Let the Gift Guide Begin! (Day 1: Bowls)

Okay, here it is, my first attempt at a gift guide. I tried to include at least one vintage item per post because there's just soooo much great vintage kitchenware out there. I also tried to focus on Etsy sellers because if you're not going the vintage route, at least you're supporting independent artists. As far as the layout is concerned, there is probably a better way to set this up, but my time is limited, so I just stuck with the basics. Enjoy!

Vintage Pyrex Friendship Mixing Bowl, available on Ebay

Mini Bowl ($35) by Jill Rosenwald

notNeutral Bowl Set (4 @ $48)

Just He/ Just She - Big blue-black bowls ($60)

Whirl Bowl ($70) by Kim Westad

Handbuilt candy bowl ($87), designed by Aida Dirse, available at Rare Device

Poppy Bowl ($158) by Whitney Smith

Eight Nesting Lotus Bowls ($325) by Whitney Smith


Buckwheat and Banana Pancakes, Paltrow style

Gwyneth Paltrow, actress, mother, food lover, recently launched a newsletter named GOOP. The blog-like newsletter, which contains the tagline "nourish the inner aspect," is basically a weekly compilation of all of Mrs. Martin's favorite things. The fashion icon shares tips on everything from putting together a great outfit to eating right and staying healthy. She even shares her favorite recipes, which is, in my opinion, the best part of the whole thing! A couple of weeks ago, she offered up a recipe for vegan buckwheat and banana pancakes that sounds wonderful! GP describes them as a "combination of nutty buckwheat and sweet, sticky banana." Yum! I think most people are either waffle fans or pancakes fans, but very few like them both equally. I'm definitely on team pancakes, and banana pancakes are one of my favorites.

Right now, GOOP is only available via e-mail, but there will be an archives section added to the site soon. See below for the complete pancake recipe and, to subscribe to GOOP, click here.

SERVES: 3 or 4 (makes about a dozen pancakes)
TIME: 15 minutes

1 1/4 cups soy or rice milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus more for serving
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or white spelt flour (substitute rice flour to make pancakes completely gluten-free)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 bananas, thinly sliced

Mix all the wet ingredients together in a small bowl. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a slightly bigger bowl. Add the wet to the dry and stir just enough to combine – be careful not to over-mix (that’s how you get tough pancakes).

Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Ladle as many pancakes as possible onto your griddle. Place a few slices of banana on top of each pancake. Cook for about a minute and a half on the first side or until the surface is covered with small bubbles and the underside is nicely browned. Flip and cook for about a minute on the second side. Repeat the process until you run out of batter. Serve stacked high with plenty of maple syrup.


Pottery excitement: Whitney Smith

I love, love, love, love, LOVE Whitney Smith's pottery. Can I say love one more time? I can't stop looking at her Web site. Every piece is just so lovely! If I had to pick one as my favorite, I don't know which one I'd choose! Maybe the Bird Cupcake Stand ($68) or the Dogwood Flower Dessert Plate ($34) or the Bird Cake Stand ($115). There are so many choices! If this little sneak peek has got you drooling, check out Whitney's Etsy page and Web site to view the full collection. You can also view her blog by clicking here.


Baked in Brooklyn

It seems like everyone is talking about Baked these days. There is the hip bakery, the new cookbook, and the interesting flavor combinations. I admit it, I've bought into the hype! I just received my copy of Baked: New Frontiers in Baking and I'm awfully excited to start trying out the recipes, especially the sweet and salty cake and the green tea smoothie. But here's one thing that you may not know about Brooklyn's latest culinary hunks: they don't only sell delicious brownies and mouth-watering cakes at their shop, but they also have the cutest little bird mug for sale AND it's available online, too! Want to check out their goods and dream about marrying them? Click here to view the Baked Web site and dream away. :-) If you're interested in making their Sweet & Salty Cake for yourself, you can click here for the complete recipe.


LARABAR: Yummy and good for you!

Larabar, creators of what have to be the world's healthiest fruit and nut bars, have recently introduced two new flavors, both of which are, like their previous snack bars, inspired by classic desserts. The two new additions, Peanut Butter Cookie and Coconut Cream Pie, fit in nicely amongst the older bars like Banana Bread and Cinnamon Roll.

For those of you who don't know, Larabars are made of all natural ingredients. There are only a handful of ingredients on the wrapper and you'll be able to pronounce and recognize each one! That's because there are no added sweeteners or chemicals in Larabars AND, for those of you shun dairy products, they're vegan! I tried the Coconut Cream Pie bar last night and I have to say, it may be my new favorite flavor! It was pretty tasty. Don't get me wrong; It's not a candy bar, if that's what you're craving, but it is a pleasant and healthier alternative. For more information, click here.


Chocolate with Bacon?

Being a vegetarian, I won't be sampling any chocolate bar with the word bacon on its packaging, but I had to post it because it's just so odd! I will admit, that after I thought about it for a minute, I decided that it probably does have a really great flavor, but maybe that's because I'm a sucker for all things sweet and salty. At the very least, it would be interesting! If you prefer a little less meat with your chocolate, Vosges offers a slew of interesting bars. There is chocolate with mushrooms, chocolate with wasabi, and chocolate with curry, among others.

For truffle lovers, the Aztec Collection offers up chilies and cinnamon, while the Zion Collection includes allspice, pumpkin seed, and ginger. Don't even get me started on the ice cream and brownies, both of which include equally unusual items in their ingredient lists. If you're tired of boring old chocolate, then definitely check out Vosges Haut-Chocolat. You can find their stores in Chicago, New York, and Las Vegas or you can click here to order items online.


Jessie Steele Aprons at Sur La Table

I can't seem to bake anything without getting sugar and flour all over my clothes, so I'm always sure to put on an apron first to protect myself from the mess I'm about to create! If you're a cooking slob like me, check out the super cute aprons ($40 each) at Sur La Table (my favorite is the red cherries version, seen above). They're so adorable that you won't mind covering up your outfit while you're in the kitchen. Frankly, I wish some of these were dresses, so I could wear them outside of the house! Oh, well. Click here to view Sur La Table's complete apron collection.

This just in. I just discovered that these aprons are also available via the designer's Web site. Click here for more info.

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