This past month has been one of healing and rest, family-time, quiet moments and great adventures. There is no place in the world like Northern Michigan. We are so blessed to spend the month of July with my parents at our cottage. My husband comes for the first week, heads off to India for work,…
This past month has been one of healing and rest, family-time, quiet moments and great adventures. There is no place in the world like Northern Michigan. We are so blessed to spend the month of July with my parents at our cottage. My husband comes for the first week, heads off to India for work, and then returns for the last week. It’s a pretty sweet deal. I’d love to share with you some of the beautiful moments that unfolded over the past month. Our cottage sits on the shore of Torch Lake, on an unpaved road near the teeny town of Alden. We’ve been lucky enough to call this ours for the past 25 years, and most of the families on our lane have had their cottages for generations. A few of our neighbors are now on their fourth generation of ownership. It is extraordinary to watch our children now play together as we once did- picking wild black raspberries, running down the lane from house to house, whooping wildly while playing king-of-the-raft, sunset games of badminton and late night s’more roasting. In all honesty, I hardly took any pictures this year. I was too busy sailing, paddle boarding, reading, boating, hiking and enjoying the time with my kiddos. I wish I had captured the joy on Vijay’s face the first time he popped up on water skis. And I wish I had a picture of Vik, sound asleep on a windy sail across the lake, the waves soothing him to sleep. I especially wished I had captured the many moments my boys shared with their grandparents, uncles, aunts and friends. These precious moments will have to live in my memory. I did take quite a few pictures on the roadtrip my mom and I took one day through Old Mission Peninsula. It was a bright sunny day, perfect for exploring all the little farmstands and antique shops that dot the peninsula. We stumbled upon a lavender farm, a u-pick flower farm, countless gorgeous barns, adorable farmstands, a stunning field of sunflowers, and off-the-beaten path antique shops. I came home with a stunning bouquet of snapdragon and a few new graniteware items to add to my prop collection. And the prices (especially compared to Brimfield)- SUCH a steal!! We ended our day in Traverse City, grabbing a late coffee at the new and incredibly hip BLK \ MRKT and savoring one of the best meals I’ve ever had at Alliance. We also popped into Wood + Cloth and Darling Botanical, all housed under one roof in the Warehouse District of Traverse City. I also made a stop into my all-time favorite antique shop, Wilson Antiques. In all, a gorgeous roadtrip and the icing on the cake of a gorgeous month. Well, to be honest, the real icing was celebrating Vik’s FOURTH birthday (my baby is four, what happened??!!). It’s really the highlight of the summer- a celebration with friends and plenty of old-fashioned games (pin the tail on the donkey, drop the cloths pin in the bottle, sack races, face painting and hot potato). I’ll leave you with a few pictures of the sun setting over a vast field of sunflowers, and our nightly sunset show…because, you know, Michigan likes to show-off every now and then!
The final event during the West Coast leg of my book tour was a party held at The Pantry. It was a gorgeous afternoon in Seattle and I spent the morning at Pike Place Market stocking up on local flowers and produce. The moment I walked into the space, I was hit with such a…
The final event during the West Coast leg of my book tour was a party held at The Pantry. It was a gorgeous afternoon in Seattle and I spent the morning at Pike Place Market stocking up on local flowers and produce. The moment I walked into the space, I was hit with such a feeling of calm. The space was so warm and inviting- it felt like walking into the kitchen of a good friend. I knew it was going to be a great party. As the guests arrived, they were greeted with delicious eats from Rain Shadow Meats, and tall, icy glasses of homemade celery soda. It sounds strange, but trust me when I tell you it was incredibly refreshing. The group that gathered was so interesting- food bloggers, restaurateurs, stylists, chefs- a really eclectic and interesting crowd. We all easily fell into conversation. I actually had to be nudged to start my demo, or I would have spent the entire party chatting away. I was thrilled to partner with Seattle ice cream phenom Molly Moon for the event, so along with the fresh peach syrup and almond coconut chocolate chip cookies that I made, we had incredible, homemade ice cream (without me having to lug my ice cream maker along for the ride)! After the demo, we all feasted on fruit-syrup drizzled sundaes and ice cream sandwiches. I’m so grateful to everyone who took the time to come and celebrate with me, including Jenn, Megan, Lisa, Deborah, Heather, Janti, Leslie, Marisa, Kellen, Di, Paul, Grace, Phillip, Jess and Andy. A special thanks to Julie Harmsen for the gorgeous photographs that you see here. Thank you to The Pantry for the use of your beautiful space. And a huge thanks to Molly Moon for those incredible tubs of ice cream! Finally, my deepest appreciation to Vitamix, for making this leg of the tour possible. Lots of love for you, Seattle!
