Gentle Reminder: Today is the Last Day to Get $50 Off My Online Course

You’ll still be able to register for the course through December 15th (but it will be full price.)

This 12-Week Online Course Runs from January 21st-April 8th 2021There are Limited Spots Available. It is Only Offered Once A Year.

I’ve worked really hard to create an experience that allows you to gently excavate the things you aren’t able to access every day. Also, this is not a business course. It is for anyone who is seeking more clarity in their lives and looking for positive change.⁠

I hope to see you there!

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe. Photo by Michelle Smith Creative for Gather Goods Co

As I’ve gotten older my tastes have evolved and I’m less interested in making the status quo and I’m more interested in shifting tradition slightly and improving upon it. While pumpkin pie is a classic, it has felt a little bland to me in recent years. So this year, while we have Thanksgiving at home with just the three of us, we are going to change the traditional pumpkin pie to pumpkin cheesecake and make it in individual sizes for extra appeal. I recommend topping each mini cheesecake with whipped cream and sugared pecans. Because, you know, calories don’t matter on Thanksgiving, right?!

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

Ingredients
  

  • 2 packages 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar reserved for graham cracker crust
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 sleeve graham crackers, crumbled in a food processor
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, reserved for graham cracker crust
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Combine softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl or mixer and beat until smooth.
  • Add in eggs one at a time until blended.
  • Grease a muffin pan.
  • Mix together graham cracker crumbs, reserved sugar and cinnamon until well blended.
  • Press a layer of the graham cracker mixture into the bottom third of each muffin tin reservoir.
  • Take out 1 cup of batter in the mixing bowl and spread it into the bottom of crust, filling it about halfway full.
  • Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir until blended.
  • Add the remaining batter to the top of each muffin tin.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until center is almost set.
  • Let it cool and refrigerate overnight or for 3 hours.
  • When serving, top with whipped cream and sugar pecans, if desired.
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe. Photo by Michelle Smith Creative for Gather Goods Co
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe. Photo by Michelle Smith Creative for Gather Goods Co

Photos by Michelle Smith Creative for Gather Goods Co

Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe with Mushrooms and Leeks

I posted recently about an amazing vegetarian mushroom stuffing recipe that I’ve been making for the past few years for our annual Friendsgiving (skipping this year for obvious reasons). I mistakenly said that it was vegan but if you are looking to make it vegan there are a few easy swaps: instead of butter I would use either vegetable stock or vegan butter and there is another part where the bread uses an egg as a binder, I read that flaxseed or tapioca starch would work as a binder replacement. I haven’t tried either but would love to hear if you do.

Vegetarian Stuffing Recipe with Mushroom and Wild Leeks

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 pound shitake mushrooms
  • 1 pound button mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped leeks
  • 6 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 cups white cooking wine
  • handful fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 baguette, cut in half and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 egg, beaten

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl pour 1 1/2 cups hot water over dried porcini mushrooms and let it sit until the mushrooms get soft, about a half-hour.
  • Transfer mushrooms to a cutting board and chop into small pieces, leave any liquid behind and reserve for future use.
  • Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat
  • Add shitake and button mushrooms and saute for about 10 minutes
  • Add leeks and garlic and saute for 5 minutes
  • Add wine, thyme, and porcini mushrooms. Cook until most of the wine is evaporated about 5 minutes and stir it occassioanlly.
  • Transfer all these items to a large bowl. Mix in bread, egg and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking dish
  • Add in some of the reserved mushroom liquid to keep the dish moist.
  • Transfer stuffing to baking dish
  • Bake for about 40 minutes, uncovered, and until it is heated all the way through.

Notes

Recipe via Epicurious.com and Rochelle Palermo Torres. Highlighted via Gather.

What do you think? Does this sound like a recipe you might try? If you love mushrooms (which I know is controversial) then you will love this dish. It’s great to bring to a potluck where you know there will be vegetarians in attendance as well.

Photos by Michelle Smith Creative for Gather Goods Co

Discover & Create A More Fulfilled Life ONLINE course

I am so grateful that I have had something to focus on to help distract me from this crazy year.

Over the past six months, I have been hard at work turning the course I created: Discover & Create A More Fulfilled Life, into a fully ONLINE course. It has been a labor of love and not a small task and I am SO excited that it is out in the world.

This course was created to help you figure out what matters to you most by accessing what is hidden below the surface, letting go of the things that aren’t serving you, creating a clear vision and creating actionable steps once you’ve achieved that clarity of purpose.


I know that it can be hard sometimes to discern your own voice or know what’s next in a noisy world. This course is intended to cut through that.⁠ It is what I have learned through my own experience and that which I’ve taught others over the years.⁠

Over the twelve-week course, you will learn: who you are, what you value, what your dreams are, what you need to let go of, why it matters, and how to bring it all together.⁠

The course is 12-weeks and runs from January 21st-April 8, 2021. There are only a limited number of spots available and it will only be offered once a year. Registration ends December 15th and if you sign-up before November 23rd and use coupon code: DISCOVER you’ll get $50 off.

