Tag Archive for christmas gifts

Christmas Gifts for Foodies (2018 Edition)

Read through to the end of the post for the chance to win a $50 Fresh Prep gift card! 

Well, here we are in December, and Christmas is just around the corner.

I’m going through my annual struggle; what do I buy people? What cookies do I make to give away? When will I have time to even bake cookies??

The good news is, I have very few people to buy presents for. I usually make lots of cookies and give those out to family and friends, but the main person I buy presents for is Michael. As he gets older, though, it becomes a bit more of a challenge to buy stuff for him. When he was younger, there were always cool toys and games, but now that stuff no longer applies.

So this year, I’ve decided to go in a different direction. This year is going to be more about experiences rather than stuff.

As time goes on, I become more concerned about the state of the environment, and more aware of what I’m doing and how it’s affecting the world. So I’m trying to be more conscious of gifts that don’t create waste, are more sustainable choices and are better for the environment, ideally support local businesses, and/or are more about the experience and creating memories rather than stuff (that may or may not be wanted). Think presence rather than presents. Of course you can always take your special person out for a meal at your/their/a new favourite restaurant. But I’m trying to think of alternatives to that experience.

Having said all of that, I humbly put forth my ideas for Christmas Gifts for Foodies for this year.

Cooking Classes. A cooking class for you and your friend/S.O. or family member is a great gift. You get to first of all spend time together, you get to learn something, and then you get to eat it at the end! It’s a win/win/win. Check out Dirty Apron or PICA. Maybe learn to make cheese with Paula? Or if you’re vegan, take one of Karen McAthy’s.

Fresh Prep Spicy Red Pepper Tofu

Prep-at-home meal kits. If you can’t get out to a cooking class, home-delivered meal kits are a great alternative. I really like Fresh Prep. They are committed to sustainability, and creating less waste, which I love. They deliver the meal kits by bicycle courier! They have vegetarian options, and they are suitable for all levels of cooking experience. If you’re just learning, they’re great, and if you’re a more experienced cook like me, they offer something new and interesting. And making a meal with a loved one is a great way to spend time together. Add a bottle of wine, and voila! instant date night. I also buy gift certificates for friends who are recently married, who have just had a baby…

Want to try it for yourself?? Just use the code INFCOLEMAN18 when you sign up here, and you’ll get $33 off your first order!

Food Experiences. In this category, I’m thinking wine tastings, beer flights, charcuterie. You can, for example, put together a selection of 3 wines to pair alongside different types of chocolates or cheeses, and then make a night of it. Or visit a local winery for a tour and a tasting. I like Backyard’s wine and charcuterie experience.

Homemade goodies. I’m a big proponent of homemade goodies to gift. For me, it often takes the form of cookies or preserves. However, an alternative I’m excited about this year is the mason-jar option. You can make a cookie or brownie mix and gift it in a pretty mason jar. You can do the same with Instant Pot options. Another option? Homemade vanilla (but you’d better start it now).

Cookbooks

Cookbooks. I named this blog Cooking by Laptop because I found that I was cooking more and more from google and the internet than I was from my cookbooks. But I still love cookbooks deeply, and perhaps even more so since writing one myself. There’s always a selection on my coffee table. Some of my recent favourites include Cooking in Color, Bottom of the Pot, and Eating Local in the Fraser Valley (Angie lists agendas in the back of her book for foodie adventures).

Staub La Coquette

Legacy Kitchen Gear. Okay, these are the pricier gifts, but they are also gifts that last a lifetime. A dutch oven from Staub or Le Cruset is incredibly versatile–I use mine to make soups and stews, to braise in the oven, and I even make bread in it! Plus they are so pretty. Mine lives on my stove year-round, even when I’m not using it. A good chef’s knife will last a lifetime, or a really good blender like a Vitamix or a Blendtec is basically forever.

