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November 1, 2017 |

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Open House to be held at Gibson’s

James Farmer, well-known lifestyle expert, is the featured guest at Gibson's Furniture, Gifts and Accessories.

James Farmer, well-known lifestyle expert, is the featured guest at Gibson’s Furniture, Gifts and Accessories.

Posted: Wednesday, November 1, 2017 12:00 am

Updated: 12:45 pm, Wed Nov 1, 2017.

Open House to be held at Gibson’s


Well-known lifestyle expert, James Farmer, will be the featured guest at Gibson’s Furniture, Gifts and Accessories during its annual Open House on Thursday, November 9, 20l7. The host extraordinaire will greet guests between the hours of 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

Native of Kathleen, Georgia, James Farmer is the author of the Wall Street Journal best-selling books, A Time To Plant (2011), Sip Savor (2012), Porch Living (2012), Wreaths For All Seasons (2012), A Time to Cook (2013), Dinner on the Grounds (2014), A Time to Celebrate (2015) and A Place to Call Home (2017), published by Gibbs-Smith Publishers.

Farmer’s love of Southern food and cooking have put him at the forefront of the garden-to-table lifestyle. James was taught as a young boy how to pull vegetables, herbs and flowers from the family farm and kitchen garden to provide much of the food, decor and flavor of his family’s everyday life. He developed an early appreciation for fresh, seasonal foods cooking at the side of his grandmother, whose Southern heirloom recipes he has revitalized for contemporary tastes.

With the passion for the land and Southern culture, he earned a degree in gardening design and then opened a landscape design company in 2005. Since opening his business in 2005, James Farmer’s focus has shifted to interior design. However, upon his business conception in 2005, Farmer was soon asked to consult on an important historic garden that needed restoration and updating. News quickly spread about James’s work, and the garden was soon featured in The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Southern Living Magazine, Traditional Home Magazine, and ultimately in the book, Private Gardens of Georgia. James’s business soared in the Southeast as a result. At the same time, because of his love for entertaining using the bounty from the garden, he began creating floral arrangements and consulting on food for private parties and weddings held by a growing client list. Local media coverage of these very special events, and word- of-mouth have made a “James Farmer Party” in demand in the South.

In Spring 2013, James opened his design firm and antique store, James Farmer Inc., in downtown Perry, Georgia.

James is currently an editor-at-large for Southern Living Magazine and has been the national spokesperson for The American Camellia Society. He has been featured on NBC TODAY, HGTV Gardens, Paula’s Home Cooking, Harper’s Bazaar, Good Housekeeping Magazine.

James graduated from Auburn University in 2004 with degrees in Horticulture and Art History.

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017 12:00 am.

Updated: 12:45 pm.

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10 Life-Changing Things To Try In November

Vitamins and I identify best as fair-weather friends. I typically have a stash of multivitamins at home that I forget about until I feel a cold coming on, and I pop a B-complex (I’m tired a lot) and some biotin (I’m vain and like shiny hair and nails) from time to time. But I guess I could be more on top of figuring out what vitamins and supplements I need for my specific health concerns — and, you know, actually taking them. So last month I decided to try Care/of, a service that does all the legwork for you and provides a personalized vitamin regimen based on your lifestyle.

When you first sign up on Care/of’s website, you’ll be asked some basic questions (age, gender, etc.), as well as what goals you have in mind (e.g., I chose brain, energy, digestion, and skin). Then you’ll answer between three to five questions for each “goal” — everything from your sleeping, eating, and drinking habits to questions about your mood and energy levels — and a list of recommended vitamins, supplements, minerals, herbs, and/or probiotics will appear before your very eyes. Once ordered, they’re sent to you monthly as a box with 30 packs each containing your daily dosages (and each printed with a fun challenge, inspirational quote, fact, or question — which, cute).

