Suet-Free Mincemeat


The first time I ever ate mincemeatpie, I was sorely disappointed. All the literature and old English Christmas songs had steered me wrong, I thought. It tasted…a little like potpourri. Then I found this one from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess. It’s suet-free and tastes like everything I imagined it would before I tried it. And it has the added bonus of working without the suet, so you don’t have to source it and the resulting dishes can be vegetarian, which is helpful for a holiday dish.  Continue reading


green smoothie with honeydew and green tea

Are you a smoothie person? I have to admit, for a long time I eyed them with skepticism. Homogenous brightly colored liquid food? Weird. However, in an effort to use up an enormous kale crop early this summer and get us actually eating more produce during the busy growing time, I pulled out an old Hamilton Beach blender and started experimenting.

Continue reading

unconventional wrapping paper

October 2013

Maybe I’ve always been cheap, or maybe I’ve always hated waste. I think the two go hand in hand so much that it’s hard to tell. But pretty much every year I’ve managed to repurpose something into wrapping paper out of necessity, procrastination, or stubbornness. The above paper was packing filler on something I ordered online. We drew on with markers to personalize it a bit, but I thought it looked really pretty plain as well. I’ve also used quite a few broken books for wrapping paper over the years, including an old yearbook, a photography book of produce made to look like animals, and a selection of Shakespeare’s plays with pretty watercolors.
Wrapping with repurposed objects doesn’t really take all that longer or use more rubbermaid space than regular wrapping, and it’s more interesting, wastes less, and keeps you from spending even more money. I also use good quality ribbon because I can catch it on sale at craft stores, and when the gift is opened and all the paper/plastic gets thrown away, I just collect them and put them back in the storage container for next year. I was a little surprised to learn that they could be reused year after year so easily after being cut. It turns out most gifts come in a few standard sizes (books and DVDs, toys in boxes, etc.) that need the same size ribbon. And wrapping something small with a longer ribbon only gives you leeway to get a little fancier with it.