Sunday, November 24, 2013

The 12 Shops of Christmas #4

Oh ladies, I am in love again! In my local Etsy shop hunts, I just keep finding all of these incredible people who are creating gorgeous handmade items in my backyard. (Well, not literally my backyard, though these gals can certainly come knit here anytime they like. I'll make the cookies.) It pains me to say that I am not a knitter, though my grandmother has taught me the stitches many times. I can't read patterns, and I just don't have the knack for it, so I am always in awe of people who are talented with the needles. Obviously I was so happy to find the ladies of The Knit Garden, a family affair based in Fair Lawn, NJ. I love their pieces, their story, and their mission. 
My favorite gift from their shop would be for a best girl friend or sister, one of the beautiful fringed scarves in a bright shade. For my own sister I would choose this two toned orange scarf, which is so her color! I'd add a pair of movie tickets and some Junior Mints (the best movie candy of all time) and then take her to a flick, since we haven't done that in ages! I know there has to be a holiday themed chick flick coming out soon, Love Actually style. Perfect gal pal gift! They have plenty of other colors and styles, and they take custom orders, so you can have the perfect item made for you or a friend! Read on to learn about the three generations who make up The Knit Garden and don't forget the coupon code at the end of the interview!

Please tell us a little about you and your products:
My name is Jessy Hausner and I'm the owner and operator of The Knit Garden. The Knit Garden is a family affair involving three generations of women from our family. My grandmother Reva, mother Eileen, and I all feel the need to constantly create. A number of years ago, my grandmother and mother taught me how to knit and crochet, and when we ran out of friends to give our knit creations away to, we decided to open an Etsy shop. Our products are mostly wearable knits such as scarves, cowls, hats, and headbands, but we also make and sell things like crochet IPhone cases, and knit necklaces. 

How would you describe the mission/purpose of your business?

My favorite oatmeal colored scarf:) And it's photographed with books, come on!

Our mission is to make beautiful wearable art. Each scarf is made to keep you nice and cozy, but also look wonderful no matter the season or the outfit. Our passion is to create, and our goal is to make people happy and comfy. 

How did you get started as a creative business owner?
I've always been crafting and creating for as long as I can remember. I went to college for psychology and for a while thought that would be my path in life. A few years ago however, I was laid off from my job and decided what I really wanted to do was to create beautiful things all day long and be my own boss. I started with craft shows selling my pottery, but eventually I settled on knitting. We opened The Knit Garden because it was something that brought my mom grandmother and I together, and was something we all took great joy in doing on a daily basis. 

What is your favorite part of running a creative business? The biggest challenge?
My favorite part of running a creative business is being my own boss and knowing I can earn a living from something I'm passionate about. With the help of my mom and grandmother, we have the power and the freedom to make all the knit art we want and make our shop look whatever way we want it to look. 

The biggest challenge is actually the flip-side of the same answer. The fact that it's all on our shoulders, and the fact that if we don't do it, it doesn't get done. 

What is the best gift in your shop? Who is it for? 
The best gift in our shop is definitely the scarves. All of our scarves are unisex adult scarves, some long, some short. They're a great gift to give to a loved one, but also make a great present for a child's teacher or a co-worker. In todays mass-produced world, I think giving someone a gift that is handmade adds an extra dimension to the art of gift giving. Whoever receives it will be warm and cozy in these cold winter months while still looking fashionable. 

Coupon Code: 10% off your order from The Knit Garden if you use the code SHOPSOFXMAS
This color is bananas. Don't go buying it though, I want it for me!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

This Ain't Yo Mama's Sunday Gravy

My husband doesn't like pasta. And I married him anyway, which should tell you about his copious other redeeming qualities. I, however, am a firm believer in pasta. As comfort food, right of passage, learning curve... It's the best food on earth, second only to cheese, which is like pasta's BFF anyway.

Any time E is out of town on business I make pasta. I make it when he is home also, and he chokes it down dutifully, but it is usually a last minute dinner choice, nothing requiring effort. He wouldn't appreciate it. When he is gone I experiment. So when he headed out to L.A. this week, I got all fired up to party like Roy Choi. I figured it was appropriate since he's an L.A based chef and his spaghetti has been popping up everywheres.

