2016 Holiday Gift Guide

One week till Christmas! Here's some last minute gift inspiration. ย 

1. #CookForSyria Recipe Book is a collaboration of recipes from chefs like Ottolenghi to raise money for Unicef UKโ€™s Children of Syria Fund. 

2. Marble Salt Keeper with Acacia Wood Lid from Sur la Table

3. Garlic and Oil Plate from Fringe and Fettle. Just rub fresh garlic on the little spikes in the center of the dish then fill with olive oil and vinegar. I bought one last summer from the potter at the Renagade Craft Fair in Chicago and use it all the time! 

4. Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies {gluten-free + dairy-free} because nothing expresses love and appreciation like fresh baked cookies

5. Eat Well Travel Often Print for the adventure seeking foodie in your life 

6. Herbivore Razorback Tank Top to show your veg pride

7. Green City Market Cookbook is based off of the farmers markets here in Chicago and features tons of plant based recipes

8. Glass Geometric Candle Holders for the host(sess) in your life. 

9. Brass Grow-Anywhere Growhouse because there's no such thing as owning too many plants 

10. Home Sweet Home Tea Towel from Etsy makes the perfect simple hostess gift 

11. Waxed Canvas Lunch Bag I bought one two weeks ago for myself and love packing my leftovers in it everyday for work

12. Malibu Farm Cookbook is inspired by the Malibu pier restaurant we loved when we lived in CA. Fresh, vegetable-forward California cuisine

13. Food52 Baking cookbook because Food52 never ever disappoints

14. Seasonal Fruit & Vegetable Poster to help you celebrate what's in season

15. Blue Washed Linen Napkins are made from my favorite linen producer, Linen Tales, a small company based in Lithuanian 

16. Recycled Glass Bulb Vase from Terrain

17. Farmer's Market Notpad for the meal planner extraordinaire 

18. Old Havana Pitcher from Anthro is gorgeous and on my own Christmas list this year

19. Taza Chocolate Class Disc Collection we visited the factory just outside Boston two years ago. This chocolate is so so good

20. White + Gold Bud Vases from Etsy

21. Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies are the ultimate Christmas cookie

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Want more ideas? Check out last years gift guide!

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies {Gluten-free + Dairy-free}

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies {gluten-free + dairy-free!} | Kneading Home

These cookies smell and taste like a soft gooey version of girl scout's thin mints (without all the chemicals!). They're made with almond meal which makes them gluten-free and surprisingly loaded with protein. They're also dairy-free and made with coconut oil, which makes them sort of healthy, but still ridiculously delicious.

They're great right out of the oven but better the longer they sit. Topped with crunchy sea salt, they're crispy around the edges and soft and brownie-like in the center. I don't mess around when it comes to chocolate so I more than tripled the amount of chocolate chunks from the original recipe. Each cookie is filled with big puddles of chocolatey goodness. Also, they will make your house smell amazing!

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies {gluten-free + dairy-free!} | Kneading Home
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies {gluten-free + dairy-free!} | Kneading Home
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies {gluten-free + dairy-free!} | Kneading Home
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies {gluten-free + dairy-free!} | Kneading Home
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies {gf & dairy-free}
Makes 18-20 cookies
Adapted from: Sprouted Kitchen

1 1/4 cups (137 grams) almond meal
1/2 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (65 grams) brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (I used the frontier brand)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping cup (120 grams/6 oz) dark chocolate chunks
chunky sea salt for serving

In a small bowl combine the almond meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. Whisk to combine. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut oil (make sure it's melted but not hot as you don't want scrambled eggs!), peppermint extract, and vanilla extract. 

Gentle whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Pour in the chocolate chunks and stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate into the dough. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Note the dough can be made a day in advance.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop, place the dough balls onto the parchment then flatten slightly. Cook for 7-10 minutes until fragrant. Sprinkle with chunky sea salt. Best served when cooled completely. 

Apple & Honey Sandwiches

Apple & Honey Sandwiches | Kneading Home

This year we're hosting Thanksgiving with a small group of friends. Pre-grad school I would have planned the meal by now with a detailed google doc of all the ingredients broken down by recipe and organized a pinterest board of tabletop holiday decor. Ain't nobody got time for that anymore. I'm lucky if I have enough time to make dinner each night and make it to the grocery store. But breaks will happen and the holidays will come and for that I'm thankful. I'm looking forward to taking Friday after turkey day off and to explore the city a bit with a friend whose visiting us from New York. I do know there will be an apple cheddar galette and autumn kale salad.

I've been making these sandwiches all season long this year. The apples make them crispy and juicy with just enough sweetness from the honey and a bit of tang from the brown mustard. The ingredients list is simple, so like Ina would say, use the best you can find. Splurge on some really good cheese, go for the $1.50 a pop honeycrisp apples, and layer on some really good seedy brown mustard. These sandwiches became a post-farmer's market Saturday afternoon tradition back in October for us. They make me want to pack them in a picnic lunch with a big flannel blanket and some chardonnay and go sit outside somewhere and watch the leave change colors. 

Apple & Honey Sandwiches | Kneading Home
Apple & Honey Sandwiches | Kneading Home
Apple & Honey Sandwiches | Kneading Home
Apple & Honey Sandwiches | Kneading Home
Apple & Honey Sandwiches
Makes 2 sandwiches

2 small demi baguettes
2 tablespoons seedy brown mustard
1/2 cup freshly grated gouda
1 large apple (I used honeycrisp)
1 teaspoon honey
flakey sea salt
1 handful arugula

Preheat the oven (or toaster oven) to 350 degrees. Slice the baguettes in half lengthwise and spread mustard on half of the pieces. Divide the cheese between the two sandwiches and sprinkle on top of the mustard. Heat the baguettes, open-face, in the oven for 2-4 minutes until cheese is melted and the baguettes are crispy and warm. Meanwhile core and thinly slice the apple.

Remove the baguettes from the oven and layer the apples over the cheese. Drizzle honey over the apples and sprinkle with sea salt. Top with arugula and serve.