I wish I could say that 2018 was a great year, but it was not the case. I am happy to see it go and hope that 2019 will be lighter and better on many levels.  Today, on the first day of this new year, I invite you for a virtual walk around our kitchen, a tradition started by Celia and now hosted by Sherry, from  Sherry’s Pickings. It’s been three months since my last IMK post, so there’s a lot to share. Ready? Let’s go!

Starting with gifts…

From our dear friend Denise, shipped all the way from England, a great environment-friendly and personalized coffee cup. Isn’t it adorable? Made from bamboo wood, it’s light and keeps beverages hot for a while. She also gave me a hot cocoa mix that is absolutely divine, albeit dangerously addictive. I like to add one (or two) teaspoons right into my morning cappuccino, but only on Sunday mornings. You know, that moderation thing…

From our dear friends from Oklahoma, Marijo & Vlad, the world’s tastiest pears, from Harry & David.  You cannot have better pears. Ever. Last year they gifted us with amazing bottles of balsamic vinegar, and we just opened the second one not too long ago.

From our dear friend Cindy, also from Oklahoma, a collection of wonderful goodies, proving she knows us very well. Because… sprinkles?  I am addicted. A very colorful plate? That has my name all over it. And an oyster knife? We inhale oysters in obscene amounts from September until the weather warms up. Thank you so much, Cindy! Oyster knife tried the very day we got your package, and approved by the resident Oyster Shucker.

From our friend Ines, straight from New York… A cookbook that could not be a better fit for me! Thank you so much, he is absolutely great, his recipes always work. I’ve been a follower of his blog for a long time… Thank you!

My turn to give a gift… This was a gift for Phil, could not resist having this cup special ordered for him. Isn’t it adorable?

I cannot believe that even the mark on the back of the Jack Russell resembles Buck, although his is a little lower, right on his butt. Oh, well – close enough. To order one, click here. (free advertisement, I get nothing back if you order, just sharing the love).

In our kitchen…

A batter dispenser, that was featured in a recent dessert post. In this picture you can see it has three different nozzles (two hanging from the handle, one installed) that twist on and off the bottom. Each has a slightly different diameter, so  that depending on the fluidity of the batter you can decide which one to use. I love it. It would also work to make perfectly shaped pancakes, if you are into that sort of thing…

In our kitchen…

Organization time! We got some sturdy shells for the basement, so I could finally organize all my baking items. A second shelf – to be assembled soon – will hold baking pans and glassware, hopefully I’ll be able to show it on my next IMK post.

Still in organization mode, my stencils are now much easier to find and choose. I placed them inside plastic folders with sturdy color paper inside so the pattern is clearly visible.  Have I mentioned I’m a bit obsessed with stencils?

These are a little bigger, each is a 6-inch square. Perfect for cakes or breads, but some might also work for macarons with the help of the air-brush.

In our kitchen…

My gorgeous bread lame holder, sold by Elaine from foodbodsourdough.com.  You have no idea how light it is, a pleasure to work with. No two holders look the same, each is a unique piece of art. She ships worldwide, in case you are tempted.

In our kitchen…

Mycryo, a fantastic product that I had to order online, but if you are lucky enough to live in a big city with a specialized baking store, you might be able to find it more easily. It is cocoa butter in powdered form. Not only you can add to custards and mousses, but apparently it makes the job of tempering chocolate a lot easier. I haven’t tried it for tempering yet, but once I do, I’ll report back. One great use for it, is sprinkling on sweet pie crusts after blind baking. Not only it provides a subtle flavor, but it helps sealing the crust.

In our kitchen…

Elderflower is one of my (many) passions. The cordial is lovely added to carbonated water and a few ice cubes. Recently I got introduced to elderflower tea. It is Zen in liquid form, my favorite way to end the day.

In our kitchen…

A sourdough boule with decorative scoring… I am having a blast with different patterns, baking at a pace of two loaves per month. Even at that pace it is more bread than we can consume, but some slices end up as croutons, they elevate some salads to Hail Caesar level.

In our kitchen…

Some festive serving platters, all found at Marshalls for very cheap. I love the golden one, which you will have an opportunity to see very soon, holding a batch of macarons. Side note, can you imagine I have not one, not two, but FIVE macaron posts waiting patiently to show up on the blog?

In our kitchen…

My very first attempt at cookie decorating. These are not sugar cookies, they were made from leftover sable dough from one of my entremet type cakes. My plan was to just cut them in round shape and be done with it, but the man I married insisted that “you need to practice a new skill, look at all the cookie cutters we have, go for it”.  The cutters are actually his, he used to do a lot of Christmas cookie decorating back when the kids were young. As far as taste is concerned, I like them even better than sugar cookies. On the subject of looks, all I can tell you is that the Road to Hell is Paved with Royal Icing, and it will take me a while to face that nightmarish flowing substance again. Enough said.

In our kitchen…

Direct consequence of the above. Just in case I get crazy enough to attempt cookie decorating in this life, I will try it with an icing pen. It cannot possibly make things worse than they were on a certain Sunday morning.

