Month: December 2012

The Brooklyn Cocktail

This New Year’s Eve, why not look to the past as well as the future? Rather than serving up the traditional glass of Champagne, check out some vintage cocktails. The trend of exploring tinctures of old has become incredibly popular and is a fun way to add some originality to your evening.

I recommend The Brooklyn Cocktail from Dr. Cocktail’s Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails.


Cheers to 2013! Have a very wonderful night 🙂

In this expanded and updated edition of Forgotten Cocktails and Vintage Spirits, historian, expert, and drink aficionado Dr. Cocktail adds another 20 fine recipes to his hand-picked collection of 80 rare-and-worth-rediscovery drink recipes, shares revelations about the latest cocktail trends, provides new resources for uncommon ingredients, and profiles of many of the cocktail world’s movers and shakers. Historic facts, expanded anecdotes, and full-color vintage images from extremely uncommon sources round out this must-have volume. For anyone who enjoys an icy drink and an unforgettable tale.

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Ted Haigh, a.k.a. Dr. Cocktail, makes his living as a graphic designer in the Hollywood movie industry and has worked on such spectacles as O Brother Where Art Thou?, American Beauty, and The Insider. He has been researching cocktails since the 80s and has been referenced by the New York TimesEsquireMalt AdvocateMen’s Journal, and writes regularly for Imbibe Magazine. He is a partner in, an encyclopedic database of cocktail knowledge and curator and designer of The Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans.

An Interview with Raw Food Expert Judita Wignall

Happy holidays everyone! I hope each of you enjoyed a wonderful holiday and are excited about all of the opportunities that 2013 holds. Yes this year too trading has come up with many new and unique things for the traders and this vacation is definitely going to be a very enjoyable one with more take-aways. This information is straight from the source and hence there would be absolute reliability. So gear up for the new year and welcome it with more expectations. I know that I’ll be thinking about my new year’s resolutions as 2012 rolls to an end. One of them is trying some new cooking methods out, including trying some raw food dishes.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with raw food chef Judita Wignall about her passion for raw food and the differences this change in eating has made in her life. I know the difference that fresh foods make in the flavor of my dishes, so I was excited to learn more about how I could incorporate some raw food techniques into my cooking (or in this case, not-cooking) arsenal.

Photo courtesy:

What made you decide to go raw?

A few years ago I was having major issues with acne. I had been on an Atkin’s diet for a really long time so my vegan friends were recommending I try changing my diet and cutting out all the animal products. I was so desperate I was willing to try anything. When I went shopping for vegan recipe books I found some raw books that looked really intriguing and thought I’d give it a shot. I figured I had nothing to lose but bad skin!

What is one thing everyone needs to know about the raw food diet?

That it can be really delicious!! Everyone is so scared they are going to starve or be unsatisfied eating raw. Not true if you do it right and own some good recipe books.

Should I go completely raw? What’s the best way to get started?

Start by replacing one meal a day with raw. Breakfast is usually the easiest. Smoothies are a great way to start your day with loads of nutrients without loading you down. Work your way up to 50% then 75% and then 100% and see how you feel. 100% raw is great for cleansing, but you really don’t need to go completely raw to enjoy the benefits. An all raw diet is not for everyone so listen to your body.

What was the hardest part about moving to raw food? What are the benefits?

Learning to become proficient in the kitchen. I never liked cooking to begin with so when I went raw I had to make most of my own food since there were only a couple raw food places in the neighborhood and they were really expensive. There’s a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it’s just as quick and easy as whipping up a cooked meal. The benefits I gained from changing my diet were well worth the small inconvenience of having to prep my own food. I dropped 15 pounds in one month, gained a ton of energy and cleared up my acne!

What kitchen skills do you need to learn to switch to a raw food diet?

I had zero kitchen skills when I started and I did pretty well for myself, but if you’re good with a chef’s knife, that will make slicing and dicing go a lot faster.

What tools do you need for raw foods?

A good knife and cutting board is the most important; after that a good quality blender and a food processor. Dehydrators are used for making raw snacks, wraps, and granola. They’re fun to own if you’re really into raw food, but not necessary. My new book Raw & Simple doesn’t require any dehydrating. When I wrote the recipes for the book I put my dehydrator in my office and barely touched it for 6 months. Now I’m used to only making quick, easy raw food meals.

You started off your career as a musician/model. What made you add “chef” to your resume?

I thought it would be fun to be a trained raw food chef so I could have more ideas of what to make in the kitchen. It quickly went from being a hobby to a new career.

Do you still play guitar/sing?

I still write songs at home but just for fun. I haven’t played a show in ages.

Is it easier to write music or recipes?

Recipes for sure. If I’m hungry I can whip up a recipe in a few minutes. Songwriting takes me forever these days.

