Archives for November 2014

Holiday Cooking, Baking, Bloggers & Cookbooks {Loving Fall: Day 15}

Holiday Cooking, Baking, Bloggers & Cookbooks {Loving Fall: Day 15}

When fall is in full swing and Thanksgiving nears, I find myself thinking more about cooking. I don’t normally think about cooking, let’s just be honest. Eating, yes. But cooking? Not as much. But there’s something about fall and the approaching holidays that makes me want to cook ALL THE THINGS. And bake ALL THE THINGS, too.

Every season, I start pulling out all the cookbooks that I feel inspired by. It changes with the seasons. Sometimes I just pick out a few favorites and put them front and center on my shelves because their covers or titles make me feel all cozy. Sometimes the recipes seem put me in the mood to whip up something yummy.

Holiday Cooking, Baking, Bloggers & Cookbooks {Loving Fall: Day 15}

I often have so much fun looking at them that sometimes I forget that I actually need to make dinner, but the truth is they do inspire me with the idea of slowing down to be more creative and mindful of the food we make in the kitchen. They are a reminder that the kitchen really is the heart of the home. It’s where we nurture our family in so many ways, so I really admire women who can cook and bake and make it feel so worth it and even effortless!

Holiday Cooking, Baking, Bloggers & Cookbooks {Loving Fall: Day 15}Decorating Cookies Party

It’s interesting being a home decor blogger because decorating has been my hobby my entire life. So now that I do the blog and am writing all these books on the home, I have started to realize I need a new hobby. Ha!

So, maybe that’s why I’m a stalker of all the food bloggers.

One time I even got to hang out with them and listen to all their amazing foodie talk. I’m sure I looked like a fangirl. There are so many I love, I just can’t even list them all here… Gimme Some Oven, Skinny TasteReluctant Entertainer, Add a Pinch, Bakerella, The Pioneer Woman, Bake at 350, I Am BakerSEE Salt, Cookies & Cups, Bake Your Day, The Little Kitchen, Love and Olive Oil, Kevin and Amanda, TidyMom, Spoon and Saucer, 101 Cookbooks and so many more. So many lovely ladies, filling the world with deliciousness, teaching me their tips and inspiring me to want to try new things.

I suddenly find myself wanting to have cooking decorating parties, bake cakes with surprises inside, bake my own bread and make pot roasts with mashed potatoes. I actually made Pioneer Woman’s pot roast and mashed potatoes the other day and it was SO yummy! Now I want to make pot roast again, but instead I made sweet potato fries while I was writing this post.

Holiday Cooking, Baking, Bloggers & Cookbooks {Loving Fall: Day 15}Jerusalem

Some of these favorite bloggers even have cookbooks! I don’t have all of them (yet) but they are all on my Christmas list. I collect and enjoy cookbooks all the time, even if I never master cooking! I just feel like food bloggers and wonderful cookbook authors have given me the best gift by writing books about food and nurturing their families in the kitchen. It’s one of my favorite things about fall!

Are you a follower of food bloggers (or are you a food blogger?!!)?

Do you love cooking and baking?

Tell me some of your favorite food bloggers or some of your must-make favorite dishes this time of year!

Holiday Cooking, Baking, Bloggers & Cookbooks {Loving Fall: Day 15}

Book Sources:

Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your OwnHoliday Cooking, Baking, Bloggers & Cookbooks {Loving Fall: Day 15}

Surprise-Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion–with a Little Something Extra InsideHoliday Cooking, Baking, Bloggers & Cookbooks {Loving Fall: Day 15}

The New Midwestern Table: 200 Heartland RecipesHoliday Cooking, Baking, Bloggers & Cookbooks {Loving Fall: Day 15}

Wintersweet: Seasonal Desserts to Warm the HomeHoliday Cooking, Baking, Bloggers & Cookbooks {Loving Fall: Day 15}

Decorating Cookies Party: 10 Celebratory Themes * 50 DesignsHoliday Cooking, Baking, Bloggers & Cookbooks {Loving Fall: Day 15}

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays: 140 Step-by-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious CelebrationsHoliday Cooking, Baking, Bloggers & Cookbooks {Loving Fall: Day 15}

What to Cook & How to Cook ItHoliday Cooking, Baking, Bloggers & Cookbooks {Loving Fall: Day 15}

A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus: Menus and StoriesHoliday Cooking, Baking, Bloggers & Cookbooks {Loving Fall: Day 15}

Holiday Cooking, Baking, Bloggers & Cookbooks {Loving Fall: Day 15}

Coffee Station for Holiday Entertaining

Coffee Station for Holiday EntertainingThanks to Nespresso USA for sponsoring today’s post!

Recently on The Inspired Room I’ve been talking a bit about getting my home ready for the holidays and entertaining. While I love love LOVE creating a warm ambience for our own family (RIGHT? That’s the BEST!), there’s something special and giving about creating that space for inviting others into our home, too. I think it’s a gift to others when you open your door to friends and treat them to a special time of festivity in your home.

