I’m dropping the “Friday” out of Friday Favorites so I can feel the freedom to write this post whenever I please!! I have a few things to share and one of them is time sensitive to January, so I don’t want another week to go by without telling you about it since I’m already so behind!
This is such a fun way to track your reading for the year! I’m pretty obsessed with the Book Riot website in general, but when I discovered this reading log they put out every year, it became an invaluable resource for tracking my reading. I’ve actually kept my own master spreadsheet since 2007, so I can see all the books I’ve read in one place. It’s great for looking a book up to see if I’ve read it or not in the past. I also use Goodreads for tracking toward a number goal each year, but I only started doing that consistently four years ago. The Book Riot log is fun for seeing a true breakdown of what types of books you’re reading, what country they were published in, which gender the authors are, which format you read in, etc. You can also hide the columns that you don’t have interest in tracking. If you love to know that kind of stuff – like me – this is a great resource. Oddly, Book Riot does not making actually finding this log very easy after it’s initially released, so I wanted to make sure I could bookmark it for you!
I wrote about my love for Made by Mary jewelry in my 2020 Favorites blog post, but I’ve since received the Family Florals necklace that I bought with some Christmas gift money, and I LOVE IT. It’s gorgeous. I’m always a huge fan of jewelry that can be personalized or have some sort of meaningful message, rather than just wearing something because it’s pretty. I thought this necklace was really unique because you could pick how many blooms you wanted. I liked the fuller bouquets, so I went with seven to represent my family of four and our three pets. This is now my new favorite gold necklace and I wear it all the time. I upgraded to the satellite chain as well for that little extra something.
My candle obsession continues. It’s basically my greatest joy in the gloomy days of winter. This particular candle is one I picked up at the craft barn in the Dells on one of my solo vacations last fall. It’s a different jar design with a picture of a pretzel on it. We all love soft pretzels around here and the smell was intriguing so I bought it. I just wasn’t sure when to light it since “pretzel” is not really a seasonal scent and I like to be seasonally appropriate in everything I do these days! Anyway, I finally took it out the other day to replace a candle in the family room and was AMAZED by the scent. It smells so good! But what’s really incredible is that it fills the ENTIRE HOUSE with scent. I’ve never had a candle do that before!
On Christmas Eve I had a Wolferman’s honey wheat english muffin at my in-law’s house and it was so tasty. What’s ironic is that about a year and a half ago I ordered a bunch of Wolferman’s english muffins – like 12 packs of them – and most of the flavors I tried I didn’t really like so I ended up eventually throwing them all away. Including the honey wheat, which I had never even tried. Anyway, because it was so tasty it set me on a mission to look into other english muffin brands and I came across a website that ranked them all by taste. Bay’s is the store brand they recommended, but Stone and Skillet is what they rated as the best english muffin for a true treat. So OF COURSE I ordered them. And I love them SO MUCH. I picked out the original, wheat, and everything flavors. The wheat is my favorite, but I really like the other two as well. What’s interesting about these english muffins is that they’re a lot squishier than the thin crunchy kind you’re used to from the grocery store. But they have such an incredible depth of flavor. I always eat mine with butter and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Absolutely delish!
Let me introduce you to another one of my recent food obsessions – little fried jalapeno pieces in spicy olive oil. It’s amazing. I’ve now had all three versions of this – the habanero, serrano, and jalapeno. I live for spicy food, but the habanero is too hot for me. I’ve only used it mixed into queso and I put like three tiny little pieces in it to flavor the whole thing. The serrano is good, but it’s still very spicy. The jalapeno is perfect. Fairly mild on its own, but if you get some of the oil with it it’s perfect. My favorite way to eat it is to make toast or a bagel, cover in plain cream cheese, and then drizzle the jalapenos over the top and top it all with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. It’s really delightful.
This is something I found at Costco last month that I really liked. The Costco bag was a mix of pineapple and mango varieties. I liked the pineapple the most and Greg enjoyed the mango. I then bought a variety pack on amazon, but I was not a fan of the banana or spicy flavors. So I’d stick with pineapple or mango, but they taste really good and the only ingredient is the fruit it uses!
I’ve been a fan of Palo Popcorn for a long time. They have a magical way of infusing every single kernel of popcorn with a full burst of flavor. I used to only get the jalapeno cheddar popcorn, but last year I started buying the regular cheddar and mixing it in with my homemade salted caramel corn. PERFECTION. I also really like the Mexican street corn flavor. On Friday I was at Pick n Save and noticed that they now have a movie theater flavor. Sometimes you just want “normal popcorn” so I picked it up to try and I think it’s my new favorite. It’s seriously amazing. I haven’t seen the original salted flavor in any stores, but I’d love to try that too. YUM. I can see myself buying this for special family movie nights instead of making our own because the flavor is just that good.
Okay, we’re out of the holiday season now, but I wanted to make sure I shared this recipe. I didn’t make a lot of Christmas cookies this year, but I made this one twice. These gingerbread biscotti are amazing. And then ten times better if you dip them in coffee. Even better if you dip them in a gingerbread latte! I’m not even a huge fan of gingerbread, but I couldn’t get enough of these cookies. Biscotti feels like an intimidating cookie to make, but try it out and you’ll realize it’s really one of the easiest things ever. And so worth your effort!