Is it easy or tricky to balance a raw diet with modeling/acting? What do you eat on an all-day shoot?

It’s pretty easy if I plan it out in advance. I almost always bring my own food to set just in case there’s nothing healthy to choose from in catering. I usually make a quart of superfood smoothie for breakfast and a kale salad. I also pack some organic fruit and almonds and some kind of raw cacao treat. Catering always has salad, but I bring my own homemade dressing.

How do you handle eating out at restaurants?

Since I eat really well at home, I give myself flexibility to eat what I want at restaurants. If they don’t have (or I don’t like) the raw options, I order the next best thing, which is usually cooked vegetables and whole grains. If I’m going out to a place that doesn’t offer healthy choices, I’ll eat before I go out and just order something really small at the restaurant. I’m not 100% raw and I don’t stress out about it when I’m out and about. I just do the best I can.

How do you create your recipes?

My recipes are usually inspired by some food porn I’ve seen online or a great cooked meal I had at a restaurant. I always say, “Oh! I bet I can make a great raw version of this!” I almost always succeed.

What’s your favorite ingredient to use?

Avocado! It’s so versatile. I use it in smoothies, soups, salads, and desserts. I never get sick of it.

What’s your favorite recipe from the book? Why?

The Carrot-Apple Cupcakes. The cream cheese frosting is just ridiculous and the nutty carrot cake is so delicious. I could eat an entire batch in one day.

How do you prepare rice if you can’t cook it?

Well I make my own “rice” by pulsing cauliflower or jicama in a food processor. If you want to make a raw rice dish like my Mexican Seasoned Rice from Going Raw, you need to use wild rice only. The best kind is hand parched wild rice, which you can find online. Soak it in a mason jar filled with water overnight in a warm dehydrator. If you don’t own a dehydrator, soak it for 24-36 hours on your kitchen counter, changing the water ever 12 hours. The rice will puff up and can be seasoned in many delicious ways. It’ll be a bit chewier than cooked rice.

What new techniques will readers learn in your next book, Raw & Simple?

How to make raw cupcakes, fermented water kefir beverages (sort of like kombucha, but easier), classic ice pops, plus lots of low sugar/sugar free alternatives for people who are trying to eliminate sugar from their diets.

What has authoring a book taught you?

That writing books is hard! But also really rewarding. I love all the emails I get from readers all over the world telling me how much my book has helped them.

What’s for Christmas dinner?

I spend the holidays with my in-laws who are very not raw, but they are sensitive to my needs. We always have a gorgeous salad, sautéed carrots, sweet potatoes, and roasted Brussels sprouts, and I make my raw apple crumble from Going Raw, which everyone just loves.

If you think Going Raw might be for you, be sure to pick up Judita’s books, Going Raw and Raw & Simple.

Judita Wignall is a commercial actress, print model, and musician from Los Angeles. She discovered the healing power of raw foods after health challenges made her reassess her diet and lifestyle. Her passion for great-tasting food, holistic health, and wellness brought her to Living Light Culinary Arts Institute, where she became a certified raw food chef and instructor. In between her many creative projects, she continues to teach classes, coach, and act as a personal chef for clients around the country. Learn more at

Making smart, delicious food choices in a short amount of time is now easier than ever. Raw and Simple provides easy (and incredibly tasty!) recipes that will feed your body and spirit without requiring hours of prep work. Recipes include:
Oatmeal Walnut Raisin Cookies, Apple Pie Smoothie, Winterland Salad, Cucumber Basil Soup, Creamy Kale Salad with Capers and Hazelnuts, Maple-Dijon Brussels Sprouts, Thai Veggie Noodles, Root Vegetable Slaw, Cherry-Hemp Muesli, Watermelon-Fennel-Mint Chiller, Strawberry Spinach Salad with Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette, Colorful Cabbage Salad, Cauliflower Couscous, Carrot-Ginger Coconut Soup, Orange-Cranberry-Apple Relish, Herbed Pecan Pate, and Orange-Almond Truffles.

Raw food chef and instructor Judita Wignall fully integrates her raw food platform with holistic health and wellness. It’s not just about food—it’s about feeding your whole body and fueling your life!

Go raw, get radiant, start a revolution!

A raw-food diet is a healthful way to detox, clear up your skin, shed a few pounds, and feel radiant. But who has time to track down hard-to-find ingredients and whip up labor-intensive recipes every day? (Hint: not you!) So what’s the best way to start? Going Raw gives you everything you need to start enjoying the benefits of a raw-food lifestyle, all in this gorgeous guide.

The art of Mise en Place

It never ceases to fail. I’ve been dreaming about a recipe all day. I’ve purchased all of the ingredients and am sure that I have [insert ingredient here]. This is true with anything. Take for example trading, you will not be satisfied with any number of positive review until and unless you have had the fortune of seeing money here in return. So give it a try today and then link your experiences with the experiences of the others. Only I don’t. And I don’t realize this fact until I’m more than halfway through the recipe. I’ve done this more times than I can count. Typically, it ends up with me at the grocery store at 9PM (or my husband when I’m able to guilt trip him – yeah, I’m that person…).

