A Few of My Favorite (Holiday) Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
           Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens…
         Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wing.
These are a few of my favorite things.
--Sung by Maria in Rogers’ and Hammerstein’s
The Sound of Music (Broadway:1959; Movie:1965)

 

The holiday season is upon us with its requisite carols, commercials and consumerism- none of which are my favorite things about this time of the year. My preferences align with the constellation of family, friends and food. Since the Living Earth is all about providing the healthiest and tastiest foods available, I’ll focus on some of my favorite holiday foods and leave the kittens, kettles, mittens and geese to Maria.

La Crème de la Crème- The holidays naturally bring about a spike in cream consumption- sauces, soups, fruits, cakes, pies and ice cream all taste better with cream or whipped cream as an ingredient or accompaniment. Kimball Brook Farm in North Ferrisburgh, Vermont produces an organic heavy cream free from growth hormones, antibiotics, GMO’s and pesticides. The cream is not ultra-pasteurized like the vast majority of other creams on the market. Kimball Brook is a former winner of the Vermont Dairy Farm of the Year award and has been recently acknowledged by the Cornucopia Institute as one of the top organic family-owned dairies in the entire U.S., receiving C.I.’s highest rating on their scorecard.

Another cream product from Websterville, Vermont that has many holiday applications is Vermont Creamery’s Crème Fraiche. It is similar to sour cream but with a richer, yet delicate, refined flavor and silkier texture. It is cultured with beneficial lactic bacteria and will not separate when heated in a sauce or soup or combined with acids like wine, lemon juice or vinegar. It can also be used as an elegant topping for fresh fruit or as the base for a decadent dip.

Don’t Go Nuts- Eat them! During this crazy, hectic season when sensory overload is making you a bit squirrelly, nuts are tasty treats that provide protein, healthy fats, magnesium, vitamin E and numerous antioxidants. Tierra Farm supplies the Living Earth with organic almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazel nuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts and nut mixes as well as an extensive variety of organic dried fruits. All their products are peanut-free and stored in a peanut-free facility. Debunk the junk by grabbing a handful of their nuts or fruits and nibble your guilty cravings away.

Candy Canes with an organic twist are here. Made by the TruJoy Company, these organic candy canes are flavored with natural peppermint extract, contain no corn sweeteners and are gluten-free and vegan as well.

Smoked Seafood- Located in the Down East town of Winter Harbor, Grindstone Neck of Maine uses only natural hardwoods to smoke their salmon, mussels, shrimp and trout. They make auspicious appetizers or can jazz up a main meal with their succulent smoky goodness. Try the salmon spread or smoky horseradish dip on crackers for some festive hors d’oeuvres.

Turkeys, Hams, Ducks and Game Birds will be available on a pre-order basis. Ask for pricing and details.

Great Gift Ideas:

Air Plant Mini-Terrariums- Enjoy the touch of the tropics this winter with an exotic, easy-to-care-for air plant. They come in their own terrarium and make a lovely living miniature display piece for your home or office.

Organic Mushroom Farm- Grow your own organic gourmet oyster mushrooms with this all- inclusive kit. It only requires a regular misting of water. Later on, a frying pan with olive oil and garlic will help get them to the table.

Chico Bags- Save a tree, ditch the plastic and bring home up to 40 lbs of groceries in these durable bags that will fit in your pocket or purse. I’ve had mine for years and it is still going strong.

Sunbeam Bee’s Wax Candles- This carbon-neutral company in Ithaca, N.Y. produces their candles exclusively from energy derived from solar and wind power. Let the natural fragrance of a bee’s wax candle warm your spirits on a cold winter’s eve.

Airscape Storage Containers- Store your coffee, loose tea, nuts and seeds in these stainless steel containers that keep air out and lock freshness in. It is as close as you’ll come to a vacuum-like seal without expensive, sophisticated equipment- just gently push down on the lid and flip the lock mechanism into place.