After doing the math and comparing my order to the price of the cheapest similar vitamins I could find on Amazon, Care/of’s price tag wound up being about $10 more a month — but for me, the convenience factor more than makes up for that difference. I don’t eat a full meal until I’m at work, and I have dinner at home maybe half the time; quite frankly, I don’t have the patience or dedication to plan out my weekly vitamins in a pill box or plastic baggie. More importantly, I trust the high production standards that Care/of is committed to: Its products are made ethically, sustainably, and without harsh solvents or processing materials. Have I felt a difference with respect to all my aforementioned goals? It’s only been a month, but my brain, energy levels, digestion, and skin all seem to be faring quite well. I’m not saying that’s all thanks to my new comprehensive vitamin regimen, but I’m not saying it’s not, either. —Emmy Favilla

Get Care/of products from starting at $5/month (and free shipping over $20).

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Kohl’s holiday sales come early this year

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A shopper at a Kohl's store in Jersey City, NJ.

Kohl’s is bringing out the sales for shoppers even earlier this holiday season.

The department store retailer on Wednesday unveiled its holiday strategy, which includes more ways for shoppers to earn Kohl’s Cash, in-store deals on Cyber Monday and heavier Black Friday promotions starting this week.

On the same day it unveiled its holiday plans, Kohl’s for one day only was offering shoppers $15 in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 spent in stores and online. The company said it’s using the day to set the tone for the holiday shopping season “in a big way.”

Kohl’s won’t be alone in offering shoppers big promotions in the coming weeks. Industry watchers are expecting retailers to rely heavily on discounts to draw in shoppers this holiday season.

One key risk, however, will be if retailers cut prices too much. It’s been a rough ride for U.S. department stores already this year, and they don’t have much room for additional expenses, which could drag profits down further.

But the hope is the strategy will drive shoppers to the store. Kohl’s Cash is one way to keep consumers coming back since it can be redeemed at Kohl’s locations at a later date, and is treated just like regular cash. In past years, Kohl’s only ran the “$15 for $50” promotions on Black Friday weekend, which it will also continue this year from Nov. 20 through Nov. 25.

“We’re issuing more Kohl’s Cash than ever before,” Chief Merchandising and Customer Officer Michelle Gass said.

Meantime, Kohl’s is beefing up its product assortment on sale this season, highlighting key categories the company believes will sell better than others.

Athleisure is a particular “bright spot” for Kohl’s business, according to Gass. 2017 notably marks the first holiday season Wisconsin-based Kohl’s will have Under Armour merchandise on its shelves. And Kohl’s said the partnership is proving successful, thus far.

Additionally in the active department, Kohl’s has its own private-label lines and sells from Nike and Adidas. In the home-goods category this Christmas, the company is promoting national brands like KitchenAid, Keurig and Instant Pot. For women’s apparel, Kohl’s has an exclusive line with designer Vera Wang.

This year, Kohl’s will open its doors on Thanksgiving at 5 p.m., an hour earlier than last year.

Also new to this holiday season, Kohl’s will offer a slew of unique deals in its stores on Cyber Monday, which is traditionally a day for shopping online.

Kohl’s marketing will strengthen throughout early November, according to Greg Revelle, Kohl’s chief marketing officer.

The department store chain is ramping up its holiday advertising campaign ahead of past years, and spending more money on media and digital, Revelle said. Kohl’s and Twitter, for example, are teaming up to create a Kohl’s Cash emoji when a user tweets “#KohlsCash.”

Kohl’s also has partnerships this year with the National Football League and ABC’s Freeform television network to promote Kohl’s in coveted commercial slots.

Lauren Thomas

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The Masterchef’s Kitchen Tools from Down South! – Yanko Design

Half the weight of cast iron, but with the ability to cook and season your food the same way. AUS-ION™ (or low carbon mild steel) is the new ‘in’ material that chefs in Australia are swearing by. Rather than having a mold that molten iron is poured into, AUS-ION™ utensils are made by forming a steel sheet into which everything from the pan to the handles are accommodated. Each utensil as a result is absolutely seamless and in one piece. No ugly rivets also mean that the resultant utensil is much stronger than its steel counterparts.