Now let me tell you. This ain't yo mama's Sunday gravy. No carrots, no tomato paste, no sawseech. But it's incredible. Like fingers-in-the-hot-pot-can't-wait-to-taste-it incredible. I took my pots and tomatoes over to the home of some pasta aficionado pals and took over their kitchen for the evening (That's been happening lately. I dig it.). We all agreed that this was an unusual sauce, one we would never have thought of making, but it was goood. Hints of mushroom gave it a fantastic depth of flavor and all of that mellowed garlic was perfect. Lots of cheese on top, some good wine, and it was pretty much pasta heaven. Just don't tell my grandmother.

Roy Choi's $4 Spaghetti - adapted just a touch by your truly
1 lb. whole wheat thin spaghetti
2 28 oz. cans plum tomatoes in juice
4 oz. white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 cups water
1 cup olive oil
1 head of garlic, peeled
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

In a pot bring water and mushrooms to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour. Strain the stock and set aside. Save your mushrooms for this amazing spread!

Meanwhile, add oil and garlic to a small sauce pan over very low heat. Simmer for 1.5 - 2 hours, turning occasionally, until garlic is evenly browned and soft.

In a dutch oven, pour tomatoes and cooked garlic with the oil. Pour in one cup of your mushroom stock and blend with an immersion blender. Add more stock as needed until your sauce is smooth like buttah. (Use any excess stock for that spread I mentioned earlier.) Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until reduced. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook spaghetti until al dente (about 6 minutes). Strain, toss with sauce, top with freshly grated parmesan and sere immediately. Preferably with a big glass of red and a chunk of bread for sopping up any saucy goodness left in your bowl. Licking it would be considered unsightly by some, though I wouldn't blame you.

Little man asked for repeats of the dinner today, so he devoured the leftovers with meatballs and lots of "fancy cheese" on top, all while singing "On Top of Spaghetti" as if he was the first boy on Earth to do so. He is so very proud of himself:) 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mason Jar Mania

Oh, look! It's a mason jar! With a chevron tag! And kraft paper! And a chalkboard label! And...! All it needs is a neon fox with a mustache and I think this little bread-mix-in-a-jar has hit every handmade trend going right now. The sad thing is, it wasn't even intentional. That is not at all a claim that I have a finger of the pulse of coolness, or that I even understand true coolness anymore. It does feel a damned shame that what is cool gets to be chosen by people who are 13. (Sidenote: That's actually the truth, you know. In my linguistics classes we always talked about how language trends began with middle schoolers. So if you want to know what the next hot phrase will be, find a 7th grader. Totes Magotes.) I like to think I'm kind of cool, and that hair cut to mimic Johnny Lawrence from Karate Kid is NOT cool, but I guess that just means I'm getting old. I wouldn't go so far as to say that giving someone a jar of cookie mix is cool, unless maybe that cookie mix was inspired by Jem and the Holograms and makes you poo sparkles. That would be considered cool even by middle school standards. (Sidenote: Did you know a new in box Jem doll goes for over $300 on eBay now? I should have hung on to mine. Even Kimber gets $225 and she played the keytar.)

But anyhow, back to those pesky little on-trend mason jars. I dare you to get a mix-in-a-jar as a gift and not think it's pretty awesome. You can do so much with them! Soup, bread, brownies, cookies! And once you empty it you start scanning Pinterest pages for all the millions of ideas for how to turn your mason jar into something truly fabulous (A light fixture! A terrarium! A house for fairie folk!) It's just too much fun for one person alone! So you will just have to share with your pals. They are quick to make, inexpensive, and everyone appreciates a little something handmade, even if you didn't knit an organic, free trade alpaca wool afghan. Cause who can do that? You can do this:

Holiday Gingerbread in a Jar

-Grab a quart sized jar and three small bowls.

-Into one bowl, measure 1/2 c. brown sugar.

-Into the second bowl measure 1 1/2 cups of flour.

-Into the third bowl, measure 1 tsp. of salt, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ground ginger and 1/2 tsp. allspice.

-Pour 1/2 of the flour into the jar. Don't be silly; use a funnel or a spoon so you don't make a big mess.

