Sunday, November 20, 2011


My friend, Sarah, is hosting a Friendsgiving party this afternoon. We're all going to her house around 3pm with a course from a traditional thanksgiving dinner. Jill will bring cocktails, Cindy will bring cranberries and stuffing, etc... Isn't that a cute idea? 

I was assigned with dessert and helping the hostess make the turkey. 

For the occasion, Sarah and I made this pumpkin cheesecake tart with cranberry gelee. Isn't she a looker?
I clipped the recipe from Food and Wine magazine back in 2003. I made it once that year, and have not forgotten about it. Underneath that thin layer of cranberry gelee is pumpkin cheesecake resting within an almond tart shell. What's not to love?

Apparently the recipe has been pretty popular because you can still find it at

Have you ever hosted/been to a Friendsgiving giving celebration? What are you making for Thanksgiving this year? 

photo credit: 
Friends eating cookies: Paul Galipeau
Tart: Kate Kurtz

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fall is for trees

The foliage is spectacular, but it is also the perfect time to plant them. At least it's the perfect time to plant trees in places like Seattle, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles (3 of the cities I have been fortunate to call home). 

The rainy season is just beginning, which gives tree roots a head start on establishing before we dry up in the spring and summer.

Look at how gorgeous this native Vine Maple is. We planted it a year ago, so this is the first time we've seen its full fiery red foliage.

The City of Seattle recognizes the many environmental and social benefits of mature trees, so they provide them to residents who apply for free!

We got an Elm and an Apple two years ago. This year we got a Purple Beech, but there were lots of choices including Poplar, Cedar, and Asian Pear.

First we had to go through a tree planting and maintenance training.

This was the youngest tree planter at the training. Isn't she cute next to those cedars?

When we got home we planted the tree right away. Jacob was clever to put the excavated soil on a tarp, which kept things clean and back filling the hole pretty easy.

After planting we staked the tree on the south side, which is the direction we typically get our winds from. Doesn't Jacob look like a proud tree planter?

Here's Jacob standing next to the Elm we planted two years ago. Doesn't it have beautiful fall foliage? That baby Beech has some catching up to do.

Have you planted any trees recently? What did you put in? Suddenly I'm dreaming of putting in an Italian Plum in the back.