For more details visit courses.gathergoodsco.com

I hope to see you there!

Apple Cider Doughnut Muffins

Missing all those fall activities, we decided to make some of the most well-loved autumn treats at home this year. On a cool evening, we made chili, these apple cider doughnut muffins, and sat around the fire pit in our backyard enjoying it all.

You’ll find the recipe below which is from the NY Times. These can also be made into doughnuts if you had a doughnut cutter or pan. I like that this recipe is baked and not fried, so healthier than traditional doughnuts that you might get an attraction out and about, but still, just as tasty.

Baked Apple Cider Doughnut Muffin Recipe

Ingredients
  

  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup apple cider

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin with the nonstick cooking spray.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, salt, 1 teaspoon cinammon and 1 teaspoon nutmeg, whisk to combine and set aside.
  • In a stand mixer, cream 10 tablespoons butter, brown sugar and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the eggs individually and mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract.
  • While still mixing add the flour mixture on low speed until mixed together. Add apple cider slowly until it is combined. Make sure everything is mixed together well.
  • Add the batter to the muffin tins about 2/3 ways full.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.
  • While baking, whisk 1/2 cups granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together in a small bowl. In another bowl melt 6 tablespoons butter.
  • After the muffins have cooled for 5 minutes, brush them with melted butter and roll them in cinnamon sugar while still warm.

Also, these days, I don’t have a lot of extra energy to spare so these photos are a little unfocused, a little wabi-sabi and just taken very on the fly. I’m sure you’ll get over it. 😉

Recipe via NY Times

Photos by Michelle Smith Creative for Gather Goods Co

Voices in the Crowd, Black Women in Reaction to the Breonna Taylor Decision

Sometimes I wonder if people are really listening. Even if you don’t agree, please take the time to read/listen to the voices of these Black women in reaction to the Breonna Taylor decision yesterday. It’s important.:

“Sept 23 1955 – Emmett Till’s murderers are acquitted, September 23, 2020 – Breonna Taylor’s murderers are acquitted”
Viola Davis

“I had to cry today. Like so many days this year. My heart hurts for Breonna and her family. I’m sad for all my Black brothers and sisters. To live everyday with such anxiety and fear is not our purpose, yet here we are. I feel helpless. I will VOTE and continue to use my voice, writing and platform to uplift my people. But what I fear is that it won’t be enough.”
Julee Wilson

“I know many of us are confused and frustrated and broken hearted and angry and we have every right to be. But all of us have heard the news of Breonna Taylor in the offices today. And many of us feel like her life was in vain, like all of the protest and everything has been vain. And the song that keeps coming into my head is “Is my living in vain, is our prayers in vain, are we wasting our time” but the Word says “no”, of course not, it’s not all in vain” it ain’t all in vain. I know that it feels like it because it is frustrating, but it is not all in vain.

I truly believe with everything in me that before our loved ones who passed on, our Breonna Taylor, our George Floyds, more names than we can call out, before they came here on earth they agreed to this mission because they knew it would start the movement, they agreed on it and that’s what it has done. It has created a movement and it is not done. We are all in this together but a movement only happens with movement so this is not the time to stop, this is not the time to shut down, this is not the time to forget, this is the time to continue to move forward, okay? It’s frustrating but it’s not in vain.

I pray our movement, our protests, our love, our support, our fallen loved ones, has not been in vain it’s been for the movement. That every person in the world that we should be treated equally, that we should all receive justice when we’ve been wronged, right? I’ve heard it a million times all lives matter and Lord knows I look forward to the day that that is a true statement and it rings true because the proof is in the pudding, it rings true because the justice system always works for everybody, it favors everyone the same. I look forward to that day and I do believe that that day can come but it didn’t come today. Will it come tomorrow, maybe not but the movement is here and we must continue to move forward in the smartest of ways. I know you are frustrated and are tired but it has not all been in vain. And while we are here make sure you register to vote, let us do that, and do everything we can.”
Tabitha Brown

“We just continue to toss all our worst traumas down the ladder of privilege so Black women, Black CIS women, Black Trans women, we expect Black women to lift everybody up and that is exactly what Breonna did. She decided to be an EMT because she wanted to save lives and she was an essential worker during a pandemic and a crisis that was decimating our community and in return the local police pumped bullets into her sleeping body.”
Brittany Packnett Cunningham

“Our spirits, I promise you, are bigger than the systems we face; and I promise you our purpose is greater than the oppression that tries to grab hold of us. Those systems, they may have stolen Breonna’s life but they will never steal her light. That oppression may have taken her life but it will never steal her legacy because we will fight for that.”
Brittany Packnett Cunningham

“If we thought the problem and the solution to the tragedy of Breonna Taylor was simply prosecuting these cops, then we’re not understanding the broader systemic conditions that allow for the kind of policing that disproportionally imperils Black Americans…”
Kimberle Crenshaw

“The problem with racism is not that people know it exists and are being trained on how to do better. The problem with racism is racism. And today, tragically, makes that all the more clear.”
Kimberle Crenshaw