I absolutely loved Seattle. I had a feeling I would, what with the incredible food scene, walk-ability and mild climate. We enjoyed mostly beautiful weather, although there were a few cold days that had me wondering if I’d misread my calendar. Could it really be late June? I packed entirely wrong (which I am famous…
I absolutely loved Seattle. I had a feeling I would, what with the incredible food scene, walk-ability and mild climate. We enjoyed mostly beautiful weather, although there were a few cold days that had me wondering if I’d misread my calendar. Could it really be late June? I packed entirely wrong (which I am famous for doing) and sorely missed a warm jacket and woolly scarf. But by the last few days, the sun was out and my sundresses felt appropriate. My friend Kellen met me in Seattle, and I tacked on extra time once my tour wrapped up, so we had several days which to explore the city together. It was such a treat. We stayed in a wonderful Airbnb in Capitol Hill, and since it happened to be Pride Week, and Capitol Hill is the rainbow district, it was quite the happening place. We were right down the street from Oddfellows Cafe, and it became our go-to destination for breakfast and coffee. Their tahini toast with banana, pecan and coconut was the best! Capital Hill is the place to be if you enjoy great food. We had such a hard time choosing where to eat for each meal, and we generally stuffed ourselves, not wanting to miss out on a single experience. Out of every amazing thing I ate during my time out west, I’d have to say that the General Porpoise donuts took the cake (so to speak!). I’m not even a stuffed donut fan, but these were the best; pillow-y and rolled in sugar, filled with a light, creamy, delicious filling. My favorites were the strawberries and cream and the aprium jam, both seasonal flavors. We also loved exploring Pioneer Square, with our two favorite stops being Drygoods Design and The London Plane. Another favorite shop we visited was Red Ticking, which is on Madison, a charming street filled with cute shops. It was a bit out of the way of Capitol Hill, but a visit to Red Ticking alone was worth the trip. Gorgeous French linens, perfectly curated clothing…I could have bought everything in the store (budget allowing!). And of course, you can’t visit Seattle and not partake in the tourist-trap that is Pike Place Market. Though to be honest, I absolutely loved it and found the most gorgeous produce and flowers, which were then used at my events and demos. The cherries were gorgeous, of course, but it was the delicate currants that really caught my eye. We set aside an afternoon to take a day-trip out of the city, a sort of knitter’s pilgrimage to Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation, WA. Carrying an array of wonderfully curated yarns and knitting goods, Tolt is the kind of knitting shop that I dream of having nearby. There was a fireplace and lounge chairs where women were knitting and chatting. It had the feel of a real neighborhood shop. And their list of classes was amazing. I’d be there once a week at least, knitting away in one of those chairs by the fire if I lived nearby. And so there you have it, a quick recap of my time spent in Seattle. I’d certainly love to go back with my family and partake in a ferry ride and some hiking, and possibly an extended trip to Olympic National Park. I’d love to drive the coast, and stop in Portland. Hmmm- that gives me some ideas for next summer!