In our kitchen…

A set of 9 star-shaped piping tips, to give me the incentive to get better at all things buttercream. Also very nice to fill macarons, as you will see before this month is over.

In our kitchen…

Where we live, frozen açaí pulp is not available. Buying the stuff online seems reasonable until you move the product to the shopping cart and add shipping charges. They insist on FedEx overnight, only option. Yeah, sure. All of a sudden açaí pulp costs about the same as platinum. Thanks, but no thanks. I will give this powder a try, my goal is to make açaí mousse. If anyone has advice, leave me a comment, will you? And just to make sure all my readers are on top of it, here’s how you say the word as a native (any other way makes Brazilians cringe and run away screaming).

In our kitchen…

I am in complete awe of this one…It’s a micro-scale to weigh less than 15 grams with great precision. The first picture shows my hand next to it, giving you an idea of how small it is, so cute. The balance, not my hand. Obviously. In many patisserie recipes this gadget comes in handy. Think gelatin, pectin, but also salt in bread baking, I prefer to measure it with more precision. In the central picture you see the balance in action, measuring 0.5g of osmo-tolerant yeast. I know. Posh to the limit. This baby came with a standard for 50g weight, which was immediately used to check accuracy of my other, regular-size balance, several years old. Spot on!

In our kitchen…

A nut cracker, recommended by America’s Test Kitchen as their top choice. I dislike chopping nuts, and this gadget does a beautiful job. Uniform pieces, fast and without the mess I normally do all over the countertop. In fact, the moment I start chopping nuts, Bogey QT™ and Buck approach the area, waiting for catapulted goodies. Full disclosure: they did not approve the acquisition of this gadget.

In our kitchen…

I caved and bought peeled hazelnuts from Nuts.com.  They are worth every penny, in my opinion. The road to hell might be paved with Royal Icing, but then when you get there, your job is to peel hazelnuts. For. Eternity.

But, what the heck?
Why is Bogey Quit That™ so upset?
And why is that Jack Russel telling me to talk to the tail?

Well, it looks like I hurt their delicate feelings. I better let them have their five minutes of blog glory.

The weather has been pretty tough on the pups lately, which means staying inside the whole morning, going out a little bit at lunch time, then back inside until we come home from work.

But, they seem to make the best of it…

Even though it is so cold outside, Oscar manages to get in trouble. Our resident Burr Boy.

Of course, he has to whine and howl as if he’s being skinned alive while we work hard to get the nasty burrs off his face.  Fun times.

He is not the only one giving us grievances. Bogey Quit That™ decided to treat his fur to a nice mud rub, 24 hours after he arrived squeaky clean from a visit to Petsmart for special shampoo and brushing. I was not exactly thrilled. The stuff had already dried up by the time we arrived home. He seemed quite pleased with himself.

Here we are, ready to help Dad get that roast chicken ready for dinner. He is making Mexican-style chicken fajitas. We like chicken fajitas. We like chicken. Any chicken.

You might have some chicken tomorrow, for the time being we have some dog treats for you, but first you need to answer us… have you been naughty or nice?

Dog food bag: another great find at Marshalls… love that store!

Actually, their Mom has a different opinion. She hopes to get a bit more respect in the New Year. Here’s what happens when she asks the pups to sit for a picture…

And here’s what happens when Dad is the one asking…

Maybe we could behave a little better with Mom, but I still think I don’t deserve this type of treatment. My personal scent was at its best to receive the New Year with paws up. Now, I am gonna smell like a bag of clementines.

We’ll feel sorry for you when we wake up, brother… Right now we are too comfy to care…

Naughty or not, we find them impossibly cute. Osky and Bogey QT can wink, and no one does a head twist as cute as Bucky Boy…

We might wink, but don’t ever expect us to see eye to eye…. HA!

To close this post, the pups offer a few bits of wisdom
for your New Year!

Oscar says….
Always show affection to the ones you love!

Bogey says…
Enjoy to the fullest each good moment of your day…

Buck says…
Play hard, but take the time to relax too. It’s important.


I hope you enjoyed the first tour of the year through the Bewitching Kitchen… My plan for 2019 is to focus even more on baking, but still keep the blog as varied as possible, with “regular” recipes posted weekly.  It is hard to believe, but in a few months the BK completes 10 years of life!




ONE YEAR AGO: Happy New Year In My Kitchen!

TWO YEARS AGO: Happy New Year In My Kitchen!

THREE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen: Happy New Year!

FOUR YEARS AGO: And another year starts…

FIVE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen: January 2014

SIX YEARS AGO: Tacos with Pork in Green Sauce

SEVEN YEARS AGO:  Maui New Year!

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Natural Beauty

NINE YEARS AGO: Sunflower Seed Rye


41 thoughts on “HAPPY 2019 IN MY KITCHEN!

