Wow. It has been quite a year and I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart and the tips of my toes for following along. There is not a day goes by that I don’t meet someone who mentions a particular post or just the fact that they read along each morning with their coffee or the last thing before the head to bed. From China to Australia, to our neighbors in The Gainsborough–folks check in and follow along. Truth be told, plain & simple, it makes me so happy that it makes folks happy. I thought I would highlight in no certain order of importance a bit of the year in images. Starting with Market tulips, of course…
My word. That was 25 and it was just half the year. I think another 25 will be the post for tomorrow.
Everyone have just a wonderful time ringing in the New Year tonight. Whether that means at a swanky party or in your pjs… Either works quite well in my book.
Much love & thanks,
By now, fabulous readers, you have certainly picked up on how much importance I give to flowers in our everyday life. I think they add so much brightness and energy to a room, as well to the inhabitants of said room. Us. A huge bouquet is fabulous, but not necessary. I had a single white tulip place in an old jam jar by my bedside at WestWard, and it brightened me each time I was in the room and glanced at it. As we head into a new year, I want to be reminded that the simplest of things can be just as grand as the grand.
There is just something about a ferry boat crossing that gets my mind wandering. I think it has something to do with the water mixed with the horizon–the world just seems so large and so filled with infinite possibilities. It also means we are either coming or going to the island, which always equates rest in some fashion. Both of the mind and of the spirit. As we wind down this year and head into a new, may you find a bit of time to rest and think of all the possibilities that are on your horizon. Wishing all of you just the best of all things on this day.
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
This time of year, during the busy Holiday season, with many rich meals consumed, I am always looking for healthy meals to counterbalance them. I am also looking for quick, easy & healthy options that can be made after a long day at the shops. This is one we had the other evening and it hits the mark with all the above criteria. It is what I call my monochromatic meal. All creamy colors set atop a white plate or bowl. Soothing visually as well as tasty.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a baking dish put 2 pieces of halibut in, then pour over those pieces a bit of white wine, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh lemon juice. Then sprinkle the fish with salt & pepper. The liquids will help poach and steam the fish while it is in the oven, while also reducing and becoming a bit of a sauce you spoon over at the end. Put this dish into the oven. Then cut up a cauliflower and put the pieces onto a baking sheet and douse with EVOO and salt and pepper. Add that to the oven so both things are cooking at the same time. Both should take close to a half hour. Check several times, shaking the cauliflower around on the baking sheet. Also carefully ladle those yummy juices over the fish a few times too. This will keep the fish moist, brown the top a bit, and add more overall flavor. While things are cooking away in the oven, cook quinoa according to package instructions. It takes around 15 minutes, so it will be done shortly before fish and cauliflower are ready. Add a splash of olive oil, a splash of lemon juice, or use chicken stock in place of water to add extra flavor to the quinoa. Or not. Is not necessary, but it will add more flavor so keep that in mind other times you are preparing quinoa. It is a super healthy whole grain I just adore. Works great in place of rice. Is super filling too. I could go on and on about quinoa. When the fish is cooked through and the cauliflower is nice and caramelized, plate it all up. Snuggled the cauliflower next to a heaping portion of quinoa and place the fish atop the grains. Spoon over some of the reduced remaining liquid from the fish dish over the halibut and quinoa. Dinner is served.
Home, and a sense of place, hold such importance to me. To be in an environment that cocoons you, comforts you, and puts you at ease. We arrived late yesterday afternoon to our home on Vashon Island, WestWard. We had not been for more than 6 weeks. Getting out of town during the busy Holiday shopping time is just too tough. Absence most certainly does make the heart grow fonder, as the weeks passed we missed being here more and more. Walking down the hillside and spotting the house upon arrival, I always say, “Well hello house, oh how we have missed you!” Yes, I do talk to our homes. For I feel it is part of the waking up process. Some might find it strange, but I find it is all part of breathing life & energy into a home/space. The slumber that the house has been in since we were away takes a bit of waking up. Turning the heat on to get the floors warm and take the chill out of the air. Turning all the lamps on to give flickers of light.
Cutting the flowers that have been brought and setting them about. Unload groceries and fill the big blue bowl on the counter with fruit. Put a fresh bowl of water down for Bailey. Unpack and put clothes and linens away for the week. Light all the candles. Sweep the porch, restock the wood pile by the front door, light a fire, turn on the Christmas lights. By now, the house is utterly smiling. It feels like it is saying back to us, “Oh how I have missed you–thank you for waking me up from my long nap.” Our sweet, sweet little house in the woods set above the water is once again awake and ready to take good care of us for the week.
Wishing all of you a happy, joyous, jolly Christmas! If you don’t celebrate the holiday, I wish you a lovely day, as well!
We are ensconced in a suite at the Inn at the Market. So fun to wake up on Christmas morning in the Pike Place Market. It has been our tradition for the last 10+ years, one we adore. It is a gift from the Inn to us, and after a long 24th day at the Fine Living shop, which is located directly below where we are residing at the moment. It is so easy & relaxing to just close up shop at 6 and head right up to our room. Cassoulet from Cafe Campagne, a bottle of Veuve, Classic King FM playing in the background, watching the ferries on the Sound, fast asleep and dreaming by 10.
May your day be all you want it to be.
Sending love and good cheer,
We would like to thank everyone who came in to shop yesterday at both shops, as well as from our website. We had a combined record setting best day ever yesterday. What a perfect way to end nearing the finish line of this Holiday season. Merci, merci. We have wrapped thousands of gifts for folks this season. I joked to Amy & Sarah who were wrapping full-time with me yesterday, that we are like a well oiled wrapping machine. Wrap, wrap, wrap, tape, tape, tape, ribbon, ribbon, ribbon. Done. Oh what fun we had! Both shops are open today at 10 sharp. The First Avenue shop will close and 5, and the Market shop will close at 6 this eve. Please stop in for any last minute gifts. Wishing all of you a continued joyous Holiday season.
My oh my, this is the earliest the tulips have arrived at the Market. Before Christmas and all. Very little would make me get into the car on my day of rest, but tulips will. They feed my soul with so much happiness, and seeing those bucket after bucket of tulips yesterday did just that. Plus most of them were white, which is one of my very favorite colors this time of year for blooms.
Grown in hothouses up in the Skagit Valley and driven down most days, they are perky and fresh and just downright pretty. The photos of them in the buckets they appear quite creamy in tone, but once home, the vibrant white just perked up the living room coffee table. Something about flowers that so speak of Spring at the beginning of Winter just makes me smile.
I hope everyone had a lovely first day of Winter yesterday. I was able to squeeze in a quick stroll through the Market yesterday before I opened up the Fine Living shop at 10. Even on a drizzly, chilly day, the Market just sings. There is just so much happiness around each corner or alley walked. I feel so proud that we get to have a store in such a special place. Even after 15 years, I still pinch myself when I walk up the stairs with a bounty of garden goods & flowers into the courtyard and open the front door of the shop. Yesterday there was such a festive mood by many of the vendors and shoppers. I snapped a few images from one of my favorite organic stalls. I love how almost year round, there are beautiful things the farmers are growing and selling. Word has it that the tulips arrive today too. Oh my, December and tulips. Works for me. I am making a special trip back down today to stock up.