Here are a few of my favorite Seattle spots:
The Whale Wins
Rachel’s Ginger Beer
Upper Bar Ferdinand
Sitka and Spruce
General Porpoise Doughnuts
Molly Moon Ice Cream
The London Plane
The Fat Hen
Preserve and Gather
Pike’s Place Market
Elm Coffee Roasters
Elliot Bay Book Company
Tolt Yarn and Wool (in Carnation, WA located about 30 minutes from Seattle)
One of the highlights of my west coast trip was a visit to Floret. Ever since covering Erin and her flower farmer workshops for Country Living, I’ve been dying to meet her in person and see her farm for myself. It was such a spectacular visit- from the gorgeous flowers to Erin’s inspiring and kind…
One of the highlights of my west coast trip was a visit to Floret. Ever since covering Erin and her flower farmer workshops for Country Living, I’ve been dying to meet her in person and see her farm for myself. It was such a spectacular visit- from the gorgeous flowers to Erin’s inspiring and kind nature. Every now and then you have the chance to visit a place so beautiful it takes your breath away. I sincerely mean it when I say that I felt that, standing in the fields at Floret. It is an ordinary piece of land, not large by farming standards, just a few acres really, yet under Erin and her team’s care, it yields flowers so gorgeous they hardly seem real. I couldn’t help myself from asking Erin if she would be willing to make one of the “flower installations” that she is known for, and she kindly obliged. She headed out to the field to collect roses, and upon her return laid out the blooms in a wash of corals and pinks. Take a moment and really look..every single bloom is more gorgeous than the next. She made all of my flower dreams come true and I think I took about 150 of the same exact picture because I was so afraid that I wouldn’t capture the exact magic. And still…pictures just don’t do it justice. I would have boarded my plane home with these blooms if I thought they’d have lasted. I wanted to keep them, and hold them, and have them forever. And the dahlias…well, if you’ve heard about Floret there is a good chance you’ve heard about their dahlias. The dahlia fields were just beginning to pop when I visited, and if I had to guess right about now they must be hauling in truckloads of these beauties. Erin tests hundreds of varieties of rare and unusual flowers every year- choosing for uniqueness in color, bloom, stem length, etc. A wander through the test fields was quite an experience as every variety was unique and different than anything I’d seen before. Erin kindly sent me home with a care package that included packets of Floret seeds, which I am very excited to put to use next year! It was an extremely sunny day- beautiful, not a cloud in the sky. Which is normally a great thing…unless you are trying to take pictures out in the fields! So these are very blown out but I figured I’d share just a few. I’ll have to return someday in the evening light (yep, I just totally invited myself back). Thank you, Erin, for such an incredible visit. The memories from that afternoon continue to bring me immense joy. If for some reason you’re not yet following Floret on Instagram- do yourself a favor and follow along for the most gorgeous flower images ever!
It’s a bit hard to put into words the whirlwind adventure I’ve been on this past month. Going into my book tour, I had no idea how I was going to pull off numerous events in multiple cities. My itinerary was three pages long, with multiple flights and accommodations to keep track of, as well…
It’s a bit hard to put into words the whirlwind adventure I’ve been on this past month. Going into my book tour, I had no idea how I was going to pull off numerous events in multiple cities. My itinerary was three pages long, with multiple flights and accommodations to keep track of, as well as all of the food preparation and grocery shopping that took place. I boarded a plane to San Francisco with two 50 pound suitcases loaded to the brim with kitchen tools, stacks of books, gift bags, and personal effects. The moment the last event ended I let out a huge breath, my stress melted away and my shoulders finally stopped hovering around my ears. But then I see these gorgeous photographs, and I remember all of the amazing people that came out to support me and my book, and I think…yep, I’d do all over again in a heartbeat! I am so incredibly thankful to my sponsors, Vitamix and HawaiianShavedIce.com not only for supporting me on my book tour, but making products that are an absolute joy to use. Okay, so San Francisco…besides a book signing at the incredible cookbook store, Omnivore, I also held a private party for local tastemakers. We had the best time- a gorgeous venue (thanks Cookhouse), a super talented, inspiring crowd and a shaved ice bar with homemade syrups! Plus…Prosecco and pops! I greeted my guests with homemade strawberry pops served in a wine glass filled with Prosecco. Not only was it delicious but it served as such a great ice breaker! While I had a rough idea of the recipes that I would demo at the party, I let a trip to the Ferry Building Farmers Market inspire my final choices. The strawberries were at their peak, and locally grown. Plus I splurged on some gorgeous local wildflower honey. The pops were so vibrant and delicious…plus soaked in Prosecco, so there’s that! After mingling and sampling some