Coming from Australia, indeed the continent of Masterchefs, is SOLIDteknics, a company devoted to making beautiful, innovative, effective, and resilient utensils for your cooks. With pans and skillets that the country’s top cooks swear by, SOLIDteknics is pushing the use of Aus-Ion, a new wonder-material that cooks the way cast iron does, adding its rustic flavor to dishes, but just weighs half the weight, comes with a natural non-stick surface, and a seamless, sheet-formed design that adds a degree of sleekness to your kitchenware.

The show-stealers of the SOLIDteknics collection are the Bigga Skillet, and the Deep Pot (the Aussie names give it a nice touch, no?). Designed to be used anywhere and everywhere, the skillets and pots can be put on stovetops and even inside ovens. AUS-ION™ has no heat-limit as such, and can be used anywhere where food can be prepared (gas, oven, even induction). Its single-piece design comes with a certain degree of engineering that I can’t stop marveling. The handle, essentially a sheet, is bent into a U shape to give it strength, while vents are cut out right near the pan, so that heat from the base of the skillet or pot doesn’t travel all the way to the handle, making it easy to work with. What’s more, the design comes with a symmetry that enables the Deepa Pot to be used as a lid against itself, making it a pretty ingenious piece of kitchenware.

Made 100% in Australia using proprietary techniques and the AUS-ION™ supermaterial, all of SOLIDteknics utensils come with a never-heard-before multi-century warranty! You can choose from their range of 9 kitchen utensils that are guaranteed to pass the fire test for years if not centuries to come!

Designer: Mark J. Henry

Click here to Buy Now: $80.00 for the Deep Pot $155.00 for the Bigga Skillet








Click here to Buy Now: $80.00 for the Deep Pot $155.00 for the Bigga Skillet

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From Floor To Ceiling: The Fort Lauderdale Home Show Is At The Forefront Of Design

November in South Florida means less rain and cooler temperatures, making Fall the best time to begin some home improvement projects. Whether you are changing the décor or ready to renovate, the Fort Lauderdale Home Design and Remodeling Show has it all. Take advantage of special show savings, scope interior design trends and transform your home in time for the holidays! From floor to ceiling and for outside too, here are some exhibitor highlights:

Floor Decor

Floor Decor specializes in the hard surface flooring market, offering the broadest in-stock selection of tile, wood, stone, related tools and flooring accessories. At Floor Decor, homeowners and professional contractors have access to a superstore selection at warehouse prices with showroom quality. Their extensive selection of in-stock product allows customers to get what they need when they need it. The Floor Decor brand is bolstered by a local focus that allows them to create a store experience and mix of products that meet the needs of each market they serve.

Yamini Kitchens and More

Since 2003, family business Yamini Kitchens and More has been dedicated to serving its customers by guiding them through the kitchen cabinetry design and remodeling process. With 100% Italian cabinetry and a large variety of colors and materials, customers can find the innovative design and high quality. Yamini Kitchens and More offers free estimates, stock programs available for immediate delivery and exceptional customer service. Recently, the company has added a new shelving system which includes: closet systems, sliding doors, TV units, workstations and wall shelving units.

Fortress Impact Windows and Doors

Fortress Impact Windows and Doors is one of the largest and most trusted names in home impact windows and doors, serving the Eastern U.S. and the Bahamas. Established in 1999, the company provides the finest vinyl products with proven engineering, quality and white glove service. Being close to customers allows them to provide you better service: meaning faster lead and delivery time, as well as a quick response to any window and door warranty situations. Fortress Impact Windows and Doors provides the right amount of guidance on design ideas or options and operational features in clear, easy-to-understand language.

Art Connection

With over 28 years in the fine art and custom framing industry, Art Connection has evolved into a full service custom framing shop. The company is considered the number one source for new trends in fine art and the best value, quality and service in the art industry. Their stock is updated daily with exclusive framed art, original oils, acrylics, limited edition giclee, serigraphs, sculptures, metallic wall decor, hand blown glass vases and more. Art Connection has products inspired by the original artwork of local and internationally recognized artists, as-well-as reproductions beyond what any gallery showroom can offer.