-Add the brown sugar in a layer, top with the remaining flour, then add the spice mix in the last layer.

-Grab a ziploc sandwich bag. Fill it with 1/2 c. of powdered sugar, seal it up, and stuff it into the jar.

-Put the top on the jar with a cute scrap of fabric, a doily, tinsel, or whatever you have around the house that could pass for festive.

- Print out this little recipe card below. Punch a hole in one corner and tie it to your jar with baker's twine, ribbon, yarn, whatevs.

And voila! You have a ready to give little handmade gift! Want to dress it up for your hipster pals? Feel free to draw a mustachioed woodland creature on the jar with a sharpie, knit it a tiny beret, or tag it with faux bois prints. (Oh wait, I actually have some of those!) Or you can just ask me for some chalkboard labels and be done with it. I'm all stocked up.

Also, not so keen on gingerbread? No worries there! Take a peek at this board full of lovely ___-in-a-jar recipes for bars, cookies, breads, soups, and even bath goodies!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The 12 Shops of Christmas #3

Today I have the pleasure of  introducing you to Danielle of DKTop, a ceramic artist whose pieces are just incredible. I stumbled upon Danielle's shop when looking for gifts through Etsy's Shop Local feature and it was love at first sight. Her lotus pod sculptures are so incredibly cool! And if you wonder if a lotus pod could fit into the of the moment fashion trends, no worries there, because she also sells a version adorned with spikes. Tres chic! I love that Danielle offers a variety of price points in her shop, so if you don't want to go whole hog with a custom made sculpture, you can still own a fabulous piece of handmade pottery for under $20. Don't forget to peek at the end of her interview for a coupon code!

My perfect gift choices from Danielle's collection would be for two people: my knitting fiend of an aunt, and my coffee addicted husband. Auntie would get a custom made version of this crazy cool yarn bowl pod, with a few skeins of delicious handmade yarn and some new needles. I'm not sure if she already has a yarn bowl, but she definitely doesn't own one like this! It's a like a conversation piece for knitters!

Hubs would score an awesome pod handled mug, with a few pounds of his favorite beans, and a knit mug cozy on the side. Maybe even a Starbucks card, but I wouldn't let him leave the house with his mug for fear those hipster baristas would try to steal it for themselves.

Please tell us a little about you and your products.

My name is Danielle Kotopoulis. I am an artist and art educator who works primarily in clay. My work is a combination of hand-built and wheel thrown vessels.

How would you describe the mission/purpose of your business?

The purpose of my business is to share my artwork with the world. As an art teacher, I generally focus on the work of my students. I love to see how they grow and thrive artistically and it made me realize that I missed creating my own work. 

How did you get started as a creative business owner?

For years I have been giving away my work as gifts to friends and family. After hearing “you should sell this” time, and time again, I decided look into it. I’ve been a huge fan of Etsy for quite a while now and thought it would be the perfect starter site for my business.

What is your favorite part of running a creative business? The biggest challenge?

I love being able to share my work with the public. Since I began selling, I have been commissioned to create a few custom pieces as well. While it is a challenge, it is incredibly gratifying to be able to create a piece that someone will treasure for years to come. 

What is the best gift in your shop? Who is it for?

Not sure what to buy for your Secret Santa? A handmade mug is great gift for anyone!
Need a gift for the person who has everything? Try a one of a kind hand-built ceramic sculpture.

Get 5% off of any purchase over $50. Expires 12/31/13 Use Coupon Code: HOLIDAYS5

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What's For Dinner: Live!

Facebook is so weird. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook most of the time, thanks to the outpouring of nasty politics, oversharing, and general negativity it tends to breed, but lately my feelings for the social media mega whore have turned to love/love. I'm loving the  warm and fuzzy November Thankfulness Campaign bandwagon, and thanks to Facebook, I got to cook in my dream kitchen this past week. I am a member of this great group of 900 called What's for Dinner, a page where members simply post what they are cooking up each day. It's a simple way to inspire each other through food, and it is awesome.

