Saturday Sun 11.25.2023

Created by Laura Wright
A head on shot shows rose hip branches in direct sunlight with heavy shadows.

Welcome to another weekend, and a special gift guide edition of Saturday Sun! Folks expressed interest in a few little edible/cooking gift ideas, so we’ve expanded the “5 Things I’m Enjoying” section to 10 gift ideas that will hopefully inspire. I’m also sharing a recipe that is perfect for gifting next week!

I hope that you’ve been taking care as the holiday season ramps up. This weekend, I’m doing the outdoor decorating, we’re having a little date night, and also attending our friends annual Friendsgiving celebration (I’m bringing a citrusy brussels sprouts salad). Hopefully we can squeeze in a cozy fire and a Christmas movie (leave your faves in the comments!).

I really lean into my little routines this time of year to bring as much daily calm and quiet as possible. Hoping you’ve been able to do this as well! Catch you here next week xoxo

5 Things I’m Reading:

  1. Four Ways to Be Grateful—And Happier
  2. How to Avoid Family Drama This Holiday Season
  4. 99 Things Money Can’t Buy
  5. Forest or Nature Bathing: Ancient Practices, Modern Uses, and the Science of Relaxation

Things I’m Enjoying:

  1. Acid League’s All The Alliums
    This sauce is legitimately a cheat code for instant flavour in sauces, dressings, soups, stews, basically anything I’m cooking. It has Dijon vinegar, black garlic, shallots, and a hint of sweetness. Acid League initially sent this to me as a gift, but now I don’t like to be without it. 
  2. Fly By Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp
    For the person in your life that loves the spice! I put this stuff on everything and love so many other items in their product range. It’s obviously hot, but also has deep umami characteristics that amplify whatever you’re applying it to. They have lots of great gift sets too!
  3. Logan Petit Lot nut butters
    I’m a huge fan of this Canadian brand. Their maple peanut butter is one of my favourite things in general. The cashew coffee nibs flavour smells like the most incredible breakfast cereal. I also just got their seasonal flavours and the après huit is calling to me!
  4. Beans! And freshly milled flour
    For the bakers and bean enthusiasts in your life! As someone who cooks constantly, it’s so nice to receive an unusual bean variety or freshly milled flour for bread baking. I love Primary Beans and Flourist for assembling cute gift bundles like this. Dry goods, but make them special and fun! 😉
  5. Benriner Mandoline
    It’s not a super fancy/glamorous gift, but I use it all the time! For the person in your life that loves playing with vegetables and making pretty salads in general, a sharp mandoline is key. Mine has just the essential features and has stayed sharp over 10 years of consistent use.
  6. Bench scraper
    Again, not the most glamorous gift, but an excellent stocking stuffer! I use this every day to transfer chopped veg from my cutting board to the pot/baking sheet/bowl etc. It’s also wonderful for dividing up bread dough and, yes, scraping down the bench/board when you’re cleaning up.
  7. Microplane
    Another thing that I use constantly for super finely minced garlic and ginger, citrus zest, nutmeg, and more! The fine holes of a box grater just do not cut it! 
  8. Earlywood Flat Sauté Spatulas
    There’s just something about these that I enjoy so much more than using a wooden spoon. I feature them in my photos and videos all the time because I truly use them every day! Great for stirring obviously, but also flipping foods over, breaking up bits of veggie sausage, and even using as salad tongs in a pinch. 
  9. Atelier Trema Oil Dispenser
    I get so many questions about these! I have one for avocado oil and one for olive, and they look so nice next to the stove. They really do make great gifts for the cooks in your life.
  10. Cookbooks! Here are some faves of mine that came out this year:
    ♥️ BrED by Ed Tatton: Stunning plant-based sourdough and sweets baking inspiration
    ♥️ Farmhouse Vegetables by Michael Smith: I watched a lot of Michael Smith on Food Network when I was in my late teens. This veg-forward offering from him is beautiful!
    ♥️ Plantcakes by Lyndsay Sung: The most incredible vegan cakes and so much excellent vegan baking advice in general in this book.
    ♥️ Polish’d by Michał Korkosz: I love the international influences in this modern vegetarian cookbook that is broken down by cooking method.
    ♥️ Vegetable Revelations by Steven Satterfield: Chapters are arranged by botanical family in this beauty! An abundance of vegetable cooking inspiration that is a little bit restauranty, which I enjoy sometimes.
    ♥️ Veg-Table by Nik Sharma: I had been waiting for this book with such anticipation! This book is all about vegetable-focused mains with lots of fascinating food science tidbits to up your cooking game in general.

