Happy Holiday’s! It’s been awhile since I showed up in this space. In case you didn’t know the reason for my absence, I’ll explain now. Late last winter we decided it was time to move out of Seattle. We had been talking about it for a few years. For most of my career, I was tethered to the airport, so our choices were limited. Once I cut those ties, we were free to move “almost” anywhere. We wanted to stay fairly close to family and friends, and ensure Dave could continue with his band. We moved Northwest about 70 miles to Camano Island. Dave had spent many wonderful summers here on the island, and knew it was exactly where he wanted to be. I took a little more convincing, but I finally came around. It is an island only due to a slough that separates it from the mainland. But, that separation makes a huge lifestyle difference!
It was the first time we sold a home, the first time we bought a home the conventional way, and the first time Dave made a major move in over 40 years. The purging, packing, laughing, sorting, E-Baying, Craigs Listing, dumping, storing, and donating, continued for about 5 months. There were repairs to be made to our home; including the last minute remodel of the main bath I insisted on. When we weren’t packing, purging, repairing, or painting, we were house hunting. Just typing this exhausts me. Our house was finally listed in early July. The Seattle market had been so crazy, we were concerned when it still hadn’t sold 3 weeks later. Alas, we had a buyer and accepted an offer. We agreed on a closing date of September 9th. It was all of a sudden really real! Dave was leaving his home of 40 years and I was leaving my home of 26 years. And, we did not know where we were going.
The house hunt heated up. We were all over the place in the Northwest corner of Washington, aided by our amazing relator, who has since become a dear friend. We were determined to not be the ones that broke her record for number of houses looked at, which was 60 something. We got to 40 something August 6th. We fell in love with a house. That date is significant, as our closing date was September 9. We planned to close on both houses on that day, as we wanted to avoid putting the rest of our things in storage and moving twice. I coordinated with the movers, the escrow companies with the detail and follow up required to get the Voyager to Mars, even though it was only a 70 mile move! I am pleased to say, we did indeed close on both houses on the same day, the movers were where they were supposed to be, when they were supposed to be and we spent our first night in our new home on September 9th.
That first night was something. Having lived on a very busy road in Seattle for over 25 years, we were both freaked out by how quiet it was in our new home. It took a few days to adjust, but believe me, we have totally adjusted. Listening to the wind rustle through the tall trees in our yard is better then any relaxation tape I have ever heard.
There are still a many boxes in the garage to sort through and both of us are figuring out how to best accommodate our hobbies in our new home. I can tell you that my landscaping and gardening hobby is alive and well. Between the fall sales, the amazing nurseries, and fantastic fall weather, I spent our first six weeks changing many things in our yard. I planted nearly 500 bulbs that will bloom in spring. We planted a dozen trees: fir, spruce, cedar, pine. A dozen bushes: hydrangeas, azaleas, and ferns. We have a long way to go, and I love every minute of it.
In addition to gardening, I’ve reunited with my yarn obsessed, knitting self of my past. It has brought so much joy, friendship and community. Not to mention, added many new pieces to my wardrobe.
What about cooking? Yes there’s cooking. I gave up an amazing gas range when we moved and we are both trying to figure out the electric stove situation. We do have propane and a gas range is in the future. I have not organized my photography gear as efficiently as I like, which makes shooting and blogging recipes fairly challenging. I do take a lot of Instagram photos with my phone, and most of the dishes I prepare can be found here, in the blog archives.
I make these cookies, ON DEMAND, every year. They are everyone’s favorite, including Santa’s. Don’t worry Santa, I will have a nice warm batch of these waiting for you on Camano Island, just like every other year in Seattle.
So there you have it. We are happier then happy, more blessed then we deserve to be and grateful for all things. We hope you have a kind and peaceful holiday season and a healthy and happy New Year!
Have a wonderful evening and thanks for stopping by.
More Savory Less Sweet
Laura, Dave, Jasper and Cooper
Santa’s Favorite Chunky Chocolate, Cranberry and Pistachio Cookies
The combination of dark bittersweet chocolate chunks, tart cranberries and salty, crunchy pistachios is divine. The festive dark red cranberries and the bright green pistachios make this the favorite Christmas cookie at our house. It may become the favorite at your house too!
(I doubled this recipe)
2 1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup organic packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup pistachio nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
14 ounces bittersweet chocolate chunks
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla on medium speed just until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly incorporated, beating 3-5 minutes after each egg. Add 1/2 the flour mixture and gently mix on low one or two minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add the remaining flour, nuts, chocolate, and cranberries and mix with your hands until all is thoroughly incorporated.
On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into thirds. Shape each third into a log. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, preferably for 24 hours. (You can refrigerate up to 2 weeks or freeze up to one month.) When ready to bake, let the dough sit at room temperature about 15 minutes, while oven heats.
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Slice the logs into disks 3/4 inch thick and place the disks 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. If the nuts or chips crumble out, simply push them back in.
Bake, rotating the baking sheets midway through baking, until the cookies are very lightly browned in the centers, about 10 minutes. If you like soft chocolate chip cookies, err on the side of under baking. Cookies always continue to bake a little after they have been removed from the oven.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until firm enough to handle, then use a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack.
Santa will be so pleased to find these cookies waiting for him on Christmas Eve!
Cookies??? Did someone say cookies????