone who has her own line of cookies. And they’re flippin amazing. But there’s a time and place for almost every cookie, and perhaps my favorite cookie to eat alongside that now rare afternoon cup of coffee is a Biscoff. Ashley knows I love them and always brings me a snack-pack of them from her airline flights when she travels. That’s just one of the reasons why I love her. You can also find Ashley’s recipe for Biscoff style cookies in her new book, Let’s Stay In. 😉

17. Rhodia Legal Pad – If you’re anything like me, you love a good to-do list. And you’re more than a little persnickety about the paper and writing implements you use on a daily basis. I’ve been using Rhodia notepads for years and love how they take the ink. Whether you feeling felt tip, ballpoint, jell pen or old school pencil lead, this paper is great for everyday notes and lists to keep you better organized.

18. Books and Art by Invisible Creature – These brothers are super talented. I’ve been fortunate to work with them on some small photography projects and always enjoy seeing what they’re up too (think space themed posters commissioned by NASA as well as postage stamps for the United States Postal Service). So when I saw they illustrated a Golden Book about Pixar’s The Incredibles I picked one up right away. I’m also currently making space to put up my Invisible Creature Oxford Pennant which commemorates the Kingdome. Check out their books, posters, prints and pennants. All great gift ideas.

19. PG tips – I mentioned last year that due to health reasons, I’ve limited my coffee intake and been ever more reliant on tea to get me going most mornings. Ashley reached out to our good friend Kacie (who currently resides in England) on a daily drinker and Kacie recommended PG Tips. She even gave me a little insight into how to properly brew. I figure if it’s good enough for Queen and Country, it’s good enough for me.  A lovely way to start your day.

20. Rescue a Puppy – Win the coveted “Parents of the Year” award from your kids by giving them a puppy on Christmas. There are a number of pet adoption agencies out there, we’ve adopted two dogs from Saving Great Animals (who rescued our Lily from a kill shelter). Both our dogs (Lillian and Frederick) have brought immeasurable amounts of joy to our family.

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Kitchen Unnecessary: The Alaska Series


I love this time of year for all its merriment and excitement but I also delight in the start of a new year. The time to reflect on the gifts of a year nearly passed, to attempt to decipher lessons learned and use those to anticipate what you’ll discover and dream for in the coming year. As I’ve gotten older I have been less quick to jump to the goal making in order to take adequate time to feel gratitude and pride for the year nearly passed.

This year, hands down, the thing that has given me more delight, pride and excitement has been our outdoor cooking and adventure project, Kitchen Unnecessary. We just celebrated our one year mark, launched our 4th and 5th episodes and was gifted the award for Best Food Video from Saveur Magazine. It’s been a great year.

This past September our team traveled to the remote town of Cordova, Alaska. I’ve yet to find the words adequate in their expression of what this trip has meant. I always hate that copout but I assure you I’m trying. Watch the series and I think you’ll understand why.

I also wanted to share more images from the trip. All of the photos were captured by my husband, Gabe. 


The first day we went fly fishing with Nelly and Michael Hand from Drifters Fish. My form was less than ideal and we ended up not even getting a nibble but lucky for us Nelly packed the cooler with fish they caught on their boat so we didn’t starve. Note to self: always bring back up fish if you want to be sure to eat lunch.

Also, notice how sunny it is in Alaska. We’re told it’s not always like that but I think they are lying. You guys, I’m barefoot on the beach in Alaska and loving every minute of it.


The second day we went into the woods with Raven Madison, our local expert and guide. We found Nagoonberries, low and high bush cranberries and a few late summer blueberries. We also scaled a mountain for Chicken of the Woods mushrooms and found ourselves in the middle of a moose hunt.

Because I just had to get close to the salmon we went on Nelly and Michael’s boat to see their catch. And then it was off to the feast.


Moose Meatballs with Low Bush Cranberry Sauce and Smoked Cabbage

Alder Smoked Cured Salmon Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, Smoked Corn and Whipped Shallot Cream

BBQ Chicken of the Woods Mushroom Pizza

Grilled Salmon and Wild Mushrooms

Grilled Salmon with Preserved Lemon Herb Sauce

Wild Rice Pudding with Nagooneberry Sauce


For all the recipes head to

Wild Rice Pudding with Nagooneberry Sauce

I grew up never knowing what “rice pudding” was. In our family it was called “milk rice” and we served it for dinner. Now I know and still sometimes it’s dinner. Here it is the perfect end to our wild feast.

In this version we use wild rice in place of white rice and gently simmer the sweet creamy rice over a low flame and serve with a simple sauce of Nagooneberry. It’s warming, satisfying and so simple to make.

Substitute blackberries, marionberries, strawberries or raspberries for the Nagooneberries.


2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2  cups wild rice


½ cup brown sugar

3 cups milk

1 cup cream

1 vanilla bean, split

1 cinnamon stick

1 ½ cups Nagooneberries

¼ cup sugar


Set a small dutch oven or stock pot on a grill grate set over coals or low flame. Add butter to the pot and melt. Stir in the rice and sauté until completely coated in the butter and it smells lightly toasted. Add a hefty pinch of salt.

Carefully stir in the sugar, milk, cream, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer then cover. Gently simmer until the rice is tender and the pudding has thickened, about 1 hour.

In a small skillet add the Nagooneberries, sugar and cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer over low flame and cook until the sugar dissolves and the sauce thickens just slightly, about 10 minutes.

Serve over the rice pudding.

Thanks for supporting our adventures this year. We can not wait to bring you more in 2019.


Special thanks to our partners who made the Alaska Series possible:


Barebones Living

Alaska Airlines


We are so honored to work with some of the best companies around. These adventures would not be possible without them. They are wonderful supporters of our crazy dreams and wild adventures.





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