Velum Design

Velum Design stretch ceilings are easier and quicker to assemble than any other ceiling system. The Stretch Ceiling System is the perfect solution for any construction, renovation or interior design project. It will cover uneven or damaged ceilings, hide wires, pipes and ducts. Installation only takes a few hours and there is no need to move any furniture – the process is clean and there is no potential for damage. Stretch ceilings and walls are available in over 100 colors with Matte, Satin, Lacquered ,Transparent and Mirror finishes. Velum Design stretch ceilings are 100% recyclable and can be installed and deconstructed without gloves, masks or other protection. finishes.

Brags Hayes, Inc.

Brags Hayes, Inc. is an international company formed by a visionary team with over three decades of experience in the field of power generation. They are your one-stop-shop for power generator sets from 5KVA up to 4,000KVA, diesel or gas engines, for residential, industrial or marine applications and with many configurations. The company also offers engines, pumps, accessories and spare parts plus have immediate access to the factories stock, given them the capability to meet their customers’ needs in the shortest period of time.

Tuff Shed 

Tuff Shed is America’s leading provider of backyard storage solutions, installed garages, cabin shells and custom structures too. Tuff Shed buildings are manufactured and installed locally, with domestically produced materials. Their professionals help guide customers through the entire design and construction process, with installation included in the purchase price. Tuff Shed’s national presence as an industry leader allows them to deliver key advantages like product innovation, exclusive or even patented building features and raw material purchasing power.

Above content provided by The Ft Lauderdale Home Design and Remodeling Show.

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Is this cooking for idiots? My week eating nothing but ‘recipe box’ food

Unlike standard veg boxes, which feel like homework (what do you do with celeriac?), recipe boxes are the clever kid who’ll let you copy their work in class. They tell you what to cook, how to cook it and only give you enough ingredients to get it done. The recipes, which change every week, are broken down into an almost insultingly easy series of steps. The boxes make you feel like a kitchen pro, while removing the need to think or make choices. Are they the perfected form of home cooking? Or a symptom of our spoonfed uselessness? Can one live exclusively on them? To find out, I have ordered a selection of the best boxes available in the UK, and I’m going to spend nearly 10 days comparing them. I’ll barely have to leave the house, and will pass that time exclusively eating. In other words: the dream, squared.


I kick off with the daddy of recipe boxes from award-winning Riverford. It has a range of weekly recipe boxes: two or three meals, vegetarian or omnivore, with various light or quicker options in each category. I’ve gone for three regular vegetarian meals, which at £33.95 is not cheap. The huge box arrives, rolling into my flat like a tank into town, and I investigate its incongruously cute ingredients: three garlic cloves, two carrots, a baggie of bouillon, a mini-sachet of sesame oil. Meat and dairy are surrounded by frozen water bags, wrapped in wool-lined envelopes, which I will eventually acquire so many of, I could knit into a blanket. (As produce is seasonal throughout the boxes, I treble up on leeks, mushrooms and runner beans during the week, at one point owning eight punnets of cherry tomatoes, which is oppressive.)

Riverford’s organic recipe delivery box. Photograph: Rhik Samadder for the Guardian

Riverford advises on the best order in which to cook its dishes, and first up is romanesco and leek korma. I take a moment to admire the romanesco, that most fractal of brassicas, and dive in. Toast a small pot of almonds; add a sachet of korma spice to shredded veg and ginger; simmer the romanesco in coconut milk, while preparing the rice. I’m paraphrasing, obviously. There’s much garlic peeling and chilli chopping, at which I’m slow, but it’s liberating to launch into a recipe without reading ahead. As with all the boxes, there are no ambush points: no “throw 24 peeled shallots into the pan” or “soak your lentils overnight”. Every step is factored into the instructions, while a frontispiece lists the pans and cookware required, with estimated time and a picture of the dish. It’s cooking for dummies.

I’m not korma’s biggest fan – I find the creaminess to be a baby’s blanket, muffling the punchy stuff. I also get one duff lime in the Riverford box, which cannot be juiced, retaining its moisture in crunchy, gemlike flesh, like an Australian finger lime. Extraordinary, but useless, and it contributes to an overall blandness in the dish, an early shock in the experiment. Heroes will fall, people.

