Different Gifting – Farmer’s Markets

Different Gifting – Farmer’s Markets

What to Buy?

I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to think of things I can give that are different, that aren’t expensive, that won’t get dusty, and that most people wouldn’t go get on their own and as I was wandering around the (very small) Farmer’s Market in Pasadena, I realized there were a lot of one-off gifts, the delightful, the different. I bought some stuff for me but hey, I have to think every Farmer’s Market is a bit different and will have different stuff – especially near the holidays – to help me handle my holiday gift list.

As we wandered into the center of the market, this marvelous spice scent hit my nose. At first I thought it was the vendors offering all sorts of things for sale; it wasn’t until I passed them and saw the mounds of fresh teas and spices in big bowls that I realized it was the World Flavorz Spice and Tea Co. merchant that had caught my attention. (Here’s their Facebook Page if you’re interested!)

6 spices

Buy 5, get one free…well, I had to, didn’t I? Aren’t they pretty?


black salt

One of the salts that caught our attention was this black lava salt. It’s made by smoking it with coconut husks (I think I have that right…) and looked intriguing. I also bought some pink Himalayan Salt (because I’m a salt addict).

provence salt

This salt just looked fascinating. It looks like it has lavender in it, as well as other Provence herbs. Not sure what I’ll use this in, but I’m keeping my options open.


Pepper is something that Tom and I are always “discussing”. I like pepper. He likes the pepper mixture from the store that has lots of other things in it beside pepper (like nutmeg I think…). I’m thinking he might like this, because it has lavender and rose petals in it. But again, what to use it in? Soups, maybe…

In the top photo, you can see two spices at the bottom. I wanted some fresh curry mixture, which is the yellow spice – and the red is fresh, sweet Hungarian paprika. I’ve been looking for the sweet variety, and I’m SO glad I found it! I’ll be using that on my turkey this year.

So, while I haven’t even begun to shop for my family and friends, spices from a Farmer’s Market might be a good gift choice.  I’m looking forward to nosing through other Farmer’s Markets in the greater Los Angeles area – never know what I might find for that perfect person.

Thanks for stopping by! May your week be filled with family, friends, good food, and plenty of thanks.


What sorts of places do you like to go to, when you’re shopping for gifts?

Cocktail Shake-up – Between the Sheets

Cocktail Shake-up – Between the Sheets

Sometimes I like to step away from my wine and dip my toes – metaphorically speaking – into other libations. In my twenties, margaritas were my drink of choice (though I did go through many bottles of the low-end sparkling wines – Cooks, Freixenet, etcetera). Most of my friends had blenders then just to make those frosty, slurpee-like margaritas.

photo of a margarita blender

Hamilton Beach 58150 Muchas Margaritas Fiesta Blender

Now? Those blenders are used to make meal-replacement shakes. Sigh. Okay, where was I?

Right. Back in my twenties. So, one night my husband Tom was working at The Harlequin Dinner Theater down in Orange County (off Harbor Blvd somewhere) doing a play – don’t remember which one, but I had gone to see the show and have dinner. After the show, the actors usually gathered to drink – the bar was kept open for awhile. The bartender, a cute guy and no, I don’t remember his name, but anyway…he made us this drink called Between The Sheets. (One is supposed to put you there. I think, at that age and at my then-current weight, it probably did!)

photo of a martini glassThis past fall, Tom decided to do something different and, after rummaging around in his memory, came up with this drink from our past.

I don’t knowwhat the state of your liquor cabinet is – but ours has bottles we

a photo of my liquor bottles above my cereal.

Thanks to Tom Ashworth for the photo!

haven’t looked at in a decade or so. (Plus it’s above our cereal. Doesn’t everyone keep their hard booze near the kid cereal?!)  Most of what he needed, we already had. So he made the drink, and it wasn’t bad.

Then he bought slightly better rum, and the drink was suddenly MUCH better. Here’s the recipe – 1 shot rum, 1 shot brandy, slightly less than one shot Triple Sec, and slightly less than 1 shot fresh lemon juice (jarred lemon juice will work in a pinch). Fill a cocktail shaker with ice – pour in the alcohol and lemon juice, and shake. Strain into martini glasses (or shallow champagne glasses if you don’t have martini glasses). Makes 2 servings.

This is a nice, not-too-sweet before dinner drink – a special occasion drink – a fun, different, and hard to screw up drink. Even an after-theater drink – we had it last night, after getting home late from a preview of A NOISE WITHIN’s production of Moliere’s The Bungler (in their new theater in Pasadena, California – wonderful space!).

Anyway – last night we sipped, we split a plate of nachos, and we talked about theater. While wine would have worked, the slightly sour, slightly sweet Between The Sheets hit the spot and went great with the nachos.

Do you have a favorite specialty mixed drink? Please share – and the recipe, if you know it!


Thanks so much for stopping by! Wine bottles are threatening to take over my kitchen counter and my desk, so I promise I’ll toss up a wine blog again SOON.