Talking with my hands much?
Recently the group's organizer tossed around the idea of a cooking demo night, where members could get together to meet in person and share some recipes. Of course I wanted in, since I pretend I am on a cooking show in my own kitchen most days anyway. I didn't realize when I volunteered that I would have to cook in front of 30 people. Talk about performance anxiety. Luckily, I got to be last of the 4 cooks, so by the time I had to demonstrate my recipe, everyone was half in the bag and chatting up a storm. The glasses of wine I had already consumed didn't hurt either. Phew!

I decided to make an Autumn Harvest Soup, full of butternut squash, apples, onions, roasted garlic, and topped with creme fraiche. It's one of my favorites, and perfect for Thanksgiving. You can dress it up with crispy sage leaves and frizzled onions for a fancy dinner, or keep it simple for a weeknight meal. It comes together really quickly, and is a go-to on my holiday menu. The recipe is below, and I will add the recipes for the other dishes from the night as I make them!

The other ladies in the group made some crazy amazing dishes. First up was Sara Van Goor's Pumpkin lasagna, which was off the chizz-ain. No joke. Prosciutto, parmesan, pumpkin, and a smooth and decadent bechamel all blended together into a gooey flavor bomb. Everyone wanted seconds. Now I just have to figure out how to make it all in advance and drive it down to North Carolina for my Friendsgiving:) Doesn't she look like she's all ready for Food Network?

Next was Marcella Simon Vander Eems who made Wonton Cups Three Ways. I was so glad to learn that you can bake wonton wrappers and keep them in an air-tight container for days. I have never made them for appetizers, but they can be so quick with just a bit of advanced prepartion! Marcella made three different fillings: a five spiced chicken salad with citrus and cilantro, a fall fruits blend with blue cheese, and a shrimp with hoisin sauce. I will never buy hoisin at my supermarket again after tasting the one Marcella used! It was a bit richer and saltier, and nothing like the jammy flavor of what I have been buying!

The third cook was Melissa Caminiti Clare, who is also a blogger. Please go visit her at I Was Born to Cook and check out some of her amazing recipes! She made her mother's stuffing recipe, which was loaded with surprises. I'm no stranger to adding dried fruits to stuffing, but Panattone? Never. The idea of adding cake to stuffing is pretty much the best idea anyone ever had. Paired with roasted chestnuts and pork sausage, it was incredible. Moist, a touch sweet, and deliciously unexpected. I will definitely be making it myself! I got lucky and snagged a little bag of leftover stuffing to take home in my purse. I did feel a bit like the old ladies who frequented Chelo's on Sunday afternoons, but I didn't care. It was that good. I made a huge Thanksgiving sandwich the next day and refused to share any of it with Jude. Mean mama.

It was so much fun meeting all of these women and the 20 something others who came to hang out with us. I still can't believe that our host let us all in to take over her gorgeous kitchen for the night! If I had a kitchen like hers, there may not be room for anyone else to cook in it! I would probably sleep in the farm sink. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

12 Shops of Christmas #2

The next shop up in the 12 Shops of Christmas series is one I discovered in a serendipitous online search. (Don't you just love that word? Say it with me! Serendipitous!). I was hunting for board book party ideas when Jude was celebrating his second birthday and found a gorgeous Brown Bear quilt on Pinterest. It turns out that that the quilt was created by Sandra of Sandra's Studio, who  is practically my neighbor. She is also a book lover, and I was immediately drawn to her bold graphic prints and the literary theme of many of her pieces. She does gorgeous work! 

My favorite gift in her shop (other than that crazy amazing Brown Bear quilt!) would actually be this lovely red floral tote bag. It would be a great gift for a mom, stuffed with a few pampering goodies. A luxe hand cream, some soft slippers, a bar of dark chocolate, and of course, a good book! I imagine it could also hold a couple of bottles of wine instead, just in case you are into that kind of thing!

Please tell us a little about you and your products. 
My name is Sandra, I am a graphic artist, a quilter and the mother of a 4 year old boy. My first introduction to Art and Design was sewing and knitting with my mother and sisters when I was eight years old. Since then I studied Graphic Design and worked in the field. 

