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photos courtesy of Blooming Dream

11.17.14 Naturally Beautiful

I have known Suzinn Weiss for well over 20 years and she seems to grow more creative and vital as time goes on. Though originally from the east coast, she headed west for college and took to the light and open spaces. After earning an MFA at Parsons in New York, she moved to Portland, Oregon, and there began her love affair with gardening. She turned her artist's eye to designing lush landscapes and it was the amazing fragrances that rose up from these gardens that inspired her latest venture. For Blooming Dream, Suzinn creates small-batch body oils and natural perfumes in oil or alcohol bases, using organic, fair trade and sustainable materials wherever possible. Her wonderful efforts have been rewarded with many fans (of which I am one, of course), as well as a silver medal at the 2014 San Francisco Fragrance Salon for Top Artisan Perfumer and a gold medal at the 2013 Seattle Fragrance Salon for Best Ingredient Combinations. I jokingly call her a "plantaholic," but it is her love and appreciation for the beauty and healing power of the natural world that makes her fragrances so special. If you're looking to support small, artisanal businesses this holiday season (who isn't?), Blooming Dream is an excellent choice.
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photos by gluttonforlife

11.14.14 November Hot Links & Thanksgiving Recipes

Nothing says Thanksgiving quite like a sheet pan full of scarlet cranberries, richly spiced and roasted to caramelized perfection. Unless perhaps it's that tidal wave of panic that starts to consume you when you realize hordes of relatives will be descending on your home with all their neuroses and dysfunctions fully primed. I'd be curious to know how many of you are cooking the feast this year and how many will be dining elsewhere. Leave a comment below and let me know, and you just may get a jar of my favorite St. John chutney in time to slather on your slice of (hideously dried-out) turkey breast. For now, I've compiled some tried-&-true recipes to get you started thinking about a menu. As I think you know, I am a steadfast advocate of planning ahead. It decreases stress exponentially and helps you budget your time and energy so you're not utterly depleted when the day is over (or just beginning).
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iPhotos by gluttonforlife

10.27.14 Mood Indigo

This weekend I attended a workshop to learn how to dye with indigo. It was put together by L'Ecole des Beaux Arts, an arist supply and housewares store founded by Brooklyn artist Sara Moffat, and held in a lovely, airy space upstairs at Isa restaurant on Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg. For a couple of years now, I have been very focused on the idea of learning to dye with natural dyes, and have gone so far as to acquire several books on the subject, and even grow a few relevant plants in my garden, but I never seemed to be able to find the time to launch myself into an actual project. So, when I found out about this opportunity (on Instagram!), I signed up right away. In just a couple of hours, I was able to learn a bit about this beautiful pigment, explore some shibori/tie-dye techniques and come away with a couple of transformed pieces of clothing.

Being in Brooklyn on a Saturday, also meant I was able to visit Marlow & Daughters, a favorite market; have oysters and salad sitting alone at the bar at Marlow & Sons; and visit Brooklyn chocolatier Mast Brothers, where I was dismayed to learn they are no longer selling their enormous chocolate tablet, but did inhale the unbelievably intense smell of cacao beans being roasted right there. In addition to their elegant factory (tours are available), they have also opened a new Brew Bar, where you can indulge in hot- or cold-brewed chocolate.
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photos by gluttonforlife

6.30.14 June Hot Links & a Summer Giveaway!

Nature is orchestrating her botanical display with flawless timing, as usual. Just as the irises are fading, the peonies explode and by the time they're drooping, here come the elderflowers and milkweed blossoms! In the fields and hedgerows, wild berries are setting up and soon we will be vying for them with the birds, chipmunks and foxes. Our neighbor's enormous jasmine bushes that have (happily) grown up and over our dividing fence are in full bloom and their dazzling perfume fills every corner of our little cottage. The garden grows by leaps and bounds every night as we sleep. Carpenter ants seem to have broken ground on a demolition project inside the window frame behind our bed and their incessant gnawing is rather horrifying. (The exterminator is on his way.) It's officially summer! To celebrate, I'm sharing my latest list of obsessions and recommendations...and I've got a delicious giveaway for one lucky reader...
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house & garden photos by george billard; food photos by gluttonforlife

6.17.14 Outside In

This is summer upstate: Tiny hummingbirds perched on the branch of the redbud tree, their scarlet throats glistening in the morning sun. Thick hops vines twining up the barn. Rising early to the impossibly loud birdsong and air so fresh it's like a cool hand on a fevered brow. Lazy dinners in the screened-in porch, as the sky darkens and the fireflies wink. The hot thrill of bear sightings. Ticks, ticks, everywhere. The sound of ice in the cocktail shaker announcing the end of the workday. Cold cherries. Shades of green so various the mind boggles. Whole fish on the grill. Canoe trips across the reservoir to the waterfall. Hands plunged into the damp earth. Foraging for wild berries. Memories of summers past—camp, swimming holes, fresh corn, cookouts, family picnics. Nostalgia, penetrating and bittersweet. Let me take you down...
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photos by gluttonforlife