Romanesco and leek korma, an early bland shock in the experiment. Photograph: Rhik Samadder for the Guardian


I have five boxes, containing three meals for two or more people. So that the experiment doesn’t last the rest of my natural lifetime, I am choosing two recipes from each box, switching providers every meal.

Today it’s the turn of Gousto, which produces boxes for couples or families – you choose specific recipes each week, from a pool of 20 (three recipes for two comes to £29.99). I’ve gone for “easy biryani”, albeit sceptically.

I remember dum biryani as a multi-day affair, involving meat marinaded in spices, then soaked in yoghurt and cooked slowly, underneath a pastry lid. I’m intrigued that Gousto thinks I can pull this off in less than an hour. Yet its easy biryani is certainly that: I add a sachet of curry powder to diced onion, break in lamb mince, chicken stock, tomato paste and uncooked basmati rice, and simmer for 10 minutes. Mince may be a poor cousin to cubes of shoulder meat, and there’s no fragrant lift from cardamom or cinnamon, but the result is incredibly satisfying. Meaty oil given off by the mince coats the rice, sultanas pull their weight, and the deep curry flavour is warming, balanced by a dollop of natural yoghurt. It’s a comforting bastard, and ready in an astonishing 35 minutes. Absolutely wolfed down.

The ‘easy biryani’ from Gousto lived up to its name – and was wolfed down.


Hello Fresh offers classic (ie meat), vegetarian or family box subscriptions, which can arrive weekly, fortnightly or monthly (three classic meals for two costs £34.99). I’m staring at the card for “Mexican cottage pie” thinking it should have a different name, because the one it has is meaningless. It has mozzarella and blocks of sweet potato in it, so could just as well be called Italian goulash. I’m also turned off by the recipe’s unvarying use of the word “veggies”, which lacks the dignity of “vegetables” and the brevity of “veg”. Wash the veggies, roast the veggies. I’d rather not infantilise anything I’m about to skin and incinerate, thanks.

The company does, I concede, package prettily. There’s a dinky pot of fajita seasoning, an idyllic wax-papered pat of butter from Netherend Farm. “You leave my nether end out of this,” I chuckle benignly, before remembering I am totally alone. I take stock of the box’s contents. It’s not for anyone worried about carbon footprints, but the quality is undeniable. Latterie Carsiche mozzarella from Italy, feta from a Greek dairy, 100% grass-fed beef steak mince, which is bouncy and full-flavoured. Freshly soured cream from Longley Farm is thick and golden, actually tasting of its name. I cook the beautiful beef and onion up with fajita spice, beef stock pot and tomato puree, then oven finish, topped with roasted sweet potatoes and fat shreds of mozzarella. The unpretty result looks like a little like sick, but the taste is elevated by the class of ingredients. I Hungry Hippo the leftovers in brutal nanoseconds, and pick at the pan.


At risk of super-sizing his belly, Rhik opts for a healthy plaice dish from Mindful Chef.

I’m now in Super Size Me territory: eating meaty meals for two every night, polishing off korma or lamb biryani for lunch. It’s taking a toll. My bloodstream feels 90% cream, and the tomatoes aren’t going down fast enough. In desperation, I turn to Mindful Chef.

Its recipes are gluten and dairy free, sourced from award-winning farms. You can choose from 12 recipes each week, with vegan options. They are wincingly expensive – three meals for two costing £42, but also the only company that offers recipes for one, and for every meal in the box, it donates a school meal to a child in poverty, and the virtue by proxy is already settling my stomach.

I plate up orange-mottled Cornish plaice with peas I pod myself, salsa verde and crushed potatoes. (“Potatoes help to detoxify and balance excess acidity in the body, as well as encouraging healthy blood circulation,” I’m informed.) The salsa verde of parsley, mint, capers and lemon could do with a little chopped anchovy and mustard, but overall it’s satisfying yet light, the fish shimmering with freshness. This must be the plaice.


