Christmas Cookies | Umami Girl
When it comes to holiday baking, I’m all about the ratios — and I don’t mean ingredient ratios. I mean I’m looking for a very high ratio of cookie fabulousness to time, effort and skill level required. This used to mean I would shy away from cookie recipes that require rolling pins and icing technique. Not anymore.

While we were living in London, I accompanied our older daughter to a friend’s birthday party at Biscuiteers, where seven-year-old girls made beautiful, genuinely delicious cookies using the line and flood technique. Fact is, shortbread cookies made with quality ingredients are dead-simple and taste as good as any complicated cookies.

Best Christmas Cookies

And decorating? It’s not hard. Truly. I’m pretty impatient and miz at this sort of thing, but I made those cookies up there for our school’s teacher cookie swap last year, and I survived. I even made them again the following week. I know they don’t look positively professional, but I like that they’re pretty and yet obviously homemade. It’s all about the attitude.  View full post »

Happy Thanksgiving, friends near and far. This year I’m trying something a little bit different. For anyone who wants soup-to-nuts guidance preparing a vegetarian Thanksgiving feast, I’ve created a schmantzy e-book to give you everything you need. It has a complete timeline, shopping list, 12 much-loved recipes to feed a crowd (of about 12 people with some leftovers), and a little bit of humor and moral support, because who doesn’t want that?Download Umami Girl

I worked Ye Olde Buttz off on this project, and I’m really proud of the way it turned out. I think it’s going to help out a lot of busy people and maybe diffuse a little holiday tension along the way. I mean, feeling slightly murderous from late November through the new year is great and all, but you’ll have plenty of other opportunities for that.

You can check out the menu and some other sample pages below. And I know it’s a little late for this year, but if you’d like to be one of the first to get your hands on this amazing (amazing!) newfangled contraption (and hey, maybe help me test my new shopping cart), click over to the product page here.

Comments and questions welcome!

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{Get the guide.}Download Umami Girl

{Get the guide.}Download Umami Girl

{Just do it. Get the guide.}

I’m thankful for each of your continued support, readership and friendship. Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

Carolyn xx

  • Roxane

    Gorgeous ebook!! Full of deliciousness and just what you need when the in-laws are trying to “help out”. Love it!!ReplyCancel

  • great ebook! thanks for sharing =)ReplyCancel

Jamie Oliver

Like everyone ever, I could definitely stop drinking coffee whenever I want. Definitely. This morning, though, I had to get some fasting blood work done in advance of an annual physical. So instead of my usual beautiful ritual of rolling out of bed, feeding the cats, and then toting a strong, steamy cup of brewed world peace with me as I wake up the girls, make their lunch, and set my intentions for the day, I had to wait a few hours. 

It was fine. It was great. I realized while chopping celery for tuna salad sandwiches that I was quietly singing the devastating song “Maybe” from Annie and ever so slightly weeping. Weeping into my nothing. Because there was no cup. It was fine.

It’s all over now, and I’m thankful. Which brings me to the purpose of today’s post: Thanksgiving. That wasn’t a good segue. I know it. And that photo up there? Not the best. But this recipe conforms to a much higher standard. You’ll have to go against your better judgment and trust me. Jamie Oliver’s vegan shepherd’s pie is really great healthy comfort food for fall and winter. It’s full of beautiful flavors and colors, easy to transport, and nourishing in all the right ways for your vegan and vegetarian Thanksgiving buddies.

By the way, it’s the pie that’s vegan — I can’t speak for the shepherds. But I will speak to this: I’d strongly suggest you add it to your holiday repertoire. See you soon.

Carolyn xx

P.S. Looking for a nice salad to bring to Thanksgiving? I posted the recipe for this beauty here on Instagram. Give us a follow while you’re there!

Toronto Farmers

P.P.S. Links to Amazon in this post are affiliate links. If you click through and buy something, we’ll earn a small percentage of the sale, which helps keep Umami Girl up and running. Thank you!


  • MomVee

    Finding myself slightly weeping while singing “Maybe” over the lunches? That’s not something that would ever happen to me. Ahem.ReplyCancel

Savory Oatmeal with Crispy Shiitakes | Umami GirlLet’s do three little seconds of Halloween recap before we launch full-throttle toward Thanksgiving.

  1. My favorite moment of our own above-average day (shouldn’t Halloween always be on a Saturday?): The doorbell rings, and I open the front door to six or seven middle-school boys in costume. One of them says, “Epic! This is the house where Henry barfed last year!” It’s not directed at me, but I laugh a little too much and ask, “Is that true? We just moved in over the summer.” He switches gears instantly and politely says, “Hope you’re enjoying your new home.” That’s a fun-sized portrait of kids from our town. And for the record, I corroborated the tale of woe with the house’s prior owners. True story.
  2. A friend wears a Robin costume to team up with his young son, who is very excited to dress as Batman. Except the son changes his mind at the last minute, so they go blithely forth into the world as Captain America and Robin. The things we do for our kids.
  3. At the end of the day, scrolling through photos of everyone’s suburban exploits, I encounter a short series of images of Winnie the Pooh trying in vain to restrain a small waterfowl. Fowl’s mom has captioned the series, “Everyone loves an uncooperative duck.”

And now, onward. Let’s get ready for a festive season of face-stuffing by keeping some of our dinners on the delicious but reasonable side in the days leading up to the feast. Let’s eat lots of dark leafy greens, legumes, and whole grains. Today, let’s dine on a palette of savory browns. Let’s turn a hallowed breakfast into a good-weird dinner. Let’s make savory oatmeal. Why not?

Carolyn xx

{Get the recipe for Savory Oatmeal with Crispy Shiitakes.}

Jersey Girl Spaghetti | Umami Girl

So, you guys. It’s World Pasta Day.

My first impression was that pasta is like Frozen or the Kardashians. Pasta’s awareness game is STRONG. Does it really need a day?

But then I saw those six unimpeachable letters on the official website: UNESCO. And that this year’s theme is “Feeding the planet.” And that Jamie Oliver is posting pasta recipes on Instagram. And I says to myself, Gratzer, I says, if you haven’t got pasta, what have you got in this world?

Not dinner for half of last week, that’s for sure.

So here’s a little love from New Jersey for World Pasta Day. 

See you soon.