How did you get started as a creative business owner?
I started my creative business right after my son was born. I made a quilt for him with a brown bear design (the one from the book Brown bear, brown bear what do you see?). My first quilting attempt came out so good that friends and family suggested to me to make quilts to sell. That's how it all started; I returned to the thing I enjoy the most: creating hand bags and quilts. I incorporate many techniques in my items, including: embroidery, quilting and textile painting. They are all unique and handcrafted in a smoke and pet free environment.

How would you describe the mission/purpose of your business?
My mission is to create artistic and good quality items. Items handmade by me. As a business crafting person, I would like people appreciate more the handmade and crafty world.

What is your favorite part of running a creative business? The biggest challenge?
My favorite part of running a creative business is designing and producing my products. I love to see people getting amazed when they see my quilts. I have been asked: How do you do all that stitching? Well, I enjoy and love to sew and when I am quilting it works as a relaxation therapy to me. 

What is the best gift in your shop? Who is it for?
The best gifts for babies is one of my baby quilts. They are colorful and soft. They are good for decoration too, they will brighten any kids room. Because I make quilts from kid's books illustrations, I would say to have one of my quilts it's a beautiful way to introduce kids to the art of reading

Monday, November 11, 2013

12 Shops of Christmas #1

With six weeks to shop before Christmas (and like, two weeks for those you celebrating Hannukah; how did that sneak up so fast this year?), it's time to get the features started! 

I am pleased to introduce you to Cynthia Lynch of Cynthia's Soap Kitchen, with whom I had the joy of hanging out this summer at the Oakland Farmer's Market. She makes beautiful cold process soaps, skinny lotion, aromatherapy blends, and even an all natural insect repellent that I snatched up for Jude this year. None of the other natural products I tried worked for us, but he was bite free all through late August and September thanks to Cynthia's Bug Bane. I loved having a booth next to Cynthia at the market this summer, because the breeze would blow through our tents, carrying the scents of her soaps with it. Instant aromatherapy boost!

She was nice enough to answer my questions, and even to offer a coupon code for readers (see the bottom of this post!). Her soaps make amazing gifts, and pair really well with other items for those themed gift baskets I keep talking about. My favorite is the Organic Mulled Wine Soap, which would go perfectly in a basket with a few fun wine charms or coasters, a wine journal, corkscrew, and obviously, a big bottle of your favorite red! Read on to learn more about Cynthia and see her picks for the best gifts in her shop! 

Please tell us a little about you and your products. 
I make natural, organic bar and liquid soaps with pure essential oils. The inspiration for the soaps comes from the best lesson I learned as a professional cook: keep it simple and use the best ingredients available. It makes for the best, healthiest product you can get.

How would you describe the mission/purpose of your business?
If I could change one thing with my business, I would love to see people get away from using bath products with toxic ingredients. I believe we can all be a lot healthier with a few minor changes to our daily routines.

How did you get started as a creative business owner?
It goes back to cooking. Making soap is so similar--creating a recipe, measuring ingredients, cooking it properly--it was just a natural choice. Along the way I've fallen in love with the essential oils that I use, which is now leading me into perfumery as well.

What is your favorite part of running a creative business? The biggest challenge?
That's easy: my favorite part is making the soaps, and inventing new ones. The biggest challenge is getting the word out. There just aren't enough hours in the day!

What is the best gift in your shop? Who is it for? (Feel free to add a few, ie: The best gift for gardeners is this amazing hand cream because… The best gift for a baby is this burp cloth set because…) I've got soaps for quite a few tastes. Any of my organic soaps are the best hostess or teacher gift because they're both beautiful and useful. The best gift for the beer lover is either my Organic Beer or Organic Stout soap--they'll soon learn that beer is amazing for your skin too! The best gift for someone you want to pamper would be a combination of my Organic Lavender Soap and Liquid Soap in Lavender Grapefruit because the scents are just so soothing and uplifting.

Where can shoppers find your wares (other than Etsy, of course!)?  

You can find my products at:
- Lambert Castle Holiday Boutique at Lambert Castle, Valley Road, Clifton, NJ from November 9-30,
- Jersey City at the 6th Borough Market on November 17 and December 8 (Hamilton Park, 11-4pm),
- The Troop Fundraiser in Riverdale, NJ on December 1 (Riverdale Community Center, 10-4pm),
- West Side Presbyterian Church in Ridgewood on December 7 (Varian Fry Way, 9-4pm).