A standard affair but a fine dish … Red Thai prawn curry from Simply Cook. Photograph: Rhik Samadder for the Guardian

Simply Cook does things differently: you have to buy ingredients yourself. For £9.99 it sends four recipes weekly, each with an accompanying cartridge of spice and stock pots, which fits through the letterbox. Shopping lists are short, with each recipe designed to be cooked in 20 minutes or less. It’s a break from mountains of cardboard, and means you can select your own quality of ingredients; or if, like me, you live in an area without posh shops, crawl back to Tesco with your tail between your legs.

Its red Thai prawn curry is a standard affair: heat peppers, add coconut milk and Thai paste, finally prawns, basil, a twist of lime. I pay particular attention to the stocks. The garlic paste is fruitful, potent, heavy with fish sauce, while the red Thai paste does heavy lifting of its own (more so than the pot of Thai garnish, mainly there to make up the numbers). These big-hitting flavour bombs mean there’s no chopping up chilli or garlic. It still takes me 30 minutes, longer than it should, but the dish is fine, piquant with tomatoes, fragrant with basil and jasmine rice. Fine, I tell you.


Undeniably, these boxes have nailed convenience. By any normal perspective, I’ve barely moved in six days. Like Howard Hughes without the money, I pad around the flat, muttering how I’ve beaten the system, which is my phrase for anything that involves going outside. Unwilling to break my streak by getting milk, I’m breakfasting on weird stuff scavenged from the cupboards – peanut butter on crackers, Kendal mint cake, promotional chocolate. It’s a real-life version of Home Alone: a problematic premise once examined in any detail.

Still, Creole blackened cod tacos by Gousto are laughably easy. I roughly chop a salsa, mix chipotle into mayonnaise. Combining smoked paprika and allspice, I coat cod fillets in it, before charring in a hot pan. I’m perturbed by squeezing out single-serve sachets of Hellmann’s mayo. Is this cooking? It feels more like the semi-feral desperation of a man living in his car. But I’m done in a record 25 minutes, and this dish should come with an allergy warning, because frankly, it is the nuts. Taste is superb, the pillowcase of each taco housing pert salsa, smoky fish and a surprisingly long note of spice from the chipotle. An absolute keeper of a recipe.

An absolute keeper of a recipe … Creole blackened cod tacos, although having to squeeze out single-serve sachets of mayo was perturbing. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian


Can Riverford redeem itself? Time to give it another go, courtesy of baked mushroom and chard gnocchi. I soak dried mushrooms to a brooding stock, reduce with portobello garlic mushrooms, nutmeg, gnocchi and chard, before folding in unspecified Italian cheese and mascarpone. Tomatoes round proceedings out, vinegar-macerated baubles creating a salad with a self-made dressing. Rather than the predicted 45 mins, it takes me an hour; there’s some washing and chopping, a few stages with the mushrooms, reduction and then 20 minutes of baking, but the result is well worth it. Intensely earthy, yet classy. It’s soporifically comforting, as if I’ve injected it intravenously. Yes, yes, yes.


Christ, I’ve been doing this for a week. I’m getting cabin fever. Breaking my rules, I hit up Gousto for a third meal, breakfasting on fish nuggets with Asian dipping sauce. It’s tasty, but basa fillets fried in a panko crumb coating are, let’s be honest, fish fingers for Guardian readers’ kids. I turn to Mindful Chef in search of vegetables. Ginger and beef kebabs don’t quite fit the bill, though the rice is brown and paired with chilli mango salad. (“Zingy ginger helps with digestion and fights inflammation.”) Getting all the flesh out of a mango is an existential punishment, and the simple recipe takes 45 minutes. I’m not sure my digestion is thrilled to contend with cubes of flat-iron steak, no matter how much ginger they’re in.


Chipotle grilled steak … a glorious punch of a dish but Rhik was so delirious with incipient gout by this stage that he left half the meal in the oven. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

More slabs of meat, this time in Simply Cook’s chipotle grilled steak salad. It strikes me as the sort of dish consumed heavily in the 1990s that now feels out of step with food trends. Neither dirty enough for the burger crowd, nor quite right for vegans, it falls between two stools. Trying not to think about stools, I rub my sirloin with a peppy, fennel-heavy mix, and sear. Served on a salad bed with avocado and feta, topped with sour cream mixed with their chipotle paste, it’s a glorious punch of a thing. Delirious with incipient gout, I don’t notice I’ve forgotten the lemon-herbed roasted peppers, which burn in the oven and function as a sort of air freshener for the rest of the day.


