...this year. The following items have brought my family and I (as well as a few friends) much joy. I thought I'd make a list to share with some others. Credit goes to Alison Chino for the FANTASTIC recommendation of item #1.
1. Slugs and Bugs Lullabies CD
Don't question this, just buy it if you have children under the age of 12 in your home. I cannot think of another music CD where I both laughed out loud, spitting my coffee all over the car, (Tractor, Tractor; Beans) and cried with a lump in my throat (Hey Beautiful Girl) from the same record. Alison says it's her favorite baby gift. Be forewarned, it is now mine as well.
They're coming out with a Christmas CD this year too...
2. Smitten Kitchen's Apple and Cheddar scones
Need I say more? Made them on Monday, froze them shaped, in dough form, then baked them right before Bible Study on Thursday morning. Awesome. Absolutely awesome. I did not eat three.
3. And another food item of Smitten Kitchen's, her Sour Cream Cheddar Biscuits and the Beef Chili that went with them. I diced the carrots small, how she recommends, and added ketchup to taste. Added about a 1/4 cup of sugar to the biscuits, because we like things sweet in our house.
4. Stacey Kent's music.
Got her name from our fabulous friend Anthony, who is in tune with so much more pop culture and great music then I am. She is my favorite artist discovery of this year, and we've bought three albums. Listen to Ice Hotel on her Breakfast Tram one, it reminds me of a lighter, more cool and lyrical-french, Diana Krall. If you like the sound and feel of Diana Krall, you will love Stacey Kent.
5. Bearpaw Boots for kids.
Thanks to my friend Katie P, I bought these boots for Sam this year and spent about half as much as what Ugg boots would have cost us. They have a nice rugged sole, great for traipsing over ice and through Chicago snow, and are made of sheepskin, just like Uggs.
6. Intelligentsia's Black Cat Espresso Coffee Beans
Have I written about these coffee beans before? I feel like I have. They are a local Chicago roaster, and Rick Bayless uses these beans for making the espresso in his restaurants, Frontera and XOCO. I love them as well, and it has been a saving grace on many a morning here, when getting in the car and driving to Starbucks (and shelling out $3.78 for a latte) is not an option. I buy them at Whole Foods.
7. "Baked" Cookbook
This fabulous little bakery in Brooklyn came out with their first cookbook in 2008 and just released their second one this year, which is on my Christmas list. (Ahem, Scott.) I've noticed that this cookbook is the first one I've reached for this year when needing to make a dessert or breakfast goody. Items that I could not live without, having now tasted them: the Baked Brownie, their chocolate chip cookie, Sweet and Salty Cake, and the Sour Cream Coffee Cake with chocolate cinnamon swirl. Amazon sells it for $19.77 right now.
8. Lastly, (completely unrelated to music, food or clothing) How GREAT Clean Baby Peach-Fuzz Smells in the Sunshine.