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I have really been in denial you guys – I just can’t let summer go…I am a summer baby (as in, I was born in August) and there is really no better season for me. Regardless of wherever I’ve lived, summer just does it for me. This summer was particularly incredible for me in Seattle, and as much as I know that Fall is already here (and official since we’re past the 21st of September now), I just couldn’t shake the feeling that my summer wasn’t quite over. Until today. Well, heck, maybe even last night.

I’d spent a good part of this past summer NOT cooking, NOT entertaining, NOT working on my food passions, and just generally relaxing and going with the flow (imagine that!). To my credit, there was a lot of traveling that I really enjoyed, weddings of dear ones, concerts, runs, BBQs, birthday parties (mine included), and some wonderful dinners and dates I won’t soon forget. But last night, what I had literally said was going to be a “simple dinner cooked up for us” turned into a massive undertaking (that got pretty involved, messy and ultimately pretty satisfying in flavor and execution). I made what I’m now calling “Reverse Stuffed Manicotti,” a dish I’d make again at some point, but would do so knowing I’d be in the kitchen for about 90 minutes straight, thereby completely squashing any chance of a workout post work (although I did work up quite the sweat and appetite while I was muscling and whisking the various sauces).

There aren’t any pictures of said manicotti, because to be completely frank with you, it wasn’t a beautiful dish, not even a little bit. And what’s more, I was entirely uninterested in taking pictures of dinner since there was someone special sitting across from me that I had been looking forward to seeing all day. So I took a mental picture of how happy that dinner made me – cooking it from scratch (including the inevitable and impromptu dance party that always ensues when I cook while listening to MJ and Biggie Smalls), eating it and sharing it. And of course there are leftovers to go around, which means everyone wins!

When I woke up this morning, for the first this season, I was excited to grab my big, chunky knit sweater (or as my coworker calls it, “your granny librarian/teacher look.”  Uh, thanks?) and fall in love with Fall. I must have been on the cusp of this yesterday because I also bought some cured salted pork belly at the store after I left the office so I can make a refined version of ham and cheese scones this weekend. That is always something that screams Fall to me – savory scones.

So today, I got a little food eye candy in my email from West Elm, and I just couldn’t help but share with you the things I am swooning over and plotting to purchase (potentially this weekend). And, NO, I am not being paid in any way, shape or form for this – this is good old, healthy kitchen porn that I can’t keep to myself.

They have this line called “Universal Expert” (clearly designed for me because I literally claim to be expert at all sorts of things I’m not, and feel like there’s nothing I can’t conquer). Here are my picks:

Source: West Elm (www.westelm.com)

Source: West Elm (www.westelm.com)

This first one is the set called “Universal Expert Wooden Utensils,” made of beech wood and inspired by the boomerang shape (ugh! LUSTT!!!!!!) I feel like I have such a dumb hodge podge of utensils cluttering my stove top that I can barely shove another wooden spoon or rubber spatula into the caddy from the dish waser. (I know, my life is so rough, right?! These are serious #ChampagneProblems we’re having here).

Source: West Elm. (www.westelm.com)

Source: West Elm. (www.westelm.com)

And this is just plain smart, and could’ve come in handy last night when I was pulling the “Reverse Stuffed Manicotti” out of the 400F oven and moving three times with potholders (okay dish towels, I don’t even own potholders….is that bad?) on cork trivets. I want products that reduce waste (of product, space, time etc.) and both these look like they do just that. Not to mention, they’re just sexy, and my kitchen could use a little streamlining and upgrading in the cookware dept.

Then I saw this beauty which is for my front entry way, and which I hope will alleviate the “crap corner” I was lamenting about over dinner last night. “Crap corner” is visible from everywhere in my small 1bdrm apartment and takes up precious real estate on my kitchen counter.

Source: West Elm. (www.westelm.com)

Source: West Elm. (www.westelm.com)

 

So even though these aren’t necessarily “Fall” specific items, I feel like I’m nearing the bend in the road where I transition from “I must be outside every single day” to “it’s Fall and let’s just put on a record, make some comfort food and read a good book.”

What are your Fall must haves for the kitchen, tabletop, fridge or pantry?

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