SingleTree Wine Jellies

Specialty ingredients. There are things that many foodies lust for, but tend to be more expensive, and if you don’t have a reason to buy them, you might not. I’m talking about really good quality olive oils or balsamics, flavored sea salts (I love Amola and Vancouver Island Sea Salt. Specialty coffee is always wonderful, as is truffle oil. I also love to gift locally-made preserves, like Vista D’oro’s or Salt Spring Kitchen Co, or wine jellies to serve with your charcuterie. I am also IN LOVE with this local goat milk caramel.

Blue Grouse Wine Candles

Candles. I like food-scented candles a lot. My go-to are the vanilla ones from Ikea, but there are some locally-made versions that rock. Cartems, my #1 all time favourite donuts, have just launched a line of donut scented candles. Let me say that again: donut scented candles!!!! You can also buy wine-scented candles from Blue Grouse, that come in an upcycled wine bottle.

Giveaway!!

Tis the season for gift-giving, so I have one for you. Fresh Prep has kindly offered one of my readers a $50 Gift Card for their service, so you can try it for free, or you can gift it to someone for Christmas!

To enter, just comment below and tell me what’s on your Christmas wish list this year.

I’ll choose one lucky winner at random on Friday, December 14.

Good luck!

 

DIY Body Scrub from the Kitchen

I have no idea how Christmas snuck up on me this year.

No, actually, I do. My head has been firmly buried in the edits of my book, and now Christmas is in just a few days! Eeep!!

If you are scrambling around at the last minute looking for hostess gifts, or something for your girlfriends, I am about to save your proverbial bacon.

You can make them something. Something from things that you probably already have on hand in your kitchen.

I recently got this new book, The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty: 125 Recipes for Vegan, Gluten-Free, Cruelty-Free Makeup, Skin and Hair Care, written by Sunny Subramanian, who runs the popular Vegan Beauty Review blog. 

It’s packed with all kinds of recipes for beauty products–from soap to shampoo to makeup to masques–that you can make yourself. Now, that sounds like it might be a lot of work, right? Especially when you can buy that stuff in any drugstore? Sure. But here’s the thing; whether you are vegan or not, we should all be concerned about what we’re putting on our skins. So much of what we buy in the drugstore is loaded with chemicals and preservatives, and we put it on on our skins, where it can be easily absorbed. So, I’m all for trying out some beauty products that are a little closer to nature.

Let’s take coconut oil for example. I use that stuff on everything! I cook with it, fry in it, and I also use it as a moisturizer after the shower. It makes an amazing, and incredibly effective, eye makeup remover (even with tough waterproof mascara).

Sunny’s book is full of tips like this; naturally-sourced ingredients that are actually good for you, and how to use them or incorporate them into recipes.

But back to the issue at hand: last minute Christmas gifts for your girlfriends.

I’m a big fan of this brown sugar, coconut oil scrub. First of all, those exfoliating microbead thingies have been banned in Canada, finally, because we know how terrible they are for the environment. This recipe uses brown sugar instead, and pairs it with coconut oil, which both moisturizes and binds the whole thing together. You can whip this stuff up in about 5 minutes, add whatever kinds of essential oils you like, package it in some pretty jars, and bam! Done.

By the way, the dollar store is a great place to get pretty glass jars on the cheap. Print up some pretty cards explaining how to use the scrub to go with.

DIY Body scrub

Vanilla Latte Body Scrub

(recipe courtesy of The Compassionate Chick’s Guide to DIY Beauty: 125 Recipes for Vegan, Gluten-Free, Cruelty-Free Makeup, Skin and Hair Care)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup ground coffee
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla powder or 15 drops of your favorite essential oil (or combo of oils)

Method:

  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, or in the microwave, melt the coconut oil.
  2. Pour the oil into a bowl, and add the rest of the ingredients and stir well to combine.
  3. To use: scoop out a small amount of the scrub while in the shower, and massage over skin in a circular motion. Rinse well.