  1. I’m sorry 2018 wasn’t a good year for you. Here’s wishing you a much improved 2019, and lots of fun playing with your new gadgets! I finally threw away my nut chopper, but if this one works well, I’ll get it. I also get the peeled hazelnuts from nuts. What a worthwhile time saver! Love the coffee cup.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy New Year Sally!!! Wishing you the BEST year ever!!! Please know that I love reading your blog, which in some way, I find I am getting to know you! Looking forward to spending this next year with you!!! Xoxox

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hope 2019 will be a great year for you all. Enjoy the blog so much!! Thank you for all your hard work!!
    Don’t give up on regular dishes!! I admire the baking but am not a baker…but use many of your other fine recipes. Special pats for those sweet doggies. barb

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, not a chance I will give up on regular dishes, they will still make at least 50% of the blog posts – I have way too many un-blogged baking things, but I try to make sure they get alternated with savory recipes.


  4. Bogey QT . . . yes, yes, yes – I love all that your Mommy posted . . . . and I DO hope you all are going to have the most fab year ever . . . and, yes, she could really be thinking of making more things containing MEAT, but , , , she does bake all these fab cakes and perhaps she will try get into that competition again . . . and then she would feel like giving you lots of extra treats, now wouldn’t she ? Now I know it is hard to get past Daddy, but do try to do so to say ‘Happy New Year’ . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • cannot decide what to do about the competition… I go back and forth, back and forth… oh, well… at some point I will decide if I want to set myself up for a ton of stress 😉


      • OK – a challenge and stressful and time-consuming . . . . but, Sally, you know you ‘have it’ and I just think you might regret not to have ‘pushed’ your way in another time . . . huh ? hugs . . .


        • THat’s what Phil has been saying to me…. that I will never regret trying, but will probably regret not going for it. Still the chances they would pick me are very slim. They rejected me once already… should that be enough? 😉


          • Sally – they will respect you for your persistence. And you have been doing such interesting and advanced work in the interim . . . I am no a baker but have watched much of the Australian and some of the Brit stuff . . . perhaps try 🙂 ? You have won a number of times in other fields before . . . so they say ‘no’ and you get a multitude of extra kisses from Phil !! Huh !


  5. What a simply MARVELOUS blogpost, Sally! I loved every syllable of it, and laughed delightedly at so much of it! Happy New Year to you, Phil, and to the pups! Hoping to see you in the new year!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy New Year to you all. What a lot of wonderful goodies – and, of course, the ever delightful dogs. I sympathise about the burrs – I also have a furry burr magnet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • can you believe Buck today showed up from the backyard covered in burrs? I guess he got jealous of Oscar’s spotlight. So of course, I already have material for April 2019 IMK 😉


  7. Your collection of gadgets is great! I can’t remember where I put my nut chopper like that.

    Have a glorious New Year — better than last year for sure!

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy New Year Sally!! I adore you kitchen posts, resident burr balls and that mug for Phil… priceless; ordering info please! We have so much to learn from your fur babies’ new year’s wisdom. Cheers my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • that lame holder is something, isn’t it? I love the grain of the wood, and how light it is…

      the pups love the attention, of course, and they believe no one would read my IMK posts if it wasn’t for their presence. I sometimes do wonder… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh wow! So many new things in your kitchen – The Food Lab is one of my favorite cookbooks of all time, and that pic of your nut chopper reminds me that mine recently broke (they’re hard to come by in Australia so it’s something my mom shipped to me from the US a while back, as I could not live without it). That elderflower cordial is divine – I made some apricot and elderflower jam with it just last week and I’ll never be able to go back to ordinary apricot jam now. Happy 2019!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hot Chocolate on Sunday mornings sounds lovely. As for organisation… I think jars and tubs are to cooks what stationery is to writers. We only ever have pastries or hot breakfast on Sundays. As you say – everything in moderation. This is the second post I have read about Harry & David. I will have to Google and read a bit more about these excellent providores! What a coincidence that we both wrote about hazelnuts in our kitchens. Happy New Year.

    My late addition: http://www.tiffinbitesized.com.au/2019/01/07/in-my-kitchen-january-2019/

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We really need to meet in 2019. I’m not far from Kansas and will arrive bearing more gifts from Oklahoma. 🙂 Your thoughts make me break into a huge grin every time I read them, as do your adorable pets and hubby, and life’s too short not to mingle with folks who make you SMILE. Wonderful post, Sally! Happy New Year, xo.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. hi sally
    happy new year to you. thanks for joining in with us at IMK. love your doggy photos and that cute mug. that oyster knife looks a bit scary to me. i think i would cut my fingers off seeing as how i am so clumsy. me and knives … i’ve not seen a batter dispenser before – is it to fill in muffin trays etc with equal amounts? ooh yes elderflower has such a wonderful flavour doesn’t it? love that nut grinder – i too end up with nuts spraying all over the kitchen when i chop. have a great year. cheers sherry

    Liked by 1 person

    • I stay away from the oyster knife also… hubby does that, and I gladly set the table instead!

      yes, the batter can be used to fill small muffin tins or other small containers that are so tricky to fill without making a huge mess


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