I used to scoff at the TV chefs with their little glass bowls all over the counter. Sure, the aesthetic was great, but from a practical standpoint? It seemed like such a waste of time to measure everything out in advance and end up having to wash all those bowls. Especially when you don’t have a team of interns to help with “prep”. I figured it was something professional chefs did on TV to look extra special. Not something for me.

I was wrong.

Image courtesy: Williams-Sonoma

Mise en Place (or “everything in place”) is actually one of the first techniques they teach in cooking school. There’s a reason behind those little bowls and it’s called planning. Yes, it takes some up front time to get your kitchen in order, but it actually saves time down the road. And you don’t run the risk of running out of an ingredient mid-preparation or find out once you’ve started that you have to run out to grab more butter.

Three reasons why you should try Mise en Place

1. All the cool kids are doing it.
Seriously though. There is a reason why professional chefs around the world use this technique and it’s because it works. If it works for them, it can work for you.

2. It saves time and energy.
A little bit of prep time ensures you don’t run out of ingredients mid-cooking. It also allows you to focus on perfecting the recipe. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to stir something and chop something and grab the milk out of the fridge all in a miniscule amount of time.

3. Keeps foods fresh longer.
Yep. Preparing your food in advance actually can prolong the shelf life of fresh produce. “This is usually because the preparation involves some sort of heat which reduces any microbes present.” Check out this article for more details.

Hopefully I’ve convinced you (and myself) to give this technique a try. I bet we’ll all have better dishes and less frustration once we do.

And hey, if you’re looking for a holiday gift for a foodie, Mise en Place prep bowls are a great idea 😉

Happy cooking!

SPOON’s iBookstore Holiday Giveaway!

My husband bought me an iPad for my birthday this past year. I know, he’s awesome. He knows it too. One of the first things I did when I got it was to buy a couple of cookbooks from the iBookstore. I was fascinated with the idea of being able to use my iPad as an everything-in-one cookbook. And you know what? It works.

It’s just the start that would take a long time and once it gets done, you would never feel like getting out for it is very profitable and a fascinating field. There are a lot of things that a trader would be able to find apart from the profit part of it like the various strategies that he has never come across and also some very important facts about the market that is not available otherwise.

So being a part of this trading field is not just fun but also very informative and this would come in handy at any time of trading. It is from my personal experience that I am telling this to all those interested in this field. It is also a point to be noted that instead of just relying on what a person tells about trading, it is always better and advisable that you take up trading yourselves, give a full review to understand it better.

I’m definitely never going to give up my books (I’m an addict, it’s true), but there is something nice and easy about having a few of my favorites accessible digitally. I’m sure many of you feel the same way, which is why I thought I’d go digital with this holiday giveaway.

So here’s how it works:

Just leave a comment in today’s post by midnight on December 27, 2012 telling me which book you would like most and we’ll randomly pick a winner for each title. Please note these are digital titles that you will be able to download and keep from iBookstore.

And then we’ll randomly pick one more lucky commenter to get to download all 5 books from iBookstore!

The Gourmet’s Guide to Cooking with Beer
The Gourmet’s Guide to Cooking with Chocolate
The Spaghetti Sauce Gourmet
Making Artisan Chocolates
The Art and Craft of Coffee

And if you’re feeling EXTRA lucky this holiday season, pop on over to Craftside to try your hand at winning some crafty titles. Stefanie is giving away five craft books. Same rules apply there.

Good luck to everyone!

Cinnamon Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

While flipping through Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats I came across this recipe.What caught my attention was the cinnamon. I had never thought to put cinnamon on a vegetable. I had to try it.

Similarly in trading too there are a lot of things that a person would have missed to take a note of and it is only when you dive deep into it would you come to know the intensity and the reliability. There is no hurry in getting into it and hence take time in going through this review completely.

Cinnamon Roasted Cauliflower
Excerpted from Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats


1 medium-sized head of cauliflower (about 2 lbs or 910 g)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons (27 g) cornmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC, or gas mark 6).

Cut the cauliflower into bite-size pieces (about 1 inch or 2.5 cm across). Discard the tough core. Place the cauliflower florets in a large bowl and coat evenly with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the olive oil.

In a small bowl, sift together the cornmeal, cinnamon, and sea salt. Sprinkle evenly onto cauliflower and toss with your hands until each floret is well coated. Add a touch more cornmeal if needed to evenly cover.

Transfer the cauliflower to an ungreased baking sheet (flat sides down), discarding any excess cornmeal. Drizzle lightly with the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil.