1.23.14 Armed & Dangerous (& January Hot Links)

I know you're probably expecting more posts about the Oaxaca trip, and I promise those are forthcoming, but my re-entry has been a little wobbly so I'm trusting you'll bear with me. Yesterday was my birthday and the evening before I hosted a "suprise" dinner party that was the final celebration of G turning 50 earlier this month. I use the quotation marks because evidently I am not as sneaky and clever as I thought. Anyway, it was a fantastic multi-course meal at Momofuku Ssam Bar that culminated with beautifully tender and crisply lacquered rotisserie ducks presented with Bibb lettuce, scallion pancakes and all the trimmings. (Incidentally, if you live in New York, the "large format" dinners that Momofuku offers are a great value and a marvelous way to dine with a big group.)

My own birthday celebration was a bit quieter, though I was inundated with love and good wishes (especially on Facebook - one great reason to join) and I was treated to a delicious lunch at the new Gotham West Market. More on that later, as well as details on my favorite present, featured above, and an assortment of links for you to explore and enjoy.
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photos by george billard

12.27.13 Auld Lang Syne

Oh, the feasting! There is nothing like gathering with friends over an elaborate meal to make spirits soar, especially as the years pass, the relationships deepen and the tradition solidifies. Christmas Eve at Beaver Dam is now something to look forward to every year. The house, with its incredibly high ceilings, skillfully composed lighting and ever-changing array of eclectic furnishings and artwork, is meant for parties and really adds to the festive mood. (Speaking of adding to the festive mood, Susan K, you are the winner of the beautiful caviar spoons! Please send your address to me at gluttonforlifegmail.com. The Grand Holiday Gift Extravaganza is now officially over for the season.) This year, we again created a menu of multiple small-plates courses, a la minute cooking that we enjoy eating standing together around the kitchen island, very informal and friendly. This time, we got inspired by the idea of the Feast of the Seven Fishes...except we had a ham. Tomo started things off with perfect little rounds of toast topped with tuna tartare.
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photos by gluttonforlife

12.24.13 Deck the Halls (& the Final Giveaway)

And so we've come to the final installment of the Glutton for Life Grand Holiday Gift Extravaganza. There were nesting bowls; there were caramels; there was the Shizzle with its own salt cellar; there was a collection of 7 cookbooks; there were homemade preserves, which, by the way, are going to Nikki! (Please send your mailing address to gluttonforlife@gmail.com, Nikki, so I can get these jars out to you asap.) And now, there are these very beautiful spoons, handcrafted in mother-of-pearl with carved silver accents, that are just the thing to spoon up a little caviar. This time it's a very quick turnaround, so if you'd like to be in the running to win these, just leave a comment below by midnight on 12/26 telling me how you plan to ring in 2014. I'll announce the winner in my last post of the year on the 27th. With the solstice behind us, the countdown to the year's end feels imminent and time is of the essence.
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photo by gluttonforlife

12.9.13 Wrap It Up (and a Caramel Giveaway!)

First of all, to those of you who left comments on my last post, thank you so very much for sharing your wonderful memories and appreciation of your most treasured gifts. I was really touched and heartened to see that the ones that truly matter are those that come from the heart, that are carefully considered and laden with emotional significance. (Through random selection, the winner of the set of Mirena Kim nesting bowls is Janet Prince! Janet, please email me your mailing address at gluttonforlife@gmail.com.)

This week, there will be another two giveaways, starting with this jar of my famous sea salt caramels in two flavors, very voluptuous vanilla and sultry chocolate-chile, the latter made with my favorite bittersweet chocolate from the awesome Askinosie. The gorgeous new packaging is the result of my collaboration with the groovy design team at Mother. Trust me, you want to win. Next year, these may be for sale in the pop-up shop, but this year, here's your only chance. Just leave a comment by midnight on Wednesday telling me your favorite candy from childhood. And now, read on for this year's gift guide.
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photos by gluttonforlife

12.4.13 My Gift to You

Dearest ones, I'm afraid I've been neglecting you, but it's only so I can take care of myself, so I'm pretty sure you approve. At this time of year, I am usually a bundle of nerves (discreetly packaged under a cool exterior) as I quietly curse myself for biting off more than I can chew. But this year, this year of health coaching and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, I achieved something resembling balance. Sometimes I am still very uncomfortable accomplishing less, but I am sitting still for that and letting it happen. And I feel better. I do. One thing I had to relinquish this year was the pop-up shop on my blog. (Sob.) I developed some very beautiful things, including a whole line of ceramics with my beloved and talented friend Mirena Kim, who is starting to get some of the attention she deserves. I also worked with spice wizard Lior Lev Sercarz on a custom blend just for Glutton for Life. But there's always next year, right? And, in the meantime, I'm going to be giving away some very choice items every week between now and Christmas. That makes this a great time to subscribe, if you haven't already, so you'll get an email alert when a new post goes up. (Sign up next to the little heart at the top of the page.)
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