Gift Guide #3: Kids, Grandchildren, Nieces, Nephews

This is our last gift guide for the holidays - you can find the others here.  Happy gift shopping!

Christmas gift guide for kids

1. A beautiful wooden puzzle  2. Living room bowling (for the whole family!)  3. A kid-sized guitar to start their love of music early  4. A lovely picture book about kids around the world  5. The cutest backpack (available in so many colors!)  6. A sweet stuffed   7. An adorable winter hat, with whiskers and ears  8. A rainbow-full of colored pencils in a cute carrier  9. A pair of binoculars for their adventures  10. A poster-sized coloring page - the perfect project for cold winter days  11. Cute new pajamas  12. Adorable, bright city building blocks

GiftsEllen CutaloComment
Gift Guide #2: Wives, Mothers, Sisters, Girlfriends

This is our second gift guide of the week; you can check out the men's guide here. Tomorrow we'll have one last guide with some fun things for kids!

Christmas Gift Guide Women

1. A fun purse in a beautiful color (on sale!)  2. The best, warmest slippers  3. A sweet bud vase  4. A set of birthday cards for her to send all year  5. A book of the best travel guides for weekends away  6. A practical but cool leather backpack  7. The cutest hat to keep her warm all winter  8. A beautiful baking dish she'll use forever  9. A pair of the cutest blush tubes (I love these!)  10. A gift subscription to Bon Appetit (my favorite)  11. Sweet stacking rings  12. A beautiful tea towel to brighten the kitchen  13. Socks for Christmas are the best (especially these pretty ones)

GiftsEllen CutaloComment
Gift Guide #1: Husbands, Fathers, Brothers, Boyfriends

I'm so excited to be sharing some holiday gift guides this week! I'll have a couple more coming up later in the week, so be sure to check back. Links are listed below the images:

Christmas gift guide for men

1. Recipes for the best possible homemade pizza (and we've tested a lot of different options)  2. An upgrade for his old bottle opener  3. A super cool Japanese chef's knife that will last forever  4. A set of thank you notes to use for all these awesome gifts  5. A retro-but-not bluetooth speaker that actually looks cool  6. A new hat for warm ears all winter  7. A soft scarf in a beautiful color  8. The greatest electric kettle (that you can set to an exact temperature) for delicious tea or pour over coffee  9. A new photo calendar for his desk  10. A gym bag upgrade  11. A beautiful novel  12. A cozy blanket for picnics, camping, or movie nights

GiftsEllen CutaloComment
A Nice Carrot Cake
Buttermilk carrot cake

Carrot cake feels just right for fall - warm spices, walnuts, and cream cheese frosting. This recipe makes a particularly nice cake; the buttermilk gives it just a little tang and keeps it very tender. 

Adapted from Bon Appetit (one of my favorites!)


For the cake:

  • 2/3 cup (85 grams) chopped walnuts
  • 11 ounces (312 grams) carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups (200 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (132 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (99 grams) packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups (340 grams) powdered sugar
  • splash of milk, if needed

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter two 7" or 8" cake pans, and line bottoms with parchment paper, then butter the parchment. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet until fragrant, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool.

In a small bowl, combine grated carrot and buttermilk; let sit while you work on the rest of the cake. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine eggs and sugars, and beat well until pale and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add vanilla extract and oil and mix to combine. Add the dry mixture in three additions, alternating with the carrot mixture and beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Do not overmix at this point; you just want everything to be combined. Stir in toasted walnuts.

Divide evenly between prepared baking pans, and smooth the tops. Bake, rotating once, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes for 8" cakes, or 40-45 minutes for 7" cakes. Let cool for 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and turn out onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off parchment bottoms.

To make the frosting (when your cakes are completely cool), combine cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Beat until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla and salt, and mix to incorporate. Add powdered sugar in several additions, beating to combine between each addition. If frosting is too stiff, add a splash of milk to loosen. Frost cake as desired (I like to tuck some strips of parchment around the edges of the bottom layer before frosting - then when you're done, you can just pull out the parchment and leave your serving plate clean).

Buttermilk Carrot Cake
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