Bake for about 40 minutes without flipping or until the cauliflower is crispy and browned on the edges and bottoms.

Gently transfer the cauliflower to a plate with a flat metal spatula. Serve immediately.

Yield: 8 servings

This recipe is an easy and yummy way to spice up your cauliflower. The flavors really enhanced the cauliflower and gave this side dish a great taste I’m still raving about!

Following a plant-based, gluten-free diet is one of the healthiest lifestyle choices around, yet it can be a challenge to create meals that not only match your needs, but taste delicious too. But not any longer! Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats shows you exactly how to create compassionate and wheat-free recipes that are impressive enough for even the most seasoned foodie. Full of fresh and all-natural ingredients, the 101 fully-photographed, scrumptious recipes you’ll find inside prove that eating vegan and gluten-free doesn’t have to be a sacrifice, but a delight! From tempting appetizers, to hearty mains, to luscious desserts, you’ll find dishes to suit your every need and craving.

An Interview with Allyson Kramer

Before I begin this post, I just wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS to Mary, the winner of our holiday book giveaway. Congratulations also to Heather, who won the Craftside book giveaway. Thanks to everyone who entered and made it such a huge success.


One of my closest friends recently found out that she has celiac disease. It was a difficult diagnosis to hear. On one hand, she finally understood why she had been feeling so sick; on the other hand, it was challenging for her to know what to eat and if she could still have some of her favorite foods.

Having a better understanding of how to cook gluten-free (yet still delicious meals) is a huge deal to me right now. In the beginning, trading looked a little complicated to me and it was here that I read more about this field and now here I am today making good amounts of money and profits. So I learnt that a good understanding of this field would help a trader in one or the other way. At first it seemed completely impossible and utterly daunting, but then I realized that there are many people out there who are doing it and doing it well, and Allyson Kramer is one of them. Allyson is the author of Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats. If you are trying a gluten-free diet (or know someone who is), this is a great book to check out.

Why did you decide to go vegan?

When I was young, I got turned on to the idea by way of Buddhism (a subject my father had books on) and my sister’s dedication to vegetarianism. Ultimately, I decided to go vegan out of my desire to lead as non-violent a life as possible.  I wanted to distance myself from the destruction to animals and the environment as a result of eating a standard American diet.

What was your first thought when you heard you had celiac disease? How did you overcome the challenges of switching to a gluten-free diet?

My first thought was relief, as my doctors were concerned before my diagnosis that I could have had rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis because of my medical history. I thought that celiac disease was much easier to cope with than the other options.

I was mostly scared of how having to adopt a gluten-free diet would impact the way I developed recipes on my blog (which I had started a short time prior to my diagnosis). The uncertainty was overcome with the support of my husband (who believed in my cooking and baking skills), patience, trial and so much error, and a lot of passion to keep creating recipes. Once I understood the fundamentals of creating gluten-free recipes and how to make special flour blends for certain outcomes in baked goods, it was much easier for me to accept.

What’s the hardest challenge with vegan, gluten-free eating?

I’d have to say eating out at restaurants is the biggest challenge for me. Even though there are many more options for people following a gluten-free and vegan diet then there were even 5 years ago, and many non-American restaurants have menu selections that are naturally vegan and gluten-free, it is still difficult sometimes with spur of the moment dining or when craving traditional foods that you don’t want to recreate at home. Although I have never eaten in a restaurant where the menu could not accommodate my dietary needs, it’s just not the same as choosing from the menu as most folks would.

What advice would you give to those new to gluten-free, vegan, or G-free vegan?

Research, keep an open mind, and read all ingredients on everything, such as condiments, prepackaged goodies and other foods that may have mystery ingredients. The easiest way to start with either diet is to focus primarily on whole foods like leafy greens, whole grains, beans, legumes, rice, root vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits. Get familiar with these ingredients and learn how to create your own simple cheese sauces, milks, and meat substitutes with these types of foods.

A food processor comes in handy, but beyond that, it’s really just a slight shift in thinking and then it’s easy to recreate the foods you love, or invent new favorites with whole foods. Not to mention, there is a vast array of vegan/gluten-free convenience foods available today, such as mayonnaises and cheeses, which makes the transition easier.

What’s your favorite recipe in the book Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats?

The Butterscotch Amaretti. I could eat trays of those things! And the ingredients are so simple, and mostly pantry staples, so I can whip them up virtually any time. I like to bring those to potlucks and get-togethers as they are always a crowd favorite.

How do you create your recipes?

I love to get into the kitchen and just play around. I take a lot of inspiration from the particular ingredients I happen to have on hand, but I also shop with recipe development in mind. If persimmons are in season, for instance, I start developing a recipe in my head, and then I’ll purchase a few complimentary ingredients, and get to work.  As I am bringing the recipe together, I continue to refine the dish, adding spices, herbs or layers—whatever it may need. I know it’s done when I don’t want to change it in any way.