Crispy chicken-skin with veg, except it’s turkey steak instead. Photograph: Rhik Samadder for the Guardian

I turn – with zero appetite, bad dreams and acne – to Hello Fresh’s crispy-skin chicken and buttery veggies with basil oil. Except I don’t, because they’ve run out of chickens, and have substituted turkey steak. I speak for all right-minded individuals when I say: screw turkey steak. It doesn’t have any skin to crisp, but the bag does contain an appealing amount of vegetable. I soak bulgur, finely chop the courgette and leeks for sautéeing. I suspect the recipe to be heavy-handed on fat and salt, but having abdicated all responsibility for more than a week, do what I’m told. After dissolving a large chicken stock pot in just 200ml of water for the bulgur, I salt and pepper the turkey steaks, salt and pepper the vegetables, salt and pepper the basil oil. Even the bulgur isn’t immune, the instructions urging me to add salt and pepper if I fancy (high blood pressure). Something snaps, though, at the point of being ordered to crumble an entire block of feta into the vegetables; vegetables that have been fried in 30g of butter.

Made it over the finishing line, but not in good shape … Rhik Samadder. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

It is an unheroic resistance, coming too little and too late (I know the feeling). Without skin, my oven-finished turkey is dry, the bulgur is drunk on chicken stock, the vegetables are salty. At least I’m not consuming a pack of cheese.

I have struggled over the finish line, not in good shape. I suspect myself to be in the early stages of gout. While recipe boxes use less gratuitous packaging than a supermarket shop, I’m collapsing cardboard boxes so frequently my recycling must look like a cubist montage. More than that, an element of creativity has gone astray. Starved of human interaction, I’ve started to find precise instruction very comforting, and I am reminded of the film Synecdoche, New York, in which Philip Seymour Hoffman wanders an apocalyptic landscape in isolation, while an earpiece issues short, affectless commands. Get up. Go into the kitchen. Prep the veggies. Fall face-first into cherry tomatoes. Recipe-kit living will be a game changer for some; for me, this is just too much convenience. Time to break out of the box.

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Home events for the week of Nov. 5-12

Join Christopher Nichols  Lisa Bauchiero at Roger's Garden, as they guide guests on how to create their very own Holiday Sleigh Centerpiece. (Photo Courtesy of Roger's Garden)
Join Christopher Nichols Lisa Bauchiero at Roger’s Garden, as they guide guests on how to create their very own Holiday Sleigh Centerpiece. (Photo Courtesy of Roger’s Garden)

Tuesday, Nov. 7

A Paleo/Keto Thanksgiving demo: Chef Jen will show guests how to plan a Paleo and Keto friendly Thanksgiving. Attendees will learn how to  prepare these foods in a variety of interesting ways, such as how to make classic dishes such as stuffing and gravy without grains and how to make a juicy turkey. $25. 6-8:30 p.m. 3301 Imperial Highway, Brea. 714-528-7400 or

Wednesday, Nov. 8

Christmas boutique: Get in the spirit of the holiday season at Joyeux Noël at Roger’s Gardens. Glass ornaments are hand blown and hand decorated in family workshops in Poland, nutcrackers made in Germany accompany seasonal dinnerware from Portugal and Italy. Boutique open various times and dates through Dec. 23. Roger’s Gardens. 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road, Corona del Mar. 949-640-5800 or

Saturday, Nov. 11

Holiday sleigh centerpiece workshop: Join Christopher Nichols and Lisa Bauchiero, as they guide workshop participants creating their very own holiday sleigh centerpiece. Workshop fee includes sleigh, all materials needed, and step-by-step instructions. $150. 9-11:30 a.m. Roger’s Gardens. 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road, Corona del Mar. 949-640-5800 or


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