catered fare, I demoed a Strawberry and Basil syrup recipe, which I made with the help of my new Vitamix (the smaller size makes it so travel friendly!). And then we all went crazy drizzling homemade Peach, Watermelon Mint and Strawberry Basil syrups over fluffy shaved ice from my HawaiianShavedIce.com machine! Snow cones, you guys! Best party idea- seriously, it was a blast! I want to personally thank all the wonderful people that came out to help me celebrate Icy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet including Nik, Stephen, Molly, Jessica, Alexis, Marisa, and Kim. You sure knew how to make a girl feel welcome San Fran. And a final, huge thank you to Nanette Wong for the gorgeous images you see here! Have a lovely Fourth of July weekend, folks, and if you’re up for some fun, give this frozen treat thing a whirl 😉
This month has been a whirlwind in the very best way possible. I’m excited to finally take a moment, catch my breath and report back from the other side. I was lucky enough to go on a bi-coastal book tour to promote Icy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet. The tour started with a launch party in Providence,…
This month has been a whirlwind in the very best way possible. I’m excited to finally take a moment, catch my breath and report back from the other side. I was lucky enough to go on a bi-coastal book tour to promote Icy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet. The tour started with a launch party in Providence, and concluded this past week in Seattle. In between there was NYC, Boston, and San Francisco. In the past month I’ve made over 400 (!) pops for samples and demos, and churned countless batches of ice cream. I’ll be doing a recap of events in a coming post, but in the meantime, I’m eager to share my travels. It was my first time in San Francisco. I loved the hilly streets and the way the fog rolled in off the bay. I managed to cover quite a bit of ground, though I was only there for a few days and those days were packed to the brim with event prep and signings (more on that in my next post). I’d love to share with you a few of my favorite shops and restaurants, starting with Zuni Cafe. Everyone talks about Zuni Cafe and insists that if you’re visiting San Fran, you simply must add it to your itinerary. I am so glad that I listened as I had the most gorgeous lunch there. The peach and whipped goat cheese tartine topped with arugula will go down as one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. The coffee culture in the city was also such a treat. I started every morning with a cup of coffee from a different cafe. A few of my favorites included Blue Bottle and Sightglass Coffee. If I’d had time, I had about twenty other cafes on my list. However if I’d have indulged in any more coffee my heart would have pounded right through my chest! I figured I’d have very little time for shopping, so I was pleasantly surprised to fit in stops to Heath Ceramics, and Olli (which shares a building with Heath). I was incredibly inspired by the artistry I witnessed at both. I’m not sure that Olli is open to the public, though I simply rang the buzzer and asked if I could take a peek into their studio and they happily obliged. Thank goodness, because that loom is just exquisite. And those poufs…oh if only I could have squeezed one into my bag! I knew that I wanted to schedule time to visit Heidi Swanson’s shop, Quitokeeto, and I am so glad that I did. The space is gorgeously edited, very serene and minimalist. You can tell that each product was chosen with care. I spent quite a while trying to choose one of Colleen Hennessey’s bowls to come home with me and I’m pretty thrilled with my choice. It will serve as a beloved souvenir from my time in San Francisco. On my last free afternoon, I grabbed an Uber to Oakland for a visit to A Verb for Keeping Warm. I felt that as a knitter, I simply couldn’t miss the opportunity to meet Kristine and see her work. It was so worth the trip. Kristine took time to show me around her shop, her studio and her dye garden and I came away wondering if I might convince her to pick up and relocate to Providence so that I can take every single class she has to offer! Seriously, I could spend the rest of my days happily knitting and learning to dye in her space. And that brings me to my last evening in San Francisco, which was spent at the lovely Omnivore Books. It was a fabulous signing and I had fun passing out pops and answering questions about natural sweeteners and ice cream makers! It was a lively and warm discussion and perfectly wrapped up my time in the city. The following morning, shortly before 5am I was in a cab being whisked to the airport to catch a flight to Seattle. But that is a story for another day. Stay tuned… Suggestions for San Francisco (there was so much more I wanted to see/do/eat but this is a list of what I did manage):
Liholiho Yacht Club
Ritual Coffee Roasters
A Verb for Keeping Warm
It has become a May tradition, taking a day to explore the vast fields that make up the Brimfield Antique Show. I’ve attended in every possible state; pregnant, with baby, alone, with friends and their babies, in rain and sunshine. This year I went alone with no agenda or schedule, just the day to wander…
