fiddlehead definition

fid·dle·head [ fídd'l hèd ] (plural fid·dle·heads) noun
Definition: edible fern shoot: the coiled frond of a young fern, often cooked and eaten as a delicacy

Sunday, December 1, 2013

shop local advent calendar

Advent calendars are a fun way to count down to the big day of gift-giving. In my house, we were never into the chocolate or tiny toy variety. We have done a month of good things to help others, a month of fun things to do together, a month of Legos to build, and the like. For locally minded shoppers I have put together an advent calendar of some of my favorite products and small businesses I like to support.. What better way is there to shop than from the storefront of hopes and dreams, to reinvest in the community you call home?
I found a tree limb in the yard, spray painted it silver and planted it in a vase full of lentils and Christmas baubles. I found these neat printable numbers on They are fantastic because the size is the exact fit for the top of a Mason jar. A Mason jar advent calendar would be very cute and very fun to find small gifts or good deeds-to-do to fit inside each day. At our house, each number on this tree is a clue to where to find the gift or good deed. But here, each number coincides with a local favorite.

Day One

Beautiful Briny Sea Salts from Suzi Sheffield are a favorite hostess gift and stocking stuffer of mine. I have been a fan of the Truffle Salt and French Picnic but thanks to The Indie Craft Experience, I have a new favorite, the smoky Campfire. My favorite places to purchase are the Peachtree Road Farmers Market and Beehive. And neat-o information: The Lapsang Souchong salt on top of the hand cut ice on The Unsung Hiro at Miso Izakaya was a special commission of Beautiful Briny.
The Unsung Hiro at Miso Izakaya with ice topped with Lapsang Souchong infused sea salt

Day Two
Mike Lowery Illustration

Atlantan Mike Lowery has the cutest, silliest point of view. His work has been seen in galleries and publications across the globe. I am enchanted by his illustrations of things like charcuterie, birds (Gunther Vogelmeier is my favorite), and even beards.
This is what I purchased at The Indie Craft Experience this year.

Day Three
All natural, made locally with just two ingredients: almond and salt. My favorite way to eat it-- off a spoon, straight from the jar. I like to purchase mine from The Peachtree Road Farmers Market so I can talk with owner Jamie and pick up a bag of her almond flour. It is great to coat chicken or pork before frying or baking. Jars can also be found at Whole Foods and Star Provisions. Click here for an extensive list and a bit of history on Jamie's grandfather, her inspiration. It fits in a stocking; I know because I gifted jars last year.

Day Four
Doux South Pickles
Local, Organic, handcrafted pickles by Chef Nick Melvin. Inside each jar is more than tasty pickles, it's the continuation of a family tradition of pickling the goods from his family's garden n Louisiana with his mom. I get mine (my favorite: Honey Kissed Turnips) at local farmers markets (East Atlanta, Peachtree Road), but they can also be found at Alon's, Pine Street Market,  and Star Provisions. As Nick says, Stupid good. Doux South also ships!
Day Five
Erin Smith Art
Erin Smith creates sassy art from photos of relatives. I have given her cocktail napkins and bar towels as hostess gifts and as stocking stuffers to the delight of the recipients. My favorite place to shop for her whimsy is Heliotrope in Decatur but you may also purchase from her website.
Day Six
Emily G's Jams
Emily G's Jams are the perfect size for stockings. My favorites are the Pear Honey and the Pepper Vinegar. When I first tried the Pear Honey, I ate it with a spoon. It really is the perfect toast topper though. The Pepper Vinegar is used daily in my kitchen. It adds a zip and acidity to soup, my go-to breakfast. Emily's jams and sauces are all-purpose and the website includes a slew of recipes both sweet and savory for trying the mixtures. You can really taste the love in each jar.
Day Seven
Brother Journal
Brother Journal is a quarterly journal from Ryan Smith, Andrew Thomas Lee, and Alvin Diec with a specific focus on people who make "good, honest food the right way." The first issue beautifully traced the journey of pastured chicken from farm to table, chock full of all the good story bits. It really is a thing of beauty. Gift one here.

Day Eight
Phickles Pickles
Phickles Pickles began in 2009 in Angie Tillman’s home kitchen and has since moved to a facility in Athens. The entire family pitches in from the filling of the jars, sticking on the labels, and delivering the boxes. Each jar is hand packed with locally sourced veggies and fruit. I love all of the pickles but Rasta Beans are my favorite of the bunch. Rasta Beans came about as a gift to a local Athens restaurant that served a few dishes with jerk seasoning. They now have quite a cult following. Rasta Beans are not always available but she will make them to order. Look for Angie and her sweet booth adorned with heirloom linens at farmer's markets and local shops.
Day Nine
Pine Street Applewood Smoked Bacon

Pine Street Market meats begin with local pork from Berkshire hogs from Gum Creek Farms in Georgia. Humanely raised pigs forage off the land using a rotational grazing method without antibiotics, pesticides, or herbicides. CIA-trained Rusty Bowers is a skilled craftsman in the art of salumi. His house-cured meats made on site in Avondale Estates and aged in custom-built, climate controlled curing caves. My favorites are the speck and the applewood smoked bacon. My kids call it the “good bacon” when they are asking for it.

Day Ten
H&F Bottle Shop Bloody Mary Mix
It’s not a spicy mix but that is easily remedied with the addition of hot sauce and a few of those Rasta beans mentioned above. I love the mix’s  brightness and thickness. The mix begins with hand-milled tomatoes, not juice, but tomatoes and includes hand-squeezed lime juice, Worcestershire, horseradish, Trappey’s hot sauce, celery seed, and cream Sherry. The bottle encourages you to add to it what will make your bloody Mary best for you. I absolutely love the handwritten batch date on the label.
Day Eleven
Sweetgrass Dairy Green Hill Cheese
 This creamy, buttery, and smooth cheese with a thin bloomy rind and golden color is similar to Camembert. Jersey cow’s milk gives it the gorgeous color and I am convinced being made with love gives it its taste. Sweet Grass Dairy is a family owned and operated farm in Thomasville where the cows live as cows should and cheese making grew out of new found joy at a cheese-making class. It’s delicious, local, and sustainable.

Day Twelve
Tickets to team Hidi 2.0 Benfit
This event, scheduled for January 26, 2014 again at King Plow Arts Center will be one of The Giving Kitchen's largest fundraising efforts. Get  tickets for the Giving Kitchen benefit with over 30 of the Atlanta area’s best Restaurants and Farmers, the city’s finest beverage bad asses and their libation inspirations, a wicked Live Auction and rocking music by Yacht Rock Revue and Big Mike Geier! Join the Atlanta community in surrounding Team Hidi with love. What a fun and delicious way to help The Giving Kitchen give back to our city's restaurant employees when crisis occur.
Can’t attend?  Consider making a donation to

Day Thirteen
Indigo Bath and Body Soaps
With soaps imbued with farm fresh ingredients from their farm and local farmers (from our farmer's markets) that you know and love, to the honey and beeswax raised in local apiaries, you'll find local ingredients in over 95% of Indigo Bath and Body products.  My favorite item is the Multi Fruit Antioxidant lip and eye balm. I keep it on my nightstand.

Day fourteen
Book: Buddhist Catnaps...

Buddhist Catnaps and Broken-Down Hymns is a collection of short stories by Decatur writer Tommy Housworth that I find witty, endearing, and honest. I get lost in the soulful characters and transported by the many references to music. Buy it. Read it.