Because winter.

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There’s something about the first snowfall (that sticks) that instantly turns my mind to the coziest things I can think of: the heat turned up a tad too high, just-out-of-the-dryer fuzzy blankets, the comfiest clothes, a good book, great music, a perfect cup of tea, a warm snack, and memories of hiking mountains just a few weeks ago (i.e. see me, above). As such, here is a list of my current favorite things:

– Comfiest clothing basic: the Tracky Dack leggings from BlackMilk. Seriously, these will make even the staunchest of anti-leggings-as-pants activists rethink their stance.

– Newest favorite book: John Darnielle’s Wolf in White Van. With my man being an avid Mountain Goats fan for years, and John Green (a.k.a. the biggest Mountain Goats fan ever) videos pretty much playing at my house 7 days a week, it was a no-brainer to pre-order the first novel from the man who is Mountain Goats, without even reading a single review of it. It may not be cozy in it’s content, but it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. And I read a lot.

– Courtesy of my newest favorite radio station (KEXP), my newest favorite band: Mammút. Can someone get me a copy of their newest album? (Edit: Got it! From here.) Icelandic bands apparently aren’t too keen on iTunes, and my local record store is not yet in the know. Their livestreamed performance from the Icelandic Airwaves festival last week left my jaw slightly unhinged. It also made me want to dye my hair.

– Newest favorite tea: while I had consumed a Tazo Chai Tea Latte (or two) every day for the last 5 or 10 years (with a few month hiatus, due to a false allergy diagnosis), I’m now entering about a month of being Tazo-Chai-Tea-Latte-free, and nearly the same amount of Starbucks-in-general-free. It’s not nearly as hard as I thought it would be though, now that I’ve discovered David’s organic vanilla chai. There’s no sugar added, and I’m completely in love with the sweet creamy kick that licorice root adds to tea. Who knew.

– Favorite warm snack: Pumpkin scones (adapted from here). I’ve been making a batch or two about once a week for the last month or so.

1/3 cup organic brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cold organic salted butter (keep in fridge until #4)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup organic canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla

1) In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, and baking soda. Breathe in the delightful smell it already produces.

2) In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, yogurt, and vanilla.

3) Preheat an oven to 375° and lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil.

4) Take the butter out of the fridge. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or two knives until the butter is reduced to small crumbs.

5) Add small bowl stuff into the big bowl and stir a bit to evenly distribute the small bowl stuff. Then, with the large bowl underneath to catch fugitive flour/spices, knead in hands, making sure you squish all the butter chunks.

6) Pull off bits of dough and shape into balls about 3 inches in diameter (I get 8 scones this way). Place on baking sheet and flatten slightly.

7) Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. At about the 20 minute mark, make sure you go into the farthest room of your house, then hold your breath and run back into the kitchen. Breathe deeply.

8) Eat while still warm. Re-heat in toaster oven those you just can’t polish off immediately.

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