Kitchen Favorites: Garlic Rocker

When I kept the Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker, I was determined to justify its position in my tiny kitchen. And I’ve done just that. Learn more at
When I was asked to test an array of garlic presses last year, I hadn’t expected to keep any for my own kitchen. I grow and use piles of garlic; I’m just comfortable rock-chopping it for Sourdough Garlic Knots, slicing it for Spanish Shrimp in Garlic Oil, and roasting and squeezing it onto everything. When I owned a garlic press, it just took up space in my utensil drawer, sitting unused far too long before I gave it away.

Then, when I’d finished testing garlic presses, the look, feel, and easy use of the Joseph Joseph Garlic Rocker made it hard to give up. So I tucked it into my utensil drawer, determined to make it useful enough to justify its position in my tiny kitchen. And I’ve done just that, as I share in my latest piece for The Spruce Eats.
Learn choosing and using garlic rockers and presses


Choosing Wooden Spoons

I reach for wooden spoons all of the time; when baking, sturdiness and handle comfort matter most. Learn more at
As the holiday baking and gifting season begins, you may want to check out my recent piece for The Spruce Eats. I tested a dozen wooden spoons for the website earlier this year, using each of them to stir multiple batches of cookie dough or quick bread batter, as well as sautés, soups, pasta, and more.

I reach for wooden spoons all of the time in my kitchen, but they probably get the most use when I’m baking. Overall, I found that sturdiness and handle comfort mattered most when mixing doughs, especially dense ones. Some spoons I tested had additional features, like an edge shape that easily scraped down a mixing bowl or a small rubber scraper on the top of the handle that could clear out a measuring cup. A few had a shape that worked best when gripped a certain way to mix dough.
Learn about choosing and using wooden spoons

Vanilla Bean Cookies

These cookies are special to me because of their family history that has spread to friends’ holiday traditions. Learn more at
To kick off the December holiday season, I shared a favorite family cookie recipe this week in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon. Vanilla Bean Cookies are an appropriate way to start a month that emphasizes baking not only for their flavor but also because of how you create them: by making the cookies and letting them sit for several weeks. They’re the first cookies I make each holiday season, quickly followed by Chocolate Rum Balls, and they’re some of the first to be devoured when I crack open the cookie tins.

These cookies are special to me because of their history in my family and because friends continue to adopt them and include them in their own holiday traditions. My grandmother’s original recipe seemed untouchable, but I recently improved on it by switching to organic ingredients, especially a tapioca-based powdered sugar instead of one laced with cornstarch to prevent caking. After years of making this recipe, the flavor and texture were better than ever, making the extra cost well worth it.
Learn to make Vanilla Bean Cookies

Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Pie

Here’s my favorite pumpkin pie recipe and all of the homemade components I put in it. Learn to make Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Pie. Learn more at
This week, I share my favorite pumpkin pie recipe in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon. It seems fitting not just for the season but also because the introduction to my first column a year ago began with Mike Kordenbrock’s story and Hunter D’Antuono’s photos of another family favorite: Crumble-Top Deep-Dish Apple Pie.

I almost always make one or both of these pies for Thanksgiving gatherings, and they’re delicious for other winter holiday feasts, birthday parties, family meals, and more. If you’re just now stumbling on this recipe, don’t worry: read it completely, decide how many of the components you want to make from scratch, and then remember it for a future holiday.
Learn to make Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Pie