You can use the coupon code XMAS20 in Cynthia's Etsy shop to receive 20% off your total order, through December.

Friday, November 08, 2013

'Tis the Season

Oh, I know, am I seriously about to start posting holiday shopping and gift giving ideas? You bet your butts. Once Halloween is over, you all know what happens in the stores. A clean sweep of the costumes, a cursory glance at the Thanksgiving table decor, and then BOOM. Christmas. All sparkling snowflakes and Santa Claus and stockings in yo face, every time you turn a corner. At least the carols haven't started yet.

Now don't get me wrong. I LOVE the holidays. My birthday is Christmas Eve, so my Christmas addiction is a birthright. However, I enjoy Thanksgiving thoroughly (I think it's the mashed potatoes, really), and I am happy to wait until December 1st before pulling out my Nat King Cole CD's.

All of that said, I am also a tiny business owner, and the crazy thing about that is my holiday prep begins in July. It's odd to design winter cards in July, but there it is. It's also odd to make Christmas gifts in July, but if you are a crafter you do it! I'll never forget the night my mother was up until 3 AM one Christmas Eve putting finishing hems on a set of Star Wars quilts for my nephews. I swore I would never do that, so now I get my holiday crafting started early. I also start the list of items I will buy, and this year, that means all local or handmade. That's a bit of a challenge, but I am determined to avoid the big box stores this year, to spend less, to think more, and to invest my time and creativity into making a memorable, quality holiday instead of a commercial one.

If you're with me, then stay tuned for the weeks coming up to Christmas! I will be hosting a new featured shop for The 12 Shops of Christmas, all of them local, and all of them handmade. There will be interviews and coupon codes and a giveaway or two! Including some from me of course.

I'm working hard to fill the shop with new holiday card designs and prepping for my first holiday marketplace. It's in a little over a week (yikes!) and in addition to my usual cards and party goods, I have a few fun new gifts to share. Ready to grow mini gardens, personalized stationery sets, and my new favorite thing, stationery gift baskets. I think people are sometimes unsure about how to give stationery as a gift other than a stocking stuffer, but you really can do so much!

My new favorite thing is to group little gifts in a themed bunch 
with a set of coordinating cards,  like this baker's set:

1. An adorable pink printed tea towel
2.  Cupcake Note Cards in Hot Pink (these can be printed with a name or in another color!)
3. A tiny silver bucket for planting
4. Lemon Balm seed paper
5. A seed starter pellet
6. A recipe for Lemon Balm Tea Biscuits

Bundle all of this together with some cute packaging and voila! You have an adorable little themed gift for your baking pal. If you're lucky, maybe you'll get a card back from them as thanks, and you can plant your own little wild garden. I'll have a bunch of these sets for sale at the Artisan show next Saturday, so if you are local, do come visit!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Post- Halloween Party Sugar Coma

I often make the mistake of using candy as decor for parties. Cute jars full of candy are a popular thing, they tie in your theme, make your party colors pop, blabbity blah blah. The problem is that no one eats it. Most of the time the display looks too pretty to eat, or there are too many other delicious treats from which to choose. So guess who ends up with 6 jars full of candy to eat? Toss the leftover Halloween candy from trick or treating into the mix and it's a recipe for disaster. An 8,000 calorie Twix and Snickers for breakfast every day kind of disaster.

My new plan is to skip the cute jars of candy. Instead, I'm going to just bake the candy into cookies the size of Tony Robbins' hand and serve them on a cute plate.See this mason jar? It was full the day of the party. And it was full the day after the party, which means every time I walk by it I have to fight the urge to grab and eat a fist full.

That afternoon I baked 2 cups of it into these candy cookies and then gave most of them away. I couldn't give them all away. That would be wrong. So in the end I don't know if it was worse to bake the cookies, or to just eat the entire jar of candy. Oh well.

Leftover Halloween Candy Cookies 
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar 
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract 
2 cups Reese's Pieces and M&Ms (or any other candy you have!)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy and pale. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until just combined. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt and add to the mixer at low speed. Scrape the bowl and mix until just combined. Fold in candy. Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool for five minutes on the sheet before transferring to wire racks.