It has become a May tradition, taking a day to explore the vast fields that make up the Brimfield Antique Show. I’ve attended in every possible state; pregnant, with baby, alone, with friends and their babies, in rain and sunshine. This year I went alone with no agenda or schedule, just the day to wander as I saw fit. The sun was shining, I had a hot cup of coffee for the drive, and I avoided all the show traffic by taking backroads. Yes, the stars aligned this year and I had a fabulous time. I usually end up leaving empty handed, but this year I came home with two incredible finds; a handmade dress by a small, Maine-based maker, Luksin Designs, and a gorgeous vintage-textile pillow from Rare Cloth. I’m sprucing up our bedroom a bit and this pillow is going to be the statement piece! In all my years attending Brimfield, I’ve never made a large purchase! Isn’t that kinda amazing? I guess it begs the question why I still bother to attend. The truth is I love wandering, people watching, and taking pictures. As I’ve spent the past year minimizing the number of possessions in our home, I have no real desire to bring in more. However ‘window shopping’ is immensely pleasurable to me and as I wander I enjoy speculating on the past life of all the various objects. This year I stayed in a good head space for the most part, and didn’t allow myself to become depressed over the sheer amount of STUFF. If you’d like to go back and read about my previous Brimfield adventures you can find them here: September 2015, May 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2011 (oh and this really cringe-worthy 2009 post!). I especially recommend May 2012 where I gave tips and recommendations, which still hold true! If you go back in time, take a look in 2015 and 2014 for that same quilt (blue with flower, in the right corner of above picture)- it is STILL for sale three years later. Now that does blow my mind!
There are certain experiences that you know, without a doubt, are once-in-a-lifetime. The wedding we attended in Vienna was once of those experiences. It was truly a royal wedding in every way except the title. I’ll share more about the wedding in a moment, after I make you scroll through all of my favorite pictures…
There are certain experiences that you know, without a doubt, are once-in-a-lifetime. The wedding we attended in Vienna was once of those experiences. It was truly a royal wedding in every way except the title. I’ll share more about the wedding in a moment, after I make you scroll through all of my favorite pictures of Vienna, a city breathtaking in its beauty. We had exceptionally gorgeous weather; the sun was shining every day, there was hardly a cloud in the sky, and the city seemed to be glowing from within. We arrived on Saturday morning, and that was really our only free day to explore. The rest of our time was spent celebrating and partying! Indian weddings are four-day affairs, beginning in the afternoon and stretching on through the wee hours of the morning. Join me on a wander through the streets of Vienna, before we get to the wedding goodies… Of course the churches were just gorgeous, both inside and out. I used to complain bitterly when my mom would make us visit churches during my childhood travels, and now I find myself following enthusiastically in her footsteps. I guess it’s true- we really do turn into our moms! Now for the juicy bits- the wedding to end all weddings. I didn’t bring my ‘real’ camera along for the festivities. I didn’t want to be weighed down, and let’s be honest, a camera bag isn’t really an appropriate accessory for a sari! So please excuse the quality- these were all taken on my phone. I’ll take you through day by day. We arrived on Saturday, and the welcome dinner was that evening at the Hofberg Imperial Palace. The decor was breathtaking, and special guest Enrique Iglesias was pretty breathtaking himself 🙂 On Sunday, we roused our jet-lagged, sleep-deprived selves out of bed for the Mehendi, which took place at Liechtenstein Palace. Upon walking through the castle entrance, we were greeted with a lush, rose-filled garden, where stalls served food from around the world. Pasta was being handmade at one stall, hand rolled tortillas were being grilled at another, and large pots of dahl were being stirred at yet another. It was an incredibly decadent feast in an incredibly gorgeous setting. After a quick catnap at the hotel, we headed back out that evening for the Sangeet, which was held at Art for Art, the most modern of all the venues. The dancing went on all night into the wee hours of the morning (though we were some of the first to leave at 1am!), with the highlight being a performance by Mika Singh, a bhangra music star. Just when we didn’t think they could top all these incredible events and venues, the day of the wedding arrived. I can’t quite put into words what it was like to pull up to the Belvedere Palace, decked out in wedding finery. It was a sight that I won’t soon forget. At this point, I was practically weeping for my real camera, I wanted so badly to capture the beauty. So although these Iphone pictures don’t nearly do it justice, they’ll have to do. For a look at each venue, visit here, and for more about the wedding, including a look at the beautiful bride, visit Vogue India. And just like that we were back on a plane Tuesday morning, and I was back to work on Wednesday with my head spinning. Honestly, it all feels a bit like a dream.
