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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday Gift Ideas for Him

The holidays are quickly approaching and since last year I was a total doll and hooked you up with fantastic and affordable gift ideas for a special man in your life, I decided to do that again this year.

Send your man to his own little Valhalla with a Das Horn! I seriously can't think of a better way to consume mead during...life. $25
This is a BLT (by John Fluevog) that every man should order. $259

Bacon shaving cream. 'Nuff said. $15

Just because your fella's hands are cold doesn't mean they should be unable to use their touchscreen phone. These Leather Touchscreen Gloves are fancy as hell and he'll have ZERO excuse for not texting you back. $168

When in doubt, buy Smartwool. Nobody, NOBODY EVER will complain about receiving anything by Smartwool as a gift.
The Hemingway Cookbook offers 125 recipes from his life and works, along with other goodies such as passages from his books and personal correspondence. I know I'd like to taste what the king of joie de vivre enjoyed in his adventurous life. $14

It gets incredibly chilly in Oregon at times, and I find myself wondering how the year-round outdoors man keeps himself remotely warm during the cold season. ThermaCELL makes heated insoles that have rechargeable batteries and that is operated using a wireless remote control. You can get up to 5 hours of warmth on one charge, and they can be recharged up to 500 times. That kind of comfort when you need it most has to be worth every penny. $130

What are some of the more interesting or unique gifts you plan on giving to a special feller this year?

post by Amanda
images provided by uncrate.com

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Gratefulness

The Village Shoes gals would love to share what we are grateful for this year...

  • Music
  • Friends
  • Humor...laughter
  • Teachers- anyone dedicated to educating others.
  • The amazing and inspiring people in my daily life.
  • The constant opportunities to learn new things.
  • Vodka tonics
  • Homeland
  • The truly wonderful friends and family in my life. Too much love to handle sometimes.
  • My successful business and great employees.
  • Family
  • My health
  • Argentine Tango
  • My amazing family and friends
  • The opportunities and lessons Ashland has given me.

What are you grateful for this year?

post by Amanda

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Beautiful Centerpieces for Your Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I couldn't be more excited. Thanksgiving is, by far, my favorite holiday. Growing up, it was the one time of year that I was able to see a lot of my favorite family members, so it doubled as a sort of a family reunion. Oh, and the food! The food! My family can seriously cook, so Thanksgiving was the day I seriously gorged myself. I mean, I'd eat as much as I possibly could, and then sometime later that night the family would regroup in the kitchen to enjoy pie in our pjs. The tables with their decorations always looked pretty magical. I believe that a meal that takes that much time and effort to prepare deserves a beautiful table for it to be enjoyed from.

If you're short of ideas as to how to decorate your dining table for the holiday, I found some ideas on the interwebs that I'd like to share...

Of course Martha Stewart has 15 ideas for us!

Pine Cone Flowers!

Corn Kernel Candle Displays

Found a blog with 10 simple ideas!

All you need are apples and tea lights! Easy peasy!

See anything you like? How do you typically decorate your dining table on Thanksgiving? We'd love to see what you plan on doing...feel free to post pictures and links on our Facebook page!

post by Amanda

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Somebody Make Me: Tomato Basil Soup with GRILLED CHEESE CROUTONS

It's cold. I'm wearing a sweater and a jacket right now...indoors. I feel like I should be at home, sitting on my couch wrapped up in a warm blanket with a fire going, watching a horrible chick flick while sipping hot chocolate...or maybe a spiked hot chocolate. (It's my fantasy, and I'll day drink if I want to!) Instead, I'm working and as many of you know by now, if the Village Shoes girls are working, they're eating, and if we're not eating, we're finding recipes. Halle and I came across a fantastic soup recipe on TasteSpotting.com that we think is worth sharing...

Tomato Basil Soup
3 lbs Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 yellow onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-oz) can plum tomatoes, with juice
1 cup  fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
4 cups chicken stock or water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock.

Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet.

Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor and pulse until it is the texture you like. Season if needed and serve with the grilled cheese croutons.

Grilled Cheese Croutons
4 slices country white bread
Butter (enough to spread on each slice of bread)
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, sliced

The directions for this say to use a panini grill, but I don’t have one so I just used a grill pan and pressed the sandwich down with another pan on top. Butter one side of each slice of bread and place cheese slices on the unbuttered sides. Grill the sandwiches, buttered sides down, for about 5 minutes until nicely browned. Let sit on a cutting board for about a minute before cutting into 1-inch squares. Serve with tomato soup.

Doesn't that look really good? What is your favorite soup to warm up with on a cold day?

recipe and photos provided by phenomenalphoods.com
post by Amanda