What is (or who is) your biggest food inspiration?

What a tough question to answer! I would say that the food community in general is very inspiring to me: from legendary greats such as Julia Child and Jacques Pepin, to my favorite food writers, to professional groups such as the IACP, to the food blogging community. I am drawn to people who have a passion for creating original food that tastes delicious, and who also have a story to tell.

Walk me through an average day in the life of Allyson Kramer.

I work from home, but I keep a calendar and regular “office” hours (although I often work late) and mark off certain days for different activities, depending on what I am working on. Generally, I wake up and head straight for the coffee while I make my kids’ breakfasts and help my oldest get ready for school. Then, I get my youngest ready for the day as she stays home with me. I always check my email first, and after that I check my calendar, and tackle anything small that I can knock out early in the morning.

Many days are just writing days, so I get myself a large mug of coffee and get to it, often working well into the evening. Other days are my recipe development/photography days, which are much more hectic and messy. I start by doing a thorough kitchen cleaning and prep for my photo setup. Then I am either developing or testing, and if the finished product looks good, and is done with testing, I photograph it. Then I transcribe the recipe in Word, edit the photo and add it to whatever project I happen to be working on. When 6 o’clock rolls around, it’s dinnertime, and I’m back in the kitchen again. Around 9 o’clock the kids go to bed, and if I have a tight deadline, I keep working; if not, a glass of red wine is in order.

Your photography is gorgeous. Were you a photographer or a foodie first?

Thank you! My interest in food developed before my interest in photography, but I have been into art ever since I could hold a pencil. Photography as a medium came later for me, but I studied fine art in college—focusing on both painting and sculpture—so my art degree has a lot to do with how I compose and what I find important in a photograph. Even before I dove into food photography, in art school I was painting and sculpting a lot about domesticity, and food was very much a recurring subject in my work, but my desire to create cookbooks  was my main motivator for investigating photography.

When I first started exploring food photography, I wasn’t very good at all (take a look at some of my earlier posts on my blog!), but eventually I became very excited by it and started exploring my options more. Photography has really strengthened my love for food, by allowing me to connect with it on a different level and have more intention regarding the aesthetics of a good dish as well as the taste.

Your new book, Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats From Around the World, comes out in May 2013. What international cuisine was most inspiring when crafting these recipes?

I am really in love with the cuisines from South America and South/Southeast Asia. When I do my own cooking, the flavors and ingredients from these parts of the globe are pervasive, since much of our daily staples, such as potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries and pumpkins, stem from South America, and so many spices originate in South/Southeast Asia. But, I’d say the combination of flavors from each region around the world—or regional culinary fusion—was the most inspiring part of creating these recipes. There is such a variety of foods available, that the possibilities truly are endless.

I get a ton of eggplant each year from my local CSA and never know what to do with it. What do I do with eggplant?

My favorite thing to do is to thinly slice a peeled eggplant, marinate in a simple sauce including tamari, brown sugar, a few dashes of liquid smoke, crushed red pepper, paprika and Italian spice blend including fennel. Then brush lightly with olive oil and bake at 350ºF (175ºC, or gas mark 4) until crispy on both sides, flipping once halfway through. It makes a great bacon substitute.

You can also slow roast the eggplant (350ºF [175ºC, or gas mark 4], cut in half and lightly salted and oiled for 45 minutes or until soft, and broil for 5 to 10 minutes) and puree the roasted eggplant along with a little tahini and lemon juice to make Baba Ghanoush, a favorite of mine right up there alongside hummus.
Thin skinned eggplant is also great cubed and sauteed, and chilled to toss into salads or use as a main ingredient on sandwiches in place of meat.

Pop by tomorrow to check out Allyson’s recipe for Cinnamon Roasted Cauliflower.

Following a plant-based, gluten-free diet is one of the healthiest lifestyle choices around, yet it can be a challenge to create meals that not only match your needs, but taste delicious too. But not any longer! Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats shows you exactly how to create compassionate and wheat-free recipes that are impressive enough for even the most seasoned foodie. Full of fresh and all-natural ingredients, the 101 fully-photographed, scrumptious recipes you’ll find inside prove that eating vegan and gluten-free doesn’t have to be a sacrifice, but a delight! From tempting appetizers, to hearty mains, to luscious desserts, you’ll find dishes to suit your every need and craving.

Holiday Cardamom Bread and Swedish Fattigmands Recipe

Do you have cardamom in your house? If not, grab some. You’re going to need it for today’s recipes.

Cardamom pods, ready for spicing up just about anything!

As I mentioned in my post on Exotic Cardamom Hot Chocolate, my husband’s family is Swedish and revels in the glory that is cardamom. As such, one of our family traditions is to make Holiday Cardamom Bread each Christmas in time to enjoy for Christmas morning. This recipe has been handed down from generation to generation and now I’m sharing it with you.