Today is the day! I am so thrilled to announce that Icy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet is out in the world. I cannot wait to see what recipes you make, so be sure to tag me @ch_chitnis and use the hashtag #icycreamy so that I can take a peek. In the coming weeks and months, I’ll let…
Today is the day!
I am so thrilled to announce that Icy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet is out in the world. I cannot wait to see what recipes you make, so be sure to tag me @ch_chitnis and use the hashtag #icycreamy so that I can take a peek. In the coming weeks and months, I’ll let you know as different recipes are showcased online and in print- lots of exciting things coming up! You can find my book at any of the retailers listed below, or your local bookstore. Thank you all for your unwavering support over the years and the love that you have shown my books.
AMAZON / BARNES AND NOBLE / POWELL’S / ROOST / INDIE BOUND
And now for the most thrilling news imaginable! I’m going on a BOOK TOUR sponsored by Vitamix and HawaiianShavedIce.com, both companies that I use and love, and both of which played a prominent role in the making of this book. So what exactly does that mean? Well, that means we’re busy planning amazing events in Providence, NYC, Seattle and San Francisco! West Coast, I’m coming for you! Stay tuned for more to come in the weeks ahead. I look forward to meeting you at book events this summer!
If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like to photograph and style an entire cookbook- well, here’s my working wall! I devoted a wall in my studio to the book, and after every shoot I would print out the pictures that made the cut and tape them to the wall. When I stood back from it I could easily tell when a picture didn’t fit. I had a very specific aesthetic in mind for the book: light, clean, bright and cheerful. I wanted it to feel like a beautiful summer day- and I really hope I accomplished that goal. I’m pleased as punch with how it turned out and when I look back at this wall, it kinda blows my mind how much work went into the making of this book! I guess I was having so much fun with it I didn’t realize what a big task it really was. To celebrate the birthday of Icy, Creamy, Healthy, Sweet I am giving away two copies on Instagram, so hop over and enter for your your chance to win!
A week back from Jamaica and it already seems like a lifetime ago. We were lucky enough to vacation with my parents, two brothers, and sister-in-law. Once you vacation with family, you’ll never want to vacation alone again (if you have small kids, that is). There are so many helping hands and so many willing…
A week back from Jamaica and it already seems like a lifetime ago. We were lucky enough to vacation with my parents, two brothers, and sister-in-law. Once you vacation with family, you’ll never want to vacation alone again (if you have small kids, that is). There are so many helping hands and so many willing playmates, that as parents you get a real break. I’m so thankful for the strong bonds that my boys have with my family. It is really something special to see.
We rented a villa all together at a resort in Montego Bay. There is a little farm on the property, as well as several pools, tennis courts, a golf course, a put-put course, playgrounds and of course, beaches. The property is sprawling which makes it perfect for long walks and scooter rides. Although the resort is beautiful and well-kept it doesn’t have an overly-fancy or all-inclusive feel to it. Instead it feels like you’re at home in a little beach-side neighborhood. The staff is exceptional as well- the guys who run the tennis program are so great and as a family that loves racquet sports, we have a ton of fun. It was especially amazing to see Vik take off with his tennis game. He’s such a great little athlete, and asked to play for several hours every day!
Other than that we spent our time on the beach or in the pool, relaxing and soaking in the sun rays. It’s funny- when we returned home I thought that is what the boys would miss the most, the warm weather. Instead they missed having all our family around. When I asked them if they’d want to live in Jamaica they replied, “Only with Grammy and Papa.” That’s pretty high praise from two little island boys!