Coffee Station for Holiday Entertaining

Coffee Station for Holiday Entertaining

I know the thought of “holiday entertaining” can seem daunting. I mean, even the WORD entertaining sounds a little frightening to me, like people might expect you to do something amazing to entertain them (I don’t know what we think people expect of us, juggling? ice sculptures, guitar solos? I don’t even know why we worry so much!).

I’ve hosted all kinds of gatherings from bigger ones with 100 people in my house to smaller get togethers with just another family or two. Every week we host gatherings at our church, too, and while it might seem “effortless” if you just show up, I know it’s no easy task to be ready to serve people food and coffee and make the environment warm and welcoming. Even if you are keeping things simple, there are many details that go into hosting any type of event.

Coffee Station for Holiday Entertaining

I’ll let you in on a little entertaining secret. Even if you just focus on feeding people and offering them something to drink, most everything else will fall into place. You don’t have to have everything all perfect like we sometimes think we do. Right? It’s about connecting with the people, not about impressing them.

But with that said, you know I’m totally into creating a bit of the ambience and experience, so while I always keep things simple and don’t let myself stress out, I do like to create special little moments at every gathering.

In fact, it’s those special little details I create that actually make me feel totally at peace with “entertaining” because I KNOW I will enjoy it, people will have a good time and it will leave them with a pleasant memory, in spite of all my entertaining missteps and lack of hostessing perfection.

Coffee Station for Holiday Entertaining

And you know coffee is one of my love languages, so a coffee station is always a great place for me to start every day (and every afternoon, let’s be honest) and every event I ever host!

Recently I was at a local store checking out new coffee makers. My daughter Courtney has a Nespresso so she was certain I would love one. I had tried to steal her Nespresso milk frother awhile back so she was trying to convince me to get my own! :). While we were at the store, we saw this VertuoLine machine. The clerk offered me a cup of coffee to try it. The first thing that blew me away was the “crema” it created on top of the coffee. OH MY HEART, it was good. I felt like I had just had a cup of coffee with CREAM it was so thick and frothy. I was in heaven!

Coffee Station for Holiday Entertaining

When I returned home, I had an unexpected email from none other than Nespresso, offering to send me a machine in my own home! Did they know I just tested their machine that day? Unlikely! But it felt like a real Christmas miracle…so of course, I said YES. I couldn’t open the box fast enough when it arrived two days later. I set it up all fancy on my counter and made my first cup of coffee.

You guys, it is SO EASY to use, so delicious and I still can’t get over that frothy deliciousness on top. And if that wasn’t enough, it came with a MILK FROTHER! I now have MY OWN MILK FROTHER! My daughter no longer has to hide hers when she sleeps at night. The Aeroccino+ Milk Frother is crazy awesome, it’s quiet, easy and makes perfect frothed milk. You’ll love it, I promise.

You can make little espressos, fancy lattes, the Nespresso does it all!

My next big goal in life (after I finish decorating for Christmas and writing my books that is) is to learn LATTE ART. You know, I want to know how to make pretty leaves and hearts on top of my coffee. Maybe someday I’d even advance to portraits of Mona Lisa on top of my coffee. I tried the basics shapes, believe me. And the result wasn’t what I dreamed, so I need more practice heheheh.

Coffee Station for Holiday Entertaining

Anyway, I’m in love with my Nespresso :). But while I think it is great fun for me to use, I also think it’s the PERFECT way to jazz up your holiday parties. I mean, if I have fun making coffee all by myself in my jammies every morning, can you imagine setting this little baby up on the counter for a Christmas brunch? I mean, honestly.

It’s a PERFECT holiday entertaining experience and it’s so easy for you as the hostess!

Coffee Station for Holiday Entertaining

Just set out an assortment of the little capsules (SO many tasty choices! Put them in a glass container so guests can choose!), some milk and your pretty cups next to your Nespresso and milk frother and you’ve got a party! You could even add some peppermint syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg or chocolate sprinkles! OK, maybe put out some croissants too. Then you are GOOD to go. Guaranteed success.

>>>Go check out the Nespresso machines <<<and see what one you might want for Christmas! I’ll wait while you look, then come back and tell me what you like and if you think you might set up a coffee station for the holidays! I love looking at all their Nespresso machines, they have such lovely designs and colors! 

So what do you think, are you gonna set up a coffee station for the holidays?

Even if you just set one up for yourself, I know you’ll love it as much as I do :).

Coffee Station for Holiday Entertaining

Just so you know, you can get one for yourself or for a gift with a special five day sale or a year end promotion!

Here are the details on the Nespresso Sale:

1. 5 Day Sale (11/20/14 – 11/24/14)

Details: 25% off machines (excludes Inissia machine)

2. Year End Promotion (11/28/14 – 1/31/15)

Details: $100 Club Credit with machine purchase of $199 or more.