5 Questions:

  1. Tips on not getting irritable when nobody accommodates vegan needs at holiday dinners?
    I answered this question on Instagram, but think that it fits here as well. I have been in this position before! I think the first thing to be mindful of is how much work hosting is. There’s so much to buy, cook, clean, and manage. It’s possible that the host is not 100% aware of what your dietary needs are and what they entail. I always recommend checking in at least a week ahead of time to a) let them know that you’re vegan, and b) ask what you can bring to the dinner to help out. I always try to bring a recipe that eats like a side dish, but will still be super satiating for me if it’s one of the only options at the table that’s totally plant-based. My go-to is a farro salad with French lentils, roasted pieces of squash, pomegranate, chopped herbs, toasted nuts, and a shallot dressing (let me know if I should post the recipe!). Communication, empathy, and a willingness to help go a long way. When all else fails, I grab a veggie burger combo from Harvey’s (frings on the side thanks) on the way home haha.
  2. I think you have a nut/seed/oat milk machine? What brand is it and do you like it?
    I had an Almond Cow, but to be honest I didn’t love it. Prior to getting the almond cow, I would make nut milk in my Vitamix blender and just use a nut milk bag to fine strain it. When I saw ads for the Almond Cow, it seemed like it could make the milk without the need for the straining step. This was so appealing to me, so I took the plunge. Unfortunately, there were still bits in the finished milks that needed straining (it felt like there was nut pulp at the bottom of my lattes sometimes), and I also did not find the milks to be as creamy as the ones I had been making in the Vitamix. Overall, a high power blender is a much more versatile machine and it does a better job of making nut/seed/oat milks in my opinion.
  3. Best set of pots and pans when you’re starting from scratch?
    If I was starting over, I would probably get a GreenPan set for nonstick (there’s a great deal on a set at Ontario Costco warehouses right now). And while it is a bit pricey, I still love my stainless 10-piece All-Clad D5 set so much.
  4. How did you transition to working for yourself?
    Very slowly! I started my blog in 2011 and began to pursue it full time in 2017. Leading up to that point, I worked part time in restaurants and did some freelance jobs in food photography while I worked on my site and eventually my cookbook. When my book came out in 2017, I felt secure enough to try working for myself full time.
  5. What benefits have you noticed from juicing?
    I mostly do it for the sheer enjoyment! I see it as an extension of my creativity with food recipes. Of course the juices are hydrating and energizing to an extent, but I mostly just find it fun to throw them together. I will say that juicing has been excellent for dodging food waste, making the best mocktails, and overall increasing the variety of fruits and vegetables in our diet. My juicer is the Nama J2 and I love it! You can load it up with produce and walk away, which is the best part. My code: TFM10 gets you 10% off any juicer in their lineup.


  • Lyndsay Sung

    Ps our fave holiday movies are Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Christmas Vacation, White Christmas, the 1980s random tv version of A Christmas Carol (lol) and I’m a sucker for Love, Actually and the Holiday … hehe! Xo

  • Lyndsay Sung

    Laura, thank you so much for including my book Plantcakes in your cookbook recommendations (along with so many great picks)!! So kind of you, and I’m so happy you are enjoying Plantcakes! Saturday Sun is such a soothing and peaceful part of my week. I just love your writing and links and thoughts and advice. Thanks for all the work that goes into it! Xo

  • Lisa

    I always look forward to your Saturday Sun, thanks so much for all the work you put into this! I appreciate it.

  • Carrie

    Would love the farro/lentil recipe, please!! Sounds amazing. :)

  • Cheri

    Would love the recipe for the faro and lentil salad..Thank you

    • Laura Wright

      I’ll get working on sharing it here. Thanks Cheri!

  • Susan

    Love all your pictures. I was looking for BReD but couldn’t find. will keep looking, thanks for all your recommends and posts. Be well.

  • Barbara

    I would love the recipe for the vegan side that you like to bring along during the holidays! So enjoy your Saturday Sun and all you do!

    • Laura Wright

      I think I’ll get to work on it! Thanks Barbara :)

  • Brenda Nejedlo

    After reading the “I didn’t follow the recipe” article…which is BRILLIANT, I was perusing another food website for a recipe. In the recipe comments was this gem, “60 minutes seems a long time to bake and uses up a lot of electricity. Is there a quicker way to make this?” Oi.

    I always look forward to Saturday’s so I can read your email! Thank you!!

    • Laura Wright

      Ahaha usually the comments here are pretty chill, but I have seen some wild ones on other sites! Glad you’re enjoying the Saturday posts!

  • Chelsea

    As a sourdough baker myself I LOVE the idea of gifting flour and beans. Not sure if there was supposed to be a link for the “cute gift bundles like this”? Would love to see creative idea on how to wrap! :)

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Chelsea,
      There was no link for the gift bundles idea, but you’re giving me an idea for next year! :)

  • JLS

    Thanks for the BReD rec – I saw you’d mentioned it a bit ago and got a copy. It’s so excellent and I don’t think I’d have come across it living in the US.

    Thanks also for the consistently excellent recipes & these fun little Sat. AM posts. I recently gave your cookbook to friends as a wedding gift – it’s so full of goodness and they loved it!

    • Laura Wright

      It’s my pleasure! Thanks for supporting my cookbook and sharing it with others :)

  • Caroline

    Love the Polish’d rec! I have a polish cookbook that my sister loves but wanted to get her a surprise for the holidays. Gotta love the veg forward too!

    Also plus one to the bench scraper!! Great mini gift idea for cleaners and cooks.

    You da best L!

    • Laura Wright

      I really do think the bench scraper is a top 5 essential tool! And I hope you’ll check out Polish’d. It’s so great!

  • Hanna

    Hi, I do not really have a question but more of a request. I really love your creative way of cooking and would love if you would make a series of ‘nourish bowls’ recipes. I see this as a wholesome bowl filled with carbs, protein,veggies and greens, something crunchy and a delicious dressing… thank you so much in advance and also thank you for your wonderful recipes, to say I am obsessed is an understatement :)).