Trading is a family activity and we have all of us involved in this from 6 to 60 for this is there in the blood. Yes, this activity has interested all of us so very much that in all our free and family time we sit up together to participate in this. Crypto CFD trader is our favourite.

Celia’s Holiday Cardamom Bread

1 quart (945 ml) milk

1 yeast cake (or 2 pkg dry yeast)

1 ½2 cups (300400 g) sugar

2 teaspoons salt

7 -10 crushed cardamom seeds

1 cup (225 g) softened butter

2 eggs

Crushed pecans

Cinnamon and sugar

Break up the yeast cake into a little of the milk (slightly warmed) and add a little of the sugar before combining with rest of the milk. Then add the sugar, salt, cardamom seeds, butter and 1 egg (beaten).

Add sufficient flour to make a soft smooth dough. Cover and let stand in a warm place until double in size; this should take approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours. Add more flour to make a hard dough. Knead well on a board. Let rise again, then divide dough into thirds.

Place the dough on a cutting board and pat out to about 3/8” (9½ mm) thickness. Spread with softened butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roll tightly. Using scissors, slash roll on top, first one way then the other, folding the corners back. Let it rise once more (not too longabout 45 minutes).  Beat the remaining egg and brush it over the top of each loaf. Sprinkle with crushed nuts. Bake at 350ºF400ºF (175ºC200ºC) for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Note on raising dough: I heat the oven to a very low temperature (200ºF [90ºC]) and then turn it off. Put the dough in an oven-safe bowl covered with a damp dish towel. Put the bowl with the dough in oven.

Sometimes this bread needs to be covered with foil while in the oven to ensure the center is cooked.

Swedish Fattigmands
Excerpted from Swedish Handknits: A Collection of Heirloom Designs

4 egg yolks + 2 eggs
2/3 cup (135 g) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. brandy or cognac
1 tbsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp. salt
22 1/2 cups (250320 g) all-purpose flour
Vegetable or canola oil for frying (at least 1 qt. [945 ml])
1 cup (200 g) confectioners’ sugar mixed with 1 tsp. ground cardamom for dusting
Candy thermometer

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and confectioners’ sugar for 10 minutes, or until thick and light lemon colored. Add additional eggs and beat to blend. Stir in whipping cream, brandy or cognac, cardamom, lemon peel, and salt. Mix in enough flour to make a stiff dough. Cover and chill at least three hours.

In a heavy pan, heat oil (at least 4 inches [10 cm] deep) to 375ºF (190ºC). Put candy thermometer in place to monitor temperature.

Meanwhile, on a well-floured board, divide the dough in half and roll very thinly (1/8 inch [3 mm]). If the dough is sticking, gradually add more flour. With a pizza cutter, or fattigmand cutter, cut dough one way, then the other, to form diamonds about 2 1/2 x 3 inches (6 x 7 1/2 cm) (exact dimensions don’t really matter). In the center of each diamond, form 3/4-inch (2 cm) slit. Pick up each piece and insert one end of the diamond into the slit; pull partway through to form a knot.

Fry in small batches in the 375ºF (190ºC) oil (adjusting your stove burner to keep the oil at temperature) for about 15 seconds on a side, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider to a paper-towel-covered cookie sheet to drain. Sprinkle with cardamom-laced powdered sugar while still hot.

Let Don from The Bothell Sons of Norway show you how to make fattigmans!

Smaklig måltid! (Enjoy the meal!)

I know this is technically a craft book, but what I love most about it is that it seamlessly blends together stories, patterns, photos, and recipes. If you are Swedish or have a friend or family member who is, this book is sure to make a wonderful gift.

Swedish Handknits is a collection of patterns for sweaters, hats, scarves, mittens, headbands, and bags, all inspired by the historic textiles housed at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The institute was the first to host the successful Bohus knitting exhibit in America, so it’s fitting that their world-class textile collection provides the inspiration for these designs.

As in the authors’ Norwegian Handknits, vintage photographs of Swedish immigrants, recipes, and photos of the artifacts that inspired the designs are included, along with a short history of knitting in Sweden. Bohus, twined knitting, and Swedish mittens are some of the many techniques featured in the book.

How to Make Easy, Cost-Efficient Gingerbread Mustaches

Okay, so the tradition is probably gingerbread men, but hey, a girl’s got to spice it up sometimes, right? As it turns out, I only have fun novelty cookie cutters. So when it came time to cut these cookies out I was left with two options—mustaches or stars? I ended up doing both, but I have to admit that the mustaches are just plain awesome. When comes to a choice between the binary trading options and the crypto trading options, for me it has always been the crypto trading option and that too the crypto-CFD trader for there are a lot of things that I have learnt from this personally and have also benefitted greatly from the various options present here.