“The same systems responsible for our oppression cannot be the same systems responsible for our justice.”
Derecka Purnell

“Again, the entire legal system of the US is showing itself to be a farce that has everything to do with preserving power dynamics and nothing to do with justice.”
Bree Newsome Bass

“What is this picking out a few Black people like needles in a haystack, just to prove a point, when, at the same time, Black people are routinely lynched and millions do not feel safe? It’s abhorrent. Of course, arguing safety under any presidency may be a false net,  but considering whole communities, what is the purpose of these needles? What is the purpose when the whole haystack is blowing in the wind? We shouldn’t be singularly focused–there’s too much on the line. We shouldn’t pick out one person and hold them as the standard–we need picture ideas the save the masses.”
-LaTonya Yvette

“Black women deserve better.”
– Nikisha Riley

“Offensive. Egregious. Unacceptable.”
Garcelle Beauvais

“EMOTIONAL … I’m exhausted. The past 6 months have been a true test in almost every way imaginable. Yesterday’s verdict took me there. I cried. My heart is heavy. I am sending love and light to Breonna’s family. I am just sad. The daily anxiety and fear that we as Black people live with is real. It’s not anxiety about taking a test. It’s not anxiety about fitting in. It’s anxiety that centers around very real questions like will I be safe in my home? Will my husband be safe driving on a back country road by himself late at night? I remember my mom turning on gospel music when she felt weary from carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders trying to protect her two young daughters from the reality of the world we live in and praying her husband would make it home safely that night. I was too young to understand it at the time, this is my adult self reflecting back on those instances. ⁣ My mother is a very strong and resilient woman; these occurrence weren’t often, but perhaps that’s why they left a lasting impression. Last night, I understood. I let the tears flow as I listened to “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired.”⁣

I am down right now, but I won’t stop fighting. I am going to VOTE and use my voice and my platform to inform, educate and uplift. We matter too much and we’ve come too far. I see YOU sis. I got your back.”⠀
Kalyn Johnson

Art by Nikisha Riley

What The Passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Means To Me

Here is what the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg means to me:

I am not one to typically idolize a person, especially someone such as herself, who within the past decade really became an icon outside of just a person. I prefer to really focus on the humanity of an individual. I do though, like anyone, look to people as markers of inspiration, as someone with traits that I aspire to.

As with anyone she was multi-faceted and no portrayal can accurately convey anyone, still, she came across as quiet but fiercely convicted, smart and steady, demur and powerful, strong and consistent, and yet still being kind and loving despite ideological differences. A great embracer of her dualities in a way that we are really learning these days is how to proceed with grace and impact. She showed us that the world can be unfair but we can little by little persevere and make change, consistently, solidly, in the face of great opposition, even if it takes a whole lifetime. A woman, who at almost fifty years took on a mantle of leadership representing not just women and those oppressed but also women of a certain age, who are significantly underrepresented as powerful, sound leaders and professionals.

Without her work women still wouldn’t be seen by the law as equals. It is profound to recognize that despite and because of her efforts gender-based pay discrimination only became illegal in 2014 under Barack Obama and yet she worked tirelessly her whole life to enact such change through her very being and through her smart and compassionate legal actions.

I read that in the Jewish culture people of that faith who die on a certain day are considered great teachers. I believe she will be remembered as someone who led the way, was a light in a dark world but a constant shining light to show us the truth. And to have it extinguished in the middle of such a tumultuous and divisive world is all the more darkening but also all the more enlightening in its loss. Rest in power, Justice Ginsburg, and thank you. ⁠

Beautiful artwork by illustrator @libbyvanderploeg

Of Note, Thoughts on Solitude by Musician Andrew Bird

I heard this phrase today about finding ourselves in solitude by musician Andrew Bird on the Meditative Story podcast:

“When we go to a place where we can actually hear ourselves, we hear what is speaking to us, what is around us. And if we can hear it, then we can make it sing.”

As someone who thinks best when I am by my lonesome, this resonates. How are you finding time in this unusual season to listen to yourself?

New In the Shop: Art Prints by Lily Uoka Studios

I’m excited to introduce the work of Lily Uoka (short for Uokalania) in the Gather online shop. Lily lives and was raised in the Berkeley/Oakland area of California and though she was creative all her life, she only came to painting in her late twenties when a boring cubicle job pushed her towards a more creative outlet. It was then that she purchased her first paints and paintbrushes. Her mixed media art has a tropical, beachy feel and combines dried flowers, collage, paints, and gold leaf. Not only does she carefully select which blooms she will press to later use in her art, but she also mashes up different flowers to create pigment which also finds its way into her pieces.

I discovered Lily on instagram and approached her about having some of her prints in the shop. I love the multi-dimensional aspects of her pieces, the focus on women and flowers, as well as her color palette.

Since Lily is relatively new to selling her work and in selling it to stores I hope you will consider supporting this venture by purchasing one of the prints from the Gather shop below.