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Kitchen

The Uncommon Life

Holiday Party Hosting Perfected

December 7, 2011

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  We’ve got gift-giving covered, but we’re leaving the party planning to other experts.  Take a look at some ideas we’re building on and borrowing from in order to host the perfect holiday get-together.

Set the scene for your party with DIY decorating ideas from interior designer and stylist Matthew Mead, who shared his tips with blogger Centsational Girl.  His number one piece of advice?  Keep it simple, which will help both you and your guests feel at home.

(Image courtesy of Centsational Girl)

Once the table is set, fill it with delicious dishes to impress your guests.  Food blog 101 Cookbooks has a comprehensive collection of holiday recipes to draw inspiration from, including hearty dishes like this Hazelnut & Chard Ravioli Salad and festive snacks such as these Butter-toasted Hazelnuts.

(Image courtesy of Heidi Swanson)

Don’t let your dinner table take all the attention – just because you’re staying in doesn’t mean you can’t dress up!  Refinery29 has a variety of outfit ideas, ranging from celebrity-inspired looks to key bold red pieces.  Just don’t fall prey to any of these common holiday faux pas pitfalls!

(Image courtesy of J. Crew)

For a comprehensive guide to hosting a holiday cocktail party, the Drinks team at Serious Eats has compiled a complete how-to for hosting.  Michael Dietsch suggests crafting and creating signature cocktails in advance, anticipating 1-2 drinks per guest per hour, and stocking up on bagged ice.

(Image courtesy of Jennifer Hess from Serious Eats)

Close out the night with a variety of Christmas cookies to serve as dessert or to give as parting gifts.  Bree Hester of Baked Bree is sharing 12 weeks of Christmas cookies, including these unique Hot Chocolate Cookies and the Canadian classic, Nanaimo Bars.

(Image courtesy of Bree Hester)

And if you can’t share the joy of the holidays with friends and family in person, make sure to send along season’s greetings with an uncommon card, stocking stuffer, or personalized gift.

The Uncommon Life

An Uncommon Thanksgiving Recipe Round-up

November 22, 2011

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year or attending a potluck, consider taking inspiration for uncommon foods from a few of our favorite blogs. Who knows, you might end up creating a new tradition by cooking up one of the following dishes!

Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s unique city-to-country transformation and trademark style have landed her a book deal, Food Network show, and even a movie (to be released next year). Give your guests a taste of pioneer goodness with this unique pumpkin soup, and save yourself from dirty dish duty too!
 (Image courtesy of The Pioneer Woman)

For another stuffed squash dish (and potential main substitute for any vegetarians at the table), Honest Cooking presents a Winter Squash With Stuffing and Goat Cheese that’s just as flavorful as any typical turkey.
 (Image courtesy of Honest Cooking)

Finally, if you’re seeking an alternative to pumpkin or plain apple pie, Jenna of Eat, Live, Run suggests a Chocolate Angel Nut Pie that’s unique and uncommon, but still evokes all the flavors of fall.
(Image courtesy of Eat, Live, Run)

Whether you’re sticking to the classics or making something new, we wish you all an equally Happy Thanksgiving from UncommonGoods!

Maker Stories

Udon Noodles and Buddha Bowls

September 30, 2011

Our first ever Uncommon Ceramics Design Challenge is underway! You can enter your unique creations by Oct. 31 for a chance to win $500 and a vendor contract with UncommonGoods.

Since we’re so excited to see all of your entries, we couldn’t wait to start talking ceramics! Copywriter Nina Mozes got the conversation going with Élan McPherson to learn more about how the designer develops her sleek, functional pieces.


It’s immediately apparent to anyone who encounters Élan McPherson that she is an inspired artist who looks at lemons and sees lemonade. And if you’ve ever held one of her bowls and felt how perfectly it fits in your hands, you know that Élan’s artistic goal is to take ordinary objects and bring out the beauty and utility in them.

Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

Terra-bly Delightful Design

September 22, 2011

Ed. note: Next month we’re hosting a ceramics design challenge here at UncommonGoods, and we can’t wait to see all your beautiful, clever and unique creations. But ceramics can be a somewhat broad category. If you’re wondering what sorts of product entries we’re looking for– well, would it be fair to say everything? We love pottery and ceramics– plates, cups, vases, decorative objects, all of it. Especially pieces that make you start talking. And there’s no doubt that Michael Terra’s designs are conversation starters.

If you’re a frequent reader of our blog, check out our product stories, or subscribe to our emails, you’ve probably noticed that we don’t shy away from wordplay. So, when we heard that ceramicist Michael Terra’s new products were taking puns to the another level–the third dimension–we couldn’t resist.

“I like looking at what everyone else is doing and then look in another direction and look at what no one else is looking at,” Michael explains. “I love puns at any time, and as I was thinking about word conversions I realized that there was a multiple way of seeing/hearing the sounds of language that we use everyday.”

His Writer’s Block and Ceramic “Reading” Glasses play on the multiple ways we see and hear language.

Continue Reading…

Design

Warm Wishes

August 16, 2011

Pica said: “Love this, and think it would make a great hostess gift for my bread baking friends!”

Susan said: “Great item, great price! This is the kind of thing that makes a great gift or purchase for my own use. A really useful item!”

This terra cotta bread warmer lets you have restaurant-style warm bread right at your own dinner table. Pop the warmer in the oven for 10 minutes to bring it to the right temperature, then stick it in the bottom of your bread basket for soft, warm slices.

Would you give this bread warmer to friends, keep it in your own kitchen, or both? Leave your answer in our community voting app, and see what voters are saying about this and other potential new goods.