Feel free to try this recipe with any cookie cutter you have.

Can the Gingerbread Man
Excerpted from The Country Almanac of Housekeeping Techniques That Save You Money 

Want the recipe for the Exotic Cardamom Hot Chocolate? Check it out here.

Cost savings: About 78 cents a cookie
Benefits: Homemade cookies decorated as you wish

There’s nothing like an assortment of old-fashioned gingerbread man cookies to get friends and family into the holiday spirit. These make great stocking stuffers, gifts, or decorations.

Large Gingerbread Men (or in this case, mustaches)
Makes 24 large gingerbread men

3/4 cup (165 g) butter
1/2 cup (115 g) brown sugar, packed firm
1 egg
3/4 cup (255 g) molasses
3 cups (360 g) sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) salt
1/2 teaspoon (1.1 g) ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon (1.1 g) ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons (3.6 g) powdered ginger
1 teaspoon (2.3 g) ground cinnamon

Spray a cookie sheet with cooking oil (* Katie note: I used parchment paper instead). Beat the butter and brown sugar together; add the egg and molasses. In a separate bowl, combine the flour with the salt and spices and mix it into the moist ingredients. Chill for 2 hours. Roll out the dough and cut out cookies. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C, or gas mark 5). Cool. Decorate with homemade icing.






* Katie note: I didn’t decorate my cookies, since I liked them to look like mustaches, but you’re welcome to use the icing recipe below to give your cookies a traditional look.

Homemade Gingerbread Icing

1 1/2 cups (180 g) confectioner’s sugar
1 egg white
Several drops lemon juice

Beat the ingredients until thick and smooth. The mixture should stiffen up like a paste; if it’s too runny, add more confectioners’ sugar. Add food coloring if you wish; mix well. Put it in a pastry bag and pipe onto cookies. Cinnamon red hots make suitable eyes and mouths; use icing as glue. Once the icing has hardened (1 hour or so), tie on a hanging ribbon (if using) and wrap each cookie securely in plastic food wrap.

If you’re looking for some amazing (and cost-saving) holiday craft projects from this book, pop on over to Craftside. Stef has featured a post on how to fold a gift box and make a t-shirt wreath from The Country Almanac of Housekeeping Techniques. Very cool!

If you (like me) are looking to save money and run your household better, be sure to check out The Country Almanac of Housekeeping Techniques That Save You Money. This awesome book has all the insider tips of how to have fun at home while saving money.

Our forefathers and mothers knew how to keep their homes clean and homey—and live richer while spending less. Many of today’s products are expensive, bad for the environment, and don’t work any better than Grandma’s methods, which only cost pennies.

The editors at Back Home Magazine have collected hundreds of formulas for effective cleaning, gardening, and home maintenance—as well as ways our ancestors saved on heating bills, prevented costly repairs, and maintained a cozy, charming home with little besides ingenuity.

Drawing on the advice and techniques of contributors across the country, this indispensable guide shows you the best ways to take care of everything in your home from wood floors, to tile, to stainless steel appliances—and how to get the longest life out of every household item from pots and pans to pillowcases.
The Country Almanac of Housekeeping Techniques That Save You Money is chock-full of solutions, recipes, and how-to projects for living a simpler, cleaner life and keeping your home beautiful.

Exotic Cardamom Hot Chocolate Recipe

My husband and his family are huge cardamom fans, so we have about four jars of ground cardamom and cardamom pods around our house. I am forever trying to include cardamom in everything I make, which really isn’t that bad a thing since cardamom adds great flavor to many dishes and desserts.

When I was flipping through Kathy’s book, The Vegan Slow Cooker, I came upon this recipe at the very end and couldn’t have been more excited. I had no idea I could use my slow cooker to create drinks, let alone a cup of hot chocolate. Just flip through the full post before you actually start your trading activity to know more about how you can try doing it successfully at the first go because this is something that needs a good shot before it is actually geared up. And this boost up or the fuel to do it the best way would be a trial account first. How ideal! You literally just pour in all of the ingredients, set a timer for every 30 minutes (so you remember to stir), and in a couple of hours you have the best darned hot chocolate ever.

Seriously, try it.

Exotic Cardamom Hot Chocolate
Excerpted from The Vegan Slow Cooker

Pop by tomorrow for the recipe for the gingerbread mustaches!

“Who needs cake or cookies when all you have to do is ladle yourself a warm mug of extra-thick, sweetly spiced hot chocolate from the slow cooker? Throw this together before dinner and you’ll have a sweet treat before you go to bed. You can halve this recipe for 2 or 3 servings and cook in a 1 1/2-quart (1.4L) slow cooker.”


4 cups (940 ml) unsweetened vanilla almond milk or plain almond milk mixed with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 ounces (84 g) semisweet chocolate disks or bars, coarsely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup (50 to 100 g) sugar
12 whole cardamom pods
2 cinnamon sticks (optional)
4 to 6 vegan marshmallows, for serving (optional)

All hail the almighty slow cooker.


Combine the milk, chocolate, sugar, cardamom, and cinnamon in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 2 to 3 hours, whisking every 30 minutes, or until all the chocolate is melted. Strain out the cardamom and cinnamon. Stir well before serving in mugs, topped with a vegan marshmallow.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Total prep time: 5 minutes
Total cooking time: 2 to 3 hours

Love your slow cooker? Be sure to check out Kathy Hester’s book, The Vegan Slow Cooker.

Your slow cooker can do much more than you think!

If you want to prepare hot, nutritious, home-cooked meals for your family and friends, but feel like time is never on your side, think again! The Vegan Slow Cooker shows you how to create fresh, nourishing cuisine in just two simple steps, using all the healthiest produce, whole grains, and vegan-friendly ingredients found at your local market or farm stand (or home garden!).

Author and slow cooker expert Kathy Hester, founder of the blog Healthy Slow Cooking (, will show you how simple it is to 1.) Prep your ingredients the night before, in just a few minutes’ time, and 2.) Assemble everything in the slow cooker in the morning, right before you head to work.

The results vary from one-dish meals that are hot and ready as soon as you walk in the door to dishes that are ready in less than 3 hours. There are even recipes for staples like bouillon, apple sage sausage and seitans that you can make once and store in the freezer to use all month long.

From your favorite comforting casseroles to fresh and exciting new stews, and even desserts and quick breads—all veganized!—you find recipes that cover every meal and a wide variety of cuisines, including:

—Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
—Exotic Cardamom Hot Chocolate
—Chick’n and Dumplings
—Mushroom Lasagna with a Garlic-Tofu Sauce
—Chili Relleno Casserole
—Tempeh Braised with Figs and Port Wine
—Kung Pao Chick’n
—Turkish Delight Tapioca Pudding

With The Vegan Slow Cooker, you’ll find all the tasty inspiration you need to pull that neglected crock pot out of storage and get started creating compassionate, crave-worthy meals today. Home cooking has never been more easy, or more delicious.

SPOON and Craftside’s Ultimate Holiday Double Giveaway!

The chestnuts are roasting, the cookies are the baking, and you’re still not sure what to get for your family, friends, coworkers, or yourself. (Admit it, you deserve a gift too!) Never fear, SPOON to the rescue! 🙂

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Nothing says holiday fun like a great big book giveaway! That’s why I put together a “few of my favorite things”  into a book bundle that you can win. Really, you can win this. It’s easy.
Doesn’t this just scream “WIN ME!?”

Here’s what you’ll win

Making Artisan Pasta – Aliza Green
The Sweet Book of Candy Making – Elizabeth LaBau
How to Make Stuffed Animals – Sian Keegan
The Complete Photo Guide to Cake Decorating – Autumn Carpenter
Extreme Brewing: A Deluxe Edition with 14 New Homebrew Recipes – Sam Calgione
Shake, Stir, Pour: Fresh Homegrown Cocktails – Katie Loeb
How to Build a Better Pie – Millicent Souris
The Joy of Foraging – Gary Lincoff

You can get yourself in the running for this first SPOON prize pack in one of 3 easy ways.
1. Leave your answer in the comments below to this question:
Where is your favorite place for hunting down recipes? (Blogs, Pinterest,, Facebook, etc.)
2. Share a holiday greeting over at the SPOON Facebook page. (Remember in order for SPOON Facebook updates to show in your newsfeed, you need to hover over the “LIKED” button on our page and select “Show in News Feed”. Otherwise you might miss our on our foodie updates!)
3. Join our mailing list on the top right column. Enter your email address and hit submit!
Enter by Midnight EST Thursday December 12th. Open to U.S. and Canadian residents only. We will randomly pick a winner on Friday, so check your email!
And as if that isn’t enough to get you excited… I’ve partnered up with my fellow blogger, Stef, over at Craftside to create make my giveaway into a DOUBLE GIVEAWAY! She is giving away a book-filled prize pack on her craft blog.


So pop on over to Craftside to get yourself in the running for another set of books that includes:

Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh
Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals by Carla Sonheim
Vegan Food Gifts by Joni Marie Newman
The Textile Artist’s Studio Handbook by Visnja Popovic and Owyn Ruck
Book Art Studio Handbook by Stacie Dolin and Amy Lapidow
The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet by Margaret Hubert
The Complete Photo Guide to Beading by Robin Atkins
Steampunk: An Illustrated History of Fantastical Fiction, Fanciful Film and Other Victorian Visions by Brian J. Robb

Good luck and happy holidays!